And This Is What He ‘Membered. . .’cause It Is True. . . .


And I heard the young one say,  and I know this true, he said,  that this lady likes to work with blue cloths is ‘cause he said,  that she said this is what heaven is like.   And I want to know he said,   how does she know?  

And I told him that some people just know things,  not guess or they believe,   but they know.   What do you think heaven is like I asked him.   What do you think?  

And he said I ‘membered ‘cause I only 5 fingers old,   and she was right.   What he ‘membered was that the colors of everything was so bright,  even brighter he said than the sun or even,  he said,  the moon in the night sky when everything else is black.  

Then you know,   I said to him,  you know.  

And he said then that there were lots of things he knowed,  but he did not like to say ‘cause other kids said it was baby stuff.   But he knowed,  he said,  he knowed and this lady also knowed he said. 

Do you like the colors she uses, I asked.   And he said this is what he ‘membered and they are true.



We Build On Words. . . .

 I have not been much of a television watcher but in retrospect I realize more people than not were.  Not only watchers but some inadvertently imitators.  Young girls mimicked teen agers with inflections and tones and even lilting questions at the end of sentences.  Not knowing nuances but inflections their phrasings created.

Immature emotions in adult bodies were suggesting behaviors to others and I witless knew nothing except words which told me meanings learned with root honesty.  I took words as they meant to me with no sophistication. 

Sophistication is easily learned and ten year olds do so readily.  Words and action intertwine easily in free society and become reality with a foreign substance.  Television as well as the written word took on boldness which gave license to sensual behavior adopted by the young and old alike.  It was called freedom from Victorian strictures but what it also did was put licentious behavior into the realm of normal. 

Even the so called adults were greedily grabbing at what they thought the young were freely given what they had not.  To view what we highly thought of elder role models suddenly becoming teen agers in acting out fantasies became doubly difficult. 

Not only having no role models show what proper public behavior should be but also needing society to change perception as to accepting that improper behavior as okay in the so called role models themselves.  Difficult?  How to have the young with little experience know when what we say is not demonstrated by what we do?

To have those in high office exploit the young or take advantage of the less educated to the sophisticated ways of those who today are knowingly playing a game is criminal and immoral behavior.  Our conscience should give us no rest. 

Everyone who is manipulated feels they are played the fool.  It goes by the name of PR.  When honest it is building public relations, when not, it is a persuaded response, whatever one tries to sell and it could be ulterior or ‘not good.’

One cannot have a life with meaning when life becomes a game.  It must be taken personally.  Everything must be taken personally.  Otherwise it is a slippery walk through with no meaning.

Verbal Juxtaposition. . . 

I speak the words, hesitantly
and on my pauses
their meaning weighs heavily.

You take my words
and on my pauses your meaning
rests on your totality.

We touch at points,
harvesting our realities

to see how we differ, yet amazing
to see the world we’ve created

moving magnificently.



A divine observation. . . .


A divine observation. . .

 You take love
and wear as pearls.

Shiny tears they once were.
Shiny tears,

but they fell
to your breast

and now they are gems. . . .

                                              gems. . . .


This I Know. . because I learned. . .


This I Know. . . because I learned. . .

Only with deeper understanding is there any basis for understanding.
To love oneself presumes a selfishness man cannot abide in himself.
Yet to be selfish presents an attitude of self acceptance, of tolerance that can only begin to be outward in the employment of attitude toward one’s neighbor, the Other.
Unless emotional excesses, like ancient affronts are released, they will continue to be genetically transmissible.
The split in man is so dichotomous, that his life is one mass of contradictions.
When advancing age stiffens the limbs and makes the mind less elastic, we will find the inner ear listening to what the heart stirs.
To say it is mine to do and do it is to take the bull by the horns.  And to say I will take responsibility for it is to tame the bull.
Where will the young generation turn if not to those who pride themselves that their advancing years have brought a degree of wisdom?
Who is going to teach when all about are denying that they are getting older, never mind wiser?
Why is it considered cool to say you ‘know nothing’ when your body shouts your age to say you should have learned something?
When our years pile upon us, why do we feel embarrassed when our experience has taught and we learned from it, to say ‘this I know.’
The persuasive voice is well trained to manipulate.  Today we call it selling.


photo by Kathy Qualiana                                                            


Love Is Reason Enough . . . . for sisters. . .



I look upon this photo and am grateful that what my life emphasized is factual for me in this moment of time.  That what was crucial to our sons’ lives is what I see in their progeny and therefore, mine. 

When asked when mountains became impossible to climb how to go on, I said there were three good reasons.  Tresy, David and John.  They were all I needed no matter how high the mountains .  Not climbed poetically, delicately, or gracefully, but lumbering mostly.  With this photo, I have what I need to see.

