Saturday, July 20, 2019

Categories

I categorize my poems
An un-categorized species.
To submit them
I must name
The un-chaptered
Which ones go together
Which ones
Must hang out
By the side
Of the road
Wait to join the next
Convoy.



Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Someone else to share the naming

One thing at a time.
Emily left a closet
Filled with poems.
Someone else
Gave them titles.
It appeals.
One thing
At a time.
Someone else to share
The naming.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Collection

As I collect
Old poems
I think of new
Possibilities,
Wonder how they will
Measure up
Against
Each other.
It seems the comparison
Never stops.
Never.
Mine against yours
Yours against mine
Ad infinitum.
If or when publication
Occurs
Will it make things better
Or worse
Or simply
Different.

Friday, July 12, 2019

New windows

When the windows arrive
Will they let us see
Differently?
Will gray-blue siding
Give that needed face lift
So perspective
From the outside
Offers the world
A different house
On the street
So the neighbors
Who walk their dogs
Every morning
Every evening
Will say
Amazing
What a face lift can do?
Will the dogs howl
In appreciation?
Lift their legs
On our trees
So other dogs must stop
And smell.
Stop and look.





Thursday, July 11, 2019

No mellifluous song here

They complain
The birds
No mellifluous song
Here
On this side
Of the creek.
They complain
In the heat
Wait for the cool
When their song
Will grow more sweet
The birds.
They complain.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Choice does not require force

I get stuck
In either/or
When both/and is really
The name of the game.
Choice does not require
Force,
As in trying
To put the square peg
Into the round hole
But instead
Letting it find
The hole
That fits.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Don't forget



Don't forget
To write the new thing
As you meander
Through the old.
Something new
May appear first
And foremost.
Someone else
May pick it up
Before you see it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Someone's accomplishment

This time it was only broken ribs (from this month's CPR) and gallstones.

I am
Someone's accomplishment
I am told I died
And came back.
Of course I do not remember
The death
Nor
The immediate arrival home.
The ER doctor told me
Last night
My chart
Is a story.
It is good
I returned
I could show how I look
Un-surrounded
By ice packs.
I forget
All have a part to play
In my return,
In anyone's return
The accomplishment
Is all of ours
Most of all
God's.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Respirator

My first, hopefully ONLY, experience with a respirator.  

I know
Sometimes it's necessary
But with a tube
We can not speak
When our hands are tied
We can not write
The words stay hidden.
Unspoken.
Unwritten.
Still there.
Others may speak in.
We may not speak
Out.
I may need
To speak for years
To recover
From the three day episode
With the tube
Just enough sedative
To hear.
Not speak.
Not write.



Friday, May 17, 2019

Catharine

I will not apologize
For the spelling of my name
Even though
Auto-correct thinks
It must be wrong.
It is right.
Yes
There is an A
In the middle.
No
I do not appreciate
It being automatically shortened
To Cathy
Unless you first knew me
By the nickname.
Then it is OK.
Then my aunt with the same name
Was alive.
Now I have earned the right
To be Catharine
With an A
In the middle.
Someone must carry the name
Forward.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

How do we live

In memory of Jean Vanier, may he Rest in Peace, 

And
How do we live?
In sprinkles
Or holding each others feet
In warm water
To wash them tenderly
One at a time
So each knows herself
Loved.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Elevator speech

If Jesus
Had an elevator speech
What would it be?
He knew he didn't have a lot of time
To grab people's attention.
It's like this
He said
It's like this
Some people left with Him
On the twelfth floor
To hear more.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Priest



Inspired by the book Maid, written by Stephanie Land.

Priest.
A book
Comes to me.
I have stories.
Some I can tell
Some only
In false nose
And glasses
Some
Not even then..
They hide in the caverns
Of my heart.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Breakfast with the birds

The world is filled with breakfast companions

They eat
So little
Except
By body weight
So much
They make charming
Breakfast companions
I would gladly
Feed them
More.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The small of it

Loss has a ripple effect.

We lose an hour
Tonight
But that
Is a pittance
In the Likert Scale
Of loss.
It often comes
Lasts for days
Upon days
Months
Or years.
Loss comes draped in black.
It can also come
With shiny shoes
So we think
We're dressing up
For Cinderella's ball.
We lose an hour
Tonight
But that
Is the small of it.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Some days are meant to sing

For the cardinals

Some days are meant
To sing
Some
Not so much.
In spring the birds
Know the song
They forgot
All winter.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Each word

Lent is to remember

Each word
Is part of the whole.
In our beginning
Came
One
Single
Word
Yet
Here we are.
We think
We are the only word
There is,
No matter how plural
Our only
Is.
We were all spun off
From that one
Common source.
We forget.
Lent
Is to remember.
Easter
Is to celebrate
The wholeness.


