My word is my honor 11-15-17

My family, my church, my schools, my community
combined to shape me in my youth
but now each decision made
shouts who I am.
Though I aspire to become
better than yesterday’s self,
I know the weight of failure
and the bitter taste of regret.
I know how far from grace I stand,
yet gifted with hope
I continue.

How tempting to respond in kind,
to offer hurt for hurt
but those feelings I seek to leave behind,
compost for improvement
while I strive, alive in the reality I create.

How amazing!
To swim in the waters of human chaos,
where morality varies like glints of moonlight
on silver scales, ever shifting and changing.
A world where respecting others
does not require respect for me.
Still I swim against the current,
constantly pulling myself
towards who I want to be
because of the shifting sands
of who I am.

In the end, none of the rest matters,
not the jibes from smiling faces
nor the words whispered,
rising in bubbles of air to surface exploding
mixing in the babble
of wind blown conversation.
I create myself daily,
rising from dreams to follow my own,
the best that I can.
In the end, my word matters to me,
my honor matters to me,
that self I renew and define each morning.
Focussed on beauty,
I let blessed water currents
carry the past away
while the song of my honor
sings me along my way,
as best I can.

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Doorway of no return. 11-16-17

Carved oaken curves kissed
the weathered wooden door,
framed with ivy leaves
of deepest green,
refusing to wither
instead waving hither and yon
at whoever traveled near.

No beams or structure supported,
no mossy roof protected it from rain,
just a a door in the middle of moonlit woods,
directly centered in a dusty path,
going neither forward nor back.

I could sense no purpose,
no threat of harm,
just a tug of curiosity,
a tickle of wondering
beneath sleeping autumn skies.

I should have wondered at being there,
an unlikely choice for one
who preferred the comfort
of four stout walls and a peaceful, crackling fire.
Safety, I craved, though a small voice within
whispered with a grin,
that adventure was exciting,
enticing me from my comfort zone.

I reached for the doorknob
which should have been chill
but instead was warm like mother’s cheek.
Turning it round in silence
like a well oiled household knob
no sound to warn except
the pounding of my heart.

A moment of hesitation,
reflection of choices past,
the worst a measure of fear and doubt
the best a reflection of soulful desire.
It was enough for a start,
a willingness to begin
thus I entered the doorway of no return,
determined to find another missing piece of myself,
regardless of sensing there was no way back.
accepting the invitation after all.

November is the month of Remembering

Sometimes, Dad seems very close.

Ready, aim, fire.
My father’s words ricochet
in my mind,
tugging at the corners of my soul
as full eyes spill silent tears.

I squeeze my lids shut,
breathing deeply of wet, fallen leaves
and sifting woodsmoke
as I drift back in time.
I feel his presence as tangible
as the scratchy wool of his red plaid Mackinac,
coarse yet comforting in its weight and warmth.
I am held in his arms,
secure in love, protected from a world
I didn’t understand.

Through closed eyes,
I watch smoke rise above his head,
gray wisps caught in lamplight.
He peers through the glasses on his nose
at the paper in his lap,
legs crossed at his knee,
one foot absenting rocking the maple curves
back and forth, mesmerizing in rhythm.

Eyes wide open,
images linger to blur my vision,
changing my choices.
Not the day for target practice,
rather for remembrances and revisiting,
I sit in the sun,
warm enough to bask in thought
and relive the good I thought I’d lost.

We gather together,

those who study words
for shades of meaning, nuances of intent.
Always searching, seeking
for ways to improve,
to refine our craft.

Bright words that sing in sound and color,
be spelling listeners to other worlds;
the voodoo of velvet and chocolate
in lyrical charms that ensnare heart and mind
with magic as earnest as batwing, roots and webs.

Spider art glistens with orbs of dew
ready to catch the unwary and hold them fast.
It’s a choice of which word
best conveys our thought, our feeling
so we practice and rewrite
again, then again.
We thirst for hidden knowledge,
the alchemy of syllables,
the correct composition of mind, ear and heart,
certain that effort will be rewarded
with the elusive golden connection
we all so desire.

