Archive | Poetry

Take Me Home Jason, Take Me Home. . .it is time.

 

 

I have been trying to catch up with myself for a very long time now.  Putting up with the old timer’s disease of trying to make a body work like I remember it doing.  But of course, it does not.  At better than 90 it will not conjure the energy it did at 50.  Or even 75.  And I did pretty well at 75! 

But still a couple of things pulsing my perimeters and causing me to reflect.  Having no talent for memorizing,  I do recall almost word for word the first poem introduced to my inner hearing called Courage.  That I could almost remember word for word surprised me.  I remember sharing it with my husband and sons and of course they guffawed and did not believe I just wrote it.  But I did and I am a truth teller.  I have researched it and it had no history.  And keep looking.  It goes like this. . .

Courage. .

How often have we stood
in water, ankle deep,
daring not to take a plunge
or do a running leap?

How often have we said
the water is too cold,
in truth we know our lack
is courage pure and bold.

There is hope for those of us
who’ve stood too long at bay.
There’s time to grab onto the reins
and steer through just one day.

It would be so much easier now
had we been taught before
that courage is acquired
and practiced evermore.

Our characters will toughen up,
our hides grow thicker skins
and surprise ourselves in water cold
to find we’ve sprouted fins!

(written 1963)

Also in all this research and malaise and introspection that exhausts such meager surplus of  energy, somehow also coming to mind was a simple nugget that goes and brings up the little girl Veronica who held onto Papa’s hand. . .

The night is silent                          
and the air is very cold,
I wish I were a child again
with a hand to hold. . .

And after looking at what I thought was in the files and did not find,  I think it was written by author Marcia Willett’s  sister whose name I don’t know.  The poem was simple enough but meaningful to what I was reading at the time.

And the last thing I looked at were recipes in a scrapbook taken from when I was a 12 and intolerant of heat and sun and relegated to the kitchen.  My mother took my place in the fields on the Farm.  I took the scrapbook when I left home and used forever when housekeeping.   But this was in the scrapbook of recipes cut from Woman’s Day magazine but this column uncertain.  Clipped from a magazine and  titled Household 1954.  Written by Barbara Nelson because her little son complained  that the prayer his mother said at night with him made him fearful because he did not want to die.  The prayer was Now I lay me down to sleep and every child was taught that.  She wrote instead the following which was calming and with a foot in the future of religious evolution. 

God in me and God in you,
in everything of good we do.
We thank you Lord that this is so,
we thank you that we live and grow.

I must spend more time doing what I love to do because ideas fall all over themselves and run down the front of my shirt. I want to snatch them up before they disappear into thin air and no longer be visible.  That is how I know I am in my dotage.  When younger the ideas flew and clung together in a synergistic manner.  They gathered upon themselves like matters that embellished and enhanced their basic meaning.  And the topics grew and became legends and we had something to consider.  And our knowledge as mankind, as humankind was enhanced.

And what then.  See.  I can put myself back there and relive the ancient times and know I am not far from the truth.  Take me home, Jason, take me home.  It is time.

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How Much Is For Real. . . . or Illusion?

 

As I Watched. . .

Part of a whole, yet wholly here.
Slowly as I watched
the silence was encompassing.

Piece by blessed piece,
each tree, each entity slowly folded
upon itself and laid itself down.

The screen protecting vanished
as it bent itself into nothing,
a wisp of an idea no longer useful.

Trees, one by one, bent over themselves
and laid themselves down
and disappeared onto the forest floor.

And I thought how neat!
No evidence, no residue of debris
to litter the surroundings.

I murmured his name
as I watched the scene disappear
and he said to me, don’t move.

And time collapsed for me
and events catapulted me again
into the frame of reference I know as mine. . . .

And again the journey continued
and I sit and wonder and marvel

at this multifaceted existence I know as life.

In October of 2016, I went into cardiac dysfunction and was on the way out of this life.  On multilevels  life was playing itself out.  I was on the patio and watched as I let loose my hold on life and watched as the trees lay down themselves, as did everything else in my view.  That we create our reality I read  many times and I was seeing this world of mine dismiss itself neatly.  Not a crumb  left on the table.  My son John had already called the ambulance and we waited.

