In July, we introduced you to the poetry of Barbara Stoughton. This Southern Pines retirement home resident processes her change from independent living to a new way of life through verse, and we at OutreachNC are pleased to share her poetry. Pour yourself a cup of tea, take a deep breath, and read on.

“A Plea to Cardinals”

Today, I see the cardinals fly.

But now – this contrary feeling,

nd the waywardness –

in the constant missing

of my past way of living,

that was woven freely

in the open air, I could breathe.

Must I now learn complacency,

just so I can fit inside?

Can I take my imagination

Into this new way of living?

I don’t see how to prevent its being.

I’ll have to fit it in somehow.

So in fitting in, I can breathe more freely.

Perhaps the cardinals flying by

can show me how.

I’ll just fly with them awhile.


From an artist getting used to

a retirement home

way of living hopefully

and I have.

-Barbara Stoughton

If you have any thoughts or suggestions you’d like to share, contact OutreachNC editor-in-chief Corbie Hill at or at PO Box 2478. Southern Pines, NC 28388.