2018

Poems

May - August

Poem List: 2018 May thru August

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Glenda Marie I Knew          Print  this poem

This was the Glenda Marie I knew:

We both loved us some LSU.

Watching a football game she’d shout

and bad referees got loudly bawled out.

 

A woman of passion and feeling

her tongue might send some reeling

but one thing I know for sure

her kindness and love will endure.

 

No matter how big or small your task

Glenda almost always asked

“What’s your name?”

and she knew it next time she came.

 

My complaints - she patiently listened - all ears

but over all these years

“complainer” was not her role

grabbing attention was not her goal.

 

Glenda was a mom, a Tita and a friend

a generous listener to the end

as a worker she was competent and true

people and things- she held together like glue.


As a sister she was dedicated and trusty

together they shined and never got rusty

her trips to Louisiana - her delight.

We could talk Tigers and Saints all night.

 

I’ll miss her happy lilting tone

when she knew it was me on the phone

I’ll miss her sparkling eyes and smile

and living without her will take a while.

 

I wish I had gone up the alley more

to visit her, to knock on her back door

to sit on the patio, talk and watch Camryn play

I wish I had just one more day.

 

This was the Glenda Marie I knew

a friend and buddy who loved me and you.

I’ll think of her for days and years hence

when I drive up that alley and see that red fence. 

 

Author's Note:  Dedicated to our dear precious friend Glenda Marie Buttram and her family.  She passed from this earth 8-23-18.  This poem was read at her funeral by Glenn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unbalanced

 

Missed a step of the stepping stool

smacked the sidewalk with my face

felt like a blithering fool

what happened to my grace

 

First parched earth of drought

now we’re so soaked with rain

the birdseed’s begun to sprout

dare I holler or complain

 

I think I need a change of scene

boredom cries for the next valley over

to smell the new scent of green

hear honey bees buzzing clover

 

They say hearing voices like yours

can be soothing and cozy

but too much harmony bores

and I think a little stink can be rosy

 

Living life in extremes

isn’t for me and isn’t sound

maybe it’s about stretching the seams

but not to be unbound

 

I don’t know if balance is my fate

Yes, equilibrium has its uses

but I like a tune that syncopates

and enough spice to excite the juices.

 

Written 8-14-18

Author’s Note:  As I re-read this poem in March 2020 I am not in the same place I was when I wrote it.  In fact I feel very balanced and I love it. On the other hand, it is moments of imbalance and conflict and suffering that have made me grow over the years.  I see how I liked the different forces in my life, some of them contradicting each other.  All of that was formative.

 

First Light

 

Being in first light

I can see lamps lit

and the clouds strewn across the gray dawn.

From the east

the sun whispers greetings

of the new day.

 

Being in first light

I wonder what faces I will see for the first time

whose hand I will see reaching out to mine

that first grip always telling me something

about the gripper

making me curious

about him and his world.

 

Being in first light

the western horizon is still dark

its terrain unknown.

What adventures will reveal themselves

and beckon me beyond the barriers

of my comfortable world

as the sun rises?

 

Being in first light

neither foreground or background

are fully visible yet.

This state of mystery

gives me a tingle of excitement

and wonder.

 

I think I like

this moment

of first light.

 

Written at first light 7-20-18

 

New Home

 

It’s like watching a flower bloom from a bud

or a seed pushing through the soil

moving onward and upward

slowly but surely

toward the sky

to eventually arise

in its fresh green glory

into the light

right before our eyes.

 

They are taking that old house

into their hands and hearts

removing dust and accumulations

of two full and splendid lives

molding from the clay of the past

moving through the soil of a present

full of challenge and struggle

into a new, alive

unpredictable

future

together.

 

This new growth

fashioned from precious artifacts

and art of these two mature siblings

is not a shell which is a house

but a new flowering

which is a home.

What a delight to observe from afar

this new creation

taking shape

knowing

that their roots and ours

are emmeshed

and inseparable.

 

Watching these two

bright, precocious ones

so precious, priceless and cherished by us

is as delicious

and delightful

as sharing a meal

prepared in the ovens,

homes and hearts

of our mothers.

 

In this dynamic present

we are grateful

for parents who taught us what it means

to make and keep a home

to love and be loved by the children

of generations.

 

All these children

are present in the creators

and observers

of this new home

taking shape

being painting

into a landscape

that will one day

sparkle

with joy.

 

Note: Dedicated to Ginny and Richard as they journey together, sister and brother, creating a new home in an old house.

 

Written 8-5-18

 

Writing to You

 

I am here in the hazy light of a new dawn

writing to you.

You and I here alone

is like floating in a soft piano nocturne.

Gliding over the keys with natural finesse

is a taste of heaven.