Monday, March 4, 2019

Order

Appetizers come first, unless they don't

Alphabetical
Numerical
Order
Give us order
Of any kind
We will march to it.
For example
Dessert always
Comes last
Appetizers
Come first.
Unless of course
It's time
To change
It up.



Sunday, March 3, 2019

Magic mushrooms

Which side of the mushroom does today call for?

We live
On magic mushrooms
Some make us bigger
Some smaller
Some help us live
Exactly
Where we are.
Different days
Call
For different thoughts
Expand
Contract
Stay here
Exactly here.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Sincerity

Sincerity is not something to be taken for granted.

Sincere drivers
They mean
What they say:
Are you ok?
Oh look
I get to pick you up,
Take you home.
Sincere drivers
They mean
What they say.
I can tell.
My BS meter
Is always set
On high.
Morning
And evening
They are a gift.
Sincere drivers.


Friday, March 1, 2019

Dr. Seuss in translation

New ways to process the world order.

Huevos verdes con jamon
Don Ramon.
Translation requires
New thinking
New ways to process
The world order
Even
Maybe especially
In children's rhyme.
Even
Maybe especially
In Dr. Seuss.
Huevos verdes
Con jamon
Don Ramon.



Thursday, February 28, 2019

Like a whirlpool

For my friends, all of them.

Like a whirlpool
The Church as a whole
Roils
With new understandings
Caught up
With old understandings
Meanwhile
Two women
Walk down the aisle
In wedding dresses
Two men
Stand before
The minister
Make their promises
To one another.
I wish it weren't
So hard.
Like a whirlpool
The church
Roils
Around
And
Around
Once again.
Two women.
Two men.
The Church

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Reasons to return

Reasons to return

To school:
Your brain
Will not atrophy;
To reading:
New ideas
Will dance
In your head;
To napping:
Rest cures
A lot
Of ills
You have never named
Before,
As long as
You don't sleep
Your life
Away;
To spending time
With animals,
Any animals,
They are so much
More simple
Than we are,
Simplicity
Ranks high
In the order
Of things.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The rest is yet to come

Sometimes we get trapped into thinking what will come next.

And now
This morning
Now
Is all
There ever is
Ever.
Our childhood is
What it was.
Our future
Remains
To be seen,
Known,
Purchased.
Our loved ones
Continue
Loved
Thank God.
Here we are
Now.
What remains
To be lived
A yellow brick road
Long, winding
Before us
Scarecrows
Tin men
Witches
Along the way
Still
For now
Here we are,
This morning
Let's not
Get ahead
Of ourselves.
The rest is yet
To come.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The white room

Every other Friday Danuta helps me with the white room. The other Fridays, she cleans the house.

I hired someone
To help me tackle
The space
We lovingly call
The white room
White carpet
White walls
The door has been shut
For years
Except when we
Store a box there
Today we did
Two more boxes
Two more boxes
To go
And then come
The books
Not an easy feat
For a book person.







=

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Gracious?

So often we think of ourselves as gracious or momentarily grumpy. 

Gracious
Versus ungracious
or simply
Momentarily grumpy.
We all
Have things to learn
Often one state
Comes more easily.
Sometimes
It's the time
We are found
As we walk in
Or out
The door.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

My idol

I grew up with Mr. Rogers and his closet full of sweaters.

I take my sweater
Gray
Out of the closet
Pull on my boots
Brown
Go prepared to meet
The world,
Go prepared
To invite the world
In,
It's a wonderful day
In the neighborhood
A beautiful day
In the neighborhood
Will you be
My neighbor?
Won't you be
My neighbor?
Will you?
Won't you?
Today my sweater
Is gray
Tomorrow
It may be
Red.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Heart stone

Therapy, a beginning, though we began long ago

I must remember
The red iron ore heart stone
On the glass table.

The fountain flowing
In the background of the space
Sun through the windows

I locate myself
Green plaid chair, red soft pillows
At my back, my lap.

He locates himself
Pillow at his back, black chair,
Waits for me to talk.











New trope

For the friend who gave me this gift today.

