Archive | Introduction

We Are The Music. . . .

I was nicely surprised by my niece Linda to receive a photo of this wall quilt displayed in her home; from an exhibit in Oak Park, IL in 2012.  Linda graciously nudged my memory to help remind me.  As in all memories,  coming forward, tightly wrapped,  deep within time’s measure. . .familiar territories. . . .to find we are the music. .

Following should be why the time and why the difference.  Some of the  why’s  in our lives deserve our thought and some will require great courage.  To even get to a why in thought requires footwork but we know that and avoid the work while we can.  Rules change even while we breathe and I have learned to anticipate.  Rule one, start now.  And good luck.

 

 

Lullaby Last

The moon assists the drama,
heralding the arrival
of the event,
locked within memory.

A place, deep within time’s measure
nudges from familiar territories
the clockwise turn of events.

Incense, sweet hay,
pungent holly, sweeping palms,
evergreen.

The eye follows the moon rays
to find the final beam
lodged in our heart.
The ear strains to hear the lullaby last

to find we are the music. . . . . .

 

(if you have one of my quilts,  I would appreciate a photo to nudge my memory.  It is a gift when I look upon something hand done and see what was accomplished.  I guess I took seriously not to let the left hand know what the right hand was doing or something like that.  This was a real pleasure to see. )

 

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Out of Nonsense. . . comes Sense. . .

Life before Covid had us all Monday morning quarterbacking at the water cooler about the weekend’s highpoints.  This time we witnessed the dancing in the streets with the election’s electoral count yesterday.  And with Mary Trump, professional Psychologist and niece of  the incumbent president, along with the almost hundred year old eyes researching the why’s of life,  we have some answers.

And truth being companion, all of us have come from families with mental problems.  The one seeking therapy is seldom the one causing problems, as my favorite philosopher Sydney Harris sighted, but the one having difficulty understanding them.  One of our David’s last questions to me, his mother,  was how did you know to do it?  Sheesh. . .he whistled when I did not know what I did.

Because it was not new to my thinking for all my life, it is evidential now.  And I read journals with new eyes. 

I scribed April 3, 2017 . . edited for space only. . (you crashed our gates and got us off our duffs because your family, your sons were the crux of your heart.  We never knew those feelings with our progeny that you had.  They were clones of ourselves.  They were not our creations.  They were yours.

Not everyone looks upon children like you do.  Mostly it is a matter of biology.  Clones.  With you it was your heart.  When the hand was outstretched after the birth of your  youngest, your question was who will care for the children.  They were of your body, your creation and commitment.  This is a remarkable difference in thinking.  . . . .

Years later when asked (feeling called)  will you follow me and you looked upon the face of your 10 year old  and knew his world would fall apart if you left.   You could not.  The Nazarene said what good to save the world when your own house falls apart.

David knew you saw the connection between parents and children.  You saw when parents could not parent because the parents could not parent . .ad infinitum.  The fathers could not father because the fathers could not father and mothers could not mother because . .the mothers could not mother. . this is the lesson for all.  You write that what is learned on one hearth is learned on all hearths. . . learned love by the hand on the brow by the father and at the breast with heart of the mother before the child is ready to go out the front door.  We need to grow up to parent.  Children cannot be left to have children.  We have the results of a world of children.  An eternity of children.  Time now to grow up.)   

 

In the Dead Sea Scrolls,   the Nazarene speaks and tells the disciples that a man cannot be a father until he is at first a son or a brother.  Somewhere in his history he has learned the love from a father and be the cherished sibling of a brother. . . to be able to parent. . . .

(Excerpts from) . .  Not A Borning. . .     

The woman labors
and brings forth a daughter  like herself. .
and brings forth a son, dressed in male skin. . .
she knows both well. . .

The man sees a brother like himself
and is dismayed.
The mother sees a sister just like herself
and aches. .

Neither prepared themselves to uncover
what each could not release. .
the begetting was easy to do

But to borne meant unearthing. . . .   

 

artwork by Claudia Hallissey

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I Am Glad We Are Found. . . .

 

 

Wherever we are, it seems only meet and proper to have August cease its summer heat and prepare mentally for the oncoming North Wind.  It seems it has forgotten about us blistering in the heat.  I am glad we are found.

Though conditions prevent our entry back to the classroom in many places,  mentally we option to rekindle old friendships in favorite books.  Or fortunately in new books if we are able.  Like a stretched out old sweater I hug tight around cold shoulders the winter of long nights in a quiet corner.  

I welcome you to join me.  Today we pretend to hug each other but one day the hugs will be for real.  Promise.

August

It is August
and there is
a sliver of breath
inside the sill.

The deep breath of autumn
is, I think, a matter of time;
perhaps only in the memory
of the child anxious
for the world of new books
to open.

Anxious for the toys
of summer to be put aside
to make space
for new thoughts.

An old lady now
but still waiting with anticipation
for the long, dark nights
to be filled with time.

It is necessary.
It will take an entire season
to adjust mind, body and soul
to a new way of thinking. . . .
about who I was

and now who I am.

 

photo by  Joseph Hallissey, Sr

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Welcome Nora Claire ! . . . to our World. . .