 

Here in this muted light

with you in mind

a privilege no less

than being in the majestic presence

of loving and friendly royalty.

 

Writing to you

from the inner reaches of my heart

is a journey

more precious

than the emerald landscape

I can see

to the far horizon

of this new day.

 

The freshness of this moment

basking in our love

is a tiny sprout

greeting blessed light

thrilled with the sticky twining

of its new life.

 

It is good being here

alive with you.

Written 7-19-18

 

Music Evolves

 

Songs are threads that reach beyond

mortal matter of the planet’s bond

springing often unexpected 

like diamonds angel-selected.

 

Sounds from spirit spun in sky

half's and quarters low and high

enter our waiting souls

and linger there to make us whole.

 

Music soars beyond the flesh

reforms the old into fresh

hearing tones the artist composes

is breathing in a rally of roses.

 

Listening to music involves,

prepares, changes and evolves

it makes our humanity better

it is a sweet ethereal eternal treasure.

 

Author’s Note:  This morning I was listening to Willie Nelson’s new song: “Something You Get Through.”  I’ve always loved his voice and even now this old man seems to be evolving, his voice is crackling a bit, but still he is cracked open by some incomprehensible creative force.  I have to think it is partly or mostly music itself.  This song, from this old soul, transported me as music often does.  I was no longer just waking up in my home on a Monday morning.  I was somewhere else.

Written 7-23-18

 

This Old House


The paint is flaking and falling off

splotched edges

discoloration

stormy days

weathered years

creaking and leaking

cracking from heating

the physics of aging

and seasons of raging

the terrible toll

they are taking

makes you think this old house

needs replacing.


But listen to the voices

of laughter and loving

hear echoes of weeping

and promise keeping

poems that were spoken

being whole and broken

see the tears that were shed

the glories in bed

sighs and lies

some of them said

inside the house that was home

these many years.

 

Inside spirit reigns

with angels unchained

where heart and soul

on a journey bold

through seasons of pain

where demons were slain

new life was greeted

death was cheated

souls were enrolled

in miracle courses

treasures discovered

of higher forces.

 

This old house of seventy six years

holds joys along with fears.

The structure isn’t new

but inside

there is

youth.

Written on my 76th birthday July 22, 2018

 

Seeds

 

This day I can stay tied firm and fast

in the poison soil of the past

or I can plant new seeds

in loam teeming with life

seeds meant for light

for the bright

golden

sun.

Written 7-13-18

 
 

Birds and Coffee            Birds and Coffee

 

About now she is having her first cup

in her java ritual of waking up

starting the day by feeding the birds

who swoop too eat and hear her words.

 

St. Francis is smiling up there

seeing her quiet presence and care

presence to what is real

in the moment and what it reveals.

 

The creator is in his or her creatures

in shape, contour and natural features.

I don’t need TV, booze, caffeine

or any other fix to intervene.

 

And it is good to have friends who are kind

who help the helpless and the blind

who feed birds and spirits of the down

not looking for applause or renown.

 

Knowing and loving and being there

for others, taking time to care.

Having friends like this - a treasure

impossible to repay or measure.

 

So when I’m tempted to medicate

in any fashion, let me meditate

or be present to friends or birds in flight,

let me abide in their darkness and their light.

 

Author’s Note:  Dedicated to my friend and fellow poet, Elizabeth Hobbs.

 

Written 7-9-18

 

In Between       Print this poem only

 

You are there in air

rustling in leaves

whooshing in sonorous song

chiming in wind among the trees.

 

Even here on this silver screen

you beam key to key bouncing

exciting protons making small creatures

one character at a time.

 

You even whisper so quietly

in the daily hum of my life

I rarely hear or notice

the strong power of your love.

 

How can I miss the soft sound

hiding in the passages of my day

in my every breath

you traveling freely

in every molecule of my being?

 

I need to try harder

second to second

to listen first

to the sibilant sound

of you tiptoeing

in the background

your acoustic presence

in every step I take

every noise I make

every thought I conceive

you never never leave

me here or anywhere alone.

 

Sometime you seem nearly silent

until you roar back in the hymns

I can hear if I but listen

for you in the voices

of strangers, enemies and friends. 

 

You seem invisible

until I open my eyes

to you there in the creases

frowns and smiles

of every person I pass.

 

You are a symphony

and its composer

I can encounter

if I pay the coin of my attention

in the small moments of my day.

 

This day I hope

I can wake up

to the holy

all around

in every sight

in every sound

in the silences

tucked away

in between.

 

Written 6-12-18

 

Thrill of Seeking       Print this poem only

If it is all clear

and all answers near

if I never approached the ledge

forever evading the edge

 

why would I keep seeking

the truth forever sneaking

around in the pages of my mind

the foggy places where I’m blind?

