Archive | Poetry

Why the words. . .

I wrote in September ’87 journal that  I glanced at Ernie and Frank’s (I think) cartoon on my desk.  Descartes says, I think therefore I am.  And the gent disappears after being told this and the logical thought is, if I don’t think, I am not.  And like tea, I steep, how can one live without thought? 

I recall  once a  brief  silence in my head like an empty wine cask.  Do people live like this was my question.  What do they fill the silences with and I don’t think I want to know.

Coming to mind immediately when writing this was the reason the kitchen fan was not working. ) ( My head works like this.  Because when the new addition was insulated, they inadvertently covered the vent.)And when I read this I thought of my sister’s complaint that it takes a whole page for me to say walk to the corner. (4 words)

I say but what I wish to share is what I see when I walk to the corner.  You understand I thought everyone was like me or I was like everyone else. When my world crashed, Dr. Cassidy, my first psychiatrist, was so wise to ask me what I saw when I walked down Michigan avenue.  And when I closed my eyes and told him, he whistled through his teeth and said you understand that others do not see this.  And when I said nothing, in dismay he said, my God, you don’t. 

How you see is how you talk. And when you listen you will hear what you need to hear and  how to respond.  Some will hear the antiquated language and some the vernacular of the times.  And the wise will take to heart to talk or be still.

Coming to mind will be memories entwined which will take courage to unwind.  I had received a photo of my sister holding her new great granddaughter and I told her that in her 80’s she was as pretty as she was as a girl.  There was a long silence on the phone.  But you were the smart one she said.  I began to shake and knew to hang up the phone and say nothing.

What I heard was familiar and it was not love.     

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.

photo by Kathy Qualiana

 

 

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Within Memory Recalled. . .

 

Home of One’s Soul

The Teachers Speak. . . Every so often, out of one’s domain, there is an isolation that swamps one. It is difficult to shake, and yet there it is, evidence that this is not home. There is a portion or many portions appealing to one, yet basically, the at home feeling begins to leave.   This is when one digs in and brings to light all those things that brighten the soul. Dig into your handiwork, give yourself some leeway but stay with the program, stay with the route. You will find that the isolation will fade somewhat and again you will regain your sense of belonging. But do not distress yourself about it.   It is a pure longing for the home of one’s soul. It will come about in its own good time and the journey will have been worth the while. And what is gained along the way will add simply more weight to the gems in your pockets.

(Again for me this is an example of all time is simultaneous. The above journal entry is from November of ’94 and the poem following was written on the eve of my birthday,  May 24, 2015,  so it was really yesterday that the teachers spoke to me, all time being simultaneous. Yet linear time is crucial to allow growth to take place.)

Within Memory. . . 

You will again yearn
for a patch of green earth
to lie down on,
to smell the pine forest alive
in its secrets.  Or hidden beneath
the crisp cover of fresh snow.
They will not have left your memory.

Somewhere also within memory,
is a place yearning for you.
It is deep in time that is
as remote as a country village.

And yet there too, you will find refreshment.
You will find eyes that light and
follow you when you enter their doors.
There will be those whose lives
you have searched for remnants
of who you are.

You will find them waiting silently
for your voice to beckon them
from where you have been hiding
for almost a century;
bent on finding the reason to live.

So come now, when you hear
your name called and let us know
you are willing to be with those
whose love for you is weighed
in centuries.  Nowhere near the place
you now hold as being close to heaven
and yet, yet, close enough that you
will lose your hold on the place
destined to be another memory.

You will take love for god’s sake
and hold it high as a solemn token
of the herald’s torch reminding all
that the way is always safe

until the games are over.

September 1, 2022—for those who prefer the heaven once taught for comfort, today I tell of a life lived with open head and memory.  Not easy in the midst of regular folk.  But as I was told, everlasting life is everlasting life.  Do you prefer life everlasting to annihilation?  And heaven can only send out what they get in, what have you learned to gift those you love ?  I have loves awaiting almost a century for my return. 

I hope I have shared my talents wisely.  With much love. . . veronica

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the morning sun on time. . begin again. . .

