Archive | Poetry

The Cut Of The Cloth. . . .

 

Several years ago I wrote that an elderly once said to me people only know what you tell them.  My reaction was a gasp! because she believed that.   There was no exposure to people more knowledgeable or more observant than she.  Although she would adamantly vow her God knew everything and nothing was forever hidden.

Such was her focus.  And many can relate to this thinking.   Huddled with their own preferred prejudices and religious dogmas which forbid dabbling with so called devilish dervishes, much was undisclosed.

With many who think that minds are private and secrets can be bought with hush money, there are still those who cannot fathom the innocent bystander upon whose head thoughts settle unannounced.

These are the souls who take to the woods and live out lives in solitude, or with the natural world. Or simply close the shutters.   People cause fatigue to these innocents who carry information that has no putting place in their lives.  Besides, they spook people out.   Oh yes, they do.

They become vaults of knowledge with nowhere to dispense it.  People will say about them, ‘never knew them other than just in passing.  Kept pretty much solitary.’

I have written poetry about subjects like the above and am surprised when I come across the poetry years apart.  But interesting are the perspectives and sometimes I find they change little.  Many Truths was written in 1986. . . .and Overheard was in an involved work of last week.

Many Truths. . .                                               

I tell you true,
if my eye caught it,
a picture has already
been taken of it.

If I know something
I can tell you true,
the neighbor down the street
or the unknown one
around the corner,
knows of it also.

If my ear has caught your cry,
or the deception in your words,
the heavens have heard the cry
and the deception, however layered,
in time is betrayed by you.

If my song is sung,
the heavens and my god
have heard the melody
and whipped the wind
and carried the joy or sorrow
to its Source.

It has always been so
and this I tell you true.
The difference?

I, now, know it.

November, 1986

Overheard. . .

I hear them say. . .
I cannot follow
what she says all the time. . .

And you say. . .
I don’t either all the time,
so don’t blame yourself. . .

But then I hear. . .
But she says things I know are true
and I think I only
could know them. . .

And you say. . .
that is why she can say
what only you know to be true,
because she has been
to all these places
we don’t understand.

And you say. . .
I can only wonder how long
it took all those door

to open for her. . . .

June, 2018

 

 

 

 

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In Good Hands. . .

 

 

In Good Hands. . . .

I will invite you
to sit beside me
on my couch. . .

To lean into my arms
to wrest the fatigue
from a body
grown weary with age. . .

It will come to nothing,
this fatigue with aging
because the heart of you
is alive and well . . .

Alive for the world
you have prepared yourself
diligently with work, with love,
with patience. . .

How do I know this?

You invited me in to
have a time of repair of Spirit
when I needed. . .

to sup at your table
full of good talk with laughter,
at the fire with corn
in the one bowl I shared
with your sons. . .
to have sat to converse with topics
scraping the souls
of their transparency. . .

These were the times I knew
my choices were good ones
and the futures of my worlds

in good hands. . . .                                                       

 

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I’ve Taken Flight. . . .

 

 

A Conversation  . . .

You say. . . 
I’ve taken flight. . . . .

and I say. . . .
where can you go
that I could not find you?

And you say. . . .
farther than you think.
I’ve found me a world
so far away
that never would you
think to look.

 

And  I say. . . .
I step between worlds
all the time and find
I simply need to
adjust my perspective.

You say . . . . .
You have said that
before and I don’t know
how to do that.

I say. . . .
it takes many lifetimes to learn.
But each time a new direction
is taken. . .you make adjustments.

Ahhh,  you say. . . . .
Smart way to do it.
Each time a new direction,
a new adjustment.

I say. . . .
There is much space for travels
and many chances.   We live
in a gracious Universe. . . .

spread out beneath the overwhelming premise that All Is God.

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The Keys Of The Kingdom. . . .

The Keys of the Kingdom. . .

My good friend appeared at the door and said you have to learn to play and we start now.  Alas, another argument begun about our differences , proving again opposites can be friends.

It is my good fortune and sometimes a curse to have the ability to view and discern behavior.  Because I see clearly what is one man’s meat is another’s poison.

