When Love Was Rampant . . .

 

When Love Was Rampant. . .

 

The bones creek
and there is lack of motion
because like the deep freeze
enveloping the lakes,
the skeleton is immobile.

The comforter wraps
around bony knees
and hugs my chest
while eucalyptus bathes
what is left of my senses.

The scent is clearly
reminiscent of a world
where row upon row of bushes
yielded itself to memory
where love held sway.

And children ran
on green grasses and
waters filled lakes
with clarity and sky was void
of black plumes.

Our motives were obvious
and good and love was rampant
in abundance.
All this too was a dream dreamed
by a need shouted in a whisper.

It was lived in and children
prospered and grew into adults
whose dreams
fathered other dreams. . .

When did they become a nightmare?

 

art by claudia hallissey

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A sorrow hushed. . . the holocaust. . .

 

 

A sorrow hushed. . . the holocaust. . .

My ears cleaved to the door frame
of the dining room. Her whisper was hoarse,
were there many?
Lots, he said, lots, as he held the letter
that told him what they saw.  Speaking
in broken English, he continued.
They pushed for space, women and children
and their men. They wanted to see.
My people saw he said.

Their words burned my brain
as I strained to listen, afraid I wouldn’t
catch a sorrow hushed.  It didn’t last long
he said, because they fell.  Matko Bosko she said.
Remember our history he said.
As if that could explain what I heard.

And I knew the god they called
upon to save them from whatever they feared.
He whispered again, somehow trying to
make this horrid time an all right matter.
My people saw them, he kept saying.

And I loved those parents who made things
seem right yet what my heart knew was evil
and my head fought them and argued
till I would vomit.  We would go
into holy week and pray just as
my cousins across the waters who saw
what was done went back to their tables
and supped as if nothing had happened.

These were friends and relatives
whose prayers were different and
they said that made them different than us.
And the us that I was born into made me
ashamed and sick to my stomach and I kneeled
in front of the toilet and emptied my shame
washed with the tears of I am so sorry
and threw up all of my ten years

and so went my trust.

 

(Much of what was happening at that time was what I overheard to be Poland’s part in the holocaust.  Relatives wrote what was happening there.  Being an ailing child at home led me to listen carefully to everything.   The whispered conversations were fewer and not fully understood until as an adult I happened upon Winter Journey by Diane Armstrong. The impact on me was visceral.  The memories connected with family at that time rushed to surface.  These events were deep in the knowledgeable ten year old I was who was frightened and ashamed.  How does one live with shame?  )

 

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An Evergreen For Your Heart. . .

(I falter dreadfully.  There was more violence in a school this week.  I say that I will make another ocean with tears that do not stop.  I cannot write nor put up a heart with a rip up the middle again. Cannot sew it up again. Then I read that someone pulled up a bygone post and needed the words and I hear my Teacher say would you deny another day to one who needs the words that have been given to you?  When I needed just one more day I was given the words.  Can I do less?  They were remembered and are needed again.  My readers oftentimes write my essays by their need. Today I wish to plant an Evergreen in your heart.) 

(Posted Oct 2, 2015)  We are told that hearing you will hear and not understand and seeing you will see and not perceive.  Simple words meaning simple things?  But of course you see and of course you hear unless physical impairments prevent us.  But it is even more than that.  In the process there are the cries in crisis and there are the tears that are not seen.

The father asked his son at breakfast,  ‘are you not speaking?’  And  the son answered ‘I  spoke yesterday.’  They were across the table from each other but worlds apart.  The father was asking why are you silent.  And the son was already mentally in school and  gave his oral report yesterday.

The daughter was hurting and gathered courage to tell her emotionally distant mother why she ached inside only to find later her brother coming  into the house mimicking her talk with her mother, laughing.  The daughter shared her heart and her mother not knowing the place her daughter was speaking from, dismissed it as a nothing.

Neither parent heard nor saw what the child’s body language, words or eyes were conveying.  The Master said, ‘hearing you shall hear and not understand and seeing you shall see and not perceive.’  How much are we missing?  We should at least be wondering.  What is more to hear than what we hear or see what we see?   When the process begins, the pain will be poignant but welcome it.  It will mean that you and your god are in conference.

Times Such As These. . .

I lock up the room
and pocket the last remnants
of words laying about unattended.

Fearful that pieces of my heart
may be found
scattered among them.
And why not?

Times such as these
leave us with little salve
to heal the open wounds
which once were hearts.

For whom do we weep?
The children whose siblings
will no longer come to the table
to convey with no doubt
the events which took their innocence?

Or the parents
whose hearts were transplanted
when word came
that these unspent stars
were already breathing the rarified air
as heaven’s most blessed?

Look at us here.
Pleading that our children
will be safe as they try to understand
what we in our dotage
have not learned.
To resort to arms

means death in any country.                                                    

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To The Old Country. . . immigrant I am. . .

 

Immigrant  . . .

I watched as you worked
a mind through endless turmoil,
sifting and sorting truth and fantasy
and arriving. . .