 

This truth keeps hiding

keeps needling and dividing

me and making a rarity

of an elusive clarity.

 

But if I was in the certainty room

if all was light and never gloom

I would have lost my youth

and the thrill of seeking Truth.

Written 6-2-18

 

 

 

 

 

My Excuses       Print this poem only

 

It doesn’t take much to find excuses

for avoiding the unpleasant,

things for which I can find no uses

at the time - find no reason or rhyme.

 

Truth is, I don’t tax my mind to think of that reason,

don’t imagine how much good it would do,

don’t think about how this is just the right season

to do this thing I don’t want to.

 

But oh how hard I’ll work to think

of ways to do this thing I love to do

find the recipe for that yummy drink

go to the game, find its venue.

 

I’m so very skilled and do it with ease

thinking of a good dodge or ruse.

This kind of creative work is a breeze

how skilled I am making an excuse!

 

Written 5-28-18

 
 

Resonance       Print this poem only

 

“From resonance comes the day
of increase and degree…

of expanses, of shadow recently fleeing,

and drops that from the heart of heaven

fall like celestial blood.”

 

From: the poem, “One Day Stands Out,” in Residence on Earth by Pablo Neruda

 

The drops of your prayers

fall upon me like moments of heaven. 

Encounters with friends and lovers

full of exposure, weakness, and fragility

resonate and crown these brief eras

like royalty forsaken for love,

like the cherishing of a mother’s eyes

gazing at her baby

who looks back as if to say

“This moment with you
is why God put me here with you.”

 

Author’s Note:  Written after an afternoon of sharing deeply with close friends, after reading a friend’s email assuring me of her prayers, after reading the poem by Neruda excerpted above.

Written 5-23-18

 

 

 

 

Moth Moment       Print this poem only

 

Moth flies among bushes

I leave my many thoughts now

light on green leaf

Author's Note: This is written in a poetic form called Senryu.  It is akin to the classic Japanese form known as haiku which is typically about three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.  For more information on Haiku see this Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiku.  If the subject matter is something besides a scene from nature, the poem is technically a senryu rather than a haiku.

Written 5-22-18

 
 

Defying Gravity       Print this poem only

 

I’ve noticed lately that my knees ache.

Upon rising they frequently quake

making me unsure if it is really

this kind of rising I should be putting my energy into.

 

Maybe I should stay put and lean to

the farthest north,

a different kind of exertion,

not to deftly defeat gravity

and its inexorable pull downward

with my old body,

but wherever I am

to exercise and exorcise my heart

the muscle that pulls me towards Love.

 

Being here in this world

is not my destination

but a mechanism

to teach me that my true terminus

even here on Earth is grace. 

 

I shall not make haste

on the highways and well-worn pathways

thus far discovered in this life,

but my haste will be to make it to you

to find you in every little thing here and now.

 

This is my true identity

this is my new career

to always be seeking you

to stay in grace -

in your presence.

 

This is my present longing

to be ok with being held in the palm of your hand

every minute of every day.

 

So when my knees hurt and quake on rising

I will remember that the real rising I am about

is of the spirit and not the knees.   

Written 5-12-18

 

Freedom's Field         Print this poem only

Being out in this field of wheat
with its bright amber perspective
all the way to the horizon
breathing in aroma of soil 
wind taking my hat into the stalky expanse
feels both free and forfeit.

Having no path or track
or boundaries beside me
is both wondrous and restive.
In this rebellious space
I wish for a hand
someone to coach me
tell me what to do with this liberty.

I tread back to the car
I parked by the highway
but it is not there
my trusted vehicle gone 
I know not where.
My thumb in the air 
needing, hoping, longing for a ride
but at least there is the highway
sprinkled with sparkle
and passages of counsel and direction
beckoning to an uncertain celestial horizon.

Author's Note: Inspired by the poem, "Red Line (Morse)" by John Herzog.

Written 5-10-18

 

 

 

 

 

She's their mother         Print this poem only

When she tells kids a story
that’s sweet, funny or gory 
she is the monster or goat
on the bridge across the moat.

She is the scared child,
the lion or monkey who’s wild
her voice squeaks or roars
arms gyrate as if on all fours.

Wherever she sits she’s at ease
with children gathered at her knees
for they’re expecting to leave that place
by balloon, plane, or car in a race.

If you are in a room that’s near
it’s not hard for you to hear 
kids laughing or shrieking
at whatever story she’s speaking.

The adults gathered nearby
have a glint in their eye
glancing at one another
for she’s also their mother.

 

Author's Note: Dedicated to my wife Helen on Mother’s Day.

