Author Archive | Veronica Hallissey

How And Why

A grandson asked me to explain how my writing comes about.  
How I give birth to things and the meaning of some articles and poems. 
Some authors and musicians have said that the words and music are
heard with an inner ear.  Often writers will say they are writing with the flow.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said we must keep the pipes free and clear so that
we will hear the muses speak.  And with me the words will be there and it
is all I can do to put them down as fast as I can or like Emerson I am
in dialogue with the muses.  Other times when I am out of sync,  I
struggle for words.  To be able to say this means that time has been
given to learning what life means to me and how I respond to it.  I had to
find a balance with what I was taught and what I was experiencing. 
It is not easy to make inroads. It is not easy being different.  In another
time I would be called a mystic.  This is someone who has an inner
life with a connection to things invisible and intangible, but altogether valid.
To me life is a continuum.  We come from a somewhere and
we go to a somewhere we have earned the right to be.

I grew up in a family that took life seriously.  I wish we had laughed
more, just as I wish I had not spent 18 months in a hospital when I
was ten with a bone problem. (Penicillin came to market two months
after I was discharged from the hospital.)These were conditions that
shaped me.  The worst being separated from my siblings.  There were
eight of us and even though the country was still recovering
from the Depression, I felt rich.  There were six brothers and
two sisters so how could we be poor?   We had each other.

The previous post on the loss of our son’s baseball tournament I
realized  was also for me.  I needed to see the words written to realize
that the rules applied to me as well.   The same rules applied to
everything I have done in my 80 plus years.  First and foremost were
family and home and all that implied with its care.   All the other things,
the writing and independent study which I did when the rest of the world
slept were to make inroads for me.  What have I learned by digging
beneath the rock of who I am?  That there is a substance, a weight,
a something metaphysical hidden in all of us within our skeletons.

There is a fountain of lore within us.  When we apply what it is we
have learned in this life we come up with things that tell us where
we have traveled spiritually. I make connections.  Some people have
difficulty with this.  I connect life’s events and draw my invisible lines
and see no division in any of it.  It unites in my thinking and I wonder
how it has escaped those in power in high places who have the clout
to do something.  I have a son who told me that I make vacuuming a
spiritual experience.  Perhaps I do for am I not a steward of this
place I inhabit?  This continuous thread has been mine since childhood.
I link everything to All That Is.  Some would call it God and others
Jehovah and still others what they think Highest and Best.  I see
this link in games of children to those of adults as they dress
their lives with needed illusions.   The rules are for real and the
stakes are us.  We either are the victory and our gods the victors or not.

A friend tried to convince me that this is an impersonal world
and not to be taken personally.  I say this is my world and I will do
what is mine to do to the best of my ability because I do take it
personally.  We must or else it will perish.  Every action has
consequences, good or ill.   The roads connecting us to All That Is
are peculiarly ours because of our thinking.  What we learn are codes
or Beliefs to live by.  If the rules work in one place, they should without
bias work again.  If our  rules do not have favorable results,   we must
dig deeper and work some more.  We are talking about life and it may
take the rest of our lives to find the why of it.  Worth it?   Utterly.

The principles apply.   Universal principles apply and will work in
other places and times.  These are known as true values.  True
values do not change.   Because the substance of them has a
weight our hearts will recognize instantly.

Quantum,  sumus, scimus.    We are what we know.
4

The Explanation

It was with stony disbelief
they watched as I slowly lifted
the strands of hair at the back of my head.
And when they blinked,  I smoothed
the disarray and said, did you see them?

I, of course, had grown another
set of eyes on the back of my head.
But only after the children came, of course.
The other one, in front, I pointed out,
set between the other two like yours,
I've always had and thought the world did too.
It helped me to reach places like your heart.

You always had a key to my head, one said
and I was shocked.   I did not know that I did.
I did not mean to invade your privacy.
And another, breathless, shaken, rushed
into the house one foggy night
and said, you won't believe this!   (But I did.)
There they were on bicycles all five abreast,
dressed in white.   They stayed in front of me
till I turned the car at the corner, home.
And then they vanished you wailed.
And I said, I know, I know, they are your friends.

And another said, we are the listeners.
The world does not listen but we hear.
The raindrops speak to the windowpanes
and apologize for clouding their vision.
And the windows say my eyes needed washing anyway.  
And I say, you know, you know.

We hear the anguish of the world in motion,
in the raucous laughter in words unsaid, said.
They see the world in shades of white and black,
denying spectrums of themselves in brilliant hue.
These souls who question us
are sight and sound and color blind,

living in a world of no dimension.
4

In Consort

I seek solitude
in that part of mind in consort
with the ancient gods.

