Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Where does your mind go?

Can you stand in this space,
content with this view?
Can you accept the peace, the stillness,
the simplicity of a world
with little color
and few distractions?
Where does your mind go
when confronted with vast emptiness?

* * *

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Elvis in a dishwasher

Feeling trapped
and trying to escape
the creep and grab,
the sludge and grime
of petrochemical dependence,
we naturally long
for up and out
but it's a slippery slope
and we wonder now
if the idea of wholeness and recovery
toward which we strive
is simply an illusion,
colored by our longing --
like the poor souls
who see Elvis in a dishwasher
and take it for proof
that he is still alive...

* * *

Monday, June 28, 2010

Where do you belong?

Where do you belong?
Surely not here,
tucked in the grasses
beside the road,
ears flickering in the breeze
from the cars flashing by...
But no, they told me, leave her there:
where she is
is where she's supposed to be;
sometimes the Mother will leave
for hours,
but always she returns;
there is a reason she's chosen this place.
So Who, I wonder, has chosen mine,
and when will She return?

* * *

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Keep paddling

For a minute there
I felt like I was drowning,
swamped by conflicting responsibilities.
How is it you are always there
to remind me there's another way to be?
Not only can I break through the muck
-- it's not really muck at all.
This stuff on top of the water,
that looks like slime,
is really just thousands
of tiny green flowers
blooming at the height of their life cycle.
It's my turn to bloom, too;
I just have to have the courage
-- and the patience, trust and desire --
to keep paddling.

* * *

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Your breath, a breeze

You offer me
an invitation and a block;
bright flowers draw me to your door,
but somehow no one's there to let me in
and so I stand,
a shabby beggar
on the steps of a church,
and yet shut out.
Perhaps the time has come to see
there is no there beyond the door;
that now, and here, are all I know,
and all I need to know:
bright flowers trumpeting
your presence to the skies
a gift to draw me into now
and hold me here
to watch this bold magenta swaying,
shifting in the breeze of your breath,
faces ever turning
to your light.

* * *

Friday, June 25, 2010

Home is where the heart is

Once there was a dream
And you could say
That it was never realized,
Because of course that’s true;
This is neither my house,
Nor my view,
But how fortunate am I
To be standing in this place,
With the water flowing
And the light just so;
To see the dream --
Its texture, shape, intensity –
And then to carry that feeling back
To my tiny little cabin
With its unkempt yard,
The ugly plastic siding
And these claustrophobic trees
Crowding in, and blocking so much light;
To step inside and breathe fir-scented air
And feel the peace
that I’ve found here
With You.

* * *

Thursday, June 24, 2010

At the center of the turning

You’d think,
With all the tossing and the whirling,
The relentless ceaseless turning
And avoidance,
I could evade the cold hard truth
That lurks within.

But when I take the time to look;
To face into the struggles and the pain
I learn that in accepting them
(Instead of turning away)
I can at last accept myself --
And then I see
There, at the center of it all,
Below the hurt,
Your steady gaze of love.

* * *

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kindred spirits

Help me learn to see
Not condemnation,
But curiosity
In your eyes,
And then,
In turn,
To watch my own
wary, mirrored face
With that same blend
Of interest,
And without judgment,
To stare into my eyes
As I do yours,
And see compassion lurking there;
The acceptance and affection
All creatures surely have
For those whom they deem
Of their own kind;
For kindred spirits –
That’s what we must be...

* * *

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When you live with crabs...

They say
when couples live together for many many years
They come to resemble one another;
It might be just their gestures,
But it’s as if -- with time --
The angles of the face reshape themselves
And nose and chin square up,
or shrink, or round in subtle concert,
gracenotes echoing
in an aging hall.
And we all have seen
The folks who seem to look
Just like their dogs.

Could it be that the seaweed,
Having spent its fat green life
In company with crabs
Has come to mimic
The sharp
Two-pointed grasp
Of their blood-red claws?

* * *

Monday, June 21, 2010


How long can we continue
enmeshed in our consumptive patterns,
gathering, building,
devouring and discarding,
and spilling,
more, more and more;
deluding ourselves
that want equals need, and that see equals want;
that "they have" means "I should have, too."

No wonder our souls
and our oceans are on fire
with the stress and the swirling
with all of the wanting and all of the needing:
we're confusing our hunger for a feeling of belonging
with desire for a roof to put over our belongings,
which we then thrust aside
-- or expand, or rebuild --
so we can pile in still more

* * *

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Does he think of them?