The lines from  Tom Atkins Quarry House website from the Poem Making Rope stopped my heart the moment I read the lines  . . . . . history . . . .
that does not die because a few care enough to remember
and live the old ways, sure as faith, and twice as strong
as a soul that has done the work, day after slow day,
of restoration, a painful maintenance to save
what matters more than perfection.

At what point is it that one breaks with what goes for the norm where we are and with no conscious thought begins anew?  It seems subliminal but what it is animating who we are says the profound, enough already!

And we then are of One Mind and begin.  We don’t know for what, but begin we do. 

And history does not die and we begin to learn and remember.  We choose what is real and  works and the value system attached  has significance. 

It is not easy ever and for some it is gut wrenching.  The painful work of disentangling the memories attached to those we wish to cherish, takes an enormous amount of courage.  It has stopped many an able bodied man. 

Is it worth the struggle?  All the time?  When I see adult bodies running rough shod over children’s hearts, I remember my Mentor’s words. . (you) Suffer the children to come unto me, for  such is the kingdom. . . and I want to shout at the big bodies in didies, Grow up!  Already is past the time for long pants.  Already,  I see the children showing more maturity than the ones who borned them.

And heaven can only send out what comes in.  No better.  So when I wrote pour me a cup of solace. . . I was ready to throw in the towel.  It was time to pull in the sidewalk and close the shutters.  There were no woods to shelter me this time.  But with a new morning  sun on time, we begin again.  And again.  Hope springs eternal and life prevails.

If not, who would teach the children?  

REFRESHMENT

Pour for me a cup of solace
and serve a generous slice of mercy
and perhaps, just perhaps. . .
I will choose to live again.

A meagre portion
of passion dissolved in multitude
can no longer satiate
an appetite grown ravenous.

I learn.  I know.
But when the menu is designed
with child in mind, I bellow, not fair!

I have used the energies
to fulfil the wants
of those who made them their needs,
while my own went hungering.
So now. . . .

Brew a cup of solace
and anoint my head.
Serve mercy to garnish and appease
a heart grown turgid.

Perhaps the convalescence
will heal nerves made raw
by my passion to breath
the sanctimonious air
of sheltered existence.

And perhaps. . . just perhaps
I will forget enough and decide

to choose the green earth again.

 written  January 23, 1987

photo by Jon Katz

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With Gratitude served. . . .

 

 

Come To My Table

Come to my table
and sit awhile
and I will tell you tales
of years gone by,
attended by loves and those
who held magic in their hands.

We have supped
and laughed and cried some,
but mostly told the tales
that love spun out of gold.
It was a rich time;
not the coin of the day
but the values in the hearts
of those who dined.

It was magic
that threaded us together
through the years to find us
all at the same place, entwined.
But the love and the magic

may have been one and the same.

Do you think?

(March 26, 2013written)

Family and family of friends. . . To all who have sat at my table all the years and have made life so rich for me.  I   am blessed beyond words for what you have added to my life.  And this poem is a thank you.  You are the love and the magic and it is one and the same.  Do you now know that?    veronica

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The Deep Within. . . is the connection. . .

I scribed October 10, 1983. . .

We wait for this day.  You hear the arguments in the head and you think all the while the hands do the mind’s bidding.  In this we find a great interest and comfort knowing that it is possible to function in a secular life and continue to grow.  Your questions show the current interest thinking which man should be doing.  You ply the heaven for answers and forgive us for saying there are no answers to the questions.

There is nothing yet written which would answer your why, how and wherefores to satisfy.  Not possible.  There is a keeping on, keeping on and a growth possible not yet tapped.  Questions persist and not always have answers that leave one in comfort and wellbeing.

You have already tapped this reservoir. Which proves that man, as a whole, can do this for himself.  You reach this point where your answers will be forthcoming, as you provide them for yourself.  You cannot find in the heavens, even , the final conquest.  There are worlds upon worlds, but the Rabbi told you that, didn’t he?

You know this in that part of you which has searched the skies for that part of heaven which would give ultimate rest.  You know that, have always know it and now is part of your fabric.

