Standing Nearby

So many discussions
Even disagreements
Over the meaning
Of one simple word…
Neighbor
An age-old question-
Who is my neighbor?
One who lives next door
Across the street
A mile down the road
Descriptions that only begin
To scratch the surface-
Is it possible to have
A neighbor with no
Respect to distance?
In today’s world-yes!
The next city
Another state
Across the world
But what about
The stranger who
Waits near me in a line
Walks into my classroom
Stands on the corner?
One word does not
Negate the other
Does not lessen
My responsibility
To recognize a need
Find a way to give
Offer some kindness
Wherever I am standing
To whoever happens to
Be standing nearby

I could not consider the word neighbor without thinking back to my childhood. Profound messages were presented through children’s television. As I finished this poem, two examples came to mind.

The first, a song from Sesame Street, “People in Your Neighborhood.” The chorus sings:

Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
Say, who are the people in your neighborhood?
The people that you meet each day

The second example is, you guessed it, Mr. Rogers. I have much admiration for Fred Rogers and his contributions to this world. I could not finish my writing without hearing his familiar question; “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Neighborhood Kelley Morris, piano

Connecting Circles

Sharing a couple of poems from a recent poetry writing circle.  I am so grateful for these experiences.  Reading, writing, listening, and most importantly, connecting. ❤

Thank you, Ali. http://flashlightbatteries.blog/

Worth Repeating

I am not sure
I have ever
Considered myself strong
Oh, I can easily
Recall the times
I’ve felt broken
Why is that?
Memories of weakness
Always surface first
Days that seemed eternal
Being dragged thru the dirt
Barely able to breathe-
Desperate for a cool
Drink of water-
I supposed those
Are the times that
Made me who I am
Made me strong-
There, I said it!
And it is worth repeating!
I am strong!

Transparent Trust

 Imagine a body
 Translucent
 Innocent as the skin
 Of a newborn baby
 No place to hide
 Unprotected
 Imagine eyes
 Opened wide
 Seeing everything
 For the first time
 With wonder
 And uncertainty
 Imagine a heart
 Laid bare-open
 For all to see
 Beauty and pain
 On display
 Simultaneously
 Imagine these words-
 I survived, so will you-
 As we see each other
 Through open eyes
 With open hearts
 In transparent trust 

 

Remade

An image shattered
Countless pieces
Strewn on the ground
A frightening scene
Of loss on display-
Those once interested
In pausing to look
Now quickly
Turn away
Murmuring-
Was the image even real?
An accurate representation?
Did it exist beyond the smile?
Answers don’t matter-
For the one who
Remains close
Carefully picking
Up the pieces
Gently placing them
Back together
Knows the image
Remade with love
Will offer honesty

Measuring Life

We try and try to
Measure our lives
Days, weeks, months, years
The number of seasons
We travel can never
Accurately measure
Our existence
What matters most
Is often invisible
Harder to quantify-
The full impact realized,
After physical days
Have long passed
If only our hearts
Could be weighed
An appraisal revealing
The constant flow
Of life-giving air
Transformed into
Actions of love-
Actions of love
Breathing
Life-giving air-
Leaving the heart full
But never heavy
Always overflowing
Impossible to measure

I suppose there is something about being in quarantine that makes me think more about time. Particularly being quarantined as a new year begins. But it is ok. As my Mom recently said, “Looking forward to better days!” 🙂 ❤

Time in a Bottle ~ Kelley Morris, piano

Motive

What is the motive
Behind my words?
To cover ugliness
Buried deep
Inside my core
Or reflect light
Bright enough
To blind hatred

Deceitful smiles
Worked tirelessly
To transform those
Once-searching into
Icy, cold stones
Harboring lies
Spewing hatred
Difficult to erase

Will kind sincerity
With no motive for self
Thaw angry hearts?
Is love strong enough?
Can it push thru the cracks?
My hope remains
Even though today
My heart is broken

Deciding

Rain fell all night long.
Very little ebb and flow
A steady downpour
Almost angry at times
Or maybe that was me.
Awakened once again
From restless sleep
Thinking how the rain
Must be trying to
Wash away the year
Ridding the landscape
Of any remaining
Seeds of hatred
Before they can
Take root in the soil.
Or perhaps the rain is
Offering to carry away
The sorrows of the year
At least for a moment
A comforting thought
As I finally decide to
Give up on sleep
And listen closely
Its anger seems to
Have disappeared
Mine as well
Ready to welcome
The new year
With an open heart

No Magic Wand

When the clock strikes midnight tonight, I know there will be no magic wand to wave away all the hurt and loss of this past year. Although it may provide a fresh perspective, a reminder that time continues on.