People approach work and play differently.  I watched our sons grow and in process changed attitudes.  Mowing lawns, chore but cleaning the garage, therapeutic with a ‘look what I found!’  Planting flowers with their Latin names an art and school homework eagerly approached as to subject.

With the youngest I looked forward to making a hockey rink every week after Christmas.  I happily stood in below freezing weather and spraying but 2 a.m. was my last spraying! I shouted!  I somehow related to my elderly neighbor who sprayed with hose and nozzle in the summer for hours.  There is something spiritual about watering whether ice rink or garden.

One inlaw daughter with her artistic talent makes brussel  sprouts look awesome.  Another can make tired furniture look new even with ongoing construction.  Coupling these details with their professional talents make these an extension of their work.

Where is learned the virtue of labor and beauty in the doing?  The magic of it all is in the heart.  It is approaching the place in mind that says all is play because the body is actualizing the mind’s intent and therein lies the beauty.

Fortunate you are if someone loved you that you with love are remembering and teaching.  The memory comes alive at sometime and we pay it forward.  Some have not known it but we can be the memory for their future.

A brother and I discussed this and he said sis,  you have found the keys of the kingdom, haven’t you?  There is no more than this in its deepest.  It is all art in the making.  My Mentor said that the fields are ready and the call is out for the vineyards.  There is virtue in the labor and beauty in the doing.

A Belief System. . . (an excerpt). . .

The answers will be forever hidden
in a place no one chooses to look;
the hearts and minds of those
who love this earth with passion.
Surprised they will be
to see in the palm of their hand

the keys of the kingdom . . .

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Around The Bend. . .

 

Today I sit in the midst of my birthday of 87 years.  It is quiet.  In rereading journals where I was told if you want a good book to read,  write it,  I am finding truth. Rarely do I remember if it was cereal for breakfast and therefore rereading the saga I wonder what comes next .

The Teacher asked in a September 2013 entry . . .you saw an event and caught it in flight and reacted and saw the lesson in the event.  Tell us how you do that. . .

Because I felt sorry for myself that day this was the answer. . . .(My spontaneity as a child was shanghaied because I was born seeing the thought and it was then engulfed in the larger picture with its application within life and lives and results following.

The consequences then run through but the spontaneity is gone and the moment lost.  The result, the lesson, the appreciation is deeper and the entire action is molded into a lesson and humanity benefits, instead of just the impulse of the person.

You have in me no game player therefore someone they say who spoils the fun and doesn’t know how to play.   Not invited to go along because I spoil the fun.)

Within the brackets above was from the entry.  I add, I think life is beautiful as is and needs no embellishment; the storyteller really needs the exaggeration. Games are often played to show superiority, king of the mountain syndrome.

Compensation is at play giving me ‘language sparring’ for diversion.  Great fun and like the poem following,  a surprise and a lark.  The response to Around The Bend was great so I run it again.  Aww shucks.   It seems I’ve run out of cola.

Around The Bend. . .

I was told you have stretched
your boundaries
as far as you can and the rest
will require another world.

You work too hard at this, he said.
Break the pattern because
you do not need more information
to underscore what you already know.

What good to understand worm holes,
and black holes and white holes
and time warps.
You work with them every night
when you flutter in and out
of worlds and know your way around
the bends of light.
You don’t need anything more.

You need a good stiff drink
of more than cola.
Love, take a bender.
You need rye, straight.

I say,  around the bend
there will be a hand,
someone to pull me up. . . .

around the bend will be a someone
to pull me up. . . .I know.

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The Workman Prays. . .

I had watched The Sound of Music  with my inlaw mother and I scribed a journal entry about it enjoying it for the umpteenth time.  I edited only for space.

April 12, ’93. . .It is with joy when  the heart of the viewer is touched.  It is joy when the hearts of man are swayed toward a gentler night; a joy when the master at home would have enjoyed the show.  Few abound and too few would stay.  It seems only women are audience.

