Monday, May 31, 2010

The Wisdom of Openness

Today I cloak myself in wisdom
and though
at first glance
it looks like the armor of God,
I see --
not protection,
no hard impenetrable boundary--
but rather openness,
Where is the wisdom in that?
How can the delicate tracery
of truth and honesty
possibly protect
my inner thoughts,
my hopes and dreams?
But now I see:
this shield must be porous:
how else can I flow out to you,
or you flow into me
unless the boundaries break down
and allow us to become One.

* * *

Sunday, May 30, 2010


O Gracious One,
In following the devices and desires of our greedy hearts,
We have soiled the beauty of this fragile earth
with our hunger, our laziness, and our indifference,
poisoning our environment
with artificial colors and flavors
in our relentless quest for More.
For generations now we’ve left undone
that which we ought to have done,
and persisted in doing what we ought not to do.

What chance is there of resurrection?
What hope is there, that we can restore
that which we have destroyed?
When will we awaken and fully commit
to protecting and cherishing our environment
as it has protected and cherished us?
When will we at last begin
To find and nurture in every soul
a genuine respect for the delicate balance of creation?

* * *

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Some vital piece is gone,
torn away,
and we are left unbalanced,
for what was
and is no more;
and feeling
as if there were
some neon halo overhead,
some bright pink arrow
pointing to the wound and flashing
"Damaged Goods. Damaged Goods."
Each death that we survive --
relationship, job, parent or child, breast, or limb --
a dream,
ripped from the side like Adam's rib:
seed of something new,
but still --
the scars remain.

(This poem is for Robin)

* * *

Friday, May 28, 2010

Even the weeds

the bits that don't belong --
the artificial flowers,
the fabric watering can --
the parts of our lives
that just don't fit
and don't really work --
provide an important
burst of color,
drawing our eyes
to the beauty of the ordinary,
to the holiness of the normal,
and helping us to see
that the weeds we struggle with
are minor -- and very much belong.

* * *

Thursday, May 27, 2010


When I shop, my eyes are always drawn
to the buddhas,
but not the laughing ones.
And why is that?
Spirituality is a serious business?
Or is it just that I long for peace,
and already have enough laughter in my life?
Perhaps I just don't get the joke:
how funny is that,
that if we're looking
for a clear heart
it's gonna cost us?
How funny is that,
that this buddha, too
will cost us?
And peace,
and joy --
what is the cost of that?
Or is it -- as the Mastercard commercials
continue to drum into us --

* * *

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I've never been a fan of red:
I can't erase a distant memory
of a friend's dear child
walking on the beach
and finding a bit of beach glass
-- brilliant red --
and how jealous I was
that she had spotted it first.
It wasn't so long after that
that cancer took her from us;
I wondered then, if I had seen it first,
she might have had a longer fuller life...
So when you found
another bit of glass upon my beach
-- so clear, so round, and streaked with red --
I found myself selfishly glad this time
I hadn't seen it first --
not that I wish any harm on you;
it's just that I don't trust
this pattern not to re-occur.
I'll never be a fan of red, I fear.

* * *

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On being away from home

I'm pleased to find,
in your world as in mine,
that there's a mix
of sacred and profane,
of ancient gods,
and darker skins,
of books both old and new,
of flowers pink, and yellow, and blue,
of metal and wood,
of pottery and glass,
with a basket or two
to hold the bread we'll share.
Don't shed a tear for me,
for I can see
I'll be at home
in your world as in mine:
all I could ever need is here:
a mask to wear,
a bottle or two and a prayer;
a table to eat on, a cup to drink from
and a bit of color to brighten up my day.

Today's poem is a response to a prompt from Carry On Tuesday; it's the opening line from the Bee Gee’s song My World: "Don't shed a tear for me." To read the lyrics and watch a video of the Bee Gees singing My World click HERE.

* * *

Monday, May 24, 2010

This game we play

This game we play with such intensity
-- this concentrated effort to win
and not to lose --
is laced throughout
with thrilling victories
and agonizing defeats,
moments of joy and despair
often contingent on another's loss or gain.
When will we step back from play
to feel the grass beneath our feet
and drink the bright red smiles
of the flowers who stand wondering
on the sidelines?

* * *

Sunday, May 23, 2010

When color speaks

When color speaks --
of love,
or sweetness;
of tenderness and hope;
of fragility
and courage,
and the glorious profusion
of joy we were born to know --
when color speaks,
the heart listens,
and wells up,
like tears
with colors of its own,
spilling out like rain
to bathe us all in wonder.

