Clouds …

… My ever moving art gallery

My daily weather report

It matters not where I am

In the comfort of home

A car on the freeway

Among other drivers

The slow     the speeders     motorcycles

That startle as they roar

Past

My attention is out the

Window

My eyes on the sky

 

Clouds are like people

Like everything in the natural

World

Different shapes

Colors

Different purposes of existence

Exuding an aura of diversity

Like everything alive on earth

Diversity is life

 

As a child

I imagined myself lying down

On big white puffy comforter

Clouds

But never on those forecasting

Storms

Darkly ominous blankets of solid gray

Over my head

Then rushing across the sky

Pushed by erratic winds

Still drawing my eyes upwards

Always upwards

 

Nothing has changed

Clouds     my ever moving art gallery

My daily weather report

Awake each morning

I open the shutters

Look through branches

Of the Sycamore     Crepe Myrtle tress

To find the clouds

Only to discover     now and then

The sun has risen on this day

Into a cloudless blue sky

 

Spring

Today

The first day of spring

Already Sycamore births her

Small green leaves

That will evolve into larger leaves

Adorning her branches

Until far into fall

Then drop     one by one

Slowly to the ground

I cannot remember the song

From the very first robin

Singing its arrival

Early in an Illinois spring

Its song brought me joy

After a long cold snowy

Winter

California springs brought

Mockingbirds

Their songs ringing out

Through the Myoporum

Over the canyons

Then eerily at midnight

Into the early hours

Of the new day

I’d hear their trills

I miss that first robin

I miss the mockingbirds

Heralding spring for me

The air around me feels silent

Save the lone mourning dove

Who calls     calls     calls

No one answers

Then

Mating season for crows

Arrives

Their squawking voices

A different harbinger

That spring is here

I tell myself

They too

Are of the natural world

For I am given

Love everyone everything

Yes

Even noisy crows

A Silent Encounter

 

The day is overcast

Sunless

Not unusual for Arcata

A town in Northern California

Blessed with Redwood Trees

Twenty miles south

Of the Oregon border

Where we walk the path

Around the lagoon

Of the Arcata Marsh

Looking for herons

Ducks     egrets

And other birds

That come and go

With seasons of the

Year

 

Tall reeds wave in the breeze

From the water

Bushes     small trees

Grow everywhere we walk

Framing the gravel path

That now leads us

Almost full circle to where

We began

And there     in the middle

Of the path

Stands a giant white egret

Like a spotlight

Its brilliant white

Shines in our eyes

Still as a statue

It signals

Come no closer

We wait

Still as the egret

But take our fill of observation

Never before so close to

Perfection

 

The egret turns around

The giant wings reach out

Fold in again

Then making an obvious decision

It walks regally into the waiting

Water

 

We remain motionless

In wonder

With gratitude

Then walk the rest of the way

To our car

Drive home in the gray light

With the memory of a brilliant

White blessing

“Arcata Marsh” by Brian McQueen www.McQueenArt.com

 

 

 

Thus It Is So

Beethoven composes his majestic Ninth Symphony

Mozart the sacred Requiem

Handel his powerful Messiah

Poverty is alive all around them

And children go hungry

 

Every age     every millennium

Carries suffering

Gives birth to those who live

Impelled to help

Gives birth to those who choose

To turn away

Leaving their powers for change

Lost

Like a blade of sea grass

Pulled with the tide

Into the deepest depth

Of the ocean

Thus it is so

 

Why

Voices II

Many Voices

Many octaves     many chords

Many songs

Float in and through

My awareness

The ocean’s voice sings a different song

As each tide comes into shore

Rolling out to sea again     a different verse

A different melody

 

Wind hums softly     gently

Wind shouts     wind howls

Demands my recognition

I search the sky for reasonings

 

Crows have gatherings

Fly in circles     land on a distant pine

Take off again     circle the pine

Voices raucous     harsh

Their dialogue     their language

Fills the air around me

 

Crickets sing in summer

As the sun goes down behind a

Sandstone cliff

Their rhythm in unison

Voices on key

They soothe my mind

Calm the beat of my heart

Welcome the night     soon to arrive

 

