"That's a deep subject,"
I'd oft repeat, to chide
the speaker for such a lame,
one-word comment.

Well, indeed.
I'm in it at the bottom,
Swimming in my own tears
drowning in grief that I
must haul up bucket
by bucket.

But the hauling is needful--
the bucket-at-a time tending
a necessary process.
The grief needs to be felt and
measured--lived through
to measure me--
I do not want to come up short
again, but learn from this
deep, deep hole,
and coming back up,
take this pain, put it to
good use, to see past the
bucket and the baling
and the bawling,
on to the wishes coming true for me.

Wish me well.

I wrote this poem the day after I was terminated from a job I thought was perfect for me--teaching four year olds with Head Start. Alas, it was 'not a good fit' (I love semantics) and my heart was ripped out of my chest as I was let go and told to pack up without coming back. I never even got to say goodbye to the children.  
Several weeks on the other side of the experience, it's clear God had a much better plan in mind, but it was a dark, dark time to go through.  Now the pain has subsided, it was easier to put into print. 


Bread and fish
made the shopping list--
easily secured
at the corner grocery store,
exchanged for coins
in my pocketbook.
But what of the bread and fish
the Saviour has~~
a small amount,
yet multiplied miracles
at his hand,
sending the food away
to the multitudes?
No coins exchanged,
no energy consumed
in the getting,
no requirements to meet
other than,
"We are hungry, Lord."

Keep me hungry, Lord,
for real food.
photo by the author, luau, summer 2012
Linking with dVerse Pub for Open Link Night 123
Lots more light and words over there.

"What the Quake Experts Now Know about the Coming Cataclysm"

Ah, there's the rub, eh?
The hubris of the know-it-all mind
that deludes itself into thinking
"if one knows, why one can manage"
and if we were all experts
life as we know it
wouldn't quite creep up on us
with such malicious surprise.

Raindrops are nicely contained
in a new copper rain gutter
but comes a deluge and unforeseen storm,
those gutters fly right off the house.

Malicious surprises await us
and there is nothing we can do about it.
No planning can prepare us
No people can protect us.
We must, like Job, throw our hands
heavenward and say,
'tho He slay me, yet will I trust him."

And leave the rest to God.

linking with dVerse Pub for Open Link 117 (wow!) where poets provide words beyond words...

The week before school

I'm awake behind closed eyes
noting the whooshing sounds
of far away freeway noise
    (at 2 in the morning? seriously?)
and a howling, train-whistly
cry rises in the distance
through my open night window.
The coyotes are stirring, too.

The Psalmist David writes
of being awake through the
watches of the night
and I wonder if he lay there
with thoughts of
four year olds and beanbags
and paint smocks.
Tossed and turned about
lunch schedules and potty breaks
and keeping the floors clean from playdoh.

No. Probably not.

A modern Psalmist, I worry now
about forms and paperwork,
cramming art supplies
onto too small shelves
and where is our broom?
I forgot to break down all
the boxes we unpacked.
And my meet and greet
conferences with the 4 year old parents
will have me running day and night
this week....

All those children know is there will be
games to play and balls to bounce,
paint to drip and splatter
and friends to meet (and maybe hug).
They'll wonder about meeting the
New Teacher (moi),
but I'm guessing right now
they're snoozing soundly,
leaving those watches of the night to the grown ups.

Oh, to be a kid again before the first week of school.
I realize a good deal of the country has already begun school (or will on Tuesday the 3rd). 
But our school is brand new and it's not exactly ready. 
I have pictures to prove it.  You could ask :-)
We start next Tuesday the 10th, a Head Start program with 4 year olds. :-)
Pray for me?
Linking with dVerse Pub for Open Link Night One Hundred Twelve--wow!

Weaving my Days

If I was inside
not here--away--
I'd miss the rickety sounding
chip, chip, chip
of the cautious squirrel
feasting on my deck.

I'd be still and safe
and sure of my surroundings
but could never feel
this lacy, lingering, gentle breeze
lilting along the leaves of the trees.

My eyes would rest on the all too familiar
white walls and picture frames
instead of viewing
the silvery gossamered, billowy
waves of the web
from this everyday spider,

a dot in the middle of
his wavy-walled home
clinging, sure of his boundaries,
never doubting for a moment
he's exactly
This was originally posted as a link with dVerse Pub Open Link Night,
thought I'd bring it out again in the lingering summer Sabbath days of September.

