Lifelines poems by Linda Spock

Image of Linda Spock
Photo by Ben Blankenburg.  

In her gracious gathering of poems, Lifelines, Linda Spock offers each of us a lifeline.  Here, in the midst of life’s challenges, much joyful solace is found.  The power of love is always present, not least of all in Lifelines’ central group of poems about a much anticipated grandson, who offers all of us the same delight, laughter, and revival felt by the author. Like the spider in her poem “Spider Woman,” Linda Spock knows how to make her lines “dance rather than break.”  How lucky we are to be invited to the dance.
Lifelines cover image
Front cover photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Linda Spock was a resident of Connecticut for forty-two years before moving to Florida in 2014. Linda has been married for forty-five years and has two married sons who each have a son.  Family and writing have been her constant lifelines. She has a doctorate in clinical psychology and was a practicing psychologist for thirty-five years. She considers being a poet a new calling as she feels inspired to write with compassion about the collective human experience with its struggles and triumphs. Her first published poem appeared in Caduceus, a publication of Yale Medical Group. This collection is her first book.






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ISBN 978-1-943826-53-7
First Edition 2019

6" x 9" paperback, 58 pages

This book can be ordered from all bookstores, including Amazon.


Copyright © 2019 by Linda Spock


Intimate Stranger

Family legend tells of my grandmother
in a dark house dress
reeling clothes in on a clothesline so firemen did not stare
at her freshly washed underwear

Some days she would interrogate neighbors about their favorite color
having decided if they liked yellow they were not to be trusted

She would stare blankly at them with arms crossed
sitting like a Buddha in the living room

She did not get out of bed or wash herself
but she would cut her toe nails when least expected
leaving a trail of yellowed crescents on the floor

For her to leave her room
she had to be pried loose from her comfort zone
clutching the door frame holding on for dear life to all she had left

After tearing the clothes in her closet barehanded
her brain had to be zapped
cold electrodes causing shock waves to break apart memories of an
18 year old son with movie star good looks killed at war
soon after her husband had died suddenly

Her son’s letters and purple heart were all that remained
filling one box left in the attic
Yet, she would endlessly play children’s records for me
on a tiny plastic phonograph while I twirled and danced
in my pink tulle dress and gold bangle bracelet
transporting her to a simpler time

My parents’ marriage could not survive
under the weight of her pain
My mother did not want to remove
the wedding ring from her finger while
my father wore a new one given to him by another

Somehow I am left
carrying my grandmother’s unclaimed suitcase
a family heirloom I would gladly part with

Phantom Limb


We walk along the jagged coast of Maine arm in arm
you and I
dissecting memories torn from our past
plotting our future

I ask you how is it possible
that even when our boys are grown men
we carry them with us
continually strapped to our backs papoose style
freeze framed

instantly recognizing what they would
notice even when they are not here to see it

They converse by proxy in absentia 
unable to utter their lines
yet we know what they would say

When we savored they devoured
their appetites voracious for each moment
in their space
at the cobalt ocean’s fractured edge

Their imaginations were architects of sand creations
never to be built again
our rehab for learning to stay in motion
found in the glowing embers of burnished sun

Painkillers are not included for the unrelenting ache




A pile of contradictions
my curls are either hated or loved
There is no grey zone
except at its roots
Considered beautiful by some
bushy by others
there are only bad hair days
or crowning glory days
Unmanageable yet free
with a mind of its own
defying the smoothness of convention
as tangled and complex as my soul
sometimes requiring no care
yet often demanding special treatment
patiently waiting for self acceptance and gratitude

for my uniqueness


Birthday Wishes


This year
when I blow out the candles
on my cake
I will snuff out bad memories
of your forgetting each of my birthdays
since age eight

It will be the last time
I unwrap the gift of shame
which arrived when friends asked
Where’s your father

I will tie up each of the anniversary ghosts
with bright curling ribbon
intent on coiling back on
itself in useless circles

Maybe by next year
Happy Birthday will be
simply that



Precious pink-skinned bundle of love
hurry up and get here
Not too soon mind you
as you need time to grow
yourself human
I wait to wrap you in warm embrace and
swaddle you with safety
I will comfort your small whimpers
rock you in the sunshine
sing you to sleep with the lullabies I sang
to your father
take you into a world
so large that you will
want to see more
speak sounds you have not heard
until they begin to make sense
to your small ears
You are only a dot of life now
but I will be patient
until you grow arms and legs and eyes

Yet a beating heart exists
within the speck of Spock
I will call my own

Baby Giggles

You surprised yourself
with the sound of your own laugh
It shocked you that it got
such a reception and you wanted to see
if it would happen again
Like clockwork
when grandpa scrolled his spider fingers 
over to your side of the table top you roared
as did we your audience and fan club
A royal puppetmaster you pull
the strings of our hearts
When I rocked you to sleep you opened your eyes
and let out a giggle
so I too would laugh before you relinquished 
your strangle-hold on the world
your idea of a joke
the punchline shared
by only the two of us



When you smile your body comes along for the ride
Your tiny feet and arms start flailing as you become
possessed by sheer delight

It could be as simple as a new sound or color
of a toy dangled in front of you
or the light filtering in from the living room window

When the ceiling fan blade moves ever so slightly
it catches your eye and you become captivated
as if you’ve just found your beloved

What must it be like to discover what is out there
for the first time full of wonder and adventure and possibility
Of course you don’t want a nap . . . but I do


Brazilian Beats


It happened by accident
that I discovered you liked
dancing the samba as much as I do

I left my post at the counter
where I was making a sandwich
to sing to you
You were holding the padded
handrail of your portacrib

Then it happened

Both of us swept up in the drum beats
swaying in synchrony
bopping up and down to the intoxicating rhythm
filling our hearts

You answered the sound of my voice
by flashing your two-teeth grin
then bent your tiny knees in time to the music

I clapped my hands
you chewed on your toys in between waving your arms
I snapped my fingers
you hummed
I shook my hair
you moved your head side to side

Sergio Mendes on vocals
you and I on back up
A perfectly dizzying spectacle
for your grandfather to watch until the happy frenzy
came to a stop

Spider Woman


Open like a spider web waiting to
catch a fly
or dandelion wisps
or specks of dirt
is how I want to live my life

not knowing what will come good or bad
big or small
yet still willing to take the time to spin gossamer silk threads
all day if necessary
patiently waiting to see what arrives

One swipe of a broom
can brush the web into oblivion
and yet the spider is willing to take that chance

artfully toiling away creating intricate designs
each one with a unique blueprint all its own

sometimes blending in
not even visible to the human eye seemingly fragile
yet surprisingly strong

Winds do not blow the web away
for the spider knows how to make it
dance rather than break

Dark Eyes


They say eyes can reveal much about a person
Yours are accepting and loving showing
compassion and gentleness of spirit
as well as quickness of mind and of humor

I want to memorize the lines around your eyes
and hope that I have helped to create more of
the creases caused by smiling and laughing
than the ones etched by hardship and sun

The dark chocolate centers of your eyes
have a way of peering into my soul
illuminating uncharted corners and exposing crevices
Somehow you help me find spaces I did not know existed
in me and in you

Feeling uncovered in this way is different
from trying to sleep on a cold night
when the heavy quilt slides away

Time has confirmed what
my heart recognized instantly at first sight


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