The Night Grandma Died

Childhood Reflections, Free Verse Poetry, Grandmother Poetry

Three wonderful years
Grandma lived with us
when I was in high school
in St. Clairsville.

She died one cold January night,
which I will always remember
as a night that took our breath away.
The night that made me realize
that life is so precious to us
because we have only so much of it.

In the back bedroom,
that used to be my room,
she cheerfully lived with us.
Never a bother.
Always a joy.
Always willing to help
as best her arthritic hands could.

She died in my bed–
the bed I slept in
for two-thirds of my childhood life.
The bed that stayed warm
even long after she had departed.
A warmth that assured me
our love for each other
would never die.

She cried out just once
before her last breath, and then
the house grew stone silent,
as we sat around her bed,
without words,
waiting for the ambulance
to take her small empty body away.

She was gone
and we knew it,
but still we needed to hear
someone else say the words:
she’s gone.

So much was unsaid
as they caringly took her body away.
I had questions,
but they wouldn’t bring her back.
So why ask them?

I wanted to cry
but wasn’t ready to
the night she died.
The next day,
as I touched her worn Bible
on the bedstand
she brought with her from her house,
the tears came.

I remembered her petunias,
that overflowed the green flower boxes
on her front and side porches.
And I remembered how
she never locked her doors
because she said
nobody could ever take away
what God has put in my heart.

I decided then that my life,
like my grandmother’s,
must be a blessing to others.
I knew then
that anything done in life with heart
makes a difference.
I knew then
that one of my jobs in life must be
to carry on my grandmother’s undying love.

Reflections on Boston (Yet Another Revision)

Boston Poetry, Free Verse Poetry, Urban Poetry

Boston: graceful, bawdy, high-brow,
creative, impetuous, thoughtful, raucous,
and always liberatingly liberal.
Forever spinning connective threads
between the extremes strung
across the past, present, and future.

Yet there’s something more.
Beyond our words.
Ever presently illusive,
like the single milli-moment separating day and night.
Out of reach, yet not out of touch.
Embodied in all you find there,
like some archetypal signature
written on the bottom of everything.

More than its uncommon Commons
and its so very public Public Gardens.
More than its stately Charles River,
snaking through and uniting the city’s many parts,
attracting throngs of people and sailboats
seeking flow and change in their lives.

Notable history, for sure, but more.
Almost too many stories told from scripted lips.
Lips prone to remind us of what was,
when all long we want to know what is
and what will be.

Ornate, inspiring, yet mysterious architecture
rising like passionate delphiniums and orchids
into the endless blue June sky.
Some also reminding us of weathered gravestones,
jutting up from old cemeteries
littered with skeletons
still hanging in Boston’s closet.

More than the Red Sox’ Fenway Park
and the onerous Green Monster, denying
even the best hitters their coveted four-baggers.
More than its historic Tea Party, and
the rebellious old white guys powdering their wigs
for the taxing event.

Even more than Harvard, MIT, Wellesley,
Brandeis, Tufts, and Boston College,
where young minds bend and stretch
in endowed dark classrooms, and all the while
alumni associations claim more victims.

Beyond the 600,000 people
living within the city’s limits, and
the four million plus living
in the larger surrounding region.
Even beyond the millions
visiting each year to smarten up, eat fresh lobster,
hear the Pops, or brush up on American history.

All point to, but alone fail to capture,
that illusive spirit, blowing
like a constant untamed wind through the city,
breathing life into Boston
and all whom it touches.

So what would Medieval England’s St. Botolph,
whose name is carried on by Boston,
say about how to know this great city’s essence?
Likely he would say the same of Boston
as he did of the Lord Almighty:
Let your heart fill with Boston, and then,
and only then, you will know her.
And I would say that
the Curse of the Bambino has ended,
and it’s time for new beginnings.

disappearing garter snakes in the garden

Free Verse Poetry, Metaphysical Poetry, Nature Poetry

two newborn garter snakes slither
like placeless rivers in concert
through the dancing delphiniums

they find their way–
God only knows how and to where–
through the foreboding snapdragons
   then
disappear into thin air
an alien abduction    maybe
but gone in any case

the rest of the day
   while not over
seems to limp    in the direction
of where the tiny snakes
exited the universe

