Author Archive | Veronica Hallissey

Excerpt From A Journal Entry

Christmas PhotoAugust 13, 1990

I write and say. . . . . .

It is necessary for me to ask why;
otherwise the peeling of my heart has no purpose.
Why implies a reason, doesn’t it?
So don’t start by saying it is not enough
just to live and breathe and see and feel the anguish
of hurt that should never be;
implying that this life and earth are not enough
in themselves because we might get too lazy?
I can’t believe that.
Just looking and feeling the North wind is enough
to stir my senses;
to lift me from my bed to get on with living;
to raise the dust out of corners
too long neglected and lift
the filthy and sweaty labors and point out
that these are gifts of life in themselves.
These are the beauties along with the first snow
and the harvest intact and sealed and the
presence of souls who find a reflection
of what they hold dear in the eyes of an Other.
These are so.   I say these are so.
I say because such a world exists
and there can be a large measure of happiness
in just such a world.
Or you think not so,

because what I dream is a rose in a field of weeds?

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Dog Days of The Lion

When at the end
of the dog days of the Lion
and the garden is again
conducive to prayer,
arrange the knees
bent in homage to the winter.

It is time to pray
the garden into being;
the stage for the winter solstice.
It is time to oil the tools
to store in barns designed to hide
the hot and humid days
that made breathing difficult.

Spent flowers, weeping willows,
short term annuals,
having already died
their unceremonious death.
We pickup, clean up
the dried up dregs of the summer days,
and live to breathe again
the freshness of a cooling breeze.

Refreshed.

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Best Ever Oatmeal Cookies

It was almost three quarters of a century ago that I was relegated to the kitchen at the age of 12 years to cook for my farm family because I could not work in the fields.   I became sick (turned green) in the sun and my mother took my place in the fields and I,  her place in the kitchen.   Her brief directions were exactly that,  brief.   I learned quickly.

We took farm journals and farm newsletters and I scoured them for recipes.   One of my favorite recipes was an oatmeal cookie recipe that the family loved and especially my brothers.   The clipping in my scrapbook of recipes is brown with age and I think it has gone into public domain because it is so old and no name was attached to the article.  It was also a time when cookies were not a snack but a valuable part of the day’s calories.   It was also a time when children worked their chores and when the days were longer in the summer,  had some time to play.   This was a time for dreams and ideas and experimenting.   This was a time when the word ‘boring’ was not part of the language.  Because we knew that if we could not find something to do,  an adult would soon find that something and it would be work.

The recipe can be doubled  because the numbers are easy to remember.   If you decide to double make certain you have a sturdy mixer.   If you don’t, it is safer to do small batches  like this one.   You cannot go too wrong, (if at all) with this.   A minute longer in the oven makes them crisp,  too soon out and they are chewy.   Both conditions excellent.   A glass of milk is a fine accompaniment.   I made these this week and I had forgotten how good they are.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs   (added one at a time)
1 and 1/2 cups sifted flour   (I scoop the flour and shake the cup to level)
1/2 tsp salt    (I never add salt when I use baking soda.   I just never do)
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups oatmeal  (quick or regular)

Mix in the order given and drop by teaspoons.   Do not bother shaping as these spread during baking.   Bake on ungreased cookie sheets until light brown.   (approximately 10 minutes depending on your oven but watch because they brown quickly in the last minutes)  Wait a minute before removing from pan.   Move to racks or waxed paper on counter to continue cooling.

Good food is something everyone understands,  no matter the age.   They will think you are a genius.

1

Roses And Evergreens

Roses and Evergreen Do you wear the rose perfume?” she asked.   Yes I said and then she said that every time she caught the scent she wondered from where it comes and who walks with a bouquet of roses.  I wish it were so.   I would give you a rose.  . . . .thorns to be sure, but a rose with petals of baby skin and a scent reminding you of a place long buried in memory.

And coupled with the stringent passion of evergreen. . . both are the true measure of this woman pilgrim in journey.   The evergreen stands as a fulcrum of entry into a forest of refuge.   We belong here it says.   The rose for its scent of love and the evergreen, its passion.  Both marshaling the heart and mind unto the place I know best.

So we must paint roses in the cheeks of the newborn to remind them of the place from which they come.   And with the roses will come the scent they remember.  The evergreen will remind them also of what it is they hold as memory.   Remember the sabers were put across each other at the foot of the evergreen.   A constant reminder that peaceful skills must be honed each day and that they must be taught from the very first breath.  These memories will be sufficient to carry them to the end of their days.  They will remember and know the place that held their hearts and  that with these  they will find peace with understanding.   They need not speak of it but they will know each other by their actions and the love in their hearts.  Their hands will grasp each other and they will know then how much they were loved.

2

Camelot Moment

The words we chose to speak
could not be construed
to be words of great love,
but they were.

It was with gaiety that we chatted
about the commonplace
and laughed a lot.
We were happy.

I sat in my chair
at the dining room table
and watched with joy a moment rare
in our shared history.

