Thanks for stopping by. My name is Gaia Hawkin. I have been writng poetry for over fifty years. Until this month I was supported by IWeb, but now I am on my own. I hope to post new poems for your enjoyment
Now is the month to notice, nostrils aquiver
The scent of Harvest yet to be, almost here,
Just not quite. The month most see as first Herald
Of the coming Winter, a Time to start to close the
Windows of the mind, to narrow experience to fireside,
To check the roof, the flannel sheets, the cocoa and accompaniments,
To think of hearty soups and fresh baked crusty things to sop them up with
In short to prepare while there is still time for the Times that need Preparation.
For me, it stands for 65 years of new beginnings
The start of the school year, newdress, new shoes
New Hopes and Expectations. My family’s New Year celebrated in September
Giving me a head start on collecting New Years to allow for new beginnings.
Who will be facing me, what will they need from me to become
The very best “Them” they can possibly be in a mere 11 weeks?
How can I grow old when every year such an infusion of heady energy
Fills me sole to crown? Yet I embrace both views, air the sheets, check preparedness
And embrace the bracing winds of change, of harvest hints and planting knowledge.
How much fun is it to be me!
THE THINNING OF THE VEIL
We come to this turning of the wheel, this Autumnal period of time
Filled with the hurly-burley withering whirl of daily importances.
School and work, bills and credits, paying back and forwards, Life.
The Harvest Home, Oktoberfest Spirit, celebrating the
Filling of barns [at least once long ago for us city dwellers]
The passing of the once named Moon Festival now renamed mid-Autumn One
But still celebrated with moon-cakes of fillings from
Saffron sweet egg, to creamy lotus nut, to my own personal favorite
Red Bean Paste, all intended to signify the sweetness of the season and the coming year.
We no longer till fields to fill barns, nor, do most of us attend classes
We do take out the flannel shirts, and heavier jeans
We do start to think of thick soups and crusty bread.
Some of us plan how and when to clear the fallen leaves
No longer for burning in pungent piles smelling of Fall.
Now gathered and bagged for compost collection
Tidy, sanitary, ecological solution, that co-incidentally
Robs children of leaf piles to fling oneself on, or crackling blazes
To warm and waken the internal caveman who knew fire as a friend.
Our celebration of the the fact that we all must die, living on only in memory
Is shown by sugar skulls, piles of candy loot trick-or-treated from neighbors
Adults choosing to dress up in more elaborate costumes than any child of my childhood
Ever even dreamed were possible, and dire warnings of Poisoned cookies
Of razor bladed apples, or of brightly colored psychedelics posing as M&M’s!!
Only a few of us set a place at table for those who passed onwards this year
Or talk of them in warm and caring voices re-animating their presence briefly.
Most have forgotten that the Veil between the Worlds is thinnest on the 31st
And that dreams on that night have special significance! I shall set out a place to
Honor those students, now long gone from my care, who no longer need to care,
And I seek to remember these portentous sleep messages. and wish you all very well indeed.
THE TRUTH IS OUTED
Did you know that the green of leaves is NOT their true color?
That it is a hue put on to make things work more smoothly
To photosynthesize more efficiently, in other words to
Do a better job of the important things that need doing,
Like food storage and laying up energy against Winter’s bite.
Those shades of green are the social face put on in youth,
Leaf childhood being more gold than green, as poets have said,
The face worn to make us fit in better, to be judged as trees
Worthy of the name. Each type of tree its own distinct shape
From primordial lobed Ginkgo, to lacy sumac leaves tell it all.
Now in the Autumn of the year, as leaves approach old age,
They begin to shed that imprinted hue and to reveal their true colors
Scarlet, crimson, gold, saffron, orange, raspberry, hues I have
Alas, no name for, all the way to oak’s sad ecru, all revealed
Almost overnight for a brief few days of color so beautiful
The eye almost aches to take it in.
We too are being pared down, our true inner colors revealed
As time and pain, joy and discouragement, victories, defeats
And stalemates leach the emerald out of each and every one .
I hope my colors are revealed to be Bold, Joyous, Myriad,and
Awesome. Yours look that way to me.
OCTOBER LOVE FEST
We drink no beer, eat no sausage or pickled radish
Polkas do not seem to play for us setting our feet a-tap.
I have never owned a dirndl, you no lederhosen,
Our ancestors were never invited to the barn raisings
Or, barn dances either for that matter.
But as you pour me a fresh brewed cup of your
Special dark brew, and as we go over the events
From Reuters to The Daily News, Chinois to
The Venerable N.Y. Times, we sigh and laugh
And feel the World’s never ending tussles.
We wonder that we foresaw some events the pundits didn’t.
We are happy to have our own Oktoberfest
One where we know that we each love and are loved
And that is as intoxicating, as filling, as exciting
For us, the lucky ones, as all the rest is to the rest.
Skying Bowl Dreams
I dream of the gift of skrying, to see the future in a still water bowl
Here, as the year begins I Will to know the unknowable
And failing, fall back on wishing well to all my fellow humans.
Here are my New Year’s wishes for you, for me, for all of us.
I wish you Health, without which nothing can be enjoyed.
Taken for granted most of the time, its lack stops us short
As bit to horse, tearing at us to make us reevaluate everything
In the light of our new lack, alas.
I wish you Abundance which is having all you need
And some left over to share with others.
True abundance, like snowfall, is created by each separate part
Being unique yet everything fitting together.
I wish you Wisdom; enough for each of Life’s ever present conundrums.
Made of Knowledge, of what we have learned through
Each of our senses, and how they fit together, tempered with
That rare gift of insight and the occasional Sartori Moment.
I wish you Love, not the Hollywood/Bollywood kind of boy meets girl.
But, the ever-deepening kind that comes from realizing the clay feet
Of our Beloved, their flaws, failures and short-comings
And loving them more and more anyway! Whether they came into our lives
By Divine Accident, Birth or just Wondrous Miracle
How well we accept them is the measure of our acceptance by them.