I listen, too --
and rejoice.

* * *

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Torch song

It's a cold gray morning,
and the clouds are betting
spring will never come,
chewing on their smoky cigars
and tossing spots onto my deck
like poker chips
while I watch and sip my coffee.
But the odds are in my favor
and the sun --
or some old gambler in the sky --
decides to aim his spotlight
at a distant stage
and the mountain begins to croon a torch song,
chasing away
those long winter blues,
inviting our hearts to dance in anticipation.

* * *

Friday, May 21, 2010

Reflective surfaces

Each of us
a reflective surface:
I reflect what you project
and all that stands behind you
and what you see
looking at me
is partially obscured
by that confusion.
And did you notice
that the pieces of me
that seem to intrigue you the most
are those unexpected planes
that shift to reveal
some part of you
you don't quite understand?
There is a sense of recognition
mixed with a wondering
that draws you closer in:
will you then back away
once its origin
comes clear?

* * *

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Training your dragons

There will always be dragons,
and only this question:
how will you ride out the storm?
Will you cringe at its head
with your back to the wind,
or stand on its back
confident and strong,
or take up your oars to do battle
with the press of the wind
and the waves?

Or will you remember
you needn't engage;
you can stand on the shore
that lies safe,
deep within,
and admire the color,
the courage and passion
life's challenges offer
for those who are willing
to watch and engage.

* * *

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A moment to observe

So beautiful,
all curls and lace;
the light, and dark,
the damp
and the grace
all working together
to pleasure the eyes --
just as light
and dark,
and tears and grace
create their own contrasts
in our own lives,
resulting in gifts
whose textural mix
weaves a tapestry
of hope and delight
for all who take a moment to observe.

* * *

Sunday, May 16, 2010


On the day that you find
you can no longer see
past your own dirt
and that those internal
windshield wipers
aren't keeping up
it may be time
to drive downtown,
invite some bigger brushes
to do the job for you.

It won't cost all that much --
just a few preconceived notions --
and that sparkly clean feeling
will surely
be worth the trip.

* * *

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Watching the fire die

Let us die together,
you and I:
Let us sit
holding hands
or drinks
on the precipice of time
and watch in comfort
as the fire dies
over in the hills;
feel the cool evening
settle in our bones
as they grow more brittle,
slowly melting into dust
as the last light
flows out
like a slow tide.

* * *

Friday, May 14, 2010

How she feels today

Listen to the poppy:
she's trying on a different dress today;
seeing what it might be like
to look a little different,
to hold a bit more light
within her deepest heart,
and let it radiate;
to hold a deeper, calmer shade
at her outer edges,
where she interacts
with air,
and wind,
and butterflies,
thinking perhaps that if that calm touches them
it will pass
by osmosis
into other lives as well.
She is no less herself in other clothes --
we all still know she was born to be bright red!
But this is how she feels

* * *

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Seeds of Hope

In India,
farmers who for centuries
have saved their seeds
to sow again
have now been forced to purchase seeds
-- which sadly both increases their debt
and reduces their yield,
leaving them and their families destitute:
some 200,000 Indian farmers
have killed themselves in despair
since 1997.
How do we continue
to live with the contrast
between their lives and ours --
and when will we begin sowing seeds of hope?

* * *

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The promise in a rose

What is it that stops my heart
when I see the rose?
Is it the softness of the petals --
so like a baby's cheek?
The play of light
on her delicate curves?
Her remarkable presence,
containing -- as it surely does --
awareness of past bud and future fade?
Perhaps it's this:
a promise that this process,
this stripping away and revelation
is no longer an onion, but a rose;
not smelly skins, but petals,
whose fragrance draws us
ever closer to You.

* * *

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Consider this lily --
how tightly closed her tall white bud,
how outrageously her color then explodes;
how fiercely her stamens and pistil
hold my camera at bay,
how seductive and alluring
her rich sweet scent,
how charming all those freckles are --
even the ones that are morphing into spikes --
and though her petals will soon turn brown and wilt,
she's confident -- and so am I --
that she -- or some new flower,
created in her image,
with her roots --
will return next year
to hurl another cup of joy into my life.

* * *

Monday, May 10, 2010

What propels us?