Written 5-13-18

 
 

Waking Up         Print this poem only

Early this morning I woke up to heaven
to the space beyond space
to the creator realm
and what I imagine 
as stars, nebulas and black holes
the elemental 
pregnant universe.

Upon reflection, this dreamland, and awakening
remind me of a relationship at the beginning -
the two of us exploring and discovering,
alert to the next new thing about each other
the exciting, fascinating, tingly, pieces
offering surprises
and gifts we want to unwrap

But then 
trust creeps in 
over months and years
and perhaps perilous presumption.
And that early alert desire-to-please 
wanes.
We discover the person 
in the shadows
and shallows,
in those little hidden corners of self.

We see the nonverbals -
lips turned down
in sadness or doubt,
the pain in a faint frown
or eyes empty of sparkle.

Isn’t it an unpoetic paradox 
how the rare treasure of trust 
can beget apathy,
usher in our humanity -
unfinished, 
blemished
fuzzy humanity 
full of flaws 
airy straws
mixed with energy, wit and spirit,
goodness, kindness and virtue -
the stew of darkness and light -
that is… the real us?

Wouldn’t it be wondrous
to find a relationship
where the cup of candor
is lifted with the bread of trust?
Where the quilt of comfort 
weakens the force of fear,
where the breezy brightness of spring
releases our brilliance
boldness
and exuberance?

Wouldn’t such a relationship be divine?

Author's Note: This is partly inspired by the poem, “New Ways,” by Ame Ai  and partly by my great niece and her new boyfriend (both 20 years old), watching them together at supper last night their relationship one month old. I have misgivings about this piece. Is it too wordy, is the title wrong?

5-15-18  Revised 6-5-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer             Print this poem only

 

Standing in the background

the straw man with his painted-on frown

not real, but droopy and dry

with that wry look asking why.

No answers there

in his goofy head of flaxen hair.

 

At times I feel dotted with empty air

not all here but everywhere

not full and rich with expanding leaven

unaware of the particles of heaven

that fill my very core

the me I’ve been looking for.

 

But now I choose to be whole

the truest me that’s my soul

and when someone asks me to pray

I hope I’ll have something to say

stand firm and tall in that place

full of green life and amazing grace

fully joined to the others there

bold, sure, and present in that prayer.

 

Written 5-8-18

 
prayer-standing-in-green-life.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Love of Poetry            Print this poem only

 

Oh you mysterious giver!

I cannot fathom your generosity

the way you abandon a singular intention

in favor of freedom,

how you trust me to receive you

knowing that I am sitting here

shackled or endowed with so many years

of constructing my mind

filling it with limitations, prejudices, hurts

and joyous discoveries,

filling it with the abuse, misuse and love

of others whose paths I have crossed

from infancy to now.

 

Knowing all of this

still you keep relinquishing yourself

delivering the universe to me,

setting before me a feast

replete with fruit

the bounty of earth

and heaven.

 

You are gracious, even indulgent to this prodigal.

Your grace has me in awe

of your elegant splendor

and love. 

 

Author’s note: What I love about poetry is the spiritual harvest it gives.  It allows me to interpret it with what I need at the time of my reading.  But more than that my gratitude reaches across geography to the human mind and heart and the spiritual force that crated it.  I cannot adequately express my gratitude for poets and their work, from the psalmist, to Neruda, to Collins, to Rumi, to all the creative giants I can rendezvous with just by turning on my computer or opening a book.

 

About the video: I looked on Flickr.com for a photo to accompany this poem and found the video of the child enjoying snow.  It seemed to beautifully express the kind of life experience I was describing in my poem - the experiences that are the stuff of the poet.

Written 5-11-18

 
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Still            Print this poem only

 

Being human for so many years
you’d think that I would know
you’d think it’d be clear
I’m still in flow with room to grow.

But I get frustrated still
with the flaws in my learning
how its still so uphill.
But it’s ok - this yearning.

Like the feathery clouds up there
floating in the blue
I’m still a subject of air
moving in sky, always new.

Like the distant dark trees
with bright sky contrasting
dark against light is what the eye sees
it’s the shadow I’m casting

it’s the shadow getting long
moving toward twilight
but still standing, still strong
still fluid, fluxing and flowing - is alright.

 

Author’s Note: Dedicated to Wanda Jones on her birthday.


Written 6-14-18

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Be a Daddy            Print this poem only

 

There is no one to call me dad

maybe there’s someone to comment:

He looks so sad or he’s just mad.

But I never had the courage to father

a real flesh and blood child.

That does takes grit

not just to release that delightful seed...

but to be a real father I mean. 

 

So on fathers day

it has to suffice

to glory in others’ daddiness

and that’s alright. 

It gives me a small but special joy

to see a father squat down at the child’s height

to look into his eyes and really listen -

be it in an airport or market. What a lovely sight!

