Archive | February, 2014

The Gold That Shows

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My friends thought I was obsessed with connecting the dots.   This is the process by which I see an event and see its consequences while the event incubates.  I have a lifetime behind me where I was a veritable Sherlock.   They were unable to see the connections between people or events even when pointed out.

I find the most disconcerting phrase being ‘live in the moment.’  Everything is in the  moment.   Whether it is love, (STD’s or who will take care of the baby disregarded) or a war being declared.  These things are real but their roots are not in the moment but in the many yesterdays.   The moment has no meaning without a yesterday.   If we have no yesterday,  today is sterile, impotent,  without meaning.   It is  a well thought out and lived in yesterday that gives this moment its meaning.   Why do I press this?   If our yesterday was not filled with events that were thought filled,  that were fulfilled,  then yesterday will make this moment null and void.  And those who see dots and make connections are sometimes quick to take advantage of those who do not.

Socrates was filled with advice about putting meaning into our days.   He said that the unexamined life is not worth living.   It is only by remembering the past and chasing our memories that we begin to know who we are and from where we come.  It is only by understanding the past that the present,  the now,  will not have to repeat the past.

Oftentimes and too often it seems,  when it comes to our Earth’s resources,  we mortgage our children’s futures.   We must sit and think about the past,  not only ours but our ancestors.   We must take time to reflect on our behavior and how we contribute to our problems as well as the Earth’s.  What can we do to make the present more commendable?   We make our present richer when we glean from the past those lessons and times that are good memories.   And we learn from the bitter failures what we do not wish to repeat.   Let us thoughtfully include them.   The present moment only has meaning because of what we bring to it.   And if we find our Now empty,  it is best we look within.   We take who we are into tomorrow and find we have within us basis for a future with meaning because we root our present.

We are the gold that shows.

Double click on the photo.   This plaque was a gift from my sister who read The Last Bird Sings and surprised me with this gift.   She read the first manuscript and this impressed her thinking.  It has much meaning for me.

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My God Watches Me

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(When I published the journal entry called Hidden Lessons,  I was nudged to go through my files because I thought there might be a poem I had forgotten about.  After much searching I found it and thought I would follow the Lessons essay with what I had written March 08, 1998.  It explains to me why I was so moved and grateful to the young woman who stopped that day in September in the year 2000.)

 

My God Watches Me

Over and over I create
and recreate situations and wars
with symbolic enemies
but sometimes not.
I must watch my responses,
my actions and motives
lest my God think less of me.

So I spare my God further annoyance
by monitoring my Self.
The situations and ordeals
are best kept in mind.
I articulate my position
to establish myself several times
in the course of a day.

The wars and arguments
are pacified,  but only after words
become too tiresome to continue.
Peace becomes the only option.
I work toward perfection
and a hard work it is as anyone
who knows me would agree.
It is necessary though,  you see,
for my God watches me.

I watch-dog my actions
and harness my tongue and change
hurtful thoughts with labored caring.
It means I reconsider
my earnest evaluations of mine enemies
and present the other cheek.

I pretend I prepare myself for sainthood
while I breathe the rarefied air
of my benign earth.
And watch my Self
as my God watches me.
Not so easy to do this
monumental work of sanctification.

Of my internal warts and grievous errors,
I am deeply conscious.
But perhaps I prevent them
from penetrating my soul
as long as I keep close the knowledge

that my God watches me.

 

Photo by Veronica
click on photo to see icicles on pine trees

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Where Is Safe?

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May I ask you a question?   He was sitting at the window and looking out as if he could will the sun to come out so he could play outdoors.   Why you ask?   Because I want you to know that if you don’t want to answer,  you can say no to me.   But you always answer my question and never say no,  he said.   I woun’t say no to you,  he said.   I maybe not know the answer but I woun’t say no.   I tried to frame my question simply.

I wonder, I said, if you can remember what it was like before you came here to live.   I waited.   He continued looking at me and I thought past me and then asked,  which time before?   I drew breath and then said the one you remember best.   And he smiled at me and said the one where we were together before?   Where was that I asked.   He said, you know,  you know.   That’s why I choosed you this time.   We were bestest friends and I knowed how much you could help because we were bestest friends.

Where was that I asked again.   He said in that cold place where we had to hold hands so our fingers could be warm.   Who was there with us I asked and he searched my face.   He was reading me I thought and then wondered why.  He said it was a hard time and this time would be better.   Why was it a hard time I asked and he said because our bodies were broked and sick.   This time he said we are not broke so we can go outside and play.   We were too old and broked last time and the cold hurt when we breathhhhddd.   How do you remember that I asked and why do you remember.

Because here I can breathhhedddd and it don’ hurt.   My throat burn in that place when things ‘ploded  ’cause they fighted all the time.  You ‘member he said, you ‘member.   And he became silent and his eyes clouded.   And he said,  we say to each other,  never  ‘gain,   never  ‘gain.  I pulled him to me and hugged him and said never again.   We will try to stay where it doesn’t hurt to breathe.   And I wished I could promise there would always be a place where it didn’t hurt to breathe,  but I could not make that promise.   For this time only,  I could hug him and keep him where the air did not burn his throat.  But how long before all places would be safe?