My prayer . . . we welcome Nora Claire to this world.  Welcome her in thought.  Deluge the sisters in harmony so that their lives will sing in delight their variations.

Songs will be different but the love sustaining will be profuse.  I wish that every newborn would be welcomed in joy and  abundant love.  And would have untiring help in their guidance.

Such an utopia I would create with all worlds, no matter their kind or kin.  Dream with me for the power resides to dream and create in all of us.

It is not in my memory bank that anyone I know has had such a birthday gift!  Nora Claire was born on this Grandmother Great’s birthday, Monday. . .May 25th 2020.  Emma E. is not only a firstborn in her family, but now is a sister to Nora.   Her resume, along with her talents grows,  as Nora begins her stint in this classroom.

It will be a merry chase for these parents I think.   Like many of us who take this corona crisis seriously,  they have been in lockdown for the past two months.  Begins now another phase with everyone called to the floor.  Emma E. has learned words a 2 year old has not had to learn before.  Words like likedown, shelter in place and face masks and orders like we have to stay at home every 2 year old knows now.

But we are fortunate that in this world crisis,  we still find life generous and loving.  That we will contribute to keeping it generous for the newborns as well as we can.  We want each and every soul desiring space to find life good in every dimension.

So we welcome our Nora to the clan and keep her in the light.  She is an on schedule baby so her vitals are normal and good.  And we hope that the sisters will find their lives together to be double their pleasures.  (And. . . .quietly now. . . .  the parents find the two of them only half the trouble. . )

 

photos by Harrison and Merideth  Hallissey

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Sometimes, more than cola. . . of course with hot tea. . . .

 

With all that is happening on our national scene and our global scenes, we all need something that will settle the dyspepsia.  It seems I have run out of tonic water and cola so a good stiff drink of something we should find, with hot tea, of course.

I was again reminded that heavy thought like continued heavy dinner fare soon brings on cardiac problems to the neophyte.  Those in my peer group have time given in survival techniques using some long tested straight shots of oblivion.

I scribed the following in 2016 and the requests have been heartwarming.  Even the Sages took issue with my discipline of ‘serious business’ as you see with the poem’s tone.  But are we not again in the midst of serious business and needing a touch of levity?

And this soul of no fun at all. . . had to laugh.

Around The Bend. . .

I was told you have stretched
your boundaries as far as you can and the rest
will require another world.

You work too hard at this, he said.
Break the pattern, because you do not need
more information to underscore what you already know.

What good to understand worm holes and
black holes, white holes and time warps.
You work with them every night when
you flutter in and out of worlds, and
know your way around the bends of light.
You don’t need anything more.

You need a good stiff drink of more than cola.
Love, take a bender.  You need rye, straight.

I say, around the bend
there will be a hand;
someone to pull me up. . .

around the bend will be a someone
to pull me up. . . . .I know.

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A Meditation. . . does the world stand still for you?. . . .

 

Come with me to this place
I visit often, hidden behind an eyelash;
where it is Easter all the time and
rebirth is not a sometime thing; where
gods cavort in joyous abandon.

Come, we dance. . . .

 

Today the world stood still. In the
bright afternoon sun I saw a butterfly
dart into a spider’s web woven between
the power lines and lift it up and carry
it with him.

In the silence I heard the question.
How heavy is a spider’s web on a butterfly’s wing?
Since everything is balanced,
the question is proportional.
A friend said to me, ‘only you had eyes to see it.’

Does the world stand still for you?    Ever?

 

It sometimes has seemed as if my life has been lived under a premise of ‘hurry, we are late already’.  And I’ve wanted to  say like the phrase I learned. . . I am dancing as fast as I can. . . I am taking time to reread things I have written and learning to thank who I was for finding the time when my  half of the world slept,  to leave a memo of hundreds of thousands of feelings.  Veronica,  I hardly got to know you. . . . this was the first post 8 years ago on fromanupperfloor.com  . . . a gift from me to my new readers. . . .

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I Don’t Know How To Be Deaf. . .

 

I had been struggling with the newer hearing aids for over two years.  And the audiologists kept saying they are the state of the art but my ears were itching and my brain hurt.  It was irritated, my brain was.   With the new hearing test, the audiologist said you work very hard at hearing, don’t you?  I could have wept with no reserve, I was so relieved someone noticed.

There was more loss in hearing, but he said I can do nothing for your brain.  It is not registering always the switch necessary for human voices.  And because I focus so deeply on thought to shut out head noises, it is tiring and aging does not have much energy in reserve.

So to engage in conversation with more than one person is very hard work.  It is not because I am not paying attention.  And  when you call and I give someone the phone to talk to you, it is because I do not hear.  Not that I don’t want to talk.

I am grateful for the people in my life who help me.  Especially family.  They allow me space to work my work as long as I draw breath.  I hope I am worth my keep.

I Don’t Know How To Be Deaf. . . 

I am among you whom I love,
and try to understand your words.
I read your gestures, your body language
and your eyes telling me again
what you wish me to know.

I am desperate to understand.
Your impatience runs through your body
and into mine.  Shackled am I
with emotions as mine tumble
with yours and consume me.