It brings tears to my eyes.  I know not why.

But it feels so deep and so right

to see a daddy and child, to be with them

in that moment of grace.

 

In this sense I guess its ok

to pause and say

that I was a father today

taking on the small burden of another

with a smile or eyes that listened fully

to her or his pain.

That’s always what I longed for from my daddy.

That would have been a gift

he could have given me

on a fathers day.

 

 

Author’s Note: I saw an ad today for gifts to get Dad on Fathers Day. It actually tugged at my heart a tiny bit. Sooooo... this poem is what that moment produced.

Written 6-14-18

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The Beauty Inside            Print this poem only

 

Living with day and night

black and white

crepe myrtles of white and pink

variety and variance make me think

now and then a dissonant pitch

makes my life rich.

 

But sometime what seems at odds

is not.  Like seeing Love AND God

contemplation AND friendship

solitude AND kinship.

Why must it be either or

against or for?

Why can’t we see through

the differences between me and you?

 

What is so sad

what seems so bad

is when difference leads to rejection

then I must leave for my own protection.

When she said, “If you are this then you can’t be that!”

I left.  I won’t be her doormat.

 

Some people thrive on opposition

attracted to dominance and friction

but at this stage of being me

I choose to be free

to see through those things that divide

beyond the outer mar to the beauty inside.

Author’s Note:  This morning I woke thinking about a terrible moment of rejection by someone whom I had loved, been loyal to, and cherished in spite of some of her obvious limitations and failures. I was not feeling bitterness but just a little sad.  She is represented in the last two stanzas of this poem.  I also want to thank a poet on HelloPoetry.com who goes by the name of Melancholy of Innocence  for the partial inspiration for this poem.  He is represented in the second line of the second stanza.  I am so very inspired by the variety of work I read on https://hellopoetry.com/


Written 6-15-18

 
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Tallow Awakening            Print this poem only

 

The Tallow sapling is swaying

in union with wind and saying

good morning

wake up to a swinging

universe singing

softly in the early breeze

waking up trees

oh how the first movement

of this precocious symphony

shows up Chopin

Debussy and Copeland

in its sweet harmony

with the sun

and moon

and precious tides.

Look at the yawning and stretching

from side to side

in the awakening

of this day.

 

Written 6-16-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandeur                Print this poem only

 

Glory is a word I seem to be using lately

Loving my life and the people in it

Overshining sadness, pain, and darkness

Remembering the goodness of the Lord

Years of abundant love from many angels.

 

Author’s Note:  I think this is the first acrostic I’ve ever written.

 

Written 6-22-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angels of Sleep            Print this poem only

 

I am grateful for these hours of sleep

but four or five are just not enough

so here I am awake

having left in bed

the sweet muddled foggy chamber

where some mysterious mystical mighty force

knits together the disparate broken seams

through which my saneness fell

the previous day.

 

I believe in being awake

to the richness hiding in every day.

I know how easy it is to miss

in the banging clattering hiss

the inexpressible gift

of now.

 

But I also know

what a full night’s sleep can do

to chase away the blues

and recapture the few joys

and surprises nestled

and stashed

in the mystic cache

of each day.

 

So I beg whatever angels

guard that muddled foggy chamber

to again admit me

grant me gladness

and the saving gift

of a full night’s sleep.

Written at 4:30am 6-26-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Neighbors            Print this poem only

 

Across our back yards

through the French Door

I see his living room lamp

shining this early and I wonder

what he is reading this morn

is it Hugo for whom he is a fan

or about southern trees,

for he loves wood

has stacks of old boards

in his garage

boards he’s gotten milled

from forests he’s been

and hunted in.

 

Or is he on his knees

for I know his deep and natural faith

having prayed with him

in hard times

and wept together

in a moment of abandon and trust

rare for men

and neighbors.

 

We are often up together

before dawn

me here and my little screen

writing and praying

and he with his lamp on

while our wives sleep

in their quiet beauty.

 

What a comfort it is,

us knowing

our dailyness

our friendship bond of caring

sharing stories of our wives

and how we learn to love them

despite the differences

between women and men.

 

Thank you my friend

for the tomatoes

and offers of figs

we watch maturing on that growing tree,

for the blooming abundance

of crepe myrtle and trumpet vines

for the dinner sharing wines

for walking with me

through bad and good times

for the stories and laughs we’ve had

over the years

being neighbors.

Written 6-28-18

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Me and You on this Planet of Blue            Print this poem only

How humbling it is to be

here on this precious planet of blue

knowing he cares about little me

in his wide and boundless view

in the vastness of his eternity.

Written 6-28-18          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Letter to My Old Colleague Friends            Print this poem only

 

Dear friends, many of you have moved

from surroundings I knew and loved with you

but my memories of us have not defused

like clouds hanging dark but always new.