Thus we gather to share our pursuit,
our frustrations and our joys,
the pain of our learning and yearning
catalyst to momentum.
In the midst of our journey, we listen and learn,
debating and speaking in turn,
celebrating the truth of who and what we are:
Wordsmiths of novels, stories and poems,
Spell masters of written and oral speech,
voices unique and valued in their differences.

Gather round one and all,
this is how we heed the call
that beckons us and brings us near,
Gather round, we’ve words to hear!

C’est la vie, c’est la guerre. Such is life, such is war.

C’est la vie, c’est la guerre,
black and white,
right and wrong,
life and death,
always a coin with two sides,
flying in an arc,
golden glints catching the light,
hope spinning with chance
in the eternal game.

L’aissez faire,
taking it easy,
taking it as it comes,
each new day a fresh start
enticing us to play again,
to try our luck,
wishing for the best
while avoiding the rest.

Fair of face, full of grace
so the old rhyme goes,
youth now a figment of yesterday,
grace now a prayer
on whispered lips and whiskered chins,
golden memories, golden days
older ways and means,
nothing really as it seems,
good enough to get us by,
until the bye and bye.

Reunion for the class of ’72

Reunion.
It rolls around
every year,
sooner than some would like,
reminding
how quickly time goes by.

Echoes of memories emerge
of teachers and coaches:
some good, some regrettable,
unforgettable images of yesterday,
moments in time that will never return,
when we, as children and teens,
actually walked to school
come sleet, snow or ice,
before it was hip to exercise,
before fear began to rule.
Neighborhoods where almost everyone
knew your family and your kin,
friends and relationships
we took for granted
searching for adulthood.

Our valedictorian bravely
asserted her choice of future,
facing down critics in a sea of blue and white
wishing her a different path,
choices Gloria Steinem continues to advocate.
Our class defiantly willed the pill
to the junior class,
a decision no less momentous,
no less complicated today.
We thought it was childhood we were leaving
in yesterday’s dust
of country roads and small towns
chasing adulthood and freedom
wherever they led.

We rushed to our futures
and found fate
waiting to teach us
lessons not written in books.
We thought winning defined the best,
whether scholar, athlete, vocalist or musician.
The challenge
to outdistance the rest
with the hottest date, the fastest car
and the appearance of money
was an illusion of life,
reality was yet to be learned.
For most of us, fate had other ideas.

Some found answers in faraway places:
fog covered mountaintops
slippery with snow,
across deep green seas
with white capped waves
or cities
climbing to the sky in shimmering towers of glass,
following roads of asphalt and concrete mazes.
Some, like me,
found happiness in
our own backyards and fields,
clicking our heals together and chanting
“There’s no place like home!”
No place like here.

We’ve survived jobs
that tried to smother us,
and debt that tried to crush us,
putting one foot after the other,
step by step with grit and determination,
sometimes sheer stubbornness,
day by day,
chasing the American Dream.
We survived the trials of raising children
wearing wrinkles and grey hair as badges of honor,
or hiding the damage as best as we can.
We’ve survived bodies
that came without warranties
with parts and hearts
that want to wear out
but we are still here.

Life has a way of showing us
how small we are
in the total picture,
that the only real winners
are the ones who survive.
That’s us! We are the winners,
the team that never gave up.
Our club is select, growing smaller each year.
All the more reason to raise our glasses with cheer.

Here’s to the class of ’72, winners all, far and near!
Toast us with water or soda, wine or beer!
We deserve this,
we are here!

The Gospel of Infinity

The abacus of time held a universe of planets and stars,
brightly colored orbs spinning while suspended
just like reality, one might suppose.mt
Yet in this room of infinite blue,
the surreal was palpable and alive with energy.

He had traveled each world,
walked their varied surfaces with care,
clothed himself in nature’s hand-me-downs
while protecting each fragile ecosystem.
He swam their waters and flew their skies,
bathing in dust storms like birds in the forest,
blown like a snowflake in crystallized winds,
adapting to each and every one.