Reflecting on Boston’s Essence (Revised)

Boston Poetry, Free Verse Poetry

Boston puts so many wonderful things together,
creating a unique, enticing, and hypnotizing city,
bridging past, present, and future.
Yet there is something more to Boston.
Something larger than even our best words can describe.
It’s easy to say Boston is one of America’s greatest cities.
But even these flattering words fail to capture Boston.
Boston is more than its uncommon Commons,
as beautiful and accessible as they are.
It is more than the crisp Charles River,
snaking its way through the city,
attracting throngs of people and sailboats
in the spring and summer months.
Boston is more than its notable history,
and the spirited role it played
in the American Revolution.
It is more than its many elegant
old and new downtown buildings,
scraping the sky with the tops of their heads.
Boston is more than Fenway Park and its Green Monster
and the feisty Red Sox who play there.
The city is more than its Tea Party
and all the guys powdering their wigs
to attend the taxing event.
Boston is more than Harvard, MIT,
Wellesley, Tufts, Boston College, Brandeis
and several other fine institutions of higher learning
that grace the city and its surrounding area.
Boston is more than the 600,000 people
who live within the city’s limits,
and the four million plus people
who live in the larger surrounding region.
All these things point to Boston,
but fail to capture the illusive underlying spirit
found in each of these pieces and parts.
Were he alive today,
it would be interesting to hear what St. Botolph,
the 7th century pious monk from Medieval England,
whose name is perpetuated in the name Boston,
which literally means Botulph’s town,
would say about the essence of Boston.
Perhaps he would say the same of Boston
as he did of the Lord Almighty: The only way to know Boston
is to experience her in our hearts.

Having just spent five days in Boston,
I would completely agree with this wise saint.
And contrary to what many people believe,
this fine city, so full of spirit,
does not live in the shadows of New York,
which the Babe left Boston for in 1920.
In fact, I have it on good authority that
the Curse of the Bambino is officially over.

Sculpting Life Rivers

Free Verse Poetry, Nature Poetry, Spiritual Poetry

Like the sculptor
chiseling a work of art
from raw stone,
we craft our lives
moment by moment
in whatever time we have.

Unlike a sculpted work of art,
our lives are not cast in stone,
rather they morph
in all directions
with each breath we take.

But if we are not careful,
we lose our ability to change
and rigidify like the immobile mountain
when we should flow like a rushing river.

As rivers,
we constantly renew ourselves
and feed others.
Be the river sculpted over time.
Be the river feeding
all it touches with life.

Secrets Hiding in the Shadows of the Waxing Gibbous Moon

Free Verse Poetry, Metaphysical Poetry

It is the small secrets
that grow overwhelming large
in invisible shadows cast
by the waxing gibbous moon
that become your life,
forever changing who you are.
It is the large things
giving birth to the shadows
that flush you out to deep sea
where you must tread water long enough
until the right wave can carry you back
in the direction of your dreams.

Celebrating Seventeen Years Together with the Robins in Boston Commons

Boston Poetry, Free Verse Poetry, Love Poetry

As the sun scoots westward,
leaving orange and salmon streaks
across the Boston sky,
plump robins continue pecking
for last unsuspecting worms
in the cool, just watered, grass.
And as day hands the baton to night,
hand in hand we stroll
out the Boston Commons gate,
and head back to the hotel
where hot fudge sundaes,
topped with whipped cream and cherries await us,
capping the perfect 17th anniversary celebration.