My coffee cup
had been refilled so many times;
its taste was cutting sweet.
You had risen from the table
and in the space that was
the middle of the kitchen,
were moved by some unnamed force
to do a jig.

In the fragmented second it took
to blink away a laughing tear,
your form transformed
and there we were and yet not.

With feet doing your
ancestral dance in mid-air,
your solid body was no longer solid.
A maze of dancing atoms and molecules
took your shape.
Your color took on their transparency
and I thought how fragile you are!

It was just a moment
but eternity practising
and you were back into
the time frame we both knew as you.
I could not tell you what I saw.
The rules of this let’s pretend world
are hard to break.

I sit at this desk with
magically moving molecules,
drinking coffee from a supposedly
solid white cup and saucer
and holding tight to a yellow pencil
at a time when the rest of the world
sleeps and weeps.

Knowing the mountain
is only a thought form
and with a little faith in my ability
to move it, I could.
With our prejudices
we mightily construct a world
to please or not,
as our self image directs.

But in this brief Camelot moment,
I know that in that sacred space I saw you
so utterly defenseless,

I never loved you more, nor me.

5

I Sought My God

I sought my God
in pleasures great and small.
In beautiful places one was told,
He would be found.
I have traveled much this world
to know if God be found
across the sea, in foreign lands,
I had to seek.

The Roman soil was holy,
surely He would be there!
Though history stirred my senses,
my soul of God was bare.

The ancient Orient
was found to be mysterious
with holy rites for everything.
Surely God would have to be
entrapped,
but I found him not.

My journey seemed so fruitless,
though no greater sights I’d seen,
than ancient ruins pointing to God,
but God was nowhere I had been.

Returning  home I walked
my fields so late at night,
content that I had searched with might
in places far and near for Him,
but found him not.

But doubt within me stirred anew
and forced my face up to the heavens,
while to the ground my knees were bent
and heart and soul with God were rent.

I found there is no barrier
between my mind and my God.
He dwells in me and I in Him.
Eternal  truths forever stand
though time our visions dim.

Foolishly for years I’d sought
my God in places distant,
in books reread to catch elusive meaning.
For me this road was right,
for mind and thought were measure.

Each man must travel the road alone.
The way is clear, the journey long,
but oh the peace!
My mind has ceased its endless turmoil,
my feet their endless motion.

There is no death in this Great Plan,
just a passing on to greater things
of mind and heart and soul.
Inadequate are the words of man,

but my heart in great anticipation,  sings!

1

Effort Becomes The Way

Take ye  and do likewise He said
and I believed Him.
When effort becomes the way
and in a blink of an eye,
becomes a pleasure, nay fun,
one becomes suspect.

For in layman’s terms
work is not pleasure
but desultory means
of making a living.

Woe is the pilgrim
who in life respects
the physical means
of procuring sustenance.
That in its secret
one finds the ultimate answer.
That virtue is in the labor

and beauty is in the doing.

August 2013

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At Fifty One

This morning I took spade in hand
and dug the young and fragile marigolds
out of their crowded rows
and thinned them out.

With dowel in hand
I lifted these slender stems
into holes I designed for them.
I eased their change in residence
under a cloudy sky promising rain.  It did.
And their trauma was lessened
and their root protected
and in confidence they grow.

Yesterday I gave birth to new ideas.
Was it only yesterday?
I handled with great care their birthing.
I planted and thinned and transplanted
and kept them from flying
when they had no wings.
But when it was time,  I let go lightly.

Now it is another birth-day.
I will shed roles chosen and
and choose new ones.
I open myself to new ideas
and wear them hesitantly.
I will tell you of my journey
to this space in which
I find myself at fifty one,
knowing I am Creator and Creature both.

Having birthed ideas
whose essences are cosmic,
having nurtured the earth’s marigolds
whose roots are hers
and to know in the moment
how beautiful and right
it all is . . . . .

and could never be otherwise.

1982- even then I knew it to be my life’s journey-work

2

Conscience

Conscience is
a mouth guard I wear
to keep my heart from spilling
onto the cold, hard ground.
I would want my words
to meet your thoughts,
to brighten your furrowed brow
and dismiss the fear
from your eyes.

But only when I see
an invitation to speak
will I let loose the guard.
This is what I want to do.
All I need is one moment
of invitation and I run
like a greyhound chasing
the tail of a rabbit.

See me chancing
to have you run with me
when all I wish is a someone
even for a brief moment saying

I meet you here.

2013
Veronica

3

A Time For Making Peace

It is a time
for making peace. . . .
for actions that struck
the core of the heart. . . .
for words that sucked life
out of a body
still intent on breathing.

Those were actions and words
that should have been vented
when anguish and outrage
stole the child’s innocence.

And now with
the ends of the circle tightly knotting,
we quietly say our thanks,

for the Grace given
by understanding hearts
in the heat of the fire;
of love ventured into arms
needing the close embrace
of a forgiving Other.

It all comes full circle.
We step out and
the merry go round stops for a time.
Until again,

our zest for life is renewed.

May, 2013
Veronica

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