This month’s issue of “Poet of the Month” is a special tribute to Maria Remedios “Dette” Kaplan-Brown, a UPLI member and sister of UPLI President Gil Yuzon, who recently passed away on January 31, 2017. Maria was a multi-talented artist. She was an accomplished painter who held well-received exhibits in recent years, as well as being a poet and a writer.
Maria leaves behind her loving and devoted husband Reuben D. Brown. She is survived by her daughter Thea and Stasha who married to Jonathan Bye and their child Elliott Joshua Bye. Her other sibling is Marie Lourdes “Manette” Y. Cortes, a younger sister.
Below are several of her poems from her collection of poetry which she had intended to publish this year. The first poem titled “Don’t Stop Dreaming” was written sometime last year when she had realized that she had very limited time left in her life on this earth due to her illness.
I swept the earth
on wings of joy
As I to heaven soared.
Your star sped past
on wheels of love
As you to me I called.
I touch the lines on your face
Examine every feature
This is all I have of you
A memory and a picture.
Is the world wrapped in mystery
when first we live upon it?
Can neither ear nor vision clear
It’s heaped up dark inside bit?
Need we wander in a memorial mist
In a senseless, childish wilderness
Or fantasy moons and endless noons?
For a vague sometime, I guess.
Suddenly a touch, a burst of wonder
The sky stands proud, well-lit.
Does the world blush with happiness
When first we love upon it?
Give me more of world and more of sun
More of this joy that to me was shown
Revel with me in a glorious spree
For now I am grown, I am grown.
How he became an icon in my creative psyche
I can’t recall.
At first encounter, I thought
Certainly a young beaujolais he wasn’t.
More like a Bordeaux, seasoned and complex.
The stooped presence, the quiet manner
The fading voice subdued by time
Belied the explosive colors on the walls
Born from years of work, dogged dedication.
Monday night salons catapulted imaginations
But the mountains of mail they generated
Matched by his unyielding resistance to email
Gave one pause and reason to wonder:
Is this a joke, is he for real?
Hanging the art has its own dictum.
Bring the hammer, the leveler, lots of Uhu.
Follow measurements to the eighth of an inch.
Endless instructions, always in writing,
Were by turns, amusing and infuriating.
Yet, altogether inspiring.
As the mailing escalated
And the Monday night salons captivated
Arrivederci sparkled like never before.
He left then, it seems,
When the place was at its vibrant most.
Was that also planned?
With him, nothing was accidental.
Always. An enigma to the end.
Why? Was there a reason? A lesson ma
I need you
to help me see the sunrise
To paint green
my darkened landscape
To hold my hand
in unkind hours
a rainy day comes
I need you
to tell me you need me.