Most things that deal with the heart are things which the female gender are saddled.  Too few males know the presence of their own heart or admit to it.  We know the effort of listening to the heart.  The gentler societies yield to their own hearts splendidly.  In the macho male societies we see the testosterone syndrome.  The one of man for man’s sake and it is a sadness when seen and we mean for man to see his nurturing side revealed.  It is only then that he will mercifully see this side that isolates him from gentleness. 

It is this side that yields to heaven’s words that opens him.  Does the female gender ever wonder how man prays, if he does?

This question took me by surprise and I said I never thought to ask.  I often asked opinions of males but never what mode of prayer, if even they do. The Teacher then asked me to elaborate my method of prayer.  I thought through and realized that ongoing conversation with my within god was a lifetime practice.  The conversation never stops.

This was a long discourse with another question of how do children pray.  I presumed pleading of I need or I want, petitioning of sorts.  Asking what others pray about I wrote is like asking them to reveal themselves in broad daylight to the media, isn’t it?

Working this thesis in mind gave thought and word to the following poem.  With so many males in my present lifetime, I have learned much about them.  Much I have never voiced and led many to think I am not only naïve but gullible.  My silence has only emphasized my compassion.

 

The Workman Prays. . . .silently we talk. . .

In the quiet
I take my tools of trade
and hold talk with whatever
Master Workman I need,
be he plumber and carpenter,
and one of less muscle, wordsmith,
seen or not.

In the silence we will
speak our hearts and take direction
and refuge solely because
there is nothing else to do.

We have done it all.
We have consumed our portions
and what is left is
for us to make peace with,
whatever our truth.

This is our prayer, if prayer it be,
our talk in the midst of our work
and what is left of our day.

The rest is litter, I think
and somewhat sorry and sad
that more of worth is not left
to feed the night and
those of heart’s promise.

It has taken all that I are to get here.  Amen and amen.

(poem written and are is correct
May 21, 2018)

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Otche Nash. . .Our Father. . .potential. . . .

The two of them trusted me with what they were seeing.  My mother, transiting said I could not live in your world and she cried.  Stick with it as long as you can though,  she said.  There is a reward.  And David transiting asked how did you know to do it?  How could you go on living knowing what you know?  And I did not know that I did anything except what I had done before, in a previous time.  And I had three sons who were more than reason enough to go on living.

I listened to people and read what bodies were saying and what they were saying did not match what was coming out of their mouths.  Everything seemed a coverup.  One learns what the silence is shouting.  One learns the love by the strength of the arms around one.  It is a sign that is hard to hide.  And by the evenness of the voice that sings in the air and the throat that does not gargle its sounds.

A favorite poet whose God quotes quietly the things of comfort , I envy.  And mine who thunders and rolls heavily the boulders down the grade to make roads, allowing what?  Allowing what, Veronica?

Otche Nash. . .potential. . .becoming. .

In deference to one
who mines the doxology,
I am in awe of his soft acceptance,
his protestant soft ways
as he whispers his way
to the altar,

accepting as
the silent snow falling and
his God quietly  speaking.
And I in my army boots thundering
and falling on my knees
in my approach to my god
rolling and thundering in my head.

The Great God moves
toward a no ultimate anything.
In motion always finding its way,
his way, her way, our way is
what a Great God does.

I, in my hard soles and
muddy high boots and
overly large coat lumber with him
toward an unknown potential.
Is that why I cry?

Otche Nash. . .
of undergirding intelligence.
I mimic the noisy business
of attempting to find the
Potential you chose. . .
to be undisclosed, a yet to be
discovered arrival

at perhaps another Star.

 

photo by John Holmes

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The Heart Knows Its Own Amen. . . .

In The Quiet of This Night. . .

In the quiet of this night,
come to me and we will hold hands
and talk and I will show you
from how high up you jumped.

The night will love you
and envelop you
and you will find
that in the cold moon
there is a heat that sustains
to show you where your home is.

Within the skirts of who you are,
you will gather
the children around you
and we will love each other.

The heart knows its own Amen. . . . .

 

 

. .

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A Mother’s Dictum—Eternity Is A Long Time. . . .

