Rise Above

Copyright © 2018 Katherine Vyn


from red, brown dusty earth


by fire and eternal love

Cooled and Calmed

by endless seas


by wind, air, and ether

We are brought to life

and sustained

Rise above


by hardship, kindness, and trust


by acts, words, and motions


by compassion, love, and faith


by tragedy, loss, and understanding

We are more than human

We are one


Rise above


I spent some time with my grandfather, David Mears, last year before he passed away.  I enjoyed his company immensely, remembering magical moments from my childhood, guided by him.  One of these is shared below…


The Little Red Sailboat

Copyright © 2017 Katherine Vyn


I remember walking with you,

My small hand in yours,

Your more experienced steps

Guiding my wobbly ones,

The rough asphalt beneath bare feet

Turning to soft, moist grass

Of the neighbor’s yard.


The sun high and hot,

Sand dried on the tops of the feet,

Crusts the edges

Like the soft caramel apple center

Of Grammy’s pie.


But today is for sailing and clamming.

The slightly damp, bright orange life vest

Hugs me tight

As Grampy sets me on the edge of the red sailboat.

“You remember how to swim, right?”

He smiles, and I nod.

“Good, good, good,” he says,

As he pushes the boat out and hops on himself.


It teeters in the ocean,

Ripples dance away towards the shore,

Rushing to meet the sandier side

Where feet are more welcome,

And fins can’t survive.


He hands me a rope to hold,

Closing my fingers around it.

The wind tugs at me,

Beckoning a small body to fly.

My feet find somewhere to hang on,

and we listen to the boat and the water


experienced feet against the dance floor.


“Now hang on,” he says,

placing his hand above mine on the rope,

before the gust takes hold,

our boat sprinting across the sea

over fish and sand below

where crabs tickle and nibble tiny feet like mine.


The same red boat is in your backyard

And my hands and feet are still smaller than yours.

The mud flats still grab at them and hold them

Until I yank them out,

And I watch the tide like you taught me,

So I don’t get caught by the water

Where I don’t want to be.


The guidance and friendship you shared

I pray will last forever,


Under the sky that changes in moments,

But remains ever the same,

And on the ocean you taught me to be friends with.

Some things will never be forgotten

For they are part of me.

I will always hold tight

When the big gusts come

And follow the wind and water home.


In Honor of World Wildlife Day, and in the worldwide efforts to protect elephants…

This is a poem from our upcoming collection, Imperfection: Portraits by Katie Vyn.


In Our Hands

©2016 Katie Vyn


Red brown dusty dirt

sprays onto

grey wrinkled skin


the large ears

swoosh and sway

to rest and lay



a single shot

kills the air

before it meets

the side


and one of the last

falls to the ground

sending agonizing tremors

heartbreaking terror

through the earth


a calf stands

eyes searching

tears already drying

in the hot sun


as the men

carve out

her long white

bloody spears of ivory


weapons lay down

beside them


working, grinning

with success


they miss

the lion lingering

ready to pounce


one predator’s

giant mouth

roars against

another’s senseless skin


and it’s too late

to run

to shoot

to cry out


Imperfection: Portraits

©2016 Katie Vyn

Mad Kat Publishing