Poetry and Images from a Christian

Monday, August 23, 2010

From the Stuff of Life

Some summer reflections...


Water blue,
Sky too,
Greens true,
Sun bright,
Waves white
Splashing on the rocks
And Forget-Me-Nots
Along the shore,
The tiny signature.

Seems like being at the lake in the summer gets creative juices flowing somehow. One year my sister, Joyce, and I read a book called Twenty Wishes, by Debbie Macomber.  We decided to make 20 crazy wishes of our own and then make art tags to illustrate each one. It was a lot of fun. Back at home, I turned my tags into a little art installation in my study. It makes me smile.

Weaning Us

You cry because you want something
I can't give you
And I feel sad because
I want to give you something
I should not.

I kiss you and hug you,
Distract you with toys
And milk from a cup.
You smile.

We'll get through this weaning process
And we'll share other joys,
I promise.

The Path

A path is comforting,
A sure thing.
When you're on one
You know you're going somewhere,
And even if you don't know its destination,
You feel sure you'll know when you've reached it.
The path will open up
And there you'll be,
Not lost.

Our path leads from the waterfront
To the backyard clothesline.

I remember when my sister first read this last poem, she didn't get it. "What was that?" she asked. So if you didn't get it, you are not alone, but I include it because I still like it. It reminds me of  our family's place on a lake in Michigan where we spend a good part of our summers. It is supposed to be a little humorous---such a short, rather insignificant path, following all that truthful musing.

When September rolled around, I had something much more serious on my mind...

9/11/02 or A Year Later

What will happen
To the firemen,

Who led people to safety,
Who lost people,
Who lost safety,
Who lost brothers, and fathers, and sons,

Who wept,

Who returned,
Who dug for survivors,
Who found too few,
Who returned again and again,
Who sifted through dust and ash for remains,
Who found too little,
Who accepted dust and ash for the remains of many.

Pray God, forbid
Nightmares of human rain,
Flashbacks of fear, of pain,
Of roaring motion,
Of chaos,
Of pieces, and powder, and ash,
Of fallen friends, and funerals, and mourning.

God save the firemen.

Please, God,
Save the firemen.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Poet Year: Some Fantasies

While I was writing The Poet Year, it occurred to me that I almost never spent time just fantasizing anymore. So I thought I'd give it a go. Here are some of the results.

Blue Window

I'm ambling in Monet's garden.
I recognize these metal arches crowded with blooms
And the flowers reaching out from beds below,
Greeting passers-by.

How I came to be here
I do not know.
I am afraid to fly
And my Illinois home
Is a world away.
Here I am, all the same
And glad.
How and why do not press me for answers.
I am calm.

I marvel at the colors in this haven
So lovely against today's blue sky.
Monet's pink house and green shutters
Rise up as the perfect foil.

The sun is warm on my shoulders,
I wander on listening to bird conversation
And the sound of my own footfalls crunching on the path.

Looking for cooling shade,
I take a turn toward tall trees and find the pond.
I sit along its edge to trail my fingers.
I am content.

Water lilies are blooming,
Resting their beautiful faces upon the glassy surface,
Dangling their bodies in the depths.
I am jealous.

The water settles mirror smooth
And my own attire catches my eye.
The filmy white blouse, long blue skirt and odd shoes
Are not mine,
But I might have chosen them myself.
I am pleased.

I hear footsteps on the walk nearby
And look to find a straw-hatted old man
Gesturing kindly.

Mystery solved.
I smile at him,
Nod and wave.
I am to have an art lesson now
In a two-way exchange of fluent French
I never learned.

This is sugared French toast
Relished before waking;
A light-filled, bursting blue window
Created by Chagall,
Stepped into and through by me;
A sweet sleep
All cream

I love to dance, but my dear husband is a little bit inhibited on the dance floor (maybe I am not inhibited enough), anyway one can imagine what it would be like to be of the same mind on the dance floor, just having fun, not worrying too much about doing it right or wrong, the occasional stepped on toe, etc. I have some married friends who share all kinds of imaginative fun like this together. This poem was inspired by them. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. Heehee.


