Holiday Blues

         

What do you tell the children

who find no quarters under their

pillows – the missing gift of the

tooth fairy – when the proper

homage has been paid?

What do you tell the sad little girl

whose stocking is empty

Christmas morn – after leaving the

last cookie and a small cup of

milk – the thanks for the Santa

who never came?

What do you tell the young boy

who has no basket to leave on

the table – decorated with colorful

paper eggs and filled with shredded

newspaper – and all that’s inside are

a few stale jelly beans?

What do you tell the teenager

whose fifteenth birthday came and

went – with no party, no gifts, no

happy times – to mark the majestic

coming of age?

What do you tell the lonely ones

who never get a heart-shaped card

or candies – a sign of friendship and

love – who had only wished that just

one person would care?

What do you tell the little ones

who have no feast to cram into

their mouths – in honor of those who

survived – and so bite into stale

peanut butter sandwiches?

What do you tell all the unloved

children, young and old, who rise

day after day – wanting nothing more

than a gentle hug – and receive

harsh words instead?

For some children have everything

they could ever want while others

have nothing but emptiness – no

hope for more – the rejoicing washes

over, leaving not a drop of joy.

Let us cry for them

And then pick up our mantle

Of gentleness and offer whatever we can,

Whatever small bit of joy

Lurking in cabinets and pantries

Deliver it to a charity

Where we can witness the joy

That abounds in simple giving.

A Simple Request

            

Wishes wasted on what-nots and

Wing-dings wear away in time,

While fabulous fantasies of futures

filled with wondrous windows of

opportunities allow for nothing

but disappointments

Instead innocence insulates believers,

inspiring individuals to dream devilish

dances, daydreams of defiance, dramatic

challenges coursing through lives

unbroken, undefiled by demons of despair,

hearts healed and whole withstanding

weather-related attacks against

conformity.

Dream on, dreamers.  Dance with the stars,

sending sparks spiraling through the universe,

understandably lighting lustrous lives

leavened by luminous love,

spirited souls searching for something

of substance, something to shatter

defamations and destroy doubters.

Give me guidance, goodness, graciousness,

generosity that I may share my successes, spreading

goodwill and good cheer whenever my tired feet tread.

Help hinder the disbelievers, doubters, nay-sayers,

never noticing nothing that threatens to toss around

their firmly held convictions, no matter how mundane,

how mutinous.

  

Grant me the ability to appease, appreciate, applaud

those whose talents top mine, to see the dedication

and hard work woven into each wondrously crafted

creation, recognizing remarkable determination to succeed.

 Allow me to march with those who mark places,

who work with the angels, who weave satisfying stories

and craft perfect poems, earning the everlasting

satisfaction of success.

These things I ask.

Blessed Firelight

The fire crackles,

tongues of flame reaching

high into the night sky,

reaching to capture the

essence of the One who

feeds all flames.

Sparks whirl, grasping,

leaping for joy, celebrating

a temporary life lived in

fullness. Rejoicing, dancing,

sprinkling the darkness

with pinpoints of light.

Flickering flames bathe

the woods nearby, casting

eerie glows on low-reaching

fir trees; on fallen logs whose

souls have flown and rest

now in peace.

Horned owls hoot in syncopated

harmonies joined by a distant

pack of coyotes whose yips rise

and fall with unequaled grace.

A fir branch snaps, splitting the

song’s joyful tunes.

The night has a bite, a sharpness

that penetrates the inner core,

threatens to steal warmth,

warded off by a rising taper of

sparks, resurrecting feeble souls

who yearn for life.

Serenity beckons, calling the flames

to calm, to settle, to dwindle

until only a feeble light survives,

burning into perpetuity,

fueled by the eternal love

of One who feeds all flames.

      Buffalo Dreams

Visions of a long ago past

keep clouding my brain,

carrying me back in time

when herds of shaggy buffalo

roamed the verdant plains,

grazing peacefully on the lush

grasses and thinking of little

except taking the next bite.

Nomadic tribes followed the

mighty herds, giving praise

to their gods for the wonders

of sustenance freely given.

Every sinew, every shard of bone,

every inch of hide valuable gems

for improving the quality of life.

Brave warriors, dressed in hides

and lathered in specially-made

potions encircle the unmindful

beasts, seeking those best suited

for the entire tribe’s needs.

Never taking more than would be

consumed, never wasting gifts

for the sake of one small part,

and always thanking the beast’s soul,

for dying so that others may live.

Traditions broken by the arrival

of ungrateful hunters who willingly

destroyed the herds to line their small

pockets with precious gold coins,

in their wake leaving only the

footprints of times long past. 

Bearing the Weight

Growing up in a dysfunctional family

I didn’t want to marry.

Ever.

While my dad never hit my mom

That I saw

He dominated her.

Controlled where she went

The money she spent

The meals she cooked.

They screamed obscenities

At each other

Daily

The anger rubbed off on me

Both parents calling me vile names

I cried.

I swore that I would never be trapped

In a hate-filled relationship

With any man

Thinking about marriage

Weighed me down

Sinking into the floor

My shoulders ached at the thought

Of a man not letting me

Be me

I dated some.

Saw nothing of interest

Not even a spark

Until I transferred to a different office

And a blue-eyed man

Smiled.

He didn’t talk much,

But he showed patience

Helping me learn

When he asked me out

My stomach flipped

Could this be?

I yearned for his touch,

A sweet kiss

He didn’t disappoint.

My vision of the future

Changed to include his

Warmth

When he proposed, I rejoiced.

Before I would have run,

But not this time

Marriage is a weight,

But not always one of

Pain.

