Archive | Poetry

Is However Long We’ll Talk. . . Psalms of Love. . .

 

However long. . . .

Coming into a chosen family will be what someone will call a misfit.  And the label will stick.  This often is a child with a need to know everything and talk.   There will not be anyone to listen.  Because there will be other children, work to do, buses to catch, and excuses given on the spur of the moment.

I don’t have time to listen will be the mantra.  And the child grows to be adult with the need still unfulfilled.  Because in the course of life, there will be work and school, meetings and planes to catch and television.  Now of course we add hand held devices.

The need continues in those born with the desire to learn and talk but there is no matching soul with a similar need. The sweet hours of the night are filled with the best conversations, though silent they be.  No matter the fatigue of the soul, the mind conversations are filled with wonder and appreciation.

I awoke with the words, however long the night is,  and wondered perhaps I read them someplace.  Years of research never found them anywhere.  It proved to me again,  that we are not abandoned.    It is included in Psalms of Love. . .   get it for the one you love. . . .

However long. . . .

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.
July 1987

 

(photo by John Holmes)

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It Is A Fact. . . Know It. . .

 

Believe because it is true. . . . .

As we approach Valentine’s Day, to all who are bereft and do not or have not known love, what is missed is something you have known somewhere at some time else you would not know you miss it.

One day it will be yours again.   It will be a Given and you will know it because your name will be on that Valentine and you will be cherished for who you are .  Without conditions.  Because what is seen in you and cherished is what you do not see. 

That is what makes you so special.   Why the world does not see this obvious part of you  baffles the heavens. It is a love you have known and matches what is in your heart.  

 You will broach the heavens this night and take a walk through the Galaxy and swing through the stars.   You will see again the love you embrace in your heart and know that forever you have had arms to enfold you.   Never were you abandoned.  Never.

One day you will feel the familiar fit of those arms again.  For however long as necessary.  This poem is for you.

This Valentine Heart . . . 

I lay my heart crimson in splendor
beneath the branches on fresh fallen snow                                                     
open to my god. . . .

Here it is I am with  all that I’ve gathered;
completed to form just what you see.

The flakes have scattered in splendid ways
to carpet the floor as bed for my heart.

Pick it up if you please but handle with care.
Sorely I need, a tender touch.

Life has tested me to rare form.
I worked it all like Job and wanted not to fail.

See, this Valentine heart laid splendid on
the floor of the forest but  loved to the ultimate

by the god whose creation I am.

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My God Watches Me. . .

I had a journal entry I looked at that had hostility levied on differences in us and I thought it time to look at what unites as human beings.  It is a simple character attribute.

When we were children our parents expected we would be truth tellers.  We were asked the simple question. .  brushed your teeth?   The second question followed.. . .  why is your toothbrush dry?  We learned to tell the truth.

I was working with a lot of resentment one day unloading groceries in front of the house when a car pulled up and a young woman wanted to know where was a certain address.   She had underpaid a woman for an item at a garage sale and needed to make good on that.  She left and I continued with my task.

She returned and waved.  And thanked me and I said it was such a nice thing to do.  She said she must because My God Watches Me .  I looked at the open young face with a scarf hiding her hair and aware the hostility making heavy the air we breathe and the prejudiced perceptions circling.

While I had too many things to do and again at fault for being late,  I would have to admit my  resentment adding to the heaviness of  the air we breathe.   I did not share her belief system, but the Divine Within us both shared our humanity.  Time to make good on that.

MY GOD WATCHES ME. . . 

Over and over I create and recreate
situations and ordeals, arguments and wars
with symbolic enemies, but sometimes not.
I must of need watch my responses,
my actions and motives lest my
God think less of me.

So I spare my God further
annoyance by monitoring myself.
The situations and ordeals are best kept in mind.
I articulate my position to establish myself
several times in the course of a day.

The wars and arguments are pacified, only after
words become too tiresome to continue.
Peace becomes the only option.
I work toward perfection and a hard work it is.
As anyone who knows me would agree.
It is necessary though, you see,
for my God watches me.

I watch-dog my actions and harness my tongue
and change hurtful thoughts with labored caring.
It means I reconsider my earnest evaluations
of mine enemies and present the other cheek.

I prepare myself for sainthood
while I breathe the rarified air of my benign earth.
And watch myself as my God watches me.
Not so easy to do, this monumental work
of sanctification.

Of my internal warts and
grievous errors,  I am deeply conscious.
But perhaps I prevent them
from penetrating my soul
as long as I keep close the knowledge

that my God watches me.

