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. 

Drifting Along

Sunny summer days

Drift along

Taking my lazy ways

Across river deep and wide

Burst-of-color leaves

Silently fall

Calling my soul to grieve

For things unfinished

Speckled blue skies

Fill with migrating birds

Loudly, their cries

Call, inviting me along

\I yearn to travel

To see family far away

Concerns, worries unravel

Twisting around my fingers

Earth-bound am I

When winter approaches

Eager eyes look to the sky

Seeking freedom

Two souls

           

We fit together, you and I

Most times we see things, eye to eye.

For you, it’s sleeping on the right

Left is my choice always at night.

I listen carefully when you speak.

Good understanding, when at your peak

Moves us, as team, smoothly along

Seeking middle, where we belong.

When I smile, you always do, too.

And if I cry, you soon will coo.

For when one is sad, we can’t fly

No matter how hard we might try.

We love each other, that is true

For you love me, and I love you

.

Without you, I just couldn’t live.

So to you, my whole heart I give.

Tough Words

When your dream becomes a reality

you will believe, with some certainty

all your hard work was worth the effort

now earning you well-deserved comfort.

The sky is the limit, some will say

and encourage you to not delay

the constant climb for the cherished prize.

Only then will there be no surprise.

The path is rutted and deadly steep,

filled with boulders and crevices deep.

Yet each small step leads toward success.

You have to focus, with faithfulness.

Dreams are supposed to inspire us, true.

Failure and struggles will challenge you,

orchestrating real disharmony.

Though the reason is still unclear to me.

Your Reply, Please

If I knock on your door,

a total stranger,

and when you see my old-lady face,

will you offer me a cool drink

and a simple slice of bread?

Or

will you cringe in darkness,

terrified of what my visit

might mean to the safety of your family?

If, when going down a steep flight of stairs,

I trip before you and

tumble over and over until

I am a jumbled heap of bones,

will you stop and offer care

like the Good Samaritan?

Or

will you step over me as if I

do not exist and

continue your journey to the

Neverland of your office?

If I appear before you as a tiny child

with huge eyes, tears streaking my cheeks,

hands openly imploring,

will you turn away without first

digging in your pocket for that

handful of change that constantly rests

in the folds of the fabric?

Or

will you bend down on one knee,

look me in the eye and ask

what you can do to offer relief?

If I am ill and dying, a frail old woman

with nothing to offer but my stories,

will you stay a while and listen

without checking your watch every few minutes,

wondering when the ol’ windbag will

cease to breathe?

Or

will you come every day to be by my side,

offering consolation and comfort

until my dying day?

If God appeared attired in majestic robes

and called your name,

would you leap up with exultation

and shout, “Here I am, Lord.”

Or

would you run away in fear,

hiding your face from God’s tender eyes,

knowing all the sins you harbor inside

for ignoring your fellows when

they needed you most?

Now is the time for action.

Now is the time to open your eyes

and truly see what wondrous

opportunities God has given us

to help one another reach the golden path,

together,

arm in arm,

step by step,

as we strive toward the heavens,

to live forever basking

in the glory of God.

If I call your name,

Will you answer?