Sunday, December 06, 2009

I'm reposting some poems I wrote in 2003. I hope you enjoy.

At the Mall

Oh my word do I feel small
When I find me at the mall.
Humanity adorned in sweaters and coats
People cursing, shoving at each other's throats.

Often I find that this I do;
Find a bench and look anew
At each one with an eye of love
Trying hard my prejudices to rise above.

Over there looking frazzled I see
A woman that reminds me of Mayberry's Aunt Bee.
With her is a precious tiny baby
Not hers but a grandchild maybe.

In all the rush I see her place
A tiny angel kiss on that cherub's face.
She holds the child with loving care
I can't help myself, but stare.

Over there a sad, sad man
Looking desperate for a working plan.
Lost in the sea of busy faces,
I wonder if he's given up races.

Races for things that we take for granted
Unable to reap the seeds of friendship planted.
Across the space I send him a smile
Just to counteract the shopping bile.

Walking right in front of me
Is a happy family of three.
No packages yet can I see
But mirthful laughter full of glee.

I notice from just where I'm sitting
Their eyes often meet and they are knitting
A bond that will get them through
A life that often has a nasty hue.

Next to me two men sit.
With my big rump it's tight, tight fit!
Their colognes mix with a wonderful smell.
A story I hear the taller one begin to tell:

"My mother called a while ago.
She wondered if I yet know
Whether to the family Christmas I'll come.
Her question made me feel so numb."

"Christmas is for love not hate
And I'd rather spend it with my mate.
Since you are not wanted
We will face that day undaunted."

"My family is now me and you.
Since we've been together my heart grew
To see the world as a loving place
Not as a dark, forbidding space."

Now I spy a woman crippled.
Looks to me life has her burdens tripled.
With a back that bends her almost double
You'd think her world would be full of trouble.

But, in my mind's eye I'm made to know
That this woman has an easy way to go.
Her face beams with twinkling eyes and smile.
I wish she would stop and talk with me a while.

The people rushing to and fro
Not careful of the other's toe
They push and shove and curse and gripe.
If I'm not careful I'll think this is all tripe.

Humanity is not a waste!
But just like spices it's hard to taste
The flavor of each when they all whirl together.
So burst a down pillow and watch just one or two feathers.

Notice the way each moves this way and that
Not clumped together but following a path.
Sometimes they touch each other on the way.
Sometimes they bump each other in play.

If I stop and look closely
With a heart that is full of love mostly,
The mall can be a wonderful place
When I abandon the nasty rat race.

Each shopper has their own story.
Each story has it's own glory,
That I listen with my eyes to find.
Oh God, just don't let my heart be blind!

My Good Friend, John

John, you are so odd.
You prepared the way for the divine.
Yet who prepared your way?
Who made your road straight?
Looks like no one to me.
Odd clothes, odd diet!
Why, we could have you committed
And dosed with very effective drugs
Were you running around my neighborhood today.

Your look, your talk it is illogical
And radical
John the Baptist they call you,
Dunking people in the water and telling them to repent
Telling them to start anew.
How dare you preach against the gubment.
They will bug your camel and check your library card
If you continue saying these things.

So, tell me, John the Baptist
Did you and your cousin sit around
And talk of Divine stuff
When kids you both were?
Were you never little boys?
Did you always know how your lives
Would end tragically
Yet, have such deep meaning for those of us
Who seek to find our own connection with divinity?


Whirling round and round and round and round
Toward the morning of the tree and the gifts
Our heads are pounding and pounding and pounding
Trying to get everything done perfectly

We must pause for a moment somewhere this week
And think of that child being born inside our hearts
That child that knows no social discriminations
That child that connects us with the world

We must pause for a moment somewhere this week
And love ourselves like a little child loves his parents
Think of ourselves as our own hero
Think of ourselves as wonderful


soft joy

It snowed today and it was quiet.

I sat on the couch bundled in an old wool army blanket
And watched the flakes free-falling from above.

Outside the birds and the squirrels dug through the snow
To find their buried treasure of seed and corn.

Off in the distance a rabbit watched.
He will come tonight while I sleep and the others are gone.
I will see his tracks tomorrow.