The sisters portray exquisitely what love does.  Its power and capability is evidenced.  Bedded in love they will grow in love.  They are loved wisely and well as their parents were so loved.  And showed.  Made a difference?  A big difference.

Generations previous show us what poverty burglarizes.  Too many generations have looked upon children as simply clones stealing what little they were given.  Love and education mainly.  Food, clothing and weather protection  being important of course,  but crucial to well being and emotional growth are nutrients for the human spirit.

To catch a moment such as this gives hope.  This is a heart moment for Emma E. and a safe arrival and moment for Norah Claire. 

They portray everything poignant and alive with meaning.  They are a visual blessing.

photo by Merideth Hallissey . . parent



The Strange Bequest. . . .

Tomorrow is Father’s Day and this is a late regret to chalk up to a life in ebbtide.  But with the head on my shoulders today, I wish there had been times to talk of heart concerns.  Life was to be mountains for me to climb and I could have used his hand to hold.  Talk while you both are within arm’s reach.

The Strange Bequest. . . 

There was a man, a slim man,
whose head was bedecked
with a white cloud and
whose eyes saw dreams
he could not articulate.

He sat one day staring into space
and when I questioned him, he said
‘I am sitting and watching the grass grow.’
I hesitated far too long and have lived to regret it.

I wish the courage had been mine
to have asked him to share his dreams with me.
For he bequeathed to me a mind
that does not rest.

I have the thought that his father and
father before him wrestled
the same misty vision which now
is mine to set in motion.

I question this strange bequest,
for I have not the staunch heart required
to lay to rest my ancestor’s anguish.

Papa, I plead now,
to replace my heart with hot ore,
inject me with a vial of celestial courage,
to fuse my spine with tempered steel.

There is so little time.
















a soft goodnight. . . . .

A soft goodnight . . .

as night arrives and blankets all,
we take rest that is ours
and allow it to heal . . .

for it is no small thing given
but as with all, we use what is ours
and gently put the day to bed .  

the night still arrives on tender paws
to silence even the heart’s beating.
it is a soft bed we enter. . .

the day will have its demands
with another morning borning,
still we use our hearts .  

never to disregard thought,
but hearts must be followed.
so we take the night, love, and

wing it to the place of recovery and,
and bless. . . sometimes it is all we can do . . .  


journal entry 6 april, 1989
formatted 6.17.2020

photo Joe Hallissey Sr. 2012


When You Have The Obligation . . .


Living The Martha Mary Story forever it seems. . . . . .

It was the Martha -Mary story which raised the hackles and had me fuming.  Martha wished to sit and listen to her friend and exchange thoughts but Mary of course took the seat.  Mary did not offer to pour milk nor water to the thirsting children and elders so Martha toured with pitcher in hand and fumed.

Jesus was attuned to this and chided,  Martha, Martha why do you fuss so?  Mary is only doing what Mary can do.

I am not really sure that anyone appreciated what Martha did.  Martha also did what only she could do because she saw what needed to be done.  No one else did.  No one.  Only her eyes saw the need.

There would be those who say that Martha chose to pour for the guests.  She could have said no and taken a seat.  But could she?  And did Mary see the need and choose not to service?  Or not eyes open and mind to understand?

I scribed . . .You have the obligation because you have the knowledge.   October 26, 1988

(my thoughts today. . . In other words  when you have the knowledge, you  have the obligation.  Also when knowledge roots and conscience is honed, options are fewer.  In some cases, options close.  (this is how saints are born on the job)

This is anathema to some because choice is a freedom and to say options close takes away that freedom.   Limited knowledge even then gives the favored ones many choices.  And looking at our world especially today, tells us that minorities are stripped of choices every day no matter their high credentials.

When reasons and explanations make the kind of sense that lead to understanding, it becomes knowledge.  Understanding does not necessarily make something easier to live with.  But when it roots and conscience is honed sharply, one sometimes sees an out but it is closed because that same knowledge sometimes presents fallout on innocent shoulders.  Conscience wishes not to wound.

And the only thing one can do is endure.

One is not abandoned because in the knowledge comes enlightenment which grants surcease from what grips in the dilemma.  Sometimes small comfort but in the broadening space given, this becomes the lifebuoy that keeps all afloat.  And in times like ours with so many devices blaring information 24/7 with no letup, a small comfort is acceptable with no argument.  And greedily grasped.

The Godfellows. . .

they crowd him, he who walks
the path like the pied piper.

the youngers follow like
so many puppies.

he bends to whisper the day good
into ears that hear his beating heart.

and their hearts beat with knowledge . . .
that they are both Divine. . . . .

