The Housekeeper

The Housekeeper. Illustration by Claudia Hallissey

There bellows a wind
around the turrets
of the mind’s house,
ripping under gutters,
sweeping under eaves,
leaving no residue.

Clean, chaste
as the sweet wind,
stands she exalted.
Prudently swiping at corners
to eliminate even
the shadow of contamination
on her brother’s name.

In good time,
in due time,
the world will be
swept clean
and her father’s house
will sparkle.




Come Into My Kitchen

Come into my kitchen
and use the back door.
Only dear friends are allowed to
walk right into
the center of my home.

Others have to earn the right
by walking through the halls
of my life to get to
the heart of my home.

But you can come
to the back door.

I will let you in.




Your heart will teach in ways the world cannot.


What is not finished here will be finished elsewhere.
This is called the long view.   It is a choice.


When everything becomes a moral decision it
means that issues have been dragged through
the heart.


To suffer means to be aware of the damage
you do to the ones you care about.


Look always to where the sun rises and sets.  It
is but half a world.


Dimensions are but changes in perspective.  As
one world fades, another emerges where we have
earned the right to be.


As long as the eye beholds and another heart beats
to receive, there will be reason to keep breathing and
not give up.


The unfed Spirit is just as hungry as the unfed body.


Remember that when love does not accompany
the gift, there is no gift.


Uneventful is a merciful condition and that in itself
is a large blessing.

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 faher
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
and fuse my spine with tempered steel.

There is so little time.

The Autumn Night

The velvet night plays host
to the September moon
hanging in suspension in liquid air.
Cold, crisp edges
seal in the lunar landscape,
forgetting for the moment,
the hot sky which sealed our noon.

There comes the night,
in desperation relieving
the cloddish insensitivity visible
in the unrelenting stubbornness of the day,
unable and unwilling to release itself.

With relief,
the jagged beginning of the moon,
just now visible to the naked eye
makes its way across the horizon
of the mental landscape.

Its ridges,
its volcanic valleys split in two
and on the other side of the mind
it falls into the sun to rise
from flames on another night.

Having healed with mystic splendor,
balm for the day's wounds, it rests.
I drink in the day and forget.

But the night . . . the night. . .
now bedded in honor, its place undisputed,
finds my words of gratitude hallow the ground

in worlds unattended.

A Presence In My LIfe

(In May of 2000 I, with the help of family, had self published
a hard cover book of poetry called Kiss The Moon;  A Woman
Speaks and Gives Grace. Except for a few copies I held back,
500 books were sold.   In the front of the book I explained how
the poetry came to be.   It will help explain  questions put to me
and show the road traveled.  The words are simple,
the work unbelievable.)

The sun was bright coming in through the high windows on
that first day of English Lit at the University.   The professor
was introducing herself  and I don’t know when my attention
wavered but when I looked down I found I had written these words,
`Fear death, ahhhh I do because I love life so much’!  I did not
know where these words came from but it was an affirmation and
I realized they had always been true.   Even today there would be
argument as to their source.  My thoughts mix smoothly with what
I consider a given and myself the instrument through which they
come.  I know when the work is mine.   I also know when a
thought is inserted or given.   And when one is given, there is
a giver or givers.

A leap must be taken when the truth of that statement is
confronted.  It is the reason people go to their places of worship
and as a friend said, that what we  hope is true.  Yet when faced
daily with significant events or thoughts, it is a puzzlement as to
why the  evidence does not speak to the person.   It will
eventually and when it does,  it will be the right time.

For me the beginning was in the classroom but took possession
of  a corner of my mind and stayed there while other things were
happening. Though I was alert to the thoughts that seemed to come
from nowhere,  there was this portion that tested the limits of what
was my history.  And one night while sitting at my desk I found
words tumbling over themselves and when I was finished a poem
was born.  I wondered how this came about and surely I must
have memorized this long ago.   Nowhere could I find this poem
and it was not the kind I would do on my own.  I read it to the family
and they laughed because it was comical, though philosophical,
and we let it go.  No one of course believed how it came to be.

It took a letter to my mother to convince me there was a
Presence in my life.  I started the letter and suddenly the
words were writing themselves and the missive was one of
good thinking and good psychology.  And from that point, the
muses or the Teachers as I called them were my mind

There are those who say that within the layers of the human
being there is knowledge and this knowledge rises when stresses
demand answers or directions.   This could very well be and
I do not argue this. But when a grateful heart murmurs a thank
you and the response in mind is you’re welcome followed by a
sense of rightness and companionship and love, then one
knows there is a Presence.

It has been a war of words over a lifetime.   A philosophy
has been hammered out and though it may not rest
comfortably with organized religion, still I have woven a
philosophical blanket with mended holes that has managed
to keep me warm.   It has taken all the years of my life and
it has been a hard work.  (I have no words to describe the work
involved.   None in my vocabulary.)  But I would not have
missed a day of it.

My Song Goes Out

My song goes out
on the morning air
and penetrates the sky
to where the stars hang heavy.

My lyrics ride the beams
that will meet the sun
and hang in mid-day
until even the grass hears
the melody or the mourning.

