Lies in abeyance as day
There was a time when
it seemed we didn’t age.
It was as if the clock was
constantly rewinding, or
perhaps time stood still.
A new hairdo; fresh makeup;
Megavitamins and the gym;
Stylish clothes on trim bodies–
All served to keep a body young.
But it’s the digital age, and
the numbers shout LED red
and click as the minutes pass,
a constant reminder that
time waits for no one.
I wish we could go back to yesteryear,
where people rose with the sun
without need of a musical alarm;
where day played out naturally
and shuttered to the descending curtain
of the setting sun. Then I could
swing like the pendulum
of the grandfather clock
that graced my grandmother’s mantle,
swaying ever so gently back and forth,
never pausing for sickness or glum;
never worrying about stray gray hairs;
never having to worry about
atomic clocks or losing track of time;
Just being content with the ebb and flow
of the life I’ve been given;
at peace with how I’ve kept time.
I prepared for winter as if a bear,
eating enough to store a little fat,
prepping my den with soft bedding
and surrounding myself with my
favorite things before thinking about
curling up like a ball of furry fluff.
Then the cold came, and I hunkered in
my corner, ready for hibernation to begin.
Well, eight hours later, I woke to the
pressing needs of primal functions,
cramps in muscles I didn’t know I had,
and hunger growling through my tummy.
How do they do it? The bears,
the reptiles; the bees and the bats?
How do they slow their muscles down,
close their minds to their surroundings
and let sleep overtake their bodies?
Do they eat until they get drowsy,
simply too tired to move?
Do their bodies naturally adapt
to the changing environment?
Or do they meditate into quietude,
re-awakened with the spring?
Its paint now faded red,
the back tires are as crooked
as the front wheel is bent;
yet, the tricycle frames itself
proud to support another brother.
As chunky little legs
pump the pedals round,
puffy little cheeks wiggle
from side to side across
the aged and battered seat.
I follow behind; but, as usual,
am outpaced in no time.
I see his smile as he turns,
and I’m caught in a time warp
of yesterdays and tomorrows.
Engage yourself with negativity,
and your heart will weigh heavy
with dissension in your life;
like the budding, wild rose
that struggles to survive among
the bindweed encircling it,
tendrils twisting ’round it until only
a spindle of its former self remains,
an unwelcome heaviness holding it.
Instead, live like the morning glory
who opens itself up each morning,
choosing its own path among the sunshine,
ringing vitality through the belled blossom
nestled among its heart-shaped leaves,
awakening positive spirits within us.
As darkness descends upon the earth,
join as it enfolds upon itself
in peace, its rapture restored
for another day.
I closed my eyes
to summon summer back,
when the sun warmed my bare skin
and the landscape lushed green,
But I shuddered as the
warmth of the crackling fireplace,
encircled my chilled body,
bringing loving memories of
family, hot cocoa in hand,
laughing as we looked out at
the lopsided snowman we
made only a few moments ago.
I take a deep breath in,
absorbing today’s wintry scene
of contrasted white snow and
the ever darkening sky,
knowing I don’t want to miss
living in the present moment,
where the cold reflects warmth
and time to slow down and enjoy it.
Pumby was with us
for a few years back then.
Our three-year-old daughter’s
imaginary best friend
graced our table, seated in the
“empty” chair at our tea parties.
At night, she lay under the bed,
keeping the monsters away.
They got along so well. Pumby
was a perfect friend and scapegoat,
accepting her role as the guilty one
when something went wrong.
We were told she moved to
New York City when
the girls were teens, but
Who else could have
let the mouse in,
or shoved the dirty socks
under the bed.
And who else would’ve
lit fireworks past midnight,
then wake me by turning
up the music at dawn?
Welcome home, Pumby,
and Happy New Year!
I looked into your eyes
and felt as if you knew me,
even though we’ve yet to meet.
Feeling rude, I quit staring,
but your eyes followed me,
causing me to look again.
Kindred spirits, by chance?
Or did you see my raw soul,
and know you could help?
I may never meet the eyes
from that photograph, but
I thank you for reaching me.
The dining table, covered with
Mama’s fanciest tablecloth,
seats 15 related bodies today,
nervous they’ll not be comfortable,
yet all excited to be together.
They don’t notice the fine china
brought down from the highest cupboard,
the special silverware from the felted box,
nor the crystal water glasses that sparkle.
The platters and dishes pass quickly
as people fill their plates with mounds of
homemade mashed potatoes, dressing, and
thick slices of slow-roasted turkey.
But as the gravy boat is passed, the
clatter seems to stall as focus is shifted
to the slow stream of gravy as it
flows down over the spout
of the crackled and faded gravy boat;
And in that moment, all thoughts of
the immediacy of today’s lives–
cellphones, iPads, and streaming videos,
are replaced with flashbacks of
Grandma with her starched apron
covering her best Sunday dress,
leaning over the steaming pan, stirring
until the gravy mixture was perfect;
And I find myself,
like Grandma and her gravy,
unable to let this holiday pass
a minute before its time.
To those who serve or
have served in the US military…
where weaponry is part of
the uniform, not an accessory;
tools of the trade, so to speak,
provided to proud recruits.
where to live in close quarters
isn’t a honeymoon but a few
bunks clustered together to
allow for sleep, if possible.
where, day in and day out,
wives, husbands, and children,
are thousands of miles away;
for months, family is a troop of soldiers.
where survival depends on the
combined skills of the team,
no one job more important than
the next, yet each critical to survival.
where pride comes from knowing
that you are serving your country;
and protecting the freedoms of
millions of citizens and future generations.
