Complimentary Jar (audio-poetic prose)

A week into November and I remembered that it is National Gratitude Month. Maybe an entire month devoted to gratitude has been canceled, like so many other happenings this year, or likely, its appearance was buried under election and COVID updates. Maybe we are all feeling pandemic fatigue, leaving us little energy to feel or express gratitude. I know there is some truth to that, especially for those who have been most impacted by the invisible virus that has made our lives visibly challenging. I also know feeling and expressing gratitude can encourage us. My poetic prose, that I wrote before remembering November’s gratitude label, is a story about a woman who learns to not only accept compliments, but cherish them. If you have a difficult time accepting compliments, I hope my story motivates you to embrace each compliment that comes your way.😊

“Complimentary Jar” Audio Poem
Complimentary Jar

Never comfortable with compliments,
dismissed, ignored, or brushed aside,
until she realized
there may come a day
when all forms of admiration
might whisper, then fade away.

From that moment on, her reply
was, Thank you, and How kind.
Treasuring every complimentary word
like a personalized holiday card,
she began receiving and remembering,
then scribbling and placing them in a jar.

What began as a game, a lark,
capturing words, filled up dozens of glass jars.
Receiving words, fortified her fragile heart.
A grateful hand tucking tiny notes inside,
her eyes did light and her soul did smile
whenever, those shelved jars, she brushed by.

thanking, writing, folding, and smiling
complimentary words now sealed inside

Over time adding small cards
became less, then few,
until empty jars, she no longer needed to pursue.
Dust collecting on jars, once see-through,
echoing decades of gracious thank yous,
written with a hand that once held
the gentleness of children, the passion of her darling,
homemade from the oven, a flowing pen –
the World.

thanking, writing, folding, and smiling
forgotten words now sealed inside

Until that day when her grandson came by
carrying packing tape, flat boxes, and papers to sign.
Before stepping in, he released a heavy sigh.
His second home, where he found colorful Easter eggs,
where he unwrapped shiny gifts and learned to ride.
Soon, he would be the stranger standing outside.

What are these jars, with tiny folded cards?
the first grandchild, now a grown man,
said to the resting woman.
Waiting … no response forthcoming.
Holding one close to her visage, patient and loving,
a jar, lifted her sleepy eyes, now glowing.
That is a complimentary jar, she said,
Gather the rest, then help me out of this chair.

The notes, he helped her pour and scatter
across the surface where flowing laughter
and meals had been lovingly served.
A family table about to be protected
by bubble wrap and blankets,
now showered with compliments –
tiny cards, in all shapes and sizes,
some tattered, some faded, some blurred.

She grabbed her reading glasses
and a seat and began to read
the kindness, that at one time
she was unable to receive.

Watching her unfold, read, and weep,
her grandson repeated, What are these?
Holding a note and with glistening eyes, she replied,
Oh, dear grandson, it is just a game I have played,
capturing and scribbling words through the years.
Since life now requires that I downsize,
the time has arrived for me to release
my complimentary collection, long sealed.
I will fill up my heart with one final read,
before setting these kind words free.


Thank you for visiting my blog and reading my story. I appreciate you! Have a wonderful weekend. πŸ’– Michele     

Being a Woman poetry book update: I am working on the poems for our third and final collection, titled, “Forthcoming.” A few more poems to go, then my illustrator daughter will bring the poems to life with her creative drawings. Links to our first two Being a Woman Books are on my “About” page. 😊

Photos: Having fun with indoor photography in my indoors.

Copyright Β© 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

33 thoughts on “Complimentary Jar (audio-poetic prose)

  1. asumoftheparts

    What a powerful story this poem tells. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone saved up every kind word they had ever received and revisited them occasionally, when needed. Strong images shaped by your careful word choice awaken memories and feelings that resonate deep within. Beautiful indoor photography as well.

    >

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you. Your kind words resonate deep within me. 😊 πŸ™πŸΌ We should save and revisit kind words and they should hold more hope and power than negative words that might come our way. Thanks about the photography too. While I gravitate toward nature photography, I had fun shooting inside last night. πŸ“Έ πŸ˜€

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    1. Thank you so much. I had fun living and writing in the land of truth mixed with make-believe. Thanks for the positive feedback about my recitation. I actually need to re-record. I said, “flattery” in the beginning and meant to say, admiration. That’s what happens when I do things too late in the day or too early. 🀣 Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™πŸΌ

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for asking, Ben. 😊 Like most of my poetic stories, there is usually a thread of truth that weaves its way through, or the story is inspired by something, either I or someone else did or said. Or one thought may lead to a poem or story. I am sure you can relate. The beginning of this story is true, in that I have improved this year on accepting compliments, rather than dismissing them or saying something to negate them. I am working on it! πŸ˜† This story is a work of fiction beyond that. Although, I do now have a few jars full of tiny cards, with kind words written on them – words that have been said to me, so that was a positive activity last night. I shot the photos last night, in my house. In the story, the elder lady needs to move into a smaller place (assisted living perhaps) and she will not have room for dozens of glass jars, so she reads the words one more time, before selling her home, moving on, and setting the sealed words β€œfree.” πŸ’–

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is wonderful, Michele: so beautifully written and with a lovely message. I find it almost impossible to accept compliments. Maybe next time I’m feeling bad about myself I will make a compliment jar and place in it all the kind words I have received from readers of my blog, such as you! Gratitude is so important and this is a great way to practice it πŸ˜ŠπŸ™β€οΈ

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, lovely poet Ingrid. 😊 It seems that downplaying or not being able to receive compliments is more common than we might imagine. If that is true, I hope to encourage others to open their hearts to doing just that. I do not find it easy either, but I am improving. I am not sure if it is harder for women to accept compliments than it is men. Maybe I should conduct a survey. πŸ“πŸ˜ I agree, practicing gratitude has helped me through some difficult times in my life, as I mentioned on your blog recently. We also need to remember to let others show gratitude toward us. πŸ’

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think women find them difficult to accept while men expect them 🀣🀣🀣 only joking – we’re all different and across the spectrum some find it harder than others!

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Ingrid, you should start a complimentary jar (or two or three)! You would fill one up quickly just from your writing, your posts. I am sure you would be able to do the same with comments from your family. πŸ’• Stock up on jars!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Lorraine

      Why is it so hard to hear personal compliments? I know my Inner Critic tells me that I am not good enough drowning out those sweet gifts. I save little cards with kind words that friends and family have sent to me and pull them out every so often to warm my heart. I try to give caring words to others to keep the love flowing. Thank you for your lovely poem, Michele.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is a great question, Lorraine. Maybe most of us our taught, at home and through our culture, to be humble. Maybe too much. I love that you save and revisit cards with kind words. I keep those items too. I have notes from students too. I am sure you do as well. 😊 You are very caring. I certainly see that in your comments to me. Thank you. πŸ™πŸΌ

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    1. So pleased to read your response, Jeff. That means a lot to me. πŸ’— I just updated my audio to fix a flubbed word. You know how we like to get things right, fellow teacher! 😁 πŸ™πŸΌ

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  3. Pingback: Sidewalk Conversations (audio poems) – My Inspired Life

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