(When it seems I flit with old and recent entries, it is because I finally understand  the quantum theory that all time is simultaneous.  Because I do, it is all happening now.  It is the only way to make sense out of my own why.  Work on it because otherwise the deep waters will entice.)

photo by John S. Hallissey


The Loving Gesture Makes The Difference. . . . .


What pleases me so much about this photo besides knowing she is my beloved Emma E. is the obvious seriousness she shows in her work.  And it is work she does. 

I identify the intensity and I wish her to be able to see the beauty of her body doing what her mind has determined.  It is with joy she will do work, whatever it is. 

It will be with a loving gesture that she does her tasks.  And the loving gesture is what makes the difference.

We have our favorite people doing for us when we are children and it is special ones we want to do for us as we grow older.  It is the toddler who says either Mommy do!  Or daddy do!   Or pushing the item in the hands of another with a grunt!  Do!  What is the difference?  The child knows.  The child knows the difference.  It is the love.

And the elder child approaching dotage?  They sit calmly and wait for the loving gesture that always makes the difference.

I cannot nor do I even wish to get behind the eyes of an Other to see what they see.  But I can see in the hands the loving gesture simply by how they approach the task.  Is it with haste, or disdain the task is done, or even a disinterest?  Is it with no thought because something else is more important or enticing?

It will show in the outcome of the work. So if it takes me hours to make dinner,  it may be an honored chef in mind telling me to chop finely the celery for this dish.

It may be time in conference or in harmony with the invisible Other whom we all house in heart. This Other we talk to is what the cosmic element sometimes call prayer.

Emma E. is in conference.  Emma E. is in harmony. She seriously mixes her mudcakes and measures the liquid to make real what she remembers from another place.  Not in time perhaps, but in mind. 

What she does is what her grandfather did on the white sheets folded to make a piano on his bed sing his heart songs.  And an uncle sit with the books he memorized as a preschooler to cite them aloud while another climbed his trees with a tool belt made of kitchen ware to saw the branches off.

The loving gestures were part of them as I see now in their offspring.  And I almost know, almost. . . what they see through their eyes.

photo by 
Tresy Hallissey, Grandfather


Love = Value Added. . . .

Attitudes of Gratitude . . . . .

I had been asked to make potato salad for guests because they think it special and I was delighted to do so.  When I finished I thought I should have kept the times to show long it took when I was at home and said I was tired at the end of a day caring for  family, home and property.  I was asked what was I doing all day since I didn’t have to work?   

I gave thought to love of family, for beauty I created in the home, yard and learning to do.  Not just what I did with my hands but with my heart.

It took 3 ½ hours from start to finish today when I made the potato salad.  No small act in time but its value was what went into it because of caring.  The celery chopped thin, green pepper, angular and red pepper to add color;  cucumbers angled to be crisp , eggs cooked perfectly made the difference.  Particular mayonnaise balanced with sour cream made it special.

Once yard work meant I knew plants and their needs, maximized color, plus caregiving meant I studied facets of connection between us and nature.  Watering was measured with empty tuna cans placed precisely.  Once a week spraying with mouthwash kept bugs off the landscaping and a can of beer in the sprayer fed the lawn also.  Time doing and learning?   A lot.  Worth it?  You bet.

My presence was an added value when David came home for chemo treatment.  I sat beside the bed when he had difficulty sleeping doing what I do in thought.  I was not cognizant of his awareness until he thanked me for sitting.  He told me that he was able to let his grip on himself relax and sleep was his relief for the guard on himself.   

Important?  How often everyone’s need to have a someone sit by us?

When I met my friend to go walking to relieve her tension, I said let’s put away the toys because it looks like rain.  Only toys she said but you and your husband worked to buy them and you respect your work?  Never thought of it that way she said.  I said the lesson then is the work means nothing and there is no respect for it.

Most people do not think of children as a sacred trust with lessons carefully taught.  Most think children are clones of them and a biological thrust of insignificance.

Carrying things too far am I?  But this casual attitude permeates every aspect of our lives.  Do I ask one more thing to do with a list of too many already? 

When I saw a credit card tossed on the counter with disdain for the checkout person I wanted to slap that hand who did it and apologize to the cashier.  The attitude said to me I am bigger than this small purchase or  it’s only dirty money.   I wanted to ask if he had so little respect for his work that gave him credit to buy or the cashier not worth simple courtesy?  I was ashamed of what I saw.

Ain’t nothin’ much?  But it is a whole lot of much this casual attitude.  With Covid 19 I worry a lot about attitudes.  I do not relate to souls bartering for rights to sit on the beach or go to the malls in droves.  You have a value you have not discovered.  Please, take precautions,  wear your mask.

Because I want Others to value you, I wear my face mask, to keep our planet afloat until they do.  We are in precarious waters.

photo by John S. Hallissey


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