LIGHT IN THE SHADOWS, one poet’s journey

Renee Robinson, American She-Poet and writer

Renee Robinson, poet, children’s book author, blogger

I’m not sure how or why the impulse came to me to see if Renee Robinson’s blog was still up, but I suddenly found myself checking. Her WordPress domain has expired. She has another blog and a twitter account. Neither have had posts since August 2014. Nor are there any books published since then. Finally I searched for and found an obituary. She died in September 2014.

For about four years many of us watched this young woman produce an extraordinary volume of work, taking refuge in poetry as she struggled with metastatic colon cancer.

“Life is ever-changing. It is what we make of it. Though I have no control of when my life will end, I can paint my words out on a canvas. I can show my love for my family with each stroke.” 


Renee’s love of writing combined with the knowledge that her life was on the wane. In this last thing, she was only different from her readers in that she was no longer in denial and was using her time consciously to do what she wanted most to do and to leave behind her own unique message.

Renee self-published several poetry collections that are available on Amazon. The one I selected to read some years ago was Shadows of the Heart, which is still on my Kindle. The operative word here is not “shadow,” it’s “heart” . . . A collection of poems from a big heart evolved from a deeply prolific rhizome of courage. In that book were the young shoots and old adventitious roots of a very special human being.

Renee’s poetry was that of someone with a passion and talent for writing and not enough time on this earth to refine either. Having said that, the collection is notable for its almost unbearably naked emotion: pain, fear, remorse, courage, gratitude, and for the intense feeling arising out of her unshakable affection and appreciation for her husband.

In 2013 and 2014, Renee self-published a series of Captain Chemo books for children with life-threatening illnesses. According to Amazon, they’re in Amazon’s Top 100 in Children’s Book Sales. Bravo, Renee! 

” I find myself “Dancing With Cancer”, problem is…I can’t dance. I stumble, bumble, and get pulled along. To keep my sanity, (humor me), I write short stories, a journal, musings and poetry….just about anything goes.”

That was Renee Robinson on her once-upon-a-time WordPress blog Nae’s Nest. Her words do live on and I’m sure I’m not the only one who remembers.

A magickal night
When death is life
And dark is light
Time stands still
Hail! The Samhain Night!
Two Souls, One Life

Renee Robinson

Words © Jamie Dedes; Photo credits (portrait and cover art), ©Renee Robinson estate