Travels with Emily

The folks over at Tweetspeak Poetry cooked up a crazy, international incident last week when they designated Wednesday, July 17th 'Take Your Poet to Work' day. 
I took Emily Dickinson with me;
We had breakfast
Then it was time
to head out to the yard....I put her in the pocket of my garden tool belt
She hung out in the crocosmia while I weeded and pruned
and echoed her approval at the fruit of my labors
(you can hear her, right?) --a pile of weeds and garden debris
then we headed inside so she could help me unpack boxes
(books from our bookshelves--
6 month remodel project--don't ask.)
 and we found her book!
And I took her verse and parsed it into a poem (sort of)

We are long past the pensive spring
and the punctual snow is but a dream.
Emily reminds me, mid-summer
that water is taught by thirst
and she should know about water,
writing as she did about frogs
who tell your name the livelong June
to an admiring bog.

God's creatures far and wide
appeared in her lines,
not the least of which - the spider
an artist, (tho' never employed)
or the bat with wrinkled wings
a small umbrella quaintly halved.
Oh, she had a way with words--
I've never seen her likeness since.
All lines bold and italicized are from 'Selected Poems',
James Reeves Editor, 1959
You'll have to read to find out which ones are which.........

Linking for all the fun over at dVerse Pub Open Link Night 106.


The chickadees are arguing
using their mad voices
to fight over the millet
and sunflowers--
Here's a sweet 'chirp', there's 
   an insistent, "cuh, cuh, cuh"
and another voice--"chick-a-dee, dee, dee."

It's like a Bird Boardroom Brawl,
voices of different timbres and tempo
arguing about what's on the menu.
They sound as if they're starving, 
staking out their claim to dinner
like it's their last meal.

Then zoom! they're off
to another branch,
a new hiding place
as evening winds down,
and I wonder
did their mother send them
all to bed without supper 
because they wouldn't stop fighting?

Ahhhh, they may never 
get that millet meal until morning
after all.
Photo: (very small) chickadee on the horizontal piece of wood.
Linking with all the inspiring folks over at dVerse Pub for Open Link Night Wk 105--
Happy Anniversary to them!

What I saw in the Dark

Across the dining room chairs
over the lamp
and past the plants
through the window,
I spy sillhouettes
that awaken and dance
like the pebbled stones
in a child's kaleidoscope,
shape-shifting black
against the not quite white night sky.

Here the leaves move,
there they bend and turn
branches like sky-borne seaweed
in an ocean of night.
Suddenly they stop in place
as if said child
put his toy down
and left his looking,
the pebbled, dancing shapes at rest
as he wandered off to 
gaze at the dancing night sky.
Linking with Laura for Playdates and dVerse Pub for Open Link Night 100.


Six o’clock sounds
say ‘hurry home’
in the rush and whoosh
of tires sliding through
the rain soaked street.
The tick, click, tick of
the clock confirms
the dinner hour
while a bird
through the window
with his “cheerup, cheerup, cheer!”
reminds any and all
listeners that
evening is approaching.

The electronic hmmzzzzzzzz….
of the flat screen TV
insists I pay attention
to the 6 o’clock news;
but I resist the tell
and welcome instead
better clocks with softer sounds—
the message bird calling,
the rainy streets telling me
and the slow, drowsy way I pen these 
words at the close of day.
This poem was in response to a prompt from the book ‘God in the Yard’
Chapter 9—Poetry:Silence, by LL Barkat, where the author encouraged us 
to sit and listen, then record what we hear in a poem.  I highly recommend the book.

Linking with dVerse Pub for Open Link Night 98. More wonderful words over there.

Pressed into Joy

Golden oil in 
a bottle

liquid light
refracting sun in shimmers

a mirrored shape 
reflects on the surface

and I wonder at the
drop, drop, drops

of light as they
drip, drip, drip

All this tasting
joyfulness because
something was crushed
and pressed,
leaving light.
Sharing with dVerse Pub for Open Link Night 97.


the lights have left the leaves,
golden brilliance
turned out like a 
glowing candle
quieted by the wind.

the leaves float and rustle
voices, too, carried by the breeze
to this place atop a hill--
the slant a receptacle for sound
forcing it upwards 
to my ears.
I'm hidden--
He's not.
I hear Him.
He's here.
linking with dVerse Pub for Open Link Night 95. Join us?