This year has brought new experiences. Some were not good, not pleasant, not on a list of wishful repeats. Others are most certainly worth remembering and repeating.

Early in my quarantine experience, I began participating in poetry circles. I had no idea what to expect. The first time I clicked that zoom link, I was nervous. But those butterflies quickly disappeared as I was welcomed by unfamiliar yet friendly faces on my computer screen.

This process of listening, writing, and reflecting through poetry has brought so much joy during this challenging time. It also brought the gift of friendship, even across great distances.

Thank you, Ali Grimshaw http://flashlightbatteries.blog/, for sharing your kind heart and making these circles possible.

I wrote the following poem during our most recent circle. ❤

Woven Strong

Small sticks and twigs
Soft pieces of lint
Maybe a leaf or two
Not a particularly strong
Sounding description for
A safe dwelling

Yet, the tiny bird gathers
Its building materials
Carefully lacing
Each item with the next-
Until a soft bed is ready
To hold precious cargo

A little like the heart
Don’t you think?
Small in comparison
To its host
Precisely as the nest
Is to the tree

Likewise held together
With strands of love
Woven strong
Yet, soft enough
To hold close
Those I love

Rainy with a Chance of Hope

Rain poured all night long. Thunderstorms make for sound sleep, but not this kind of rain. Sounded more like a flood.

I woke up several times during the night. Yep, it’s still raining. Made me feel restless.

When I finally decided to crawl out of bed and get my coffee, the sky was dark and gray. Still raining.

No lazing around. My husband and I had appointments for COVID tests this morning. Not exactly how I would have chosen to start the day, but necessary. (Feeling fine. 🙂 I will update later.)

About the time I was dressed, he said, “Look outside. It’s snowing!” Heavy white flakes were beginning to mix with the pouring rain. By the time we reached our test site, the precipitation had changed. No more rain. Just beautiful fluffy snowflakes!

I watched in awe of this lovely gift! I could feel a change in my spirit as the rain changed to snow- a perfect picture of this year that is about to end.

Yes, there has been much heartache. But there is still hope. And today, it comes in the form of countless snowflakes, each an original, falling from the sky to blanket the world outside.

Time Passes

Time is a funny thing. Looking at the clock, I see the seconds ticking away. Always the same, steady beat.

And yet, I foolishly think I have some control over its passing. Certain moments I try my hardest to slow down as if they will last longer. Others I try to push ahead, wanting them to be over already.

Here’s to taking each moment as it comes-all steady, sixty-seconds of it.

Stopping Time

What if I lie
Perfectly still
In the dark
Breaths shallow
Muscles relaxed
Surely time will
Stop for a moment
Allowing me a
Space to hold
One single note
Ringing in the air
A reminder of
Joy that sings
Even when
Days are hard
A simple request
One moment
Frozen in time
Melting away only
As your hand reaches
Through the darkness
To take hold of mine

Fast-Forward

Looking for the
Fast-forward button
Feeling like life
Is busy taking
Seldom giving
Desire to connect
Difficult to maintain
When physical touch
Is discouraged-
But time passes
No faster than
On the days
We can walk
Hand in hand
Arm in arm
Whispering in
One another’s ears
No-there is no
Fast-forward button
To be found
So, I wait
Ready for
Winter to pass
Flowers to bloom
Friends to embrace

Season of Joy and Grief

Yesterday, I had the joy of watching adult children give gifts. Each gift was purchased with that one person or couple in mind, considering interests, wants, and/or needs. Cooking/kitchen, video games, music, and coffee were some of the themes.

We laughed, ate a delicious meal prepared by my husband, Gart, and enjoyed each other’s company. Yet, even in our joy, there were hints of sadness.

We missed my father-in-law, Bob, gone for five years now. Other family members, we could not invite because of Covid concerns. Not being able to go to the hospital and visit my friend who just had her baby. Not being able to travel and visit my parents.

While acknowledging our grief, I realize others are in much more difficult circumstances. Many have lost loved ones this season. Many are isolated and alone right now.

I need to hold on to our moments of joy in hopes they will grow. Not only grow but overflow. ❤

Vastness

The vastness
Of this world
Lies beyond my
Understanding-
Both above and
Below the waters
Lives a state of
Continuous motion
Where all move
From life into
Death and
Joy must exist
Alongside grief-
Many are left
In need of rescue-
If love is held back
What happens to
Those searching
Staggering
Feeling only sorrow-
Will they fall into
A pit of despair
Or will joyful
Hearts reach out
Their hands into
The vastness
Ready to raise up
Those who grieve
Into the light of
A hopeful embrace