Poem List: 2015 January thru April
The Observers Print this poem only
Standing in line waiting for the restroom
we chuckled together about standing in line
for the restroom off the Interstate.
We enjoyed the friendly exchange
about what we knew about each other's home towns.
Then she spoke her beliefs about the environment
and his smiles were gone
face rigid as if he were experiencing pain
and each of us carved out our piece of turf
on the environmental battleground.
Now no longer bathing together
in the sparkly and lovely waters
of light conversation
we became observers,
of the coldness of the water
how reddish around him and bluish around her.
The shift of feelings
and the gears of the mind
were so sudden it was shocking
as if we had abruptly been pushed out of an airplane
where the air was heavier
and breathing shallower.
We were now out of the realm of the warm and friendly
and into the strained arena of ideology.
Now no longer enjoying each other's tone of voice
and personal details that could be a door to friendship
we each crawled into separate boats
moving away from each other.
What if the topic had not come up
what if I discovered that we were distant cousins
that her illness the same one mama had
what if we decided to have coffee together
and lingered spinning out and stepping into the terrain
of each others lives?
What short circuit of understanding
happened in that moment when we became observers
each in the separate pre-carved regions of our minds?
And once that happened
it seemed we could never return
to those warm sparkly waters we had been enjoying.
Sometimes it seems as if my mind is my enemy
full of pigeon holes that trip me up
and separate me from the souls of others
and my own.
What would it take to fill those holes
and walk into a deeper terrain of mutuality?
What would it take for me to glide over the rocky ground of opinion
into the cool meadow of compassion?
Print this poem only
Are we not brothers and sisters
we here gathered for our family reunion
we who are sprung from the same impulse
the impulse to lay clouds upon the page
to simmer words into a rich soup
with broth taken from the particles of our lives,
we who are sprung from the loins of our creator,
that seed planted somewhere unknown inside us
his cells spread out in the fiber of our poems?
Our brotherhood our sisterhood
is inseparable from that fatherhood
that fatherhood that sometimes seems so distant
we cannot remember the exact pitch of his laughter
the strength of his arms
the warmth of his breast
yet when that poetic impulse visits
we know we are home.
We here gathered have the same DNA
even those who listen and connect to us
as our words reach in and rest softly
in their minds like pollen
taken in a soft wind.
Those who listen
are our mothers
who sit quietly
as their child tells her stories of adventures
adventures born of fantasy
We here gathered
return home and begin each month
sharing our vigor, our tone,
the fruit of that impulse
the fruit devoured with devotion
in the imagining,
in the inner eye and ear
of each listener.
Oh what a gift to have these listeners
who abide with us
in the preciousness
of these moments together
as we speak for ourselves.
Though sometimes we are few
in this small reunion
its value cannot be measured in numbers.
The tide of devotion and cherishing
cannot be weighed or counted
but to know it
even if only once a month
is to know the feeling
of warmth and comfort
upon opening the front door
and walking into the living room
of our old home after being away for too long.
The preciousness of these moments
cannot be measured -
Dedicated to the small reunion of creators and listeners called Poetry in Progress upon the 4th anniversary of their gathering.
Dream Disorder Print this poem only
Where have my dreams gone?
Have they floated into the mist
gossamer as the passing moment
are they gone between blinks
or free as a child’s run?
Have I become too old
to hold those glorious glints
beyond my waking?
Are they no longer alive -
cloudprints I fashion
I sometimes wonder
if the deep ruts in my mind
disallow off-road flights
fantasies of futures.
Can I no longer see
beyond carefully crafted arguments
and tightly held doctrines?
Do I have a dream disorder?
I hear the public sounds
of insular insults
in the heat and venom
of self-righteous anger.
And I fear the loss
and gentle conversation about family and health
and exchanges in elevators or vacant corners
about the small daily sufferings of life.
And I wonder
if a thread of hope
still waves in the wind
or if abroad in this land
is a dream disorder.
My Prospects Print this poem only
After you reach the age of sixty and ten
they say your prospects grow dim
no more applications for schools
just follow the traditional rules
your stuck here all of a sudden
no pushing the up button
just down down into the basement
don’t even worry about placement.
Most of your future is gone they insist
just make up your bucket list
of all the adventures you desire:
the hot air balloon to take you higher
the magnificent distant lands
the islands of sparkling sands
all the places you wanted to go
the celebrities you wanted to know.
But I say to them, in fact I insist
I don't worry about the things I've missed
but what glories and how many chances
what children, what people, what dances
are there in this day
what smiles, what moments of dismay
what poems, what islands of sharing
what fortunes of listening and caring?
They say at this age your power is gone
your status your strength and your brawn
I ask how can I love you enough to be free
to give you the power to change me?
I wonder what is the prospect
that I will take time to connect
with the Great Mystery
beyond the bounds of history.
