Lingering Life Questions

Where do you live?
Does this place bring out the best of you?

How do you live?
Does your lifestyle give something back to others?

Who have you surrounded yourself with?
Is your social network a true reflection of the real you?

How do you spend your time?
Is most of your time in service to yourself or others?

Who do you believe you are?
Can your life transcend these beliefs
and allow you to be fully present?

I don’t have all the answers–
just a few questions I try to ask myself periodically.

Now or Never

Never a day like today to be who you are
Never a day like today to wrestle reality
from the jaws of illusion–that place we must live
until all illusions are outlived

Today is all we have
Never anything more will we have, even when
we think there is more, and
even when no end of less is in sight

Find today wherever you are
Hug it, hold it, as long as you can
For surely it will give way
to another day, another start and finish

Find yourself before you disappear
into something other than you are
Discover who you’re not, before
who you are ends forever

No matter what
Give today all you have

Preening Doves in Early Morning Light

Two doves preen fluffed feathers in dim early morning light
They ready for breakfast, the start of a new day
A couple, forever committed
Through thick and thin, a pair for life

Like the doves, life’s interwoven paths: happiness and meaning
From happiness…joy, from meaning…connection
For some of us, it must be one or the other
For all, it is each every day in some measure

Not unlike the sun and moon sharing the day
Each brings reflective light to our lives
The sun…nourishing light growing the world around us
The moon, our souls aglow, feeding our inner beings

Some days, we feel lightless
as happiness and meaning play hide and seek
Other days, the sun’s penetrating rays beat down on us
and the moon’s upending tides wash over us

Two doves preen fluffed feathers in dim early morning light
They ready for breakfast, the start of a new day
Like the two doves, such is light in our lives, and
the happiness and meaning growing from that light

In Others We See Ourselves

Met a man just the other day
Who exactly I can’t say
Lost in time, with no plan
Just another hopeless man

A lonely man, walking a distant road
On his back, an unbearable load
Too tired, too worn, to even care
Naked, empty, nothing left to share

A crumpled man, prematurely old
No life it seemed, left to unfold
Passionless, frail, so very thin
No family, friends, next of kin

A man whose life passed him by
No one there to hear his cry
Like all other men, or you or me
Bound to death, can’t break free

His face, so very worn
Darkened eyes, filled with scorn
Face and eyes, lost in time
Life forsaken, without rhyme

Not till at home, did I see
There I heard his desparate plea
For meaning, love and purpose be
Essential things, you would agree

Disturbed me so, this war torn man
Felt his load, my life did scan
Across the room in the mirror
My own life became more clear

His ghost, shadow, phantom be
Strangely now, a part of me
How you ask, can that be
Look in the mirror, you will also see

Giving It a Rest

No knowing it all
or even anything close
No reason to know it all
or even anything close

What’s to know, really?
Anti-intellectual, you say
Not at all–
Just giving thinking a rest

Sit, still the mind
Give your breath your attention
In and out
Again, in and out

Easy does it
No hurry, nowhere to go
Rest, smile, free yourself
No need to hold on–to anything

Feel your inner fire–
Burning brightly
Didn’t know you had one?
We all do, so do you

Get a sense of yourself
Not this or that–
Just yourself–
That which comes before

Rest
Let go
Ah, that’s the place
Be! Right there!

Winter’s Soul

Cold winter night
Star-fed sky, reaching upward
Like stairs, we climb
To a higher place–
Beyond where we normally go

Cold winter night
Frozen breath on hard blue lips
Brittle realities, like death
Snap and crack our worlds into pieces
No whole holding them together

Cold winter night
Razor-thin sharp edges on dull faces
Reflecting lost memories back to us
Like moonlight’s cold hands
Gripping our hearts till we surrender

Cold winter night
It comes and finally goes
We survive, this time
Huddled fireside, quiet shadows sit
Slowly, we hear their stories

Giving It a Rest on a Cold January Morning

Some days the hands of the clock race
like speeding rabbits around its face
Other days, they inch along like poking turtles
lulling the clock itself fast asleep

This brutally cold, snowy January morning
time, which we chase each moment, has taken flight
Making its way southward to the land
where the sun shines ever warm and bright

Timeless, spellbound by the lazy falling snow
Desire for a nap overtakes any remaining ambition
to accomplish even the smallest objective
Postponing all races with or against time

