Category Archives: Poetry

Sometimes…. (for X)

Sometimes a person strolls into your dreams,
Like an old lover or a long lost friend.
They linger at the edge, not going to extremes,
Recalling things you thought had found their end.

You wonder if it’s someone you have known
A lifetime long ago, when things were plain,
You have to smile at what you cannot own,
A dream, a hope, a memory: all the same.

The dreams we have are sometimes more than real,
They linger, giving comfort when we wake.
These are not ghosts, that give us grace to feel,
They are life’s gifts, we never need forsake.

The gifts that life returns to you sometimes
Inspire new thought, new beauty: Life that rhymes.

.

Lost, again

How did I get here? Said the little sheep
I should be with the flock, asleep.
Something caught my eye, I got distracted…
I can’t really explain the way I acted.

It’s dark out here. This unplanned excursion
Has uncertain end. It’s a reversion
To youthful wanderings with wild neighbors.
Can green pastures be ahead, after such labors?

I hear a voice. Is that the shepherd calling?
Can he still catch me? Has he seen me falling?
I need a bath. I’m hungry and I’m tired.
Is this the journey that my soul desired?

I can’t rescue myself. I need a friend
To lead me to a safer, better end.

Godot never had it so good

I spend a lot of my time

waiting.

It seems like I’m doing

something for somebody,

they want to go here

or go there,

and then they need

to go back home.

And I acquiesce. Why do I do this?

Well, it’s ministry.

People without cars

need to get places.

And, I’m “retired”,

so I have (supposedly) “free time“.

So I think about Godot.

He’s the invisible guy,

the one we never meet.

He’s the one the actual people

wait for,

the people who have, maybe,

lives of their own,

but we never see them

live their lives,

because they’re waiting

for Godot.

Godot is the most

important

character in the play.

We never hear from him.

We never meet him.

But we all wait for him,

all together,

until the curtain closes.

Joy

The joy is there

…..waiting

There was a time I found it

bits and pieces at a time

a smile passing by

a violet or clover in the grass

that no one saw but me

a melody somehow oddly familiar

it had no name then.

it was He

and when we two became fast friends

He promised me— no,

He gave me

the joy

it’s easy to forget.

Somewhere

November 5, 1979

Somewhere out there

God waits watches

Acts

for me

Somewhere in Here

his spirit meets mine

Responds waits watches

acts

Moves

I move

He moves

I we

he moves me

I move alone

and more alone

projecting far into uncharted space

and he moves silently

alone entwined with me

eternally preceding

now discovering

with me new uncharted

eternal fresh beginning

ancient newborn action

rest

with God I

truth

invade the darkness.

Concerning a notion I developed back in ‘70

11-5-79

How does one strange spirit

submerged inside the huge machine

that carries life on earth and gives it form

discover somewhere through the distances

the vast span of inches across a table

the trillions of particles away

that hold the form of another

cumbersome huge unique machine –

how i say does one strange spirit know

that the universe contains somewhere another vital glow

that fights its way among the chemical electrical responses

for control of its machine

across the span of millions

a whole table wide

a spirit in control of vast resources

Alive

Expressing in that cumbersome machine

and all its movement

the actions emanations will desire comfort

of a real a living creature

Seeking another in this God’s world so wide?

Why o God

(From the archive— circa 1980)

Why o God

Since I found You

Why o God

aren’t the colors as bright

for John as for Sandy

why are skies more grey

For April than for Andy?

And why can I

who was blind

see glimpses of Your glory

But cannot show

More than a shifting glimmer

nor tell

but halting words

of your great story

to those I know

Who seeing much

can catalogue the shifting hues

the darker shades of grey

and yet though all around them

glows the light of life

as bright as day

they do not see

I cannot see

why they cannot see

—————————–

Through a glass darkly

smeared with mud and sand

the fingerprints of countless sins of man

the lens, scratched deeply

almost cracked.

the view impaired by clouds and rain

almost no light

vision obscured by the pain…

Through a glass darkly

perhaps i saw Him

looking more closely

I know He reached for me.

His image, planted on my mind,

Remains: and Listening past all the noise, I find

His voice:

still, not often clear.

Darkly though I see him, still He’s near.

Behind all things, …. I need not fear.

Hmmmmm … djever wonder why?

You don’t call a building a built, even though it’s already constructed,

And you don’t call a meeting a met, even after it has been conducted.

For Paul (a birthday poem)

The mixed emotions of birthdays
Wishing my friend well
Sending condolences also;
Life is like that;
A dance on earth between heaven and hell.

We’ve had some times and will have more
Though sometimes we dance with limping
We’ve spun our myths, chewed through the core,
Laughed ourselves weak from thinking.

Today? Enjoy, my lifelong friend
May all these moments cheer you.
we’ve not yet reached this story’s end;
Someone still needs to hear you.

What is truth?

The first truth is 
I don’t know what is true. 

The beginning of the journey is 
I am lost. 

Light breaks in when 
I see how dark it is here.  

The Old Woman And The Pig

Posting this story here at the request of my son, who has never seen it written quite the way I tell it. See note at the end.   

