“ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JEAN “ a poem by my sister MLK ( Merle Lee Kwong )


My sister, Merle, apparently enjoyed The Atlantic’s Friendship-Files,

I send her. She wrote back to me this morning :

Hi Née Goo goo  ( No. 2 Brother ) ,

Writing really helps to express what is at times hard to express verbally to others 

Many years ago I wrote this to wish my best friend Jean , Happy Birthday .

She was an avid gardener and a wonderful, wonderful person .

She died just two months ago .

We became close friends after meeting at the hospital where I am at now – as volunteers 26 years-ago .  In the later years We both were tied to our homes because of caring for our husbands. We wrote to each everyday till she passed away.

Finally , now I get to enjoy wiggling my toes without any pain, and they are shipping me out to rehab this morning .  Where I hope to stay as long as I can and get the benefits of daily therapies. 

Thank you for sending me the friendship file     MLK ( from the hospital )


This is for my friend , Jean.
She nourishes all seeds she sown.
And smiles , while watching them grow.

My friend Jean .
Seeds to Grow

Spring is in full flirt mode.
Springs on us , in one deft move.
A surprise, long awaited.
Much to do.
Much to enjoy.

A new sun , dazzles the fleeting mist.
A flash of rain , clears the air.
Earth warms.
A welcomed bode for nature’s growth.

Last year’s daffodils , nodding to the sweet breeze.
Wild weeds sprout, intruding the tilted soil.
Let us weed , to make room for the better.
Even though, they too, are plants of nature.

Calendar in hand.
Almanac a ready.
Gardening gloves on and we are ready.
Seeds of spinach, lettuce, sprinkled on fresh soil.
Bulbs of garlic, beets and potatoes nestled deep.
Multiple seeds planted to harvest and to enrich.

Grow ! Grow ! Grow !

Wait !  Other seeds , she sows…..as well.
She sows seeds of kindness.
She sows seeds of joy.
She sows seed of friendship.
Let these seeds be blessed as well, by sharing.

Sow ! Sow! Sow!