Author Archive | Veronica Hallissey

Excerpt from The Last Bird Sings

ExhibitionThe clapboard house we lived in was neat.  It had a mystery about it and even now memory brings forth details.  Being of an ethnic background, there were certain things incompatible with today’s understanding.  Things done in a certain way and values kept.
The cellar was where we lived our lives with meaning.   Within the nooks  was space for us all.  The round belly furnace was the center and was near the eating area.   Mother’s rocker was placed nearby and here she did her crocheting to the radio soap operas of Helen Trent and Ma Perkins.  The table held most of us with the fallout on a small table father built.  Generally we were on good terms.   In
such close quarters it proved better for all of us for when arms went swinging, the innocent were caught in the crossfire.
My sister and I had our play area in one corner near the fruit cellar.   But between the wall of the storage room, my brother nearest my age, (he 13, I-11)had his space.   A long table braced by the wall held all his balsam models.   They hung from wires at the ceiling and smelled wonderfully of wood and glue.   This brother spent hours bent over his models with the sensitivity of a surgeon.   The fine line of his particular schematic were followed diligently.   The tissue paper used to cover the stick frames  was zealously guarded.

The balsam was my undoing and his.   I would sneak a piece now and again and  happily munch on these rare and coveted pieces of wood.   I can still feel my teeth gently smashing into them just for the pleasure of it.   I would be on the lookout for these rare strips finding their way to the floor.   But one day, in a fit of craving,  I walked off with a section marked for major work.   Possibly a wing or a side panel of something.   When my brother found out what I had done, his anger took on proportions bringing on tears and loud voices from everyone.   He was after me in hot pursuit ready for revenge.  Suddenly my father appeared and the entire episode was no longer between siblings but a confrontation whose results stay with me yet.

My father brought out the cat o’nine tails.   It was heavy and rubbery and I shuddered when I saw it.  I don’t know where it came from but it was always there reminding us to behave.  This day my father held it while he tried to hold onto my brother.  I saw what was happening because of me and I screamed a scream that rang through the house and out the door and into the ethers and no doubt rings there still.

‘Stop it, stop it!  Don’t hurt him!  He is my brother!  He is my brother!’

And my father no doubt did not realize how he turned into the bad guy, trying to protect his daughter from being killed by her brother.   I do not remember if that black zombie ever came down on my brother’s fragile psyche but it did on mine symbolically.   I shrink from violence to this day.  I swallow injustices and insults and they lay like iron allies in the pit of my stomach.

The balsam act was that of a thoughtless but not malicious child.   But the fear and horror I felt at the sight of my brother’s punishment was that of a god witnessing the violation of another god.  I could not articulate this of course but I knew intuitively that this was what I saw.

And my words?  Torn from deep within me, perhaps screamed lifetime after lifetime but elevating that portion of us residing in flesh.   When violence is presented on the television screen,  I hear myself again.

‘Stop it, stop it!  Don’t hurt him!  I love him.   He is my brother!  He is my brother!’

I walk away.   The teacher said that out of the heart’s abundance the mouth will utter its words.   Out of sheer frustration,  out of love,  our of hatred will come the heart’s abundance.


Come To My Table

Come to my table
and sit awhile
and I will tell you tales
of years gone by,
attended by loves and those
who held magic in their hands.

We have supped
and laughed and cried some,
but mostly told the tales
that love spun out of gold.
It was a rich time;
not the coin of the day
but the values in the hearts
of those who dined.

It was magic
that threaded us together
through the years to find us
all at the same place, entwined.
But the love and the magic
may have been one and the same.

Do you think?


Our Sense Of Time

There is a sense of time
stretching from here
to other worlds whose names
are not in my vocabulary.
I am certain of here
because this is where I am.

I pushed away the snow
no longer pristine as first it came.
I took off my coat;
too heavy now with the approaching spring.
Too bad, I think, that the season of snow
is now so short.
Once it embraced the whole of me
that looked upon its arrival as enticing
as whipped cream on a piece of pie.

Its anticipation included holidays
that swallowed wicked witches,
soon  followed by grateful hearts
seated about the table
swollen with the summer’s harvest.

I put away the significant things,
sorting them for another year;
carefully storing memories
to be added to a life
already crowded with them.

I will remember this holy season
because of my fill of joy,
of heart shedding happiness.
In this world are the ways
we measure lives in holidays,
in holy days, in births and deaths,

only because of our sense of time.


Four Of Us Less One. . .

In Memory of David . . .

We sit and we break bread,
the  four of us less one.
We think of him but do not speak of him
who misses us as we miss him.

Our loss so great, the pain so blue,
we can but weep.
Yet so close we sit,
the thinnest veil between us,
the four of us less one.

We are who we are,
created by slow cooking
of heaven’s desire for perfection,
like garden vegetables simmering.

We’ve come through long years of drought
with parched throats and no cold storage
for the scrubby pickings of the mind’s  fruit.

Now it is morning,
fresh and free of pain, newborn.
We’ve slept the night on buckwheat pillows.
Now the promise
that our bowls will be filled
and we will eat.

Communion at the rail on bended knee,
waiting to be lifted up.


Kiss The Morning

Kiss the MorningUntil Spring reaches all of all of us,  I will be posting a few of my winter scenes still for sale.   Those of you who have seen ones I have posted before and wonder if they are still available, contact me .     There are some where I  have used the verses over but with slightly different colors and fabric. Winter is my favorite season of the year and though I can appreciate all of the others for what they offer,   the crispness of the winter air still clears the cobwebs of the sultry days of summer.   So when the locusts begin their singing in the July and August nights, I breathe easier.   For then my memories of angels in the snow begin and life is good.   Contact me if this young woman’s stride into the morning is what will begin your day.



