Archive | Touchstone

By Whose Authority? . .I Am My Own Authority! .

When this photo came the other day I could see a young woman of stature and maturity in answer to the question ‘By whose authority?. . . whatever the problem. . . .  saying firmly that ‘I am my own authority!. . . . ‘ because her ancestry endows her.  I give a brief synopsis. . .

Her great great grandmother
the Jenny. . .

to the question by whose authority?    ‘Because I said so, that’s why!’
I heard it often enough.

Great Grandmother Veronica when
over 60 years old answered the Literature
Professor. . . .

Not being a member of the Church how do you know what is right to do?
Grandmother great answers. .‘I have a heart and knowledge.  I know what is right.’

Grandfather a retired Teacher
of English and Drama and
Grandmother an artist and retired
Teacher of Art

In love with this ongoing surprise of a granddaughter 2 days a week after 3 sons,
enriching her life with words and art and laughing with fun always.

Both parents working to maintain a home and lives of meaning and enrichment for a new family.  Hoping also for some rest.  This is only half of the picture  that is mine to see.  This is my side of Emma E.  The maternal side I surmise and hope to meet one day is as rich because I know Emma E.’s mother.

Life always holds the sparklers and is balanced.  And if in this world plans go askew, in another world they come to fruition.  To the question at the top By Whose Authority Do You Speak?. . . Emma E. will answer with a curt,  I Am My Own Authority! And she will silence the critic.  With this Grandmother Great’s blessing,  I assure you.


Honed Beliefs Made Manifest. . .purpose of lives lived. . . .

A value system is what is honed by a lifetime or many lifetimes lived as beings,  and not necessarily only as the human that we know.  It can reflect lifetimes of worlds not visible to the human system of values or cognizance of them.  What the value system will show is what has been driven through the heart of one to become what it is they are, who it is they are.

A value system cannot be measured by words, nor can it be described by words.  We can say  we hold this  to be of worth but the meaning to each will differ.  What it cannot convey is what the individual’s heart holds as value.

When the values of one are betrayed by someone of worth to the individual, either by words or actions,  the eyes will tell you of the hurt the wrong has done.  Here again, that hurt to be felt by another, can be understood only when it is within the frame of cognizance, of reference.

Otherwise it will be a matter with little meaning and as easily dismissed as a flick of the wrist.  Or a shrug. Aaahhhh they will say, a nothing.  No big deal.  But a big deal it will be to the one afflicted.  It will be a devastation and it will tumble worlds that have taken lifetimes to construct.

Values are gifts we shoulder from one generation to another.  The thoughtful ones gather the cores of the worthwhile that enhances the growth of humanity.  It begins always within the four walls of where cognizance emerges.  It is a responsibility; it is a sacrament.

It is long past the time we treat it as such.

A Belief System. . . .

It is a belief system designed
to hold together an idea.
It floats, this idea,
in the Sea of Tranquility
where the I of me resides.

Someday I will suspend my belief
that holds me to this place
hiding my jewels.

It is a beautiful spot I have made
to hide those jewels and no one
will find them.

They will be forever hidden
in a place no one chooses to look;
the hearts and minds of those who love
this Earth with passion.
Surprised they will be to see
in the palm of their hand

the keys of the kingdom.                                                       


The Farm by
Kathy Rybacki Qualiani

The Brothers by Artist
Claudia Hallissey


Later Comes Too Late. . . .


Not now!  Later! . . . .

It is time to be reminded not to spend recklessly what we cannot recover.  It was a late night comedian we were watching and he was interviewing a married couple who were both American song stylists.  Already you know it was  some time ago.

 Asked how they stayed married for so long (over 25 years and had grown sons) she said,  we have never had an indepth conversation!  That was my generation’s lifestyle though not everyone’s choice.

This poem has words for those who would like sufficient time to put thoughts on the table to be picked up one by one and allowed to be heard to completion. But what is heard going out the door is, not now! Later! 

But later comes too late.

However long the night is. . . .

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.


(haunted forever by a photo such as this when time and place to talk were held sacred.  Where and when memory does not reveal.)

photo by John Holmes


The Spoken Moment. . .

The Spoken Moment . . .

There are moments rare in our shared history that are so special that they must be spoken aloud.  I have too often not spoken them, and I regret that.  Now I speak and they may inspire you to speak yours out loud.

We were sitting at the island between the kitchen and family room and chatting at dinner.  Grandson Josh was chef and ably slicing what he had just grilled.  He is our chef and just plain good.

We had come through some difficult times and I was grateful to be among family.  In my gratitude I blurted out I feel so at home!  And Joshua caught my words immediately with chin lifted and carving knife in air responded, you are home, Gram.  You are home!

And I knew we were on the same wavelength.  It happens and if we are swift to catch these moments, they are ours forever.

When they happen, it behooves us to be aware of them.  We know the child or children born to us who are more of one parent than the other.  Biology teaches though there is more of the grandparents in the grandchildren than parents, whether human or fruit fly.

