Or, or nothing…

Meanwhile everything’s the same,

fish swim downstream as well as up

so don’t be fooled by cliché’s fame,

because virtue’s virtue will corrupt

 

itself and all who still pretend

there’s a something beyond it all,

thus refusing to bow they ascend,

proud as Icarus they rise to stall;

 

meanwhile the rest of us plod along

doing what must be done less airs

allowing a dream of being so strong

but saddled with every day cares.

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What you pray when you pray…

What do people pray,

I wonder;

what do they whisper

to the Almighty

when no one’s listening

on those ordinary,

uneventful nights

when work has wearied

and bills worried,

when love is trusted

and promises are to be kept;

what do they venture

knowing they are known

and there are no secrets

that are kept,

no wagers to be made;

what do they dare

ask after forgiveness?

On enjoying the moon…

Now we lay them down to sleep

with soft words and

warm water to wash away their day’s

fun and soil, and our toil;

and pray as if to

capture what shouldn’t

be washed away – the day full

of family and friends,

walks and flowers, breezes

and sun, falls and laughs and food,

with gratitude – always – we

each begin: ‘Thank you, Lord Jesus

for everything,’

and everything we rehearse,

is good, in detail,

as if the Almighty

was enjoying this as much

as we; the sun

has retreated slowly and

warmly, the moon

is rising outside the window

and we all need to see

it waxing or waning and

tell each other to look, ‘The moon!’

as if it’s always special,

and somehow it always is.

Icarus again and again…

Meanwhile everything’s the same,

fish swim downstream as well as up

so don’t be fooled by cliché’s fame,

because virtue’s virtue will corrupt

 

itself and all who still pretend

there’s a something beyond it all,

thus refusing to bow they ascend,

proud as Icarus they rise to stall;

 

meanwhile the rest of us plod along

doing what must be done less airs

allowing a dream of being so strong

but saddled with every day cares.

When it’s Spring again…

Across a hardening field a tractor plods

solitary against the horizon of soft hills

and open sky on this late October day;

a tree line marks the parched creek bed,

fence rows are cleared bare; the field corn

has been met and siloed after teasing

declination and drydown’s senescence

bested the round of blister to dented,

a balance of planning without control;

and green machinery has just survived

another season’s toil with more

enervation this year than the last; and

he wonders if he can do it again and

again next season for that’s what he’s

always done, and that’s what makes

him who he is; invisible and heavy is

the chill of late day so discouraging in

town but bracing the resolve of him

who wears gloves every season, and

another turn will weaken that which

has served its purpose; there’s more

to do to sweeten the soil before it’s

blanketed beneath wintery a quilt

of sleet and snow, tucked away to

rest, to pause until resurrected in the

easter of spring; some hold on because

this is all they know and don’t know

how to be soured, others hang on

until the hope of better quotes turn

in their favor and they’ve forgotten how

to be satisfied, but this one has chosen

to die doing what’s work to others but

life to him alone and earns him a

name he’s respected above his own.

 

 

On reading to a child…

The marks have no moral,

they know no stories,

nor me or mine,

no memories surfacing

in the quiet of the day’s ebb

haunting and mocking what can’t

be changed by dreams,

they are carried along

as the wave of the page turns slowly

to the next leaving anyone

reading to wonder

who writes this way,

not how but why;

and the way the words go

becomes a prophecy

because it is a path

leading to another nowhere

ready to mean something,

to be noticed

and maybe even remembered

enough to justify

a child’s plea to read it again,

again, again, and again.

You gotta keep peddling…

My young daughter asked what the hardest thing was

about… and I braced myself for her question, doubting

my ability to answer as I ought, hoping it was answerable

by her mother, that I would reply tactfully, and she

would know my love even when wrapped up in mistakes;

 

she had to repeat the question for me, about the hardest

thing about…learning to ride a bicycle, and as soon as

she said it I stopped myself, thought carefully, and said

it had to do with steering into the falling sensation – no one

liked that but it was the only way, along with continuous

peddling (you gotta keep peddling) to stay upright;

 

she had her own answer and blurted out, the hardest part

was the pavement when you fall and skipped haplessly

out of the room giggling, leaving me smiling in relief,

wondering why all her questions can’t be this much fun.

Unto dust you shall return…

God bless the dust hiding

under my couch, my chair,

my bed, behind my dresser

and end table both solid

to view and hiding decay

from you, but I know dust

has returned and always

will, swept and washed

simply to clear a way

for carbon’s inevitable

epiphany’s undoing of

all that wishes to live

and therefore must be

ready to die; God bless

mother’s wishing to be,

grandma’s praying their

own to safety and peace,

those who protect, heal,

bind up and care along

the way of return to hide

under my couch, my chair,

my bed which I kneel

beside trying to learn

life’s bold humility in

the way of dust’s return.

Trusting rhizomes too much…

I have learned an important lesson

from failing to maintain my lawn

as others do, as others expect me to,

a tutorial of grass or the lack thereof,

those spots weeded but left lawnless

will fill in quickly in June’s temperament

with unsightly and stubborn weeds

of all variety, all hated vehemently

by all who police others yards

for the source of their own troubles;

I will forever be known as the one

who trusts rhizomes too much for evil

is quick to fill the void unless crowded

out itself by a cultivated fullness I lack.