timeless

“Time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ into the future…” –Fly Like an Eagle, S. Miller Band5bEGgqB1dEWWJezujbgoN3x4W6Dmopgzhow6jzen9KCY9fYvGEBnC6hX3FZb4bSuuDyNP1RzXYDtmPGj6oFh16hZh6AX1RFU

time seems like an illusion
a construction to create boundaries
and definition to our existence
yet when I smell fresh-cut grass or
hear the song of the mourning dove
I’m hurled back through calendar dates and am
3 feet tall, peeling sugar dots off of a strip of paper
running through sprinklers in my back yard
oblivious to all the stresses of the world
over my life I’ve made connections that
exist out of the constraints of measurement
so that miles and years don’t limit
there are souls I’ve known that feel eternal
not bound by time but nourished by spirit
people who have died decades ago are still
as present to me as if I embraced them yesterday
love is not bound by time or measurement
when I see my friend ailing, aging, struggling I
embrace him and all the years we’ve loved and shared
all the grace, the moments, the a-has are right there
those ageless gifts of eternal connections bless us and
our spirits are as fresh as when our bodies were young
which is why I believe in heaven, whatever and however it
may be I don’t know
but I know that life is not constricted to these few years of
four-score and seven
that these earthly houses we inhabit are just a brief dwelling
we are timeless
we are like the stars
and love goes on

forever

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All This

PAGOcookForest

it was the earth that first led me
to adoration
walking in the Pennsylvania woods
balancing on rocks in streams
watching chipmunks
and squirrels at recess
expressing joy at just being
water dripping off leaves
after a rain
mist settling just above ground
the sound of cicadas at night
the pregnant silences
underscored by winds rustling the tops
of trees
branches swaying
as if conducting the score
I dipped my hands
in water so cold it numbed my fingertips
balanced on rocks slick with moss
gently held salamanders
poked their soft bellies
breathing in the incense of wood smoke
that sweetened the air
an owl hooted
frogs jumped
lightning bugs lit up the dark with staccato
and in the midst of this symphony of senses
i looked up
through the dancing leaves

this is when I first worshipped
when I first sang praises to the heavens
when I first uttered prayers of awe
and thanksgiving
to the creator of

All This.

Ode To A Tree

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arms reaching toward
infinite blue
leaves seem to sparkle
in the sun’s attention
the wind’s choreography

you give me
hope
when my soul
is too weary
to pray
my body depleted

I sit before you
as you worship
the heavens
dance in the light
against the stage-set
of cloudless blue

you emanate life
receiving and giving
a holy dance
of love and light

the squirrels
tickle your body
jumping, teasing
storing
delighted with
their natural gym

I breathe
I ease
and at the hint
of chill
in the breeze
I mourn your
pending loss

letting go
turning
preparing
for dying
hibernation

waiting

and even
in the waiting

there is hope

what i remember

caring-hands

is that first time when i was a kid
and all those grown-ups came in
the front door hugging
laughing, touching

i watched not even knowing
how i hungered to be included
until you broke away from the group
and asked me if i wanted a hug

i was singled out
noticed
brought out of my invisibility
i was sure no one had noticed

me

i shyly nodded
you reached down as I came up
your embrace lifted me
into a center, a moment

that clearly i never forgot

what i remember about you
is not the things you said
or the way you giggled like a girl
or danced in the living room

for no reason

what i remember about you
is not how beautiful you were
your eyes sparkling with laughter
your face shining with lightness

or how gorgeous you were
when you cried, how
tender, vulnerable, unmasked
so unusual

i loved you so much
it hurt
i seemed to blossom in
your light

what i remember about you
is not the holiday dinners
the sled rides at the mansion hill
or walks by the river

what i remember about you
is that you saw me
you touched me
you cared

that i was alive

sometimes

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“be careful little eyes, what you see…”–traditional children’s Sunday School song

I was five years old
when I had surgery to correct
my right eye’s tendency to
“wander off” by itself

when I woke up from surgery
I couldn’t open my eyes
they were “stuck” shut
or so I thought

in my five year-old perception
my eyelids would not open
and my parents took me home
with my eyes still closed

Mom used a warm washcloth
rubbing my eyelids
urging them to open
she fed me like a baby at the table

I remember believing it was real
that my eyelids were immovable
it was a couple of days
before the miraculous opening

maybe I knew instinctively
that it’s better at times
to keep your eyes closed
the world from that height is scary

I saw things
things people tried to hide
people don’t realize a child
is a whole perceptive person

I observed adults in all
their madness
their secrecy
their behind-closed-doors

when they didn’t think I could
see

sometimes I wish
my eyes wouldn’t open
sometimes I just

don’t want to see

pot pourri

(OctPoWriMo Prompt for October 8th:  Scent, smell)