You opened eyes and unblinkingly stated,
‘you have always known, haven’t you?
How did you do it?’

I knew I could not take
even a moment of self revelation away,
answered, ‘in my way.  I loved and
raised babies and painted
roses on their cheeks and
planted evergreens in their hearts.’

And in a way I had not known,
closed a part of memory so I could do it
all for real, so I would use the same rules
you did and everyone else.

But you did not play by the rules.
They were changed so quickly for you
that you could not switch tracks.

So now I write why.
I compose odes and melodies
and tie my feeling in knots
and look for entry into a world
I know by heart.

It is one I never left, even to come here.
I carried it around like a money belt
all the days of my life.
And I know now that when I go

it will be to the old country.

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Love and Beauty. . .right to life. . .

Emma E. has been promoted to a step down to less intensive care.  She is at 37 weeks and two days ago was at 3 lbs 13 oz.  The camera could only catch what was in the heart of the photographer.  The love and beauty of both are palpable.  They should be every child’s right to life.

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Skimming the Ethers. . .

 

Mother to child with expanding knowledge. . . ‘I don’t care in what lifetime you were Pope but in this life you clean up your own messes.. !  Now!!!

*****

We clean our own doorstep before the children go out so that they do not step into the muck and mire we neglected to take care of.

*****

You cannot walk with your eyes on the horizon when there is so little good housekeeping in evidence.

*****

Make certain our yard is clean before we take the position of giving direction to our neighbors how to clean up theirs.

*****

There are no cavities as large as the one man digs for himself.

*****

Desirable behavior is behavior that will have no ill effect on the young who look hungrily for role models.

*****

You cannot fix much when no one has the courage or the intelligence to identify what is broken.

*****

We must teach our young that when we see good to do we must do it because this chance will be lost forever for us in these particular circumstances and who we are.  It will be our loss.

*****

And to argue what is good is to beg the question and give the recalcitrant time for argument.  They are sophisticated and well versed in their reasons.  Good requires work. Of course.

*****

Heaven is not the font of wisdom and makes many errors.  Proof is the world we inhabit.

*****

Alone till the night comes to bind us and the day delivers us to each other.

 

photo by Joe Hallissey Sr.
Monastery in Gurnee, Il.

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To Learn. . .the purpose of life. . .

I spent two days of non stop rereading Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel recently. When the book first came out it did not have the effect on me that rereading did.  I came away from it this time as I did with Doris Lessing’s Shikasta series, that everything in life has to be taught; every emotion, every concept, every step in thinking.

I had to dismiss the erroneous thought I didn’t know I carried which was a stumbling block to further understanding,  that everyone is the same.

The only reason being to think differently was a matter of will; either we didn’t care to think or were too lazy and wanted to have fun.  Never giving space to  culture, or genetic historical anguish or even environment and climate with its impoverished elements, all effecting growth.

A democracy states that all have a fair chance to succeed.  But even children know when  playmates have more toys or books than they have.  So starting out equal is not so.

One realizes then that thought processes are different.  We come from homes and worlds that are different, not necessarily better, just diverse.  The Clan book points this out clearly.

Creb, the Mogur, or shaman comes to understand that Ayla, the young girl rescued because of climate calamity, was able to conceptualize and learn his tribe’s language and behavior because her brain was open in ways his was not, to learn hers.

I felt his difficulty concluding this.  New knowledge must rearrange all preconceived thought and demands work. One’s entire belief system, philosophy, must be reconsidered in new light.

His people had hammered through hundreds of generations ways to survive in mostly bleak conditions while Ayla’s had come from more conducive conditions to allow growth and less isolation.  Her abilities were evident and she aroused jealousy.

Our biographies begin as tribal groups and wandered the world looking for fertile ground.  Tribes merged often when settling with those of similar habits.  Evolution opened areas in lives when members mated joining differences in cultures.

Often the migration of aggressive tribes caused conflict while many merged in peaceful affiliations.  When isolated there were incestuous unions and less growth and change.  Much energy was devoted simply to survival.

As time passed their concern was to keep what was known.  Discouraged was acceptance of those who were different to continue for centuries we know as discrimination.

From early man to the present, from wandering tribes to modern civilization, evolution stagnates when isolation is adopted.  It prevents man’s progress to healing ancestor’s anguish that continually festers.

It is senseless to celebrate lives of peacemakers of countless worlds then prevents the merging of those worlds that could elevate human behavior.  Think on it, then vote.

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Conscience. . .the heart’s authority. . .

By My Heart’s Authority . .

It was after our David left this Earth that I went back to classes at the University.  I was taking a class in English Lit when the professor and I were in a discussion  about religion and he said that no doubt religion was a great help to me during this time.

I told him I was not a member of any and he was aghast.  But how,  he asked,  with no religion, do you know what is right and what is wrong?

This time I was thunderstruck.  I, an adult, had had three children and was the parent on premises and in charge of many commitments at that time.  I was the authority on right and wrong and ethical premises since the age of reason.