 

In old age it is the memories that flow

and make you present with hearts beating wildly

times we drank beer decrying the status quo

and when we celebrated little things like being Friday.

 

We celebrated a lot when life was so full

alive with discoveries, conflicts, and diversity

when our desires and thoughts pushed and pulled

and we felt pain and hope in multiplicity.

 

But now so many of you are gone

to places unknown: some to you and some to me

and together we won’t know joys of new dawns

we will deal with things like that damn aching knee.

 

For some of you your children are grown

for me poetry, love, and God enliven and wake me up

but nobody can take from me the bonds I have known

bonds cast with you in sharing, caring, and lifting life’s cup.

 

In long moments in a waiting room

trying to ignore the next challenge of my body

I’ll be grateful. I’ll not dwell in spaces of doom

I’ll remember those times of being good or naughty.

 

I’ll visit the rooms and the halls

where we gathered to learn and teach

in those precious moments of my recall

I’ll gather you together for the universes we’ve yet to reach.

 

Author’s Note:  This morning I came across a description of the “Epistolary poem” form and it gave me an idea to express  something I’ve been thinking about recently.  The title reveals the addressees of the poem, but hopefully others will find something helpful or meaningful in it.

 

Written 6-30-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steady Blaze            Print this poem only

 

Who have you known

whose life was a steady blaze of light?

 

There are many in my memory

with striking moments

of blaze

revealed in little decisions to love

despite pain and suffering.

 

My cousin Gary

had a persistent neck pain

so bad he had a constant bow

but gladly answered my calls for help

with my stubborn computer.

His wife wouldn’t tell

but I’m sure like all of us

he was selfish and ego driven

from time to time.

That pain: a cancerous tumor

that finally took him and his cheer from us.

 

I’ve had flashes and flickers

but a steady blaze?

 

Is there one person you know

with the steadiness

of that light?

Written 7-2-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deeper            Print this poem only

 

I want to become a diver

like the scuba guys in the Thai cave

risking death to save life,

going deeper into convoluted passages

of darkness to pull life from it.

 

I want to become a heart surgeon

transplanting energizing mitochondria

into babies’ dying hearts

to revive and save damaged cells.

Oh to receive from the gods of creativity

an infusion of fresh energy

into this old body

and renew flagging cells

with a flowering fragrance

as sweet and unique as Plumeria!

 

May this diving deeper

be as fruitful now as it has been

in the decisive moments

I was able to conquer pride and self

to reach out to others

whose spirits had frowns

whose life energy was down.

 

I know: thinking, reading and writing

are not quite enough to reach and taste

the fruits of angels.

 

Author’s Note:  The idea for this poem has been lurking within ever since I heard an energetic call from a teacher of mine as he proclaimed it is not enough to go deeper, that we must do good works and serve, move to action, action, action.  I felt guilty because in my old age I am not as active, leading, and responding as much as I have been most of my life.  I had spoken to him and others of my need to “go deeper.”  And his proclamation stung me and sent me into consternation.  In this poem, finally, I have been able to respond.  And it was the heroics of the Thai divers and the surgeons at Boston Children’s Hospital into mitochondria transplantation that brought me out of the darkness of confusion into this light.  If you are interested, see this amazing article about the research and procedures used by these pioneering doctors: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/10/health/mitochondria-transplant-heart-attack.html

Written 7-12-18

 
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NOTE: The poem above and the poem below are

meant to be read together, for they come from a

similar place in the author's experience.

 

Deeper = Information > Application > Transformation            Print this poem only
 

Like the classic tension
between “faith and works”
“deeper” means a marriage
of information and application
to get transformation.

And so these moments of writing poems
and diving deeper, rising higher
for the creative spirit
are not divorced
from kindness and reaching out
in friendship, intimacy, and love,
from taking time and spending energy
beyond these meditative walls
embracing life where it calls.

I am a diver and a surgeon
a spark striker, a flame keeper
always desiring
to move
deeper, deeper, deeper.

Author’s Note: I thank Marty Collier for the inspiring little poem-like statement: “Information plus application = transformation.”

 

“Deeper = Information > Application > Transformation” Copyright 2018 by Glenn Currier
Written 7-11-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radiation            Print this poem only

 

My first doc looked at the blood test

said the PSA is in the red

seeing a urology doc would be best

That was my first moment of dread.

 

That doc poked into my prostate gland

to gather some samples of cells.

That probe didn’t feel grand

I worried: what will that test tell?

 

It was a early bit of cancer

that could surely be treated

radiation the best answer

the cancer likely defeated.

 

Forty three days into the lead-lined space

led by therapists gentle and kind

aiming photon beams with me still in place

trying to keep my peace of mind.

