However long. . . .
Coming into a chosen family will be what someone will call a misfit. And the label will stick. This often is a child with a need to know everything and talk. There will not be anyone to listen. Because there will be other children, work to do, buses to catch, and excuses given on the spur of the moment.
I don’t have time to listen will be the mantra. And the child grows to be adult with the need still unfulfilled. Because in the course of life, there will be work and school, meetings and planes to catch and television. Now of course we add hand held devices.
The need continues in those born with the desire to learn and talk but there is no matching soul with a similar need. The sweet hours of the night are filled with the best conversations, though silent they be. No matter the fatigue of the soul, the mind conversations are filled with wonder and appreciation.
I awoke with the words, however long the night is, and wondered perhaps I read them someplace. Years of research never found them anywhere. It proved to me again, that we are not abandoned. It is included in Psalms of Love. . . get it for the one you love. . . .
However long. . . .
However long the night is,
is however long we’ll talk.
A tongue dismembered from its throat
is punishment too severe to be humane.
It has taken a life of silence
to filter through its members;
lessons enough for the toughest skin to break.
I have marched with your words
through endless tasks,
through nights not filled with magic.
And heard the harangue from compressed lips
tearing even the plea of forgiveness from Me.
Now I promise.
In the stillness of the life you know
I will come for you. In the light of the night
I will make my way
and no walls will bar my entry.
I will sit the night and across the table
a hand will clasp the one you call your own.
And in the magic of words spoken
I will listen to the story built
to house lives of wonder.
It has taken too long.
And we, the each, will speak and listen
and as the words flow like rivers
toward their delta, in ribbons of courage,
we will stay the night.
And however long the night is,
is however long we’ll talk.
(photo by John Holmes)
Believe because it is true. . . . .
As we approach Valentine’s Day, to all who are bereft and do not or have not known love, what is missed is something you have known somewhere at some time else you would not know you miss it.
One day it will be yours again. It will be a Given and you will know it because your name will be on that Valentine and you will be cherished for who you are . Without conditions. Because what is seen in you and cherished is what you do not see.
That is what makes you so special. Why the world does not see this obvious part of you baffles the heavens. It is a love you have known and matches what is in your heart.
You will broach the heavens this night and take a walk through the Galaxy and swing through the stars. You will see again the love you embrace in your heart and know that forever you have had arms to enfold you. Never were you abandoned. Never.
One day you will feel the familiar fit of those arms again. For however long as necessary. This poem is for you.
This Valentine Heart . . .
Here it is I am with all that I’ve gathered;
completed to form just what you see.
The flakes have scattered in splendid ways
to carpet the floor as bed for my heart.
Pick it up if you please but handle with care.
Sorely I need, a tender touch.
Life has tested me to rare form.
I worked it all like Job and wanted not to fail.
See, this Valentine heart laid splendid on
the floor of the forest but loved to the ultimate
by the god whose creation I am.
I had a journal entry I looked at that had hostility levied on differences in us and I thought it time to look at what unites as human beings. It is a simple character attribute.
When we were children our parents expected we would be truth tellers. We were asked the simple question. . brushed your teeth? The second question followed.. . . why is your toothbrush dry? We learned to tell the truth.
I was working with a lot of resentment one day unloading groceries in front of the house when a car pulled up and a young woman wanted to know where was a certain address. She had underpaid a woman for an item at a garage sale and needed to make good on that. She left and I continued with my task.
She returned and waved. And thanked me and I said it was such a nice thing to do. She said she must because My God Watches Me . I looked at the open young face with a scarf hiding her hair and aware the hostility making heavy the air we breathe and the prejudiced perceptions circling.
While I had too many things to do and again at fault for being late, I would have to admit my resentment adding to the heaviness of the air we breathe. I did not share her belief system, but the Divine Within us both shared our humanity. Time to make good on that.
MY GOD WATCHES ME. . .
Over and over I create and recreate
situations and ordeals, arguments and wars
with symbolic enemies, but sometimes not.
I must of need watch my responses,
my actions and motives lest my
God think less of me.
So I spare my God further
annoyance by monitoring myself.
The situations and ordeals are best kept in mind.
I articulate my position to establish myself
several times in the course of a day.
The wars and arguments are pacified, only after
words become too tiresome to continue.
Peace becomes the only option.
I work toward perfection and a hard work it is.
As anyone who knows me would agree.
It is necessary though, you see,
for my God watches me.
