Archive | April, 2016

Take a Few Moments. . . .


**We are the cabbage and the rose at once.  Earthy  and ethereal, at once.

**Memories are the bridge to the future.

**It takes time to pick up the threads of life upon return from being away, to make room for yourself again in lives that have already taken your absence into consideration.

**Old friends like old books demand that we return to them.

**To go over the same road again and again until the pain as well as joy no longer overwhelms
requires tough love.

**Life was not meant to be a vehicle of convenience.  Breathing itself is an imposition of sorts at

**Education is a thing of the heart and spirit and no learned institution can impart what is
necessary to complete a life.

**Inflated ego:   over estimation for public consumption

**To be human is an art to be learned and perfected; part of the soil, organic in compound and
with divine nature imbued.  It appears we do not think highly of the earth and its components.
Our behavior implies we must think being human is a debasement of sorts.

Photo by John Holmes


The Counselor. . . .


Oftentimes what I plan on doing does not happen.  And in its place comes a something long incubating but not surfacing.  In reading recently I came across the topic of emotions which brought Doris Lessing’s Shikasta series to mind.  The series brought up many topics for consideration.  And the subject of emotions are a topic to consume worlds. (And they do.)  I never thought differences in minute matters could cause great disturbances,  but even in how we see things and render our explanations puts us ill at ease.   That there is as much agreement among us is the marvel.   We all know people incapable of feeling.  We know of those who cannot say the word ‘love.’  When I related to my mother as a teenager reading a movie magazine that a movie star only kissed his children when they slept, she agreed.  It explained why she never hugged us.  So this was not an isolated case but more of a cultural or generational custom. Everything teaches, even movie magazines.  I introduce the thought to some,  while others may already entertain it,  that we come to this world from places different than our Earth.  Emotions are not commonly understood by all.  Some dip deeply into the well of who they are while others surf who they are.   It is all they can do.  To Ms. Lessing who wrote with such conviction,  I am indebted.

The Counselor

She sat across the desk,
crisp and sharp and
in charge of who she was.
Emotion is not fact, she said,
so separate what you feel
from what is happening.

Then why I ask is my heart breaking?
And with composure she assures me
my heart is whole.  She does not see
that my world is built
on feelings that shape my days.

I was born to paint my life
with the wide brush of emotion,
to teach me to love,
to see, to care and learn To Be.

When love withdrew from me
and left me barren, I knew
I would not forget its power to lift
me high enough to touch the heavens
and to care enough
for this Earth I walked to sweep
the debris where others might walk.

To see the opening of the crocus
in the covering of snow to tell
of Spring arriving and of days
becoming longer with light and
caressing me with breezes
as soft as baby kisses.

She did not know of worlds
where these emotions were not born yet,
where facts dealt the cards to be played,
where feelings did not lay color
on days and nights and
where learning to live with feelings

were reasons why we asked to be born of Earth.


Approaching Earth Day. . . .as a lover. . . .


Love Letter To My Planet Earth

My love affair started when I was about eight and laid upon the green grass and willed the clouds into playmates for my thoughts.  I wished, I told my sky,  I wished to be wise.  I am not sure I knew what wise meant other than just plain smart.

But then I grew and being part of a large family,  I learned to work.  But I think I knew how when I was born.  I loved my brothers and said when I was just five that I would marry them and take care of them and even promised to polish their saddle shoes for a dime.  I weeded around the roses my mother rooted in the ground and covered with tipped mason jars for little greenhouses and tried to keep the chickens in the back yard.  I kept the junks separated from the garbage and loved the climbing roses papa planted in the alley behind the garage so that the garbage men had a bright spot as they picked up garbage.

And when we left the city to breathe clean air I marveled as a young girl going to the outdoor privy and stopped at the back door before going up to bed and dipped my heart to blend the night sky to drink of a million stars and wondered how rich could a 12 year old be with the night so private housing so many brothers?  And the air circled my pajama legs and I gave thanks to the clean air and promised to be a caretaker of a place I loved.  I would dip into my bucket of stars and reach for a nugget and it would translate my efforts and keep me fed.

I would teach everyone to take care of our land because it is our home and we live here.    It gives us what we need to live and heals us when we ail and loves us as its children.  It is our mother and we must help her.  And now after a lifetime,  I am hampered by bones forgetting to bend, muscles forgetting to stretch and a heart that cannot forget how I have loved this parcel of a universe so generous with this gift.

How Much Better Would It Be?

How much better it would be
for this noble planet
if we cherished her like a lover?
Or loved her as a mother
who adored her child
and wiped the tears away
with a soft linen?
Or as a father whose arms
surrounding the child
are as steel beams supporting
the frame of the tallest building?
Who would not want these
for himself if he could articulate
what would heal
the dichotomy within?
Too few of us around
who love our home so fiercely
we would protect her vital organs.
The sun sometimes is hidden from man
and the moon embarrassed
to see its light dimmed with shame.
When patches of Earth split
from the shock of no rain and dust rises
and rolls across open land,
we wish then not to shake dust
from our boots but to greet
a sunrise in splendor.
Offer me this, the Earth Mother says,
that you will raise your arms
only to surround an Other in love.
Promise me this, again she says,
that the swords will be laid
at the foot of the evergreens now
and a boot will never crush
an Other’s right to live.