I wish you Happiness, which comes not from ice cream given easily
But from accomplishing what we set out to do, and accomplishing it well
In both the eyes of others and ourselves [our toughest most heartless critic]
The Joy of knowing, even if only for a moment, that we have Mattered
Have gifted the universe with the fruit of our endeavors.
But above all other gifts, I wish you the gift of Living in the Moment.
The gift every cat knows from nose to tip of tail. Not dwelling in the past, rummaging
Through the cobwebbed dusty trunk of past victories and past defeats
Not denying oneself the pleasures of the present to buy Future ones.
But becoming totally content with examining the myriad blessings
Beyond our ability to count or label, that makes up each diamond
Moment of our existence, so easily overlooked in our florescent world.
If all of these could become true for you, I shall rejoice. If some of them fail
I shall commiserate, but if you reject all of them as saccharine and foolish
I will still Love You Anyway, Fellow Traveler on the Road of Life.
NEW YEAR’S LOVE SONG
Here in 2013, we shall have our 13th anniversary, a fearful symmetry, indeed.
On each day of each year, when we have been together I can count
Blessedly on your Divine coffee, laughter and shared gentle mockery
Of the foibles of others presented to us as The News of the World.
I can count on you to open the jar [sealed by some demonic force field
I cannot overcome] to pour the liquid [somehow so slippery to me
That it escapes the cup or glass and meanders o’er table and countertop.]
To heft and carry the grocery bags,[strangely multiplied and engorged
By their time in the “trunk” of my hatch back] made finger paining
By diligent cashiers wanting to save the planet from plastic or paper.
I know we will sit and read, you having gifted me with kindle ability.
Joining me to the 21st century and the luxury of reading a 900 page
Book without hurting my somehow newly aching wrists [arthritis a new
Albeit unwelcome companion] We will share thoughts born of the
Thoughts of others, insights born of experience and humor born
Out of the dark pits survived, of our lives.
I call it Blessed that day you came to Kirkland and we talked for 38 of 41
Hours together. I call us Lucky, the Luckiest People Alive because we know
That when the hard times come, we shall not be alone, but will have
The Love born of fire and ice, tempering and turning, pounding and wrenching
That created the pure strong steel of our Relationship. I wish no less for anyone.
Happy New Year Beloved.
Solstice Broom Sweeps
Outside my window one neighbor, overcome by the darkness,
Has lit a string of multicolored stars to chase away the
Night, which here, begins 4 hours after noon. He yields to
Humankind’s intense desire to remind itself, yet once again,
That soon the Wheel will turn, the Solstice Broom will sweep,
And at its edge, each day will lengthen until even our eyes
Weak as they are can see that daylight has won the battle.
He believes his eaves hung lights celebrate the birth, long ago
And far away, of a Special Child, One who heralded by Angels
Had been foretold to end the battle of Dark and Light forever
On Light’s side. My other neighbor, lighting one candle more for eight
Sunsets, believes his lights celebrate the lifting of oppression,
The freeing of his Holy Temple from befouling enemies.
That his battle was man fought, with the agents of darkness
So Light would prevail.
I harkening to even older lightings, where Yule Logs filled
The center hearth, and small oil lamps bit back the ever present
Corner shadows. The mistletoe was hung to keep out evil and
Bring, not the right to kiss strangers, but the Right to Celebrate Friends.
The Ivy and the Holly told of plants who would not shed their leaves at winter’s
Icy blast, And herald the concept of ever green Life Force.
All their views seem valid to me, as all encapsulate the concept
That No Matter How Dark It Seems, the Light Will Come and bring
As it always has, LOVE AND HOPE, FRIENDSHIP AND the achingly
Longed for, PEACE, GOODWILL TO ALL OF US.
Why do we all tell the tales of World’s End scaring ourselves
Like children round a campfire with concepts of Battles
Fires, Floods and Earthquakes even more damaging than
The Man With the Hook for a Hand? Who haunted many a camper,
Bringing nightmares to sleeping bags, and requiring flashlights
Some talk of epic storms, others of calderas coming awake,
Meteor strikes, floods and tidal waves after mega-earthquakes
Fire raining down like on Sodom and Gomorra, [they think our
Civilization has become much like the ones struck down there]
Even Battles, the Great Armageddon [Unlikely to me, after all where have been our
7 years of World Peace] or merely nuclear Holocaust.
Basing their ideas on prophecies attributed to the Maya, the Chinese
The Hopi and even the poetic raving of a Frenchman named after
Our Lady to hide his non-christian roots from Kings and commoners.
Rest Assured. You are all saved. There are many who will at least
Learn useful camping/survival skills, and others who will come inching
Closer to living off the Grid.
But like Y2K they will awake on the 22nd still where they lay down.
Like the computer folk who worked magic, crunching endless code
To allow for 2000 not to crash every computer. So the Believing folk
Will do their magic, and California will not drop off the continent
The Atomic Bomb will not blast level Jerusalem, and we, poor folk
Will have to pay our debts, and cure our hangovers and keep on
keeping on. Because nobody gets out of here that easily.
My, This December, Love Story
You saved my life, carrying me off to Emergency Room Services
Despite my weakening denials that I was that bad. Three days later
B.P. 80/43, Blood sugar 55 I was actually doing better!
You brought me home as tenderly as can be imagined
And Posted yourself as my guardian, keeping at bay all percievable
Stresses and strains. You saved my Life, my Sanity and my chance
To bring my gifts to serve the people I am pledged to, Family, Friends,
Students and just plain folks I am supposed to meet.
As we sit, reading our kindles in the evening we may look like
Any other couple living into the quiet time of Life but looks are deceptive.
One of us is a Hero, by any definition of the word. Thank-you so very much.
FEBRUARY NEW YEAR SONG
I, who am addicted to New Year’s celebrations,
For whom failures to meet resolutions passed last month
Can be cured by second chance, and the Chinese calendar,
Rejoice in finding ways to celebrate the Year of the Snake
In beautiful and subtle ways, like its namesake.
