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Posts Tagged ‘poem’

 

Men are not moved by things but by the views which they take of them. (Epictetus)

ICED WINDOWS, FROSTED VISION

 

White sky and ground

blend into a seamless horizon

where snow-encased branches dominate

as threat or as beauty,

whether the scene is viewed

from a ditch or a window.

 

December, January, February,

eased into March,

the months where

six-pointed flakes commune,

 

fragile alone, yet bound gaining

the power of a frozen battlefield

or the awe of nature’s art.

 

a bond for better or worse

solid, white yet susceptible

to dirt, ugliness, separation.

 

Which moment, light or dark,

will settle in the spirit when

ice succumbs to bright sky again

and tree buds loosen their grip?

 

I kick off my boots

and let them dry in a warm house.

I allow my toes to find feeling again,

then embrace soot, crystal beauty,

and battlefield.

 

Life belongs to the whole.

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We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorns have roses. (Alphonse Karr) A Tour Round My Garden)

A Thing Or a Gift: a Poem

One living branch juts out from

our blue spruce between bare spaces where only

the scars from amputated arms remain.

I name the branch hope.

 

My portable beater whipped eggs

and created batters for more than

twenty years. Finally, it wobbled

with the heat of hot, boiled potatoes.

I call the beater faithful.

 

A slim, modern replacement waits

in its box. A tool. An object, a thing.

Or a gift.

 

A cardinal pauses on a half-alive branch.

I celebrate now.

 

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I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine. (Neil Armstrong)

ONE OLD, LOST CALENDAR

I find an old, unmarked calendar

Three-hundred-sixty-five blocks of freedom

promised in small pristine white boxes,

twenty-eight to thirty-one on each page.

 

It had been a difficult year,

better forgotten in a dusty closet.

And yet, like soil that is no more than

ordinary dirt, the kind that grinds

under the fingernails, hope and beauty

were planted into the grime. And their seeds

continue to grow, inventing bizarre

and beautiful surprises.

 

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If we have no compassion it is because we have forgotten we belong to one another.
(Mother Teresa)

 

The Neighborhood, Delicatessen, and a Baby Squirrel

 

I hold my delicatessen number as if it had first-class boarding-pass value.

No neat queue waits for meat and cheese sliced as if

a thousandth-of-a-millimeter difference per slice mattered.

Customers stand scattered.

The woman with the number before mine

buys one slice of bologna. I wonder if that is all she can afford.

Her cart holds one marked-down loaf of generic white bread.

 

My thoughts wander to a neighbor.

Yesterday he asked my husband for a small loan.

This man performs chores for sub-adequate fees.

I want to contact him, give him a small job,

call the score even, then give him a tip.

 

I know the cashier. She rescued a baby squirrel after a predator

snapped off his mother’s head. I ask how he is.

Died on Monday, she answers. She continues to scan my purchases.

I tell her she did her best.

 

And we agree we can’t save the world

yet can’t stop trying.

I notice her silent tears but don’t mention them.

A neighbor’s phone number

is pegged on my home corkboard. Earlier, when I called

to offer him a gift, some loaves of bread,

more than what we needed,

his number had been disconnected. I nod.

We can’t stop trying.

 

originally published in For A Better World 2015

 

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If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

If peace were a bird, it would fly through heat or wind.

It would thrive in a nest open to storm.

 

If peace were a mountain,

it would stand patient,

constant, firm for centuries.

 

If peace were a tree, it would begin

as an acorn, unafraid of darkness,

then grow to house birds,

and reach for mountains.

 

Peace. It transcends

mountain borders,

and allows foreign bird species

to nest together.

 despite unseen possibilities.

 

originally published in For a Better World

 

 

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Our deepest wounds surround our greatest gifts. (Ken Page)

Enough

Enough, such a curious word

to ponder on a solstice day.

Enough light, dark, pain, success,

orchids, and weeds. Illness and health.

Does enough thrive on my dinner table

or include food for a child I will never meet?

Does enough stop at my ego or begin there?

Perhaps, this is not a question to answer.

But, a journey to live.

 

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The one thing I need to leave behind is good memories. (Michael Landon)

So many things clutter our attic. I find my wedding dress, yellowed with age, and remember a poem I wrote after my parents died:

LAST VISIT TO THE HOUSE I CALLED HOME

Dust encases the old homestead.

Encyclopedias from 1963,

boxes of unused pencils,

 

skeins of yarn with faded fifty-cent

mark-down stickers,

a broken clock.

 

Most of the saved items are gone,

Dumpster and shredder items wait.

Bags of cancelled checks

 

on Mom’s closed account.

She died years ago.

Dad’s will to maintain dissolved, too.

 

In the back yard his loss leaked

into the naked, open space

leaving it flat, withered.

 

Before the property grew sullen,

I planted seeds for annuals that sprouted into

a tiny-stemmed miniature garden.

 

They dwarfed next to tomato vines

Dad tied to hand-cut posts.

Sunlight coaxed

 

white blossoms into green and then red fruit.

Inside the house Mom made soups that

took all day to blend the chicken

 

with onions, carrots, celery

into a fragrance that filled every nook.

I try to recall an ancient, lingering scent

 

but it was taken for granted

too long ago. I find my wedding gown

in an eaves closet,

 

zipped in plastic.

I had changed my name and moved on.

The yellowed department-store receipt

 

remains attached to the wire hanger.

I wipe off the grime and carry what-was-me

into what-is-me now.

 

The door locks for the last time.

The sun leaves a sliver of itself

on a pink horizon,

 

a visible color beyond reach,

like memories, both dark and light,

locked inside things left behind.

 

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