More than a half century ago I had begun an independent study program on a daily basis.  One’s passionate choice will reveal in time its path and destiny.  Footwork is determined by ones’ cut of cloth.  And how deep the passion will yield some light on the length of study.

Are we our brother’s keeper?  Are we our brother’s brother?  Are we one family and what is for real?  We open pandora’s box and the butter/flies. . . .

I throw cold water on the idea of romance or secrets or magic.  Heavy boots are the order for the hard work of evolution.  It all will become mundane and tiresome with lack of progress for which we all are responsible.

The I am sorries  have to be more than perfunctory to gain sympathy.  We may find remedial classes awaiting and also surprise to find our names attached to gargantuan faults besides  the wayside progeny on whom we have granted no attention as history has shown.

How to convert the human psyche from one expecting entertainment to one pursued by the need to know and learn?  Except to show the results that our passion has fashioned us  into persons we are happy to meet for the very first time.  And want to know better.  We wish also for our sons and daughters introductions to these selves they have not met.  And we hope they come to love.

 

 

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the immigrant. . . .

 

Immigrant. . . 

I watched as you worked
a mind through endless turmoil,
sifting and sorting truth and fantasy
and arriving. . . 

You opened eyes and unblinkingly stated,
‘you have always known, haven’t you?
How did you do it?’

I knew I could not take
even a moment of self revelation away, 
answered, ‘in my way.  I loved and
raised babies and painted
roses on their cheeks and
planted evergreens in their hearts.’

And in a way I had not known,
closed a part of memory so I could do it
all for real, so I would use the same rules
you did and everyone else.

But you did not play by the rules.
They were changed so quickly for you
that you could not switch tracks.

So now I write why.
I compose odes and melodies
and tie my feelings in knots
and look for entry into a world
I know by heart.

It is one I never left, even to come here.
I carried it around like a money belt
all the days of my life.
And I know now that when I go

it will be to the old country.

 

July18, 1987

We are all immigrants and have worn our coats of many colors.  We  participate in this magnificent experiment of these United States.  . . sharing similar features and wondrous histories with life everlasting wearing our coats of many colors.  Go to the quiet place and look at who you are with heart. 

 

 

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No Place To Go . . . .

There are others who have experience in matters not common.  I have kept notes on dreams and researched my experiences.  I could not speak openly and was cautioned much because of public circumstances.  Times are different and I speak for the children who are different. There are babies now being born who have been mentored and if they are fortunate and have support they will teach the lot of us from where they come.

In the Dead Sea Scrolls a disciple asked Jesus where we go when we die and Jesus answered, why do you ask when you never wondered where you came from?  He also said the ‘the twig is bent’  and religions don’t mention apriori, before we are born. Most assume that all is formed after birth but every parent knows each child comes already predisposed.   My exasperated mother would gladly have told you about me.

As I look back on things,  as we are apt to do when we wish to make sense out of a life that at times held little,  I find more things connect.  Yet small incidents were crucial  for the larger events to play out.  When I think back on the arguments that have taken my energy,  I still have difficulty understanding where sacrificing one life so that another can live is fair or rational. Religions have been based on this principle.

No Place To Go. . . 

Your words are strong
my eldest says. . .
and the road made accessible
for the rest of us.
No need I say, no need.
You will do what is yours to do
in your own way.

The road is closed
with wooden horses barring the way,
not for repair but because
a new road is laid.

My mentor said what is done for one
is done for all. . .so the heavens made bet
it would never be done but it seems
I was the surprise.  It is done.

They say they give an inch
and I take a mile.
My verbiage is clear.
My focus enables focus
in boundary-less places as I weave
in and out of black holes and wind  drifts
to find myself welcomed.

I have friends all over
who wait except where I am.
Here I am different and in this place
to be different puts one outside looking in.
They do not know
where I am coming from.
My vernacular is not theirs and

I have no place to go with what I know.

 

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If We Sing To The Children. . but you know. . . .

 

There comes to mind that time warp where events leave their linear places and congregate in the place where we know that thunderous motions occur with the simplest actions.  Or even with no action.  Like the times my brother Stanley and I discussed what he saw along the road but knew immediately I knew the song.  And he just  resorted to, but you know, you know. . .

It was simply a matter of realizing we shared a history, with a weight to language which we worshiped.  We knew that the words we used the other used also and respected.  We were not loose with words but used them with sacred dispensation. 

