Thursday, January 12, 2012

Winter Walk

Boots squishing through the snow,
Damp pine scent pressing in.
I slog through the powder
My too-big boots flopping
This way and that

Avoiding the headlights of cars,
Careful not to startle drivers
With a puffy-coated figure
On the side of the road.

On this dark, newly wintered night,
Protected from the wind
In the silent alcove of a hill
Tracing the seam of plateau and rise.

And like a cathedral, this architecture
With it's strange healing power
Remakes me.  A lightened outlook
Stirs in the soul.

And like this lightness,
Just as this mystery of liquid turned solid
I too turn and condense, coalesce
Into an intricately patterned geometry 
Made possible by the starkness of the winter cold
And its depth and length

And nature's precipitation
Of liquid to solid
May be happening in me
As I, renewed in this
Forced phase-change
By the pressure of the atmosphere
From a labile puddle
To a soft white drift
Of beauty, coating the landscape
Hiding the late autumn scars
Of lack and decay.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We, Residents.

We, Residents, We
We lives our lives in snatches

A stolen three minutes
In the front parking lot
With a husband, who is dropping off the car.

A quick picnic dinner with two
Young girls
Who miss their dad.
Working all night, at hospital.

We send silly, serious, sad, angry
To one another
And flirt with last Friday night's date
Between presentations
with our iPhones

Finding some way to slip off
For those bi-weekly treatment sessions
Hoping no one finds out that we,
We too, are Patients.

We get grumpy.
Sometimes grumpier than the patients,
And forget there is a sun.
Till we neglect our work for ten minutes
To see the "outside" world
The dying light against the trees.

So it goes on,
Till we're done
With these, the harried years
And, so they say, step on
To bigger, brighter things.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Love's Labors

All my life
And I could not stop
All my life passed by
And I could not stop, but loving you

Time, it seems
Abandoned me.
Or perhaps, in his wiles,
Left this indelible mark

So much as a name written across me
With each look in the mirror
I see you, or perhaps, my other.
And wonder who is this ebullient girl, this present woman
With her world so wonderfully constructed
Every detail bent to her every whim
Lacking in one essential thing- Love.
The greatest of "these"

This, Love, survived two marriages
Yours and mine,
And the birth of a child
And, as we were, two more who are lost.

This, Love, cast
like a tightly-woven net over my heart
When I thought I had taken myself back
Expecting to make the famous catch
Of self-expression.
Intending to be
A sheltering tower
A delicate bud into bloom
A greening summer field for pasture.

Instead, I am a brilliant flash
The fire-strewn sky I had always hoped for
But, after comes, no more light
Instead a pile of ash
A lazy, mocking dissipation
For in the end it is me here, Alone.
And you alone as well.

And found, standing here
Heart in hand
Only to find it is exactly, perfectly
One half.
The opposite of the fullness it never fully knew.
Instead, this dys-symmetry which I know more equally,
More than I will know myself
Seeing as I am, as it was, ever half-empty.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Beauty stretches itself over me.
A thin membrane
All of life quickens under it
The sun rays streaking through it,

Such a fullness of heart
I have not held for many nights now.
Full of restless dreams, 
The anxious mind
May find rest under
The wing of a thankful Spirit.

All of this, mine now
To have and to share
Joy and Gladness,
Following along on winged feet.

Border Line

Pain is
The line.
Pain is the tension.
Between life and death.

We take our blows, and our bows
In the space between.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wards and Words

A pooling of tears
A drip of blood,
Someone's pleural fluid on my shoe

A haze, a daze
Of faces gone by
In this tangled mess of days.

With their heart murmurs, abdominal wounds,
positive blood cultures, hypertensive medications,
referrals to nursing homes.

We feel the weight of their sicknesses
The strain on life and heart and brain
On muscle, sinew, bone.

And their families, lives, selves,
Somehow mingling with mine
In this incessant dash
Between computer key strokes
and constant nursing pages
ringing in my ears.

We are our bodies, in them we bear our sorrows.
We are defined by their suffering
And the responses of our souls
Coupled with the winding, winded scientific replies
We make, with whatever we can find to patch the holes.

One Day Wilderness

Do you remember, My Love
The woods in which we walked?
The paths leading to the door that opened
For your soul to wander free
with the deer, to turn/sprint away
At first hints of danger.

Do you remember, My Dear
the Rain that made your tears
Commonplace? That washed mud/sweat/blood
off, away to nourish some Wild tree.

Do you remember, My Soul, The River
That rose from its banks to find you?
To swallow all the parts of you
You had lost and had not yet found.

To allow you a jump into its depths,
A cold/dark/delighting beauty
giving way to breath, air, light.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Love is.