I watch-dog my actions and harness my tongue
and change hurtful thoughts with labored caring.
It means I reconsider my earnest evaluations
of mine enemies and present the other cheek.
I prepare myself for sainthood
while I breathe the rarified air of my benign earth.
And watch myself as my God watches me.
Not so easy to do, this monumental work
Of my internal warts and
grievous errors, I am deeply conscious.
But perhaps I prevent them
from penetrating my soul
as long as I keep close the knowledge
that my God watches me.
Artwork by Claudia Hallissey
In Conference. . . .with the Sages. . .
From a journal entry of January 1993 where I had been in the midst of researching Jesus . .the teacher asked me to put my thoughts down. . . (It was a stressful time in our lives. I wrote the following)
Jesus took on a monumental task. From a god who was seen as unmerciful, all attributes people found in themselves, Jesus translated this new spirit, this universal nimbus of benevolence, maybe benign, into a god of magnificent parental concern and love which took a great deal of courage.
The god of the people at the time was what they were, mean and unmerciful, jealous, vengeful while the god of Jesus was exactly what man could become. Kind, thoughtful, loving, qualities still to be uncovered within the human heart.
The original premise at the time was not what we consider mankind today, in a majority of cases. It has been a matter of example, of education, a primer on earth or elsewhere in thought. And that goes in the face of all men are created equal.
That also puts one squarely to think how many lifetimes to get to the place where love for one’s own begins to show.
The Jesus of the New Testament took upon himself or contracted with full knowledge, to change concepts. Would we have had fewer religious wars if he had been revered with no argument? Considering the times and the Romans?
The testimony was enough to stand on its own. It was a philosophy of merit but also logic. I say that even when heads of religions have argued the point.
I was told I was crazy and who did I think I was when I grappled aloud questions like these. Better heads than yours was argued and are paid big dollars. Obviously, yet we fight wars and kill and wound and maim and rape.
So where are the better heads? I have grappled with the nitty gritties of caregiving and even sweated in the sun at hard jobs while I worked just as hard with these questions. I hear. . . you know when you hold a hot wire. . . .and was asked to explain my ‘nimbus’. . .
(I see it not as a cloud or halo but an essence. Something circling and permeating at the same time from which all manner of things are evident. A touching, a hearing, a tasting of ultimate knowledge. It changes as I change.
Today I am the ultimate knowledge of who I am this minute, this fraction of a second but in the next concern I am another ultimate.
The ultimate god would be the sum total of knowledge held, plus all the equations coming from that knowledge that would blend, qualify and direct toward a becoming of something different.
God is change. From where did Jesus come where this knowledge was evident? And from where did I come to think this and participate in life to chafe as I do?)
The Teacher said and I scribed the following: [ You ask the questions you do and the answers come when the footwork is done. The first premise ever put forth was that by the time the question is asked the answer already is known. Else how to form the question?]
(A grandson wanted me to start blogging and set me up in 2011 and designed the blog. I posted the foreword from Kiss The Moon in September of 2012 because he thought it was important that readers know how and why I write.
There are new readers not familiar with my writing so I repeat this to answer the question how I keep my faith in Life in the light of chaos. It has not been a walk in the park but a horrendous journey at times but when the dark times lifted it was with a renewed sense of I was not abandoned.
With the coming of my century mark in little more than a decade, I live with a philosophy mended with extra yarn to cover the rips in my life. It has worked for now. I will demand broader horizons in my next address. This time required my very best efforts. I apologize for being no fun but it was what it was.)
Foreword from Kiss The Moon . . .
The sun was bright coming in through the high windows on that first day of English Lit at the University. (I was 18.) The professor was introducing herself to us and I don’t know when my attention wavered, but when I looked down at my paper I found I had written these words, ‘Fear death, ahh I do because I love life so much’! I did not know where these words came from but it was an affirmation and I realized that those words had always been true.
Even today there would be argument as to the source of them. My thoughts mix smoothly with what I consider a given and myself the instrument through which it comes. I know when the work is mine. I also know when a thought is inserted or given. And when one is given, there is a giver.
A leap must be taken when the truth of that statement is faced. It is the reason people go to church on Sunday or to the synagogue on their Sabbath. As a friend said to me it is what we hope is true. Yet when faced day after day with significant events or thoughts, it is a puzzle as to why the evidence does not speak to the person. It will eventually and when it does, it will be the right time.