What propels you today?
What old and outdated notions,
what rusty fantasies
and moss-ridden shoulds
have you strapped on
to drive you ever forward
on a path you are no longer
even sure you would have chosen?
Do you ever pause to drift a bit,
or even to consider
dropping that consumptive engine?
What if you let it fall away,
take out your oars -- or better yet
raise your sails to catch the wind
and soar on the breath of Spirit?

* * *

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers Day

Some pleasures,
forever timeless,
will remain:
the golden light
of a summer afternoon,
the scent of flowers in a garden
the sound of seagulls
squabbling overhead,
the allure of a path that leads to the sea,
the memory of you
sitting in this chair,
book open in your lap,
turning your face to the light
yet still attentive
to the babies playing at your feet.

* * *

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Beckoned into Grace

She came to my table
draped in green,
so I offered her a drink.
"No coffee or wine;
just water will do,"
she murmured quietly,
adjusting her skirts
to flow in textured waves
around her feet.

As I approach
to sprinkle blessings in her cup,

she bows her head in prayer,
and one sleek curl
escapes her chic coiffure:
its delicate perfection
beckons me into grace.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The colors of our thoughts

We forget, I think,
how much our thoughts are colored
by mood, and time, and situation;
how even in spring
when the mountains are lush and green,
they can loom,
suddenly black,
in the distance;
how a sky once blue
can flame,
ignite the trees
with all the fires of Hell;
how what looks like endtimes
can subside so quickly
into the soft and soothing grays
of evening.

* * *

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Yellow will be the dominant emotion

In the cool and damp
of a northwest spring;
between the snowstorms
and the rain,
You sow a daffodil,
bright promise
of the light to come,
of days when yellow is the dominant emotion
-- bright early sunrises,
yellow sands and yellow buckets,
sunflowers rising
and daisies blowing in the breeze,
goldfinches dancing in the garden --
keep climbing, love,
each step,
each carved stone step,
will bring you closer to the light.
And just beyond the top,
a field of daffodils, fluttering impatiently
await the lifting of the fog
to spill their bountiful cups of color.

* * *

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

At the heart of the spinning

at the heart
of this whirling dervish,
and spinning
in a world of their own,
lie Grace,
and Peace,
entwined in Joy,
wrapped in a rapture
of color and light
and dreaming
into being
a time in which ending
and beginning
are One.

This poem is a belated response to the Tuesday, May 4, Blog Carnival sponsored by Bridget Chumbley at One Word at a Time. The key word is Joy...

* * *

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Only the young

Were you dreaming
that a superhero
would come along
to save you
from your wasted life,
your drudgery,
your pain?

Were you dreaming
of release
from all those cares and woes
that slaves to all consumption
have been singing of for years?

Were you hoping for a hero
or just clinging to the past;
some book you read,
a million years ago?

Oh, no -- of course not, never you.
Only the young have such moments...

This poem was written for Carry On Tuesday. Today's prompt is 'Only the young have such moments,’ from The Shadow Line by Joseph Conrad, 1917. Today's image is a still shot (taken BY me, not of me) from a delightful short movie done by Sean Roach for Seattle's 48 Hour Film Project called Inked, in which my husband and I got to participate last May. You can see the full movie here.

* * *

Monday, May 3, 2010

Love, triumphant

Some child stood here
-- or perhaps a group of friends --
on this rusting bridge
in a remote country town
on a hot summer evening
with several cans of spray paint
and nothing better to do
than wave them in the air
and make a mark
-- no conscious design,
no words of bliss or fury --
I imagine it was quick,
for fear of getting caught;
a flourish of the wrist, and then move on,
leaving behind some smears
for the rust to gradually consume
and one lone photographer
to come along, years later
and find the message
carved on every heart:
Love, Triumphant.

* * *

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Your blush of love

It's only natural --
when we stop
to bow our heads in prayer --
to assume that that
to which we bow
is somehow above
and away.

When will we learn
that You are also below
and around
and within;
your grace embodied
in every graceful curve;
your darkness in the deep,
your light tipping the edges,
defining the edges
of seen and unseen,
your blush of love
even the underside of life.

* * *

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dedication as a shield

Though I am in the shade just now
the path ahead may well be sunny,
and so I thank
the ones who go before,
carrying their dedication
like umbrellas
to avoid the burn;
to deflect
the bright egoic illusions
that might distract them
from Your purpose.
I take my own umbrella now,
and spread it with a prayer,
that dedication prove a shield
and in its turn
then serve as its own bright beacon
to enlighten and protect
others who follow on this path,
traveling their own brave journeys
through this dark wood
and into light.

* * *