The Red Cardinal

Red Cardinal

The world just hasn’t been the same

Since you departed much too soon.

Nothing else can fill the void,

And I miss you every day.

They say, “Do your grieving

And then get on with life.”

I just wish it was that simple,

For it’s much easier said than done.

The reaper is the enemy,

A cruel thief in the night.

He stole you from your family,

But he never is content.

He soon will claim another,

And that makes me sad to say.

I saw you only yesterday,

In a tree outside my window.

A handsome red cardinal,

Watching over me.

Your beautiful song woke me

But I don’t mind at all.

Sighting a red cardinal

Is a symbol we should heed –

To observe the world around us

In all its many forms.

It’s plumage, red and stunning,

Against the white of snow

Reminds us that there’s always life

Even in the winter’s throws.

I know our family bond is strong,

Even though things were not said

And you still come to guide me

When life puts me through tests.

Let’s hope that this New Year

Is a sign of better times ahead,

Of healing and renewal,

And happier times for all.


by John Hansen © 2020


This poem is fictional and is not referring to myself or any family members.

Happy New Year


For more works by this author visit John Hansen Author Page

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John Hansen

Longtime poet but not in the traditional technical sense. I enjoy rhyme but like to experiment and dabble in many different forms and maybe even make up some of my own. There is always a message or lesson I want to promote through my writing, for that reason, my poetry generally shies away from the abstract and obscure. Now I find myself branching out and experimenting with short fiction, and thoroughly enjoying this, especially flash fiction. I have been fortunate to have two poems made into songs and recorded. The first "On the Road to Kingdom Come" by Al Wordlaw, and the second, "If I Could Write a Love Poem" by award-winning Israeli/British singer Tally Koren. My services increasingly in demand as a freelance writer and I have ghost-written the text for a number of children's books and educational tutorials. It has taken me many years of searching and restlessness to realise that my life's passion is to write. It saddens me that I wasted so many years not devoting to that, but thinking positively, the experiences gained over those years are now wonderful material for my stories and poems. I want to try to bring a new focus on poetry and try to make it appealing to a new generation of young people and those who thought they never liked or understood it before.

6 thoughts on “The Red Cardinal

  • January 3, 2020 at 12:41 AM

    Thank you, Phyllis. Your comment is much appreciated and I have changed that typo. Cheers. Happy New Year.

    • January 6, 2020 at 3:16 PM

      Hi Jamie, a Happy New Year to you also. Thanks for reading this, and yes it is a pleasure to write with you as well.

  • January 5, 2020 at 11:00 AM

    John Happy New Year. In my family, the cardinal has always signified a loved one watching over you, in fact there is one hanging out by my mother-in-law’s window that we think is her mom. It is a little cooky to believe someone visits us in the form of a bird, but hey we all have different ways of coping with stuff. Lovely writing my friend.

    • January 6, 2020 at 3:41 PM

      Yes, Paul, I agree it may sound a little cooky but I have seen too much unexplainable stuff in my time to debunk it. A lot hinges on what we let ourselves believe and what we don’t. Thanks for reading.

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