We have shared our histories
through decades but now you run ahead of me
and I take my silent world and retreat.
I piece your words, the ones I hear
with a history I secured in mind.

What I have learned to read
by eyes that speak, are words that run
like rivers into each other to form
a crash against walls I hope I did not build.

Aged now, rubbed raw, there is nothing left
to flex against, to tell me how to assuage the deficit.
There is little energy at the end of Now
to make it work. . . no lessons offered
along the way but to be left dumb. . . .

I just don’t know  how to be deaf.

 

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One World At A Time . . .is enough?

Our focus is a small world. . .

When I read this poem I take on another perspective.  It is a small world that we focus on here.  Never aware that there is another world to the left and one to the right and beneath .  Vast. . .  I see me holding tight to the frame of thought simply to get through. Still conscious of too many things.  I feel like a stick figure when taking on this perspective.  And yet my head feels  ‘out there.’

I wish we were in class so I could hear your thinking.

 

 

 

 

We Trod The Path . . .

We trod the path, hunched
and pull our faces in.
We bend our heads. The wind
is strong when you walk into it.

But I take your hand
and we struggle against
the icy rain pelting our faces.

We’ve walked this route
in centuries past, guarding ourselves
from saying too much.

We were different then.
Simple, direct and not fashionable.
We were honest in our appraisal.

We’ve become alien to our prior selves.
And I can’t say it improves us much.

What do you think?

October, 2012

photo by Joe Hallissey Sr.

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Conference With the Sages. . .

 

As  a good friend kept telling me,  circumstances alter things.  And as birthdays gather behind one, one seeks the comfort places.  And at the keyboard with the mind in long conversations with compatriots, companions, in conference and in prayer, it is a comfortable place for me.

I asked Jon Katz of BedlamFarm.com to recommend a book on Kabbalah since he quoted the religion often.  What I did not remember ever reading and did not know was that Kabbalah was the religion or practice long before the conforming Jews were praying.

It was a form where what we call Sages were gathering and chasing down their thoughts and giving gratitude for life.  One sees the connection in the first chapter of Genesis.  Upon their death they were able then to enter what was home.

The Sages when they died would be thought to be as in the next room.  They were as close as thinking could be and were visited.  Part of the Sages’ knowledge was that they could be visited in graves and could be spoken to and they would answer.

And I too, now sit and converse and religions call it praying as easily as I do right now.  The Divine Within is the I Am of the each.  We are in conference.

The Road to Damascus. . .

And Paul,
on the road to Damascus, unaware
of forces pulling at his thought,
was none the less surprised.

In the privacy of mind, how could
an invasion of thought not his own
be in conference?
So it is,  in the wars of the visible

and invisible worlds, the
supremacy for power does not stop.
Our worlds!  Claim the gods. . .
My world!  Claims the pilgrim. . .

One in partnership till man
tasted the lust for power.
Lest we lose this,
the best of all classrooms,

brotherhood is still the dream
and our hearts still too unripe
to embrace its benevolence.
But its power of magnetism

still attracts
what prompted this dream,
that catapults us
to give search to the meaning

to the why of us. . . .

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And Sunday Comes. . .

Sometimes there sweeps over one a feeling saying ‘that’s how I always felt’ whatever prompts a memory.  It  could be a scent or sunlight or something triggering a wave awakening response long dormant.  Often one knows where it originates  but often the ‘always’ has no beginning at least  in this lifetime.

This following feeling is a comforting one and a loving one to me.  Whenever it comes upon me the memories are good and I wear them like a stretched sweater  .  We are our memories and if this day we look upon our lives as surviving triumphantly in spite of a hazardous journey, bless all memories because you have overcome and are the victory.

I started this entry years ago when waiting for guests and family to arrive for dinner.  This is as far as I got with it but coming upon it now the feeling was fresh.  You have these incidents also, perhaps never thinking them special.  But they are. . . . and so makes you special.

 

This is a Sunday morning at almost noon and I sit here at my window in my beloved study and look out at the snow piled on the evergreen boughs albeit like sagging angel wings.   The sun comes through the opposite window and the brightness bespeaks somehow a Sunday morning.

Why is there always a different look to the world on a Sunday?   Everything looks somehow different, almost as if there was a visible sign on the day saying, this is Sunday!

As a child on The Farm, with the inside door open, leaving only the storm door with its weeping windows and the sun streaming through, there was the smell of chicken soup or whatever the stove was cooking signifying that this, even this, smelled different because it was Sunday.

So my Sunday in this house smells like Sunday with the beef roast and baked potatoes, as I await the family and our guests.  It will be a good dinner and this is what Sundays are all about for me.

It Is Enough. . .

It is enough. . .  just breathing and feeling
the north wind coming through the night.

It is enough. . .  to stir my senses,
to lift me from my bed to get on with life.

It is enough. . . to raise the dust
out of the corners too long neglected.

It is enough. .  . to lift the dirty and sweaty labors
and point out that in these are the gifts of life.

These are the beautiful,
along with the first snow and the harvest intact and sealed.

And to find a reflection
of what I hold dear in the eyes of an Other.

It is enough.

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