 

The trip to the Center not too far in the car

but this journey seemed long

prying my feelings like a crowbar

trying not to think what could go wrong.

 

But the post-procedure tests

showed no trace of cancer cells

those little unwanted guests

had said their farewells.

Written 7-12-18 (mostly) but finished 3-31-20

 
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Eye to Eye            Print this poem only

 

She looks into my eyes
as if searching for my feelings
for a hint of my disposition today
can’t she tell by the softness of my voice
the sweet things I say
can’t she sense my love  
in these moments together
or
are we both really alone
and this union a figment?

It is as if she is wondering
in her little mind behind her amber eyes
what it is like being human
as I wonder what is like being feline.

Written 7-16-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Dog Named Crush            Print this poem only

 

Crush was like others of his kind.

He loved giving us joy

and he was not far behind

especially when we had a toy.

 

You could say he aimed to please

all the family he adored,

stayed alert to our needs.

Need to play? He was on board.

 

Like other dogs who sniff to serve

in war, to find an enemy or explosive

we often got more than we deserved

Crush was a dog so devoted.

 

Like others of his kind

when we humans were mad

or we couldn’t see or were blind

he didn’t judge us as shameful or bad.

 

When we felt all alone

when we were sick

and our peace was blown

a moment with Crush did the trick.

 

Crush was like any other canine

in many ways.  But to us he was unique.

Our grief is tough to leave behind,

really more than we can speak.

 

Crush, you seemed so selfless and dutiful

AND yes, you loved a treat,

but to us you will always be beautiful,

a dog and a friend who made our family complete.

 

Authors' Note:  Dedicated to Crush and to his family: Styron, Ron and Aloyce Williams who loved and cherished this dog mightily.  This poem is sent with love from our little poetry group, Phoenix.

 

“A Dog Named Crush,” Copyright 2018 by Glenn Currier but written in collaboration with Phoenix poetry group

Written July 25, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heart of a Caregiver

Print this poem only

 

What colors are the heart of a caregiver?

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 needless guilt -

guilt for indulgence when s/he’s the one with the wound?

Heavy shades of sadness and pain?

The strained purple of anxiety

or its magenta cousin, fear
do you feel on the edge of a foggy frontier?

dullness from muscle-exhaustion that beckons you into sleep?

Do you pray for twilight,

to make it through this journey into night?

 

Are you grateful for the early morning light

where shades of sadness fade and the frights of the night are past

and are you keen for the peaceful shades of green?

 

Be red with the oxygen of Grace,

thank the Spirit who sorted your dreams and sewed up the seams

to make whole your soul and renew your heart.

 

A caregiver’s journey can be tortured and tiring

but giving can be inspiring,

a smile can take you to a brighter place and bathe you in the sweet light of grace.

Prayer can help too

or just the right song when all seems so wrong.

 

Seek out nurturance and love for yourself and bathe on that shore.

Open a window or a door

and let the freshness abide and envelop you in its tide.

 

All the colors of darkness and light

will enter your heart by and by.

So do not fall prey to sadness or fright

and when you are about to cry

let go and know the fullness of soul that comes from sharing.

Know the full sweet precious gifts of caring.

Author's Note: This poem is dedicated to all caregivers, but especially to Janet McClanahan

who is the founder of Weekend at Rickey's, a non-profit organization devoted to providing

support for caregivers who give tirelessly of themselves in support of their special needs loved ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written 8-12-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Also Rise            Print this poem only

 

I have written poems about rising.

It’s a good subject for poets.

Isn’t a poem itself a rising?

We spend much time revising

what we write and what we do.

 

There are so many good words ending in izing.

I could write a whole poem

using words symbolizing

so much of life -

it’s absolutely tantalizing.

 

I watch and read about all the polarizing.

It is a cool oasis lingering here

synchronizing

my words with my feelings and thoughts

realizing the heart of who I really am

comprising ways of saying my truth

without moralizing.

 

At times it is agonizing -

all this analyzing

how I belong and how I don’t

if I’ll join others or if I won’t.

 

I look at that guy Jesus

and how so many obsess

about his blood and sacrifice

all the while not recognizing

it’s not so much about our sins

and his need to atone as it is

about the good he did

who he sat with and loved,

the seeds he sowed

who he stopped to touch

on the side of the road.

 

I find obsessions with power

really unappetizing.

I’d rather spend my time rising

from darkness into light

or embracing my sadness, exercising

and emphasizing what is energizing. 

When I do that, it is quite surprising

how creative my muse is helping ME

to also rise.

Written 8-2-18

 
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This Day a River             Print this poem only

 

I sit here in the predawn darkness

quiet

no thoughts flooding in

or standing up like soldiers

armed and ready for battle.

