Archive | Poetry

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 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. . . .


Later Comes Too Late. . . .


Not now!  Later! . . . .

It is time to be reminded not to spend recklessly what we cannot recover.  It was a late night comedian we were watching and he was interviewing a married couple who were both American song stylists.  Already you know it was  some time ago.

 Asked how they stayed married for so long (over 25 years and had grown sons) she said,  we have never had an indepth conversation!  That was my generation’s lifestyle though not everyone’s choice.

This poem has words for those who would like sufficient time to put thoughts on the table to be picked up one by one and allowed to be heard to completion. But what is heard going out the door is, not now! Later! 

But later comes too late.

However long the night is. . . .

However long the night is,
is however long we’ll talk.
A tongue dismembered from its throat
is punishment too severe to be humane.

It has taken a life of silence
to filter through its members,
lessons enough for the toughest skin to break.

I have marched with your words
through endless tasks, through nights
not filled with magic.
And heard the harangue from compressed lips
tearing even the plea of forgiveness from Me.

Now I promise.

In the stillness of the life you know
I will come for you.  In the light of the night
I will make my way and no walls
will bar my entry.  I will sit the night and
across the table a hand will clasp
the one you call your own.

And in the magic of words spoken,
I will listen to the story
built to house lives of wonder.
It has taken too long.

And we the each will speak and listen
and as the words flow like rivers
toward their delta in ribbons of courage,
we will stay the night.  And
however long the night is,

is however long we’ll talk.


(haunted forever by a photo such as this when time and place to talk were held sacred.  Where and when memory does not reveal.)

photo by John Holmes


The Spoken Moment. . .

The Spoken Moment . . .

There are moments rare in our shared history that are so special that they must be spoken aloud.  I have too often not spoken them, and I regret that.  Now I speak and they may inspire you to speak yours out loud.

We were sitting at the island between the kitchen and family room and chatting at dinner.  Grandson Josh was chef and ably slicing what he had just grilled.  He is our chef and just plain good.

We had come through some difficult times and I was grateful to be among family.  In my gratitude I blurted out I feel so at home!  And Joshua caught my words immediately with chin lifted and carving knife in air responded, you are home, Gram.  You are home!

And I knew we were on the same wavelength.  It happens and if we are swift to catch these moments, they are ours forever.

When they happen, it behooves us to be aware of them.  We know the child or children born to us who are more of one parent than the other.  Biology teaches though there is more of the grandparents in the grandchildren than parents, whether human or fruit fly.

So, when everything is in sync, working as it was and I felt at home, Josh responded from the same source as mine.  There have been other times in my life when I failed to exclaim my joy fearing to be embarrassing.

My gratitude goes out when feelings sweep over me for shared times.  My thank yous are profuse and not expected I am told but regrets are too burdensome for me.

A heart will respond in like manner when it speaks in truth, either in joy or sorrow.  It must.  The consequences are dire, truly dire, if it does not.  Because our names are attached, we must pick up our mistakes.

Owning them, we must repair, however long it takes.  Eternity is a long time, so consider it.

To Savor the Minute . . .

Could we take the time to savor
this minute and hold it close?

There will be more minutes but none
more special than this one.

It tells me that you treasure our friendship
to show our true feelings

that connect us, one to the other.
I will remember the marks on my life

you put there when you took time
to rescue the self I thought I lost.

Today I am whole.  Forever drawn as a heart
beating steadily as if with an inserted pacemaker,

but with gratitude transcending its beat.


artwork by Claudia Hallissey


Its Own Amen. . . .


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 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. . . . .


Sometimes it takes awhile and then the words pick their own photo to illustrate their intention.  And I cannot find argument just awe.  VRH


Rituals and Habits, A Practice of Life. . . . .

Habits. . .

The thud of the back door
as it swings shut, the sound of keys
clinking to their place on the stairs,
tell me even in my sleep, that you are home.

Small things noted,
giving rise to habits observed,
a sense of ritual to a life filled with them.

We continue rituals,
for without them is lost our practice of life.
We continue  to do those things over and over,
for if we miss once, we may lose us
whom only we know.

And we do not trust ourselves enough
to know when a thing is good.


People differ in thought about rituals.  Many, who lean toward independence, prefer the spontaneity of their lives.  For me, whose head wanders worlds uncharted with no clock or linear times to claim my intentions, rituals are necessary to navigate a particular world.  It is good for me to note the changing seasons,  as it is to follow what the inhabitants are doing as the saying goes, in whatever world.