So, when everything is in sync, working as it was and I felt at home, Josh responded from the same source as mine.  There have been other times in my life when I failed to exclaim my joy fearing to be embarrassing.

My gratitude goes out when feelings sweep over me for shared times.  My thank yous are profuse and not expected I am told but regrets are too burdensome for me.

A heart will respond in like manner when it speaks in truth, either in joy or sorrow.  It must.  The consequences are dire, truly dire, if it does not.  Because our names are attached, we must pick up our mistakes.

Owning them, we must repair, however long it takes.  Eternity is a long time, so consider it.

To Savor the Minute . . .

Could we take the time to savor
this minute and hold it close?

There will be more minutes but none
more special than this one.

It tells me that you treasure our friendship
to show our true feelings

that connect us, one to the other.
I will remember the marks on my life

you put there when you took time
to rescue the self I thought I lost.

Today I am whole.  Forever drawn as a heart
beating steadily as if with an inserted pacemaker,

but with gratitude transcending its beat.


artwork by Claudia Hallissey


Its Own Amen. . . .


In The Quiet Of This Night . . .

In the quiet of this night,
come to me and we will hold hands
and talk and I will show you
from high up you jumped.

The night will love you
and envelop you
and you will find
that in the cold moon
there is a heat that sustains
to show you where your home is.

Within the skirts of who you are,
you will gather
the children around you
and we will love each other.

The heart knows its own Amen. . . . .


Sometimes it takes awhile and then the words pick their own photo to illustrate their intention.  And I cannot find argument just awe.  VRH


The Jenny Genes. . . .this Mother’s Day. . .

She was a formidable woman with a bundle of energy having the potential to create another world.  She wielded this energy with considerable force.  That said, the heavens took note of Jenny and decided that this creature would not be wasted.

And she wasn’t.  Hand in glove she pushed her progeny.  Told them all what to do and how to do it if they stumbled.

And marched them to church, whatever one was closest because her god lived everywhere, in the barnyard, in the fields, in the orchards and in the house.

She feared the health department would hang a contagious sign on her door unless we were brushed dry with a stiff brush.  Altogether, she was a force to contend with.

There were no hugs, no I love you in my childhood.  She believed the movie star as I read to her from a magazine that I bought with school milk money when he said he only kissed his children when asleep.  He’s right she said.  Let other people praise you.

She was in the orphanage at five and did not know of love.  She knew of work at eight years because that’s when the foster family took her into their house and barroom to be a live-in helper.  She knew that no one feeds you for nothing as she often said.

But memories are built with the security of the aroma of cinnamon breads and mince pies and angel wings with powdered sugar like the dust of stars.  She manifested love in the good work of her hands. Home and children squeaked clean of her caring.

The warmth of newly polished stove pipes was sent throughout the house.  Everything was fragrant including us children with the scent of Sweetheart soap.  Holidays brought the pungent sharpness of evergreen and unbridled excitement of eight siblings.

What the parents didn’t know of love, we siblings brought our histories to teach each other and even our parents.  They knew to care for what they brought into the world, best as they could.  The public-school nurse marveled at us with our white starched clothes and wondered how our mother managed.

The last days she knew I walked with one foot in other worlds so was able to share openly her departure.  It eased closure for us both.  I now watch the jenny genes in all her progeny as they reveal themselves.

Not a walk in the park but I hope they find as I have because life demanded it, that she gave to us an unbelievable strength.  With gratitude,  I am your daughter, Veronica


artwork by
Claudia Hallissey


Let Your Light So Shine. . . .

Let Your Light So Shine. . .

There are some souls who are among us that simply light up our lives.  We often cannot say exactly why but they bring a feeling of it’s okay now, or now we can begin, or simply bring together parts of us that have no putting place.

It’s as if they are sealing together what may fragment at any moment.

They may not be the most beautiful, or the best dressed, or picture what is the most popular in the main stream today.  They may smell of baby powder or motor oil or bleach.  They may be wearing overalls with rips from what they work on, or flour from what they are cooking or frazzled clothes from a day with teaching a classroom of children.

They may be old and crotchety and disheveled, or they may be well dressed this moment or newly hatched as Emma E. is in this photo.  But their eyes are wide and filled with awe at the day’s beginning or end.

They have this air about them as I have stated that fill one with an it is an okay world.

And they smile with a secret you hope they will share with you.  They have a knowledge that has escaped you though you have purged the pages of all books searching for words that will be the answer you search for.  They have that peace that passes understanding sought by all the religious in the world and their congregations.

Dressed fashionably or disheveled, mussed up or combed, this bundle of love called Emma E. is a welcome addition every time she appears.  With her comes hope that the world is okay for this moment and tomorrow will come also with sunshine somewhere.  And it will still be a good world.

There are answers for all of us should we take the time and do the footwork.  It is our longest journey.  Some are freshly minted and young, but come with a history nevertheless.  From where, it is up to us to figure out.  It is our job, our work, our purpose to learn, while we make a life and a living.