Not comforting, is it?  There is no place, not a one, where everything is brought to completion.  How can there be, when there is no completion?  How can there be when all is in a state of becoming?  It is all becoming; we are all becoming.  Becoming what?  We can only surmise.  No one knows.

This is where the grandfather God is the comfort.  This is where man finds if he gives thought and thinks it through, he gets bogged down.  In despair, throws up his hands with ‘God Knows’! 

He is right if he means ‘unknowing, unfathomable, omniscient, omnipresent, spirit of the Universes, he is in good territory.  If he means a being like himself, in physical form, he spends the night walking around his house looking for a place to lay down his head.

You have the ability to grasp this concept, and with the devices and comforts of living add to its intensity to keep on keeping on, you find within the reason to make perfect.  What you see in your commitments and priorities reasons to help.  Without your help, we all would be floundering.  We look for growth and enhancement of mankind in all areas.

Commitments will set our priorities and unveiled will be to our surprise, substance of who we are and from where we come.

THE LEGACY

We dried the tears with straw flowers
and they scratched your face.

The etchings on the parchment
which was your skin will forever be stayed  
and will be read only by
the keenest eye and the discerning heart.

The indelible ink which wrote
was with pen dipped in love.
Repeated washings rinsed with tears
did not bleach it out.

So take your heart and this one and this
and ask for memories to build
in worlds uncertain, in unions
without ballast,
a treasure chest, a memory bank.

The loves will loose
the memories in future times
and in the moment
release for their own, a strength.

And never know in a history buried
deep beneath their skins,
there was a she-man
of indeterminate strength
who plied her trade
and in the course of time,

endowed her progeny. . . .

 (Poem from Dec 01, 1983
Journal Entry)

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The Dance. . . We as participants. . . .

                         The Dance. . . . 

There is a dance that our feet learn to do when first we stand up.  That dance is learned well, for even when our legs no longer dance, our phantom feet remember the dance.  They itch to dance.  And under penalty of death we think, we stay with it.

If we decide to learn new steps, the old ones often need to be altered.  And if they are, we either think we are not needed for our dance, or we feel our steps are not noticed anymore and are taken for granted.  Either way, we feel sorry for ourselves or worse, give up.

Very few give in and learn new steps, perhaps slower ones.  The new dance though is alien to our self image and we are certain the new steps will be laughed at. Fortunately others do not remember our old steps as we who danced them.  In the  fashion of Fred Astaire, our memory tells us we swept others along with us.

And that is the kicker.

When one is aware that a new step is needed, one is aware also that the dance is soon ending.  How to do it gracefully, with a sweeping dip that barely touches the floor, takes a nimble body and mind.

Most  of us do it with the tentative steps we learned when first we learned to dance. For the vision might still be sweeping, but the body falters.  We soon find the audience’s attention is riveted on younger feet still learning new and beguiling steps.

We shuffle off the floor.  Our dance is over.  And we are never the wiser that the young feet doing the new dance could not dance at all without our learning the old dance first.

artwork by 
Claudia Hallissey

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I Take Your Hand. . .

 

0bservations from an almost 50 year old mother to 3 sons in their late twenties. . . Journaled in June of 1980—— now an aged, almost 91 mother with a very tired head and a compromised immune system sporting a half dozen conditions ready for a nap . . . May, 2022

As a mother, it never occurred to me to ask them if their homework was done.  That was their responsibility.

They never asked if the laundry was done.  That was my responsibility.

Clothes were never a priory with me.  The boys wore long or short sleeve jerseys with khaki pants.  So if they went missing and the police were called, I would not appear dim but could tell them what they wore.  Not the colors,  but the cut of the cloth.

I remember always their joys, their agonies and their laughter and talks.  Memories are the bridge to the futures of progeny.  Best we clean up memories before they begin to leak into futures.

Of recent times  we shy away from pulling up a chair to listen  to a  friend’s or beloveds concerns lest we be practicing medicine without a license.  Mostly it is because we are at a loss because of time or just don’t want the involvement.  And it costs to become emotionally involved with an Other.  Not only does one share the agonies, but one must confront oneself. ( ( true then, sounds  like work?  It is. . ))

There is a superficial comfort to be gained by psychologically labeling a loved one’s problems.  It relieves one of responsibility to help solve the problem.  Or just pretending it does not exist. 