We whisper great truths
and often chuckle at the simplicity
of man’s complex thoughts
and of the complexity
of the simple word.

It all must do
with the feelings of the times.
For in ours, when our time was,
we laughed and imbibed
and made babies like ourselves.

Yes, we know
this has not changed,
but the difference always is
the character of the peoples.
It seems that once we were
and knew for all time
we would always Be.

But now man works and plays
and does not know
there will be other worlds and times
and as many chances as he needs
to make amends to get it right.

Without the toys.
0

The Leader Coach

I was thinking of our son's disappointment in the baseball tournament.  He coached
the team and they lost.  He poured himself into them and it just did not come
together.  Another place, another time, I told him.  It will happen I should have said.
His disappointment was keen and I could not take it seriously I said.  They had 
always told me that I did not see how crucial games were.  What I realized is
that one cannot orchestrate the outcome of anything.   One can pour oneself into
something, instil one's best and highest motives and desires but one cannot
orchestrate the outcome.  And perhaps the outcome truly is not that important.
But the process is.

What we teach to whomever we are in charge of we can determine by examining
our motives and intentions.  We w ill teach along the way those things which fit
into the process of maturation of an Other.  We will teach those things we are
proud of and those things we will heatedly say we never intended.  So it is
imperative that our lessons not give crossed signals.   We need to know why we
needed to win and why to lose was so undesirable.  We need to know what we
intended to prove.  Perhaps what we also need to know is what we taught along
the way and how it helped for good,  constructively, to enhance a life.

Did someone learn that discipline was crucial to keeping a job, a marriage
intact, a family?   Did someone learn that motive, desire was crucial to spark
the continuation of a life or many lives?  Did someone learn that practice can
be a method of discipline, that practice ensures that one can be at home
with anything not attempted before and that learning never stops?  Did we
teach that joy could be found in doing with one's body, mind and soul a
task that once seemed undesirable by changing one's attitude and saying,
`this I can do because it needs doing and because I see it as mine to do?'
Do I see my participation in this part of life as privilege and not as duty?

Did someone learn that to do one's best is what is required of life and in
doing so no regrets will burden them?  And was there a camaraderie,
a dedication to a joint effort and a love borne by all for each because
of the sharing of motive and intentions?  Did they all come through
happy to have participated and adding a dimension of success because
the individual's success depends on the cooperation of the all?

If the ball tournament brought these things home to some, then there
was no loss and the coach stands as leader.  A win does not necessarily
mean a successful team.  What one learns is what determines a winner
in the process.   The process is never finished.

For if it were finished, we also would be and the final page would be writ.
Who among us would say we've learned it all and played the last game while
breath is still ours?

(This was from a journal I had kept many years ago with a copy to our
son.  It is valid today and he agrees.)
1

Rest well, Sailor

So in this night
when you lie still
and listen for the rain,
listen for the wind,
listen for the stars
moving about the sky,
listen also for your heartbeat.
It is steady and it is sure.

It beats for all your commitments,
both loving and lovable.
You are an important adjunct to this world
and you cannot estimate your good.

Rest well, sailor, rest well.
The seas have been rocky
but now we come to the inlets
that will take us to port.
There will be no tug
to bring in the ship.

She will make it on her own power.
So, rest well,  sailor,  rest well.
2

The Beginning

There is a mountain top sitting on the edge of nowhere eager for attention.   Eager for those with a need to know to start the journey.   Eager also to dispense knowledge where there will be help.

We ask with great hope for the kind of help given by those who have been driven by a knowledge only given by a life devoted to learning about Self.

We hold these truths solidly for a lifetime because they have been researched with the knowledge driven by a higher desire.

Never asked for because it was not even known to exist.   Never asked for because there was nothing ever in the history of the Pilgrim to know such knowledge existed.   Science has always said that only bodily  senses were the only valid senses.  But the Pilgrim now knew that to be wholly aware was valid.  Senses held by the whole person was the only way to learn that to know means to access the unknowable and a way to know truth.

Eager always for the way to be clear means to research, to unearth one's self.  For the only way to the center of the truth would be straight on through one's self, through the psyche holding information for the price of life everlasting.

It is never evident at the start that there will be lessons to tear the heart apart.   But the only way is the step first taken inward.   Where it will lead is the surprise and the way.   The journey is a long one.   But for the journeyman it is the only way to go.  Home is the destination.

It is a long way home.
0

The Healer

The storm clouds gather
and fear mounts,
harnessing power
which once were emotions
struggling for expression.

Like the great god Zeus,
brandishing his hot irons,
lightening arcs
across the night sky.

