Monday, October 31, 2011

Something threw me

Back in the ring again,
gripping the saddle
to keep from being thrown
by all those latent fears
and desires.
Up and down,
back and forth,
and still I cling,
desperate to prove
I can ride this through.
And when the rocking stops,
there's still that knocking
in the knees: the body knows
something threw me
even though I thought
I was doing a good job
of hanging on...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Doing the Hokey

You can choose to be a flame;
to glow bright against the dark;
you can bring a note of cheer
into the gloom.

You can moan that life is short;
there's no difference you can make;
there's no joy that you can bring
into the room.

Bright light, or blues?
Which will you choose?
The time left to decide is all too brief...

Darkness or flame?
Which will you claim?
What will your answers say about your belief?

(Just a note: Please understand -- these Baptist rhythms and theologies were drummed into me repeatedly from a very early age. Believe me: they are EVERY bit as irritating to me as I suspect they are to you.  But sometimes I just have to let them have their way with me, in hopes that having once gained the spotlight they'll slink back into the shadows where they belong...)

Friday, October 28, 2011

The voice of hope

Some days
we grit our teeth
and bear the load,
convinced that we are carrying
too much,
and alone.
Don't fight it:
ours is not to be warriors,
shouting our determination
to the sky.
Bend; bow to the emptiness,
sink into the helplessness,
and hear at last--
when you're too spent to shout --
the voice
you long to hear;
the voice of hope.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Imagining snow

Look at the trees, I said --
they're beautiful!
They're dying, she replied;
all these bright colors,
they're the death throes.
And then beneath
the red and gold dresses
I could see the skeletons
of winter yet to come
twirling spindly arms
imagining snow...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Step outside

And where is it,
my child,
that you expect
to see God?
Do not be afraid
to look beyond the steeple,
to step outside the walled enclave,
the Wednesday nights
and Sunday mornings
where worship traditionally occurs.
Stop, and look;
see the tree
that waits outside the door;
breathe the scent of fallen leaves
and know the love
that always waits
for you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Another perspective

Here it is: another chance
to get caught up in ugliness;
to feel myself
slowly waterlogged
with feelings of unworthiness;
to feel trapped, tied  down
and full of grit and grime.
Breathe, I say -- step back
and try to look at it this way:
appreciate that you are still afloat,
the stillness of the water,
the safety of the ties,
the tangled charm
of questions and emotions.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Longing to glide

What courage would it take,
to walk on water?
How much practice would I need,
to glide with so much confidence,
to stand beside the birds,
to skim the waves
above the fish?
How long, O Lord,
before I can dance without a paddle?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

You are the flame

You are the flame
that lights my path,
even on the darkest days,
filling my life 
with color, and with song,
stopping me in my tracks
with shouts of beauty;
your glory so immense
my camera can't contain it all,
though it captures what it can,
composing pixelated hymns
of praise.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tatters, dancing in the wind

This structure we built
is still sturdy;
it's only the covers
we use to keep out the rain
that are frayed.
Time to peel back
the broken bits,
strip to the bones,
and apply some fresh hope.
Until we get the time
to take that on, let's appreciate
this way the tatters have
of dancing in the wind...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Food chain

The eagle perched
on my neighbor's stump,
is finishing off his morning dish
of salmon, fresh from the sound.
I watch him,
as he eyes his kingdom,
and pray he's just too sated
to consider going after
a middle aged
asthmatic cat
who's hiding in the nearby grass
finishing off his morning dish
of sparrow...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Degrees of expertise

There are degrees,
and there are degrees.
This one may be in engineering,
but where I truly excel --
to an extraordinary degree --
is in loving.
and did I mention killing?
That mouse carcass I left for you--
by the trash can? -- that's mine.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


and the rosy glow of dawn
on your boat has caught my eye.
Seeing you
clambering around
on that narrow deck
I cannot help but watch
until you are safely
back in your cabin.
As fog rolls in you steam away;
I say a prayer
for your continued safety.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A simple loop of rope

There is such grace
in tying up;
in resting here
beside the dock,
all purpose set aside
for the sheer joy
of bobbing in the waves;
of breathing in
salt air,
rejoicing in
the cries of the gulls,
the gentle slap
of water against the hull,
the safety
of a simple
loop of rope.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Song of love

Whatever the language
or color of skin,
the patterns
or shapes of the clothes --
the tenderness
of a mother's arms
and the light of love
that surrounds them both
speaks to all;
breathes music through hearts
of artists
and into souls
in every land and culture.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Universal truths

We know there must be universal truths
when a sculpture, photographed in NH,
brings solace to a woman grieving
on a quiet beach in Washington
for the loss of eleven birds
who were migrating from Alaska
on their way to California.
Does it matter that the birds
are not an endangered species?
Does it matter that what killed them
may just be toxic algae, nothing dramatic
like oil spills, or pollution?
Does that alleviate the sadness?
No.  And so I picture Mother Earth,
with these birds cradled in her arms,
crooning her universal mother song
of love and reassurance...