Looking Back on Longfellow Bridge

Boston Poetry, Free Verse Poetry, Metaphysical Poetry

Crossing the Longfellow Bridge into Cambridge
The sweet scent of brainpower all about
Harvard, MIT, and so much more
Makes me wonder how my life
might have been different had I risked
the Anthropology program at Harvard in 1974
Had I said yes to a dream carrying me
to remote corners of the world
Had I taken flight to distant planets
without names
All making me wonder
what persona I would be wearing
thirty-three years later
Asking the spirit of Longfellow I hear:
“All things must change to something new,
to something strange”
Indeed they do Henry, indeed they do

Beyond You and Me

Buddhist Poetry, Free Verse Poetry, Metaphysical Poetry, Spiritual Poetry

Every time I open my eyes
I see a you and me.
Even when I close my eyes
you and I continue to exist,
because these eyes and this mind
are conditioned to separate
what really exists as one.
The you that I see
is everything that I’m not.
The me that I see
is always a familar stranger
catching himself looking
into the cosmic mirror of life.
The me that you see
is the me that
you think I am
and the me that
I reflect from the mirror.
If we crawl much deeper
into this cosmic space,
all lines between us give way
to something singular
that exceeds whatever
you or I represent
separately or together.
In this space
you and I cease to exist.
For in this space,
nothing exists–
no you or me–
separate from anything else.
And in this space
you and I surrender
all form and conditioning.
And there we rest us one.

Note: This poem embodies the concept
of nonduality, which is a literal translation
of the Sanskrit term advaita. That is,
things remain distinct while not being separate.
Want to learn more, click here.

A Metaphysical Dissertation on Being Who You Are

Free Verse Poetry, Metaphysical Poetry

If nothing else,
don’t doubt yourself.
If nothing else,
don’t discount the wisdom
planted deep inside you
from the very moment
of your birth.
If nothing else,
don’t be afraid
to be yourself
in all your glory.
If nothing else,
don’t for a moment
waste your life wishing
you were something
or someone else.
Should you decide
you want to be
something more,
start first
by being who you are.
Chances are
you will find
no need to be anything
more than you already are.

Suggestion: Read this one speedily and it will hit you where it matters.
Pretend you are a machine gun reading this poem.
Click here to hear me read this poem.
[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/13322623/view]

Keys

Archetypal Poetry, Free Verse Poetry, Metaphysical Poetry

Yesterday
three new keys
were made.
Spare keys
but new keys.
Keys brought into being
by conscious action.
Identical keys
opening the same doors
I’ve always opened
but now
with new keys.
Each opening doors
to the world
where I live now.
Then another key
different than the others
shows up in the mail
without my asking.
A world map
showing new worlds
tumbles unexpectedly
from an envelope.
All keys pointing
to coming changes.
The first three
urge me to look
for new ways
to open doors
in the world
where I already live.
The last key points
to a larger world
to be opened
with new keys
soon to be made.

Click here to hear me read this poem:
[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/13319133/view]

Three Short Poems

Free Verse Poetry, Metaphysical Poetry

#1
Mediocre.
Average.
Run of the mill.
That’s what we become
when we try to be
something we’re not.
To excel, be who you are.

#2
Status quo.
Breaking even.
Par for the course.
That’s what happens
when we fail
to take risks in our lives.
Blaze a new trail to find happiness.

#3
Sour grapes.
Missed shots in life.
Looking back,
hoping for something different.
The past doesn’t change.
Give the future our best shot.
That’s all we have.

Medicine Man

Uncategorized

Deep inside
the Medicine Man lives.
Not so far away
he can’t hear me,
but far enough
so I can hear myself.

His long gray-white hair
pulled back into a loose ponytail,
that dangles like time
on the edge of a bottomless universe.
His high cheek bones
rise like mesas, cutting
through the deep wrinkles
worn into his ancient face
by generations of earth-shattering laughter
and deep rivers overflowing with tears.

His medicine is very powerful;
much more so than my darkness,
which now surrenders to him
at a mere watchful glance.
Throughout my life,
I’ve sensed he’s been there,
but until recent years,
I was afraid to call his name.

I know he’s very wise because
he respects the darkness,
for there too we must live.
Even more so, he respects the light,
knowing never to look directly
into the blinding rays of the sun.
Somewhere between the two
he finds just the wisdom that I need.

And somewhere in this wisdom,
I find myself.

Click here to hear me read this poem:
[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/13301373/view]

Older Men and Younger Women

Free Verse Poetry, Relationship Poetry

A friend sought my counsel just today
about what younger women think
about older men.
He was insistent; even emphatic,
that I share my thoughts,
and I reluctantly did.

