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.
You paused and smiled at me today;
You stood one moment in my way;
You caught my eye, and made my day;
Did you give a bit of your heart away?
There’s nothing that you need to say….
I won’t persist, or make you stay.
Just breathe my name, next time you pray,
And that’s enough, for now.
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
The following lines were written on January 12, 2010, as the writer made his way home from the memorial celebration of Dr. Robert H. Clark: “Uncle Bob,” who spent 92 years, six months and 21 days on Planet Earth. In his memory, and in determined hope that his passions will live on.
On the way to Baltimore with more to do today;
Hurry up and wait awhile and think of what to say.
I only have a little time to impact planet earth.
Of good intent and peaceful acts there seems to be a dearth.
If thirty years, or thirty-five, are all I have remaining,
if when I at the gates arrive without needless complaining,
I’d like it to be said of me that in this span of time
I’ve made it plain what I can see, for those I leave behind:
I see a world where selfish strife no longer reigns supreme,
Where love of neighbor, love of life, are no mere fancied dream.
Where each awakened soul can see the tie that binds us all
Into a common destiny by which we rise or fall.
Where Christ is lifted up, not as an idol or ideal
Forever out of reach for us; but as that fully real
And present guide for human life in all its varied strands;
And “love your neighbor as yourself” sums up all God’s commands:
Where force is not the final word, no more the last resort;
But grace, abounding everywhere, receives a good report.
Where bruised reeds are not broken, nor smoldering wicks snuffed out;
But every language spoken tells of what love is about.
Where deaths are not avenged with more destruction born of hate;
But life’s brief span reminds us that we have no time to wait.
Where sorrow leads to promise of remembrance of the wise,
And joy invades the darkness by the grace that God supplies.
Where tears wash out the bitterness and pain of friendships lost,
And bring a clearer vision that the work is worth the cost.
For if eternal life is what we hope for in our heart,
Then the things that last forever are deserving of a start.
So let me live today, and every day, for all my years
Determined to respond to my best hopes, not my worst fears.
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?
Dreaming while waking
Giving while taking
Thirsting while slaking
Truthful while faking
Peaceful while shaking
Losing while making
Fixing while breaking
My love for You.
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.
Collecting friends; that’s what I do.
Not long ago, I added you.
I’m always watching out to find
A kindred soul or sharpened mind.
At one time I was all alone,
A fortress I had made of stone,
That is, I sought my heart to guard
For friends were rare, and love was hard.
If God is real, then I must tell:
He came into my private hell;
He broke the gates, and crushed the stone,
And left me not to wait alone.
But God, more vast than sky and sea
Bestowed more kindness upon me:
He let me glimpse his boundless grace
With, now and then, a human face.
Collecting friends: That’s what I do.
Not long ago, I added you.
I photographed some flowers on my way.
I found them growing on a sunny day.
One moment of such beauty could I capture in a frame.
A dewdrop, maybe, caught the sun. I came
and knew this beauty, brief and only mine
Unknown to others under this sunshine
And so, I paused, as beauty caught my eye
Neglected beauty, as the world rushed by.
How many glorious sights along our way
Lie waiting thus, unnoticed, every day?
I was worrying about some things today, until these thoughts came my way:
Why should I worry the livelong day, when instead I can simply pray?
Of all the things I worry about, only two things could be true;
It’s either worth the worry, or not. In each case, what should I do?
If it’s worth the worry, then God above
will take it in with his great love,
But if the worry is not worth my time,
I can throw it away; just like this rhyme.
Thank you, Lord, for giving us
The friends we have today.
We know no greater blessing
As we journey on this way.
For life, for health, for food and wealth,
Our thanks do surely rise;
But for these lives that touch our own —
We praise you to the skies!
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.
I’m slightly sad today; don’t quite know why.
Perhaps the clouds are too low in the sky.
Perhaps the dreams that overhung my night
Have left their trails and wrapped my brain too tight.
It could be all the time that slips away
No matter how I try to steer the day.
It seems whatever task I undertake
I must, perforce, another one forsake.
Today, I’m slightly sad. This day too will fly.
Still, I’m not quite sad enough to cry.