Is a soft thing
That creeps in quietly
On feathered feet

And suddenly
Is there at your most requiring moment
A tenderness, a stillness
Covers you.
Silent tears now sweet
Bitterness beaten back
With honeyed hands

A realization of trust
And content steals away
Your dark thoughts and night terrors
Blinds flung open
Walls painted brightly
To reflect the summer sun

You are warm and
Your thoughts are green
with promise. 
What you need
was planted deeply in
A well-watered bed
Of faith and trust
Now bearing a vital fruit

Born in
A pair of understanding eyes
watching you across the room
A pair of strong arms
At your side
Or around your side
When you start to crumble

You are held together
Resurrected of sorts
So in the morning
You put on your shoes
And leave your house
With a little of you left behind
In the gentle wrap of love.

New Ocean

Grief comes in waves
Like so many oceans
Swallowing you and spitting you back out
Forever a miserable Jonah,
Whitewashed skin but black inside.

Like sandpaper on wood
Or so much skin
wearing you away and thin
Till you have no face left to show
Until you begin to loose memory of who you were
And are replaced by the torrent and bleed of loss 

This terrific jungle
A brave new territory
You had never imagined in your worst
and had dreampt of antithesizing
In your wildest imaginings.

Left only with the buzz of a million insects,
The mosquitos of your soul
Feeding off the pool of what is left inside

Until your sorrow is
So perfectly complete
Every nerve fiber on end
Agitated, restless in your exhaustion
Waiting for night
And larger beasts.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thoughts on Grief (C.S. Lewis- A Grief Observed)

"I think I am beginning to understand why grief feels like suspense. It comes from the frustration of so many impulses that had become habitual. Thought after thought, feeling after feeling, action after action, had H. for their object. Now their target is gone. I keep on though habit fitting an arrow to the string, then I remember and have to lay the bow down. So many roads lead thought to H. I set out on one of them.  But now there's an impassable frontierpost across it.  So many roads once; now so many culs de sac.

How often- will it be for always? - how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, 'I never realized my loss till this moment'? The same leg is cut off time after time. The first plunge of the knife into the flesh is felt again and again."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fallow Field

Day, you are
You have spent yourself
With no prize in hand at sun's end.

Arms, they are
We drop silent exhausted bitterness
To the ground
Unnoticed by you
In your frenetic death knell.

We lay down
On thread-bare cots 
Holding a seed of Hope
For tomorrow, and tomorrow's morrow.

Praying the field birds
Will not swoop down,
Open-beaked, and carry it away.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

J. A. Essbaum- Would Land (excerpt)

And life is thirst,
at best. 

So do not strike me, Heart.
I am, too, tinder.

I'm flammable
as birch bark, even damp.

Ash Wednesday

Gray as Gray.
Black as Black.
Tattered as my soul,
An empty, a hollow rock

Deep, holy, true
Running clean.
My soul, swallowed up in yours

Sinful greedy eyes, in your sockets
"Bore our sorrow" they say
A sickness unto sin

Red as Red
Red as Blood
Coursing through your veins
Now, a fatal donation,
To give the scornful: life

Monday, March 7, 2011

Letter to a Friend

You are not forgotten by God.
I keep you in my prayers
You have been dog-eared for the Divine.
Salvation is returning to your page
That you might taste the Spirit
And recognize his face.
That you would meet me
On Jordan's peaceful shore
When these sorrows and this dimness
Have passed away.

Unexpected Guest

She finds Regret at her table,
An unexpected guest.
She realizes she let the word slip
On the street
He must have overheard
And invited himself for dinner.

Now he sits, undenied
With once and future kin.
Strange company
In a setting so intimate.


Our Wrinkles are the Remains
Of a thousand Days gone by
The wear of Handshakes
The days spent on
Beaches, highways
More exposed for our times with the moon
We bear our recollections with honor.


Pain perceived can persist only for so long
Then it stretches, bends, breaks.
Thus lacerated it wilts,
Flutters down
Numbness following in pain's place
Welcome release,
More lack than presence
And I feel no more.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


The paper is hard
The pen is cold
Trouble is
I'm never alive with you.

I would never love you if I had to
I only love you because
You are who and what I chose
And now you are all I have

Monday, February 28, 2011


A geometric plane
Hill, rock, tree, blade
Working on memory
It purveys me
Large, looming
I'm unaware
It's looking at me
Preying on me
Drawing me in
Distracting me
Keeping me from work
And pulling me to play

Inevitable Spring

It had been a long winter
Now it was breaking,
With the sounds of bird-song
And daffodil scent on the air
Melting piles of snow
Slowly reducing to grass and mud.
An inevitable feeling of spring
Is upon us.