I told him he shouldn’t be stupid, and think
that the years made no difference.
After all, a man in his mid-fifties
and a woman in her late twenties
is like comparing a 1980 Datsun 240Z
to a 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe.
He reminded me that the Z model held its own
for over thirty years, and
I conceded he had a point there, but
I asked him how old
he would be in 30 years,
and how old a 27-year old woman
would be 30 years from now.
The smile slipped, like a loose glove,
off my friend’s distinguished, but tired face.

My friend sighed and shook his head,
like a boxer taking a hard punch to the gut.
I didn’t mean to be cruel, but
I didn’t want my friend to be hurt.
Recovering more quickly
than I would have ever guessed,
he threw one back at me:
It doesn’t matter to me
if it lasts only a year, a month,
or even one amazing steamy hot night.
Just as long as our bodies are glued together
in seamless embrace,
swimming in each other’s wetness.

I tried to duck, but
his last punch lifted me off my feet
and onto the hard floor.
Trying my best,
I couldn’t get back up.

click here to hear me read this poem.

Clouds Amaze Me

Children's Poetry, Free Verse Poetry, Nature Poetry

Clouds amaze me
how easily they make friends
with other clouds, but
always maintain their independence, and
how they put themselves
at the mercy of the wind, that
keeps them from becoming
too set in their ways like mountains.

Clouds amaze me
how they drift in wisps and billows, and
how they dress up as scowling old men
with stately white beards, or
naughty elephants standing on hind legs, or
even battered pirate ships
on a tumultuous sea.

Clouds amaze me
how they seduce my imagination, and
how they make me want to dance, and
how they make me want to be
something other than I am,
if only long enough
to know what it’s like
to be someone or something else.

Clouds amaze me
because they can be whatever
they want to be, and
finally just like good poems, they
leave the right parts of the story untold.

To hear this poem:
[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/13266293/view]

Fountain of Youth.

Free Verse Poetry, Metaphysical Poetry

Being around young people
awakens your child within–
that original seed born
and giving rise to all that follows
in your life.
Exposure to youthful yearnings
and unanalyzed ideas
lifts the veil off the overjudged,
seriously questioned,
and programmed face you wear
when you grow older.
Something inside you changes
when a young spirit touches you,
releasing the kid within
who wants so desparately
to experience things afresh
and without known boundaries.
It’s not the water you drink
that keeps you young.
It’s allowing young spirits to touch
that part of you that never grows old.

To hear this poem:
[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/13260003/view]

Life is No Deal

Free Verse Poetry, Spiritual Poetry

We cut deals in life, thinking
that is what life is all about, and
our life amounts to the deals we cut.
We cut deals in life, hoping
the deals we cut help us win, and
somehow give us more
than we already have.
We cut deals in life, believing
we can trade what we have
for what we want, and at times,
we try to trade one thing we don’t have
for yet another thing we don’t have.
We cut deals in life, believing
the world is against us, and
that we must play our hand carefully, or
otherwise we end up losing.
Life is no deal to be cut, rather
it is a gift to be appreciated, and
simply lived in truth and love.

To hear this poem:
[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/13231123/view]

On Being Who We Are

Free Verse Poetry, Metaphysical Poetry

I could be lots of things in life,
including things that I’m not.
So could you.
We have a choice between
being who we are
and being who we’re not.

I’m not trying to poke you in the eye
with truth or anything so resembling,
and you should know that
I’m not above mistakes,
and yes at times,
I am guilty of serious misdirection.
So please don’t put me on a pedestal,
or any other place up high,
but do consider,
just for one moment,
the possibility that light can emerge
in any of us
during our darkest hour,
and make us shine forth.

It troubles me,
and probably you too,
that somehow some of us think at times
that some of us somehow are entitled to more,
or something special,
that the rest of us cannot receive.
That’s nonsense!
In fact, it’s the farthest thing from the truth.

So next time you think of distant galaxies–
places your imagination can hardly reach,
consider the possibility that each of us
in our own special way
can find happiness, truth, and
most importantly liberation
from all that obsesses us
and drives us completely mad.

