Saturday, April 25, 2015


Happiness isn't distraction
True happiness doesn't necessarily smile
It comes from a deep sense of place
And understanding

The mystical golden sunset
Sinks behind the charcoal trees
Under the dark cerulean clouds
Of an uncertain Spring

The little bird
Sings his same
Three notes
Outside my window

Soon I'll cut vegetables
And add to the soup
With coriander and turmeric
For company

If company
Is too strong a word
Then sustenance
Will do

I didn't see the art exhibit
Or the sand mandala today
But the sky etched into my consciousness

A man below
Sings the same
Three notes to
Entice the bird

I salute him silently
Without words
And he disappears
Into the elegant trees.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Birthday for Margaret

Even her freckles have freckles
That was a phrase someone said when I was young
I think of my mother
Whose skin is always happy
Like a summer day
Not overly freckled like a devoted sunbather
More like a sprinkling of fairy dust

She will smile and the world
Has to smile back
She seems to have enough love
To fill the room, the yard, the road, the town
And all for miles around
And then beyond that to the open fields
And to countries her feet have never touched

It’s the mark of an open heart
To frown at injustice
And just as quickly to apply the remedy
My mother has a remedy for every ill
She taught me home medicine before it was in style
She taught me tolerance and progressive thought
Before they were commonplaces in the land

She wears her age with ease
It seems her face just gets more beautiful
Her walk more steady
Her hands more sure
Her voice more lilting
All those experiences and memories
Don’t seem to crowd her at all

Maybe it’s her energy
Like lighting in the springtime
She can jump to a topic or activity
What would you like for dinner
Let me read you this article
Do you need a sweater
We should visit our old friend

People think ninety is a ripe age
But Mom hasn’t ripened yet
She’s like a magical tree
Still bearing fruit
That’s ever-young
And the twinkle in her eye
Is well-earned

She wears her beauty naturally
Like her hair never colored
Her eyes free of makeup
She never shows an ordinary vanity
Yet when she looks in the mirror I’m sure she sees
The Fairy Queen herself
Looking back.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Living with Pain

They call it a back
Because it's behind you
You can't see it
So when the pain starts
Your first response is to question
Who, what, where, when, why

And all you know for sure is,
It’s a feedback loop
To glance aside, focus on something else
To move ahead, haltingly even
To smile, laugh and have hope
The sublime holy task

Living with pain
The knowledge it’s there, but
The reason it’s there, not
The certainty it will be someday gone
Surely that should comfort
Go ahead, turn aside

Taking something can only prolong
The healing, yet
It’s nice to have new feedback
The shame of not being whole
Wanting to hide in your room
Needing to stoop when you walk

Does it stop?
You ask yourself rhetorical questions
Will you look back and remember this time
As truly special
As something you can only glimpse now
Whose meaning is fraught with portents?

There’s a bit of detachment
Looking down on the distant circus
From one’s vantage all consumed with
When to take another pill
Your mind never stops questioning
Even while you chuckle at the cosmic joke

Maybe all this happens for that very reason
You have to stop your super powers
All that brilliant flight
Find the smile inside the danger
Find the joy inside the suffering
Know you're hanging out in space
With a beating heart

Painting by Miles Ballew, used with permission