Susan Birkeland Poetry

January 18, 1961 ~ Nov. 18 2006)



by Ana Elsner


The flash of an alluring smile,
 perhaps accompanied by a soft, girlish giggle,
  sucks you into her vortex.

Now playfully mischievous,
 now profoundly compassionate,
  she plays your heartstrings like so many piano keys.

And she knows it.
 And she knows you, and you know her.

Pert and childlike, yet deliciously seductive,
 that short, curly-haired quicksilver poet with the angelic face
  delivers a high voltage charge straight to your gut.

Stripping herself naked of all pretensions,
 the piercing honesty and singular directness of her poems
  compel you to take stock of your own frailties and perceptions.

She takes you by the hand and leads you through the labyrinth of human feeling,
 month by month, January through December,
  in her “Bruised Angels Almanac”,
   a compilation of her most recent poems.

Now this bruised angel has taken flight and left us far behind,
 we, who are still mired in our earthbound, self-perceived reality.
   Yet, somehow, if you listen closely,
    you hear an echo of her voice in your most secret mind.

And, somehow, if you pause but for a moment,
 you can still feel the lightness of her touch upon your soul.

©Ana Elsner

Ana Elsner wrote this poem about her friend Susan Birkeland on the night Susie passed away, November 18, 2006.
Ana Elsner was born in post-war Germany and educated in Europe before she decided to make her home in the US. She straddles two continents and is tri-lingual. Now retired, she is engaged in writing poetry and essays, translating the works of German-language poets into English, and supporting a variety of causes as an advisor and volunteer. Her poetry has a welcome global perspective. Ana's book of poetry "CIPHERS Of Uncommon Origin" was published in June 2007.