 

Artwork by Claudia Hallissey

 

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Lest We Forget . . .

I was sick to my stomach.  I had trouble breathing .   I had to stop before I had another cardiac arrest.  Hearing of the harsh brutality inflicted upon the Jews made me vomit when I was ten.    Studying the holocaust nearing a lifetime of ninety years had the question continuing,   why one man with such an evil idea of hatred started a war of blood and extermination only with the power of thought.

And a world of people praying for peace, desired peace and yearning  brotherhood  could not bring power to their idea.  Yet the power of one man’s thought to destroy cannot be overcome by worlds of
love for brotherhood?  Not one man nor group of theologians, officials, countries, institutions, not one religion to stop this evil course to destroy civilization?

We must question our belief systems.  We must look at what indeed gives impetus to our lives so that when we are against the wall and cannot move an inch, we buckle.  Why our judgment is so faulty as to allow power and greed to destroy and maim not only those who are living, but by trauma, Loves, trauma, where the psychological damage to our genetic heritage is irreversible.

It is passed through the genes and what we have are those of us whose memory is so deeply etched that living again will be those who will demand an eye for an eye.  No matter how far down the line we go.  No matter how far down.

It is through education that we reach the heart of man.  We must teach the children and be the example we wish to teach.  Only when we exhibit and are a living testament to love and tender mercies,  can we reach the hearts that waver.  The warm hand of the father on the brow  of the child, and the beating  heart in the breast of the mother in time with the child, will teach where words do not reach.

It must be done before exiting the front door to kindergarten.  Hold their hands while you can. Yet.  Still.

A sorrow hushed. ..the holocaust. . 

 My ears cleaved to the door frame
of the dining room. Her whisper was hoarse,
were there many?
Lots, he said, lots, as he held the letter
that told him what they saw.
They pushed for space, women and children
and their men. They wanted to see. 
My people saw he said.

Their words burned my brain
as I strained to listen, afraid I wouldn’t
catch a sorrow hushed.  It didn’t last long
he said, because they fell.  Matko Bosko she said.

Remember our history he said.   
As if that could explain what I heard.
And I knew the god they called
upon to save them from whatever they feared.
He whispered again, somehow trying to
make this horrid time an all right matter.
My people saw them, he kept saying.

And I loved those parents who made things
seem right yet what my heart knew was evil
and my head fought them and argued
till I would vomit.  We would go
into holy week and pray just as
my cousins across the waters who saw
what was done went back to their tables
and supped as if nothing had happened.

These were friends and relatives
whose prayers were different and
they said that made them different than us.
And the us that I was born into made me
ashamed and sick to my stomach and kneeled
in front of the toilet and emptied my shame
washed with the tears of I am so sorry
and threw up all of my ten years

and so went my trust.    

(How could it happen, how?  It is such a gentle culture,  so soft and warm.  Weronika, moya serce, Weronika,  ja cie  kocham. . . Veronica, my heart, Veronica, I you love. . .a girl, at ten and she weeps still.  The Polish culture is love embraced and so vivid was Winter Journey and Mosaic by Diane Armstrong that they will companion me and forever haunt. . )

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Under The Wings. . . .

 

Psychic phenomena is truly memory.  It is memory from another time and place.  When my mentor, the Nazarene, spoke of talents and told multitudes to increase those, to me he spoke of being open and working with what was within.  He also spoke of what moth and rust do not destroy which are things of the mind.

Not material things, but ideas, things learned that hold us in good stead for worlds we will enter.  Man was closer to his Source  than he would ever be again.  There were things man did easily and with no hesitancy because it was commonplace to do them.  To some, things were magic but to others it was simply a knowledge of principles at work.

To turn water into wine, to walk on water, or to be able to feed multitudes with scarcity of bread are discredited by those as a turn of phrase.  That there are principles of illusion at work or the knowledge of them, are quickly dismissed.  But there are worlds where these principles are at work and those who come to birth in Earth soon learn to hesitate in using them.

The fear of ridicule is great and history of our own Salem, MA is still uppermost in the memory of the most vulnerable.  There are others who do not relish the intent of memory.  That they are painful and confronting means immense work.  They simply are not cognizant of the rewards.  Yet memory is what composes us all.

In order for no rip or dichotomy in us, there must be a sifting and sorting to gain courage to stand and say what we remember.  We are recognized by a parent or both that we are different.  And most of us were told by parents or by the church that to dabble in spirits is the work of the devil.  And Salem took care of those we learned.