… I thank you wholeheartedly.
We met in the Spring
when you first unfurled with life,
But we’re drifting apart,
and it breaks my loving heart.
Bursting forth with song,
I wave as I stroll by;
Your yellowed hands wave back,
and I realize you’re not strong.
Your neighbor’s orange glow can’t
disguise what’s set to come,
For I know that fall’s approaching
and your earthly time’s ‘most done.
I’ll not forget the pleasures
you brought into my life,
Like cooling summer breezes
and filtering days’ harsh light.
In spite of Autumn’s changes,
I’ll continue to live and thrive;
Learning to cope with sadness
is a key to life’s delights.
Knock on any door in the World,
and you may find yourself in
The Atacama Desert of Chile
where ne’er a teardrop falls,
Or at Victoria Falls in Africa,
where cascades of tears gush.
You may meet a Tasmanian devil
dervishly clearing out the past
Or a three-toed sloth,
waiting for future to come.
Knock and enter many doors;
experience the worlds beyond,
For only then can you design
the world behind your door.
I followed two-forked tracks
As they skimmed o’er the snow,
And thought, oh what fun
they must have had last night.
I lost the trail
as I neared the house–
what could’ve happened
as I lay sound asleep?
Therein lies the most wondrous surprise,
For right before my very eyes,
As I looked up at the roof’s crusty freeze,
I saw it was broken by cloven hoofs.
Now, it’s said on a very special night,
a sleighful of goodies arrives by flight
filled with candy treats and bazillions of toys
for all the good little girls and boys…
Yet there’s only adults
at this particular house,
Why were they there?
Did I even care?
Days have now passed since
I found the trail, but I’m beginning to see
why he stopped by my way. He left
not a package, but the present he gave
was sharing the secret of spirit with me.
“Be present,” he said,
“enjoy every day,
include friends and family
along the way.”
I now smile with the spirit dwelling within,
I feel blessed he chose me to visit this year,
if anyone sees the tracks on my roof,
I’ll tell them the story of cloven hoofs.
As we close the Christmas season and greet
the new year, wishing all a Happy New Year.
Glowing lights on houses,
Brightly lit trees in windows,
Excited children fidgeting
As they await Santa’s return.
‘Tis the season for sharing
Warmth and good cheer,
May these peaceful times
Spread throughout the new year.
I look out at the dark,
Yet the sun’s still shining
on the other side of the world,
so I pretend I live in China
and put on a sunny smile
for I’m glad to be awake
to the wonders of the season,
when people forget animosity
and celebrate togetherness.
It’s Autumn when falling leaves
either saunter down or
circle with driving force.
Irrespective of their roots, or even
from whose yard they spent their summer,
they gather together.
Nearly indistinguishable from one another,
oak and ash wear charcoal coats of crunch,
lying among tarnished poplar leaves.
A multicolored leaf rests on top,
similar in size and shape, yet different,
the anomaly, standing out.
I finally understand why Mom always said,
“Don’t fall among the crowd;
Be confident; be yourself.”
A word search puzzle baffled me,
my letters just weren’t there,
Yet a different word solution
was waiting to be found.
I shouldn’t have been surprised
as it happens now and then;
But when I thought just how it worked,
I knew I had something there.
It’s like waiting at a crosswalk for
the light to turn green,
then discovering the walk light
had been flashing all along.
Look beyond the obvious,
turn your preconceptions around,
for answers are often found,
when we open our inside out.
I savored the colorful fallen leaves
and the deep, woodsy scent
of maple and oak as I tried to
shape their formation.
The harder I struggled against the winds,
the more the pile seemed to separate,
small clusters encircling my knees,
twirling with excitement as they rose to leave.
And I thought of children, young adults really,
leaving with the anxiousness of Autumn winds.
I know they both will return changed,
some choosing a brief visit,
others remaining among the familiar,
enriching the land and the lives
they touch as they settle in.
With the love of a mother,
I embrace the changes
and look forward to
once again sharing our worlds.
Flowers budding off the page,
curlicue swirls in margins,
words interspersed with scribbles,
drawings fit for the wall.
That’s what teachers collected,
but not with a smiling face,
for doodling was called inattention,
and as such, considered poor taste.
But research has since been conducted,
and as strange as it is to believe,
attention is often enhanced,
if we’re doodling while listening at length.
Now they’ve taken something intrinsic,
labeled it teachable art, produced
hundreds of books and videos
illustrating just how it should be.
But it’s like my tennis game,
learned entirely on my own;
when I took lessons from the masters,
I fell flat, not making the score.
If there’s a lesson to be learned here,
it’s to have faith in what you know,
and passionately doodle away
while listening to what you don’t know.
Why, if we distress our furniture to glamorize imperfections,
do we try to sculpt our bodies into perfection?
Why, if we distress photographs, mystifying the past–
do we resist getting older, avoiding future’s past?
Why do we distress paper crafts, emphasizing wrinkles,
but can’t do enough to smooth over our skin?
Why do we distress new jeans to look faded and worn,
then complain of fading hair color and aging skin?
But if a person is distressed, it’s not an outer appearance
that we can smooth over or sculpt or change,
It’s an unforeseen blemish, buried deep within,
yet it’s humanly possible to heal and resurface it.
For, unlike tangible objects, we choose what people see–
Let my inside be my outside, when others look at me.