We are god participants in this world.  The Divine shines within and our lives must match this inner Light.  Some are here to remind us and give hope that we too, can find it.


photo by
Tresy Hallissey, grandfather


Work? . . Are we god-enough to do it?. . .

When we are plagued with a problem and have tried everything we can think of and those things we invent and the problem is still with us, we then conclude there is no answer.  If there was an answer, the problem would be solvable.

There would be circumscribed ways of doing things and we could impart excitement. With unsolved problems comes hope that somehow, someone, some way will come up with something to solve a situation that has not been thought of, has not been tried.

That is why hope springs eternal.  Not because a god will step in but that man with his many ways and histories, will bring together thinking that may yet save a people, a species, a planet.

Hope that what has not been tried before or tried before with no results, a someone will come forth to overcome a barrier and the unthinkable, the impossible and the unlikely this time will work.

When it is a person problem, we will forgive and all will be forgiven.   We will have unlocked  the door that bars entry for the pilgrim and we will be hailed the miracle.

To create peace within chaos will bring diverse peoples together.  If only within our house and that would be all that is necessary.  For if just one place has peace within its walls, all places would eventually have peace.

But we must do the footwork, be the ones to do this work as if fatigue is no problem.  For the ones who have used all psychological devices and reasons know if they see it to do, it is theirs to do.   Others may walk by and see nothing.     What to lose?  Nothing.   What to gain?  Everything.

We  may feel we are carrying the whole load but we know if we have been given sight,  we must use it.   Others may be handicapped in ways not visible.  If we continue to think that it is somebody else’s job, we are the loser.

If we see it to do, and it is not getting done, it is ours to do.   Simple as that.  This is our world.  It is our present.

We will not be tired for long because we know the why of what we do.  When we do for one, we do for all and we are another step closer to brotherhood.

But we were told that.  Ours to do because we see it.  Are we god-enough to do it?

Hardest Lesson. . .

They don’t know  yet,
the ones closest to me, friends and all. . .
why I do things the way I do.

It is because I know the good
in the work and the beauty in the body
doing what mind tells it to do.

It is a dance, a mind and body ballet.
It has taken centuries of many lives
to learn and it was no simple matter.

The hardest thing to purge was thinking
I was above doing such menial work.
While all the time I had to learn

how to be god-enough to do it.


photo by Kathy Qualiana


Roses and Evergreens. . . what happened to the dream?

  We Are The God Participants and We Carry the Dream. . . .

My stamina is low or nil.  I think I can do something because my head envisions,  but my body does not follow.  I spend time now waiting for this national nightmare  to end and find others adding to the nightmare.  I had such good hope for our officials and find that they are less, less than what they portrayed.

I seem to be not a good judge of character in this life.  What should be ethical and lawful behavior is not the official frame of reference.

Am I gullible and naïve and unrealistic as to what keeps this world turning?  Hopelessly out of step as I was called?  But I still hold that what I consider good and ethical behavior on my part is what I expect of others also.

Is it so out of thought in this day?  When it makes my mouth gape open stupidly and I am without words, does it show ignorance or shock at what I view?

Whose world is it I mirror?  What do I hold highest and best and ethical?  Am I so out of step?  Yet because I frame the question, I know the answer.  And I am in shock.  I cannot believe what my eyes are seeing and what I am hearing.  Do you not see it also?  I ask you, do you not hear it also?

Why is it I cringe with open mouth?  Why am I aghast?  I am almost a hundred years old minus a bit over a decade.  Yet appalled and embarrassed  because I see  a lack of character and cannot see a future for my progeny without a country whose constructs are honesty, courage, truth with love for its genesis that conceived its birth.  Do I not speak clearly?

It goes against who I am born into this life with a head that had memory of some places elsewhere.  And yet knowing this country would be a paradise for me because nowhere was there such a place of lush growth, evergreens and roses, and such high hopes with my word being my truth, my honor and my bond.

Yet watching what goes on within my government and listening to officials answering questions with whatever is convenient in the moment, makes me see once again my Mentor sparking blue with anger and turning over the money tables shouting Liars, ye are all Liars!

What happened to the dream?  This has been such a hard time.  That I am disheartened would be a mild statement.  When I know we are the god participants of this Earth and the reason it either works or does not.  And we might be the reason it goes down the tube again.

What do I want to hear?  I am not sure I am equal to anything at the moment.  Not sure at all.


A Heart’s Commitments. . . .



A Given . . .

There comes to mind
in the space of time a leverage. . .
gaining for one a semblance of peace.

Silly, it sometimes is when the purpose
of life is to regain and reclaim this right.
It is of no consequence now in the sleeping hours

of a lifetime that knowledge becomes loose.
Here we sit and wait for life to be infused
but what is needed is simply to release

and be released.  For this time now. . . .
look to  the weaving of a lifetime’s pattern
and see the beautiful results

of a heart’s commitments. . .


artwork by Claudia Hallissey

. .


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