Hard going for those of us who could not silence the memories or the remembering.  Labeled too smart for your own good, or worse, who do you think you are, are levelers of the soul.   The sadness lies in the fact of innocence and naivete, in the not knowing that these are gifts of supreme talent and high caliber.

Levelers are employed to keep one in place.  This too, we learn and carry with us and make better choices.

Consider This. . . 

What makes you think we do not use
a worker who thinks and injects
new thought in old ways?

What makes you think we would let loose
the likes of you in a world for frolic,
for nothing more than waste?

We look for farmers for the vineyards,
for the fields needing seed,
for feed, for thought, for starving minds
as well as bodies.

Where we put you is in a place of value,
of your talents, of your loves, of your
sweet thoughts feeding the children of all ages.

How else to sweep clean the Father’s house?

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Time To Love One Another. . .

 

Since the beginning of December, we have been on a fast track.  Upcoming was a family vacation away for the son and in law daughter  I live with and their family and me on the premises here in California having my elder son and in law daughter visiting, keeping watch.  They worked things out pretty neatly.  I am fortunate.

And the visiting watch keepers went home to Chicago and the vacationers returned for Grandson Josh and son John to tear out the kitchen to be remodeled.  Except it included building out a wall to the house and tearing down inside walls and ravaging.

I complicated matters by coming down with my yearly bronchial cough making me sound the ever coalminer.  I sought refuge in my room because truly the cough took whatever energy I had to care whether school kept.  I did not care one iota.

We are nearing departure for Josh with the end results of remodeling to be finished by son John.  I could not conceptualize the ending result because it was so outside my frame of reference.  I am more comfortable with worlds at large and their space in mind.  More comfortable also with yarn and fabric in a wall quilt and Scandia hat.  How I supervised the addition of rooms to a previous house we lived in I do not know.

It proves to me that if one by intention shows up for work, heaven takes that as a good to go sign and shows how.  Workers have always been scarce. Just remember the vineyards that lay waiting even with the promise of all the wine on the vine!

Now that the holidays are over and everyone can relax or recover their normality, or perhaps the time this year for your family was good, we simply begin again.  I take you back to a time before the devices starting eating up our time together.

Maybe we could try to bring back some of it by looking at each other whom we know and love and caring less about the likes of those we don’t even know!

I Take Your Hand. . .

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

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

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

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

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

we might have time to love one another?

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I Cherish A Good Hope. . .

 

Machiavelli’s letter to Vettori. . . .

In the Vettori letter, Machiavelli had written the following,  “The evening being come, I return home and go to my study; at the entrance I pull off my peasant clothes, covered with dust and dirt and put on my noble court dress and thus becomingly reclothed,  I pass into ancient courts of the men of old, where being lovingly received by them, I am fed with that food which is mine alone; where I do not hesitate to speak with them and to ask for the reason of their actions and they in their benignity answer me and for four hours I feel no weariness, I forget every trouble, poverty does not dismay, death does not terrify me; I am possessed entirely by those great men.”

(I have said so often to those who care about me, that when my evening comes and my world sleeps, I get a second wind and take to my books.  And it is within the solitude of my self,  I have the conversations and learn of great things that I, in this very humble human body,  have not been able to afford either the lessons or time  to dedicate my life to.  It is only within the dark ending hours of the day that time is mine and my advocates take me into their charmed circle and from them come the arguments and chants of lifetimes of learning.  These are served to me on dishes of great beauty and is the food which feeds the starving mind.  It is a charmed circle I enter and I am a cherished participant.  I could not write these words and mean them if they were not true and if this had not been my life. It would be impossible for me to conjure this scene unless I was part of it.

There will be those who ask what is it she smokes?  And I only smoked the legal stuff when I smoked until my heart stopped twice and then I stopped.  I do not drink so my writing is sober.  But when I write it is with a heart beating to full capacity and words spilling onto the paper that I find compelling.  They have been faithful friends through my years and here I am at the closing hours of a lifetime grateful for so many good things.  And with gratitude that lessons were taught that have stood me in good stead when things were not good to my thinking.  I pause and let the poetry speak.)

(excerpted from The Ancestor . . )

Mine (world) is shadowed by memories,
searching for a haunting place.
I make room for memories. They will live and move
and have their being in me.
They may forget my name but somewhere in time,
a memory will rise and a child will make room for me.
I will welcome her and assure her that I live

and that life is everlasting.