A time before television came into our homes and stole our prime time evenings,  we had  time to sit and chat with a beloved and share ourselves which helped alleviate the explosion of a problem and contained  it within the concerns of two who shared hearts. 

Because the burden was halved it did not erupt and was virtue of love salved with its healing ointment.  A differing perspective was heeded and shown an avenue that shared concerns absolved.  Such was the healing proffered by neighbors and beloveds before the technology invaded lives and took from humans the responsibilities and privileges of being humane.

The pendulum of progress will find its balance but we must seek it.  ((I do not wish to give up my library at hand always with my computer.  Nor do I wish to whiteout the typos my numbing fingers display with earnest and sincere desire for professional work.  Each must draw the lines for ourselves.))  Our respect and love for humanity must be our first concern. 

With rising costs for counseling and medical services,  it behooves all of us to render what we once considered our blessed obligation, to serve one another.  Isolation compounds problems into catastrophes.  We are wise to know which ones we cannot handle.  But drama is what families are about and as life complicates itself and us,  we must again protect prime time for people whose needs are prime.

I Take Your Hand . . . 

Come, I take your hand.
We go to places where
our hearts share dreams.

Sometime back, in histories
having no years,
we trod places where paths
had not been worn.

It was a good time,
seeing how we formed lives
with no lesson plans,
loved with no time
and lived fully aware.

We remember now
when the hands of the clocks
tell us we have only so much time;
only so much to check emails,
to see bank statements,
and to note how many Likes
from those we don’t know.

And only so much time
before the next commercial break
and then we might have time

to love one another?

September 2016

 

 

artwork by 
Claudia Hallissey

 

((comments edited by VRH))

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You Will Fall In Love With Your Earth. . .

 

Tell me what it means. . .

With the leaking draft of the early consensus of the Roe v Wade controversy,  suddenly confronting me  are meanings of words and phrases I have used and hopefully explained my meanings.  I truly don’t know if my  meanings relate to what you think about the subjects I’ve written.

I would like to know what you think.  Not what you have read that someone else has thought.  No doubt it was the basis of your studies as well as mine.  And then you have spent time in a quiet place and  given yourself to the process of thought.  Over time it helps us form conclusions as well as give more substance to other questions. 

Learning is a full time work.  It is what I hurry to when supper is over and private time engulfs with hours of personal freedom.  Like I, you have taken off work clothes and in comfort admit to the night that you are ready.  For what is a personal choice. 

For me it seems minutes when I  look at the clock and wondering what happened to the evening.  And as I type this, the phrase  `life everlasting’  has meaning for me and I wonder if you have given thought to it.  I wonder what has been added to your understanding and where it has taken you. 

Most of  the people in my  growing  up life were Christians and said the Lord’s prayer every day and some times many times a day.  Included might be life everlasting as taught in Sunday School and said in conclusion to the prayer.  What meaning does it  hold?

It was in a bushel of phrases with the likes of `I remember’ and then, `why do I remember’ whatever has haunted me?  When I did my best, why was my life not working?  Why was I crying and why were they fighting and arguing?  The bushel was filling up fast with questions when I was telling the big people in my life why I did not believe what they said when I knew what I knew.  I was closer to my birth than they were so I remembered.

And when I came to `life everlasting’ it had meaning for me and it began with  forever and ever amen and amen.  And that did not mean lying on a cloud like many believed and were happy about.  It seemed to me that they were happy.

So now I ask you what does `life everlasting’ mean to you.  And how you came to that understanding.  Does it mean forever and ever for you?  Let me know because I am interested.  I don’t look for essays just a comment or two. 

We have been friends for a long time and I value our friendship.

Don’t Stare At The Moon…

Any farmer knows
you don’t stare at the moon too long.
You get a little soft in the head, they say.

What they really mean
is that magic overtakes you
and carries you to the place of green fields,
of orchards heavy with fruit
and cucumbers cultivated straight
as a shot of rye whiskey.

What they really mean is that the magic
will make you see fields to be seeded
and calves to be born
and worlds to be peopled.