And I will forever cherish your children.

photo by John Hallissey



Light Touches. . . . .


Light Touches

Your light touch
on the small of my back,
gains for me a courage
lacking sometimes
to even climb the curb.

I appreciate that.
Somehow beneath the layers
of what I hold to be
the who of what I am,
is a someone still of note.

Comforting to lay my hand
on the side of your face
to note the structure
of the child no longer a child.

As the mother of you sons,
born of the best of who we as parents were,
Nature shares her secrets yet,
letting me know that the goodbye kiss
on your foreheads still tells me
you are not feverish.

You know my secrets also
as you hug your adult children
and show them that
no matter how old you grow,
your light touches reveal the depth
and speak volumes

of their place in your hearts.

art by Claudia Hallissey


Book Drawing

Kiss The Moon Book CoverExhibition

Book Drawing

I have had more than a usual number who have been viewing my books for a drawing.  The month has come and gone when I usually do and I missed my cue.  Now I offer either a copy of Kiss The Moon, a book of poetry or The Last Bird Sings, a story within a story.  The blind drawing will be on Wednesday night and the winner will be announced on Thursday, the 21st of April.  All  that is needed is for you to comment on a post or why you would wish a copy of either book.   It is a fun thing for me to do and I am always happy to see which posts are looked at the most.  So if you are looking to own a copy of either book, take your chance along with your friends.  It delights me to draw the name of someone who says I never win anything!  Because I am one of those.  Twice I won dinners  at 2 restaurants that went out of business before I could use my freebies.  I know the feeling well.  Take your chance at this and you may be able to say finally,  I won!   Good Luck!


Revelation. . .


The question is asked:  What do I confront when I turn to my concept of education?  That education is a thing of the heart and Spirit and no learned institution can impart what is necessary to complete this life.  That all bards and philosophers knew that Cosmic Consciousness of the individual was what they talked about and indeed said it to be the great love of their life.  That I know of what I speak because it has been a lifetime of education and confrontation and within is the only institution of learning of any note.  And that Spirit does teach.

Jesus called the new consciousness Kingdom of God, and Kingdom of Heaven and Comforter.    St Paul called it ‘Christ’ and Spirit of God.  Mohammed called the cosmic sense ‘Gabriel’.  Dante called it ‘Beatrice.’  Walt Whitman called this consciousness, ‘my Soul.’  It was and is the greatest love affair between the individual and the God Within.   It is the ‘Sacred and holy I and Me.’  I call it ‘The Teacher.’   The Cosmic Sense changes one forever.  There are no words to convince.

The mundane will overwhelm one day until we learn to insert the cosmic into the mundane, into the dailyness,  is what we must do or the bridge may be closer than we like to think.


I ask. . .

Would it ever be
the same,  could it?

You say. . .

Once in a lifetime
has to last. . . .
it seems forever.

I say. . .

I cannot forget
the love that lifted me
so high I touched
the sky of heaven yet. . .

You say. . .

Were it so. . .
then be grateful
you know of love
that could do that.

I say. . .

it makes everything pale
in its light. . .
How to put meaning back
into the mundane tasks?

You say. . .

the labor itself is virtuous.
Let it be enough.

I say. . .

easy enough for you to say.
You don’t know. . .

You say. . .

but I do.
I was your teacher. . . .


Barroom Floors. . . the divine implications. . . .


Barroom floors and spittoons. . . .

Oftentimes we are thrown onto ourselves to sink or swim.  It may be a crisis at work, of illness, family or an unexplained malaise within us.  We then must use inner resources simply to keep on keeping on.  When conditions change, we look back and much to our surprise find we  have done under uncompromising conditions, a commendable work.  Not perfect, but when viewed from a different perspective,  a cosmic perspective, our work has somehow gained a ‘wow’ factor.

This small quilt of scraps that was put together as a form of therapy to clean the worktable, surprised us.  I forced myself to do what had once come easily and happily.  I had not been up to par, but certain things needed doing.  And recycling the fabric scraps was the priority.  What resulted  with no enthusiasm but a lifetime of ‘get busy’ is a bright and cheerful piece of artwork.   (not yet completed of course)

It did not require an engineering degree or expensive tools,  just bits of fabric scraps and a piece of flannel to attach them to.  In simpler times it was done with scissors and needle and thread.  What was the vital factor were the habits of a lifetime taught by someone who had a value system who cared about me, about life and about herself.  Being a foster child, my mother was told every day that life was not free and ‘no one feeds you for nothing.  So work.’  A hard premise and one difficult to live by.

But it gets one through hard times but not as hard as it was for the eight year old that she was who scrubbed the barroom floor and cleaned the spittoons of the saloon keeper who took her in.  And these chores were done in the morning before she ran to her parochial school so as not to anger the nuns.

The patterns of our days make a certain shaped something of us.  Our patterns contain crooked pieces and many times we would like to press the reject button.  But life has a way of paying it forward that has a beautiful ‘wow’ factor as a result.    Not perfect to be sure,  but often better than we envisioned.  The scrap quilt 100 years later shows a finely ground result of what we think are our insignificant lives.  A small thing from earthly perspective but immense in its divine implication.


