So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mourning Dove by Estelle Darrow Rice

I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with my friend, Estelle Rice, this week. 

We have known each other for years, having met through NCWN West, and I love her dearly. She is a full time caregiver for her husband now, and seldom gets to our Netwest events, but she continues to write and we hope to publish a book with some of her stories. 

Often we know so little about the pain even our close friends are feeling, but if they are writers and poets, they have a way to tell us. This lovely poem by Estelle is for her granddaughter. I don’t have that experience – having a granddaughter, or losing a child or grandchild, but Estelle gives me a moment of knowing.

Mourning Dove
For Tara  1964-2003

A Mourning Dove was my companion.
She strutted and cooed
outside my window.
I fed her crumbs from my morning toast.

She returned in the evening
and a gray mantle enveloped
the distant mountains.
I sustained her. In some ways
I cherished her.

Then I remembered
peacock colors covering the hills,
tinting the trees, the clouds.
I sang again. Thanked my companion
and let her fly away.

Estelle is a native North Carolinian who has a BA in Psychology and a MA in counseling. She is a retired licensed Professional Counselor. Her poetry has been published in The Back Porch, Southern Review, and the Freeing Jonah anthologies. Her short stories have been published in journals and anthologies including Lights in the Mountains and Echoes across the Blue Ridge
She is a long time member of North Carolina Writers' Network West.


  1. I remember meeting Estelle in a workshop at your Writers Circle. A beautiful woman, inside and out. Thank you for sharing her poem here.

  2. Estelle, this is a beautifully delicate poem. Thank you.

  3. What a beautiful way to express your grief over the loss of your treasured granddaughter. Thank you.

  4. Thank you, Estelle, It s a beautiful poem, the gray dove, the gray mountains. Thanks, Joan

  5. Thanks to Estelle for letting me post this special poem and thanks to all of you who left her a comment.
    I know it made her smile, but then she seems to always be smiling, even through the rough patches.

  6. This is a touching poem by Estelle. She is one of my favorite poets and I'm glad you posted this. I know this time of year is very difficult for people who have lost loved ones at Christmas.
    Blessings to Estelle and to you, Glenda.

  7. Writing is a good outlet in so many ways. But when you are a caregiver and can not socialize as much as you would is invaluable.


  8. bevapl@verizon.netJuly 13, 2018 at 8:59 AM

    Estelle - I had a dove outside my window and she had a mate. then one day i heard a terrible screeching, and i looked out through the leafy branches to see the large, thick, feathered talons of a falcon, grasping the male dove which quickly flew away. that night the female cried mournfully until nearly midnight; all the next day and again that night and several nights thereafter. she sat near the tree where she had last seen her mate. after a while she left and i didn't see her again for several weeks. i was sad, not only for her loss, but for mine as i witnessed this sadness. finally one day i saw her with a new mate. life went on. Dear cousin Estelle, I love all your poetry. Your words have music that touch my heart


Please leave your comments in the comment box. They will not show up immediately, but will publish once I moderate them. I respond to your comments when I read them.