For me the beginning was in the classroom but took possession of a corner of my mind and stayed there while other things were happening. Though I was always alert to the thoughts that seemed to come from nowhere, there was this portion of me that tested the limits of what was my history
And then one night, while sitting at the desk I found words tumbling over themselves and when I was finished, a poem had been born. I found myself wondering exactly how this all came about. Surely I must have memorized this some long ago. But nowhere could I find this poem. And it was not the kind of work I would have done on my own.
So I read it to the family and they laughed because it was comical but philosophical. And we let it go at that. Nobody of course believed me as to how it came about.
It took a letter to my mother to convince me that there was a Presence in my life. I started the letter and suddenly the words were writing themselves and the missive was one of good thinking and good psychology. And from that point on, the muses, or the Teachers as I often call them, were my companions.
There are those who say that within the layers of the human being there is knowledge and this knowledge rises when stresses demand answers or directions. This could very well be, and I would not argue this point at all.
But when a grateful heart murmurs a thank you and the response in mind is you’re welcome, followed by a sense of rightness and companionship and love, then one knows there is a Presence.
It has been a war of words over a lifetime. A philosophy has been hammered out and though it may not rest comfortably with organized religion, still I have woven a philosophical blanket with mended holes that has managed to keep me warm. It has taken all the years of my life and it has been a hard work.
But I would not have missed a day of it.
(artwork by Claudia Hallissey)
I was sick to my stomach. I had trouble breathing . I had to stop before I had another cardiac arrest. Hearing of the harsh brutality inflicted upon the Jews made me vomit when I was ten. Studying the holocaust nearing a lifetime of ninety years had the question continuing, why one man with such an evil idea of hatred started a war of blood and extermination only with the power of thought.
And a world of people praying for peace, desired peace and yearning brotherhood could not bring power to their idea. Yet the power of one man’s thought to destroy cannot be overcome by worlds of
love for brotherhood? Not one man nor group of theologians, officials, countries, institutions, not one religion to stop this evil course to destroy civilization?
We must question our belief systems. We must look at what indeed gives impetus to our lives so that when we are against the wall and cannot move an inch, we buckle. Why our judgment is so faulty as to allow power and greed to destroy and maim not only those who are living, but by trauma, Loves, trauma, where the psychological damage to our genetic heritage is irreversible.
It is passed through the genes and what we have are those of us whose memory is so deeply etched that living again will be those who will demand an eye for an eye. No matter how far down the line we go. No matter how far down.
It is through education that we reach the heart of man. We must teach the children and be the example we wish to teach. Only when we exhibit and are a living testament to love and tender mercies, can we reach the hearts that waver. The warm hand of the father on the brow of the child, and the beating heart in the breast of the mother in time with the child, will teach where words do not reach.
It must be done before exiting the front door to kindergarten. Hold their hands while you can. Yet. Still.
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.
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 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.
(How could it happen, how? It is such a gentle culture, so soft and warm. Weronika, moya serce, Weronika, ja cie kocham. . . Veronica, my heart, Veronica, I you love. . .a girl, at ten and she weeps still. The Polish culture is love embraced and so vivid was Winter Journey and Mosaic by Diane Armstrong that they will companion me and forever haunt. . )
Thoughts For These Times. . . .
On this historic day let us remember. . . .what is hidden will surface and cannot be forever controlled.
Manipulation is the black boot sitting on the head.
He wondered aloud whether he should drop Philosophy. There is no other class worth the taking I said, except Ancient History and the Humanities. And possibly The Religions of Man and maybe The Root of Languages. . . where my love has it gotten us?
You cannot fix much, can you, when no one puts a name to that which is broken?
One thing I have learned that if it is not done here where we are, it is not done elsewhere. Do now what you see to be done for there will not be this particular chance nor these favorable circumstances again.
Within the each is the knowledge that their God will rescue them. Is it knowledge or is it faith? Is this why people don’t try harder? You see, try they do. Doing is what they don’t.
Life in a crucible is life in human form.
We create what we earnestly desire. Whether it be a life or a condition.
To hope for something you see is a wanting. To hope for something you don’t see is a yearning, a remembering.
The very things we feel are stifling us can be the very things we draw strength from. There is a continuity in all life and to draw on what we choose to be good for us takes a great deal of maturity.
We are so apt to discard everything before we realize there are things of worth needing to be held onto.
It is the process of evaluation which separates man not only from animals but also from his own kind.
Freedom of choice is a responsibility. It is also a sacrament.