This day this minute in time are just right
for making a rhyme
for feeding the birds
for finding the words
to express how glorious is this earth
how grateful I am for my birth
for kittens, blue skies, and your beautiful brown eyes
I can't imagine a more precious prize.
It is quite surprising how my prospects are rising.
In this day are fortunes of great splendor
moments to be quiet and tender
every horizon there is right here
in this place not far from you dear
neither below or above
this is the place for love.
What Might? Print this poem only
How can I sing of your might
how can I proclaim your height
you who are found in depth
in the quick and minute breadth
of a single second or cell
you who chooses to dwell
and grow in me so slowly
you so close to the lowly?
And yet I have known
the way my love has grown
for my lover in such a way
that I can safely say
over rugged terrain
through clear skies and rain
mighty the love of husband and wife
who through hurt and fear find life.
This might of love I can see
the kind that sets totally free
every moment of creation
from quiet or noise of gestation
to the final intake of breath
to whatever is beyond death
the might there in the dark of night
and in the dim dawning of light.
Your might is not in the force of power
but in thin folds of a flower
the kind it takes to give birth
or protect a child or the earth
to subdue the force of pride
put righteousness aside
the might in the wings of a dove
the might it takes to love.
Room Print this poem only
In this garden room filled with your quiet
I roam clouds and swim depths
breathe your peace, your humility,
you who is called mighty
I find as low as the soil
the slow sure growth
of the ivy
and the roots
oh here you are in the roots
of my darkness and virtue
doubt and joy.
I am comfortable here
and at peace
in this living space
where you who are so immense
make yourself small enough
for me to be
my small but true self
here in this humble space
Winter’s Reason Print this poem only
The weather man’s been tracking
The arctic front’s furious path.
The east has taken a whacking
by old man Winter’s wrath.
They’re digging and scraping
layers of snow and ice
but there seems to be no escaping
the grip of this hard winter’s vice.
I have been looking in vain
for the Jonquil’s lively amber
that breaks Master Winter’s reign
and gently abates his anger.
The last bag of bird seed is gone
the cardinal, dove, and sparrow
are longing for the hopeful dawn
of the spring’s stirring marrow.
But for now let us use this time
to reflect and sink into our souls
find something deep or sublime
unravel our divine hidden scrolls.
Maybe we can discover the reason
Mother Nature has granted
this dark and cloudy season
and what seeds she has planted.
Joey, our special man Print this poem only
Joey was a special man
who knew what he believed
was not afraid to take a stand
and gave more than he received.
He knew groceries and meat
but human nature was his realm
endless hours on his feet
a captain at the helm.
A Catholic to the core
full of faith and devotion
to the God he adored
he was loyalty in motion.
He's been seen on a horse
riding the Salt Grass Trail
Joey a formidable force
and oh, he could tell you a tale!
A master butcher at the chop
his real forte I might add
was being a Pop
a husband and a dad.
Sixty two years a very long stay
he captained the family store
serving the public at the K and K
in that smudged white apron he wore.
Weather feeding troops in Korea across the seas
or aiding and leading groups here,
talking to Joey, you felt at ease,
he was a man of great good cheer.
A friend to the people in the Heights
he was at home with a variety of folk
children, nuns, and even Knights,
listen up now for his next good joke.
A man of common dignity was Joe
more than eight decades of life’s span
we bow to you and want you to know
our love for you, Joey, our special man.
Author's Note: In honor of Joey Kowis (1929-2015) , the father-in-law of Lucy Kowis
The thread of you Print this poem only
Sitting before first light
in the upper room I wait for you.
In the darkness and the rain
you are there - droplets on the window reflecting the inner light
like diamonds scattered on the surface
waiting for the dawn you will bring
in your time.
What dawning will you bring me today?
How will I break through all the trappings of my consciousness
to find you?
I know it is up to me to stop
to pause for a second or two.
Only that long will it take to find you.
But it is up to me to stop.
How will you appear
in the eyes of those I see
in the silence of those who sit
in the rituals we create to assure ourselves
that there is more than just this life
more than just the furnishings
of our homes, churches, schools, our work?
Where will you appear
in our time
in the small creations
of our work and play
as we weave the thread of you
into the fabric of our day?
I will look for you today.
Proceed with Fun
By Elizabeth Hobbs and Glenn Currier
Print this poem only
A date was selected
by the duly elected.
to gather these birds of a feather
who loved to put rhymes and words together.
Not just any place would suffice.
It had to be someplace really nice.
Where oh, where could this place be?
just a hop, skip and jump - it’s called Thorntree.
When we arrived the table was prepared
linen and silver and comfortable chairs.
Beyond through the window - what a scene
grass and trees a view so serene.
Rhonda the woman who made it take place
spoke and greeted us with warmth and grace
made us feel at home and welcome there
we knew this would be a special affair.
The diligent staff were eager to serve
took orders and delivered them with verve
the chef’s skill and fare something to behold
scrumptious food was warm - drinks were cold.