Another Leo,
A lion to enjoy her as lioness.
By day
They bask
In each others projected sun
And by night
In black-tie moonlight.
They move through a whirling
Instinctive dance,
Laughing at stepped on toes,
And that is the way
Two Leos
Make a
Marriage go.

Lilac Queen

Only me
Cutting lilacs in the Spring.
Feeling the sun on my cheeks,
Hearing the snap of the branch,
Then the brush of cool petals against my skin.
Breathing deeply in
Their purple, heady scent,
I am amazed by this perfectly regal perfume
Made mine
By a common bush.
Thus elevated,
I carry my basket of blooms
Back to the castle.

Admittedly, none of these flowers are lilacs, but aren't they wonderful? I love flowers.

When I was in college, I learned in English about the hidden observer in all of us, that part of ourselves that sees our lives as if from above at a slight distance. This part of me has always been pretty strong and time conscious, though previously I hadn't a name for it. Sometimes it needs taming, so I can really enter into the moment and enjoy life without worrying about that clock ticking, thus the following...

Bad Dog Shopping

Can you help me, please?
I need a leash with a muzzle
Or perhaps a curtained cage
With only a peep whole in it.

I need it for my very wayward pet.
You can see her here, I'm sure,
My harried Hidden Observer,
Resting her heavy paws on my shoulders.

She keeps stepping out of her den
Into the brightness.
See, like that, jumping
And barking,
"Night is coming."

I would turn her out,
I think I would
If I didn't need her so
To help me write
And perhaps to see and grasp and hold
Some of now for later.

Maybe I'm in the wrong shop.
Maybe what I need is a rain coat with a hood.
Then I wouldn't feel the wet
When she spills her bowl of sadness
Over moments so completely good.

Never mind.
I'll take care of it myself.

Oh, Me!
Stop dogging me!

Speaking of "bad" dogs, here is our beloved Josey after having a joyous moment of mischievous fun.

And this where I do a lot of my daydreaming...

Free Ride

A front porch swing is a lot like an airplane.
You can get in it and ride,
You can read,
You can fall asleep if you want.

It will take you places
You've been to before and want to revisit
Or to places you've never been
And can't wait to see.

Of course,
A swing is more convenient,
No packing,
No fees.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Stair, etc.

The Stair

I'm standing in a dank and shadowy machine shed
Breathing in its earthy smell,
Gazing at a wonder,
My own spiral stair
Leading no-where.

I wished it here, I think.
Once on a rare trip into the city
I admired another such stair,
Somewhat grander of marble and metal,
But a similar curving, antique thrill.
I said out loud foolishly,
"Maybe someday,"
And amazingly before too long
My hero husband
Was rescuing a twirling "damsel in distress"
From a dying 1870s farmhouse.

God must have been listening
And took my wishing
For a prayer.

A year now
This wooden relic
Has been the stair for my air castles.

If it were to stay here
What odd fantasies might it incite
In later owners of this place?

It is too large for any earthly home
We can afford to raise
And so, I'm sure
We'll sell it to other dreamers
With deeper pockets.

I am satisfied to have owned it
For these many days,
To have imagined its possibilities.

Now practicality has spun out more realistic
Hope and plans,
I can relinquish the spiral stair
To other hands.

Gray Day

Thick and glistening gray
Weighs upon the branches
Of every tree.

Every tiny frond of evergreen
Encased, stiff and cold,
Drawn downward by its load.

Ice lays
Like sadness on the heart,

And melting away
In tears.

The Shoulder

"Writing is not a lady-like activity.
It reveals too much of who we are.
A woman needs a silken wrap of mystery
To fascinate a man,"
Advised Mamman.

But youthful, feminine
France wrote on,

After all,
A soul can never completely
A woman is forever
Modestly, mysteriously
In newness,
Is she not?

Heartfelt words on a page
Might be just the tantalizing
Smooth, white shoulder,
The shapely bare ankle,
The very little seen
Which conjures the thought,
"If this, what more?"
That men adore.

Ice, or (Frost on the Window)

Design in one inch repeat.
Colors: Silver and Gold.
Curling feathers in crystalline print,
Feather to feather to feather,
Just touching,
Row upon row.
Ephemeral God cloth
Made of water and sunshine and cold.