Pulling his antique gold watch from his pocket of leaves,
he noted the time with a smile,
minutes and seconds mattered little to one as aged as he.
Instead of a photograph in the top of his timepiece,
it mirrored the Milky Way,
his favorite of all his destinations and travels,
full of mystery and promise that never failed,
delighting the explorer within.
Snapping the clock shut with a grin,
He remarked, “I sure do good work, if I say so myself”
then he turned and ceased to be here,
going there with a wink of his eye.

Imagine viewing life from that perspective,
with patience and the wisdom of the ages
instead of our impetuous and heated passions.

Imagine.

Persistence

 


Behind her the past rolled gently,
a landscape of green swells and sunlight
calling her sweetly,
reminding her she was just a breath away
from safety and security,
close enough to reach back for a touch of reassurance.
Nevertheless, she fought through gray uncertainty,
pushing beyond doubt, trusting herself.

She felt trapped in a spiral of time,
vines of the past ensnaring her feet and ankles
even as her arms stretched upwards,
fingers aching to grasp dreams glimpsed through broken skies.
Tearing away, stumbling forward step by step,
she approached her destiny, the holy grail for all who search
despite closed doors and ideas set in stone,
seeking paths only they can discern and follow.

The wind rose up, tugging her hair, whispering regrets,
lamenting low and deep of failure and sorrow
but it wasn’t her song.
Her melody sang lightly in her soul,
notes shimmering like beacons in the night.

Once again, she resisted the darkness
intended to turn her aside

She held the flame of her spirit cupped between her hands,
cherishing it, protecting it from careless thoughts and words;
a candle to guide her way.

Fatigue laid its hand on her shoulder,
offering comfort, rest and delay.
Once again she persisted, stubbornness lending strength.
Perseverance became her calling, her identity and name
as she journeyed to fulfillment,
her restless nature finding each achievement a paving stone,
creating the mosaic of her life.

In the beginning of her womanhood,
she had known few certainties,
a loving heart and curious mind
did not clearly direct her course or career.
She found herself along the way, closing the circle within
by completing herself, true to herself.
She became the woman she was always called to be,
finding voice for word and song unleashed in beauty and creativity.

Persistence and Perseverance, qualities of weeds and determined women
continually spring forth where least expected,
defiantly thriving despite the world they live in.

Nevertheless, wondrously persisting!

Stillness vs. Speaking

There is a time for reflection,
for the silence of inner searching,
praying for guidance before action
but certain truths shine brightly,
beacons in the night.
Evil succeeds
when good people do nothing.
Therefore, I speak.
Therefore I share
because I care
about my fellow man,
my country,
civil liberties and freedoms
extended to all,
never tools for evil and hatred.

I hear your discomfort
with my stand,
but comfort and quiet are sometimes
tools of inertia,
used to disadvantage others.

I cannot be still,
will not be still.
Choose your own path
as you will,
but freedom requires vigilance,
not isolation
on a far away hill.

I yearn for peace,
for love offered hand to hand,
not a hand out, but a hand up
to stand side by side.

While I dream, I stand.
I speak because I can
because I must,
a voice
for those who can’t or won’t,
following my heart, my guide
to do and be my best.
Like it or not,
it’s still my right.

What he or she wanted. 8-3-17

He wanted heaven on earth
but was satisfied with bits and pieces
gleaned from the world he lived in.
Riding away from toil and trouble
with the thrum of his Harley between his legs,
his lady snug behind.
No agenda ahead, no time clock,
just the sweet curve of pavement
hiding adventure just ahead,
adrenaline pumping his veins
and all the time he never had,
waiting round the bend.

She wanted it all,
it was part of her name, her personality
to forever quest for the shine and glitter
of the next best thing,
be it a grandbaby’s hug,
a vase of Queen Anne’s lace
or a walk along a moonlit beach.
Once in a while, prayers are actually answered,
she knew, and there was no point
in trying to hide from the creator
whose design she was.
Thus, she found her everything
like Dorothy of Oz, right in her own backyard
with the boy next door-well close enough!
She was content, living the adventure
unveiling itself a little each day.