January thru April
Poem List: 2016 January thru April
Leaning Print this poem only
In the check-out line
old Burt is dying on the tabloid
at home Coburn burns on screen
but one year younger than I he left the scene
weekly news of a death
a notable and his final breath
the statistics are grim
as I go about ignoring them.
Doctor says I’m on the border
get your affairs in order
too many loose ends
flapping in the winds
simplify simplify they say
pare down a little each day
and nightly my final prayer
asking God the morrow to spare.
I keep on leaning ahead
ignoring the quiet dread
spreading, eroding my joy
recalling the little school boy
so full of energy and verve
running and laughing without reserve
Now I hate how I want to walk away
and ignore the creeping cares of this day.
But here I am, here I stay
leaning over I kneel to pray
that I will be a man
in an upright stand
who daily remembers
to lean, to lean inwards
to see beyond and above
to seek the one who is Love.
Quiet Wonder Print this poem only
Only the mistletoe is green
now into winter the elm leans
in its gaunt gray brown
leaves departed to ground.
It is a quiet wonder how earth
cycles from death to birth
letting go without protest or care
no judgment, wit or glare.
Oh how good to be without guile
absent shame, deceit or style
what a wondrous aspiration
such a natural vocation.
Oh, if I could follow the elm
to its carefree guileless realm,
oh, if I could so quietly depart
for the silent space of my heart.
Where Feelings Reign Print this poem only
Sadness comes upon me
as quietly as fog creeping into the darkness
before first light
lingering and enveloping me.
Cravings wash over me
waves and undercurrents
threaten to pull me under
into a void ending in nothingness.
Even the sanctuary of my routines,
so cordial, consoling and comfortable
are no less idols than the golden calf
luring me into the shallows.
Dare I wander or wade
into those wild marshy regions
ruled by the tyrant
Or will I instead
choose the path
and find the anchor
Beyond Print this poem only
The sunless clouds hang like dark dread
about this space above this bed
they squelch the hope that once I had
for this dear brother and this dad.
His life returning to my mind
the laughs and hurts we left behind
regrets no longer worth travail
I'll leave them on the dusty trail.
For now I look above the bed
the clouds are parting overhead
I see our mother praying there
hear Dad is sawing wood somewhere.
Beyond this space beyond this time
beyond the steepness of this climb
there lies a lake and silver trees
and meadows braced with cool clear breeze.
It is right there that he will dwell
where love and grace and Spirit swell.
The clouds have parted from this night
let us now bathe in his bright light.
Author's Note: Dedicated to my brother, Charles Dalzell Currier. I am again remembering him on this Father's Day - 6-17-18.
The Lightness of your Being
You fly above and underneath
assuage my sadness and my grief
the Lightness of your being lifts
I know the sweetness of your gifts
I smell them in the winter air
their touch a passionate affair
you sneak into my heart by day
by night you lure my fears away
in wisps of clouds I see your face
I cannot wake without your grace
you thoroughly confuse my mind
but in your hands my soul's designed
you take me where I couldn't go
alone I simply could not know
what depth you had in store for me
what man you know I'm meant to be.
Print this poem only
I have never liked long goodbyes,
the pain of parting glistening in our eyes,
but this time in this long farewell
I want to pause, I want to dwell.
In these lingering moments of pain
I embrace this sorrow and this bane
because you are hovering here
your angel presence in my tears.
It is as if you are staying to say
"Do not fret or regret today
the times we didn't write or call
don't worry about that at all
because now I'm right here -
listen closely and you'll hear
me whistling in the trees
sense my freshness in the breeze."
These moments lingering with you
are more precious than any I knew
when you walked this rocky earth.
I'll savor them for all they're worth
and in the future when friends depart
long goodbyes will brace my heart
for you'll be an angel hovering there
your spirit a lingering loving prayer.
Author's Note: Written shortly after my brother's departure from this Earth. I sometimes wonder if people's spirit lingers a while after the body has breathed its last breath. That is certainly the way it felt right after my brother's death .
It Tolls for Thee
Print this poem only
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. … any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee." - John Donne
I bear the coffin of my brother
left hand clutches the pall and rail
I recall kneeling beside my mother
pouring my grief in tears and wail.
Now I hear the tolling of the bell
slow and deep - binding to my heart
my feet feel heavy as the knell
sadness tugs and pulls apart
whatever peace there was in me
his angel soul’s no longer flying
his wings not out and soaring free
is this the weight and truth of dying?
Finally I break and feel my tears,
mourning spreads its heavy pall
my weeping thins the joy of years
I faintly hear his plaintive call.
Again he leads me on the trail
he’s on the hill, he builds a fire
invites his younger brother - sail
through clouds to the clearing higher.
We pass the casket hand to hand
rolling it slowly to his final flight
away from here beyond this land
to gently shed his leaves of light.
Roamin with Dave Print this poem only
I thought I heard that great Bates boom
then I saw him in the back of the room
and from that practical critical mind
he spoke an idea he’d carefully refined.
Over West Virginia hills you can hear his voice
and for a good laugh the limerick is his choice.
From that active mind he liberally speaks -
by heart he can say poems for weeks.
His heart is as large as his country frame
and he cares not if you’ve got status or fame
he listens and hears the sound of your soul
makes a diamond from your hunk of coal.
If you’ve listen to his friends you’ve heard
that David Bates is a man of his word.
If he commits he carries through
and he’ll speak out for you if you’re true.
You seldom see him get haughty
but he does get risqué and naughty
with stories of body parts and congress in bed -
oh how he makes his poor wife turn red.
