Archive | Poetry

Our Light That Shines. . . .

Sometimes we find when we are not on good terms with ourselves,  life is not sympathetic to how we are feeling.  Yet we fulfill what is demanded and later are grateful that someone stands beside us when we are in need. 

We hope that whatever we offered is regarded not with impatience we might have felt but accepted in the love that we deeply feel.    And  our good intentions are noted because we are at heart, decent people.  

Somehow to be known as decent speaks volumes in these times.  The lack of decency looms heavily on us as a fall from grace as we have relived the recent assault on our democracy.  We wonder the effect  of our behavior as viewed by those immediate and far. 

Times test our mettle and these times have.  Yet always we hope that how we relate in the small things will be our light that shines .

Light Touches

Your light touch
on the small of my back
gains for me a courage
lacking sometimes
to even climb the curb.

I appreciate that.
Somehow beneath the layers
of what I hold to be
the who of what  I am
is a someone still of note..

Comforting to lay my hand
on the side of your face
to note the structure
of the child no longer a child.

As the mother of you sons,
born of the best of who we as parents were,
Nature shares her secrets
letting me know that the goodbye kiss
on your foreheads still tells me
you are not feverish.

You know my secrets also
as you hug your children
and show them that
no matter how old you grow
your light touches reveal the depth
and speak volumes

of their place in your hearts.


artwork by Claudia Hallissey


Ordinary, but real. . . . .


Again, in that conference time when all is quiet, you cannot go back to not knowing, once having attained what it is you know.  Quantum, sumus, scimus.  You are what you know. 

And what you know is yours forever.  The talents, the Master spoke of,  no one understood to teach.  What moth and rust do not destroy you take from world to world because life is everlasting, but he taught that also.

They said we danced with the devil when we multiplied the silent talents of listening with our hearts and talking silently to minds that pleaded for help. 

We were burned at the stake for this.  When our eyes spoke the understanding of what was written on their hearts, it was peace surpassing this world.

It was compared to giving him a drink of water knowing that the world would be satiated.  What is done for one is done for all.  It is doing for one’s fellow so that the act will one day be everyone’s act.

It does not come easily nor without its pain.  But having attained it,  you are there.  You speak a language most hunger for and know to be true. 

And without doubt know that we are accountable forever and have but one face, truth.

Ordinary but  Real . . .

There is question surrounding
the not so fair exterior of one who chides
the meaning from the leaves of the trees.

To say in truth the sun should shine
a bit more on the Maple to the north,
readying sap for nourishment.

Or the mushroom to elevate its wattage
with the feel good serum designed
to lift one up. . .

And what about the water in the bog
needing a bit of air to allow
the simple life to get on. . .?

All this is mine I hear, but I’ve
known it all for so long,
since first I fell in love with life.

Dragging a foot still wedded
to the firm stuffs holding me,
yet not willing to give me up,

since incomplete was the knowledge
to ferret out, but I said it was the best I could do.
And was affirmed to have held nothing back.

I hugged the life with all the strength
remembered from the time before;
from lives loved and loves, loved,

mistakes made good and wounds healed
and to write poetry from a world
not of this one.

I keep moving thoughts like furniture,
as I did the evergreens and the mock orange,
like summer loungers for the lawn.

And when there are no other
room arrangements peaking,
I will create another world.

With another house to make a home
to live in for life to be an example,
to teach the connectedness of All That Is. .

An ordinary person, real in this world
of ordinary days. . . . .
is never just ordinary it seems . . . . .


It Takes Many Lifetimes to Learn. . . .

Word reaches that there are issues with some of my  posts that  are unreal;  that perhaps I don’t know how the real world works.  I write what I know, not  hope or pretend.  As Lawrence O’Donnell commented on  President Biden’s Inaugural, experience is  something you cannot teach.  We always knew it, I think,  just never applied it to ourselves.  Seldom are we lauded for our experience, mostly they say that  we are simply old.

When I say we go to an earned place when we die, I know it.  It has taken a long time for me to be upfront with memories and no, some of them are not good; have even put me in cardiac arrest. 

Since  teaching we are in the world creation business  by the late Robert Nozick, contemporary philosopher, I would create a heaven dispensary if it were already not so.

If life were not everlasting, I would follow the daffodil or if hard pressed, even the mushroom because they come up year after year forever.  It has taken many lifetimes to learn what little I know.

I understand that heaven’s remedial classes are now instituted to get a head start on Dr. Jonas Salk’s Conscious Evolution. This is evolution not to just survive but to evolve to a higher form of human potential, with the spiritual aspects of more compassion, empathy and the heart elements like love and the more stingy,  sharing.

I  came dragging a foot from a world where learning was held sacred and  have lived a functioning life for almost a  hundred years. Not easy .  but doable.  But thinking I should wear a hazmat suit for protection from cynicism which may yet do me in.

The  Poet’s Memories

Torn from an event
with memories still alive
and placed in an incubator to breathe,
are poets expected to live.

Leaving a world incomplete,
they wander in vegetation
totally unfamiliar  and expected to survive.
And give rise to credence
in a world with no root,
where trees are shades
of others more vivid.

Whose flowers whisper their names
in a forgotten language,
whose people are ghosts of livelier images,
all crowding the nimbus.

Where horizons are vast
and what eyes behold are stark lines
dividing two dimensional realities
pretending a depth that fools not a one.

Where snow sheds its stars
on a crystal night and the night becomes
a holy night eliciting unexpected
extravagances bestowing grace.

All grasped in a moment’s vision 
to linger through worlds creating ulcers
by gnawing the viscera with dreams not completed.

The poet’s pen translates worlds
of mean existences from memories held
long in the heart’s pocket.
Translates the colors of those other places
where winds caressed and sun bathed 
a skin unlike his own.

In another place and time he walks
and because he does 

his memories give rise to an Other’s dream.

poem written January 1988

photo by Claudia Hallissey


I held your heart in my hand . . . it is whole . . . .

We need to come to a place now and again when it is necessary to find a mind matched to ours so we can for all purposes say all that is heavy on our hearts.  With no explanation necessary because our route has been followed step by step;  to hear the words,  I held your heart in my hand for safekeeping and here it is, whole. 

And in a whisper would come the words,  I thought it fractured beyond repair!   We are embraced knowing instantly that we were not abandoned to do it alone. 

We prepare then to venture another time to come with the sweet knowledge that great songs will be sung again.


Great  Songs Will Be Sung. . . 

Should you find the need
to tell your story in words,
think mightily on them
and they will be caught up
in the air’s currents
and carried on the birds’ wings.
They will reach the ears
they were designed for.

You will find
you are not alone 
and in this infinite universe
you will be heard.

And when the thoughts
reach the places 
in the heart of an Other

great songs will be sung again.  . . . 


We Are The Music. . . .

I was nicely surprised by my niece Linda to receive a photo of this wall quilt displayed in her home; from an exhibit in Oak Park, IL in 2012.  Linda graciously nudged my memory to help remind me.  As in all memories,  coming forward, tightly wrapped,  deep within time’s measure. . .familiar territories. . . .to find we are the music. .

Following should be why the time and why the difference.  Some of the  why’s  in our lives deserve our thought and some will require great courage.  To even get to a why in thought requires footwork but we know that and avoid the work while we can.  Rules change even while we breathe and I have learned to anticipate.  Rule one, start now.  And good luck.



Lullaby Last

The moon assists the drama,
heralding the arrival
of the event,
locked within memory.

A place, deep within time’s measure
nudges from familiar territories
the clockwise turn of events.

Incense, sweet hay,
pungent holly, sweeping palms,

The eye follows the moon rays
to find the final beam
lodged in our heart.
The ear strains to hear the lullaby last

to find we are the music. . . . . .


(if you have one of my quilts,  I would appreciate a photo to nudge my memory.  It is a gift when I look upon something hand done and see what was accomplished.  I guess I took seriously not to let the left hand know what the right hand was doing or something like that.  This was a real pleasure to see. )



The Past Is Still Happening. . . .



I looked for the journal entry until I had to stop last night  because of a heart willing itself to stop if I did not.  My eldest son as well as a beloved friend once called my persevering tendency  unnerving.  Both vowed they could not live my way.  I learned much later to call it the jenny genes.  I make myself sick with them.

This morning in picking up clutter I looked askance at a first hand written journal to open on July 23, ’73.  With Hello!!  I read the following in firm 42 year  old  handwriting in ink. . . .Our pianist sons were playing a new LP of the Canon when I first heard it.  Later in Munich,  at a travel conference we stood at Christmastime alight with old decorations in a nightime fairyland.  I realized it was not a first time for me.
I wrote. . . .

I hear Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major and I yearn for a time I can see in my head.  I am there in my hooped dress with cinched waist and I can see a swarthy looking, paunchy violinist (forgive me) bending close to the dancers.  There is an ensemble  but the violinist I can see expressly.  Where is this taking place that it can move me to tears?

It’s not so much memory but participation, complete with all the emotion.  Why does this move me so and why does it have power as if I am in it now?  Who was I and where was I and where am I traveling now when I hear it?  No past or future, just eternal now?. . . .