It was a relationship we shared with his wife also.  And both of them were an important part of these particular visits we had and where the poem above was born.  It holds great meaning for me because of the tender feelings we shared.  It made the visits to the Farm a recreation of who we were and continued to be. 

That the children shared in this family in their own ways I was not fully aware until long after they became adult.  In talking about who we as their parents wanted as guardians in case of our demise (and often argued) while they needed family, our eldest asked why did we not ask them? 

I said because we wanted to agree on the ones we asked.  And he continued, ‘well you should have asked because we had already decided that Uncle Stan was the one we would go to.’  When did you decide all this I asked.  ‘Oh long ago, he said.  We already knew who we wanted.’

It was all decided within the sanctity of that relationship.  And I never asked, but probably they had already researched the Court and who was the approachable judge.  I just never aske
d.

 

If We Sing To The Children. . .

I wear these memories
as a cloak to ward off the chill.
Emotions forgotten, but like new now
ripping along my arms,
settling bumps in straight rows
to my heart.

Kindred hearts, matching
my own heartbeat, 
with eyes like mine and
reflecting our souls.
Music in voices saying,
‘and when I look at weeds beside the road. . . .
but you know,  you know. . . .’
And I do, I do and we look with eyes
that see and ears that hear the song
of the bird before his sounds
have escaped his throat. . . .
and the music rumbles in our blood,
coursing through our hearts
and gives life only
to those who are ready to listen.

Not many to be sure, not many,
but if we sing to the children
perhaps,  just perhaps, 
the earth’s cacophony
will one day be in harmony.

It is our heritage;
from where it is we come.
From the farm country I was given
a substance that does not spoil,
that does not turn sour
even in the residue of life.
It is not dregs that I drink.
It is the cream rising to the top of the milk.

I needed to see a skyline
with no obstruction and with no words

you laid your hearts on me.

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Pray the garden into a sanctuary. . . . . .

On May 14, 2021, I posted Time’s Gleanings.  It  is a collection of paradigms as a brief respite in diets of heavy lessons.  My last maxim of that post reads like this. . .

‘Like a dancer learning the discipline of a new score,  we have rehearsed minute by minute to come to this place,  this place of understanding where we are now.’

I received an email from Merideth, mother of the sisters saying . . . Emma E. told me today that she was a dancer before she was a baby.  Perhaps that is why she stands on the tip of her toes so often.  It is a habit she learned before she even arrived. . . .

I told Merideth that I am glad our girl babies have her as a mother and I am glad Mer does what she does.  Emma E. will start her formal schooling soon.  The altogether most important elements started when she chose her parents.  Safe is such a simple word and as many letters as fear.  To be able to freely connect her tip toeing as a dancer before being born as a baby told us how high she will reach.

Children come from a sacred some place to grow and teach.  When they ask that first ‘why?’ we should kneel and embrace the child and search their minds for what they remember.  And we should talk to each other freely about earliest memories. 

Memories are a good foundation to support growth and integrate new sustainable knowledge.  In this wild and wooly forest I comfort myself that memories can be our mother tree like that of the forest gods. . .with space to embrace us all.

Little Ballerina . . . 

Dance for me, little girl
Dance your dance and show the gods 
why you dance.

In the garden I see you,
toes dug into the earth, head tilted
to catch the glint of the sun filtering
through the leaves.

You nod in assent to breezes
whispering your name.
Your lips move in intonation
of the om which separates you,
momentarily.

You pirouette perfectly, swayed by forces
caressing you to homage of all who you are.

I long to kneel before the image of you.
At one with your own music,
when your arms grace sweepingly
in the silent moment and you take
all that is yours and

pray the garden into a sanctuary.

 

artwork by Claudia Hallissey 

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My reason. . . Because Of Love. . . . .

 

 

Explanation Caught in Part. . .

In the beginning,
in the place where I came from,
there was a veil covering the foetus,
the skin of man.
I remember the place and the one
who sent me here.
He said it was because he loved me,
and all those who would be part of me.

I could not believe that
someone who loved me
would send me to a place
that had no running water,
no rivers to drink from,
no sky to rise to. . .

How could love hurt so much?

I am here now,
have finished my work
but found in my new world,
old loves, not new. . .

These old loves I will see
again and again.
They have made me beautiful
in this place where I am. . .

