Archive | Poetry

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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Depends On How High Up You Reach. . . .

 

Hardest Lesson. . .

They don’t know yet,
the ones closest to me. . .
friends and all. . .
why I do things the way I do.

It is because I know
the good in the work
and the beauty in the body
doing what mind tells it to do.

It is a dance,
a mind and body ballet.
It has taken centuries of many lives
to learn and it was no simple matter.

The hardest thing to purge
was thinking I was above
doing such menial work.
While all the time I had to learn

how to be god-enough to do it.

 

No longer is the excuse ‘I’m only human’ valid.  Lest we forget how much depends on us.  There is no refuge in that cliche anymore.  Think seriously on it.  VRH

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To Savor The Minute. . . .

Sometimes it is necessary to be reminded to unglue ourselves from what is inundating the Ethers, to look upon each other as the most important for the moment.  Take this as a gentle reminder.  All we have is this moment. 

 

To Savor The Minute. . . .

Could we take the time
to savor this minute?
Hold it close?

There will be more minutes,
but none more special
than this one.

It tells me that you
treasure our friendship
to show our true feelings

that connect us,
one to the other.
I will remember the marks

on my life you put there
when you took time to rescue
the self I thought I lost.

Today I am whole.  Forever drawn
as a heart beating steadily as if
with an inserted pacemaker

but  with gratitude transcending its beat.

 

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Where The Real Money is Counted. . . .

Now, tell me what you think. . . .

Now talk to me,
and tell me what you think.
I want to know the conclusions
you have reached.
Tell me what you know,
not what others have said.

I can read what they have said
about any number of topics.
I want to hear your thoughts,
and how you come by them.
What does this say to you
about how you arrive at this place
in time?

I tire of hearing what the talking heads
have read and tire of hearing variances
of the same story.
I want no quotes.  I want your thought.
You have lived long enough
to have a say, to know your gut feeling.

No time is right anymore for talk.
The devices tell with a click what is
the current thinking.  Of everyone.
I want to know why your heart keeps beating
and you keep on keeping on
when our country totters amidst
constitutional crisis.  And morality changes.
And the Earth’s countries are slugging it out.

But most of all why you think
it is worth a tinker’s damn to care about.
I realize I am only an audience of one,
but I want to know what you know.
I want to burglarize your mental house.

So tell me.  Your thoughts will be original to me
and I will be the richer for them.
I will happily walk to the Memory Bank with them.

It is there I have an open account.

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My Sanctuary, my Earth. . . .2018

My Sanctuary, My Earth. . .

What I found in the sanctuary of my yard, a church if you will,  and still do, is a pull, albeit a magnetic one, to a something that transcends the physical.  I function in the physical, but never seeing it in just a single dimension.  There is a height, a depth and an all embracing width that I try to gather into my arms.  You are in that embrace.

I have written where I see in a glance the essence as well as the result, the consequence.  It is admiring the garden and appreciating the gardener, seated at banquet and knowing its intricate preparation and thanking the farmer.  It takes away the spontaneity and surprise; both a curse and a blessing.  What it gives is a first rate conscience and sense of responsibility.  It has you working till you drop but chalking  few regrets with gratitude for life and thanking the giver for it.

You might ask, who cares?  What difference does it make?  One day you will care and to you it will make a big difference.  You are its prayer, its question and its answer.  In you are the answers to what your life means.  There are no other answers.  You are the answer.  You are the unsuspecting shoulders upon whom the answer rests.  You will be the answer to who cares.  And you will care a lot.

Our Hearts Speak. . .

As we enjoin the universal spirit
to entrust us with another spring,
another resurrection,
awaken within us the desire
to nurture the world
that has nurtured us.

Let our hearts lead us
to that place where
we intuitively cherish the mother
who feeds and clothes us and
gives us sustenance.

Let us not forsake our responsibilities
to those yet unborn but whose futures
we have already mortgaged.

Blessed Spirit, enliven our curiousity
about our daily world, remind us
that the bird’s song needs our
acknowledgement and praise,
that the sun needs our greeting
and the night wishes it bid good.

As we nourish those of our commitment,
speak to us of our commitment
to the home we know, our planet Earth.
Let our love guide us to make beautiful,
to make secure and to guard diligently
what has so faithfully harbored us.

In love we pray,  Amen, amen.
{scribed April 5, 1991}

artwork by Claudia Hallissey

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Come, Sit With Me. . .

The words to each will mean something different.  They will root in the heart, in the mind and have a life of their own with you.  At some time I hope, they will mean a something that answers what is now a question.

Our Time Is Now. . .

Listen to the peoples, listen
to the peoples.
One learns what the silence
is shouting.
One learns what is not said
when words spilling forth
are not true.

One learns of love
by the strength of the arms about
that do not lie.  I know, I know
it to be a sign that cannot be hid.

And by the evenness of the voice
that sings in the air
and the throat
that does not gargle its sounds.
No matter how smooth
is learned the persuasion,
how smooth.

Come, sit with me.
It is our time and it is now.
No matter the wait
for time impends its weight

and our time is now.  Now.

 

{painting was a gift of
my granddaughter Jessica,
who knows her grandmother well }

 

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The Old Country. . .

 

 

Home of One’s Soul. . .

The Teachers Speak. . . Every so often, out of one’s domain, there is an isolation that swamps one. It is difficult to shake, and yet there it is, evidence that this is not home. There is a portion or many portions appealing to one, yet basically, the at home feeling begins to leave.   This is when one digs in and brings to light all those things that brighten the soul. Dig into your handiwork, give yourself some leeway but stay with the program, stay with the route. You will find that the isolation will fade somewhat and again you will regain your sense of belonging. But do not distress yourself about it.   It is a pure longing for the home of one’s soul. It will come about in its own good time and the journey will have been worth the while. And what is gained along the way will add simply more weight to the gems in your pockets. (scribed November of ’94)

Across the Mind’s Eye. . .

Laying like whipped icing
on the wedding cake,
the drifts of snow across the mind’s eye
left a clear path to the heart’s memory
of the other winters when love
closed the doors of the world
and cherished me.

What were the winters like
when the snow stood high
and like lover’s swords sliced a path

and found where I was?

poem written Nov , 2011

 

Deep within are memories brought forth for a reason indecipherable.  Simply as the poem says, across the mind’s eye.  Yet sweeping the body, finds the knees weak and my heart laboring.  One wonders then from where comes the love, the cherishing.  It is deep within but the source cannot be brought to mind. Still the feeling is unmistakable. And the knowledge stays that somewhere that world is intact.  And a matter of time only, time as it is known where I am, folds unto itself and puts me back into the ‘old country.’

One then does not argue with this because it is not belief, but knowledge.  And it was yesterday though a lifetime has been lived since.  Puzzle?  No, because we learn that linear time belongs to Earth but confirming that all time is simultaneous.  (April, 2018)

photo by Joe Hallissey sr.

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