In memory of Dennis whose laughter I will forever remember


Fierce as the fighter
at sword’s end,
he pierces the ethers
with feet pursuing
in active rite
a holy destination.

With easy strides
cutting the air cleanly,
his pursuit begins in quest
of his ecstasy;
bought at the cost
of a body agonizing
through every muscle bleeding
and every bone melting
in final deliberation.

Hot breath searing
past a throat whose tongue
cannot feel teeth
mounted in place for a lifetime,
he swallows the wind in great gulps
and finds he swallows.  .  .  .  .

the  Amen.  .  .   .   .



In the case of young women who have cracked glass ceilings,  I wish to remind them that generations of women have prepared partners for them who wish to parent their children.  That there were women free of commitments or those who shrugged those commitments  to do what they felt was theirs over the years  was a miracle of sorts.  There were others who had to care for their commitments and could only dance in place.   It is a larger picture than one generation and several lifetimes in the making.  The lone voice of Betty Friedan started the  uproar to the top floors and it was the shoulders of the generations of women our young women today have used as a staircase to the upper floors.


In waves, the moans
of the conscience stricken reached the heavens.
In waves, across the lands,
reaching tidal proportions,
the laments were cradled in the clouds;
due in time to wash across the hearts of the unborn.

The cries of why? why? and why?
were epidemic as they swept the Great Mind
and lodged in its bosom.
The gods, bewildered, wondered why (themselves)
the questioning continued when in ages past
man learned so well.

But now the ‘why?’ from woman’s lips
demanded an answer
to soothe her breast grown bloody with irritation;
a cancer eating her insides,
moving earth as well as heaven to answer.

‘I said’ no longer was sufficient for the rising tide
of an ego too long suppressed
and not to know its day.
No longer sufficient to walk in shadow,
when knowledge, full blown was hers.

The ‘I said’ no longer held terror
from either God or Man.
‘I said’ no longer could be used
to keep suppressed the horror in the cry
falling on man’s ears.

The children vanished from the hearth
and woman rose, unafraid.
No more the reason of hunger or cold
from winter’s snow to cover the babies’ heads,
as she found her head immune to pain
inflicted by mindless gods, both earth’s and heaven’s.

Too late she knew, but all in due time.
For progress, such as it was, had reason to bed.
The heel must first strike the ground
before the foot implants.

She did not know the muscle she had
to carry life’s burdens,
nor the control it required to balance it all.
Unknowingly, the ballet performance

was exquisite.

Sept. 1987


The Need For Connections

It is a fact of life that when things are offered and we do not accept them, then when we want them, we find they are withdrawn.   It is a matter of inner vision, not having to do with sight.   We cannot see our need at the time.   But upon thinking and when we see their value, we find it is too late.

We then of course are sorry.   Whether the thing is offered by a person or because we are in a fortunate situation at the time, we do not

Nature's Wonder

Nature’s Wonder

accept because we have no need.   But to check one’s vision, to see a need before it arises means that one makes connections.   Timing is of the essence.   One must see how the connections between past occurrences and present happenings are related.  The moment becomes all to most people because to live in the moment is the current thought.  But without the substance of the past, the present has no meaning.  It is of itself, sterile.  To bring this home to us, we must think of who we have been to bring us to who we are in this moment.

And if we do not instill meaning in the present today, tomorrow will be bereft.   it will have no meaning and of itself, sterile.   We must avail ourselves when opportunities for change are given.  Too many think that today is born immaculate without the impact of yesterday.   If we do not see how our yesterdays have laid their mark on us, then we will not see how our actions today will affect our tomorrows and those of our commitment.

And we will not see how our harsh winter will yield to a benevolent spring.


Kiss The Moon Winner

I am pleased to announce that the winner of the drawing of Kiss The Moon is Luanne Thulstrup who is from the Northwest.   I wish to thank all those who entered and viewed my work.   And I wish to thank Maria Wulf for her generous offer to speak of the drawing on Full Moon Fiber    She touches many people in ways we can only scarcely see.

And to all of you who found my work to be interesting and with a bit of surprise I do hope that you will continue to be visitors and to bookmark me.  I will be running drawings now and again for my books and a possible wall quilt at times.  Comments I especially look for because it is a way for me to judge what group responds to what I have written.

I especially want to encourage the broadening of our premises.   In a world with so many challenges,   we need broader foundations upon which to build our spiritual need of brotherhood.   It may be on our shoulders that this responsibility falls.   There is no doubt that we are equal to it.   Again,  I thank all of you,  and special thanks to Maria.


Poetry Book Drawing

Kiss The Moon Book Cover


This week there will be a drawing for the book of poetry called Kiss The Moon.   The number picked will be at random and I will announce the winner on Friday.   So when you comment on whatever post you like or have thoughts about,   I will be notified and I will put names in a container and the name will be drawn.

This is the first time I have done this and Maria at has been my encouragement.  I know there are many of you who like my poetry and perhaps you will be the one to be drawn this week.   The names through Thursday night will be eligible.

I am looking forward to the response from my readers.   I have enjoyed your e mails but you must go to to register your name and comments.   You will have four (4) days to do this.   The second printing cover of my book has slightly different printing, otherwise the art work is the same.   And most of the poetry on my blog is in the book.  Good luck to you.


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