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

The Innocents

I open wide

A special door

To a special room

In my heart

For children

I do not know

But whom I love

Children abused

Abandoned

Ones made to

Disappear

Children caught

In war

Innocents maimed

Innocents dying

Bless their souls

Oh bless them

 

They are like a field

Of flowers

Scattered in the wind

Some survive

To grow again

Others never return

Leaving their presence

Their beauty

To remain in my

Mind

Live in my heart

Never

To forget them

—2011

Midnight

Midnight for me is

Mysterious     unattainable

For Mother has me in bed

By eight o’clock     always

Eight o’clock

Hard as I try

When my eyes open again

Morning shines into my

Window

I want to know     midnight

What it feels like

Who is there     what do they do

In midnight

 

I would like to see

Winged horses

White like Pegasus

Unicorns     dancing bears

I want animals that speak

My language

To have conversation

Be friends

Colors swirling around us

Rainbows     even angels

With halos     with wings

Oh     will I never know

Will I ever know

What it feels like

To be awake in

Midnight

 

Years pass

My beloveds sleep

In their beds

Here I am

Notebook open     pen in

Hand

It is quiet     so quiet

My sanctuary of peace

And the clock strikes

midnight

—February 7, 2017

 

The New Year

My years are like my days

Passing quickly      so quickly

The four little children

I escorted through childhood

With devoted love

With hope for wisdom

Are now in their fifties

When I think of this

I am grateful for them

Grateful

And amazed

 

This past year is now

The new year

I feel deep relief

Welcome New Year

You began with rain

Serious rain

On our drought laden

Land

And I made this vow

No resolution      a vow

My attention      my energies

Will reside with what is

Good

What is kind

With love for All That Is

No exceptions

And forgiveness

For what the old year

Held

For what the New Year

May bring

–January 2017

 

 

After St. Francis — Prayer of Peace

th

Lord

I too ask

Make me an Instrument of Your

Peace

I too would sow love

Where there is hatred

Anger

Where intolerance

Lurks

Where doubt keeps some

Awake

In night’s darkest

Hours

I would sow Faith

Where despair brings some

To their knees

I would sow Hope

 

Oh Lord

I will do my best

For those who are inconsolable

To lead them to You

To be consoled

To ask my spirit for understanding

So that I understand in depth

Their need for understanding

Above all

To love unconditionally

Al Your children     everywhere

No exceptions

And not ask to be loved

Myself               Amen

 

Save

Beyond The Word

images-1

As a little girl

I hear disparaging comments

Made by the adults

In my life

Judgments of people

Even people unknown

Walking down a street

In a store

Though these words do not consume

Sunday dinner conversation

Around Grandmother’s mahogany

Dining table

They are spoken often enough

To create in me

Aversion to judgmental words

Criticism

I hear them     shrink into myself

Sadness moves into a corner

Of my heart

Doesn’t move out

 

My childhood is a patchwork quilt

Of remembering

Scenes of places     faces     voices

Yes     voices

For I have come to understand

It is not words alone

That cause pain

Even more

It is the tone of voice

I hear it

Clench     constrict

Hold my breath

It has always been so

 

Mother seldom speaks of father

Who leaves their marriage

When I am seven years old

But her tone of voice

When she does speak of him

Lets me know the depth

Of her bitterness

I feel devastated

Helpless

 

Now I understand     accept

My reactions     my despair

Surrounding this election cycle

I am witness to

Words never heard before

As they hang in the consciousness

Of everyone who hears them

Vocal tones of ridicule

Scorn

Project the words into the atmosphere

And the feelings they create

Invade like toxic fumes

From the tragedy of

9/11

 

Now     at 84

Words   tones of voice

May still sting

Bring distress

But it is my voice

My words

And what they do

To others

That matter more

I praise

I bless

I forgive

 

I breathe

Save

Save

Save

Save

83rd Birthday Memories–Part I

images-1

Look back down the years

My childhood years

Am I that little girl

Wearing braids with nails bitten

Down to the quick

Yes     it is I     yes

Feeling I am from another

Place

A planet far far away

Perhaps a star

A bright star it’d be

Shining brighter than other

Stars

I came from there

I don’t belong here

 

My family sits around

Grandmother’s table

Gathers every Sunday

One o’clock sharp

For Sunday dinner

Dare not be late

 

My family talks     expresses opinions

Don’t often agree    seldom laugh

They love me

I know this     I know this

They love me     but do not

Know me

They love me but cannot feel

Who I am

 

I feel who I am

I am different inside

Myself

I have tantrums

Want what cannot be

Given

Want the warmth

Of hugs     of arms around me

Words

I love you     you’re okay

My family loves me

Love that needs to learn

To express itself

Some generations grow up

With silent love

Silent love unexpressed

Silent

I need love expressed

In words     in demonstrative

Ways

So     I cry     I scream

Bite a crystal glass

Of water

Mother holds to my lips

No one can understand

This child

 

Forty years go by

We talk on the phone

Long distance now

I am here     they are there

My love for them

Needs expression

I begin to say

As our conversations

End

I love you     I love you

Many months go by

Then

I hear it

I love you

It becomes the way we say

Goodbye

(written: June 29, 2015)

*photo credit

Voices

mdove7

Mourning dove     I hear you calling

You call     you call     call again

But no utterance of sound     of words

From me in answer to you

Could fill the silence of your solitude

 

An unseen woodpecker

Sends a rapid staccato

Of tap tap tapping

From some nearby tree

My ears try to direct

My eyes

To discover its location

I listen     look listen look

Finally give up my anticipation

That ends in disappointment

Pure frustration

 

My children’s childhood

Rebounds in remembering

Snippets of scenes

Tho the sound of their childhood

Voices

Have faded

Like shadows from a forgotten

Dream

 

I imagine myriad

Sounds    voices

That enter the portal of my

Consciousness

Year unto year

Some leave     many remain

Becoming part of me

Of who I am

But if I have a choice

I will carry into forever

The sound I love most

Your voice     your voice

 

*photo credit

All Love for My Hero

MomDadWalkDownAisle

Oh

I remember well

The beautiful young man

Standing in the front room

Of the Rodgers Park Jewish

Community Center

One June morning in

1954

I have come there

To be a counselor

In the Center’s summer day camp

A job I’m not overly excited

About taking

Only here because a college friend

Tells me there’s an opening for a

Girl counselor     and there isn’t any

Other summer jobs I know of

To apply for

Oh yes

I walk in and there he is

Standing right smack in front

Of me

I look up into a pair of very

Blue eyes

In a face smiling down at me

With beautiful     white     even teeth

He wears a white tee shirt

The sleeves rolled up once

His arms tanned     and not bulging

With muscles     just right

I don’t remember anything else of that

Day     our first meeting

Except that first day unbeknownst

To me     is the blessed first day of

Sixty-two wonderful years     sixty of them

In marriage

 

Thank you God     thank you Stephen

And you beloved family

Beloved friends

For blessing us     honoring us

By coming to be with us

As we celebrate our marriage

Of sixty blessed years

 

Thank you     Thank you     Thank you

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