Archive | Poetry

The Harvest Moon. . . .



The night will bring a harvest moon.  I  have seen many and they are special.  Brilliant and lighting the sky with magic, even though it is Friday the 13th.   I hope there will be dancing with moonbeams and children will laugh as they gather them in baskets like rare gems designed only for their eyes.  And they will forever remember from where they come.



Harvest Moon. . .

Within the circumference of the full moon
lies a world of power calculated
to make a man weep.  A harvest moon,
brimming with light,  great light,  prolongs
the day’s labor to make the fields clean,
preparing them for the covering of frost
that will freeze the ground and make way for the snow.

The snow comes in drifts, hiding the stubble
where field mice chew and multiply.
It provides a playground and home
for creatures close to the earth’s crust.

But in the silos, in the barnyards and lofts
is stacked the world’s bounty
to feed those who labored through
the long hot summer to ready the table
for a well earned thanksgiving.

We just suppose the winter will be hard,
written though it has always been for
the old ones to see in the landscape
of the harvest moon.  You could not bear
to look at the full moon too hard or too long.

Every farmer soon learns this.
The pull of the moon raises the tides only so far.
But you instinctively knew

that only so far was all the way home.



We Speak. . .










We Speak. . . 

We say goodbye with body language.
See. . . we know when
our arms are circling each other
they will not release until our hearts
press our knowledge one to the other.

And we look with watery eyes
that no longer see clear images
because they blur.  As long as we touch
we are together in this space.

But in parting we stay connected still.
I have your body form pressed into mine
and the scent of your humanity
I will always seek.

Until one day no longer will we need
to seek out each other.  For as breath whispers
beside me, I know it is you.
We will again unite in arms without form
but the embrace will be familiar.

The fit will be forever ours.




art by Claudia Hallissey


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.



Time Is Now. . .

Events of this past week have shaken us all. Time is now that changes will be evident.  Time is now that much will be demanded.  And the young whose memories now of the violence that has taken their friends and innocence will demand restitution and behavior that comes with adulthood.

The children shall lead us.  And force the children in adult bodies to grow up and let loose  the behaviors that have kept this beautiful planet hostage.  It is time and the children shall lead because they have memory.  Of the worlds they have come from and where they exhibited behavior that showed accountability.

It is time now for all of us to grow up.



Kindergarten. . .

It is kindergarten, this place of play
that tells us that we are just boys and girls
and everyone wants us to be happy.

And we vow again like Tinker Bell
that we play the girl at heart and
like Peter Pan we will not grow up.

And we are adored to be  just as we are.
Never growing up to do those things
of pain we see.  Never growing up because
to grow up means to grow old and hurts
not only bodies but feelings we drown in.

There is no one to save us so
to grow old means we die.
We all know that song, don’t we?

There is no fun like ours when we stay young
to play with the wind in our hair and someone
pushing the swings higher and higher.

Nothing is expected then, is there?
Every day is a day to play. And if we are lucky,
we will die in our sleep and never have to think.

We ask, where is the fault in that?  Where is the fault?



Ripped, severed, broken. . . again . . . .

(I am running out of words and energy at this time nearing the terminus of my life.  I find that what I have written in the past of these earth shaking events are words that still wring my heart to shreds.  And yours, too.  I cannot find other words to tell their story.  Our language does not hold them for me.  We are heartbroken that there is another occasion to repeat them.)

The day looms with fierce emotions which will lay its colors upon the hearts of mourners forever.  It is with little thought given by some that words have great power over the course of our lives.  It is we who must teach the children the choice of words must be with care.  And we adults who must alter our behavior when our words are met with misunderstanding.  Words are the tools of our relationships and must be treated with great respect. The costly consequences are human lives.

The Word Is God. . .

In the beginning was the word
destined to touch the mind of man.
But the prevailing Spirit in its wisdom saw fit
to encumber each with the power to discern.

Meanings floated into space,
shaping themselves to fit the receiving mind.
Reaching their destination,
their shape changed to fit the owner.

Such turbulence!  Such uneasiness!
Albeit because the word had taken life and
risen  to meet the heart’s need.
The speaker’s heart had taken its intent

and placed upon the Ethers the heart’s desire.
It gathered cadence as it rode
to meet the receiver’s prejudices.
The sender’s intent lay silent, lost.

The heavens only acknowledged
its primordial meaning.
Can it be said in truth that the word be god?
It is.

For within its power to create
it moves with desperation to voice feelings,
to give breath to visions and to heal.
The word created creatures and dynasties,

wars and rebellions, held peace in abeyance
and brought us to life.
So speak softly when speaking.
Words carry the weight of the heart

with intent to topple empires
and worlds and men.  In the catalytic movement
of the word, the world’s heart beats,
years are gifted and futures secured.

It is all we have.


The Wait Is Too Long. . .

From my eyes. . . .

Father, I said, go greet your son.
And the father did and their arms
wrapped themselves about each other.
And the world was then all right.

From my eyes, from my eyes. . .
And from my heart, I hear . . .

Why did they wait so long?

Heart had given its yes when the son
was given his father’s name.

At this moment,
the stars call you by name,
and the moon searches for you.

The heart has already transposed its own heart
by the songs written and sung
through the night skies.

I hear you  love, I hear you and you are singing my song.

March, 1991


artwork by Claudia Hallissey


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.


In The Quiet Of This Night. . . . . .

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 how 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.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Artwork by Claudia Hallissey

From the Psalms of Love  for sale on Amazon


Worn Like A Second Skin. . . . .

The Teacher says do not worry about what others think.  They just think differently.  And this difference lends a diversity to life that will peal our heart and make us wish to be among humans living time and again.

We will wish to work within the limitations, knowing that the things we have learned are tied to the heart and not to the outward conformations.  That what we have learned has been written into the fabric of who we are, that no matter who we are, we will not forget ever.

For a time things are lost but they are found time and again.  And at some time peace is made with who and what we are.  What we’ve learned we’ve worn like a second skin.

The application of a philosophy is hard work.  And the hard work must begin with the stripping of who we are and what we do.  When we send crossed signals and the emotional response is too extreme, we are not getting our story across.

When our mouths are saying one thing and our actions another, the disparity will be seen especially by our children.  When the dichotomy is healed within because the philosophy has been worked on, the memories will help us survive during our last times to make life of better quality.

Medications keep our hearts going but not in the manner where the operation of the brain would be intact.  Our brains need our footwork.

A good place to start is with the word ‘why?’.  Always a good place. Open a book and start running.

In These Sweet Hours. . . 

In these sweet hours of the morning,
I sit in my chair, borrowed
from another room, where old bones
had not yet broken it in;
missing the familiar one,
much loved but grown musty.

Like me, I think old and
with thoughts well worn but
suitable for the mind
inhabiting them.
They’ve stood the test of years
that proved their mettle.

They’ve worn their courage
to the extreme and now will go
into the pages and take their place
as reference to a time long gone
but stable.  They worked.

They upheld customs and behaviors
and civilizations.  And families
when they could have crumbled
never to be restored.

But when hand crafted was
a work of pride, so was the work
of the mind. . . .

stored now like vintage wine.. . .


Across The Mind’s Eye. . . .

Across The Mind’s Eye. . . .

Laying like whipped icing
on the wedding cake,
the drifts of snow
across the mind’s eye
left a clear path
to the heart’s memory
of the other winters
when love closed the doors
of the world and cherished me.

What were the winters like
when the snow stood high
and like lover’s swords
sliced a path

and found where I was?


Photo by
Joe Hallissey Sr.


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