For Elizabeth Warren

Grief is not reserved for the dead or dying.

Sometimes it joins us for other loss,

for those we love or admire

when they surrender, retire, decide

the time has come to part ways.

We are left with longing.

We are left with wishing.

We are left with sorrow.

We know that this moment in history

is gone, and things will never be the same.

And we feel that things will never change.


Spring is the time for renewal,

when hope should be a nestling ready to fly,

a blade of grass peeking out from the snow;

but today the sky is grayer than the darkest

days of winter; cold sneaks under the doors

with the wind howling like old white men

trying to wrest control of the room. Hope

for a new season has been lost

and Old Man Winter smiles a wry

smile, knowing that he is secure for now.


Still, somewhere a robin is singing.

Somewhere an old man is dying

and a baby is born and she—

she is the promise of tomorrow.



Robin. Photo by Callen Harty

About Callen Harty

Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of four books and numerous published essays, poems, and articles. His most recent book is The Stronger Pull, a memoir about coming out in a small town in Wisconsin. His first book was My Queer Life, a compilation of over 30 years worth of writing on living life as a queer man. It includes essays, poems, speeches, monologues, and more. Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story, is a memoir about surviving childhood sex abuse. His play, Invisible Boy, is a narrative with poetic elements and is also an autobiographical look as surviving child sex abuse. All are available on (and three of them on Kindle) or can be ordered through local bookstores, He has written almost two dozen plays and 50 monologues that have been produced. Most of them have been produced at Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin where he started as an actor, writer, and director in 1983. He served as the Artistic Director of the theater from 2005-2010. Monologues he wrote for the Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum won him awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the American Association of State and Local History. He has also had essays, poems, and articles published in newspapers and magazines around the country and has taken the top prize in several photo contests. His writing has appeared in Out!, James White Review, Scott Stamp Monthly, Wisconsin State Journal, and elsewhere. He has had several essays published online for Forward Seeking, Life After Hate, and The Progressive. Callen has also been a community activist for many years. He was the co-founder of Young People Caring, UW-Madison’s 10% Society, and Proud Theater. He served as the first President of Young People Caring and as the Artistic Director for Proud Theater for its first five years. He is still an adult mentor for the group. In 2003 he won OutReach’s Man of the Year award for his queer community activism. OutReach is Madison, Wisconsin’s lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community center. He also won a Community Shares of Wisconsin Backyard Hero award for his sex abuse survivor activism work. He has been invited to speak before many community groups, at a roundtable on queer community theater in New York City, and has emceed several events. In 2016, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault named him their annual Courage Award winner for his activism, writing, and speaking on sexual assault.
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1 Response to For Elizabeth Warren

  1. keve2109 says:

    I had written another blog post intended to elaborately discuss the Super Thursday outcomes. But the immensely sad circumstances of the best candidate bowing out of the race, due to more fearful than courageous or aspirational voting, calls for a time of poetic reflection. It’s astonishing that Elizabeth couldn’t find a lane, as she said, between centrist and far left voting in today’s Democratic party, despite running what most concede was a brilliant campaign that inspired me, even at my age, among many others. BTW, Our primary system is nearly as flawed and undemocratic as our Electoral College.
    I hope now this doesn’t doom Dems to another centrist loss to a totally corupted Republican party. Aimee Allison, of the women- of-color advocacy group She the People, praised Warren as the first truly inclusive white candidate. Yet, she said.“Black voters really were looking for a return to normalcy. It was a rejection of what was perceived as riskier politics and a broader and more courageous political vision.” White voters did the same. And yet, people of color, as usual, have more to lose than anyone.
    So for now, I calm my spirit with the words of poet Callen Harty:

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