He stands alone
beside the sea;
attempting to capture
that which it offers,
in the aloneness,
the thrill of the hunt,
the roar of the wind and waves.
are there a wife, a child, or two, or three?
Is Father who he is,
or just a name
describing one of the lesser roles he plays?
And does he think of them as his eyes
sift through the waves in search of fish?
Does he think of them as he casts his lures,
and later, when he staggers back across the sand,
boots sticking in the muck,
arms laden with the catch of the day
-- or empty --
does he think of them?

* * *

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Love and honor

Some laugh when they remind us
that Dog is God spelled backwards,
and yet I watch you sleeping there
so patiently --
your soft breaths a gentle metronome
to guide my meditation --
and then I see how, ever alert,
you leap with joy when I arise,
ready for walk or play;
the way you bark protectively
at the sound of any intruder...
Always present, aware, and in tune with me,
eager, wise, receptive, encouraging...
I need to love and honor you both

* * *

Friday, June 18, 2010

We are the ones

We are the ones
who crowd the roads,
speeding the highways from here to there
on endless and pointless errands
filling the hours of the day
between feeding times
driven by restless activity.
They are the ones who suffer.

We are the ones
who waste and spill,
who poison the seas
with our greed and our hunger
for more, and for speed;
for new and for different.
They are the ones who suffer.

We are the ones
who have broken the world.
Where are the ones
who will mend it?

* * *

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The moneyplant: How much is enough?

Like so many things
both bad and good,
it all began with silver dollars
(some call it honesty)
which, on their own,
weren't that appealing,
but multiplied and stretched
began to seem
like something you or I might like;
something that could sell.
The trick
-- and isn't this always the trick --
was knowing when to stop,
and how much
would be

* * *

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

When we pay attention

Like peacocks, with their feathers furled,
the radiator panels sit unnoticed,
dust gathering in their furrows,
simmering in quiet corners,
spreading waves of gentle heat
in winter, resting in summer,
always dark and still.
Pay attention!
When we look more closely,
their banks of heat
are alive, and sing with color,
like the small brown bird
who slammed into the window yesterday,
and now lies fading on the lawn below;
tiny red and yellow feathers
merging into earth.

* * *

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


It's all about perspective,
isn't it --
this sense that you,
and those closest to you,
and your joys and troubles
loom so large
in the image of the world
you carry in your head,
and yet,
when we step back,
we see,
a thousand other
open faces
turning in hope
to the warmth of the sun,
just as we are,
from valleys just as verdant;
with petals just as bright and hungry --
and even --
imagine that --
just as large.

* * *

Monday, June 14, 2010

A bright pansy peace

For my mother,
going home was always a chore:
she was embarrassed by her mother,
and the roots from which she sprung.
But for me, it was a time of wonder:
Bright pansies in the garden,
beneath a perfectly climbable magnolia tree;
the scent of gardenias,
the hum of insects' wings
chirring in the background,
the breeze lifting
white lace curtains in the window
to reveal the fat blue hydrangeas
slumbering just beyond
my rose-covered wallpaper --
a feast of color, scent, and sound
that sang through hot summer nights
punctured every quarter hour
by the reassuring toll
of my grandfather's wooden clock.

* * *

Sunday, June 13, 2010

This hallowed gate

Some days
I cannot see
the liveliness,
the greenery;
the sturdy brick,
the graceful lines,
the circular effect, the curves,
the spokes of my own internal wheel;
cannot imagine
the blacksmith's hammer,
pounding all those stiff metal rods
into gentle curls --
so reminiscent
of my daughter's golden locks --
But sink instead
into the darkness,
the great black hole that appears
when the inner light is not yet lit
to show the garden
that lies beyond
this hallowed gate.

* * *

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Blessings of an active mind

When busy thoughts
like cherubs fly
across my brain
and stop to dip
their fingers
in a fount of blessings
and then tip and pour
the promise out;
a rush of hope and joy begins,
of possibilities and dreams,
and new imaginations:
a fount of inspiration forms
deep in my soul and overflows,
filling me with next, and then
and light and now
and wow!

* * *

Friday, June 11, 2010

The cutting edge of art

What do you see,
and how do you see it?
What childhood memories
color your perceptions;
what artistic sensibilities
make this pleasing
-- or hopelessly busy --
to your eyes?
Do you see weeds
needing to be mown down,
or waving fields
beneath a blue and cloudless sky,
or food for cows and sheep,
or feathers to tickle a sleeping friend,
or just the sharp edges,
the scrape of a million tiny blades
dividing us into you and me
wrong and right
then and now
and... gone. Just... gone.

* * *

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The truth about beauty?

