May - August
Poem List: 2018 May thru August
Here I Am Lord
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
Missed a step of the stepping stool
smacked the sidewalk with my face
felt like a blithering fool
what happened to all 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.
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.
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
I think I like
of first light.
Written at first light 7-20-18
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
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
that their roots and ours
Watching these two
bright, precocious ones
so precious, priceless and cherished by us
is as delicious
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
All these children
are present in the creators
of this new home
into a landscape
that will one day
Note: Dedicated to Ginny and Richard as they journey together, sister and brother, creating a new home in an old house.
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
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.
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.
This Old House
The paint is flaking and falling off
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
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
of higher forces.
This old house of seventy six years
holds joys along with fears.
The structure isn’t new
Written on my 76th birthday July 22, 2018
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
My Friend Clyde Print this poem only
In the mornings he sits right by
often with a tiny tear in his eye
and I thought to myself: I’ll bet he’s a wonderful guy
then we talked and I discovered Clyde.
I wondered how many roses he must have seen
how many children and trees of green
how many times he got up at night
how many battles he had to fight.
And I think to myself I wish I could have known
this man and his loves before I got grown
I wish I could have been by and listened
when he cooed to his grandkids and their eyes glistened.
I see colors of the rainbow in his eyes
I see people he’s loved and bright colored skies
He shook my hand, asked how do you do
I thought of saying Clyde, I love you.
But instead we spoke of weather
and sports and just chatted together
while we waited in hope to be treated
so we’d emerge undefeated.
I got to know this beautiful gentle man
in this very brief span
as we waited and talked
each other through this healing walk.
I will miss the kindness of this sweet guy
as we go our different ways by and by
each still living life, creating our story
each moving and reaching for our glory.
For these moments together I give thanks
and say God bless you my dear Mr. Hanks
and I think to myself… what a wonderful world!
Author’s Note: Dedicated to my friend Clyde Hanks on his last radiation treatment for prostate cancer, and for accompanying me on my journey along the same path. Congratulations for getting through it, Clyde! Also, with appreciation to Louis Armstrong and Jill for the inspirations for this poem.
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.
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
in every sight
in every sound
in the silences
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
and gifts we want to unwrap
trust creeps in
over months and years
and perhaps perilous presumption.
And that early alert desire-to-please
We discover the person
in the shadows
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 -
full of flaws
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
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.
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
You are gracious, even indulgent to this prodigal.
Your grace has me in awe
of your elegant splendor
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.
Special thanks to spysgrandson--thanks for 3,000,000 views! for this delightful video
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.
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.
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/
Tallow Awakening Print this poem only
The Tallow sapling is swaying
in union with wind and saying
wake up to a swinging
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 precious tides.
Look at the yawning and stretching
from side to side
in the awakening
of this day.
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.
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
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
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
We are often up together
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,
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
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.
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.
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
my words with my feelings and thoughts
realizing the heart of who I really am
comprising ways of saying my truth
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
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.
This Day a River Print this poem only
I sit here in the predawn darkness
no thoughts flooding in
or standing up like soldiers
armed and ready for battle.
Instead of battle,
will be a river between two shores
and in its flow
I’ll encounter heaven
and its guardians I’ll know.
I need not fret
or bear the burdens of this body
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,
will be a river between two shores
and in its flow
I’ll encounter heaven
and its guardians I’ll know.
I have hope
I will summon particles of dawning
know the feel of belonging
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,
will be a river between two shores
and in its flow
I’ll encounter heaven
and its guardians I’ll know.
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?”
Spewed Print this poem only
I am spewed and scattered
hour by hour day by day
pieces of me strewn
on hillsides and streets
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,
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
cracks in that wall.
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
with nothing to say
while I wonder
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
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
and embrace my humanity
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.
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