Conversation was relaxed and oh so bright
laughter and sharing for this special night!
Poems, jokes and stories – what an array
an evening simply perfect in every way.
"Proceed with Fun," Copyright 2015 by Elizabeth Hobbs and Glenn Currier
Green Print this poem only
Just as I was getting comfortable
with the seasonal slowing
the heavy outer garments
and all the protections of living in winter
you show me
you are still green within me
just as hidden from my consciousness
as my organs and hormones
you are alive with fresh growth
and confidence in the source.
Now I feel the fluids
from the tomb of my hopelessness.
Just as I thought winter would not end
I find my way back to this intimacy
I cannot gauge
nor see the effect of tiny daily victories
on my self
but I see it in your eyes
my light reflected there
when you forget my darkness
for a precious priceless moment.
You are risen
and again you take up residence
in my heart
in my soul
where you and your sweetness
like nectar in a lily
abide in me
and again I am green with new life.
A Walk Among Tombstones Print this poem only
I walked among you for a while
wandered on the greening ground
over father, mother, and child
listened but heard no sound
only a soft flutter of breeze
and a lone cardinal’s song
looked up through the trees
at spring’s budding throng.
How still you rest below
through every season of our lives
under golden leaves and snow
no longer husbands and wives
now all children of the light
no birthdays or family names
nor cloudy days nor stormy nights
nor bitter fights nor hateful claims.
Here family plots are bounded
monuments to people well known
but all by dirt and dust surrounded
a few short lines on a tombstone
to remember a woman or a man
perhaps a poem or scripture quote
when their lives ended and began
a jot of life for the living to note.
It is good to walk among the dead
remind me of mortality
that life’s a precious thin thread
and a few moments of vitality
to pause and bow and honor those
whose cold bones rest quiet here
to stop and feel the softness of the rose
and give thanks for a life so dear.
This book no longer in print Print this poem only
The truck delivered it
ordered on the web “used”
printed long ago.
Yellowed pages are fragile
no longer supple
by decades of openings
of being a harbor
for well-traveled vessels
who moored there
anchored in its wisdom.
This book no longer in print.
Oh what a pity
for others who search
its old pages still fresh
to be fathomed.
Its author in the grave
but still alive here
with provocation and comfort.
I love this book
and cherish its author
who rises up each evening
at my bedside
when I open it
and drink its freshness
both quenching my thirst
and sharpening it.
I am an old book.
I hope I’ll never be out of print
this side of the grave.
Author’s note: Tribute to Louis Evely and his inspired and wonderful volume, That Man Is You.
Waking up with you Print this poem only
Intimacy is a strong word
but so weak to say who you are to me.
Sometimes it feels as if you are me
more familiar than a brother
or even my dear lover.
You inhabit me
yet you are a someone
who is not I,
observing but not just an observer
you abide in me.
Like no other.
Not so much other.
Oh, Christ Jesus
where are the words?
I cannot find them
they escape me
you ARE the word.
yet so close
you are not near
you abide in me.
You bring me to tears
when I awake in your presence.
You comfort me
you make me me
closer even than my mother
in your love.
Ah! Here you are
your smile fathomless.
Here you are
caressing my soul.
We are so cozy together.
You know me
but you are you
and I am I.
I am not sure
I can be I anymore
She Has Wings Print this poem only
She has wings
her woman life sings
of mystery and strength
for she went to any length
to work, practice, and learn
to make her mark and to earn
a place of respect and trust.
She has done what she must
to fashion, create and complete
she simply does not retreat.
She has wings
not satisfied with the things
that most in her home town
did to make themselves renown
she’d not embrace what was “normal”
stay in the confines of the formal
she was willing to swim upstream
and refused to give up on her dream.
The Air Force opened doors wide
to a place she could achieve with pride
where she earned her bosses trust.
She succeeded when tested and thrust
where plans and secrets were hidden
telling a Major even he was forbidden.
She spread her wings to cross the sea
where she made her mark in Germany
discovering again that she could fly
conquering fear, piercing the sky.
She became a sort of seamstress
delighted with the seamless
she took the fabric she was given
was determined and vitally driven
to take each irregular piece
smooth each stubborn crease
take threads of discord and dark
get from the dull and lifeless a spark
turn all the pieces in her control
into a rare and graceful whole.
In the seismic world of oil
she learned to pierce the soil
go down deeper, probe and measure
the truth - that rare and precious treasure
almost as valuable as common sense
and her integrity without pretense.
They called her Mother Superior
for her standards forbade the inferior
she persevered with her given task.
Quit before done? Don’t even ask!
Through many trials and tribulations
she rose above expectations.
From injuries and harm endured
she thrived, survived and matured.
She married and had a little girl
raised and nurtured her like a pearl.
A loyal and faithful friend
good to the young and old kin
through storms and tears and awful things
beyond her eighty years, still - she has wings.