I shall endeavor to Change My Skin, sliding out of old
Outmoded wrinkled ways of being to emerge, [after struggle
I am aware] glistening new in the sun.
I shall endeavor to awaken new ways of sensing
The World around me, sharpening my other Able-ites
Ones not usual in 68 year old women.
I shall endeavor to slip and slide over impediments
Meant to slow me down or stop me cold, for I
Shall have new ways of moving through toil and turmoil.
I shall, without much effort descend deeply into situations
Un-claustrophobic, the tunnels being travel ways not blockades
For like the snake, my home is in deep hidden places.
We of the West make snakes bear the burden of the loss of
Eden, Innocence, Simplicity, Openness, Ignorance and all
The things Adam and Eve gave up to taste of the Fruit.
On their invisible shoulders we heap Pain in Childbirth, Bad
Luck, Fate and Karma and Evil shining through their lidless eyes.
The Chinese see them as bearers of the most wonderful secrets
Gathered from their nests in Mother Earth’s Bosom.
They bring one luck and kill off the mice and voles that eat the crops
And send children to bed hungry. Golden light flows from them,
Mystical moments are theirs to command. All Hail Year of the Snake
May its blessings find your rooftop, curl about your body
And Illuminate your happy spirit.
YOU SIT BEFORE THE COMPUTER
You sit before the computer, back Atlas Bent
Beneath the burden of your World’s Implosion.
Nano-second by nano-second rush in new dire
Thoughts and purported struggles only waiting
For their Moment to Arrive. Wrapping Dark Shadow People
Haut-ers from your past [both real and assumed by dint of Life]
Around your space, sucking joy like the air from your lungs.
And I am forced, by Force Field Bubble, thick as if we were
But Parallel Universes co-existing in the same space but invisible
Or at least Unreachable one to the other, to watch and be
Totally Impotent to chase the Hovering Ugliness away
To kiss the wounds and heal them like the Medieval saints
To hug the Loneliness away and replace them all with Light and Love.
I shall not give up easily, nor let you go into that Good Night
Without a Fight. I bring my Faith, my Heart and my Fine Mind.
And I shall win the Day and the Battle because I am more stubborn
That they are. I do not stop Loving just because the path’s un-primrosed.
I will not run scared just because, at this moment I am in a La BreaTar Pit
Of the Mind. I may not look like Elizabeth I, but I have the heart and stomach to win through!
You are not afloat on the Titanic, nor the Lusitania, nor on a Valhalla Barge,
You are merely lost for a bit in the Sargasso Sea of clinging difficulty.
I already hear the wind rising, see sails bellying, and clear channel to
Haven Harbor opening. You are not Scott of the Antarctic, you are
My Dr. Livingston I Presume, and once found will never get lost again.
RETHINKING MARCH’S MADNESS
Once, the madness of March was confined to Hares, a rabbit-like animal
Whose wild gyrations of Springtime Lust gave rise to the saying
“Mad as a March Hare”, [he’s one of Alice’s little tea buddies.]
Hares make nests of soft down torn from their chests in February,
By March, the empty nests were available, albeit well worn,
For small birds who lay blue eggs with pink spots in this convenient
Form of early manufactured housing. A child who found such an egg was guaranteed
A year of great good luck. Good eyesight at least, I bet.
As a child, every Spring our whole family gathered in an conclave
Only marginally less Sacred than the one of Cardinals meeting today,
To be retold the story of one Man’s Stand against the Armed Might
Of those above him, how he won success through Divine Intervention
And of the 40-year journey, whose end point he never entered. To me that story seemed set
in “Long Ago and Far Away” but the company was fun and the wine was sweet .
The ceremonial retelling had its own majestic beauty. Now I know that we
All are in thrall to a Pharaoh of our own making, Work, Gain, Power, Success
All take up our time and energy, keep us from doing other things we know we should
And hold us captive until we are sucked dry ready for discard.
Only standing up to those things, defying them and demanding to be free
Will save us, despite the long time of travail it might take to get things balanced again.
Those of us who love our family, rejoice in the company of our friends, have time
To play with our pets, smell the roses [although not yet in bloom] and in general
Live a Life that others will look upon with envy for its rich diversity
Bid you join us this March, be Mad, defy the standards of the day
Refuse to be wage slaves, and upon putting thing aright never forget
How amazing it is to see that crocuses come flower first
Then put up their stems and leaves, natures emissaries of Spring.
I SEND MY LOVE AND BIRTHDAY GREETINGS
This is the month that marks the anniversary of the one really spectacular,
Wonderful and Wonder Making thing I was ever to have [as twere]
A hand in creating. The birth of my only child, and as Aesop said before me
She is a Lion. Each contraction marked by snow flurry told of her arrival
No words can describe the joy she has been ever since, no Snow Princess
But a source of warmth and beauty, art and LOVE, capitol letters all thru.
If all the unborn children in the world were to be lined up for my selection
I would have chosen no other! I became, at that exact moment ,one of a long line
Sending our Mitochondrial DNA forward on generation at a time .
ONE MORE LOVESONG, SUNG VERY WARMLY
You have entered my Life so deeply we are braided together.
We KNOW without speaking, can, with a glance, tell each everything needed.
You can, amazing as it seems, hear the song strummed on the
Lyre of my DNA, as it curves and twirls in my Life Force , Creator.
I cannot imagine how I did without you for so long, so lonely in many ways,
You bring the edges of my sometimes tattered and torn
Spirit together and mend them invisibly just by your continued being.
How wonderful to welcome Spring into our lives.
SPRING EQUINOX 2013
I watch the buds on my crabapple struggle
They swell and swell, capturing light and moisture alike
Each day they appear to grow like women in their ninth month
To proportions awesome and fecund
Then, as if by magic, to some unknown, unknowable schedule
All at once my tree, once as barren and bare as winter
Is dresses in shades of pink so delicate yet intense
My breath stops in awe and I am reminded that
Once again Spring has sprung.