For some, rituals are compulsive and for those, they are an anchor. Habits show customs and rules for where I am.  Rituals begin my day and close it.  And allows my head the freedom to explore what piques my interest without boundaries.   Rituals have helped me be at home where I find myself.  And by adhering to them, I find myself welcomed.   


A Heart’s Commitments. . . .



A Given . . .

There comes to mind
in the space of time a leverage. . .
gaining for one a semblance of peace.

Silly, it sometimes is when the purpose
of life is to regain and reclaim this right.
It is of no consequence now in the sleeping hours

of a lifetime that knowledge becomes loose.
Here we sit and wait for life to be infused
but what is needed is simply to release

and be released.  For this time now. . . .
look to  the weaving of a lifetime’s pattern
and see the beautiful results

of a heart’s commitments. . .


artwork by Claudia Hallissey

. .


Painful Perspectives. . .

The tablet is yellowed and the typed pages, crisped with age.  The year is 1979 and I had to use my calculator to see that it is now 40 years old.  But yesterday I read in a brochure for a health magazine that one of its articles states that the brain does not know how old you are and nor does it care.

All it wants from you is stimulation to keep dementia at bay.  Well, since I have been told that I know not how to play like others but I consider it a luxury and play to do what I do when commitments no longer command, I can help out my brain.

I had just walked Princess, my German Shepherd and was doing an entry.

I felt I had mucked out my head by confronting problems but wondering from which perspective the confrontation comes.  Was it a pitying pearl or an honest one by excusing others and justifying myself?  I was 48 at the time, mother of three 20 something  sons in varying stages of crises with a part time job that had become 10 and 12 hour days.

And I had made a gargantuan decision to defy an arguing mate to leave the family business at the end of the year.  Whatever happened would and I would meet it best as possible.  With the kind of head sitting on my shoulders, a job dealing with other people’s money was not good for me.  I read the following. . .

(As I walked my steps ate up the sidewalk.  I looked at the tree shaded street and thought it was not the street I had walked hundreds of times before.  In the shadows the houses were not familiar and the street lights spatial and I wondered if Princess and I were walking in another dimension.  Could we be focused elsewhere?

The legs were walking and counting off steps with familiarity, yet the brain had difficulty identifying the street segment.  It wasn’t with relief that we reached the intersection with things familiar because somehow I knew we were correct in direction.  It felt truly that we had briefly catapulted elsewhere yet sweetly focused.

Or possibly a bridge I walked with a foot on either side?  Legs walking but much aware that all is not what appears to be.  And marvelously comfortable with these perceptions.)

This entry was the first I have come across with a description of how my head works in words to be read.  I may have written so previously, but these words jumped out.  Other times now come to mind and I wonder the survival and painful coping techniques of differing perspectives.

Couched Memories. . .

Memories couched in images
struggle to be freed
of the encumbrances that
stressful generations had chained in irons.

So glad for the mind eager
to struggle also, but for the knowledge
to set free the life of fear.

Reading into all chambers
the ultimate on freedom,
the mind of its own volition

listens to its own teacher.


artwork by Claudia Hallissey


Everlasting Life: caterpillar to butterfly. . . .

In this spiritual week for us so inclined, memory is mine of those who have transited from my  life.  All my beloveds come to mind, but one incident from the children’s younger days stays with me with more clarity because of my path.

I was standing at the door of the room shared by the two older boys.  The eldest was working at the desk which was a veneer door on wrought iron legs to serve both. (memory details stay)  Our David was lying on his bed and his legs walking the wall which I have seen him do many times.

He was lecturing to us of his dreams.  I wish, he said, to be a star in the sky in some future where I can shine down and give energy to whoever needs it to live.  He was about thirteen or so at the time and I stood there absorbing this idea and wondering at this child.  I see the time vividly inked on my mind.

His was a different head on his shoulders.  Coming to mind also is a psychic friend in her seventies when she and I discussed again life after death.  She wanted to be whoever she was then forever because her identity was locked into who she was.  But then I said the caterpillar would never be a butterfly.

If a mushroom and a daffodil come up blooming life after life could she be right?  Or perhaps the mushroom one day becomes the daffodil?  Like the caterpillar becomes the butterfly?  I like to think I graduate after giving what I hope is my very best to these times.

There is time and space for all thought and life is kind to grant dearest wishes.  And fairly balanced for consequences to redo our calculated and unwitting behaviors.  That, too.