He taught me to bear love,

To cherish times together,

To rejoice.

Many years later

I gladly carry marriage

And will until death.

The burden is worth it.

Confidence

I had none.

No belief in myself

Due to years of belittling,

Ridiculing

Being told I was nothing.

Even when my Algebra teacher

Saw something in me.

He encouraged me to speak up,

Developing a quiet voice

That was not brash

Or bragging.

He also taught Calculus,

Math I found easy to master

As it called to in inner ability

To solve puzzles

I didn’t know I had.

I fell in love with Mr. K.

I faked broken fingers

So I could have extra time

In his classroom.

I stalked him,

Looking up similar names

In the phone book,

Then driving to those homes

Hoping to catch a glimpse.

When I realized how stupid

My love was,

I moved on to my next target,

The softball coach,

Who encouraged me to work harder.

When she saw my pathetic glove,

She drove me to her house.

Gave me one of hers.

She asked nothing of me,

But later I wondered.

When the counselor told me

I’d never succeed in college,

I was so angry that I swore

To prove her wrong.

I never told my parents.

For the first time I had conviction,

A motivation to prove doubters wrong.

With great determination

I tackled class after class,

Earning needed credits.

Each tiny success added a chip,

Assurance needed that I could do it.

My morale improved

Shredding all those negative comments

That had been glued to my psyche.

Confidence is a marvelous skill.

It allows for a sense of dignity,

A high morale that lifts chins

Brightens eyes and

Eliminates doubts.

It needs feeding.

Constant reassurance.

Praise and positive comments.

Every day, at times, every hour

Until it sinks in.

That you are worthy.

That you have dignity.

Tenacity and well-earned esteem.

And with that, you walk with poise.

Confidant.

A Huge Loss

                  

What do you do when your eyes dim

and gray clouds cover the world

and you live to read and write and

admire the photos of your grandchildren?

What do you do with your time when

it hurts to read and the words dance

in crazy swirls that hop across the page

and you have stacks of books to read?

What do you do when you feel like

crying about all the lost joys that

you most recently discovered, knowing

that, in time, they will fade away?

What do you do when you want to write

but the words drown in a sea of gray

sinking to the bottom of a speckled pit

and fall out of your mind like dandruff?

What do you do when the world you used

to see disappears behind a distorting mist

that threatens to take away your freedom,

your driver’s license, your mobility?

What do you do when hope seems to have

abandoned you in your time of need and

when you are too young to fall apart and

there seems to be only a steeper fall ahead?

You cry, weep, moan and seek the company

of family and friends who will listen and

understand how truly great the loss is

and offer sympathy without comment.

You get down on your knees and pray

to the Lord of all, to the God of mercy,

and ask Him to give you a few more good

years of loving the printed page.

You think of all the good years that have

come and gone, all the places seen and

friends loved and family times shared,

and rejoice in the Lord’s blessings bestowed.

A Dream of Peace

              

I dreamt that I traversed the sands of time

to a place mysterious and sublime.

Where gigantic trees with branches stout,

safely nestled all feathered friends about,

providing shelter from many foe,

yet allowing freedom to come and go.

Silky soft leaves whose gentle caress

becalms restless souls, soothes with fine finesse

young and old alike; no bias here

where all live in peace for many a year.

Through the sands a winding river ran

giving sustenance to both beast and man.

Surprisingly blue with not a trace

of sinister longings upon its face.

It speaks of a sweet love; it calls to me,

“Step right in,” it says, “ and I’ll set you free

from all that ails; as well sin and pain.

You have nothing to lose, but much to gain.”

With tremulous step I slowly crept

into her warm, comforting arms.  I slept.

Or thought I did, for there soon appeared

hosts of angels. I panicked, afeared

of my demise. But to my surprise

they lifted me on high with joyous cries.

The night did end. My dream soon left.

The suffering world found me quite bereft

and yearning for that heavenly place

whose welcoming arms did me quick embrace.

One thing alone I brought home with me:

knowledge that all men could soar high and free

seeking truth, wisdom, righteousness, and grace.

making earth a truly heavenly place.

The Gift

there are days when I

yearn for silence

no revving of motors or

screeching of tires

no planes lowering their

landing gear

as they begin their descent

no loud rap music

vibrating my windows with

its repetitive bass beats

no leaf-blower roar

or vacuum-cleaner whine

the vile swearing of the

teens next door

never greeting my ears

the phone, mercifully,

does not ring

I revel in this precious

moment

a gift of stolen time

as if the world stopped its

persistent revolution

simply for my enjoyment

when those seconds tick away,

and the silence suddenly ends,

I feel as if I witnessed

a miracle

a rebirth

Buffalo Dreams

     

Visions of a long ago past

keep clouding my brain,

carrying me back in time

when herds of shaggy buffalo

roamed the verdant plains,

grazing peacefully on the lush

grasses and thinking of little

except taking the next bite.

Nomadic tribes followed the

mighty herds, giving praise

to their gods for the wonders

of sustenance freely given.

Every sinew, every shard of bone,

every inch of hide valuable gems

for improving the quality of life.

Brave warriors, dressed in hides

and lathered in specially-made

potions encircle the unmindful

beasts, seeking those best suited

for the entire tribe’s needs

.

Never taking more than would be

consumed, never wasting gifts

for the sake of one small part,

and always thanking the beast’s soul,

for dying so that others may live.

Traditions broken by the arrival

of ungrateful hunters who willingly

destroyed the herds to line their small

pockets with precious gold coins,

in their wake leaving only the

footprints of times long past.