January, indeed a time for new beginnings
Also one for hibernation, and
giving birth to dreams that eventually sprout
When later nourished by April’s warm showers

Dreams, latent ambitions, eventually all unfold
as both tortoise and hare within us awaken
and make their way to one finish line, and
ready again for yet another race

January 19, 1951

Brutally cold January night, but no surprise
to anyone living in Martins Ferry in 1951
Deep snow in layered drifts, like ocean waves
Piled high above front doorsteps

Blustering winds, howl like wildcats
Blowing pitch black coal furnace soot
onto pristine white fresh fallen snow
Black and white, extremes amidst life’s limitless color

Most things, still waiting for spring to be born
4:14 AM, a tiny cry breaks the early morning air
Not winter’s angry wind, but a newborn
Taking life’s first frightening breath

And from that first breath, five hundred million more
Each a new beginning, strung together
like an unimaginably long pearl necklace
Worn as only a man at fifty-seven can wear

You look back, trying to understand
But you never really do
All you know is it all starts with a single breath, and
that is also how it finally ends

The Holy

To some, beyond us
To me, everything we are and more
To some, either inside or outside us
To me, everywhere and nowhere

To some, more than we can become
To me, more than we can imagine
To some, what we strive to emulate
To me, what we are minus what we think we are

To some, only what certain words can capture
To me, pointing to that beyond words
To some, only the good, pure and sinless
To me, beyond good, purity and sin

To some, a presence and state of being
To me, a presence helping us transcend
To some, God
To me, Godlike

How Life Seemed One January Morning

Sorrow falls where happiness fails
Laughter, tears, endless trails
Beyond that place we usually hide
Much deeper still we must abide

Sprinkled through the life we live
Magic’s touch, we must forgive
Life and death writ upon our hands
Each trickles through us, life’s fine sands

Never knowing where or when
Moments pass, new ones begin
All around us, what we’ve brought forth
Waiting within, our true north

So much to ponder, but more to live
Often wonder, what to give
Never knowing where or when
Moments pass, new ones begin

Freehand drawing, life appears
Moves us past all the tears
Never knowing where or when
Moments pass, new ones begin

In Between Place

You know me
but you don’t
At least not
as I know myself

I know you
but I don’t
At least not
as you know yourself

Somewhere in between us
there is an intersection
we create to discover, and
get to know each other

And, somewhere beyond
this place we know
there is another place
taking us past ourselves

That place is where
real knowing occurs
and where the boundary
between us disappears

Inner Demons

Who are your demons?
Those living inside you
Hiding from light in the shadows
Always there, waiting

Steering your life into treacherous waters
Sapping away the best you have
Riding you like a wave
Ultimately, filling you with emptiness

Though you wish otherwise
your demons are never separate from you
Always, buried parts of us, growing
like weeds among the roses

Strangling us to death
Until we name them
they continue to inhabit us
What are their names?

Giving Thanks for Breath

All depends upon breath
Without it, we are nothing
Worship it as your soul–
for surely it is that

All breath depends upon the wind–
that connecting us to all else
The wind, God’s breath, nourishes us
lifts us up, allows us to be

Give thanks for breath and the wind
They are our best friends
Though invisible, together they are our foundation
May you breathe and dance in the wind forever

New Year’s Day

January 1, 2008
A new year begins as a quiet dark morning
flirting with wet snow and freezing rain
No hangover, thankfully
More expectation than regret, thankfully

No fireworks ending the old year
No need even for a sharp demarcation
between old and new, or
what was and will be
Yet, so many subtle memories, wishes, dreams

The first day of a new January
No fanfare, frenzy, or even football
The finale of a wonderful holiday season
filled with joyous sounds, familiar loved faces
bright lights, much giving and receiving

Today, one for inwardness…
a cut below the skin, probing something deeper
Cherishing last year’s gems
Some looking ahead, pondering possibilities, and
thinking beyond myself

It’s true…time flies as we grow older
So it seems in my harried, hassled, overworked life
which miraculously finds more joy than sorrow
more pleasure than pain, and
a nice balance between meaning and happiness

So, on this New Year’s Day…
no maudlin reflections
no arcane promises
no pretentious claims
Simply a new beginning with hope