And your voice     my own Love

For me the voice of

All That Is

My guide     my protection

My Life

I hear your voice

I listen to its timbre

Am at peace

–January 2018

If Only I Could

Do you not see   truly see
Faces of children
Caught in the middle of war
As they witness     as they experience
Cruelty exploding around them
Their eyes wide with fear
Faces expressing bewilderment
Frozen in terror

Do you not feel   truly feel
A silent war like an infection
Coursing through the blood stream
Of our country
For me    guns are the virus
Gunshots into a crowded concert
At innocents in a store
A school yard   a movie theater
To claim a religion   an ideological
Ideal
It is war   wherever guns are used
To kill   to maim   to terrify
I abhor them
Would outlaw guns
Completely
If only I could

Where Have You Been?

Poetry Angel calls to me

Where have you been

I call back

I have been here where I am

I am here

Where have you been

She answers with what

I already know

She says

I have been by you

Inside you

Waiting for you

 

These are my excuses     Angel Friend

 

Words have flown around my mind

Like fallen leaves in autumn

Blown by the wind

To scatter hither     to scatter yon

Escaping from me

 

An operating table     a hospital bed

Food I do not like

Medicine I must take

A rehab center that’s      okay

My husband     my Love

Visits me     eats his dinners with me

My bed sits by two windows

I watch him ride by on his scooter

Going home

We wave to each other

I yearn to go with him

I want to go home

Get up     get out of bed

Walk     keep walking     walk

Physical therapists nudge me     nudge me     nudge me

They command    

     Walk     walk

 

You ask Angel Friend

Where have I been

I know what you ask

Where are my words

Where is a poem

A poem

 

Well     now you know

Life as a River

I think of Life as a river

That begins from its source

Somewhere unknown to me

Flowing around me     flowing over

Any obstacle that lies in its

Path

A large boulder     fallen timber

Always moving to follow its

Course

With twists     with turns

Changing     as landscape it flows past

Changes

To widen     to narrow

Continuing the journey

Until it joins another river

Or flows on its own

To the sea

 

 

From My Window …

… I see     I feel

Morning sun

Touching the life of the

Sycamore’s new leaves

A hyacinth not yet in

Bloom

From my window

I see other windows

On a hill across

The Riparian Way

Like tiny lighthouses

They shine beacons of light

To me

As night closes day

 

From my window

I hear sirens on El Camino Real

Their sound grows fainter

As they move farther away

Then one abruptly stops

Called here

To the community

Where I live

 

From my window

I send a prayer

  

Too often

Someone I know

Someone I don’t know

Passes away

Death is no stranger here

But life is far more familiar

I feel the void

When faces go missing

I never get used to it

Life lives with death

Two parts of the whole

 

Every fall

From my window

I watch the sycamore’s leaves

Dry out

Their color green changing into

Old gold

Falling to the ground

In graceful slow motion

Then welcoming her new leaves

Every spring

 

The sun rises

Over the distant hill

Goes down over the distant

Ocean

Moon rises

Over the distant hill

Sets in her own time

Over the distant ocean

It is an orderly Universe

I closely observe

Closely observe

 

From my window

Reconciliation

Mother

When he went away and left you

He left me too

And we lived together

You and I

One woman     one child

And I wanted to grow up

To love you both

But you’d come home

From a job that drained you

That made you curl up tight

Inside yourself

I knocked and I know

You tried to let me in

While he went away

And sent letters of love to me

And I cried to live with him

I didn’t understand

 

My best friend told me this

People say your mother

Has a chip on her shoulder

I didn’t understand

 

Believe me Mother

When I tell you

I don’t remember

That time in your life

When you were ill

When your legs were weak

And you used a cane

When your eyes saw double

And the threat of disease

That would waste you

Hung over us

A girl of fourteen

Awake     awake     whose eyes

Could see     whose brain

Could think

But Mother I don’t remember

I just don’t remember

 

Mother

We are healed now

And the years between

Have made us friends

I need you Mother

When you die

No one else can care as much

—1975