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2016 Poems

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.

Written 1-6-16



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.


Written 1-20-16

Elm tree in winter sunset.JPG


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

of feelings?


Or will I instead

choose the path

and find the anchor

of grace?

Written 1-28-16





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.

Written 1-30-16












The Lightness of your Being

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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.


Written 1-30-16













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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 .


Written 1-30-16


It Tolls for Thee
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"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.

Written 2-10-16


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.


Written 3-2-16


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.


Written 3-4-16


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.

Written 4-2-16










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.  


Written 4-5-16

Sun on blue.JPG

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

in thanksgiving

for the gift of life

for one more day on Earth.


Today I was in a place

of pain

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.

Written 4-9-16

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:


Written  4-25-16

WEEKEND at Rickeys.JPG










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).

Written 3-15-16

lilies of the field.JPG
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