Sweet Caroline

Caroline Kennedy signing my copy of her new poetry anthology

How like royalty she is
And I can’t help wonder to myself,
amazed at seeing a small piece of history
right in front of me
                                          (She Walks in Beauty)
And she shares her passion for words;
the power of poetry to
shape us, to share with us,
the common folk
just like her, really
                                                         (The World is so full of a number of things)
caring for our children
and a world that
clamors and clangs at them
                                          (I Corinthians Chapter 13)
and she claims (arightly)
that beauty and words
have a way of love-ing up the world
and she urges us, encourages us
inspires us with her stories
from her living room
                                          (Uncle Teddy reciting Paul Revere’s Ride)
and I’m convinced anew
that the way of life and words
which bring wonder to this world
                                           (Bring Me all of Your Dreams)
are worth the time it takes
to put it down on paper
and share with our loyal subjects—
kings and priests and children all.

We all need some poems to learn by heart.
in order: William Blake, Robert Louis Stevenson, the Apostle Paul, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Langston Hughes, all included in her book.
Caroline Kennedy was in Seattle for National Poetry Month, 2013, where she spoke and inspired this poem

Sunday Streets

Sunday Streets

The still pavement
holds layers of light movement,
life aloft,
like comforting down
on this different, slow day.

held in quiet, a soft sound
muffled by Sunday feet,
a hush of the every day
that covers them
throughout the week.

travelers less hurried
round the roads and corners,
sure of time,
if not standing still,
at least looking for them
to come.

the walls are welcome,
awaiting worship--
which only starts
when the people
leave their Sunday streets
and sit
and settle
and raise a song
one can only
sing on Sundays.
linking with the folks at dVerse Poetry, for Open Link Night, and for the first time with Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

Roller Derby

I fell flat--face first
Down on the ground

Stopped short, mid-stride
Chatting as I rolled
Around the corner.
(Why I’ll show these young people a thing or two.)

All I wanted to do was
Join in the fun—
Ah, Family Skate Night.
Fellowship with the saints,
Be salt and light,
Share the joy.

I didn’t exactly want to lay my life down—
Well, not quite like that.

Yet there I was—
Cut lip, ravaged wrist,
Flailing legs,
A pile of limbs laid low.

Brother, sister, friend
Gathered ‘round with care
And offering aspirin,
Coming to the old lady’s aid
And proving once again
There are at least 101 uses
For a Ziploc baggie full of ice.

It was totally worth it.

Eden DNA

We were made for Eden
dwellers with God
in his greenglory
and goodness
among the vining
wonder and fragrant trees.

We came from dirt
witness to his filling
of this face of the earth
with his endless
"witch hazel"
"flowering quince"
"red currant"

He charged us as

caretakers of His Garden,
resident keepers inhabiting the 
Heaven here on Earth (truly)
made for eternity (Ecclesiastes 3)
but shorting out our lives
by seeking solace elsewhere.

We sit inside man made metal walls
walking in hallways of heat and light.
We search through screens
for meaning, not meeting
but separating ourselves
from our Maker.

No wonder we want to soar like the birds
as they fly by.  
They remember Who formed and feeds them.
Linking up with dverse Poets Open Link Night 83.  More great words over there.

Cleaning the Living Room*

The dust hovers
unsettled in the sunlight
threatening to land
on the patterned grains
of tables at rest.

I observe the suspension
of noise, remembering the
buzzing, rising, howling,

The children are gone.

It is time
to put things in order.
Restack the books,
ensconce the trinkets to
their pride of place,
lay out the careful pages
of precious books
too fragile for the 3 year old.

I ponder - is it time?
Time to clear the shelves,
store the volumes,
the puzzles, the blocks,
the at-hand playthings
that entertain?
Their visits are so seldom now--
we might not need these
simple supplies of childhood.

I notice I'm moving materials,
organizing, streamlining, rearranging,
but there is more being handled
than just the objects of my

Something is being made anew in me,
a chapter of change
on the inside
where 'within' will
be the work at hand,
moving the 'furniture',
changing the view
from the inside out.

Maybe it's time to take back this space
and return it to its rightful owners,
make room for the youthful visitors
as guests (not takeover artists :-).

Yes, I think I'll clean my living room.
'clean'--there's that word again. (see my previous post for the New Year.)
Linking with dVerse Poets for Open Link night.

(p.s. I love my children and their children. Really I do.)

A very clean 2013

Well, it seems that way
Clean and all.
Open, blank, unwritten on.

And the smashing white/blue
sky is limitless today.
How unlike
our skies to be that
this day.

But it is (a gift!
Thank you, God.)

SO, making the most
of a Beautiful Good Thing
I will do what any
ordinary human ought to do.

Start well
by cleaning the bathrooms (check)
balancing two months' of the checkbook
(almost check)
and pruning the overgrown
out of shape
too tall branches on the
pink blooming viburnum
sure as it's January,
always blooms pink for me
just when I need it.

Linking with dVerse Poets Open Link Night--
first of the New Year.
More inspiring words over there....