Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Black and white

They may be cows
but somehow
the tail-ends
are not all that appealing.
Not my best
black and white photo...

A prayer to beat the blues

Whatever you're pressing against --
a loss, a transition, an illness,
a move, a new responsibility
you're not sure you can handle --
whatever's making you blue,
my heart goes out to you.
And so I take a deep deep breath;
breathe in your sorrow
and your despair;
breathe out the joys of blue skies
and late summer sun;
the trees, just beginning to turn,
the sweet smell of fresh-baked fudge,
the taste of mashed potatoes,
and the delight of re-connecting
with old friends.
Peace, my beloved; peace.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

All right and good

We humans have this tendency:
we like to compartmentalize --
this is yours, this is mine,
this is in, this is out,
this is love,
this is not,
this is tasteful
this is not,
this is wrong,
this is right,
this is good,
this is bad...
never understanding
that everything is really
ours, in, love,
tasteful (to someone)
and it's all right and good!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Simple gifts

Echoes of a wave
in the curled edge
of a leaf;
of ocean spray
in the morning dew;
of a shell's scallops
in elongated veins --
simple themes,
repeated everywhere,
a million variations
on the line,
the curve,
the circle and the sphere;
each new iteration
brings its own gift,
its own peace and beauty
into the world.

Friday, September 23, 2011

This painted face

A painted face
conveys, not its own,
but the artist's vision
of experience:
in resonating with
emotions it evokes,
we're actually responding
to someone else,
whose losses, dreams and hungers
lie beneath this skin.
A human's face
is also a creation,
a reflection of God's vision,
imperfectly realized,
a thing of beauty,
infinitely subtle:
watch closely, and learn.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Closer to heaven

Masses of honeysuckle
blessing the garden gate,
an inviting bench
beneath the willow tree,
an old red truck
backing in
to an older, redder barn
while crickets chirp,
clouds gather,
haybales huddle together
across the new-mown field
and occasional drops of rain
spatter the phlox
and pink tea roses.
Do you think
we could get any closer
to heaven?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Eyes wide open

Though our eyes
may look wide open,
there's so much we don't see
when we're young:
we trust our parents
to see it for us.
But parents are young, too,
with a vision also clouded
by experiences
we may not understand.
Pray then, that as we grow
the scales may fall from our eyes,
that we may see
what we were born to see and do
but always through
the gentle film
of love.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Home, and home again

There's from,
and to,
and all that airy space
that lies between
and through it all,
through time
and space,
you wait
and beckon;
a beacon,
from sunrise here
to sunset there,
always in my heart
awaiting my return.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Poetry as rust

A steady drip of words over the years
erodes steel walls around each heart,
exposing yearnings shared,
and as our differences flake away,
we find the walls between us
growing thin; this budding sense of unity.
Poetry -- the road not taken,
the cricket's wild and precious life --
like rust, peels back the walls,
speaks each to each,
from heart to heart until all hearts,
stripped down to nubs,
might beat as One.

This poem was inspired by this week's Random Acts of Poetry, which takes as its prompt the word "rust". 

Anyone may participate in RAP. Read "Rust, Corrosion and Chrome: A Random Acts of Poetry Prompt" at TweetSpeakPoetry and then post your contribution on the T.S. Poetry Press Facebook Wall by Wednesday, September 21. 

If you're a photographer and want to participate in the related PhotoPlay challenge, read "Photography and Poetry as Rust" at The High Calling and follow the directions for posting your image(s) to the High Calling Focus Flickr Group. PhotoPlay's deadline is the same, September 21.

All submissions to RAP and PhotoPlay will be listed at The High Calling on Friday, September 23.

What do you do?

When that last dream
before you wake
leaves you feeling
set adrift,
bobbing in a sea of sadness,
where do you go?
Do you stay with it, study it;
analyze the messages,
or sink into the feelings,
let them carry you from shore?
Do you shake it off,
a wet dog, wriggling
and splattering all
who come too close?
What do you do
when your dreams are telling you
Love has gone away?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thoughts on deciding not to meditate one morning

Instead of galloping frantically
through the routines of your day --
however spiritual
they might appear to be --
you could be lying
in the lap of luxury,
a field of clover,
thoughtfully fenced;
someone to stroke your mane
and rest beside you,
whispering words
of love and encouragement;
gathering strength
in calmer ways;
the race to come.

Friday, September 16, 2011

When light breaks through

When light breaks through,
that moment of relief
is so intense;
the thought that we
might see, and might be seen,
with all the clarity
the light provides,
unhindered by the film
of tears, or smoke,
by judgment, or by lies
that others pull like wool
over tired eyes which crave
your glory, your attention, and your love.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Slumber party

and those times we all remember:
late-night confidences,
failures and confusions shared,
those moments
when heart spoke to heart,
a joke, a tear, a struggle
voiced in quiet communion --
friendships forged
that carry through the years,
resonating over distance; over time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The promise of tomorrow

We walked together on my beach
and the ripples from those times
still fan out, though the sun set
on her life some years ago.
So many other feet have left
their imprints on this sand
and then been washed away
and yet their shadows linger,
steady and sure as the mountains,
and the sea, and the promise,
as day ends: there will be a tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rialto Beach