APRIL POEMS 2013
My windows, winter shaded with what has blown on them,
Still, cannot hide the riotous colors outside my home-world.
I cannot think which more embodies yellow, the tall trumpeting
Daffodils, the gracefully swooning Forsythia or the soon to be
Moon globe etheria of the dandelions, even side by side I can’t tell.
Our Grape hyacinths, wild cousins of their pale pink and blue
Belled flowered tamed descendants, stand bluer even than the sky.
My flowering moguget de bois tree’s white down pointed blooms
Are clearly outshone by the now shocking pink newest leaves.
These will change from a pink worthy of the best sunset
To an ivory rivaling the finest Chinese porcelain, then finally go to green.
These earliest spring flowers, who follow the brave crocuses,
Display themselves with a rejuvenated palate that would make
A Dutch Master weep to try to replicate their ephemeral glory
While painting them in the pink snowflake swirls that once were
Flowering cherry tree ornamentations, now falling thru the air.
Soon the Plums and Crabapples will also deck themselves in blossoms
And all around me will be beauty, and the sound of Pacific Northwest
Sniffling, as we once again discover allergies even to the most
Amazingly gorgeous products of fecund Springtime.
APRIL LOVE IS NOT FOR THE VERY YOUNG
April Love is for the ones who have endured the long Winter!
It is to reward those, whose “thick” was mud-like gelatinous mire,
Clouding the mind and darkening the outlook until we are human
Houses of Usher only waiting for a strong wind or mild earthshake
To crumble with epic moaning and mushroom shaped clouds of debris.
Our “thin” was like the gruel ladled out into our starving hands
Making us want to cry “More gruel please” to a Universe averse
To coddling us with water thin oatmeal, or whatever gruel is made of.
Our “thin” was the sleeting drizzling rain that froze our bones
But left no gorgeous rime or drift of flakes to whiten our winter.
The worst part of all is, utterly expected, those moments in
Relationships where things have gotten Winter thin on the ground,
Winter muddied in our minds, soiled and unappealing, “thick”
With feelings unexpressed, or expressed badly or only mis-heard.
From those Winter Moments April Love comes with sunlight
With the recognition that buds will burst and the darkness
Is losing its Solstice ground for Spring’s Equinox has come and gone.
Lift our hearts up, and raise a toast to those who have survived
We Band of the Brave and the Stubborn, who persevere onward.
“Hurrah for April Love, a cup newly sweetened with the promise of things to come”
REMEMBRANCES OF MAY
When I was four, I sat in school, first grade proud of myself,
To show teacher I too could weave a May Basket for Mom.
Wobbly weaving in and out, up and down Quincy Elementary’s
Attempt to weave what once was Maypole dancing’s job
To welcome May’s flowers.
We used construction paper, to construct baskets only a
Mother could love, teacher pre-cut strips in yellow, pink and green
The only colors un-funded art had left on our school shelf. We had brought
Emptied tin cans to fill with dirt, labels more colorful than contents.
Hopefully we poked in the seeds, stubby fingers making dirt dints
Now I know we should have been given beans, those hardy sprouters,
Or split sweet potatoes whose eyes would weep vines to trail window
Curtains, spilling spindly leaves all over. But we were given seeds
Left over from someone’s spring planting. Teachers scavenged then.
None of these mis-constructed baskets, glued with a paste-like
Substance made of flour,water and salt, ever lasted more than the trip home.
Caring moms secreted scotch tape repairs at night, to save our face
And no seed ever sprouted more than the first pair of leaves
Giving Mom another false promise of better things to come.
While we waited for the paste to dry, we practiced “Duck and Cover”
The Fifties version of “Ring Around the Rosy” with Atomic Plague
To be feared, [rather than rat-flea foes we had the Russians.]
Since the basket couldn’t hang on the refrigerator door, the home
Gallery of the day, it sat in the table center, just as if it had been lovely
Florist flowers instead of can-of- pea labeled, never-to-become dreams.
I wonder if the first graders now, pausing between preparing for
The tests to determine their improvement, the planned activities
Requiring paid adults, [dirt lots not being available anymore,]
The Day Cares where no one is allowed to care, or share a hug,
Just before Little Mac dinners are consumed, have even a moment
To see the crab apples bloom and smell the scent of emerging spring.
MAY I LOVE YOU
Like the Delphic Oracle, punctuation still is everything
When de-coding sibylline pronouncements. Am I saying
How very much I love this month, fecund with promise and unfurling
Leaves? How the mystery of cherry and crab apple blossoms
Which having neither scent nor fruit expend their energy in glory
Will our sap-selves to rise and head skyward like larks t morn.
Or am I asking permission to open my heart to you, to unfurl love motes
Like old apple trees who have so few blossoms any longer
Twisted and bent, no longer saplings or even young trees, that strive
To produce fruit somehow even more delicious to tooth and tongue
From years of practice at fruit bearing?
Maybe only the poet knows, and she’s not telling wanting, childlike
To have it both ways, to let you the reader ponder, turn the ideas around
And as you should always do, decide what it means to you, and having decided
Wait until next reading to change your mind again.
IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
My crabapple, last to bloom of its crabapple compatriots,
Holds its blossoms the longest, as if to say “I may come last
But I last” adding to the eye joy of my neighbors and I, while
Adding to the translation woes of those who read these words.
It will leave brilliant Chinese Red “Apples” each one coved with a thick skin
That most resembles the bunches of Lychee Nuts I last saw heaped
In scarlet magnificence in a fruit stall in Xian.
The gardens here vie in unstated competition for
Most Perfect English Garden showing that so well composed
Color palate where no two colors conflict, and height is as important
If not More, than odor, and there is a faux sense of exuberance.
Hollyhocks to the rear, phlox in the front, a place for everything
And everything in its appointed perfect place.
My Back yard is based on survival! Thrive or Die is my motto!