Guard The Children Well. . . .



Before us we have children who wish to be taught and loved and nurtured and given what children deserve.  A sacred passage into the world of delights and treasures and it all begins with the desire to learn.  It is within the heart of each to begin this process that sends us on a road toward our basic need to learn the why of who we are.  And yet for the greater number the first why is stepped on with boots heavy with mud.   It is to the parents that the honor of injecting the virus of learning into the child falls.  And with exuberance  the process of learning begins.  To each child,  each person the process is inviolate.  It is ours and should be guarded as a sacred trust.

Guard The Children Well. . .

being the harbingers of faith,
though less than the scope of thought
but dealing at most
with a yearning heart. . .

Sweet trust
was given first and told
to list always
toward its strength. . .

The heart was given thrust
with the thought
that expanded learning
brought new life.. .

Not to give away freely
but guarded with life so placed
that questions raised would always rise
as to the reason
such peace was present. . .

Guard the children well.
They work closely
with those of heightened courage
giving wisely to those intent always

on making a difference.

painting by Claudia Hallissey



After The Gathering. . . .

IMG_20160406_151349_852(4)It is not always necessary or wise to hang onto rituals or traditions.  Sometimes they are no longer appropriate to a new situation.  But the loss of one of the finest customs of the past is a dinner invitation to someone’s home.  In today’s world where time is at a premium,  often dinner invitations take place in a nearby restaurant.  Gone is the intimacy of someone’s home,  their living space.  And the time to form deep attachments.  It was always a something special in my life and deeply cherished.  It was a time to show my guests how much I loved them.  And worth the time to bring out the linen tablecloth and to clean the silver.  My regret is that we did not do it often enough. 

After The Gathering. . .

I take the lemon wax and spray
and wipe to a fine polish the table
where food and love have been served.
I take the memories
from the last gathering and
camp them in a new place,
to be taken out in another time
by those whose work it is
to be the keeper of memories.

The table has changed places
as have the memories.
It is in place now and already
others have seated and supped.
New memories are being shaped
by those whose need within
is a hunger to touch places
too long isolated.

It is for each other we do this.
We bring together our selves
for the fine art of fleshing out
the canvas where we have painted
our lives to create a memory
for a world where none was before.

The memory will be our proof that we came and we were.


A Matter Of Trust Is a Matter Of Life. . . .

Taking Flight


Taking Flight

There was a year I learned that creatures,  no matter the species, have memory.   Birds I found  are not forgetful.  I had 2 mourning doves in my hanging planter outside the back door.   They started to nest that past week.   The planter was hanging just on the rim of the patio cover and when it started to sleet, I went out and told Maudie,  (I had named them Maudie and Jack) that I was going to hang the basket closer to the house,  just outside the kitchen window for protection.  So I moved her in the hanging planter.   She did not fly away nor did she get excited.

I did what I told her I was going to do and she trusted that I would.   Maudie and Jack were seemingly a devoted couple.   They took turns sitting on the two eggs.   They had nested many years  in the evergreen  outside the back door.   And when it died I removed it and the doves  went to the tallest evergreen in the backyard.  They stayed around and no doubt their progeny also.

I was privileged to observe a behavior repeated in the best of families.   Maudie sat patiently on her eggs.  I saw Jack flying in and out, handily at times,  but often without a look back.  He was ever nearby. And when the eggs hatched,  Maudie and Jack spelled each other and flew back and forth with food.   I was privy to    lessons in love, in diplomacy,  in mothering and a lesson in trust.  The trust was a gift for me.

Maudie did this for me.   I then found myself saying to her over and over as she tried to edge them out of the nest, ‘don’t let them get too comfortable, Maudie ,  or they will never know they can fly.’  Jack was patient but only for awhile.   When the procedure was prolonged,   Jack flew the coop.   I never saw him again.

Maudie finally, gently pushed the fledges out of the nest.   The first one flew down to the steps and courageously flew  into the maples.   The other, a timid spirit, was pushed out and landed on his feet on the bottom step.   Maudie stayed and watched from the iron clothes pole.   The little one did not budge.   I opened the door and told Maudie that I would pick him up and get him going.   I picked up this trembling heart and whispered my goodbye and god’s speed and shot him forward and his wings opened to prove to himself that he could fly.   And he did and Maudie followed into the maples.   It was an enormous  gift and I offered my gratitude to those invisible who made it all possible.

A grandson could not believe that the dove actually allowed me to move her.  I told her I said,  what I was going to do and she trusted me. And I knew she trusted me,  knew it.   I had been steadfast with her in the yard for a long time.  However long is in a bird’s life.  And she saw me every day through the kitchen window and knew I was there.  The photo of the pheasant taking flight was taken by my beloved in law sister Diane when my brother gave flight to a bird that had been wounded and they nursed back to health.  Here again, it was a matter of trust.  It is an emotion and trait that we share with other beings in our world.   It is not to be taken lightly.  It often is a matter of Life.

photo by Diane Rybacki


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