So I could be lots of things in life,
and so could you, but
the real question is:
Can we just be ourselves
and find happiness in that?

Click here to hear me read this poem.

Why Do I Write Poetry?

Free Verse Poetry, Reflecting on Poetry

Just the other day
someone asked why I write poetry.
The question set me thinking;
more like rummaging around
for an honest answer,
but also one I liked.
All the usual suspects turned up:
  I love poetry
  I write it because I can
  My Dad turned me on to poetry
  Poetry makes me feel good
  I can speak in a poetic voice.

Then I realized I write poetry
because it is part of the story
I tell myself and others
about what my life is all about.

What stories do you tell yourself and others
about what your life is all about?

Click here to hear me read this poem.

Where I Live

Free Verse Poetry, Spiritual Poetry

I live in a different place.
Not a place you couldn’t find,
but a place that’s vastly different
than I had ever imagined
I would be living.

I live in a different place.
A place where I can still
put my feet on the ground,
but not a place where
you can stick your head in the sand
and expect to hide.

I live in a place
that keeps moving east to west
like the sun,
and a place coming to rest,
like a flying saucer landing on Earth.
And a place I can be alone
but together with the world
and all that it seems.

But all the while,
there is yet another place,
where the sunsets linger
and the sunrises glide
like Olympic skaters on ice.
This place is where we live together,
if only long enough
to see a single shooting star.

Yes, I live in a different place.
But that doesn’t mean
I can’t drop by each day
like the hummingbird
at your window feeder,
and drink the sweet nectar of life.

Click here to hear me read this poem.

Always a Hand Waiting for You

Free Verse Poetry, Spiritual Poetry

Trust there is a hand
reaching from the sky
that can lift you up
during your darkest hour.

Trust there is a hand
to steady your walk through life
when the day’s pressures
cause you to lose your balance.

Trust there is a hand
that can heal the hurt
capsizing your mind and body
as they seek peace and harmony.

Trust there is a hand
outstretched, and always waiting for you.
Don’t be afraid to grasp it
and let it lift you up.

Click here to hear me read this poem.

Cleveland’s Parade of Color

Cleveland Poetry, Free Verse Poetry

Sun-drenched crowd.
50,000 plus.
Lining the Circle
Eye-popping vibrant color.
Jubilant music ignites dance.
Echous oohs and ahs erupt, watching
bright costumes, giant puppets,
stilt-dancers, strings of iridescent balloons,
painted masks and colorful floats
streaming past us.

Cleveland’s University Circle…
overflowing breathtaking color:
rosso, viola, blu, verde, lilla, and more,
All parade the Circle.
Clevelanders showing their true colors, against
the backdrop of the city’s stunning
art and natural history museums and orchestra hall.

Not a more perfect day possible—
here or anywhere.
Once again,
why focus so much
on what’s wrong with our city,
when so much more is right.

Click here to hear me read this poem.

And a few pictures to tell the story our eyes saw…

Dangling in the Echo of Spring

Metaphysical Poetry, Nature Poetry

Bright morning sun drapes itself
like a silver silk scarf
on the fluttering pendulous shaped leaves
of the drooping white birch tree
in the front yard,
where sits an ever so proud,
but exhausted mother cardinal,
doing her best to feed bits of seed,
carefully chosen from the nearby rocket-shaped feeder,
to the two impatient youngsters at her side.
A slight warming breeze fills the yard,
stirring the Himalayan wind chimes,
hanging and dancing from a limb
of the nearby crab apple.
Their earthy hollow echo sweeps me
across the yard
and deep into the moment,
leaving me dangling
on the delicate vibrating edge of time.
There I hover till the cardinals
break the silence with their wings.

Click here to hear me read this poem.

Click here to hear the poetry of the Himalayan wind chimes.

When You Don’t Make the Team

Childhood Reflections, Children's Poetry, Free Verse Poetry

Do you remember in fifth grade
when I didn’t make the basketball team
and you told me not to cry
because men don’t cry?

