We Were Strangers Once


We were all strangers once
new kids in new schools who
talked different than the others
wore hand`me`down clothes
shoes too big for our feet

We didn’t even have bikes
so walked to class every day
In our lunch boxes two slices
of bread with peanut butter
If we were lucky an apple

Dad gone Mom working
emptying hospital bed`pans
work no one else wanted to do
She did it with gentle cheer
to feed her six children

And the neighbors came
to the little house on Cahill
with welcome baskets of extra
garden goods dozens of eggs
Baker Bill brought bread

We were all strangers then
but the fabric of community
found a place for us & let us in
We graduated & the principal
pronounced our names right

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me . . .” ~ Jesus

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The Honey`Man

Joan Miró

The honey`man
sits easily at his table
his hands illustrating his life
the long sinewy fingers
of healed scars

open to be read
by curious customers
the thick nails knife`carved
as clean as beeswax
tender & tough

and at his eyes
the crows`feet of age
tell of his hermit life apart
from all social chaos
a life in the sun

Watch the bees!
he says as I sit down
They’ll tell you if it’s time
to go or time to stay
Need any honey?

“The painting rises from the brushstrokes
as a poem rises from the words.

The meaning comes later.” ~ Joan Miró

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The Poppy Pods

Charles Greely

The poppy pods
lie still beneath the tulips
till all the Prima`Donnas
have their full day

Bright bulbs pale
petals blown in the wind
ruddy skin gone a`winter
green blade spent

One hardly sees
the soft green lace arising
little children out of caves
as if out of hiding

Till one day in May
all the poppy pods explode
here there and everywhere
they weren’t planted

Beneath the missiles
all the world’s children wait
world war will have its day
as the poppies return

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Gertrude Greene

If she’s said it once she’s
   said it a thousand times
      Stop eavesdropping!
   If we are out for dinner
she knows by salad time
   I will know their names
      and by dessert time
   I will know their history
well enough so as to tell
   Driving home she’ll say
      OK! Let’s have it!
   So I’ll weave their story
into a novella she will love
   Fifty years of marriage
      almost It’s no lie!
   She hasn’t left me yet
waiting for the next story

“There’s nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world
outside your head is different from the world inside your head.” ~ Thornton Wilder

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Groundhog Saturday

Jan Richardson

It is Our day
perpetually sitting
in grief before the Stone
following a Friday

listening for
murmurings of love
from behind death’s wall
but hearing nothing
walking away

Saturdays come
Saturdays again go
Days never nearer mercy
never nearer grace
play over again

while we watch
wanting so to believe
life is stronger than death
that love is than hate
Saturday stuck

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Good Friday Again

Wassilly Kandinsky

Good Friday again
and again the question
What’s so good about it?
Yet another gray day
another gray week

Years have a way
of taking all the colors
out of life’s familiarities
Soon we fail to see all
but its silhouettes

Our box of crayons
all spent but for gray
till even our hands give`
up any coloring at all
and at last we die

Good Friday again
the day the One died
to restore all life’s colors
in a color`blind world
Sunday a Rainbow

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Sailing into the Sun

Becky Chappell

I have no choice
but to sail into the sun
whose setting is ever certain
for I am unable to run
as fast as He flies

On my shoulder
rides the gliding moon
faint now in the failing light
but when darkness falls
bright as any star

We have no choice
but to sail into the dark
though love may beg us stay
She also prays a sunrise
for yet another day

“We travelers, walking to the sun, can’t see
Ahead, but looking back the very light
That blinded us shows us the way we came,
Along which blessings now appear, risen
As if from sightlessness to sight, and we,
By blessing brightly lit, keep going toward
The blessed light that yet to us is dark.” ~ Wendell Berry

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A Healthy Fear

Michael Morgenstern

I love the sea
yet do not venture`
out on it but in a boat
Something is dangerous
there about its depths
and I was not born
with any gills

We’re friends
the open`sea & I
in weather fair or foul
She hears my confessions
in strictest confidence
Upon absolution
all’s forgotten

I love friends
yet do not venture`
far into shallow reefs
where coral can gash feet
and blood will attract
sharks who’ve no`
grasp of mercy

“To understand another means to love him —
not in the erotic sense but in the sense of reaching out
to him and of overcoming the fear of losing oneself.” ~ Erich Fromm

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Life Abroad

Laura Lein-Svencner

The Settlers
looked for a place
someplace specific
at the fork of a river
where grasses grew
ways forth & back
rode on currents
Life thrived

The Pioneers
pushed onward
feeling limitation
in the picket`fence
on the front`street
preferring sleep
under the stars
Life dreamed

And so I live
face into wind
eyes on horizon
boarder in a room
owned by the bank
in tune with the
train whistles
Life abroad

“I never found my own place.
I really come from nowhere.”~ Mark Strand

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On the Cherry Tree

Wang Jing

On the cherry tree
the first blossom
has opened
It sits bold
a fat snow`flake
on a tip of a branch
as if to say Hello!
is on its way!
I watch it the thru
the rain and wonder
at the perseverance
of hard`wood

“But love without direction is a cheap blanket” ~ Thomas McGrath

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Mick McNicholas

What will endure
begins with things
that have endured

The miraculous
begins with mud
or is but illusion

The white tulip
hides in the bulb
under the earth

From the soul
within the body
flow good or ill

What is good
survives death
The rest dies

“Lend me the stone strength of the past and I will lend you
the wings of the future, for I have them.”~ Robinson Jeffers

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Sabbath Rest

Wassily Kandinsky

We spend
most of our lives
either coming or going
The moments in between
either packing or unpacking
eating sleeping or dressing
Minds busily preparing
for uncontrollable

suggests we need
a rest from all our doing
time to process our going
or we soon lose our bearing
forgetting that it is loving
makes time worth saving
making our home

“There is a day
when the road neither
comes nor goes, and the way
is not a way but a place.” ~ Wendell Berry

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