Archive | Poetry

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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Throw A Kiss To The Stars. . .

 

 

Younger sisters should play by the rules and allow the elder to leave first.  But my sister stayed as long as she was able and left us this week abruptly.

This poem is personal in that love abounds.  I whispered it in reading again with great love in our coming together as adults after a tumultuous adolescence.  What were to be fun times in dotage never materialized. 

There will be times to recall because life is everlasting.  Her mantra was always to do ‘something constructive’ which she did all her life.  I will remind her of the times we laughed together.  Those were memorable.  I will withdraw those times often from my Memory Bank to refresh myself.  And to remind our progeny what really makes us rich even though we cry.

 

Throw a kiss to the stars. . . .

Take a moment . . . .
and inhale deeply the night,
so that you will remember
the freshness that comes
with the beckoning dark.

And the stars leading you
to a place of warm retreat.

Go and begone into the night
where the heart rests.
Melancholy soul, even the heavens
pale beneath your fatigue. . .

Before you call it a day,
step out the door into the night
and say  hello to the moon and
ask its secrets for the night. 

Breathe your thank you for the day
and your part in it and in passing

throw a kiss to the stars.

 

 

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The Sages Kick Start. . .

 

( when afraid the boot comes down.)

I keep on hand stenographer tablets  to jot down notes I think important in rereading the journal entries.  I came across this  poem thoughts.  I do not know when I wrote it nor what entry prompted it.  I may have been deeply focused in thought with someone.  I remember the first line glimpse I had, but not the rest of the poem.  I share this with you who do some serious work on yourselves wondering your place in the skein of things. 

It is good to keep a tablet for quiet times also.  Noting always what you remember of your journey in thought.  Thinking is the hardest work we do.  It is why it is avoided.  It will be an interesting resume to read one day and with whom you cavort.  It will be noted how much fragile handling one gives oneself.

The Sages Kick Start. . .

I caught a glimpse of one
I thought lecturing except
a black robe and cap she wore
and then disappeared.

Only once, a glimpse,
except the wonder of why it stays.
I wish to bury it and rest. .  .please.

I find the lessons I repeat
over and over and I tire of them.
Why can they not sleep?
I have gleaned what this brain
can accommodate and it is not pretty.

The Sages ask the teachers
to continue teaching because
they do not remember the passion
this Earth requires to make real
the lessons..

The passion was mine
as it rumbled the belly of me
through almost a hundred years
of family and friends and values.

What better way to  present
life’s reasons to kick start
the wheel of progress called Evolution
from stagnant ruts?

We leave it to you, they say,
to tell them to not step
on their kinders’ heads and
take their knees off the necks
of the different ones because they are afraid
often only because. . . because  . . .

The different ones make them afraid
when the world thinks of the different ones,
as having courage. 

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The Invited Guest. . . .

 

                                                                              with hammer and saw and wood and file. . . .

Many of us when we find that our life is not working for us, no matter what we try and even invent, take ourselves to the doctor.  And when all the protocols still do not work, if we give it thought, we take ourselves to school or wherever we find quiet space and open the books, whatever our persuasion.

When we learn that Dante took Virgil as his mentor-guide we should wonder why.  And find our reasons to look for own guide-mentor.

I chose the Nazarene as my Mentor after much study and have never regretted  my choice.  It was not a reason based on faith for I had none.  But it was a reason based on knowledge and for me the right one. 

For you whose Faith has meaning,  I share with you this poem.  It was written long ago and has great meaning for me. 

It has meant a life of hard work, study and some lovely sparklers.

The Invited Guest. . . 

I once knew a good carpenter who,
with hammer and saw 
and wood and file
showed me how to build a chair.

I did and sat on it
and then decided I needed a table.
With hammer and saw
and wood and file,
I built a table and sat at it.

I knew I needed another chair
for an Other to sit on.
So with  hammer and saw
and wood and file,
I built it.

I then invited the carpenter
to join me at the table.
We lit a candle and talked
and a new world was born.
How did I know

I first needed to learn how to build?

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Me and Mother Nature Have a Something Going On. .

(please keep in mind my understanding that all time is simultaneous . )

In the April 10th  1992 journal entry  I wrote of a prior conversation our second son David and I had before he left our Earth, (a philosophy major first before becoming a lawyer) about the benign nature of the Universe, being neither good nor bad.  Floating through my brain was Robert Frost’s ‘forgive me lord my little jokes on thee . . . and I will forgive thy great big one on me.’  He knew of what he spoke.  It made me weep once but now I think that is the way it is.

Susan Howatch , one of my favorite authors on her Church of England series, writes that some philosophers believe that human nature cannot grasp the concept of reality at all.  Charles Schulz said that it was ‘so futile’ as the reason he stopped cartooning. 

I think all is eventually universally good.  Otherwise and I still know it deep down,  we could not go on.  But how far out does one go for universally good?

I scribed the edited paragraph answer. . . Your lament of how far out is universally good is not valid.  Because for you to see it where you are, the last chapter would be writ.   No pages turning over or flying by with the taste of exuberance never to know again.  Imagine a life without it, any life? 

There are those who do not know  exuberance.  The dailyness numbs one’s creativity.  But there are books to reread, knitting to pick up or something to give another go at the morrow.

This entry ended with telling me to pack up my few  illusions and get some sleep.  And why I had so few illusions baffled the teachers.  I scribed the following poem from that entry.

Nighttime  Conversation  . . .

I say. . . That spring will be a long one and
the summer will be a cool one.
You say. . .
It is amusing to hear your pronouncements
on the weather.  You feel its feel upon your face
and monitor your response with some rare things.

You and Mother Nature have something going on.
Or is it you listen to the birds singing their song or

the earth whispering to the sun that its arthritis is

not healing?  Or perhaps the night song is the one
that the sun hears in the morning and in the night
you listen in and eavesdrop?  Perhaps that is all

there is to your murmurings on the condition of the
weather?  But in your arthritic state why is it you
revel in the cold and dark, drawing up your gown

closer to your neck and whispering how old you get
because you love your comforts?  Is it too much just
to say my bed is the most comfortable and my tub

long enough for this creaky body to lie down?  And
why the guilt?  Asceticism went out with the hair shirt,
you know.  There is nothing decadent about wanting

to stay warm nor relieving one’s congestion.  Ahhhhh . . . .
you civilians. . . when will you learn?

 

photo by John Hallissey

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