Category Archives: Reflective

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.

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.

Beginning again

Dear me, how do we begin?

Surely starting over is never a sin.

I’m tired and weary and grateful too,

For all of the things that I have been through.

Where is the authentic self,

The one left so long on the shelf?

In living for the ones I love,

have I passed by

my self?

So here is my secret prayer, o god:

let it not be strange or odd

That I would like to finally be

No category, no exemplar, only me.

No title, honorific, office, none of these will do

Just me, without a name,

craving no fame,

No longer caring for reward or blame

Received, I think, by someone who

I’ll recognize, and welcome too,

A new me with a new you.

Late at night

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.

Thanksgiving question

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?

Not homeless

I’m not homeless; I’m houseless.
But even homeless does not mean helpless.
And not hopeless. Much less friendless. God is everywhere.
A heap see, but a very few know.
One who sees clearly is fearless.

F E A R = False Evidence Appearing Real

Written by Garry Donnell Washington

I’ve been an orphan now

I’ve been an orphan now for one year and a day.
It’s not such an uncommon thing, they say.
Though all of us must have a father and mother,
We all say goodbye to them, sometime or other.

My childhood now is mine alone, and fading memories.
Can that child still be me? What is it that he sees?
Who now will keep that child from harm?
Will I ever get to go back to the farm?


The cosmic Word in glorious light appears
To speak to Dust, awakened from its fears,
Innocence, Wholeness, Peace, Relief from Pain
Are offered all who lose all, all to gain.

He speaks to Nothing, Something to bring forth
Creating Value where there was No Worth.
No refuge can there be from such a Voice;
No silence, where the song cries out:  Rejoice!

How deep descending, Spirit into Form,
Angelic Presence, glorified in Worm!
How close He nestles to our very Breath.
This Life-Eternal victor over Death!

The world, and all the worlds, he loved, I see:
Sustaining all, for love of even me.

Slow and Dark

Slow and dark, across the sky
The cloud rolls in, its shadow spread
The damp chill in the bones, the sigh,
Unnoticed, heaves upon the sluggard’s bed.

The season winds its way to winter’s sleep.
Life drops its leaves; no need to keep
The once-beloved luxuriant dress
That welcomed summer sun’s caress.

The geese streak south to their retreat
Escaping the impending frost.
The ripened fruit, still firm and sweet
Falls to the earth, to feed its host.

Thus twilight deepens in the fading year
To rule the waiting until Spring draws near.

In the Doctor’s Office

What time I wait
Between the push and wail
Of this quotidian race,
While someone else,
Determined not to fail,
Hurries to show his face:

This waiting time, I say,
Affords me space
To simply sit,
Appreciate the grace
That lets me be
One person, me —
At this one time,
In this one place.

Did you?

In the grand scheme of things, the simple ways are best.
There is no magic word, no litmus test.

Did you believe, as best you could, that love will find a way?
Did you keep hope alive just for a day?
Did you see light in someone’s eyes?
Did you run as for a prize?
Did you keep going, just to keep your word?
Did you keep faith with friends, if not the Lord?

If you can love, then you know how to pray.
And this is life eternal, now, today.

Listening, touching, being

img-0277.jpg I saw a soul pass by, and paused. Was that a cry?
Beneath the noise of argument, was that a sigh?
Stop, be still, I heard my spirit say; who know when I
Will see again this soul pass by this way?

The sighing soul, so quiet, fearful,
heard my silence, spoke
and paused,
fearing my voice would mock her pain;
I held quite still, as if to say
my presence was no joke
and watched the stillness, till she spoke again.

So gently, trembling, from the secret depths she rose;
The tender soul revealed the wounds she bore,
And let me reach, and touch, within the silence,
The beauty of her being,
Nothing more.

Fantasy and fun

Living a dream, living a lie—
What shall I choose as a story?Magic moment at the magic kingdom
To reach a goal before I die
Or go down in flames of glory?

The Christ who gave abundant life,
and called us all to follow
Invites to joy, invites to strife —
Which of these two is hollow?

Today, I’ll live within the scope
Of privileges royal
But may I not forget the hope
To which I have been loyal.

I carry still within my breast
The poor, the foe, the friendless;
For their sake, too, today I rest
In pleasures full and endless.

To be beloved, with childlike glee
And loving now the days
May help me still more clearly see
the great Creator’s ways.

In a moment of stillness

We die to the living,
and live with the dead,

and much more is understood
than can be said.

So we, ensouled as lumps of clay,
Spirits enfleshed  for now, today,
Embracing every brief delight
Releasing, then, into the night,

Dance, we dance, through all the strife
That keeps our souls apart,
We mend within the dance of life
These holes within our heart.

I learned to love

I learned to love by failing
for more than thirty years:
My efforts unavailing
Persisted through my fears.

I learned to love by losing,
By giving up the ground;
I learned to love by choosing
To keep what I have found.

I learned to love by staying
When hope for love was lost;
I learned to love by praying
And counting up the cost.

I learned to love by seeing
That love is more than life.
I learned to love by being
A husband to my wife.

(additional stanza offered on October 12, 2008 by Brent Jones):

I learned to hope by living,
And seeing things transformed,
And knowing through forgiving,
My soul can be reformed.