Thunder, like rolling kegs of dynamite,
flatten systems of tarnished beliefs,
leaving in its wake,
profound silence.

Forgotten are the thoughts
heavy with the weight of worry,
heavy with the futility
of life lived with no hope.

In her great capacity to heal,
Nature combines with man's emotions
to leave in her wake
renewed purpose,

if only to get things back to abnormal.
0

Her Advocate

The doctor was thoughtful as he asked, `is she in pain?'  And I said
that she takes the stairs quite slowly and has difficulty in the morning. 
I felt as if I was describing myself.    He touched her head lightly
and said, `take her home and love her.'

The walk home was longer than the other times.   We talked.  I told
her how I knew that she hurt sometimes but together we would
make it.  Her head was pointed in the only direction she knew,
home.

We climbed the porch and with great relief she sprawled.  It was
the only place in memory to put its square arms about her and say,
`welcome back.'

I watched her forget at times when a squirrel spirited her vision
and she gave chase.   A monumental effort for the enormous body
collapsed and found its rest with four legs at right angles.   She even
thought at times she was a pup and she remembered from some
distant time how she jumped straight up.   Now she found her
legs unsteady.

She does not whimper but takes time in stride.  I prepare her
supper with the crisp fatty bacon and no gourmet meal matches.
I look upon my cereal bowl and wonder.

One voice says, `put her out of her misery.'   Another voice demands,
`would you do as much for me?'  Another counters, `what will you do
with me?'

My bones become brittle now and I find rest at the top of the stairs.
My eyes grow dim and I tire.   Occasionally I do my spirited dance,
remembered.   And then my limbs remind me again that to dislodge
hidden memories brings pain.    And I wonder again.

Who will be my advocate?
3

How Hot The Night

The still air
stifles
even the act
of breathing.

The hot air
forged in the steel furnace
of daylight
is nowhere a relief.

My eyes droop
with heat heavy
fatigue
and I take refuge

between bed sheets
locked
beneath the pristine
spread all day.

My naked legs
scissor kick
in their coolness,
like swimming

in a dish of vanilla ice cream.
2

A Lesson In Strawberries

I was a young girl, about 12.   It was our first summer on The Farm and it was a hard one.   But it also was filled with good food straight from the warm earth.

My mother had a talent for growing things in the city, despite its polluted air that even 70 years ago people knew to be unhealthy.   But in the clear air of the country, in the soil of her loam filled garden, her talents blossomed as did her crops.

We were getting produce ready for the stand down near the road.   As we were preparing the fruits and vegetables, selling them as fast as we put them out, friends from the city were arriving.  They were what we would consider diverse characters.  Some were people in her circumstances with many children and little money.  A few were wealthy but the outstanding characteristic of all these relationships was mutual respect.

Toward the late afternoon, I was tired and as most adolescents are prone to be, whiny.   The source of my irritation was the fact that my mother was giving to her friends, without charge, the best and finest of what we were putting out.   A bushel of potatoes here, quarts of strawberries there, a bushel of apples,  here.  But the strawberries were my argument.  I loved them and the ones she grew were the reddest, juiciest and largest I had ever seen.   They were sweet clear through and the dream stuff of that first June on The Farm.  With the heavy cream separated from the rich milk the excellent cows gave, these were mine she was giving away.  The strawberries summed up my resentment.

“You can’t keep giving away our profits,” I said.  “you have given away half of all the produce!”

She turned to me in a voice I have not forgotten and a lesson that has stayed with me.

“These are mine,”  she said.  “I will do with them what I please.  These are for me to give away if I want to.  No one can tell me who to give to.  My friends may never do anything for me, but if one of them does something for my children or my grandchildren, then that will be payment for me.”

I have thought often of that lesson in gift giving.  In giving what is yours.   In the course of my days, when someone did something for me I did not expect, there was the lesson in strawberries.  When so much has been done for our children by their friends and ours, the lesson in strawberries comes up.   When time, whole weekends of time, have been given up to add a room, to sit with a sick child, to listen to an impoverished spirit, to make dinner when the task seems insurmountable and appetite non-existent, to do any of these when time has become our most precious commodity, it is a gift of Spirit.  When a check arrived unexpectedly from someone whose only reason was “I remember how I would have felt to have received this. . . ” or the some ones who oftentimes helped our children through school because “it was done for me. . . “,  I thought of the lesson in strawberries.

As I review a life where so much has been done for me and mine, from sources unexpected, I am grateful for the lesson in strawberries.   My mother gave what was hers to give, what she worked for and gave freely.   I do not forget.
4

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