Friday, October 14, 2011

When God makes the toss

God threw the ball for me today!
Inside me a hundred puppies
are leaping to their feet
in pursuit of the golden prize,
their tiny lopped-off tails
wiggling  so hard
it throws them off the track.

Which is better?
The rush of wind in my fur,
the thrill of pursuit,
the taste of yellow?

it’s that moment,
that split second,
when I capture the ball in my mouth
and look back at you;
that smile of complicity:

We both know I will never drop it at your feet.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

No longer mine

I spent my 20's in New England
and every fall rejoiced
in the Paniculata Grandiflora,
a flowering hydrangea tree
that turned a lovely peach color
every autumn.  I even planted one
in the yard of the first house
I ever owned, some 40 years ago.
I wonder now: is it still there?
Did it, unlike that marriage,
grow strong and tall,
and bless, and shade those fortunates
who dare to venture near?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Finding our way

Some days
the world seems topsy-turvy
and church seems even worse.
How do we turn that picture
upside down; set things to rights,
strike a better balance?
Perhaps some time with Mary;
time spent in contemplation,
intimate with Christ,
tender with all that is --
even the horror of death --
might help us
find our way again...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beyond doubt

How could we ever doubt?
Surely the power
that makes the sun to rise
so gloriously,
the moon to set
with such perfect grace
can move in us
with grace and glory
achieving more than you or I
could ever ask or imagine...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Color will return

There will, of course, be days
when shame and self-disgust,
rooted in that sense of emptiness,
stretch their gray tentacles
upward, like a cancer,
leaching the color
from all that thrives and flourishes,
green and true;
that reaches for the sky
and touches into possibility.
Breathe deep, and remember --
the light will shift,
and color will return.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

These wingèd sails

Some part of us, though born to sail,
hungers for the stillness,
that anchor point between
the safety of what is or was
and the inevitable turmoil
of what's to come,
and so we tie ourselves in knots,
clinging to the known
which only makes it harder
when the time comes to unfurl
these wingèd sails
and run before the wind.
Loosen, don't tighten, loosen!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The space between

If, while on one ferry,
I take pictures of another,
is that a bit like "grass is greener
on the other side of water?"
What is it that I'm capturing?
Where's the center of attention?
Is it not the other ferry,
but more about the quality
of the light as it reflects
on the space that lies between,
that dark and rippling space,
the unswimmable divide
that lies between?

Friday, October 7, 2011

This poem needs work, but who has the time?

In the dash, in the plunge,
in the gallop and the lunge,
what is lost, abandoned, or betrayed?
Can we cling to the past,
lashed like sailors to the mast
while the hurricane of progress
If we artists do our part,
depicting visions of the heart,
will we slow the pace of time
with our images and rhymes?
What happens if we relinquish
this crusade?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Once restored, now aged again

I photographed this boat in fog
some years ago; newly restored,
it was younger then, though older
than I am now; fresh and lovely,
bright and charming... and now,
now that I'm the age she was,
I see she is less cared for, worn,
as I, too, may someday be;
"Good bones," they'll say,
"too bad there's no one left
who'll take the time
to spruce her up."  Sadly, people,
unlike boats, can rarely be restored...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


What shall we do
about this mastodon
in the living room?
And how do we reconcile
these blind descriptions
of the problem?
One says it's rough;
another it's hard, and sharp,
another says it's very like a snake...
What are the chances we'll ever recognize
this beast so deeply rooted in our past?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A little left of center

Just a little left of center,
there is so much to choose:
the gate, into a broader field
where right and wrong
and I and Thou are rolling into One,
or further still, another gimrack,
relic of a pointless shopping spree
for something plastic
to decorate reality, or,
farthest left of all, the killing vine,
blood-red, that leaps from tree
to tree and strangles any life
that dares to breathe or grow...

(written in response to a prompt from 3 from here and there .  Come over and meet Claire, Kelly, and Sarah -- and feel free to join the fun! )


Autumn -- though I've always loved it --
is assumed to be a season of loss:
there the leaves blaze up and fall,
baring the true branch that lies beneath;
here it is the sun that blazes
in glorious september sunsets,
only to sink behind a veil of gray,
buried for all winter and most of spring.
But what if loss is not solely
precursive to resurrection?
What if loss - even of hope - is in itself
a gift?  Why weep? Do not the gray
and bare have beauty of their own?

It is another Blog Carnival Tuesday.  Join in the fun and excitement at Peter's place. Today's One Word Prompt is SEASON.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I know: this image is as trite
as this poem will probably be.
It's all too easy these days
to capture a moment
with a cellphone.
But what photographer --
amateur or otherwise --
can resist the delicate tracery
of the wings, the softness
of the yellow fuzz;
the tiny nest of stars
and all those petals
cupped to drink the light?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Goodbye for now

And so, we say goodbye for now
to this, our home away from home;
to rolling hills and charming villages,
to graceful clapboard homes
and winding roads;
to trees, just beginning
to take on their autumn glow,
to rushing rivers,
still high and brown with clay,
to the echo of wide board floors,
and the soft hiss
of muslin curtains,
blowing in the breeze.