I knew, without being told by anyone,  by my thoughts and reasoning and a heart whose veracity I did not question what I should and should not do.  (Some simply call it conscience.)

I did not need  those in high places whose power was mantled onto them by those whose authority has always been questioned and compromised.  Recent events have confirmed this.

I knew he was taken back.  Horrified would be the term.  And I too, wondered how one gets to tenure in such an institution of learning without conviction and assurance in one’s ability to meet life with maturity and lead the young to knowledge and confidence in judgment.

I trusted that to learn must also include the freedom to ask questions and search out what one doubted and did not understand.  What better surroundings than the classroom to catch the struggling neophyte safely?

I was told by my Mentor not to delve deeper than one can muster out.  My response after a lifetime of falling deep into the pits was to dig down as far as my mind questions.  How deep only I know when my head butts bottom.

And then I dig out,  with fingers and teeth if I must, to get a toe hold to climb out.  And then to climb higher and higher until one crashes the gates of heaven,  if one must.

If not, then it is all hope and conjecture and one continues to pay for a keeper.  Religions call it tithing.  Under the cloud of not knowing anything for sure.  And Dante’s Inferno is for real NOW.

 

Photo by Jon Katz
(Shekhina–Hebrew female counterpart of God)

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I Wish It For You. . .

There comes that time when night falls unto itself and one says I call it a day.  It is time for the night air to wrap us in its ambience and for us to taste of its elixir.  It is when memories are called upon that feed the soul when lives were their richest in love and deeds and hearts fit the space designed for it.  This is private time for the divine within and the who I am.  Specifics are not necessary but the feel and fit are.  I wish it for you.

 

 

Inhale Deeply. . .

Inhale deeply the night so that
you will remember
the freshness that comes
with the beckoning dark. . .

And the stars
leading you to a place
of warm retreat. . .

Melancholy soul,
even the heavens
pale beneath your fatigue.

Breathe deeply
and consider my love.
It comes from a world
we hold in our hearts.
Go.

Begone, into the night where the heart rests.

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The Who Of A Mystic. . .

The Who Of a Mystic . . .

Daddy, daddy don’t hit him! He is my brother!  I screamed and my father  was confused because he was protecting my life and my brother was out to kill me.  I was the younger sister who craved the balsam to squash with my teeth and his was the dream of building the perfect plane model.

I was the cause of the trouble and their emotions landed in my stomach as the anger of my father whose peace was disturbed and the frustration of my brother whose dreams were shattered.

My own emotions collided with theirs.  I was possibly 9 years old but already handicapped by a stomach that was a pit stop for the emotions of our whole family of ten.  24/7. . .

Born into this world with a foot still in the world I left is not easy.  It leaves one vulnerable from birth unto the grave.  Can one be a mystic in a secular world?  A mystic is someone who takes the essential elements from religions and the highest principles they claim from other worlds and tries to make them work where they are.

Children automatically do this. When thrust into a family who are simply versed in the secular and orthodox religions, is at best a trial.  At its most difficult,  puts one in a place where one is different but for unknown reasons.  Just different.  Not special, not spared, just forced to participate to be like everyone else.

And never knowing why one feels outside the circle, sees and hears what others do not, learning early to be careful with speech, never sharing one’s thoughts for fear of ridicule.  I ran home from kindergarten as fast as I could because hearing sirens I thought my house was burning and my mother dead; somehow feeling responsible.

Being born with memory puts one on the defensive early.  In religion class I told the priest what I knew.  And it was not what he was teaching.  My head spoke in languages with those I held to be mentors from an ancient past.

Into adulthood I was appalled by the actions and words of those held in great repute.  Yet needing to be sure of being an anchor to those I was committed to.  It is possible as I chalk off another year in my dotage,  I say it is possible to be a mystic in a secular world, but not without peril.

That I crashed in my third decade in the midst of life too busy for composure, was simplified by the psychiatrist saying ‘I don’t know how you have managed so well for so long.’

Life holds sounds more than the average person hears.  Life holds sights more than the average person sees.  There are more levels of everything evident than what daily occurs to people.  One cannot imagine what these words imply.  What more?

I try to explain but words fail.  Just as I do not understand why what is evident to me is not so to everyone.  I know this only because I have lived it and have had years of mental therapy.  The medical conclusions, ‘you’re different.’

I was happily raking leaves off a neighbor’s lawn because they were busy with family when another neighbor approached asking, ‘you doing this for fun or money?’  ‘For love’ I said.  Puzzled, she said ‘you are so different than others, you know.’  Lacking the courage to hear her reasons,  I did not ask why.

Life would have been simpler if I had parents educated in the deeper aspects of life.  Immigrants worried about bread on the table.  What we do is what we can do.  I took my commitments seriously and books were best friends.

I am, I guess, an example of someone living to old age with knowledge, not faith,  of life ongoing and other worlds.  The psychiatrists called me mystic when I did not know the meaning of the word.

Not easy, but unacceptable would be anything else.

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