I looked inside myself and saw a lot that wasn’t there.
It’s been a while since I wrote anything. This is for my friend Allan Orkins Jr., who took his flight September 12, 2015.
For you, my friend, I have to write this song.
You’ve left me, and I can not come along.
I’ve still got work to do, but as you know,
one day my book will close, I too will go.
We laughed and fought and cried a little too,
when we were young, the whole world was in view.
We knew a lot more then than we do now;
or thought we did, but we still learned, somehow.
You made your music, and I made mine,
in separate paths we toiled, did just fine,
you built your life while I built mine.
But someone gave us guidance all the time.
A little while ago, our stories crossed.
Once more we found that some things can’t be lost.
Your music will live on. I’ll try to sing
In my own way of what the truth can bring.
It’s your turn now to rest with saints of yore,
make music like you never could before,
and take your seat at that great banquet table.
I’ll get there too, my friend, when I am able.
Until then, you have carried to the skies
A piece of me; that should be no surprise.
And part of you will stick around awhile
as thoughts of you will bring again a smile
To those who loved you, for love never dies.
It’s a new day, a new year, leave the old behind…
Put your burden down and get heaven on your mind.
“Peace on earth” the angels sang, and Herod murdered many
The two year olds thus joined the choir. He said, “Despise not any
Of these little ones.” There’s much work left to do
To do God’s will on earth, so it looks like Heaven too.
“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.” Let it begin with me;
Every day this whole next year…. Lord, set the children free.
Quiet the mind, let the soul retract,
Don’t quit the show before the final act.
There is some help and comfort in the fact
That nothing dies without a seed intact.
No fire or ice can from that seed extract
The life concealed, in fashion so compact
That waits the day, the right time so exact
When life springs forth, fulfilling God’s contract.
The loss we mourn all winter long
Conceals the seed of summer’s song.
Dear Source of all our being, whom we know but have not seen,
Living in the vastness of the Universe beyond our reach,
Every attempt to name or describe you
falls short of who you are;
Yet we seek to name you all the same,
to bring your amazing way of ordering the Universe near to us.
In fact, we want what you want to become
the order of the day on our poor planet,
just as it is among the stars and beyond,
in the vastness that belongs to you.
For this, we know we need what you have shown you can provide:
food necessary for our life,
the things that sustain us in the here and now,
here and now, over and over again.
Too often we take more than we need, even from one another,
and do harm where you want to do good; we know we do this.
Release us, please, from the power and consequence
of these harmful actions of ours,
just as we release those who harm us
from the power and consequence of their harmful actions.
And while you are releasing us,
protect us from ourselves;
don’t lead us into places
where we are more likely to do harm or be harmed.
We know you can do all this,
because everything belongs to you:
every ability, in every place, is yours,
and everything you have made should recognize and celebrate you,
you whose name is beyond all names, forever.
Prophets foretold, and angels sang, and Mary embraced the truth:
There is no saving of a soul without the saving of the world.
Good news of great joy for all people
Cannot be confined to a church with a steeple.
The Word must be made flesh.
Where is your Body now?
Until the mountains and hills break forth,
my song remains a prayer.
waiting to learn if a friend will survive
for it to be time
If we know how to wait, not resigned to our fate, we can win while we wait, enjoying the game.
We can worry and fret, while we wait, but I bet if we do, we’ll be empty in old age.
It’s late, they said,
Time to go to bed
Oh, just go ahead
and get ready to be dead.
Here comes some energy
some sense of being free
Some sense of being me
Once blind, but now I see.
Today I seem to tend
Or lean toward a trend
Of adding friend to friend
In life that does not end.
I’m finding new release
New instances of peace
New hope that will increase
In a dance that does not cease.
The ones I’ve left behind
Now fill my heart and mind
As each new day I find
That even death is kind.
In this eternal now,
Not lost in why or how,
In worship do I bow,
In love repeat the vow.
It’s Monday morning as I write this. Less than a week ago, I talked with you. You were so full of plans, ideas, energy. The future was emerging. You seemed content, happy with the direction of your life. Not yet satisfied with yourself, that you would never be; always looking for how to grow, how to improve, to do better. It so happened that I contacted you that day, not for any particular reason but because both of our lives had been busy for a while, and we had been out of contact, and as you know I would never want to lose touch in any significant way. We talked about your travel plans, and how we might meet, for the second time only on the ground, some time in the next few months.