The Vinca is blue grey violet, against its dark green earth hugging
Foliage. The flowering Lily of the Valley trees, [we called
Japanese Andromeda back home in Boston],
Are grown in my garden, more for the amazing colors of their leaves
Deep rich red at first, fading to electric pink, then white, jade and finally
Dark green, than its small bell shaped flower clusters.
The rest was ruthlessly covered with a grey-pebbled surface
Which every winter, attempts to turn green with moss, only to be Power
Washed away when spring comes around. I once dreamed
Of removing it, and putting in vegetables, but they were saved.
I recognized that the only ones that would grow under my
Extremely laiseze-faire agenda was the ubiquitous zucchini
One of the pair of vegetables I prefer to eschew [Brussels Sprouts
Before you ask] Tomatoes never ripen, cukes stay small and bitter
Other people seem to be able to grow them, but for me, they
Roll over and die, not a pretty sight at all.
I haven’t tried potatoes, who they say, Love sandy soil,
But the old gravel pit’s legacy of rocklets Bodes Ill.
I shall have to remain the person who eats the
Stunning excesses of Other People’s gardens.
Why in this case have I sided with the grasshopper over the ants?
JUNE SPOON CROON TUNE
You love the old Big Band sound, the memory laden
Songs of wars gone by, and forms of jazz I myself cannot
Count as music. You watch Korean Girl Bands, Chinese
PLA singers entertaining the troops, North Korean girls marching.
You represent the most varied music lover I know.
You play your faves for me, and often I listen in a state of
Jaw Dropadge and strange amusement. Outclassed always
But like a golden retriever I press my intellectual nose to the
Glass Door of your knowledge, secure that if I wait long enough
You will come home and take me for a walk.
I ONCE WAS A YANKEE DOODLE DANDY
When I was growing up we had a neighborhood parade
Every block created floats [pullable by car or bike].
June was spent in feverish meetings selecting a theme and dividing the tasks.
Every child needed a costume, a role and a place.
Really, no one was left behind! Moms sewed costumes
Teens painted signs and slogans to be held by the marchers
Dads built the float, and tacked on the bunting. Sandwiches
Were made and distributed, [My only time for the annual
Bologna and white bread with mayonnaise! What a treat!!]
People lined the block to see the High School Marching Band
Swelter by in full regalia. The Marines were the color bearers
Red white and blue dress uniforms stealing every maiden’s heart.
The Navy, in dress whites [ditto the throbbing hearts] sent a drum
And bugle corps. [As did every Catholic Church in the neighborhood].
The Mayor and city council as well as Miss Quincy and her court
Sat in red white or blue convertibles donated thanks to the local Ford dealership.
John Phillips Sousa reigned supreme, and we marched two miles
Making certain every neighborhood got to cheer and salute.
Then we reached the beach where prizes and speeches were delivered
Amazing spreads of jellos of every hue filled with sweet or savory
Mountains of starches slathered in mayonnaise and celery vied
To give us threatened ptomaine with fried chicken [homemade, no colonel here]
Hot dogs charred on the outside, to perfect crunch, hamburgers no
German ever saw, assorted green and fruit salads all the latest
From that kitchen almanac The Ladies Home Journal.
Add in pies, one crust, latticed, two crusts, streusel topping
Cans of Coke and gingerale in coolers, all completed with
Watermelon slices thick as your hand dripping and succulent.
And it’s a wonder how we even fit in the train to Boston to be
Part of the 100,000-person concert on the esplanade.
We all stood and sang patriotic songs, then listened to the 1812
Overture, played with Paul Revere’s bells [cued by radio] and
Ending with the 101 Massachusetts Howitzers thundering the
Boom Booms over the Charles River while fireworks went off
To the joy of everyone turned child to see the sky flowers
Only God and the Angels could pick.
We had no inkling of the Future, of the loss of the Dream
That all could be equal under the law, that all could find Peace,
Justice and the pursuit of Happiness without ripping the same
Out of the hands of others. We had never lost a War,
We had the Technology to live well, one and all, and we had the Belief
That the Fall and Decline of others did not apply to us.
We have a Parade in Kirkland, and we may have fireworks
If someone will donate the money to the city, The marchers will be
Kids on bicycles, costumed dogs and a few High School bands and
Cheerleaders, there will be mild applause, but no cheering
And Pop Renditions of drinking songs will replace John Phillip.
I want my old Fourth celebration back, but we cannot go home again.
That world has marched on, leaving my 69 year old self in the dust.
And, I realize that is as it should be. [As it must be, as it is]
And I no longer wave the bunting and the flag myself. TV will not
Cover the Boston concert, and out here, fireworks happen on whatever
Saturday night is closest, although I think the picnics still happen.
I myself, my guy and my dogs, will hunker down near air-conditioning
Out of the killer sun and heat. I think I will char a hot dog or two
For old Times sake, and make a gluten free pasta salad, and maybe
Just maybe a hunk of watermelon while I hum “Be Kind to Your Web Footed Friends”.
JULY IS A LOVER’S TREAT
True love is homemade ice-cream with real fruit
Crank turned with determination or electricity, whatever.
It is steaks cooked on the grill by a guy who knows
Just how to make them for each of us.
It is corn cooked in its leaves so succulent butter is un-needed.
It is sitting in the evening looking at the glow from sun powered
Lights, feeling at total ease with ourselves and in total
Enjoyment of the company. I sigh with contentment
You smile at my sigh and we both know that we have
Come to a very good place, together, indeed.
AUGUST 2013 POETRY
STAR SHOWER DOG DAYS
August contains the Days of the Dogs. Named
Not for the pups under the porches panting
But for the Dog Stars who fly overhead commanding the horiscopic world
To note their passing, and marking our high dark Eastern Washington
Skies with shooting stars shining like diamonds cast off by some
Oriental Potentate, uncaring of their value, scattering diamonds instead of pearls
Before our childlike wondering eyes.