Until life in all forms vowed not to inflict such terror in worlds where to draw breath just to live would hurt,  we would continue to work.  That is a promise.

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Communion

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snow cover reflects
unto the bed of day,
like the white lilac
on a summer night.

radiance expected
with the dawn
will discover itself in the light.

it is a damask world
of white on white.

when the thaw comes
there will be no trace
of the winter things
nor the magic grappling
on the other side of the door.

earth lifted up itself
and raised the host. . . .

or did heaven bend to eat?

Photo by Joseph Hallissey Sr.

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Say That Again?

Uneventful is a merciful condition and that in itself is a large blessing.

Why do children require no lessons on being naughty but many on how to be good?

What is the meaning of ice cream and why does it warm the heart?

Why are the hardest lessons learned tied directly to the heart?

Some things at length are no more a matter of forgiveness but of humanity.

Life was meant to be lived and learned from and only of recent times was added the pursuit of happiness.

As long as the eye beholds and another heart receives, there will be reason to keep breathing and not give up.

The unfed Spirit is just as hungry as the unfed body.

To insert the cosmic into the mundane is what we must do even if it means one must make vacuuming a spiritual exercise.

 

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Words

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“Tis folly”  he said.
“to write a word,
for all words mean all things
to all men,
and some words mean no thing
to some men,
even when they mean
everything to me.

I have weighed each carefully
in my heart,
using my feelings
as a scale.
I labeled things
only when I became a namer.

I loved only when I became
a lover
and I made life only
when I became a creator.

So I now write
to communicate
and find that man no longer reads.

Perhaps I will make marks on sand again.”

Primitive art by Veronica
Click on artwork to magnify

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Hidden Lessons

Barn Scene - DetailFrom a journal entry September 25, 2000. . . . .”I meant to come down and write this story last week when it happened but again I did not.   Whether I am becoming lazy or whether just tired,  I don’t know.   But when I was unloading the car of groceries in front of the house,  a car came by with a young woman in it.   She pulled up in front of the house next door and parked.   She got out of the car and approached me with a slip of paper.   She was looking for a street address which she had written on it.   I told her this was the seven hundred block and she would do well to go down the next block to the East.  She was a little thing,  probably in her thirties or so and she said in broken English that she had come to a garage sale a few days ago and when she got home she realized that she did not pay the woman enough for whatever she bought.

I said well,  that is awfully good of you to come back with your money and I know the woman would appreciate this act of honesty.   No,  no,  she said,  my God sees me.   My God sees me.   And  that is why she was coming back.  I said,  thank you,  thank you.   For I had fueled my body with resentment to get my errands done and had forgotten momentarily what I was all about.   I was grateful to be reminded that when I am at a loss for a good reason to do things,  the one reason should be reason enough.   My God sees me.

I brought the groceries into the house and was coming out to put the car away.   I saw a car slow down in front of me and the window slid down.    It was the young woman from before and she said thank you to me again for she had found the woman and returned the money.   No,  I said,  thank you.  She smiled and waved herself away.    I think about her and can see that face with her scarf binding her hair and the smile crumpling a dignified demeanor.   And I am grateful again for being reminded that even with feelings not seen by the outside world,  my God sees me.   Anything that corrodes my Spirit needs to be worked on immediately.”

(And today with so much flooding our circuitry,  it is easy to forget the basic lessons.   I am grateful for the written word.)

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Felicia

One of the responders to my latest post on ‘Differing Perspectives’ is an established young writer with a contract with a publishing house for a book of poetry whose name is Ruth Hill.   She sent the poem,  ‘Felicia’ and gave permission for me to print it since she said we are both Felicias.  There are many of us who wish to remain silent as to how their work comes and many who have names for their muses.   And many whose work is their own.   Ruth says, “Sight and sound are not enough.   Poetry has to have philosophy too.  I have noticed poets I am most attracted to have pleasing philosophies.  They make me feel like I belong on Earth,  not an alien in a foreign country.  If someone likes something that I wrote,   I feel as if I were invisible and am now seen,  silent and can now speak,  exiled but am now welcome.   A reader on the same wavelength is the most important validation.   If I met you in person I would be looking down and shifting my feet,  but in a poem I can be the real me.”    Ruth Hill’s quote from Heart Magazine  (Nostalgia Press)  when she won an award.

Felicia

Felicia was swinging in her sparkly jeans,
cellphone abandoned in the sand.
Who was that speaking to her from the trees?
She heard her army brother,  stoic.
He always appeared as in his photo,
white hat and gloves.
Who was that singing?  Gramma-fuzzy-slippers.
Who walked beside the swing set with her,
in blue gingham from the 1800’s?
And who stepped out from the wall to dance?
The one they told her had died of polio.

How was it she learned algebra?
With no one at home to teach her?
Her father was an engineer;
she never met him.

How was it her gardens grew,
better than Mary Contrary’s?
Whispers, whispers, in the wind,
there was a knowing,
a sureness moving her fingers.

There was a feeling she had  been here before.
A feeling she had companions.
A feeling she had inherited
everything she needed to know,
and comfort with it.

She would be a very lucky girl, indeed,
as long as she never. . . . revealed her sources.

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