A Small Steadying Sail of Love by Nancy Gibbs Richards

A Small Steadying Sail of Love: a small book of poetry 

On the back of the cover, poet, Nancy Gibbs Richards writes: “When a sailboat is in dangerously heavy weather,all the sails that move the boat forward are taken down, and a very small storm or steadying sail is raised. The purpose of this small sail is not forward motion, but to keep the boat headed into the wind so that it will not capsize. It is my hope that, for you, who open the pages of this book, these words and images will become a small steadying sail of love in your journey through life.”

 This book came to me one poem at a time,  from a friend, when I was in rough waters,  followed by the actual book a few weeks later. The seven poems I have copied out for you here, are amongst my most favourite and I have photos from my library to accompany them. These small verses truly were my steadying sail for a time and I was grateful to have received them. This season is not joyful for everyone. There are many where the lights and good cheer exacerbate their deeply personal sorrows. I am thinking of you, in particular, as I write this post.

 All except one of the poems is untitled and I pass these gentle words on to you. They are short little poems so it will take you only a few moments to read them. If one speaks to you, copy it out and read it again. For those who need them, may they be a balm for your spirit.







On seas of grief, my boat and I weather storms of terrible sorrow with a small steadying sail of love.  

The comfort of friends











There is evidence 

threaded throughout my life story

 that I have been strengthened and guided at every turning.

 Now is the time to trust

that this will continue to be true.  


I cannot save the world

or heal another’s hurts,

but I can offer

one small act of kindness

 at a time.




In this time of waiting

 and not knowing

how things will unfold,

 may you find a pool of calm,

a place of peace and rest

deep within your soul.


It is a challenge to accept the truth of what no longer is possible  and yet embrace all that still can be.


 This also is true:

it may be possible

to meet in a place of tenderness

with a person

whose troubles trouble you.


Can You Hear Me?

We are separated by the wild river

of all that is unspoken.

With this small rock

I throw the first line across.

Tie it securely.

Let the building of the bridge begin.    




1) Thanks to Shutterfly for the banner image which I love, and to Gottfried’s library for the rest.

2:) Sometimes we just need a word to carry on. I think that is why I find these tiny poems so helpful. Just a few words that I can resonate with and I am forever grateful to my friend for sending them to me. I first wrote about this in 2018. This small book seems to be available in used books. I find Thrifty books (US site) to  be helpful and well-priced for Canadians.

3:) Here is a song of consolation and wonderful humour. Hopefully, it will remind us all to lighten up, relax and take a nap. And at the very least to be kind to ourselves and everyone else. We are doing the best we can, with what we know and within the circumstances that we find ourselves, and that is enough.  Unworthy by Cheryl Wheeler

4:) Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read these words. You, dear readers, make my life better. May all manner of things be well with you. With gratitude, Trudy


14 replies
  1. Yoshie
    Yoshie says:

    These poems give me calm, peaceful and relaxing feeling. Your blog makes me stop and make things in order along with thinking of the other person in grief. Thank you.

    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you dear Yoshie. It’s not so easy reading and writing in English and you consistently convey your warmth and thoughtfulness. Greetings to my
      Japanese friends.As always,Trudy

  2. Sandi Anderson
    Sandi Anderson says:

    You’ve gifted me a love for poems. My least like through high school English. Namaste
    And by the way do you have any of those lovely cards with photos on them you gave during the retreat weekends? I would buy several if available
    Love Sandi

    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Hi dear Sandi: what a lovely gift you just showered on me: “you’ve gifted me a love for poems.” I consider this part of my ikigai – to find poems that non-poetry people can also love. As for the cards. I really have no way to sell cards and they have always been my labour of love. So, please send me your address and I will just gift you with a few. OK. Bye for now, Trudy

  3. Terri Thomas
    Terri Thomas says:

    As always your posts bring me great comfort. Thank you so much for sharing the deepest parts of yourself, Trudy. You are a blessing to so many.

    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Dear Terri: Thank you so much for your kind words. I have such lovely readers of my blog and you are surely one of them. I send you warm wishes and hope you have a few surprising and joyful moments this month. Gentle hugs, Trudy

  4. Jean
    Jean says:

    Seem to be hearing this message of acceptance of what I can no longer do and gratitude and joy for what I can. Sail boat particularly touched my soul as I have a somewhat recuring dream of me in a little red rowboat..telling me…have faith and just let go.thank you again for taking time to do this blog.


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