 

Instead of battle,

this day

will be a river between two shores

and in its flow

I pray

I’ll encounter heaven

and its guardians I’ll know.

 

I need not fret

or bear the burdens of this body

alone

for in these waters

in that slow and lively flow

I pray for the greenness of life

fields and meadows moist with grace.

I pray in a private psalm

there will be enough light

and I’ll find others who’ll help

to stay the darkness.

 

Instead of battle,

this day

will be a river between two shores

and in its flow

I pray

I’ll encounter heaven

and its guardians I’ll know.

 

I have hope

I will summon particles of dawning

know the feel of belonging

and bonding

with brothers and others

feel the zephar

of angels’ wings

on my skin

know with sureness

that I am not alone

and this certainty of heaven

is not a dream

but suffuses me

and lifts me

from heft of aching limbs,

makes my face bright

with heaven’s light.

 

Instead of battle,

this day

will be a river between two shores

and in its flow

I pray

I’ll encounter heaven

and its guardians I’ll know.

 

Written 8-9-18

 
river-at-sunset.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand              Print this poem only

 

The hair on the back of my hand

glistens in the lamp at night

it tells me I am a man

I am a creature

a thing created.

I did not create myself

even though I act as if I did.  

 

You made this body

and you keep it alive.

When I look at my hand

sometimes it reminds me of Jesus

who was also a man.

 

I yearn to feel his touch

his arms around my shoulders.

How often I need his hand

on the small of my back

giving me a gentle shove.

 

When I picture that hand

in my mind’s eye

I see the hair

the veins that bring the blood

from his heart,

a heart so full

so big it reaches to heaven.

 

It also reaches into my heart

when I think of his first noticing

and then stooping down

to touch the person on the side of the road

the person nobody else would go near.

I am touched to tears. 

 

That was the hand of Jesus

reaching down as it does now

to this sinner.

 

Note:  With gratitude to David Chadwell for his web piece entitled: “How low will Jesus stoop?”

Written 8-10-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spewed            Print this poem only

 

I am spewed and scattered

hour by hour day by day

pieces of me strewn

on hillsides and streets

digital paths

in many drafts.

 

I need a shepherd

to tend my critters and creatures

to gather the flock

all the lost sheep

of my plungings deep

my roamings, my walk.

To gather the diaspora

not in a cage

but a pasture

rich with clover,

clear water

and care.

 

Written 8-17-18

 
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Wall of Hurt            Print this poem only

 

I am amazed

but I know not why (knowing me)

how hurt closes me off

sews me up

amputates my heart

from people I’ve loved.

 

It seems I cannot get by

the rage she vomited on me

what she called me

her shocking condemnations.

 

Rage cuts deep

wounds heal slow

if at all.

 

Then I find out how she felt hurt and betrayed

               when I changed and detoured

because someone betrayed me.

 

But I am glad for those detours

where I discovered other worlds

and became more than I was.

 

I am amazed

but I know not why (knowing me)

how hurt can remake

and occasion my transformation,

how the bad can become the good

               If I am patient enough

and work hard enough

to find

or make

cracks in that wall.

 

Written 8-23-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just be yourself…???            Print this poem only

 

In the crazy busyness of the day

where electric sounds suffuse,

even a little chat is often a freeway

of words and noise.

 

And in the midst, he tells me

“Just be yourself.”

There I am

in the small space of silence

being undone

with nothing to say

while I wonder

what self.

 

A friend tells me they’re getting a divorce.

The doctor says the tests are positive.

I watch: the surge of floods taking homes and lives

or images of smoke and debris right after a bombing.

After a real serious play or movie.

In the waiting room after I hear she is going to die.

 

In those lonely tiny spaces

of darkness

I cannot speak.

 

In those aftermath moments

I am silenced.

 

How do I react

to being out of control

or make these things normal

or fit them into my routine ways of being me?

 

Silence asserts itself

like a wild animal

I cannot tame.

 

At these intervals

of being powerless

I hope I do not miss the chance

to humbly bow
in silence

and embrace my humanity

and smallness

in the cosmos

where it is utterly trivial

to just be my self.

 

Author’s Note: In humble gratitude to Rowan Williams looking forward to his upcoming book: Being Human: Bodies, Minds, Persons.


Written 8-30-18

 
small self--be-yourself.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving Darkness             Print this poem only

 

The sleepy darkness
I will leave behind

with shadow dreams

of my hidden mind.

 

I rise from my nakedness

(to) clothe myself in light

(and) bring a petal of smile

a morsel of care into sight.

 

I want to see through glasses

shaded with grace

and make you present

in every place.

 

Written Friday May 25, 2018

 
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2020 Copyright by Glenn Currier