Should I go home to the place
where my heart beat so fast
that lights were lit in far away places?
Where the beat of my heart
sent souls scurrying to hide abouts
because they were afraid
I would reveal them, but lo,
here we go again. . .

I hear. . .Look always to the side
of the world that needs what you are.
It will be your home for this next time.
And you have to believe

it was only for love it was done. . ..       

 

PS      Two questions I must ask. . . would you
think it worth it and how certain are you
your judgment is on target?  

Especially after overhearing . . .
            All it took was some sweet talk. . . 

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Each One. . .Teach One. . .

 

 

 

. . . It always is a struggle between the correct thing and the right thing, no matter the subject or the action.  The correct thing is not always comforting nor comfortable.  And it generally is confrontational.  Too much on our plate and we already want to hit delete.   But whooooaaa!!!  We are decent people and we  need to hear the correct/right  thing. . .we need to hear once in awhile,   ‘we done good’. . . . .

That was our intention when we ask to be born to make a difference.  You can argue the point, but we ask, yeah we do. . .

With what goes on the politically  global scenes as well as our national one,  coupled with the aberrant pandemic globally, everyone can see us/our planet  going down the tube again and again and forever.

Except we have been loved into conscience and so loving our children, we also have siblings and nieces and nephews.  We are the Earthgods. . . their mothergods and fathergods and godmothers and godfathers and godaunts and goduncles.  And behold we now are their grandmothersgreat and grandfathersgreat and all who  have been loved into Conscience with a capital C, lest we forget.

And we cannot forget.   We just cannot.  We must do what we can and work and study to enlarge our picture,  widen our horizons and add depth to our being.  We must learn about ourselves and learn about each other.  We must see where we are alike,  where we agree,  especially on what we love as our democracy and whom we love and resolve to heal our difficulties and mend our rips and tears.  We must vow not to allow others to expound on our differences and make profit on us and make deep pits where there are none. 

Troublemakers feast on a diet of havoc.  And creating havoc in their best friends means the troublemakers sleep happily.  We will not give them that pleasure.

Our days make a certain shaped something of us.  Let that something teach an Other.  That we are not only civil but kind,  that we are not only decent people  but loving people, who care about each other.  Even though we disagree with someone’s arguments, we are polite and listen.  We would want them to listen with courtesy to us.

Thus we teach. No longer silent because silence has wrongfully signaled  we don’t care but care we do.   We speak to voice our conclusions to show we give thought, but our humanity still demands courtesy and  not violence.

Life is good, not easy, but good, in every dimension.  The only alternative to life everlasting is no life anywhere.  And never having the privilege to do good.  All worlds have problems.   I love my life as you do yours.  I have your back.  Thank you for having mine. 

Excerpt from Life Everlasting. . . 

Through all we slide,
like peeled comfrey, slick and smooth,
the oiled parts of a machinery;
deus in machina.  Still we slow,
the burden burdensome, noises polluting
our hearing and events boggling our eternal eye.

Out of the arena testing our mettle,
out of a life holding neutral for no man,
to a new world testing our mettle yet,

to a life in neutral only for a moment,
to a love gripping anew our pulses.

It is a universe of no retire. . . and life everlasting. . .

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All Who I Am . . . Our Coats Of Many Colors. . .

I write again of my coats of many colors.  Because I love and care for those in my life and love life itself, I will repeat those of my posts I feel urgent about.  Since I have memories and dreams of lives lived and have written of them, apologetically lacking  times, I  rightfully attest to some knowledge.  If it is so for me, then I assume for others it may be also.

 My poetry is evidence and memory serves me partially.  Perhaps only the humanity of them, but solidly enough.  It answers my ‘why’ of who I  am with an answer to how life is everlasting. 

 Only partially but Jesus said my father’s house has many rooms.  My understanding now of simultaneous times is that parallel lives are lived and I have had dreams and experiences of those.   And gives rise to thought of the Biblical Jacob giving the coat of many colors to his son Joseph because Joseph perhaps had memories of many lifetimes?  And spoke of them?

My understanding has been broadened to how perspectives define dimensions which house our lives and give substance to our slim knowledge of who we are.  It is said that some philosophers believe that human nature cannot grasp  reality at all.  Some parts of the world have a greater grasp of these concepts, but western civilization has been slow to even give  it houseroom.