The poet year is slipping by
And I
Don't want to let it go
Without the written words that make it so.

Terror and loss and war
And a possible interstate
Winding by our back door
Worry my mind.

Baby smiles and cries,
A loving husband,
A gem-house,
And extended family
Fill my time.

Only words on paper
Make the poet year
An actual happening,
History over fantasy.

March was a vacation.


Amazing to watch the snow,
Tiny flecks blowing in a white sky.
Many millions of them
Have been waylaid by our snow-fence,
Building up a crystal wall.
And many more, I see,
Passed it by
Drifting free
Across our drive
And country road,
Building up a Snow Day
To keep us home.

Our lane during a snow storm, looking back toward the old barn.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

More from the Poet Year

Poetry on Demand

Poetry on demand,
Can anyone write it on command?
Can we summon
Any thought uncommon?
Can we make the common thought sing
With daily practicing?
Is this possible,
I'll do it anyway
Nearly everyday,
We'll see.

Electric Sleep

I like electricity,
I'm thankful for it,
But, no electric blanket, please.

All day there are lights,
All day machines,
All day flickering pictures on screens,
All day voices on waves,
All day buzz and vibration.

When night falls
And deepens
I want the heat running the background,
But even more I want the quiet, still, softness of heavy covers drawn close,

Favorite Haunts

I know my presence haunts the book store.
Lingering energy
From my pleasantly over-stimulated mind
Traverses the place in crisscross patterns,
Breathing in the scent of paper and ink,
Seduced by ideas in every direction,
Called to by cover after cover, title after title.

Physically present,
I am first in the discounted book section,
History, Gardening, Self-Help, Art,
Then pulled to Interior Design by seeming magnetism,
Only to be lured away by entertaining strategies hidden under Cooking and Weddings.
Then drawn in by Poetry,
And urged and encouraged and reeled into
Writing and Publishing,
Finally my dizzy body,
My aching brain
Wander to the door
For a fresh air cure.

My slightly guilty, joyous mind
Knows I steal away
With new thoughts
For free

But my body senses, in exchange,
The book store has stolen
Some of me.

Just some of our books. I love to read and I love the way books add color to a room!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

In the beginning, there was a very inexperienced poet/blogger...

I don't really know where to start, but I thought you might like to know how this blog came by the name One More Voice. Those three words are from lines I wrote, contained in the piece below. I climbed out of bed at midnight to write this down, in early Feb. 2008.

Silent Conversation
(With Christ)

In this age 
So many voices
Toss words on to the page
And through the air
It seems so nearly futile
To join the clamor
Just one more voice
In so much noise

Why write
Why isolate
Why wake
Why add my voice 
To the clatter,
I breath

Then You whisper,
So I can hear
At my feet
It is a privilege
To be one more voice
To join the throng

I created you
Sing my song

Back in late 2001, my sister, Joyce, challenged me to start "writing all the poems from this time in my life." I'm afraid I had pretty much stopped writing poetry. To please Joyce, my mother (who also thought I ought to be writing,) and as a challenge to myself, I decided to spend the year doing just that. At the end of 2002, I was able to put together a slim volume of poems for family and friends; there were only ever 15 copies . The following are some of those poems.

Right Now

I have Christmas to clean up after,
An anniversary party to plan,
Grocery shopping to do,
And laundry waiting in piles,
But right now
I am holding my son,
Warm, weighty, and soft.
Right now,
His blondish hair stands straight up from his head.
His lashes are long, darker and curving.
His cheeks are full and flushed rosy from nursing.
His lips are neither thin, nor wide, but pink always.
His chin is pronounced and round.
His dimpled hand rests on my breast
And there, too, I feel the gentle touch of his even, sleepy breathing.
Right now,
I am holding my son,
He is all that matters.

Sunday Praise

Sunday is your day, Oh Lord
And we should be in your house
But instead, You are in ours
With us.
Thank You for this house, Lord.
For its sheltering.
For clean and dry
And warm and fed.
For its past and its present.
For Your presence.
Praise to You from whom our blessing Flow.