Upon Seeing the Face of Just One Vietnamese Girl

Those faces…they linger
Like ghosts in some long lost place
That only God knows
That only I wish
I could forget

They flash back
Like sun on silver
Like lost pennies found
Washed up on some beach
After finding their bottom
Only to return to where they started

Where with bent backs
They culled and hoed their rice
Working as though tomorrow
Wouldn’t come unless they gave
All they had and more
Yes more, even their lives

And in one lonely girl’s blank face
I saw all that 38 years could never forget
In her eyes there reflected
So many young men
Lost, hoping to find a moment’s peace
That would take it all back
All 18 months they barely lived
Till the day they die

See this: click on this link

Blinded by the Noonday Sun

So hard
the afternoon sun beat down
Forsaking all shadows
Blinding us to see
only what is illuminated
What is known
And missing what it hides

So hard I try at times
to see life as it is
All the things I deny
Life’s impermanence, unpredictability
imperfection, only partial accessibility
Even in the best of light
Granted by the penetrating noonday sun

Some say try harder
to see more, to see better
Use the light to focus your mind
Perhaps we should not try so hard
Instead open ourselves, like a blossoming flower
And stop worrying about light, what we see
Then light’s meaning changes and so do we

Memories of a Dear Uncle

Stoney
The name of a man
I never knew growing up
But Uncle Hank talked about nonstop
Like some freight train
Coming and going
Without scheduled stops, and
Most importantly, without even a destination

I was curious–about Stoney, my Uncle Hank
And of course what came before all curiosity
Something deeper
Taking us to the ocean’s bottom
Something today that still keeps me up
Well past midnight
Well past all memories

I think of the Antler’s
So many years later
A bar, a place where working men hung out
And dreamed about something larger
Than the lives they lived
The woman they married
The children they fathered
Brought into the world
Like cold rain on some nondescript Sunday night
After seeing their mother
In that hideous, souring smell nursing home
That even death avoided
Till the very last moment

Stoney doesn’t matter
Not now
He’s long gone
He was just a reason
For my uncle to dream
Past the reality he lived
My uncle, childless
Wished for his own
But none came
A man who dropped dimes, and sometimes quarters
Into our sweaty palms
As we stood on the porch
And waved goodbye
Before he walked slowly up the street–
The same street we played on
The same street my uncle died on
And the same street I left
Moving on beyond the dimes and quarters
To some place else
Some place now
Where time grows short
Walking much faster than my long gone uncle
Who now plays with Stoney
In the side yard of grandma’s house
A place I desperately try to remember

When the Owl Calls Your Name

The owl was calling last night
Somebody’s name echoed through the dark still forest
I listened for awhile to hear him again
But only silence rang through my ears

When the owl called
My heart shrank with fear
Praying it was not my name
But another’s that he called

Most don’t hear the owl’s call
Until it is their time
Until it is their name
Echoing through the tall dark trees

Those who believe
Say that the owl doesn’t know
Whose name he calls
Only he who bears the name knows

There is no mistaking
When your name is called
We always hear it
Then, it is our time to go

Contemplating Life One Sunny Sunday Morning In June

Inasmuch as we’re in so far
There are…
No beginnings
No endings
No going anywhere, except
Beyond time, which
Lasts only a moment
Just as long as a breath–
Yet so powerful, ever gentle
Just as long as a heartbeat–
Surging through me, the universe
And beyond
Yes, always beyond
Why?
Because it must
Because it exists without reason
Just like you
Just like me

Choose Happiness

Clouds imagined, clouds so real
Often exactly how we feel
We look about, then it rains
Find the strength, break the chains

Some days are dead before they start
No horse in front to pull our cart
Fret we do about what’s hard
Touchy, sensitive, always on guard

We have a choice, no matter what
No need to stew till we’re hot
This is Friday, not just any day
Give it a chance, that’s what I say

Life and Death Become One

Life
Death
Bigger than us, perhaps
At the same time
Exactly what we are
What we face
Who we are