These bones -- mute testament
to the rage and muscle of the sea --
yet standing still, once waves
and spume subside; bare branches
stretch long pleading fingers to the sky
while roots, exposed, lie fallen,
tossed in piles upon the shore,
a playground for the bold
who come to stand before the wild
and churning waves to risk
the power, feel the fear, and breathe.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Good fences make good neighbors --
or so the poet tells us --
but what about bad fences?
The ones that we erect
in fury, or in scorn;
the ones that separate
(supposedly right from wrong)
so often blur distinctions
once felt clear.
Don't fence me in
the songstress writes
or then the lonely partner pleads,
Don't fence me out, wishing --
like a groundhog or a deer --
there were no fence she could not
leap, or burrow under; nothing
that could keep her from her love.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The toll

Mourning again,
and the great clock tower
resounding over the empty street
tolls out the days and years
that have slipped away.
It seems the moment of loss
is no less real;
the harrowing leap,
the burning,
the choke of smoke and dust
that clogs the throat;
the tears that blur the vision still.
How many years must pass
before we can release the grasp
of sorrow and begin to feel
the mandate that lies beneath?

Remember, yes,
but re-member as well;
find a way to join
what has been split;
repair what has been broken,
unite what has been torn apart by greed.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Shadows of the heart

You shine in us;
but we turn our eyes away
from that bright light
for fear the shadows
that you cast
may be too dark to bear,
may carve in us
a chasm too deep to cross
and yet the heart beats still
and the river of life runs true
flowing, healing the separation,
filling our souls with life
and love.

Friday, September 9, 2011

What do you see?

What you see
and what I see
may differ markedly.
Do you see
the tenderness
of a madonna;
the woman's hand
cradling her child;
the child's hand and face
pressed against her chest?
Or do you see the gnarled remains
where once a tree
branched out into a limb,
whose sturdiness may once have held
a swing, or a child;
might once have burned
to heat a mother's home?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sandspit sunrise

What I saw first was this --
the curling edges of the clouds
etched bright pink
against the darkened sky --
but then the golden circle
spilled its blood red ink
across the water
igniting their blue thoughts
which burned -- first red, then gold,
then ashes, fading as she rose,
drifting apart like nightmares
dancing, golden, into dawn.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Two canoes

These two canoes
are resting now,
beside still waters' edge.
Been paddling a while,
and now, as evening nears,
we draw them up
onto the rocks,
climb out, and watch
the sun sink slowly
into the cleft of the mountain.
Plenty of time tomorrow
for more adventures...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Winter, looming

This path of black is not
a path I would have chosen:
these white flowers, though charming
hint of winter snows to come.
All the Queen Anne's Lace
this narrow spit of land could hold
can never compensate
for the roses and the poppies, lost;
the purple phlox and daffodils
that spring and summer brought
are gone, and this black path
remains, and pulls me ever closer
to the dark that waits and beckons.
Perhaps I'll pause, and pluck a bit of lace
and tuck it, Spanish-style, behind my ear:
a bright insouciant companion
to help me dance the road ahead.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I wanted to say, Mister

He pauses, this stranger
on my street;
stands at its head
and adjusts his tripod,
training his long lens
across the lagoon,
adjusting the focus
so the glow that is my home,
the mix of light and shadow
where I live,
just past that dock,
is in his sights.

That part of me that thinks it owns the view
that devotes its days to capturing every nuance of this place
cries out, in a small child's voice, Mine! Mine! No!
as if by clicking the shutter he could take it all away.

(I wanted to say, Mister,
this landscape and I have a relationship,
and I've spent hours befriending it,
enticing it into my camera,
sharing it with my friends.)

The wiser woman pauses in her walk,
slows her step and takes a breath;
takes time to feel her feet again,
looks down to ground
and sees the otter and her pup
scurrying across the mudflats,
just below his concentrated vision.

Hurry, I whisper, hurry!
Slither by, and I'll keep walking;
meet you on the other side for tea.
A sip for me, sand dollars for you,
and we'll share a gossipy snicker
about the view he missed...

(with thanks to Mary Oliver,  for her poem, "Winter and the Nuthatch")

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Beside the sea of joy

What pleasure
light and color bring;
what joy for eyes,
and yes --
for heart as well,
that surge of wonder
and release,
a wave of delight
that crests, all bubbly
with joy, then breaks
upon the skin
and then subsides
with one long silvery caress...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The fog of unknowing

What if those walls
we build so carefully
between me and not-me;
those fine distinctions
between reality and illusion,
self and reflection,
surface and depth
were all to disappear
in a fog of unknowing?

What if certainty
were left behind
and we stepped out
into her "sprawling darkness
of not knowing,"
(a place of hope, not faith.)

 What if faith --
"so tensile, and so cool,
that has no need of words" --
were more like hope --
"a fighter and a screamer" --
and carried us, not to safety,
but to new understanding,
"where one is less oneself
than a part of some single
indivisible community."

Would this be true:
with all the boundaries gone,
the only thing left to see
would be light?

(All quotes from Mary Oliver, Winter Hours)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Not making sense

How likely would it be, really,
at season's end,
to find one perfect pumpkin
in an empty field;
the most beautiful girl in class,
dateless for the prom;
the plumpest turkey
still gobbling
after Thanksgiving's  come and gone?
What providence is this,
that would consign God's finest
to hang upon a cross?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September first

The dog barks, unexpectedly;
I stumble down the stairs
and am surprised to find
the clocks are claiming
morning should be here by now
but it's still dark:
these latter days of summer,
when light and time
slip by so quickly
must have confused him.
Will I, too -- some year
when I, like the dog,
am old, and almost blind --

awaken September first,
and howl to find the world still dark
when all that is within me knows
there must be light?