Taking the Nazarene as my Mentor through this life, I have pulled everything through my heart.  Which probably explains two cardiac arrests.  It has not been a walk in the park.

But I wonder if faith had been in my carpetbag would life been easier this time and then I think of a beloved whose life with heavy burdens and her faith been more bearable with a head like mine.

The Teacher said only my head would frame the question.

A Truth. . .

I was told
that life is everlasting,
everlasting and everlasting.

And when my mind and my heart
and the fabric of who I am accepted this statement,
I found I was very tired.

I am reminded that still to come
are worlds of promise
whose substance I have only glimpsed.

I, too, remember the eagerness to taste of the apple.



A Thud Against Our Heart. . . .


Yesterday the world united in grief as we watched the fire rage and consume a large part of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.  It was with dismay and heartbreak we saw a symbol of our civilization consumed by a utility given to Mankind to enhance life.  Yet at the same time we saw ourselves in communion with our grief.

We have lived too long lately isolated from each other and focused primarily on ourselves.  We have evolved to a world where commitment to others  is  in direct conflict with the desire for proclaimed self fulfillment.  We announce we are not caregivers and proceed either to neglect or farm out commitments.

Yet we saw our communion  as we united in our grief and we all know what we have lost.

What we do in this world of 8 billion people is show our young that commitment is primarily to oneself.  Yet we all age and our young may, to our dismay, shunt their commitments onto the shoulders of the unsuspecting in their lives.

I told my youngers with whom I live that I considered it a privilege to be able to prepare dinner and even do the clean up because in an institution I would not be let near a kitchen even to snack.  And though my dotage inhibits much energetic compliance with more activity, I still can push the vacuum to keep the dog fur at bay.  Thus stretching muscles wishing to atrophy I’m sure and forcing a heart to keep beating.

Children brought up in homes where value is placed on character, or simply on being  human, good and loving will indeed foster care on their commitments.  Can it be done in today’s world?  To rethink a value system is necessary.

I harbor the thought that there is time and world enough for all of us.  We can reclaim our innate knowledge of good in our actions.  What is done from love is readily noted.  Time now to reclaim the good in ourselves.

When the nudge in mind becomes a thud against our heart, it is the God Within urging us to listen.

Rest Well, Sailor, Rest Well. . .

So in this night when you lie still
and listen for the rain, listen for the wind,
listen for the stars moving about the sky.
Listen also for your heartbeat.
It is steady and it is sure.

It beats for all of your commitments,
both loving and lovable.
You are an important adjunct to this world
and your good you cannot estimate.

Rest well, sailor, rest well.
The seas have been rocky but now
we come to the inlet that will take us to port.
There will be nothing to bring in the ship.

She makes it on her own power.


photo by Joe Hallissey, Sr.


Creativity. . Look, what I made! . . .

I scribed. . . .it is a bag of wind we seem to contend with and problems never ending.  The problems stem from diverse personalities complicating and darkening what should be an enlightened situation.  What is obvious to one is dark to another.

You think the world’s state of affairs too complicated to solve.  Yet should they be solved, what then the reason to continue?   People then would simply start trouble to spark things up a bit.  Too simple an answer.

When peoples are not operating on the same level, coming from such diverse beginnings as culture, genetics, health conditions, etc, you have a coloration that confounds even the Solomons.  One swipe does not wipe out problems.  Even annihilation would not be the answer. 

For the desire to create is so strong that another place would be found for manifestation.  And the creativity that would explode would put the same situations into play. . . .

Creativity requires expression, which will take on the coloration of the individual souls, the emotional as well as all the previous adjectives.  And memory being what it is, would soon also color situations and promote problems for people working and living together. 

With creativity, lesson plans burgeon.  Problem solving nests within the problems, within the creation, within the creators.

Unless there is personal growth, there will be unrest.  Look to solve what darkens your life.  Begin where you are.  When you bring peace to yourself,  you also bring it to others.

My argument. . . one man can ruin a world and a world of prayerful men cannot save it?  (what is the lesson here?)

Creation. . .

An ear from here will touch an elbow there
and mid the deafening roar, hear the shout,
‘I am here!’   ‘I am here!’

And another world is given birth with form
strangely reminiscent of a time and place
where you held me and I, you.

Together then, a life, a birth and a new world
created by the unmistakable combustion
amidst the resounding silence of an I love you.

Sublimely exiting, noisily entering, within
the crackling cartilage of old and new forms,
new worlds are born of memory, of experience,

housed in the eternal mind.


artwork by Claudia Hallissey


Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes