Archive | Poetry

Often the Larger Picture is Universal Life Enhanced. . . . .

What I have learned in these past times is that there are some things that cannot be improved upon.  Whether a recipe that has been perfected or something written that has stood the test of my time, meaning my physical life.  This is one of them.  And my measure has been my life of almost 91 years.  As I often ask my beleaguered son, how close to a hundred do I have to get?  And he answers you are not there yet.  So, I reprint this with gratitude to my teachers, the muses and whoever holds the sparklers.  With love and a deep AAhh  MMenn.

 

Jon Meacham, historian, told the story of when President Reagan was in the hospital after being shot, he was wiping up some water in the bathroom when a surprised visiting President Bush asked him what he was doing.  I spilled water and I didn’t want the nurse to get blamed for it he said. 

These are the small things about us that we leave as our legacy.  Not the big things that we sometimes are noted for.  Not always the Salk vaccine that Jonas Salk saved the world from polio but the Conscious Evolution he taught I came across in the interview when he wanted to save humanity from themselves.

We are beyond the times of physical survival as such evidenced by growing numbers.  Now we must emphasize the human values we do not have time for that are taken by devices with addicting instant gratification.  Or even casual relations we indulge in that make us not proud.

Where conscious action determines the potential in human behavior across the planet because we cared enough to do something right and good that enhanced life for just one person.   Because of its inherent goodness, it became a lifesaving principle for all humanity. 

And the small, light touch I wrote about that I appreciate as you put your hand on the small of my back to help me up the curb.  It is a small curb to viewers but to me a mountain to climb.   You know the why of the kiss on your forehead as you depart telling me that you are not feverish. 

As I see you both hug your loves with a quick crush to let them know the strength of your arms in that loving moment.  The small things that will be your legacy also. 

That will be the difference we make, we all make in lives we touch even perfunctorily.  Seemingly innocuous, seemingly without feeling.  But it makes in enormity, the teaching lesson confirming to us that we are of worth, that we are good.  (it is my song, vrh)

In Looking Back

Sometimes in looking back
to grasp meaning. . . .
the uneventful brims with it.

The small deeds by the young
take on logistics of magnitude.

The small bouquet often picked
from the neighbor’s garden
is innocently given with largess of heart.

It is no small thing
when the child says I will do it. . . .
and unburdens the caregiver.

It is in the uneventful
that the heart grows in understanding,
when the lesson becomes the food on the plate.

Not good to look back?
How else to learn what life has taught
and perhaps we learn what not to repeat?

It bodes well to forgive when harshness
makes brittle the connections,
but in the smallest detail,
in the dailyness of the commonplace, we grow.

And the soul leaps forward and universal life is greatly enhanced.

 

photo by the late Diane Rybacki
but forever a sister. . . .

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On Earth. . . 1954-1985

 

 

 

 When David Died . . . . 

I say that David took the hands off my clocks.
 It was the greatest gift he could give me.
I tire of running my life with a large hand and a small hand.
No time for this, hurry for that.  Do this now, do that before.
I hate it.  With a passion.

I want to immerse myself in time and swim in it.
Feel it around me yielding and yet holding me up.
I want to feel the eternity of it and
I want to see my house and yard
at different times under the sun. 
To be able to say that in the morning
this is precisely how they look.
I want the information stored in my Memory Bank
for those times when I feel bereft.

I want to see the moon rise and give way to the sun. 
I want to see the rainbow
around the moon and say again,
we are in for a big snow.
I need to revel in the mundane task
of shaking out the kitchen rugs
on the back porch and feel the cold boards
beneath my slippers and the cold air
stealing beneath my clothes.
I want to keep looking at the moon with a glance,
because no farmer stares at the moon too long
and say hello David.

And when I feel very homesick, I will again
as I have in the past, take my coffee
out on the porch and sit beneath the midnight sky 
with the stars daring me to look up
and identify them and again

 revel in this multifaceted existence called Life.

 

How  fortunate I have been in this magnificent time in being a parent, a mother.  David was one of three brothers, my best teachers.  To have had them sitting at our table for those years we could claim them made us rich.  We were blessed to have David in our lives for 31 years.  It would have been a tragedy to us not to have had him.  And for those who knew him . . . there is not a day that he is not thought of. 

He is blessed assurance that life is everlasting.   That . . . we know.                 

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You Stayed The Course. . . .

 

 

You Stayed The Course

Only you saw what you saw.
Yet you stayed the course
and plowed the field
and now the plow is lifted.
We will work.
The children will have their toys and
the world will have the words and
in due time you come home
and we frolic.

 


‘Til the morning lingers onto day

and the night never ends;
’til the stars forget to shine
and the moon hides its light
from the ne’er do wells who take
so much for granted.

We, love, will drink that libation
that holds the variegated colors
and will chortle from this world
onto the next.

There will be love and laughter;
there will be joy and there will be rest
this world has not been able to grant.

We will have brought peace
to the memories and
no longer will they haunt you.
The ancestors will rest
and man will look forward                                                                                         
to what he can accomplish.
The world will blossom;
all worlds and all times.

The path in the jungle has been cut.                                                                   

 

Jan 14,’89   journal
August 29,’14

art by Claudia Hallissey

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Our Sense of Time. . . and other things. . .

 

Sometimes our actions seem out of context.   It is as if we are dancing to a song not in the musical library.   It is not heard by anyone else,  just us.   It is not foreign to us,  but seems puzzling to everyone watching.   We know that it is still us,  just not the us that  people know. 

All of life, and human especially is likened to a mosaic.   I wonder sometimes where some of the pieces come from when they are not of this lifetime.  They have a fit though in the larger picture. 

My boundaries are no more since my inside has no outside. What I am trying to describe is that we are more than we appear to be.  How there is a depth to us always eluding,  never definite,  never static.   That if we had the ability to focus differently and some do, we would see ourselves as a substance far greater than three dimensional.   When we put our arms around beloveds, we are embracing the human family from which we all rise.

When  I heard the term ‘a sense of snow’ being described as a sense of those who can look at a footprint in the snow and tell what animal walked, how large,  what way the wind was blowing, how far the animal travels, where he had come from and many other things, I understood it.     

I immediately thought there are those with a sense of snow,   a sense of time,  a sense of destiny.   Those who make connections.  Given a word,  they take it and whip it into the present and use the premise to show how we connect.   This is an area that adds to depth.  Those who can read the handwriting on the wall and know who wrote it because they understand the language.  So we say they have ‘a sense of’, meaning everything one can think of to connect with the subject.   

And those who can see what the future holds because of the footprint in the snow.   A sense of snow.   It is a wonderful term.  It describes fully those with the ability to hear the cries in crisis and those who see themselves as part of a mosaic, not even consciously realizing where all the pieces come from, but still can identify the pieces as part of the larger picture.   We are a mosaic, within a mosaic, within a mosaic , ad infinitum.  The sense of it all is vast.

The nonsense question?   Who am I?    The real question is who am I not?

Sense Of Time

There is a sense of time
stretching from here to  
other worlds whose names
are not in my vocabulary.
I am certain of here because
this is where I am.

I pushed away the snow
no longer pristine as first it came.
I took off my coat; too heavy now
with the approaching spring.
Too bad I think that the season of snow
is now so short.
Once it embraced the whole of me
that looked upon its arrival as enticing as
whipped cream on a piece of pie.

Its anticipation included holidays
that swallowed wicked witches,
soon followed by grateful hearts
 seated about the table,
swollen with the summer’s harvest.

I put away the significant things,
sorting them for another year.
carefully storing memories
to be added to a life
already crowded with them.

I will remember this holy season
because of my fill of joy,
of heart shedding happiness.
In this world are the ways
we measure lives in holidays,  
in holy days, in births and deaths.
only because of

our sense of time.

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Are We the Promise Given? . . . ..

The first week in December found me transported to Emergency with atrial fibrillation.  Since then it has been a trial of finding what medications are  acceptable to this body with not so many adverse reactions.  I have found myself not nice and complaining.  So conserving energy, my work has been my best of what my loyal readers have said to me during these many past seasons of love and memories. 

I thank all of you who have gifted me with your time in this very difficult segment of our lives which has brought about stress and behaviors to consciousness we thought we had outgrown and learned better.  It does give us hope though that we can restore the goodness we have worked for in ourselves and community. 

Remorse and regret need not be attached to our names.  We have time to erase them with hands to lift each other up.  This is who we are because we have been taught well and we have worked.  To all of you who are part and inhabitants of this human family, I wish a heart filled with joy this holy season whatever your persuasion. 

I am restored again to a compassionate frame of mind that shows we know what substantive values we hold that help us enhance our humanity.

And though we do not share others’ beliefs, we can at least hold the candle for each other as we make our way up.  I bless.  And eagerly accept your blessing.  To bless is a gift given to us when first we draw breath with soul.  Use it frequently.

do you hear the angels?     . . .                                                      

Lifetimes lived secreted
behind the wooly frames of memory.                                                               

We jog the frames
of Christmases past. . . .

Scents of
pine boughs and holly berries, mince pies and cranberries.

Sounds of
apple crisp snow and retorting icicles.
crackling fires and laughter.

And the sound of silence,
as love stretches through all dimensions to encircle Thee and Me.

As real as tangible,
as the star beams on the evergreen.
A promise. . . .
given and kept.

Do you hear the angels?

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Love transforms. . . .

Perhaps you also feel as I in looking about, and wondering is this not the hardest lifetime to have lived?  This lifetime is filled with notes and memos reminding me of the impossible events I have labored through.  And wondering from where came the energy and the chutzpah to work through them. 

I am glad for the nudge that brought me to the keyboards to note those events.  It is dotage that brings a respite from vivid memories because the weight of them is burdensome.  Glad that I learned what was mine to learn and now ready for what refreshes Spirit.

And glad for the sons in my life who brought awesome gifts to me and whose presence in my life made what was mine to learn, necessary.  Not only helped make me a better human being, but wealth in experience money cannot touch.   They are the jewels of my life.  Love transformed us all.

Legacy. . .  

The house is quiet
when I enter this private place,
this holy place,
to listen to my private oracle,
my comforter,
while I chase down my holy grail.

This holy grail for me
is my philosophy,
that I spent a lifetime pursuing.
I was pushed and pulled
into a blackened pit
strewn with many lifetimes’ worth
of desecrated dogmas.

I was expected not to question,
just accept as mankind had dutifully done
for centuries.
But life’s ironies consumed
an enormous part of me
as the maternal segment refused
to feed the children of my heart
an unpalatable meal.

Strong arms lifted me
and the nearing century
found me
in august terms in a legacy.

But I will leave some memos, essays,
words of many muses,
whose meanings are dressed
in costumes of countless lifetimes.
There will be ledgers
on how to build a life
with digestible ingredients.

Done as the mother of sons
whose hearts and minds she hallowed
so they would never, ever
think that she took
the keys of the kingdom

 and left them bereft.

1

Take Me Home Jason, Take Me Home. . .it is time.

 

 

I have been trying to catch up with myself for a very long time now.  Putting up with the old timer’s disease of trying to make a body work like I remember it doing.  But of course, it does not.  At better than 90 it will not conjure the energy it did at 50.  Or even 75.  And I did pretty well at 75! 

But still a couple of things pulsing my perimeters and causing me to reflect.  Having no talent for memorizing,  I do recall almost word for word the first poem introduced to my inner hearing called Courage.  That I could almost remember word for word surprised me.  I remember sharing it with my husband and sons and of course they guffawed and did not believe I just wrote it.  But I did and I am a truth teller.  I have researched it and it had no history.  And keep looking.  It goes like this. . .

Courage. .

How often have we stood
in water, ankle deep,
daring not to take a plunge
or do a running leap?

How often have we said
the water is too cold,
in truth we know our lack
is courage pure and bold.

There is hope for those of us
who’ve stood too long at bay.
There’s time to grab onto the reins
and steer through just one day.

It would be so much easier now
had we been taught before
that courage is acquired
and practiced evermore.

Our characters will toughen up,
our hides grow thicker skins
and surprise ourselves in water cold
to find we’ve sprouted fins!

(written 1963)

Also in all this research and malaise and introspection that exhausts such meager surplus of  energy, somehow also coming to mind was a simple nugget that goes and brings up the little girl Veronica who held onto Papa’s hand. . .

The night is silent                          
and the air is very cold,
I wish I were a child again
with a hand to hold. . .

And after looking at what I thought was in the files and did not find,  I think it was written by author Marcia Willett’s  sister whose name I don’t know.  The poem was simple enough but meaningful to what I was reading at the time.

And the last thing I looked at were recipes in a scrapbook taken from when I was a 12 and intolerant of heat and sun and relegated to the kitchen.  My mother took my place in the fields on the Farm.  I took the scrapbook when I left home and used forever when housekeeping.   But this was in the scrapbook of recipes cut from Woman’s Day magazine but this column uncertain.  Clipped from a magazine and  titled Household 1954.  Written by Barbara Nelson because her little son complained  that the prayer his mother said at night with him made him fearful because he did not want to die.  The prayer was Now I lay me down to sleep and every child was taught that.  She wrote instead the following which was calming and with a foot in the future of religious evolution. 

God in me and God in you,
in everything of good we do.
We thank you Lord that this is so,
we thank you that we live and grow.

I must spend more time doing what I love to do because ideas fall all over themselves and run down the front of my shirt. I want to snatch them up before they disappear into thin air and no longer be visible.  That is how I know I am in my dotage.  When younger the ideas flew and clung together in a synergistic manner.  They gathered upon themselves like matters that embellished and enhanced their basic meaning.  And the topics grew and became legends and we had something to consider.  And our knowledge as mankind, as humankind was enhanced.

And what then.  See.  I can put myself back there and relive the ancient times and know I am not far from the truth.  Take me home, Jason, take me home.  It is time.

6

How Much Is For Real. . . . or Illusion?

 

As I Watched. . .

Part of a whole, yet wholly here.
Slowly as I watched
the silence was encompassing.

Piece by blessed piece,
each tree, each entity slowly folded
upon itself and laid itself down.

The screen protecting vanished
as it bent itself into nothing,
a wisp of an idea no longer useful.

Trees, one by one, bent over themselves
and laid themselves down
and disappeared onto the forest floor.

And I thought how neat!
No evidence, no residue of debris
to litter the surroundings.

I murmured his name
as I watched the scene disappear
and he said to me, don’t move.

And time collapsed for me
and events catapulted me again
into the frame of reference I know as mine. . . .

And again the journey continued
and I sit and wonder and marvel

at this multifaceted existence I know as life.

In October of 2016, I went into cardiac dysfunction and was on the way out of this life.  On multilevels  life was playing itself out.  I was on the patio and watched as I let loose my hold on life and watched as the trees lay down themselves, as did everything else in my view.  That we create our reality I read  many times and I was seeing this world of mine dismiss itself neatly.  Not a crumb  left on the table.  My son John had already called the ambulance and we waited.

More than a half century ago I had begun an independent study program on a daily basis.  One’s passionate choice will reveal in time its path and destiny.  Footwork is determined by ones’ cut of cloth.  And how deep the passion will yield some light on the length of study.

Are we our brother’s keeper?  Are we our brother’s brother?  Are we one family and what is for real?  We open pandora’s box and the butter/flies. . . .

I throw cold water on the idea of romance or secrets or magic.  Heavy boots are the order for the hard work of evolution.  It all will become mundane and tiresome with lack of progress for which we all are responsible.

The I am sorries  have to be more than perfunctory to gain sympathy.  We may find remedial classes awaiting and also surprise to find our names attached to gargantuan faults besides  the wayside progeny on whom we have granted no attention as history has shown.

How to convert the human psyche from one expecting entertainment to one pursued by the need to know and learn?  Except to show the results that our passion has fashioned us  into persons we are happy to meet for the very first time.  And want to know better.  We wish also for our sons and daughters introductions to these selves they have not met.  And we hope they come to love.

 

 

2

the immigrant. . . .

 

Immigrant. . . 

I watched as you worked
a mind through endless turmoil,
sifting and sorting truth and fantasy
and arriving. . . 

You opened eyes and unblinkingly stated,
‘you have always known, haven’t you?
How did you do it?’

I knew I could not take
even a moment of self revelation away, 
answered, ‘in my way.  I loved and
raised babies and painted
roses on their cheeks and
planted evergreens in their hearts.’

And in a way I had not known,
closed a part of memory so I could do it
all for real, so I would use the same rules
you did and everyone else.

But you did not play by the rules.
They were changed so quickly for you
that you could not switch tracks.

So now I write why.
I compose odes and melodies
and tie my feelings in knots
and look for entry into a world
I know by heart.

It is one I never left, even to come here.
I carried it around like a money belt
all the days of my life.
And I know now that when I go

it will be to the old country.

 

July18, 1987

We are all immigrants and have worn our coats of many colors.  We  participate in this magnificent experiment of these United States.  . . sharing similar features and wondrous histories with life everlasting wearing our coats of many colors.  Go to the quiet place and look at who you are with heart. 

 

 

2

No Place To Go . . . .

There are others who have experience in matters not common.  I have kept notes on dreams and researched my experiences.  I could not speak openly and was cautioned much because of public circumstances.  Times are different and I speak for the children who are different. There are babies now being born who have been mentored and if they are fortunate and have support they will teach the lot of us from where they come.

In the Dead Sea Scrolls a disciple asked Jesus where we go when we die and Jesus answered, why do you ask when you never wondered where you came from?  He also said the ‘the twig is bent’  and religions don’t mention apriori, before we are born. Most assume that all is formed after birth but every parent knows each child comes already predisposed.   My exasperated mother would gladly have told you about me.

As I look back on things,  as we are apt to do when we wish to make sense out of a life that at times held little,  I find more things connect.  Yet small incidents were crucial  for the larger events to play out.  When I think back on the arguments that have taken my energy,  I still have difficulty understanding where sacrificing one life so that another can live is fair or rational. Religions have been based on this principle.

No Place To Go. . . 

Your words are strong
my eldest says. . .
and the road made accessible
for the rest of us.
No need I say, no need.
You will do what is yours to do
in your own way.

The road is closed
with wooden horses barring the way,
not for repair but because
a new road is laid.

My mentor said what is done for one
is done for all. . .so the heavens made bet
it would never be done but it seems
I was the surprise.  It is done.

They say they give an inch
and I take a mile.
My verbiage is clear.
My focus enables focus
in boundary-less places as I weave
in and out of black holes and wind  drifts
to find myself welcomed.

I have friends all over
who wait except where I am.
Here I am different and in this place
to be different puts one outside looking in.
They do not know
where I am coming from.
My vernacular is not theirs and

I have no place to go with what I know.

 

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