So many wishes ladened on them
For Blessings from the Great Unknown, they fall not to earth
But to their fiery death, sometimes to drop a jewel-like stone
[Magical energy givers to those who find them] waiting to be worn
In rings and pendants by those who seek to ally themselves closer to the
Great Mystery. Now, with my new eyes I shall really see them
The littlest as well as the greatest, all streaming light behind themselves.
Maybe someday I can wear one too?
AUGUST LOVE IS SUBTLE
August Love is subtle, heat and humidity divides
Beds into “mine” and “yours” for those who share
Although dogs still like to snuggle close, puppy-pack piles
More important than sweating Two-legged’s complaints.
Cats too seem able to lie on faces and chests to continue their
Eighteen hours of sleep a day. I thought they were nocturnally inclined
Until I shared ten years of August nights, with ones
Who shed instead of sweating leading me to extra love for my
Hair growing Maltese who don’t, at least, lose a follicle’s worth at all.
We still sip your coffee, rich as friendship every morning
Laughing at the news you read to me, which is better for our souls than tears.
We sit amazed at the antics of those in whom power was entrusted
And rant at Congress locked tighter than an oiless engine on a freeway.
Searching news from other countries to find out what is happening in our own.
Still we are thankful that even if our e-mail is read
All they will find are poems and plans too benign for interest.
Because the wild rebellion we foster is one where we find Love
In a time when others lay Love to rest, and support when others are falling
And a partner with whom to share joy, and sorrow, and contentment
And have the Time to look at each other and smile, and be totally who we are.
I acknowledge how Wonderful, and full of wonder it is to be us.
NOVEMBER 2013 POEMS
THE FESTAL MONTH’S ADDRESSED
You are double blessed this month with two Holidays
Hanukah, so early it must be soon the 13th month
Is added back to the calendar to hold the seasons steady.
8 days to celebrate a miracle, the burning of an oil lamp.
Now, the menorah has 9 candles, one for every day
Lit by the hopes of those who wait for the miraculous,
And 1 for the lamp itself, now long ground to powder.
Alive only in the stories told to tie the family together
And to bind the togetherness into an unbreakable bundle
Signifying tribe and Bible Books revered.
The other has its battles scars and hopes for Miracles as well.
Norman Rockwell loved you Thanksgiving, he painted you
In angelic happiness, three generations bound by gustotorial
Indulgence, soporific Turkey pheromones and general sense
Of Plenty and Well-being, of Families that never existed in
Such a state of bliss. Grandma worried the turkey would be dry
Daughter -in-law despised the stuffing having HER family recipe
Ready for the day when she would be Kitchen Queen.
The men fretted about missing the game, only to lie
Stuporous and nodding before the TV set, drumstick and breast induced
Pacification. Children waited for the screening of Kansas’s most
Familiar movie, and Dorothy and Toto and the folk would sing
The witch and her cohorts terrify and all would be well
If a magic pixie did the dishes. [She never visited us]
Today the turkey may be Tofurky, dressing skipped for fear of gluten,
Vegetables steamed, no cream sauces to clog arteries, or
Tantalize Taste buds. Pies [Pumpkin, mince meat, succulent custards]
All are banned for fear of caloric overdose, even once a year
Is Once Too Much. But what the table lacks in savor, will be made up for.
Children can watch Toto anytime, but familial revelations blowing
Off Lids carefully maintained for years, battles of scarring furor
Happening right at table as people, driven to the madness of Revelation
Inform families of sexuality long suspected, or knowledge totally repressed.
Unsuitable new beloveds are revealed [both families horrified to see the reaping of the
attitudes they have sewed. So different from intention] And long held hatred
Envy and unhappiness bubble up and burst forth, heat scintillating
From every word, like Old Faithful gone quite mad and erupting here.
We shall go to Shari’s with the other family-less outcasts.
We will smile at acquaintances we have made over many visits.
Kind words and laughter will fill our ears as waitfolk strive to fill
Our plates and cups and dishes are no concern of ours.
We shall eat the salad, the sweet potatoes [lightly candied]
Adding gravy to the meat, munching green bean casserole like
It was 1954! And save a bit of room for Shari’s specialty, pie.
The servings will not bend the plate, or challenge Everest
For being piled high, but we will leave the table content and filled
With carefully listed calories beside each offering one can pick and choose.
I think we may have the best time of anyone, because we have that gift.
I wish each of you as much joy and contentment as we will have
Wherever you shall be, whatever you are celebrating and whoever you
Have chosen to be and be with. Goddess Bless.
TO COCOA OR NOT TO COCOA; NOVEMBER’S QUESTION
Is it too soon to light the gas fireplace [Love the heat and low maintenance]
Take out the flannel shirts and sheets and cuddle under lap afghans [robes]
In general surrendering to impending winter? Or should one just add a sweater,
Turn up the heat a tad, and drink cool water in defiant refusal to notice
That the days have gotten shorter, that hoar frost, frosts the grass and fallen leaves
Our day still starts with coffee and the mockery of the news.
North Korea has a team sport called Team Forced Marching! O.K. I find myself
Believing that, it was their news story after all! Google maintains the barges
Sinisterly looming in Bays on opposite coasts are just for making glasses.
And Some still label Snowden a traitor instead of a whistle blowing treasure.
Every day we find our once proudly held privacy has gone the way of
Our Primacy, and we learn we need to lean on each other’s strengths
To keep the laughter from turning bitter. But we do!! We are triumphant.
Jobs may end, that allows new ones to be entered. The world turns at the
Same pace as yesterday, and the only thing that changes is how we view its
Whirl. We choose to be a team of two, who will decide the flannel shirt
And Sheet thing at differing pace. But I shall never turn down his
Home made cocoa, and if you tasted it, neither would you. And we will
Weather and Whether the storms and blessings, and still share Love.
At my age, that is one hell of a good thing to celebrate.
USING OCTOBER’S SENSES; All Six
October rips the chlorophyll Burka that’s shrouded
The true colors, of the leaves, hiding them in Summer green,
Now the they stand revealed as they have always been [just out of sight].