Look who it is! they say.
She speaks to us and
we hear, we hear.
And when they ask of me
I will say it is an enchanted place,
this Earth home.

Learn to speak her language
and learn to hear her songs.
Be the lyre on which
her music is played.

The music spells out
a beginning that never was
and an ending that cannot be.
She will tell us of a richness
that is ours

since we first were stars.

Morning Comes



Morning comes

with dew hinting Autumn,
promising a long, clean winter.


Schedules are welcomed
and days end
at an appropriate time.


Evenings stretch
like warm welcoming mats,
rolling up at our heels
and sealing us in with what


will feed our Spirits.

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How And Why

A grandson asked me to explain how my writing comes about.  
How I give birth to things and the meaning of some articles and poems. 
Some authors and musicians have said that the words and music are
heard with an inner ear.  Often writers will say they are writing with the flow.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said we must keep the pipes free and clear so that
we will hear the muses speak.  And with me the words will be there and it
is all I can do to put them down as fast as I can or like Emerson I am
in dialogue with the muses.  Other times when I am out of sync,  I
struggle for words.  To be able to say this means that time has been
given to learning what life means to me and how I respond to it.  I had to
find a balance with what I was taught and what I was experiencing. 
It is not easy to make inroads. It is not easy being different.  In another
time I would be called a mystic.  This is someone who has an inner
life with a connection to things invisible and intangible, but altogether valid.
To me life is a continuum.  We come from a somewhere and
we go to a somewhere we have earned the right to be.

I grew up in a family that took life seriously.  I wish we had laughed
more, just as I wish I had not spent 18 months in a hospital when I
was ten with a bone problem. (Penicillin came to market two months
after I was discharged from the hospital.)These were conditions that
shaped me.  The worst being separated from my siblings.  There were
eight of us and even though the country was still recovering
from the Depression, I felt rich.  There were six brothers and
two sisters so how could we be poor?   We had each other.

The previous post on the loss of our son’s baseball tournament I
realized  was also for me.  I needed to see the words written to realize
that the rules applied to me as well.   The same rules applied to
everything I have done in my 80 plus years.  First and foremost were
family and home and all that implied with its care.   All the other things,
the writing and independent study which I did when the rest of the world
slept were to make inroads for me.  What have I learned by digging
beneath the rock of who I am?  That there is a substance, a weight,
a something metaphysical hidden in all of us within our skeletons.

There is a fountain of lore within us.  When we apply what it is we
have learned in this life we come up with things that tell us where
we have traveled spiritually. I make connections.  Some people have
difficulty with this.  I connect life’s events and draw my invisible lines
and see no division in any of it.  It unites in my thinking and I wonder
how it has escaped those in power in high places who have the clout
to do something.  I have a son who told me that I make vacuuming a
spiritual experience.  Perhaps I do for am I not a steward of this
place I inhabit?  This continuous thread has been mine since childhood.
I link everything to All That Is.  Some would call it God and others
Jehovah and still others what they think Highest and Best.  I see
this link in games of children to those of adults as they dress
their lives with needed illusions.   The rules are for real and the
stakes are us.  We either are the victory and our gods the victors or not.

A friend tried to convince me that this is an impersonal world
and not to be taken personally.  I say this is my world and I will do
what is mine to do to the best of my ability because I do take it
personally.  We must or else it will perish.  Every action has
consequences, good or ill.   The roads connecting us to All That Is
are peculiarly ours because of our thinking.  What we learn are codes
or Beliefs to live by.  If the rules work in one place, they should without
bias work again.  If our  rules do not have favorable results,   we must
dig deeper and work some more.  We are talking about life and it may
take the rest of our lives to find the why of it.  Worth it?   Utterly.

The principles apply.   Universal principles apply and will work in
other places and times.  These are known as true values.  True
values do not change.   Because the substance of them has a
weight our hearts will recognize instantly.

Quantum,  sumus, scimus.    We are what we know.

The Explanation

It was with stony disbelief
they watched as I slowly lifted
the strands of hair at the back of my head.
And when they blinked,  I smoothed
the disarray and said, did you see them?

I, of course, had grown another
set of eyes on the back of my head.
But only after the children came, of course.
The other one, in front, I pointed out,
set between the other two like yours,
I've always had and thought the world did too.
It helped me to reach places like your heart.

You always had a key to my head, one said
and I was shocked.   I did not know that I did.
I did not mean to invade your privacy.
And another, breathless, shaken, rushed
into the house one foggy night
and said, you won't believe this!   (But I did.)
There they were on bicycles all five abreast,
dressed in white.   They stayed in front of me
till I turned the car at the corner, home.
And then they vanished you wailed.
And I said, I know, I know, they are your friends.

And another said, we are the listeners.
The world does not listen but we hear.
The raindrops speak to the windowpanes
and apologize for clouding their vision.
And the windows say my eyes needed washing anyway.  
And I say, you know, you know.

We hear the anguish of the world in motion,
in the raucous laughter in words unsaid, said.
They see the world in shades of white and black,
denying spectrums of themselves in brilliant hue.
These souls who question us
are sight and sound and color blind,

living in a world of no dimension.

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