Yes, he does have a rough and tough side
but his eyes moisten with gentle pride
speaking of soldiers and valor and pain
the frail but the brave of the human terrain.
No other can compare or even come close
to the drama in his voice telling of blows
on the nails that hung Christ to that awful cross
to the sound of that pain and that terrible loss.
We are grateful to him for staying and listening
to our poems - for his eyes dancing and glistening
for the sound of his laughter and his praise
for the attention to our words that he pays.
We’re also grateful for his loving wife
who’s stood with him throughout his life,
for the interest in us she’s shown
for the support from her we’ve known.
As for Dave - who could be untouched or unmoved
or fail to have their troubled heart smoothed
by his poems far from the clattering mills
where we find him in his golden autumn hills.
Author's Note: This poem was written to honor Dave, an active member of our local poetry group. To see the poem that partly inspired it: "Roamin" click here.
This Flowering Pair Print this poem only
Oh what a sight to see
you my beautiful Bride
in the flowering pear tree
you do not shy or hide
your face from me
except to make me yearn
for your luscious lips
for the touch of your hips
and your chest to mine.
I take a sip of the deep red wine
to add to the delicious tension
of waiting for union with you.
Let me enjoy this glorious tease
your perfumed scent in the breeze
for unlike the waiting groom and bride
just seeing that veil of white
is a moment of your rushing tide.
The spring of this blessed interplay
is a season or a day
of sweet and luscious suspense
of going deep into your being
beyond time beyond mere sense.
I cannot even imagine the symphony,
the music of that union -
you playing the strings of my soul
me feeling the vibration of your tympani.
So, seeing the intricate delicate lace
of the flowering pear tree
is but a hint and a moment of grace
of readying me to join
the sweet eternal spirit
of your triune space.
Brilliance Print this poem only
The saps are in active rebellion
against winter’s dormancy
their ardor explodes
in the moist greens
of sparkling leaves.
This mysterious effervescence of earth
bubbles up and through the sad tidings
of a warming globe
making me wonder
how many resurrections are left.
But looking up at the trees
in the late maturing
of this old battered soul
I can hardly believe my joy
with this season of brilliance.
Looking at the Sun Print this poem only
Why is it I feel so low
when I read your words
words of encouragement words of exhortation yet
I fall into guilt
knowing I cannot comply with
every jot and tittle so I cast myself
as a failure with defect.
Why is it I cannot remember: you love me
without condition even without
my contrition even when I forget
you you are always there you with
your open arms for me,
your prodigal son?
Oh Lord help me to take what shaft of light I can
from your bright son let it alone shine in me -
touch some corner within some place that will
grow with your light and not shrink from it,
some place at home with your grace.
I cannot look directly at you
nor let all the light you have
enter into me and pierce my soul
any more than I can look directly at the sun.
So I shall put on my sun glasses or poke a pin through the shade
to watch the eclipse of my shame.
Alive Print this poem only
The pages of my past
contain few lines
about the issue of being alive
but they are thick
with daily endeavors
fancied as truly important,
they churn with anxiety
under the clock
and my urge to be right
or perfect enough
for my splendid image.
In the pages of my past
being alive did appear as an issue.
Yet now each day
it bubbles up
like warm Champagne
in the chambers of my heart
and each night before I can sleep
I bow to the Creator
for the gift of life
for one more day on Earth.
Today I was in a place
my lover healing
and receiving care.
When she spoke
I heard love.
I felt her soft touch
saw her smile
and the sparkle in her eyes
tasted her kiss.
Today I walked.
I walked out of that building,
breathed in the cool spring air
tilted my head to the heavens
heard a symphony of Mockingbirds
saw bees being perfectly happy
pollinating, collecting and re-creating the Earth.
Today there was no issue
for I knew the glory
of being alive.
Author's Note: As I remember, this was written after a heart procedure to block Atrial Fibrillation.
Reflections of a Caregiver Print this poem only
What colors are your heart?
Are they grays for the clouds hanging there?
Or red for the anger you wish you wouldn’t feel?
Shades of maroon to bruising black and blue?
The dirty browns of the mounds of guilt
guilt for the selfish indulgence of these colors
when she is the one with the wound?
Heavy shades of sadness and pain?
The strained purple of anxiety
or its magenta cousin fear
on the cusp of a foggy frontier?
Dullness extruded from muscle-exhaustion
that beckons you into sleep?
I pray the loss of twilight
and this journey into night.
I am grateful for the early morning light
where shades of sadness fade
the frights of the night are past
and I am keen
with shades of green.
Red with the oxygen of Grace,
I thank the Spirit
who sorted my dreams
sewed up the seams
to make whole my soul
and renew my heart.
What color is your heart this day?
Author's Note: This poem was read at a special workshop where Janet McClanahan the founder of Weekend at Rickey's held her first public workshop (September 2018) to help get her new non-profit organization started. The organization will give caregivers a weekend off from their duties to give them some respite from their usual pressures.
Please see and contribute to: https://www.weekendatrickys.org/
Lilies of the Field Print this poem only
The pain of this moment
is sufficient for me
no need to go looking
at the evening news or political coverage
for more to see.
I choose to stay with Jesus
he knows pain
and had the courage
to face it
to embrace it
I wish to follow him in this again and again.
Jesus will be closer than close
with his Father
in every cell of me
walking with me
breathing with me
feeling with me
how can I fail this Great Mystery
fail to heed his advice
to be as faithful
as the lilies of the field? (Luke 12:25-28)
How can I fail to heed the clarion call
the clear and human voice of Paul
to fall in love
for love bears all things
endures all things ? (1 Cor 13:7).