When we come out
And
Into our own,
Life is fuller
There,
For us
And for those around.
It is tempting
To believe
The trope
We have finally
Figured it out
Still
There is no real figuring
Until we come out
And
Into our own.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Haiku walk

Taking small bites.

Find a location
Which commands
Your attention.
It may be large.
It may be small.
Write one haiku
After another,
Maybe twenty,
Maybe thirty.
Most places hold
More
Than one.
Come home.
Read them.
One may capture
Your experience
More than another.
Save them all.
Read them again
Tomorrow.
Save another.

Take another walk

Next week.

Repeat

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Parking space

For Gretchen

When you offer
The parking space
You have just left
We are grateful.
Oh
So grateful.
It's the small things
That swell
Into
Larger things.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Snow tracks

I love the fox tracks in a line. How do they do that?

Bunny
Squirrel
Fox
I add my walker wheels
To them.
We join
Together
In the snow,
Tracks
Left behind.






Saturday, February 9, 2019

Winter brown

We never know

Winter brown still cold
Snow gone but may come again
Maybe ice or not.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Think smaller

I knotted a net which was way too big.

The net I knotted
Would catch
Too many fish,
The wrong kind
Of fish.
I start over again
With a smaller net
Smaller knots.
Think smaller,
More specific.
This is what I have
A consultant for.
Throw the net
Off the other side
Of the boat.
She says.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A goodly heritage

As I think about my great grandfather, Thomas Sadler Roberts, part of my "goodly heritage," I remember others in my line who are part of the heritage I own. 

A goodly heritage
Is not enough
Unless
We add to it.
Unless we add
Our crumb
Fed to the birds
Around us
Seed
In the feeder.
A goodly heritage
Is not always
Children
Though we might
Name them so.
That is up to them.
A goodly heritage
Is meant to pass
As it might.
Words are mine.
A goodly heritage.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

No mud, no lotus

Thank you, Donovan Ackley, III, for this Buddhist quotation. Entirely new to me. A gift.

I discover new things
Every day
Or they
Discover me.
No mud
No lotus
How right
Is this.
First come
The boots coated
In mud
Tramped through
The house
Then the lotus blooms
When I open
My eyes
No mud
No lotus.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Melt

Just as the weather has its way, so does water.

Watching the snow
Begin its melt
This will not be
The last time.
These things
Come and go
Go and come.
Water
In so many forms
We can only watch.
We are not
In charge.
Water
Has its ways.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Pfft

Our fears will catch us if we let them. Pfft

What if
I market myself
And no one
Buys?
What if
The world says
Pfft
If that is
In the world's
Vocabulary?
Which world
Is my market
Anyhow?
What if I need
To sell
Something else
To a completely
Different world?
There's no telling
All the markets
Out there.
My brain may not
Be thinking
Big enough
Or perhaps
Small enough.
Pfft I say
Pfft.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

IBM Selectric

Another day I thought I would write something completely different.

We are continually
Examined
Up one side
Down another.
I sit and write
On the computer,
Remember I took
Ordination exams
On the IBM Selectric
A top of the line
Instrument.
Top of the line
Changes daily.
Most people these days
Do not even understand
The expression
Top of the line
And
IBM Selectric
Even less.
They are in handbooks
Of archaic machines
Archaic expressions.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

One at a time

Grateful for a faucet that can drip. Warming buses. One person warmed, at a time. It matters to this one.

The faucet drips.
We will make it through
This cold snap.
Warming buses
Drive the streets
Of Chicago.
They find the people
Left behind
Always
Left behind.
Always
Always
Left behind.
It matters
To this one
It matters
To at least
This one.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Mouse breath

Red tennis shoes.

I think of
Kliban's cats
In red tennis shoes
Love to eat them mousies
They are cute
Those mice
Even when they have
No footwear
They are proud
Those cats
When they have
Something to show
For their efforts.


Monday, January 28, 2019

Haven

Can we keep them, Mom, can we keep them??

Our home
Is a haven
For mice
Until spring comes.
Spring will not arrive
For a couple months yet.
Meanwhile
Our home
Is a haven.
The turtle tank,
Empty of turtle,
Still sits
In the playroom.
It awaits
New purpose.
Soon
It will be
A mouse house.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

No quitters

We can wait forever

She stalks the mouse
Now under the dresser.
She knows it will emerge
Soon
Until then
She waits.
No quitter
She.
Meanwhile
I wait
Downstairs.
No quitter
I.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Wrestling

With thanks to Dylan Thomas.