(excerpted from We Can Go Home Again. .)

I’ve taken the long way home and
nearing the gate, please catch me, I say
and pull me on through.
I will answer c’est moi, it is I,

to prove we can go home again and again.

Plato pronounced two thousand years ago,  the reply he puts into the mouth of Socrates while waiting to drink the Hemlock.   “I would not positively assert that I shall join the company of those good men who have already departed from this life; but I cherish a good hope.”

I cherish a good hope that I will be allowed to sit and listen and learn.  I cherish a good hope. veronica                                                                                             

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An Argument Still. . . .

 

My mentor, the Nazarene  said,  seeing you will not see and hearing you will not hear.  Why is it when we profess to be followers and even from the pulpits, do not venture to ask,  what did Jesus mean when he said those words?  We think because we see what we see, it is all that there is to see!  And hear what there is to hear!

As humans all, if we do not even hear or see the cry in Crisis,  we are in peril.

An Argument. . . 

It was an argument
persisting its stuff as
all of them do.

 

I say. . .
the camera portrays
what the photographer perceives.

And he insisted. . .
that the camera sees
the fact in nature
and records it as such.

I say. . .
a fact in nature changes
as the person perceives it.

What do we do. . . .
if what we see is not
what the photographer sees?

I say. . .
get thee to an altar and pray.
Rightly so.
Go find an altar and pray.
So that what is perceived
as beautiful, as poignant
or a crime to humanity
is what we see.

Quickly. . . .
Go find an altar to pray
for your heart is in imminent danger.

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Sometimes, more than cola. . . of course with hot tea. . . .

 

With all that is happening on our national scene and our global scenes, we all need something that will settle the dyspepsia.  It seems I have run out of tonic water and cola so a good stiff drink of something we should find, with hot tea, of course.

I was again reminded that heavy thought like continued heavy dinner fare soon brings on cardiac problems to the neophyte.  Those in my peer group have time given in survival techniques using some long tested straight shots of oblivion.

I scribed the following in 2016 and the requests have been heartwarming.  Even the Sages took issue with my discipline of ‘serious business’ as you see with the poem’s tone.  But are we not again in the midst of serious business and needing a touch of levity?

And this soul of no fun at all. . . had to laugh.

Around The Bend. . .

I was told you have stretched
your boundaries as far as you can and the rest
will require another world.

You work too hard at this, he said.
Break the pattern, because you do not need
more information to underscore what you already know.

What good to understand worm holes and
black holes, white holes and time warps.
You work with them every night when
you flutter in and out of worlds, and
know your way around the bends of light.
You don’t need anything more.

You need a good stiff drink of more than cola.
Love, take a bender.  You need rye, straight.

I say, around the bend
there will be a hand;
someone to pull me up. . .

around the bend will be a someone
to pull me up. . . . .I know.

2

Enter Ye, Cautiously. . . .

 

Enter Ye, Cautiously. . .

‘May I enter your house?’ I asked
and  you answered, ‘yes, but cautiously.
You must discard all pretense, assume the mantle
of charity and hold high the torch of love.’

‘Ahhh,’ I said, ‘but would I qualify?
‘This house I see has a green carpet
with blue ceiling, mystically supporting
poufs of cotton, shadowing and lined with sparklers.
It has spheres of light masking the dark outlines
of animation, movement in forms
different than my own.’

‘I have lived in this house and participated
in celebrations of great sorrows, have laughed in truth
and wept with joy.  I have danced in funerals
and in great succession marched words through
battles of mind and spirit.’

‘I have accused myself and have hung by fingertips
grown numb and identified the faults of Others
only because I identified my own.
I loved and continued  to love in the face of contradictions
because I did not know what else to do.
There is nothing left now, so I ask,
may I enter your house?’

‘What have you described?’ you chide as I stand astonished.
What else is there I wonder and
what is to be exchanged.

‘I hang a star,’ you say, ‘midst the night sky,
and in the quality of your God you will build
your world.  It will not be mine but yours.
And when you leave the spot holding you hostage,
you will take your world and those becoming to it will enter.
But entering also will be the dark angels,
but with premises swept clean,
they will delay littering.  But once established
the land will become familiar and they again litter
and your sights will be pinned on Me.’

‘And I will hear you ask again,
may I enter?  And I will say, all ye who enter here,
discard pretense, assume the mantle of charity and
hold high the torch of love.’

‘I see,’ I said
‘and then the Father’s House will be swept clean.’

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