Planets discovered may support life that we yet cannot identify.  There are many who flagrantly deny the intelligence of sentient life even when shown evidence.  Evolution requires certain steps taken in understanding and integrating knowledge  before entering a  world necessary for more precise work. In essence you have to know what to look for.  

 Our world needs for our mind, body and spirit to integrate all we have learned.  We will regret wasting valuable time our planet sorely needs before we replace her resources we take for granted..      

 I harbor the woman in the Arctic, the black woman with a basket on my head, the Arab man who is harvest for the flies, and the Polish woman kneading her bread.  My gnarled fingers are on the hands knitting with smooth sticks in the tent house circling the firepit drinking a sour brew to keep warm. 

I have to keep my focus right here and right now else I walk into a beloved time frame of who I am.  It becomes a problem for those like me and harder for those who love me to find me.

 

‘Each lifetime lived adds to the cumulative sense of loss.’
                                                                                                the teacher

All Who I Am. . .

I feel the pull of the Polish one bent over her bread board,
pounding, kneading, smoothing the egg dough
into a satiny mound.  Raisins, like eyes, half buried
in the fleshy loaf, stare at me, daring me to absorb
her rhythm into my blood.

Her aching restlessness I breathe already. 
Her utter frustration to make new whips me to
a working frenzy, a woman possessed.  She delivers me
to my bed in agony.  With memory splintered, glinting
off the corners of my eyes, I find me.  And awake again
to a morning promising me no relief from her visions.

                                             II

My brow furrows, forming ledges to shield my eyes
from a sun that beats unmercifully.  Sweat pours to drench
my body and nausea routes its way flooding
an overloaded circuitry.

The wandering tribesman leading the camel favors one foot.
Calluses shoot pain into the moon calf of his leg and I limp.
The tart taste of yogurt in his mouth washes clean
the sand out of mine.

Each step becomes a mile in length and his laborious effort
throbs in my temples.  I will be harvest for the flies. 
I cannot bear the heat anymore.

                                            III

The air, sharp as a cut lemon, washes me.  The children race in
their overlarge sweaters with roses painted on their
faces smooth as milk legs.  Lace fringe curtains entertain
the visitors agape at the starkness, the simplicity,
the square picture.  I am at home.

The arctic terrain beats my blood to a froth with exuberance.
My sturdy body matches my earth.  My love shields me,
woos me and I am as cherished as a milch cow in a land
of sparse grasses.  To each other we are the heavy cream
poured on a dish of skyr .

                                        IV

How far back do I dare reach to uncover all who I am? 
Is part of me racing, black skinned and hot, basket overflowing,
precariously balanced on my head and heart beating
outside my skin?  My loose breasts clap-clap in pain 
against my rib cage as I hurry to make up time spent chatting
with my sisters, fearful of the masculine outrage brewing?

I sit at my desk, surrounded by the present essences of
today’s people, today’s commitments.  The air is spicy with
fomenting earth.  My brow does not furrow from the heat yet. 
Summer’s dog days will arrive too soon.

I ‘ve reached backwards and sideways and tasted portions of lives
both palatable and unpalatable.  But altogether rich.  Is my
fatigue of genetic empathy, perhaps imagination gone wild
or an accumulation of too many lives lived, too many
sorrows sorrowed, too many dreams dreamed?

                                               V

The answer will be mine.  With my departure I will take
the sum of my days, the loves loved, the dreams unfulfilled
and all who I am and walk again the cosmos.
And because of my love for me I will create another world.
Due to my cumulative sense of loss. . . . 

 There will be no more loves aborted.

 

photo by John Hallissey
artwork by veronica

 

 

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Beneath the Wings. . . . .

 

                                                                                                             

You have often thought if it was written, it was  meant to be understood.  Only you know now that it is the hardest thing to do.  If the frame of reference is not large enough for the topic,  then no understanding ever will come from the words even when the desire is there.  The footwork  has to be done.  The boundaries of knowledge must be broadened  and then the reading will have meaning because the frame of reference will have been enlarged.

 

 

We will talk of philosophy
and we will talk of poetry.
We will talk of people and Beings
and we will again
grace the lovely work
of the Great God and say
we walk beneath the wings of him

who holds us together.

 

photo by John Holmes

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