Poems for the Family: The Perfect Gift

It’s funny to me how words seem to flow,
Only after a person is gone.
But I want to express the love in my heart,
Before my loves venture beyond.

I gave these poems as gifts,
But they mean too much not to share.
The people who inspired them
Are amazing beyond compare.

Poetry makes a thoughtful gift for the holidays, a birthday, or just because. All of these poems were written by me, Kristina Parro, as Christmas gifts this year. The recipients gave me permission to share— to help inspire the flow of your own words and maybe even your own poetry.

Tina’s Tip: Be vulnerable with yourself and others. It feels good to put words to your feelings and even better to share them with those you love.

Poem for my Mom

My Mother, My Captain

If my life were the ocean,
We’d have seen
The sunniest days
And stormiest of seas.

Through it all,
My captain,
Who weathered each
Alongside me.

My mother,
My captain,
My light,
And my world.

Without you,
I’d be ship-wrecked.
My survival,
Up to the sea’s swirls.

Poem for my Dad

A Daughter’s Debt

If I had ten million dollars,
And spent it all on you,
I’d never be able to repay
The debt to you that’s due.

Remember when I was little?
I’d fall asleep in the car.
You’d carry me inside,
But I was heavy and it was far.

Then, when I grew older,
You taught me how to be.
Generous, inquisitive, and stoic.
All the advice you gave for free.

You taught me to work hard,
To think, to create, and to love.
To be true to myself,
And to hold my family above.

We are cut from the same cloth,
You and me are two peas in a pod.
I’ll always pick you as the MVP:
My favorite on the squad.

I’m grateful for what you’ve given me,
But more thankful for our bond.
We will be together forever,
Whether we’re here, or the beyond.

Poem for my Brother

Yin and Yang

She was the sun, 
He, the moon.

Different, but complementary.
Separate, but together.

Yin and yang.
Brother and sister.

They say a connection between the two
Brings harmony so powerful
Wars would stop
And world peace would be had.

They say, infinity is found,
Between balanced opposites.
Like with you and me,
And the relationship we’ve fostered.

In this kaleidoscope world,
Often separated by distance and reality,
I’ve become grateful for adversity,
For it only strengthens our bond.

Poem(s) for my Grandma(s)

Grandma’s House

Blue was the color of the house 
Where I made those
childhood memories.

Ivory were the keys of the piano,
Which played your
lyrical melodies.

Coffee was the smell in the air,
When the words “Good morning,”
you exclaimed.

Sweet is the smell of the flowers
After which that beautiful street
was named.

Warm was your smile
When I walked inside
Lily of the Valley in my hand.

Full was my heart
When we got to do all the
fun things you had planned.

Stamped and Etched

Remember when you called me,
Just a few weeks ago?
To thank me for the pictures and poems
From the beach, so well, you know.

“Thank you,” you said, enthusiastically.
Then you repeated it five times.
Your voice made me so happy,
I thought that I might cry.

“Thanks for sharing your creativity
and your talents with the world.”
Words like that, from a woman like you,
Gave my heart a little twirl.

Your voice made me so happy,
I’ll remember it forever.
Stamped with love in my memories,
And etched in every endeavor.

Poem for my (future) Sister-in-Law

A Distant Memory

Inside you is a spirit,
That I remember
With sparkling clarity and vivid color,
Yet hadn’t known,
Until you wandered into my life,
On the arm of my baby brother.

Maybe it’s your energy,
Or a distant memory from a past life.

All I know, is that
Life finds a way
Of returning to you
Those whom you need to find.

Poem for my Boyfriend’s Brother

Trip of a Lifetime

If years were measured in miles,
This would be your longest one yet.
Countless hours spent in your van,
On a quest for a life sans regrets.

How many spend their lives wishing
To travel far and wide?
But not many would forgo their comfort
To live a life outside.

You made the most of the pandemic,
Doing what others wish they could.
I’m inspired by your trip of a lifetime,
And the challenges you’ve withstood.

My Poetry Writing Process

While writing these poems, I began with a brainstorming session: writing down some of my favorite memories, stories, or concepts that reminded me of the poem’s inspiration. I read poems that others had written about their loved ones. I meditated and tried to connect with my deepest feelings. From there, I built the message and prose for each individual poem. Finally, in order to make sure the flow and rhythm worked, I read the poems out loud— over and over.

Comment on this post with your best poetry tips, or a poem that you have written for a loved one! I’d love to read them!

Poems from Long Beach

Lights, rocks, the beach, the lake, and the sunset. Photo by Kristina Parro.

There’s nothing quite like spending time at the beach in autumn. Leaves falling like rain. Fiery sunsets. Nights by the fire. Waves crashing into the shore.

It is magical for me, being so near the place where the water meets the sky. Cleansing. Inspirational.

I love to wake up early and watch the sun rise on the horizon, while drinking my latte and listening to the surf. I enjoy long walks on the beach, while talking and taking in the views. I cherish moments spent with my friends and family; moments spent with my thoughts and my notebook.

These photos were taken and words were written on the shores of Lake Michigan in Indiana.

Enjoy!

An Indiana Morning

Waves crashing against the rocks of Long Beach. Photo by Kristina Parro.

Morning. Two lovers. A walk along a hazy, pebble-covered beach.

The sky is aglow, painted by the rising sun. The tide is high; waves crash into the shore. The froth rushes out, leaving behind reflected rainbows in its wake.

Still water snakes along the lovers’ path, leaving sand islands between them and the lake. As the sherbet hues dance in the stillness, the couple stops to take in the view.

She leans in for a kiss, then they pause for a moment, faces pressed against one another. Just being, together.

The smell of his Nivea lingers on her face, long after the walk is over.

Who knew an Indiana morning could be this beautiful?

Surreal

A figure walks along the shores of Lake Michigan, the sky and setting sun are reflected in the water. Photo by Kristina Parro.

Dive into my dreams.

Learn each square inch of my sun-lit cliffs and the shadowy depths of my valley floors.

Take a dip into my subconscious.

Learn who I really am. Deeper than I even know?

Bathe in my rivers. You shall learn, then be rewarded.

But, beware of the depths. Don’t drown.

Constant

The sun sets on a rippled Lake Michigan. Photo by Kristina Parro.

Spring turns to summer, then fall to winter.

Things grow, then die.

Love burns, then withers.

The circle of life: nothing is constant but change.

Water and Fire

A couple walks on Long Beach at golden hour. Photo by Kristina Parro.

The waves crash behind me. I’m warmed by the fire in front of me.

I sit on the beach, thinking about the people who have sat here before me. The Potowatomi’s, pioneers, and Presidents. Simon Pokagon, Harry Tuthill, Joe Biden.

My grandparents.

I want to ask them, “Were the colors always this vibrant? Was the sand always this soft? Were the sunsets always this beautiful?”

Time changes everything, but maybe this beach is beyond her grasp.

The lake grows dark behind me. I’m enlightened by the crackle of the flames.

A November Sunset

Unedited photo of the sunset on November 7, 2021 on the shores of Lake Michigan in Long Beach, IN. Photo by Kristina Parro.

As the salmon November sun sank into the glassy water, the world, momentarily, was set on fire.

Brushed stripes of magenta and apricot appeared painted on the turquoise sky, then reflected in the tide.

Just above the horizon, lead clouds were lit from underneath. For a moment, just a moment, the entire world glowed.

The beach doubles as a panoramic stage for the ultimate virtuoso to show off.

God? Mother Nature? Or, Miss Universe?

Selfie of me at the lake in November 2021