And do you remember telling me
that’s the way it goes. Just accept it.
That’s the way what goes?
Basketball? Life? My life?
And accept what?
That I can sleep in on Saturday mornings
instead of playing basketball with my friends?
My friends who sneered at me and taunted me
like I was some worthless piece of crap.
My friends who will be immortalized
by the school and the other kids
because they made the team.

You didn’t even ask if I came close.
I was the last to be cut.
Not the first.
I almost made the team.
Why do they pick just twelve players?
Why not thirteen?
Do they have just twelve uniforms?
I’ll work and buy my own.

You don’t even have a name
if you get cut from the team.
The coach just calls out the names
of the boys making the team.
I never listened so carefully in my whole life.
I can’t believe I didn’t hear my name.
Maybe the coach just forgot to call my name.
Should I ask him if he forgot to call my name?
I don’t understand what I didn’t make the team.
Was it because of the two shots I missed?
Was it because the other boys’ dads knew the coach?
Why didn’t I make the team?

So what am I supposed to accept?
That I am a total loser,
and my life will never amount to anything?
That basketball isn’t my sport,
and I shouldn’t bother to tryout next year?
My life is over
and it’s barely started.
And you don’t even care!

What do I do instead of crying?
Just hold it in?
Get angry?
Go out and practice my shots?
Maybe I’ll just stop trying to be somebody
or make something of my life.
Maybe I’ll just run away
to some other place, and another family.
One that cares about me.
One that understands me
and helps me figure out what to do
with all this pain inside
that won’t go away,
no matter how hard I try.

You could have said you were sorry
that I didn’t make the team.
You could have said you’d help me
be a better player.
You could have said you’d talk to the coach
and find out why I didn’t make the team.
You could have said there were times in your life
when you didn’t make the team,
and you survived the pain of rejection,
and over time you grew stronger.
That’s the way it goes?
Do I have to figure all this out myself?
Why don’t men cry?

Click here to hear me read this poem.
(I have used a new reading style with this poem. Please let me know what you think. Also, in my reading I provide some context for this poem.)

Going Beyond Life’s Cliches

Free Verse Poetry, Metaphysical Poetry

Lift me past
the cliches of life.
Those proto-ordinary word-images
that stick in your hand
as it strives to write original words
and lines of words that form and flow
like no other words or lines written.

But who am I to think
that anything
could possibly be new
in this world that goes on and on–
past us and always after us?

Who are we, as word-bound bards,
to think anything is special
because it is our time
to rise and fall,
like the sun and moon,
which have done the same,
without our help,
for millenia before us,
and will likely for millenia after us?

Who are we to postulate
we are anything more
than God ever intended
from the very beginning, and
I mean the beginning of all beginnings
when all things, including God, began?

Is there any wonder
I should want to rise above
the cliches forever grabbing truth
from the hands of ordinary people such as us,
who live and die,
like the cliches we spew about us,
hoping we can be different?

Click here to hear me read this poem.

Souls Making Plans to Meet

Archetypal Poetry, Free Verse Poetry, Spiritual Poetry

Meet me.
Somewhere.
Hopefully in the middle, but
somewhere deep, where
we can be who we are,
without all the pretending.

Hopefully we find the right place,
where we can be honest
without being ashamed.
Hopefully this place
where we meet
doesn’t call forth our desparation
or the usual sensual pleasures
causing us to dissolve.

Hopefully this place stirs us–
together, where we can touch
for one moment longer
than we have been apart.
Hopefully this place brings silence
to all the words, no matter
how poetic they may be.

Meet me.
Somewhere.
Anywhere, where
truth can be known
without us having to judge anything.
And in that place,
may we embrace,
and be just one.

Click here to hear me read this poem.

Some context for this poem is provided in my reading.

As Above, So Below

Archetypal Poetry, free verse, Spiritual

All that is above
is also below.
The invisible inside
eventually is projected outward.

What takes form outside reflects back,
like the pond’s perfectly still surface,
allowing the soul to glimpse itself,
if only for a fleeting second,
before dissolving like the day into night.

The world around us appears and disappears
with each turn of the psychic wrench,
tightening and loosening our grip
on all coming and going as reality.

All springing from the inner depths
eventually is planted
in the outer mirror
for all to see.