I think that was last Tuesday. On Wednesday you had a medical emergency, and on Friday, you died. I got that news late Friday evening.
A gift, a precious flower
Blossoms for a day, a year, an hour.
The beauty that the flower reveals
Is what Eternity conceals.
Once in a fortunate lifetime, the soul on pilgrimage
Finds a companion for the way.
Such were you, for me; though I knew you just a day.
My grief is not for you; you knew the joy
That centers on the Love that moves the world.
I mourn a future lost; in which your light
Would shine, as all your gifts would be unfurled
Like a proud flag, for all the world to see;
Alas, those gifts, now fragments left to me
Must wait for other hands to set them free.
And yet, although your absence gives me pain,
I feel your presence still; this is my gain.
I’m busy, I said; too much to do:
I have no time to spend with you.
Your need is great, I do not doubt
The basics you must live without.
But I am on the way, you see,
To meet with experts just like me,
Who’ll sit, and confer, and discuss
How folks like you need folks like us.
I sat down to write, too late one night, while all the household slept.
Something not right, for sleep took flight, the cobwebs were unswept
Within my brain, now numb from pain, no wise thoughts or profound
Inspire my mind; instead I find I cannot make a sound.
Still I must say, at end of day,
I have not yet quite lost my way.
I like my life; I like my wife; my children, home, and friends.
I seem to be respected, free; except so much depends
On being true to what I do; responding to the needs
That constantly appear to me; that sprout, like hardy weeds,
In every soil of work and toil, in sunshine or in rain,
I get the call in spring and fall, and winter is the same.
I’m tired now; I think I’ll rest. The weary sleep is still the best.
I’ll wake tomorrow feeling blessed; another day, another test.
Just testing the “image” post format on WordPress. You like my flower?
I wonder why such loveliness can fade within an hour.
I have a friend a world away, a friend I’ve known for just one day,
(If friends are counted, face to face, who share a single time and space.)
But counted in the depth of heart, this friend was mine before the start,
Before the race of life began, this friend and I were hand in hand.
We knew each other, so it seems, in realms of visions and of dreams,
And so one day, as if by chance, this friend and I began to dance.
We danced with words in cyberspace, our hearts expanding, learning grace;
We danced with thoughts of God and life; we danced through turmoil and through strife;
As earth revolved around the sun, we found our dance had just begun,
Until one day, we then were brought to see the friendship we had caught
For a few hours, in line of sight, we danced and talked into the night.
Then danced away, released our hands, as life took us to different lands.
But this we know: we’ll meet again, and dance once more, as friend to friend,
Though far away this friend might be, there’s none I can more clearly see
Within my heart, where time and space
Give way to friendship’s lasting grace.
I gave thanks, yesterday; for all I have acquired
I gave thanks for things I have desired.
I got up early to give thanks; dressed up to say
That all should celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
I made a list of things — no, wait, not all—
A thousand or ten thousand lines: too small!
I listed just a few things that I find
The call to “Give Thanks!” brings up to my mind.
My family, my health, my home, my friends;
My country and its wealth — it never ends,
This list of all the ways that I’ve been blessed;
But something was still missing, as I guessed:
I looked into the eyes of one who lost
A friend most dear, and never told the cost;
Another, not complaining of her ills,
Another, worried sick about the bills.
And yet one more, whose welcome is unsure,
Whom people fear when they feel insecure—
I asked, if thanks are focused all on me,
What thanks are there for these whom I now see?
What of the ones who live beneath a lie
While I give foolish thanks for pumpkin pie?
I close my eyes, not much more than a blink,
and am transported, without time to think:
Strange images appear unbidden, to my inner sight:
No need to wait for cozy bed or restful dark of night.
No matter if I’m reading, working, driving now it seems
Suddenly I’m dreaming, in the midst of complex themes;
Outlandish visions thus arise to overtake my view:
A momentary snatch, perhaps, of scenes from Dr. Who.
Or maybe of discussions held in earnest, urgent tones
With someone still alive for me, though earth contains their bones.
I might be on a planet far away, or Deep Space Nine.
But just for a few seconds, then I’m back, and doing fine.