Not often do I go back in time to relive something so intensely fierce that it can undo my mental health.  Yet I was driven to remember when I found our ten month son missing.  We were living in Tokyo at the time; my husband in the military.

Our lodging was in an apartment near the University with a landlady who was a mistress of a Japanese businessman.  It was a new apartment, sparse though close to the base, in a Japanese neighborhood.

We were on good terms with the landlady whom we called Oksan.  She loved our baby son and yearning to have a child of her own, sat and rocked the carriage in the secluded garden while he slept.  She asked to babysit for short periods.  I was uneasy with her yearning for a child but relented.

I went to the commissary one day and when I returned Oksan was gone with our son in his carriage.  She had not said she was going anywhere only that she would sit.  I put away the groceries and waited.

I soon became frantic and went looking for them.  I ran like a crazy lady from stall to stall on our street asking everyone if they saw them.  They could see I was panicky but why, no one understood.

The students on break at the University understood somewhat though they did not understand the panic.  I called my husband at the base and because he was an officer, could come home and brought a man who spoke Japanese.  Not understood was my fear.  This was after all Oksan and why the panic?

The fact that my baby was gone, in a foreign place, with a someone who wanted him to be hers, did not register.  Overreaction they thought.

Sometime later she did return of course.  Our son was asleep in his carriage and she had gone visiting.  Fortunately, soon after we returned to the U.S. so I did not face the issue again.   What brought this memory forward?

One of this week’s immigration policies would be to separate the child from the parent at the border.  I am horrified at the thought of the panic in the child and the fear ridden parent seeing the young children taken.

My heart will stop if I linger with this now.

I cannot believe such insensitivity would exist in anyone’s belief system.  I cannot fathom a government policy stating this.

I was just 20 years old when this episode happened.  For 9 months this child grew beneath my heart and 10 months in my arms.  The intensity of my fear and panic I can taste again.  I would only say don’t mess with me guys.  Eternity is a long time.

Beneath My Heart. . .

How could I not love them?
They grew beneath my heart,
waiting for my heart to beat
so that their’s would continue beating.

Did you not think
I would not know that?
And they would be reason enough
for me to keep breathing?

You did not know me. . .
Like a bear
I would fight for my cubs.
I made them. . . .

They wear my name
and one day they
will remember. . .

who taught them about love.

 

painting by a local
Japanese artist 1953

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The Earth Gods Know. . .

 

I scribe.  The teacher speaks. . . Nature expounds her presence with all.  She ventures to shout her presence.  She sends storms and pestilence and calm days and sunny skies to announce her presence.  She grants to all the balm of her existence.  But she angers and cries .  And in frustration teaches what no other thing or method can.  She is a great lady but given to little patience.  The earth is in dire straits, she says.  She hurts and I cannot let her bleed to death.  So she rages and fumes and she tires.  Will she give up?  The earth gods know.  The earth gods know.

It is a good world.  You had a dream, once.  We watched and talked amongst ourselves whether it was worth it.  And how could you be so intense when none about you were.  They took it but did not see from where they supped.  They drank and they did not see who poured.  The warm milk, the bread, the shot of dry whiskey that burned the fire in their belly. . .

(I say, fire them up.  Teach them all.  The elders their responsibilities as well as their rights.    And the adolescents who have the fire in the belly, to quarter it and contain it and put it all to constructive use.  And to the babies, these who have memories that will not quit, do not let us disappoint them.  For we will have a generation of vipers on hand and we will have done it.  We will have terrorists of the first order and we will have no one else to blame but us  . . . .again, all time is simultaneous.  From a journal of December 6, ’92, valid then and certainly NOW.

For Now. . .

Let your mind answer
your heart’s murmuring,
for in the sanctity of self,
you will see your divinity.

In the august crucible
that is Earth, latticed by clouds
hovering the trees,
you gain your peace.

In the musing of the grass growing
to reach its height and to color
the bare earth with a carpet
you feel the hallowed crest. . .

In all, gently tend
the heart’s rending and choose
the teachers who match
the performance. . . .

of your innate goodness. . . .

poem written
August 9, 1985

photo by
Kathy Rybacki Qualiana

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