Struggle, we do
To live, and yes…
To die
But facing these things
We step
Into the abyss
We call home

I think of my father, mother
You think of yours
They were the intersection
From whence we came
They move on
We move on
And, we are left…

Not behind
But to ourselves, with God
To move from where we are
To where we end up
To where we end
And to a new beginning overtaking us
And there, life and death become one

Sunlight in the Flower Garden

Sunlight toured the garden early this morning
Igniting fire in the flowers and their leaves
I stood helpless, breathless, overcome
By the beauty only garden sunlight can create

I may never be the same
After seeing how a garden’s many possibilities
Become living, breathing realities
When sunlight awakens them from their sleep

Even the lone chipmunk
Who spends her day
Darting in and out of the garden
Stood still to receive what sunlight so freely gives

I set aside my pen and paper
Rushed into the garden to receive
The blessing of sunlight
Now my day has completely changed

An Angel Standing Watch

Should I come one night
And you find me standing
Alongside your downy soft bed
Know I am an angel watching
Assuring only sweet dreams
Fill your head while you sleep
So when you awake with the sun in the morning
Know God is smiling down upon you

Should I come one night
And the night’s storms
Break your peaceful slumber
Know I cannot calm the storms
But I can fill your head
With a peace beyond
Where any clap of thunder
Or flash of lightning can reach

Should I come one night
And you no longer need protecting
That you alone can face your demons
I’ll know my time has come to go
That another soul haunted by the night
Needs my quiet and reassuring presence
But know my sweet
My memories will always be of you

How Flowers Grow

if you sit long enough
with an open heart
and watch the flowers in your garden
beside the forest trail, or
even by the side of the road
you’ll see how they grow

you’ll find no indecipherable code
no intractable secret to be discovered, or
even anything different
than anything else in life
that makes flowers grow

if you sit long enough
with an open heart
you’ll see your own flowering beauty–
springing from nowhere
going nowhere, like the flowers

you’ll see that the flowers
like your own true nature
are part of a stream, flowing
through you, past you, and eventually
merging with all else you’ve imagined

Wheeling

Nestled along the mighty Ohio
Here because of the river, and
Her swift, powerful steel gray waters
All about, lush green rolling hills

Lost in some respects, searching
For itself amidst the flow
Of the gallant river, and life
Hoping for cleansing, perhaps a release

Long coal barges slip past
Darkened shoreline warehouses, factories
Colorful Victorian houses, from another time, wave
And smile as what once was starts over

No easy answers for any city, not for Wheeling
But then, maybe we make it all too hard–
Life, death, rebirth, being
Wheeling, a new gleam in its eyes

Seeing Past Myself

Sometimes I have trouble
Seeing past myself
Blindsided by who I think I am
Some days oblivious
To the vast world of possibilities
Beyond me, and you

I clean my glasses twice a day
Unfortunately it’s to see what I want to see
And not beyond that
I guess I’m no different–
Than you, or anyone else
My self-image directs my eyes

There’s a solution you know
It’s not as hard as we think
Open our hearts to unknown possibilities
Accept that our version of reality
Is but one of many out there
Learn to live with uncertainty

Latest Photos

You can see them by clicking on this link.

This is a photo set I shot in our village. The century home series is interesting because of the garden and the old white house contrasted with the lush green setting. The Jesus Christ sculpture in the cemetery is interesting because it stands out in the shadows of the afternoon sun. By the way, the motorcycle is NOT mine.

Sunny Sunday

Bright sunshine bounds all about
Flowers dance, even shout
True to its name Sunday
This day, happiness comes my way

The birds were up, just before five
Not far behind, the sun arrives
Wind chimes dance, a gentle breeze
Their echo lingers in the trees

Coffee’s brewing, calling my name
In bed I lay, what a shame
This day’s a beauty
Get out of bed, it’s my duty

All the work to be done
Today’s for living, having fun
I tell myself save your guilt
Get some sun, or you’ll wilt

This sunny Sunday, the start of June
This day, this month, I attune
My soul, its garden, flowers bright
This day I’ll live without a fight