The rest  of the entry deals with various elements of time and intensity and psychic talents.  Rich stuffs in explanation but having been clueless to this aspect with no one in my immediate circle versed in these subjects .  If family has no knowledge or the subject taboo, where does the child go who only knows to be called weird or different?  Ahhh you wondered why I obsess on this subject?

I still look for the  date on which the following poem was written.  The Europe business trips  were in the ‘70’s.  I posted this once in 2015 and a reader was overwhelmed with did it happen this way?  Exactly.

I hope when one does not fit the outlines for normality, one will be given space for being unique with a welcome to this world.  We all might learn something.  Parents and siblings especially.


December Confirms The June Woman

It is June and I stand poised  on the landing of the half circular staircase.
I am hearing the strains of the Canon not heard in this, my lifetime.

Shocked still, caught in the shadows of half remembering and
yet reluctant to confront the shaded memories, I wait.

She is visible, the young woman gliding with joy to the music
which carried her down the long hall.  She curtsies to the throngs
lining the great walls.

I stand, not moving.  Her joy is mine, translating to an emptiness
in my heart.  The tears scald my cheeks and the rest solidify 
in a mass in my throat.  I cannot swallow.  I am in danger
from within and without.


It is now December.  I am before an ancient building in a city
bearing her years gracefully.   The snow is circling my feet and the wind
is freezing my eyes. I am rooted to this spot.  The air is ringing  with
the sounds of holiday;  lights flicker their ritualistic colors in harmony.
Yet  I stand immobile.

On the second floor of the ancient building, caught in the winter of my memories,
I see the long hall stretching before me.  The strain and refrains of the Canon
carry the young one still, waltzing yet.  The violins smooth the way for her
memories  to be built  The red vests of the rotund violinists complement  
in contrast their black , slicked hair.  They bend and bow in homage.  
Their music locks her destiny forever.

My eyes are again in danger, this time of freezing in their sockets with the
salted tears that cannot stop.  The memory does not move, not to one side nor 
the other.  My will forces my eyes  to play again what can only be seen in my
throbbing head.  Courted through centuries with great care to remain hidden.
I unwittingly jarred the box housing those memories.

In retrospect, I was ready.  It was my time.  I turned away shaken and knowing,

                               the past is still happening.







Out of Nonsense. . . comes Sense. . .

Life before Covid had us all Monday morning quarterbacking at the water cooler about the weekend’s highpoints.  This time we witnessed the dancing in the streets with the election’s electoral count yesterday.  And with Mary Trump, professional Psychologist and niece of  the incumbent president, along with the almost hundred year old eyes researching the why’s of life,  we have some answers.

And truth being companion, all of us have come from families with mental problems.  The one seeking therapy is seldom the one causing problems, as my favorite philosopher Sydney Harris sighted, but the one having difficulty understanding them.  One of our David’s last questions to me, his mother,  was how did you know to do it?  Sheesh. . .he whistled when I did not know what I did.

Because it was not new to my thinking for all my life, it is evidential now.  And I read journals with new eyes. 

I scribed April 3, 2017 . . edited for space only. . (you crashed our gates and got us off our duffs because your family, your sons were the crux of your heart.  We never knew those feelings with our progeny that you had.  They were clones of ourselves.  They were not our creations.  They were yours.

Not everyone looks upon children like you do.  Mostly it is a matter of biology.  Clones.  With you it was your heart.  When the hand was outstretched after the birth of your  youngest, your question was who will care for the children.  They were of your body, your creation and commitment.  This is a remarkable difference in thinking.  . . . .

Years later when asked (feeling called)  will you follow me and you looked upon the face of your 10 year old  and knew his world would fall apart if you left.   You could not.  The Nazarene said what good to save the world when your own house falls apart.

David knew you saw the connection between parents and children.  You saw when parents could not parent because the parents could not parent . .ad infinitum.  The fathers could not father because the fathers could not father and mothers could not mother because . .the mothers could not mother. . this is the lesson for all.  You write that what is learned on one hearth is learned on all hearths. . . learned love by the hand on the brow by the father and at the breast with heart of the mother before the child is ready to go out the front door.  We need to grow up to parent.  Children cannot be left to have children.  We have the results of a world of children.  An eternity of children.  Time now to grow up.)   


In the Dead Sea Scrolls,   the Nazarene speaks and tells the disciples that a man cannot be a father until he is at first a son or a brother.  Somewhere in his history he has learned the love from a father and be the cherished sibling of a brother. . . to be able to parent. . . .

(Excerpts from) . .  Not A Borning. . .     

The woman labors
and brings forth a daughter  like herself. .
and brings forth a son, dressed in male skin. . .
she knows both well. . .

The man sees a brother like himself
and is dismayed.
The mother sees a sister just like herself
and aches. .

