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Poetry Friday: Fostering Love

KNAU/Gillian Ferris

May is National Foster Care Month, and unfortunately, Arizona has some pretty grim statistics when it comes to foster care. The state leads the nation in the number of chidlren per capita in group homes or shelters. And about 600 kids are removed from their homes every month by the Department of Child Safety. Foster families play a critical role in the issue. KNAU listener Kristine Pavlik is a foster parent, and in this week's Poetry Friday segment, she and her son Rhys talk about the experience and the foster baby they're about to adopt.

Kristine: My name is Kristine Pavlik, and I live in Flagstaff, Arizona, and I am a foster mom.

Rhys: Hi, my name is Rhys. I’m 10 years old, and then my sister is 'Baby R.'

Kristine: So, we will be adopting 'Baby R' this summer. We’re just waiting on some final paperwork, so we’re very excited. We have been fostering 'Baby R' since she was 2 days old.

You know, when I was growing up I had aunts and uncles who were foster parents, and I just thought it was the coolest thing. And in 2012, my mom – who I was very close with – passed away. And I just had all this love that I wanted to give her that I didn’t know what to do with. So, I decided I wanted to channel it into doing something good for the world and good for other people. And so I decided to become a foster parent.

Rhys: I love being a foster brother. I sometimes read to the babies. I let her play with some of my toys.

Kristine: It’s a bittersweet feeling when a kiddo gets to go home to their family. As much as we feel like it is hard and painful for us, we know that it’s the most important thing we could have done is give them a steady, stable, loving family until their family was ready to have them back.

This poem is called Solo For Saturday Night Guitar, by Carl Sandburg. I adore this poem. It just has this beautiful way of describing the indescribable. Basically, describing how love works. Love is not something that can really be defined, so it’s a beautiful way to kind of help you feel exactly what you feel when you are experiencing love and loss and everything in between.

Solo For Saturday Night Guitar, by Carl Sandburg

Time was. Time is. Time shall be.

Man invented time to be used.

Love was. Love is. Love shall be.

Yet man never invented love

Nor is love to be used like time.

A clock wears numbers one to twelve

And you look and read its face

And tell the time pre-cise-ly ex-act - ly.

Yet who reads the face of love?

Who tells love numbers pre-cise-ly ex-act-ly?

Holding love in a tight hold for keeps,

Fastening love down and saying

“It's here now and here always.”

You don’t do this off hand, careless-like.

Love costs. Love is not so easy

Nor is the shimmering of star dust

Nor the smooth flow of new blossoms

Nor the drag of a heavy hungering for someone.

Love is a white horse you ride

or wheels and hammers leaving you lonely

or a rock in the moonlight for rest

or a sea where phantom ships cross always

or a tall shadow always whispering

or a circle of spray and prisms —

maybe a rainbow round your shoulder.

Heavy heavy is love to carry

and light as one rose petal,

light as a bubble, a blossom,

a remembering bar of music

or a finger or a wisp of hair

never forgotten.

For information on becoming a foster parent in Arizona, you can visit the Arizona Department of Child Safety's website, Poetry Friday is produced by KNAU's Gillian Ferris. If you have an idea for a segment, drop her an email at