What they really mean
is that you will fall in love
with your earth
and in awe watch the wheat weave its gold mat
right over your eyes.

It is a softness of the heart man fears,
for the myth must enforce
the hard head to blunt

the pain of life everlasting.

 

May 1987

art by Claudia Hallissey

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Courage. . . to wear as epaulettes. . . .

 

What is visible is visible and what is also visible can be chosen not to be seen.  The depth of perception only depends on the inmost courage of the individual in his capacity to deal with impending events.

Courage is not garnered overnight nor is it stored for all time.  It is fought for every morning in the bathrooms all over the world.  And it is worn with conviction man hopes into the kitchen for breakfast with the family. 

It has been that life of quiet desperation Thoreau wrote about. To live one’s life directed to the greater life is only done with knowledge that the greater life exists.  For this to become common knowledge means the footwork has been done.

But only as we observe with knowledge that life is neverending,  is everlasting and the challenge is in the journey, in the hope that humankind will tolerate the fact that destiny is in his hands.

And what happens in the world inhabited is but a reflection of the greater worlds and what will transpire in greater degree elsewhere.

And the planet Earth will prevail, and humankind will survive, and the Universes will reflect the good we hope to inflect in the heart of man.

A program televised told of near death experiences of several people.  One of the persons reflected on her experience as vast, simply the other side was vast.  And vast it is.  With boundaries set to see what limited senses reveal, that there are those who see what others do not.

Unless words find a bedding, like the words everlasting life, the cycle repeats but with a difference to come.  Circumstances will not be as favorable and forever actually come alive, a death path is walked and cannot give houseroom to what actions by omission and commission wrought, nor the planet hospitable.    

When icons are smashed symbolizing centuries of man’s desire to translate the divine into the material, he smashes also the humans who built them.

Found Courage . . . . 

I ask,

          Where did you find your courage?

On what tree was it hanging
that you could reach up
and pluck it from its hiding place
to wear as epaulettes
on your shoulders?

The children whisper during the night,
saying their Ave’s to each other,
hoping they will grow into courage
with a red badge to wear.

You say,

They are blinded.
They cannot see their milky courage
like cream rising to the top;
one day to merge
through alerted senses
that call for unthinkable strength.

They have been practicing every day
since they were born.
They will learn that courage
comes with each breath taken
and like the freedom they take for granted
must be won every day.

One day they will find it wears like a second coat of paint.

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The Roses Are For You. . .for keeps. . .

Long before the world ever was. . . .

As co-creator and creature both of the universe, it is man’s prerogative and innate yearning to stand erect.  To bow down all the time leaves one eventually on one’s stomach.  Man rose from the crawling position.  There are too many yet who find the child’s position too comfortable.

To stand erect means that certain responsibilities must be accepted.  And that includes responsibility for one’s person and attitudes.  There are worlds yet where man will find the child’s position more comfortable and comforting.

To be adult means that one has to survive the inner turmoil and the outward condemnation which the world applies.

You do not defame the heavens.  The heavens are not all that peaceful and without its own turmoil.  There are many cliques yet which aim to destroy what man in his finest moments tried to accomplish.

We continue to say at every life’s departure that we go to a better place.  Unless our life’s pattern has been to work toward that better place, we may find ourselves again learning the lessons we failed to learn but in lesser circumstances.

Like primer on bare wood, being and doing good must be innate.  The Source of our impulses must be the Greater Heart.

The Roses Are For You. . .

I tell you true.  You were known
before you came here to this vast land.
A waste for some, a paradise for others. . .
for one a dim place, for another the sun shines.

You took upon your spirit a work, a job,
looking to make a difference.
You said to send you where your heart
could change the world. . .

You were given your wish, hard as it seems.
You have not failed.  Your ripples are felt
on unnamed shores and even the unborn
know your thoughts well. . . .

Come, be kind to one the heavens
sing praises for.  Your work is virtuous
and your talents creative.  We make bet on
the one winning the trifecta.

The roses are yours.  For keeps.

 

(it was scribed and it was a Given.  I share the message. We are known.)  

 

 

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