Thursday, July 22, 2021

 

A Place From Which


Before I become

     complacently

          trivial

Idly stitching

     together

          memories

Basking in

     cleverly designed

          myths

Urge me awake

     from dreams to

          imperatives

Spurred by

     moral

          upsettings

Trembling on

     the edge

          of prayer

Help to get

     through the

          noise

A place to push

     off from in

          search for truth

And unite the two

     so oft divided

          justice and love

To find active

     peace in the

          eye of the storm



Tuesday, June 29, 2021

 

Critical Respect Theory


Racial scarring

     reminding of

          unhealed pain

Honest study of past

     damage leading

          into truth

Looking directly deep

     into masked

          pain light throbs

Opening routine allowing

     curiosity and

           novel excitement

Dancing with the stranger

     staying the course

          to make amends

Reclaiming the joy

     of moral

          health

Confident that critical love

     surging from

          caring depths

Subdues dissension

     honors community

          allows healing

And word went out

     throughout the land

          that God smiled



Saturday, June 19, 2021

 

Sorrow Unmasked

Enigmatic she came alone

     clear eyed with a

          promise of deep

Before the golden buzzer

     I knew she was

          better than OK

Multi-tasking cancers

     in the background

          gave her two per cent

Declining the odds

     she intoned her

           chance of joy

Don't wait til things

     are not hard

          to be happy

I held that nugget in

     in my mind pondered

          it in my soul

She echoed the poet's

     tome joy is sorrow

          unmasked

Looked deep deeper into

     pain and found

          sustaining joy

Can it be that blindness

     to joy has been my

          greatest pain

Restored I bookmarked

     the heart shared

          wisdom

And joined the chorus

     I'm OK, I'm OK

          I'm OK, I'm OK, I'm OK

Jane Marczewski sang on America's Got Talent. She was 30 years old, diagnosed with multiple cancers and given a 2% chance of survival. Her musical voice and the music of her spirit so mesmerized the judge's panel that Simon gave her the golden buzzer. Her lyrics included a repetition of "I'm OK, I'm OK" and she ended with the admonition, "You don't have to wait until things are not hard to decide to be happy."

We watched the episode on June 8th. It was reported that Jane Marczewski, also known as Nightbird, died on June 10.



Sunday, June 6, 2021

 

Memorial Days

During the war I

    carried an M-1

        a reluctant warrior

Honor today those whose

    love of country led

        into unwanted war

Antonio on his

    way to the front

        never came home

Respect for those whose

    patriotism precluded

        the call to arms

Conscientious Steve

    refused a gun to

        keep the peace

I replay gut wrenching

    choice 72* years

        and counting

The present valued

    by past heroism

        of the brave

Dishonored by unshackled

    jingoism and

        pernicious hate

Gratitude for those who

    protect and defend

        runs deep

Sorrow for all lives

    lost in conflict

        forever throbs

I cover my heart

    to honor all

        veterans of war

I cover my heart

    to honor all

        veterans of peace

Striving for an alchemy

    that turns the glamour

        or war into pervasive peace


*I joined the Alabama National Guard when I was 17. By the time we were activated for service in Korea I had begun my ongoing struggle to define a patriotism that leaves room for conscientious objection.

Taegu, Korea 1952


Sunday, April 11, 2021

 

Inosculate 


In the search

     for a

          higher ground

One never

     travels

          alone

The past

     a constant

          companion

"New occasions

     teach new

         duties"

Love provides

     a working

          guide

Justice

     validates the

         trek

Labor

     employs the

         tools

Faith-eating

     platitudes

         censured

Moral nausea

     eased with

          compassion

Probity refusing

     to appease

          moral decay

Unrelenting care

     for the weak and

         vulnerable

Recycle anger's

     energy to

          resist evil

Visions

     tempered by

          flexible hope

*from the hymn, Once to Every Man and Nation


Covered wagons on the way up to Cripple Creek.

We pulled our '64 Volkswagen truck over and asked if we could pose a picture. I can only imagine the life and work of those whose lives were served by the covered wagon. I do know that before I owned the truck, my Dad used it to haul storm damaged walnut trees into his high school workshop to teach woodworking. The scene is a reminder of the vision and energy of those who have gone on before. The challenge is to draw on that memory as we continue our search for higher ground.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

 

Together

Two old men each

     more humble

           than the other

Old friends

     meeting for

         the first time

Lived separate

     lives

          together

Making new memories

     by sharing

          old ones

Recycling old

     jokes to

          refill the now

Quietly hopeful

     to find

          redemption

Tagging the past

     to reimagine

          meaning

Quiet settles as

     humor cuts

          through regret

A current of

     love breaks all

          time barriers

Forever

     open for

          surprises

Two old men

     together when

          separated

Each with

     his own 

          chalk*

*They agreed that at some point each would take a trip to  an undisclosed location. The one who reached the location would make an "x" with his chalk and if the other one reached the location first, he would rub it out. Makes absolutely no sense, until it does.




Monday, March 15, 2021

 

To Prepare the Soul


Weary travelers

     felt the

          force of Zazen

Surrendered to

     the moment

          uneasily

Received time

     to calm the

          mind

Freshen the

     spirit ease

          the soul

Silenced to

     open a

          new way

Today's truth

     pulled through

          memory

Footnotes

     the

         negatives

Allows the Yes

     to open the

          possible

Empties the trash

     of misused

          dreams

Restarts the

     balance

          wheel


In 1969, Sixteen university students and other adults took a self-guided three week independent tour in Japan. We booked our own travel and made our own arrangements with friends we mostly met along the way. Our overnight stay in Eigengi Zen Buddhist Monastery on Lake Biwa where we were introduced to Zazen meditation, gave me a touchstone for my life today.

While I do not practice Zazen, I do find a refreshing power in those moments when I am able to be alone, still and quiet and to empty my mind. I almost always emerge more open to everyday signs of grace around me and to the presence of a loving God. It helps a lot, especially in these troubled times.



Call to meditation 

Eigenji Monastery (translated)

Cannot avoid death

Moments passing

Value this moment

Things change quickly