I used to think,
when I was just a child,
that anywhere I stood
there would be Art;
something beautiful
to see,
to touch,
to draw or paint
or merely to describe.
And now that I am grown
-- since it still seems to be true
that I see beauty everywhere I look --
I have to wonder
if I choose where I am
so that the truth may continue,
or if I see what I see
-- wherever I am --
because that childhood speculation
in fact,

* * *

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Simple pleasures

So simple,
it was then;
to hop aboard;
to ride a plastic horse
and dream
of sailing across the prairies:
a happy suspension of disbelief,
a lift,
a quarter or two,
and we were off
to visit other lands
and other worlds;
to gallop across a feathered universe
of sky and sea, mountain and valley,
breathing unimagined air
and with each breath, a prayer
of joy, and hope, and wonder
until the music stops
and fantasy returns to a standstill.
Quiet descends -- and then the wails begin.
More, mama, more! More illusions, please!

* * *

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Slowly Going Flat

in the day's last light,
will you remember,
take with you?
Will it be the people you have known,
the faces you have touched,
the hearts you have broken
-- or mended...

Or will it be
the adventures of your youth,
the risks you took
and the brushes with greatness,
the crushes and the dreams
that now sit tucked up in your attic
or curled in your driveway

This poem was written for Carry on Tuesday, whose prompt this week is the opening words from Salman Rushdie's novel, The Enchantress of Florence: "In the day's last light..."

* * *

Monday, June 7, 2010

Our mothers' memories

You can clearly see it's meant to be
a journey back in time;
the decor accumulated purposely
to take us back to those post-war years
when our moms were young, and wild,
and hadn't a care in the world
except who might ask them to the dance
and what to wear,
and would he have a bitchin' car.
And now, another generation's passed
and this place we used to take our kids
when they were small and Saturdays were a chance
to come to the diner for a root beer float,
is still the same, though they, too are now
long past that stage of dances, and bitchin' cars:
they're on to unemployment,
and health insurance,
and all those grownup trials
they've just begun to face,
while we sit here on a Saturday
nursing a root beer and basking in our mothers' memories.

* * *

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The deeper question

She stopped by for a visit --
swam across the channel,
meandered down the beach,
and sauntered over
to nibble at the plum tree.
She brought a friend
who was a bit more shy,
but she was not,
and stood and stared,
her glance direct and confident,
neither threatening
nor threatened.
I am here, and so are you:
I will trust you
if you'll trust me.
There were, I thought,
no questions she could ask
that I hadn't already asked myself --
and yet, the wonder still remains:
what is the purpose of this visit?
Not hers, I mean, but mine...

* * *

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Smiling at the bees

Walking through the park
I pass through
a field of wild roses.
The scent calls to me,
and I follow the narrow path
along the pond's edge
into the thicket,
and stand in their midst,
blue sky overhead
reflecting in each pale blossom,
and drink in the sweetness,
the gift that smells like...
like love.
Each blossom so like her sisters --
some petals paler than others,
some centers greener than others --
but all lift their faces greedily to the light
converting it to perfume
and spilling it into the morning
while smiling at the bees.

* * *

Friday, June 4, 2010

Of grief and greed

Such precision
in this blessing --
fingers held just so,
perfectly balanced,
lightly touching --
and where,
is the blessing in this,
the gush and flow
of brown,
the deadening
of marsh, and fish;
of beaches, birds and livelihoods?
I try so hard to see
that every curse contains a blessing,
but here, in this disaster,
I can see only death;
the good of many lost
to the greed of the few --
but wait, I hear a wakeup call:
isn't it our greed, too?

* * *

Thursday, June 3, 2010

As a mother tends her chicks...

Just as this mama
watches her baby;
just as my friend
gets up every hour
to check on her chicks;
just as a parent sighs,
watching the school bus
pull away from the driveway
for the very first time --
just so, you watch us,
protect us and guide us
hold us and ache for us,
sending out blessings
in ever-growing circles,
blessing all creation
with your tender care.

* * *

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Seeping through the cracks

She lifts her face
to your light,
knowing you'll see
and understand:
something that filled her life
is gone,
and sorrow brings
its painful dark inflation;
the explosion of emptiness
creating cracks in her facade
through which the tears
seep slowly down her cheeks.

Help her breathe;
to allow herself to feel
and then to heal,
becoming yet more whole
while remaining open
to the next rain of blessings:
the clouds are already beginning to gather...

This one surprised me, and then turned out to be a perfect fit for this week's One Word at a Time Blog Carnival (the word for this week is Emptiness.) Thanks, Maureen, for pointing that out!

* * *

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wholly Holy

I turn away,
but I can't hide
the stains --
these spots
that let you see through me
to the dirt and darkness
or is it just
I've allowed myself
to be victim for my own target practice --
to stand before the firing squad of shoulds
and take the hit for someone else?
Why can't I see
the dots as decorative,
or, barring that,
begin to understand
that that which wounded me
has also made me

* * *