There was once an old woman who was sweeping her house and she found a silver coin. She took the coin with her to the market and bought a pig. When driving the pig home as she went across a field they came upon a stile. And the piggy wouldn’t go over the stile. Not wanting to get home too late the old woman considered what to do. Well, she went a little farther and she met a dog. And she said, “Dog, dog, bite pig. Piggy won’t go over the stile, and I shan’t get home tonight. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

 But the dog wouldn’t.

So she went a little farther and she met a stick. And she said, “Stick, stick, beat dog. Dog won’t bite pig. Piggy won’t go over the stile, and I shan’t get home tonight. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

But the stick wouldn’t. 

So she went a little farther and she met a fire. And she said, “Fire, fire, burn stick; stick won’t beat dog, dog won’t bite pig. Piggy won’t go over the stile, and I shan’t get home tonight. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.”

But the fire wouldn’t. 

So she went a little farther and she met some water. And she said, “Water, water, quench fire. Fire won’t burn stick, stick won’t beat dog, dog won’t bite pig. Piggy won’t go over the stile, and I shan’t get home tonight. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.”

 But the water wouldn’t. 

So she went a little farther and she met an ox. And she said, “Ox, ox, drink water. Water won’t quench fire, fire won’t burn stick, stick won’t beat dog, dog won’t bite pig. Piggy won’t go over the stile, and I shan’t get home tonight. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

But the ox wouldn’t. 

So she went a little farther and she met a butcher. And she said, “Butcher, butcher, kill ox. Ox won’t drink water, water won’t quench fire, fire won’t burn stick, stick won’t beat dog, dog won’t bite pig. Piggy won’t go over the stile, and I shan’t get home tonight. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

But the butcher wouldn’t. 

So she went a little farther and she met a rope. And she said, “Rope, rope, hang butcher. Butcher won’t kill ox, ox won’t drink water, water won’t quench fire, fire won’t burn stick, stick won’t beat dog, dog won’t bite pig. Piggy won’t go over the stile, and I shan’t get home tonight. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

But the rope wouldn’t. 

So she went a little farther and she met a rat. And she said, “Rat, rat, gnaw rope. Rope won’t hang butcher, butcher won’t kill ox, ox won’t drink water, water won’t quench fire, fire won’t burn stick, stick won’t beat dog, dog won’t bite pig. Piggy won’t go over the stile, and I shan’t get home tonight. 

See by the moonlight,

 long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

But the rat wouldn’t. 

So she went a little farther and she met a cat. And she said, Cat, cat, kill rat. Rat won’t gnaw rope, rope won’t hang butcher, butcher won’t kill ox, ox won’t drink water, water won’t quench fire, fire won’t burn stick, stick won’t beat dog, dog won’t bite pig. Piggy won’t go over the stile, and I shan’t get home tonight. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

But the cat said, “Do you see that cow in the field yonder? If you will go to that cow and fetch me a saucer of milk, I will do what you ask.” 

So the old woman went to the cow and said, “dear cow, may I have just a saucer of milk, to bring to the cat? For if not, cat won’t kill rat, rat won’t gnaw rope, rope won’t hang butcher, butcher won’t kill ox, ox won’t drink water, water won’t quench fire, fire won’t burn stick, stick won’t beat dog, dog won’t bite pig. Piggy won’t go over the stile, and I shan’t get home tonight. 

See by the moonlight, 

long past midnight, 

time pig and I were home in bed 

an hour and a half ago.” 

But the cow said, “do you see that haystack just over yonder? If you will take the pitchfork and fetch me a forkful of hay, I will do as you ask.” 

So the old woman took the pitchfork and went to the haystack, and asked no questions but fetched up a forkful of hay and brought it back to the cow. The cow munched up the hay, taking her time, and then allowed the woman a saucer full of milk. The woman took the saucer to the cat, who lapped up the milk, 

And then 

The cat began to kill the rat,

The rat began to gnaw the rope,

The rope began to hang the butcher,

The butcher began to kill the ox, 

the ox began to drink the water, 

The water began to quench the fire, 

The fire began to burn the stick, 

The stick began to beat the dog, 

The dog began to bite the pig,

The little piggy in a fright jumped over the stile, 

And the old woman got home that night. 

This story is how I learned it from two sources. One was a book that was in our house, part of a series called My Book House, which contained a good collection of delightful tales. The other source was my mother, who taught me the old woman’s rhyme as she had learned it from her grandmother. So that part of the tale brings back by genuine oral tradition a form of the story from some time in the 19th century, as Im sure Mom told me her grandmother had also learned it in her own childhood. 

Another Place, Another Time, Another face, Another Rhyme

I left my space
for Another place
sought to embrace
friends face to face
who share the grace
of the human race.

Another time
through skies I climb
To foreign clime
Still in my prime.
Another face
To take the place
with silk and lace
Without disgrace
Will make the case

Though short the time
It is no crime
To wax sublime
With another rhyme.
 

 

Never goodbye

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.

Stumbling into a new year…

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.

To begin again

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.