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when I walked into the shop
full of retro toys and candy
cards and memorabilia
I was hit with the smell
of pot pourri
dried flowers
candles
I stopped in the doorway
as an old dusty pain
returned
like a war wound
as I was bathed
in the aroma
of old things
my eyes stung
and teared
while 36 years fell away
in a moment
as if time isn’t real at all
I heard you giggle
I could feel your thin
artist hands
take hold of my arm
inviting me out
of myself
to play
there was music
and singing
timelessness
in a place that was safe
your home a retreat
from the rest of the world
the rest of my life
my forehead tickled
as you moved
a lock of my hair
from my face
seemingly delighted
in what you saw
such simplicity
and love
oh my god
someone bumped
into me
and suddenly
you weren’t there

About the Tongue

(OctPoWriMo prompt for October 7th: Tongue, Tasting/Speaking)

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“No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison, with the tongue we praise our Lord and Father and with it we curse human beings who have been made in God’s likeness.”  –James 3:8-9 

such a powerful instrument
entrusted to fickle human beings
a weapon of mass destruction
or a vehicle of innumerable pleasures

it’s a hardy body part
we bite it
we hold it
and mama used to wash it with soap

as children we had no idea
what power of cruelty we held
in our tiny mouths
until the damage was done

when we were at a loss for words
to our enemies
we simply stuck it out
a kind of white flag, an innocent “up yours”

it seems a basic testimony to our nature
a small symbol of our possibilities
our capacity
for good or for evil

there doesn’t seem to be a balance

but it has given me such delight
the taste of sweetness
of sinful lactose-full varieties of goodness
cholesterol-loaded gifts for the senses

teenagers discover the power
it can ignite
and drive one wild
to unforeseen consequences

did God tease us to give us this gift?
is it a test of our capabilities of limits?
if so, too often we fail
to harness its power and hold it back

we hurt when we don’t mean to
we let it loose when we would have
thought better if
given another chance

be careful, children
large and small
with this powerful gift
in your communications center

bite it
hold it
clamp it
control it

but let it out
to experience the gifts
God has perhaps too generously
given

 

possibility

(OctPoWriMo Poetry Prompt October 6th:  Blue)

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many assume blue as the color
of sad
but I don’t get it
blue is the sky without clouds
it’s the color of my precious
daughter’s eyes
blue is the color of oceans teeming
with life
vast horizons extending to infinity
blue can be bright
mesmerizing
a beautiful bird
paintings that calm and soothe
blue is the sound of waves crashing
birds singing
my child laughing
or of music begun in darkness
but rising, reaching, lifting
like the dawn creeping over the distance
lifting up toward a brand new day
blue to me
is infinite softness
a baptism from sorrow to peace
a silent hug from a friend
it is the color
of possibility

opening doors by myself

(OctPoWriMo Prompt for October 5th:  Doorway)

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four years old
wrapped up like Ralphie
on a cold snowy night
waddling behind my parents
the host of the dwelling welcome them in
but held up a hand to me and my brothers
“kids use the backdoor,” he said
my legs weren’t as long as theirs so I
couldn’t keep up as they said a few words that
little girls shouldn’t hear normally
so when I got to the backdoor there was no one there
to let me in so
I waddled back to the front and looked in the window
my parents were taking off their coats in front of the fire
accepting a cup of tea from the hostess and laughing in that
polite laughing at nothing that grownups do in social situations
it was cold and I didn’t understand why no one noticed I wasn’t there
in the years since then, I am a little more aggressive about going through doors
where I am turned away at first or doors that close in my face or doors where someone
tells me I don’t belong for one reason or another and sometimes I’ve chosen to not enter
doorways where I know I’m not welcome or unconditionally accepted and I’ve lost the
ability to act the way “I’m supposed to” in order to walk over the threshold so
I’ve learned to close my own doors, not to people in need or want, but to people who don’t care about me or people different from them in the slightest
and I’ve closed doors to people who didn’t treat me as I want to be treated, or able to love me the way I need to be loved
I’ve tried to open doors to little children and old people and others who may not find many doors open to them and to experiences that are new and exciting and out of my comfort zone
and many years ago I had to close the door on the past, on the pain, on the people who told me I wasn’t worthy of their door if I didn’t behave correctly and at first, like a little girl out in the cold I felt the shame and embarrassment and the icy cold but after a while I pulled my boots on tighter, stood up straight, gave myself a hug and opened other doors, bigger doors and doors that led to rooms full of light and of love

Womb

(OctPoWriMo Poetry Prompt: Womb)

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I’ve come untethered
drifting, floating
like an astronaut
cut off from the ship

stumbling in the dark
every door I try is locked
every direction
seems to plunge me deeper

into the unwalled maze
nothing to grab onto
I lost the directions
or somebody stole them

I dream of swimming
surrounded by warm
nourishing waters
I can hear my own

heartbeat
echoing, pulsing
quickening
searching, reaching

I see you in my memory
laying so still
as if you were merely
sleeping

it’s like a rug pulled away
leaving me face down
a grown woman
rendered suddenly to

a lost child

disoriented
upended
blown by the wind
fluttering

then brilliant colors
gold and black
shimmering
blinking

someone once said
a caterpillar turns to
a formless, shapeless
sticky mass of goo

in the cocoon

and so I let go of
my frantic grasping
float weightless
in the unknown

and trust

the fertile darkness