Psychic phenomena is truly memory. It is memory from another time and place. When my mentor, the Nazarene, spoke of talents and told multitudes to increase those, to me he spoke of being open and working with what was within. He also spoke of what moth and rust do not destroy which are things of the mind.
Not material things, but ideas, things learned that hold us in good stead for worlds we will enter. Man was closer to his Source than he would ever be again. There were things man did easily and with no hesitancy because it was commonplace to do them. To some, things were magic but to others it was simply a knowledge of principles at work.
To turn water into wine, to walk on water, or to be able to feed multitudes with scarcity of bread are discredited by those as a turn of phrase. That there are principles of illusion at work or the knowledge of them, are quickly dismissed. But there are worlds where these principles are at work and those who come to birth in Earth soon learn to hesitate in using them.
The fear of ridicule is great and history of our own Salem, MA is still uppermost in the memory of the most vulnerable. There are others who do not relish the intent of memory. That they are painful and confronting means immense work. They simply are not cognizant of the rewards. Yet memory is what composes us all.
In order for no rip or dichotomy in us, there must be a sifting and sorting to gain courage to stand and say what we remember. We are recognized by a parent or both that we are different. And most of us were told by parents or by the church that to dabble in spirits is the work of the devil. And Salem took care of those we learned.
Hard going for those of us who could not silence the memories or the remembering. Labeled too smart for your own good, or worse, who do you think you are, are levelers of the soul. The sadness lies in the fact of innocence and naivete, in the not knowing that these are gifts of supreme talent and high caliber.
Levelers are employed to keep one in place. This too, we learn and carry with us and make better choices.
Consider This. . .
What makes you think we do not use
a worker who thinks and injects
new thought in old ways?
What makes you think we would let loose
the likes of you in a world for frolic,
for nothing more than waste?
We look for farmers for the vineyards,
for the fields needing seed,
for feed, for thought, for starving minds
as well as bodies.
Where we put you is in a place of value,
of your talents, of your loves, of your
sweet thoughts feeding the children of all ages.
How else to sweep clean the Father’s house?
Machiavelli’s letter to Vettori. . . .
In the Vettori letter, Machiavelli had written the following, “The evening being come, I return home and go to my study; at the entrance I pull off my peasant clothes, covered with dust and dirt and put on my noble court dress and thus becomingly reclothed, I pass into ancient courts of the men of old, where being lovingly received by them, I am fed with that food which is mine alone; where I do not hesitate to speak with them and to ask for the reason of their actions and they in their benignity answer me and for four hours I feel no weariness, I forget every trouble, poverty does not dismay, death does not terrify me; I am possessed entirely by those great men.”
(I have said so often to those who care about me, that when my evening comes and my world sleeps, I get a second wind and take to my books. And it is within the solitude of my self, I have the conversations and learn of great things that I, in this very humble human body, have not been able to afford either the lessons or time to dedicate my life to. It is only within the dark ending hours of the day that time is mine and my advocates take me into their charmed circle and from them come the arguments and chants of lifetimes of learning. These are served to me on dishes of great beauty and is the food which feeds the starving mind. It is a charmed circle I enter and I am a cherished participant. I could not write these words and mean them if they were not true and if this had not been my life. It would be impossible for me to conjure this scene unless I was part of it.
There will be those who ask what is it she smokes? And I only smoked the legal stuff when I smoked until my heart stopped twice and then I stopped. I do not drink so my writing is sober. But when I write it is with a heart beating to full capacity and words spilling onto the paper that I find compelling. They have been faithful friends through my years and here I am at the closing hours of a lifetime grateful for so many good things. And with gratitude that lessons were taught that have stood me in good stead when things were not good to my thinking. I pause and let the poetry speak.)
(excerpted from The Ancestor . . )
Mine (world) is shadowed by memories,
searching for a haunting place.
I make room for memories. They will live and move
and have their being in me.
They may forget my name but somewhere in time,
a memory will rise and a child will make room for me.
I will welcome her and assure her that I live
and that life is everlasting.
(excerpted from We Can Go Home Again. .)
I’ve taken the long way home and
nearing the gate, please catch me, I say
and pull me on through.
I will answer c’est moi, it is I,
to prove we can go home again and again.
Plato pronounced two thousand years ago, the reply he puts into the mouth of Socrates while waiting to drink the Hemlock. “I would not positively assert that I shall join the company of those good men who have already departed from this life; but I cherish a good hope.”