I hugged myself and I cried because
It snowed today and it was quiet

what do you see?

i feel an unceasing urge to walk.
the days are short and dreary
the nights, long and cold and lonely.
i feel pulled to journey forward
to examine the unresolved and overwhelming grief,
to acknowledge it and love it and let it go.
that done i feel the urge to travel.
in the distance of my mind i see a star-laden night sky
crisp and cold, yet inviting,
an outbuilding of rough-hewn timbers,
and spaces as big as my hand,
that the cold, bitter winter winds rush through.
as i draw nearer i can see that this building is occupied
by a strong, concerned man with worker's hands
and a young woman barely of age, looking knowingly and lovingly
at a child, wrapped in rags and laid in straw.
in the distance of my mind i can almost hear joyful, lively music.
i see other grievers looking toward this harsh haven
with longing and hope in their tear-filled eyes.
i look again and see simplicity
and i wonder what it is we are all trying to see
in that place that protects the dumb beasts from the chill.

The Bestest Gift
Christmas 2003

The bestest gift isn't under the tree or even wrapped
and the bestest gift cannot even be seen
the bestest gift is the gift you give yourself
by recognizing that part of you
which strives to be holy in a seemingly unholy world
and by recognizing that part of you
which loves that part of someone else
who wants to be holy in a seemingly unholy world,
and that gift will teach you not to look at or for the evil in another
but will ask you to celebrate their spirit.

A Brisk Winter Walk
Christmas 2003

A brisk winter walk to clear the mind
Walking past houses with garish twinkling lights
And inflated snowmen and wire reindeers
And wreaths made from man-made materials

A brisk, winter walk to clear the mind
Looking up at the bright constellations
Seeing the footprints left by a rabbit
Brushing back the low-hanging branch

A brisk winter walk to clear the mind
Thinking about the light that shines in dark places
And about the sheep left by shepherds
Looking for the root of Jesse.


I wait
For the hope of a better world
To be reborn again this season

I wonder
If I quit waiting and just acted like it had
Would that rebirth begin to occur?

I could
Start by finding my own light
That might light the way for others.

I might
Be able to see the divine
In the weakest of creation.

I should
Name the injustices
Heaped on those who need.

I will
Be a part of the hope for a better world
That is reborn yet again this season.

Do Not Tiptoe
Do not tiptoe into Christmas day
Wake your soul!
Blow your horn
Slap your thigh
Eat too much
Love more than you think possible
Cry, if you need
Give gifts
Hold hands
Make funny faces
Mend a fence
Light candles
Tell stories
Tell knock-knock jokes
Who's there ?
Wayne Wayne who ?
Wayne in a manger... !

Who's there ?
Rudolph Rudolph who ?
Money is the Rudolph all evil !

Decorate cookies
Call an old friend
Look for peace
But whatever you do, let your soul LIVE!


In the living room is a pile of wrapping paper and ribbon and boxes
And a cat enjoying a very early Christmas.
The cat doesn't enjoy the money we spend, just the trappings.

It's a party, I tell you, not a national holiday
It's a birthday party to celebrate the child's birth.

Just as the cat throws the bits of ribbon and wrapping in the air,
Let us throw our stodgy, old lives up
And capture them, in a new way, before they hit the ground.
Let's pitch out the guilt and misery.

And instead Celebrate, Celebrate and dance to our own music.

Invite Santa, invite trees and meaningful presents if you wish.
Invite eggnog, spiral-cut hams, good friends and family if you wish.
Invite sappy music, sleigh rides, and blinking lights if you wish.
Invite that child within waiting to be born and sing.


from an infant this man grew
his love grew
his compassion grew
his wisdom grew

this man showed us our divine light

much brighter when we shine together

this man showed us how to shine our divine light
on the dark places
on the scarey places
on the lonely places
using our hands, our hearts, our minds

surely a star brightly did shine that night

on that infant who would show us our own divine light

Christmas Terror

Terror alert set to high
No kidding!
Christmas brings terror to many.
Don't need the gubment to point that out.

Unrealistic expectations fed by media
Strike terror into the hearts of many.
Families torn apart by grief and hard feelings
With fake smiles over a dinner.

People with no hope of another Christmas
Striving to pack it all into one day.
People who spend Christmas alone
Fighting off overwhelming feelings of isolation.

The divine birth did not come to strike terror
But to shine a bright light
That all could see
And gather us all together like chicks to a mother hen.