This one leaf is butter yellow at base, orange sherbet, then intoxicating pink
Edged with a crimson so rich a nearly-maroon it catches my breath.
Whole trees flame along the road, til I like Moses hear the speech
Of the One Unknown and Unknowable who has painted them so.
The taste I have lingers from long ago, not replicable here.
We stood in line, docile as Brits, content to watch through windows
The transformation of tartly sweet apples from globe to brownish pulp
To amber liquid spilling out so fast the vat beneath can barely contain the flow.
From vat, a spigot turned by wrists hardened to human steel by repetition
Allowed the liquid lusciousness to fill quart jugs, change jug with left hand
Turn, fill, move to conveyer with right, only his smile showed he enjoyed
The task. Hot, crispy just-fried donuts in one hand cold fresh cider in the other
Quintessential October flavors, never forgotten once sampled.
Autumnal air smells different than Spring, it has a tingly tang
Of coming cold, a musty crunchy scent of the first few leaves to
Cast themselves off wind bent branches who launch themselves
Into gutters, onto rooftops, and a few onto the green of grass
Below, which here in the PNW is unaware of impending winter.
People begin to add wool to their garments, subtle hint of
Cedar storage against moths, subtle hint of wet dog as we walk
Our protesting doggie who hates having wet feet worse than
Anything else! [He is carried from the car as a reward].
October rain is more pointed more driven, it hammers rather than
Knocking on window panes, warning of the time when it will fall,
Sleet filled from the sky, to lie like crusty sugar on the ground.
Now, it just announces that the thinning of the veil between this world
And the Other is arriving at month’s end. When modern children
Call out “Trick or Treat” unaware of all the once ominous meaning of
All Hallow’s Eve, or even the significance of Samhain’s earlier manifestation
Of a Sacred Time when people should think on those who have gone this year
And wish them well on their magical journey, maybe even back to us again.
The air has layers now, colder on the ground than on my shoulder
Sign the earth has begun cooling, [Global Warming to the side],
Those creatures more attuned to what is happening, less insulated
From the outdoor’s menacing evolution towards winter
Have begun to store and hide, the food they will need shortly
Unable to count on it once frost takes a bite of nose and toes.
The very air seems to weigh on one a bit heavier as barometers
Drop to warn of what is approaching in slow but unstoppable pace.
One feels a need to bustle and protect, to put up the storm windows
And batten any household hatches vulnerable to storm.
And those like me sense the presence of change, the glory that Time
Is a Wheel whose Turning can no more be stopped than King Canute
Could control the ocean tides. Will we nill we, forward we are drawn
Towards the dying of the Sun, The birth of the Son, or even the descent
Of Persephone to her dark Underworld Home, there to stay until
Spring arrives and she can return to bring blossoms and bounty
To those of us who recognize her presence gone now for awhile.
You bought the complex of filters and mixture of grounds
That will make Vietnamese Coffee for us one nippy morning.
Created where Cuisine of France met and blended [in total
willing happiness] with the foods of a country that never knows cold.
Its taste lingers after each swallow to allow one a Swan’s Way
Petit Madeline moment, where unbidden the dreams and passions of
Youth dance once again behind our closed eyelids.
The process of turning the grounds into beverage, the amount of
Condensed milk to be coaxed from the can [It is too thick to pour too thing to scoop]
Each step needs patient, trained and careful hands, hast makes WASTE
In all CAPS. Too bitter and it fails to please; likewise too cloying sweet.
It requires a sense of balance and dedication, and in this case Love.
You do the magical little treat things for love of me, and I am so
Aware of each one, I wonder what I ever did to deserve this.
Happy Twelfth Anniversary my dear, may we have many more.
MY TRUE NEW YEAR
Since 1948 you have been the month of the New Year for me
New clothes, new teachers, new situations, students, chances
To expand my Universe, sometimes even exponentially.
For my family, of childhood; religious New Year as well.
Chance to overheat in winter clothing, new bought to impress others,
Wool pricked back of knees already feeling flammable from
Nylons first, then panty hose [altho trained to wear panties underneath anyway]
Toes squeezed together, American Foot Binding [women amputated little toes
To fit a smaller shoe size]. Girdle making new fat folds above the place
Normally their home. And ritual recitations of a language really unknown.
[Being a girl, in those days, “No need to Know” printed on my female forehead]
Now I face my Swan Song last Fall Quarter, last Quarter ever
Rusticated to be replaced by two new [debt paying, child raising faces]
Young people, patching a living from the stony soil of Academia’s
Part- Time Adjunct cheap labor practices.
I knew it was coming, and took the time to Recognize Metamorphosis in progress.
First the caterpillar eating the leaves of learning, jaws moving all daylight hours
Sharing what was found to be most tasty/ useful/ required for the job.
This is the Summer and Fall of my pupa/cocoon slowly weaving a shelter for change.
Soon to be re-birthed as Life Coach, Therapist and Counselor helping others
End pain and fear, the butterfly flying free, soaring over continents of care with ease.
How wonderful to know the Future still lies ahead, waiting for me to dip toe and go.
Do not open a cocoon to help the butterfly within escape more easily.
The struggle to pull oneself through the tiny opening Fate has decreed
Shapes the Shape to Come, slimming, muscle building it, squeezing out the excess
Butterfly tempered by the work of birthing a self already born once, can fly
Monarchs flying over whole hemispheres following the sun’s compass.
I would be such a one myself.
Butterfly popping out of pupa opened by well meaning hand
Has still the caterpillar shape, fat and soft and flabby muscled.
Wings hang limp and weighted down, folded still, no way to open
Unable to walk or lift itself off the perch you made it flops on its side
Lies feet up waiting to be bird’s amuse bouche, [or better amuse bec]
Nature and Fate have their Ways and Purposes.
SEPTEMBER LOVE SONG
You think to move the downstairs space about to allow
Almost pre-constructed, awaiting assembly, office where I can work.
New space for new journeys to begin. Everything must shift
Even as I do, exterior mimicking the interior I am constructing.