Neither prepared themselves to uncover
what each could not release. .
the begetting was easy to do

But to borne meant unearthing. . . .   


artwork by Claudia Hallissey


Our Coat of Many Colors. . .



July 9, 2020
Thursday 4:40 a.m.  (excerpt from journal entry)

And the thought again is to write of my coat of many colors, and should title it our coat of many colors.  Since I have memories, of who I portrayed over the centuries, and have written of my dreams, seeing who I was through some of them and have had the emotions of them, but no verification as to when I can only assume a knowledge of them.  But my poetry depicts them and memory serves me partially.  Perhaps only the humanity of them, but it is enough for me.  It answers my why of who am I also.  A big answer for me to life is everlasting.  Only partially but Jesus said my father’s house has many rooms.

And where those rooms are is conjecture at this point but will be knowledge again.  Planets are found all the time having suspected life as we know it.  But perhaps many support life as we do not know of it.  Jesus said seeing we will not see and hearing we will not hear.  We see variations of that all the time on this planet.  I wonder all the time did I really hear that?  Or did I really see that?  Does he listen to the words he is saying?  And when you see behavior that mystifies or cannot be understood,  did I really see that?

Everyone is at different stages of understanding.  It all eventually makes sense where we are in growth and maturity.  Technically we can be savvy but emotionally or psychologically immature.  Different aspects of who we are.  We can speak the words but meaning eludes us.  We simply do not know what we say.  Jesus said, father forgive them.  They simply do not know.

I harbor the woman in the cold, 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 the hands knitting with smooth sticks in the tent house circled in the firepit drinking some kind of brew to keep warm.  I have to keep my focus right here and right now else I walk into that time frame of who I am.  It becomes a problem for those like 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.


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.


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 .


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?


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 S. Hallissey
of art by veronica






A Cosmic Prayer for Mankind. . . .


Much crowds my head and I would wish to put it out like a grand buffet.  But it would bring dyspepsia  for the majority and who would turn away.  But life is a balanced judgment.  We seem to be fed what we need and purposely not what we want.  And that is where good judgment is balanced.

This poem came from June ’93 journal and written  in November  2013.  It was meaningful to me then and meaningful now. It is something we as God Participants can do.  As mothers and fathers we can love the children and feed them those things that will provide nourishment for growth in a world we  cannot imagine.

The poet, Kahlil Gibran called people Earth Gods.  I scribed from the Teachers that we are God Participants.  Mother God, Father God, love your children and prepare them for the world when you send them out the front door without your shepherding.

It is the only gift that matters, for you will have given the best of who you both are.

A Cosmic Prayer for Mankind

We would wish for much.
We would wish
for the sublime love
that was preached
from every mountaintop.

 We would wish
for a mother’s love
to be there for the infant
and the father’s hand
to caress the brow of every child. 

We would wish for peace
within the human psyche
and learning to be brought
to the dinner table
and the breakfast table everytime.
And love to be served
as the main course.

 It is much that
we wish for;
much that we yearn for.
But peace is designed
for the human in mind
from birth to the grave.

Bring peace.


Make It Count For Real. . . . .

Since I know that no steps are skipped  in Evolution, lest we have gaps in behavior even more difficult than what we see, I admit to fatigue as the years encroach.  Coming to mind from a time past is our eldest as he waited for his father to drive him to the train back to Chicago.  His words still echo in me.  ‘You must get very tired waiting for all of us to catch up to you,’ he said.  Taken by surprise I murmured something but what?  Was I so easy for him to read?  To this day my one regret is not being able to convince those I love most.

At the time this poem was written (journal entry, December, 2015) I had finished Michael Talbot’s Holographic Universe.  Affirmation, verification, understanding all plied their substance as I approached my 85 years.  How much of everything is illusion, how much gravity filled draining away, siphoning of matter because of our Earth Hostess?  And I, with a foot in another world, lived it every minute with a paper trail.

How much of everything, life itself, is lived in the head?  All of it or much and neatly done but tiring if one is not a ‘walk through.’  The only way to make it count is to take it seriously and play it for real.  Else the quagmire deepens and stagnation results and we are still on watch.

The Sound Loaf

 Evolution or God
(perhaps one and the same)
finely grinds the meal ever so slowly,
while I cannot breathe with the dust in the air.

But there will one day be understanding

with the digestion of the bread. . . .
The wholeness of the grain
so nicely baked till the hollow sound
is heard when tapped
gives credence to the sound loaf.

I can no longer wait for it all to cool.
It has taken far too long for this bread
to be made and yet still to be digested.

The bellies are still
immature for whole grain.
Pablum is the mushed cereal
of sort for feeding infants
too long in the pram.
I suffered the parents to grow up

and now have no time to wait for the children.


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