Do not go lightly
Into the night
When you are meant
To throw it down
On the mat
Wrestle it
Like Jacob wrestled
That angel
At the Jabbok.
Got his blessing.
Praise God
For blessings
However
They come
Whatever mark
They leave
Wherever
We may go.



Thursday, January 24, 2019

I will be able to leave

Because I can not shovel snow does not mean I am home bound. 

Today
I will be able
To leave.
I hired some people
Who sought
To be hired
To clear the snow.
Today
I will be able
To move
Out the front door,
Be driven
To work.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Ode to blue chair

Here's to you, Callie Swanlund...for asking the question.

Where would I create
Without you?
Popcorn kernels
Coffee stains
The week's favorite puppet
The occasional cat
And all.
My soft blue blanket
When a chill
Overtakes me
Or when comfort
Is needed.
Oh Blue Chair
I have pictures
Of your childhood
On the wall.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Two penguins + baby makes three

And who cares? Couples have raised children all over the world.

They made the headlines
Named gay
Because they are males
Raising a baby
Together
How can we tell
Homosexual orientation
In penguins?



Saturday, January 19, 2019

It will never be soon enough

It's dark.

It's midwinter
I already wait
For the daylight
To be saved
It will come back
Tomorrow
It will never be
Soon enough.
I wait
It seems I always
Wait
Like the child
In that proverbial
Back seat.
Are we there yet?
How about now?
What about now?

Friday, January 18, 2019

Emergency kits

It's more than 911

It's more than 911
It also ABC
Bleeding
Breathing
Poisoning
The Heimlich Maneuver
When steak gets stuck
It's also
Nalaxone
CPR
So many ways
To save
Our neighbor
So
So
So many ways
Yes
Call 911
Too.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Couplets

Sherman Hershfield stroke poetry...from Atlantic Monthly.

He spoke
In rhyming couplets
The brain
Does amazing things
Offers ways
To relate
To others
In rap
Or couplets
Even drive
Somewhere
And arrive
Unscathed
While the brain
Speaks
Out loud
In rap.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Company

All of us need company

We sit with those
Who live
And die
And in-between.
We stand with those
Who likewise
Figure which one
They will claim.
All of us
Are somewhere
In-between.
All of us
Need company.

Perspective

And this one may never be posted...anywhere.

What I see as gift
Another may see
As a scum-sucking creature
Who lives
Off the beauty
In the world.
So much beauty
To be shared
In so many
Different ways.
No need
For name-calling
Ever.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Consider the lilies

Jesus said Consider the lilies, they neither toil nor spin..."

Consider the lilies
Some grow
In gardens
Yet unseen.
Consider the lilies
Some have roots
That grow
Down deep.
Consider the lilies
That's all
Consider them.
They have
So much to offer
Yet
In our haste
To consider
Larger things
We miss them
Entirely.
Consider them
Just
Consider them
They often grow
By the side
Of the road.
Some
May call them
Weeds.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Even the full moon is not full

Our imaginations can limit us.

Even the full moon
Is not full.
There is always
A dark side,
A half we never see.
The Chinese have sent
A vessel
To explore
The oceans
On the dark side
Of the moon.
Is there a Sea of Tranquility
There?
What will they find?
We imagine
The dark side
Will look exactly
Like the side we see
On a full moon
Night.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

National Bird Day

I'm not sure I want to know

In honor
Of National Bird Day
We see what
We can see.
A this
And a that
Soaring turkey vultures
A flash of red
Cranes overhead
We thought
They had
Moved on.
Where did you hide?
You should be
In New Mexico
In Texas
Perhaps even Mexico
By now
Oh no
Winter
Has yet
To arrive.
Where is it
Hiding?


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Links

A new land.

I may never speak
Computerese
But some do.
I am hired
To do
Other things.
Now I wait
To be approved
By ten links
And then there's Google.
Another thing
Entirely.
I have entered
A different land
I may meet
Strange beasts
And have
Unique
Adventures.
Come with me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

In the name

Yesterday was not just New Year's Day but also Holy Name Day. Today we remember The Slaughter of the Holy Innocents.

In the Name
Of all that's Holy
Of everything
Holy
Can we please
Circle everyone
With halos
Of light
With rings
Of safety.
In That Name
Can we please
Hold off
The slaughter
Of the innocents
Which is everyone.