Not pre-assembled, no directions printed but assembly most definitely required.
How wonderful to be so Loved, so Held, so Harbored!!
Almost as hard for you as me to accomplish this change
Blessed be the Heart Willing to Work for Another.
One by one my neighbors loop and hang and swath
Brilliant white led lights leading the eye skywards,
Techno stars caught by bare branches, porch eaves, & window sashes
Colored fairy lights, some twinkling, some steady
Make every building somehow, Hansel’s gingerbread concoction.
In living-room bay windows, Evergreens appear, conical mini
Church spires, soon to be bedecked in more silver and jewels
Than even the Great Elizabeth got to wear, and all made lovely enough
That Faberge himself would have incorporated their designs
To enhance a Tsarina’s egg.
My family has declared that only home/hand made items
Will be ensconced beneath the branches of their fir.
It will be hung with ornaments, some from grandparents,
Others hand-made for 48 years, cherished for childish bravery to
Create tree gems that do not follow shape or custom of
The busy Chinese ornament makers of the plastic present.
Some neighborhoods vie for Best In Show, Most Colorful, Most creative and
Even Most Inspiring! Willing to slay to have the sleigh that wins.
Our’s is a kinder gentler place, we lend our lawn to our next-door
Fellow townhouse dwellers and they happily create a bigger better
Display every year, and that gladdens our hearts as much as theirs.
The darkness settles here by 4:00 o’clock and the day is
None too bright, gray not blue skies, lowering clouds
And morning ice fogs that do not clear until almost noon
Or, even sunset! That’s when the sensors sensing dusk
Turn on the lights one place after the other as if orchestrated,
And we, 21st century folks, indulge in a techno Onslaught
Against the dying of the Light.
WINTER SOLSTICE BLESSING
No matter what, if any Faith, lightens your heart this blustery
Season, you will have [even if uncelebrated] Winter solstice that
Magical moment when the great pendulum of time alters its stride
And daylight begins its hard-won climb to Springtime balance.
The days begin to lengthen, so slowly at first, only noticeable
Because the sunlight hit the stone at the end of the processional
Of great gray standing stones, or niche or rivulet mouth depending.
They always watched for the Solstices eager to celebrate the changes.
So I use this moment to wish you all a Blessed Solstice that
It bring you all that is supportive, comfortable and wonderful.
For, even when you least know it, you are deeply worthy of love.
You’ve changed our grind to one that’s magical
5 parts French Roast 1 part Vietnamese coffee
With its overtones of chocolate and undertones of butter.
Now when I sip and listen and learn, my tastebuds stand at
The same attention, our littlest dog assumes when treats
Become evident! And the wiggle just as enthusiastically!
Your loving touch to brew every morning the perfect cup
Is as [if not more] appreciated 13 years into our braided lives
As when we first began to set this ritual into motion.
We are only young at heart, only agile in spirit and only
Growing in mind, but that, my dear, is all we need,
That and warm flannel sheets, massive patience with each other
And great-shared senses of humor will win us through to Spring
JANUARY POEMS 2014
I always thought of January as facing both Past and Future,
A time to examine what I have accomplished out of the
Grab bag of resolutions and plans from last year.
Saw it as a chance to smile over things accomplished that
I had never even dreamed possible, yet happened.
I’m given a chance to dream the Future I want knowing,
That what I desire may suffer a sea change in Life’s translation.
Now I think of Her as an exciting challenge, a Time to Create
The New Realities I know I want in my life. I choose to Release
And let go of the Past. My Time Machine is out of order and I can’t
Go back and change/redo a single thing! I can only eat the Bitter,
And learn how to make Sweet choices. But I only have to chew
And swallow the Bitter once; I shall not keep refilling my Life’s Cup
From that source. Instead I choose to take a different path than before
I choose to go with whom I want as companions to the Destination
I have chosen for my Best and Highest Good.
My friends I lift a cup of Joy to you and hope you too choose to embrace
The Future because you are worthy of lovely things.
I RE-INVENT MYSELF WITH GLEEFUL ENJOYMENT
I have reached the age where most folks decide
To slow down, smell the roses, rock on a potential porch,
And in short, turn their lives over to the past, and the care of others.
People give in to gravity and sag slowly until they become invisible,
In this great country now dedicated to glorifying the young and
Clinging to youth desperately, Hair Replaced, Surgical Tucks & Tweaks
Botulism injections, 14 hours in the gym, constant dieting, allowing one
Only to achieve failure. No one is fooled long, and then the seekers
Are despised. They cringe and age and melt like Dorothy’s witch
Melting in the harsh light of day. They go as quietly as they can to meet Death.
I shall not join them on that porch just yet. I let my hair go white
Then cut it nearly Marine short. I make up my eyes to call attention
To their sparkle and command. This is the first time in 46 years that I shall not go
Back to school in either role. Instead I re-invent myself, taking along the best
Tools of my trade to open doors to others on how to live a happier life
On how to thrive where others struggle to survive. On how to make the
Hard choices to find one’s Best and Highest Good.
I have become a missionary of a sort. A woman with a mission
To help others help and heal themselves. To lift others up from where they are
Now and help them to create the Where they want to be.
An older Joan of Arc, with plans for a very different ending, I
Seek out audiences, show them how to work the Magic, and
Take Deep Joy and sense of completion every-time one of them has successes.
Come be with me, the Best is yet to Be, how much fun we will share.
JANUARY LOVE SONG
You are my rock, the one I know
Always stands firmly based
In what others call reality.
You are the foundation of the castles
I build out of thin air and desire;
Without you they would come,
Like Jericho’s wall, tumbling down.
Each morning as you amuse me with
The News of a World gone slightly mad,
A you make your wonder coffee, recipe
Spanning the hemispheres, amazing.
You remind me where I am supposed to be
And what the World expects me to do.
And I take it from there, reveling in the knowledge
That, somehow, in some strange amazing way
You are in my life, in my love, my future
And my wildest dreams. Thank Heaven.