2021 Poems: September thru December
Poem List: 2021 September-December
A Thimble, a Cup Print this poem only
Usually when I open my eyes,
creeping through the blinds a sun rise
brings a thimble of gratitude to my sleepy mind
for yet another day above ground.
But last night
news of flooded darkened homes
faces full of desperation and despair
delayed sleep until another morning
was about to dawn.
I turned the lights on
just to make sure.
Now I am awake
a cup of gratitude.
Spending Print this poem only
When I spend time with you
the investment pays dividends
deposited in my soul
and like a big bowl of cereal in late morning
satisfies my hunger and thirst.
Your listening, whispers
arrest my heart
and take it prisoner.
I am yours.
Thorns Print this poem only
The thorns in my side
I try so hard to hide
with humor, cleverness, even kindness
but after so long they are well-planted
like seeds they’ve taken root.
I am a man full of grace and gratitude
even changes in attitude
I float on great waves
in my wooden dinghy
precarious atop mighty waters
and angels visit
take me into smooth azure lagoons
where I reside in peace
even serenity from time to time.
I weep in great sadness
occasional fits of despair
I swim up to gulp for air
leap and glide into the light
breathe mercy in my flight
pray for courage and gumption
I cannot stay afloat alone
so with abandon I dive
into bright souls whose hands and hearts
reach down to rescue me.
Some of them are thorn people too
battered, broken, and rugged
who’ve found the courage to change
the things they could.
I guess these thorns are there
to make me come up for air
to give me the zephyr of humility
the certainty of a love
that save me.
Author’s note: This is written for those who are in the grip of one or more addictions.
The Builder Print this poem only
It is hot
I am sweaty and already tired
a lone mason out here in the sun
my back bent over the edge of the foundation.
Behind me the stack of bricks
in my hand the trowel
snatched up from my weathered toolbox.
My forehead drips joining the goo of mortar
I lay the mortar bed row
and grab the first brick
to begin the southern wall,
the wall that will face the squalls
of this troubled season.
Author’s Note: Sometimes one must begin again the project of building sanity and good mental health.
Surprised by Astonishment Print this poem only
Can I still be astonished
or have I become so inured to the darkness
and fallibility in others
that I expect nothing more?
It does not surprise me if
the wealthy ignore the poor
fundamentalists hate nonbelievers
I eat too much
men abuse women
I forget to stroke my wife’s hair
political fervor stifles compassion
I reject needed correction.
But I am astonished by
nurses and doctors who care for people who abuse them
the tenderness of a mother who loves her malformed baby
when I’m forgiven by someone I’ve hurt bad
politicians who compromise for the greater good
a firefighter who runs into a burning building
when my apology is gracefully accepted by a victim of my folly.
give me hope
lift me from depression
bring a smile in the midst of my sadness
prove my humanity.
It’s like fishing… Print this poem only
Contemplation is like fishing.
Often my reason fails me
and I cast out into the waters
hoping I can catch that vital energy
feel its power, its resistance, its strength
that is elusive
but I know is there
and those moments of connection
with that mysterious force
give me energy.
I am alive
so I keep castings into the ocean
knowing the elan is there,
the verve that takes me from my mind
to dance, to move, to swerve
in that moment of now.
Author’s Note: I bow in gratitude to Brian McLaren and Barbara A. Holmes for their wisdom that inspired this poem and kneel in awe and thanksgiving to all the fish I have caught over the years, for the excitement and nourishment – the life they gave me.
Wilderness Dreams Print this poem only
I awaken in darkness
still terrified and running
from the mountain lion.
But what if I’m the prey
of my own judging
captive of my comparisons?
At times I feel those verdicts in my gut
like when I can’t concentrate on a task
I SHOULD be doing.
When I notice my tight gut
and my mind wanting to flee
I can stop trying
and lying to myself
set my imagination free
roam a wilderness I choose
like right here on the flat and fertile plains
of this poem’s lines.
Forsaking Regret Print this poem only
As she lay there, her face pale, almost ashen
in her gravelly voice
she said how horrible she felt
about a life so full of mistakes and selfishness
for giving her sister a hard time
being crabby and so critical to her boss
who was also her friend.
She looked into my eyes
regret dripping in every wrinkle
of her rugged face
and she began sobbing.
I cried with her
squeezed her left hand
felt the burden of my own regrets
for the ruts and rocks I had left
in the path of my past.
And I told her she was a different person now
I reminded her that the amends made to me and so many
later in her life were a testament
to a soul redeemed
and now in glory.
She smiled wistfully,
closed her eyes,
and drifted on her tears
Blossom Print this poem only
A man wants to make his mark on the world
to leave something of himself that will endure.
It is the human thing to do.
For some it is children
for some a book
a dare-devil act
or other feat
that will interrupt the routines
of a father, mother, farmer, pipefitter, or pastor
make them pause and notice
for a moment
or even learn a thing or two.
But I wonder if these small interruptions
in the lives of other mortals
the sweat, angst, hours, gut wrenching
and immense energy of a life.
The sage’s magenta petals fall in the heat of the afternoon
and no man, woman or child notices
but bees lit there and sucked a little life
from the blossoms’ hearts.
Maybe I should be content to bloom
for a few days in summer
then fall away
to the earth
from whence I came.
Author’s Note: A friend of mine just published a book of his poems: Apothecary, by James Kenneth Blaylock. I opened it this morning as I lay in bed trying to wake up. It is a nice little volume of his poems written over many years. It felt good holding it in my hands and remembering James and our little poetry group in our town, remembering him in his wheelchair struggling with his strong arms to propel himself into our lives - which he did. Now he has kids and three books. His gentle voice has been heard. His sad smile has been seen. He has made his mark. Reading his poems, James caused me to reflect for a moment on my own life.