As above,
so below.
As above,
so below.

Click here to hear me read this poem.
I explain the meaning of this poem in my reading of it.

A Soul’s Promise

free verse, Love, Spiritual

I will forever be yours–
to keep, and hold
in your heart, where
you can always find me, and
where time stands still, and
nothing gets between us, because
there is no separation, when
a heart is filled with love, that
binds and holds us together, like
cloudless blue sky, beaming
with golden sunshine.
I will forever be yours, because
I am your soul.

Click here to hear me read this poem.

We Are All Blind

free verse, Metaphysical, Spiritual

We are all blind,
even those of us
who can see
with our eyes.

We are blinded by:
the incandescent light of day,
the thundering sound of darkness,
by what we take to be knowledge
and also ignornace,
and by what we believe is real and right.

Every word we use colors our world,
strips it of its shapelessness,
robs it of its completeness,
and separates it into pieces
that we struggle against
to find a meaningful connection for ourselves.

All poets are blind.
Ask any one of them,
and they will tell you
they cannot see
past their own verse
and the hideous curse
it casts upon them.

We are all blind,
even those of us
who can see
with our eyes.

Stop worrying about
what your eyes can and cannot see,
and just open your heart.
From there, you can see perfectly.

Click here to hear me read this poem.

Also, see the post immediately below.

Name a Blind Poet

Blind Poets, Disability Art, Text

I am intrigued by how poets are influenced by their visual sense. This is reflected in their verse, as well as the use of accompanying photographs and other visual artwork. And many of you practice both Taiga and Haiga poetry.

This leads me to wonder about the poetry of blind poets. First, which poets were/are blind? Besides Homer and John Milton, I was at loss to name any others, so I started a small research project.

Please help me build a list of blind poets.

Here are those I have identified thus far: the ancient Greek poet Homer, 17th century English poet John Milton, 15th century Hindi poet Sant Surdas, contemporary Australian poet Michelle Taylor, 9th century Persian poet Rudaki (alledgedly blind), 18th century Irish poet Anthony Raftery, 9th century Arab-Spanish poet Muqaddam Ibn Mu afa al-Qabri, 19th century American hymn writer and poet Fanny Crosby, 19th century Jewish-American poet Penina Moise, Haldane Burgess, Shetland’s famous blind poet, Irish poet Raftery, 10 century Sufi-Buddhist poet Abdul Ala-al-Marri, and Asik Veysel, 20th century Turkish songwriter and poet.

In advance, thank you for your help.

Borderlines and Boundaries

free verse, Metaphysical, Spiritual

If we are not careful
our lives turn into nothing more
than borderlines and boundaries.

If we are not careful
these borderlines and boundaries
splinter our sense of reality
and cause us to see separation
when there is only connection.

If we are not careful
our lives end up having more limits
than possibilities to grow into.

How can all this be?
It’s easy.
We decide that our life is about judging
rather than simply experiencing
whatever we encounter in life.

We form preferences that exclude
fresh new experiences.
And from these preferences
habits and conditioning grow
that we take to be who we are.

That is not who we are.
We are that which comes before
all preferences, habits, and conditioning.
We are boundaryless beings
without independent form
that cannot be separated from all else
we consider to be the universe.

Contrary to what we may think
reality is not a fixed thing
with clear starting and stopping points.
Rather it is more like the sky, a river, a conversation,
or a loose thought or feeling
that flows without fixed boundaries.

If we are not careful
our borderlines and boundaries rob us
of our joy, well-being, and happiness,
and they leave us barren
of the very life we seek.

Be the boundaryless being that you are.

Light and Dark

free verse, Metaphysical, Spiritual

Light and dark, both parts of one.
Never one without the other.
From darkness, light is born.
From light, darkness takes root.
Never one without the other.

The dance of life, always in between.
Light casts its shadows.
Darkness in those shadows grows.
Night gives way to day.
Day turns back what night has given.
Sun and moon always in twilight dance.

Each soul a dance from light to dark,
and then back to light.
No escaping darkness’ fall.
No escaping light’s return.
Light and dark, both parts of one.

Click here to hear me read this poem.