29 September 2014

Keep it Slow and Savor

In love, start, then keep it slow and savor.
Just kiss at first stretched out full side by side,
focus on each sensation and flavor,
keep it slow and savor.

Speak quiet words to your belov'd, confide
how love is a cherished gift, a laver,
bathed and refreshed in the ebb flow of tide

this season and next, each act a paver
building the whole for days and years 'till wide
and high is love's monument and favor.
Keep it slow and savor.

A too late Roundel for Margaret's Play it Again over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads writing for Ella's (second) Chakra prompt, so posted for Fireblossom's Open Link Monday at The Garden and (also too late) for the dVerse Poet's Pub.

25 September 2014

Where I'm From

I'm from paved over cow paths 
leading to a central common
where modern stands side by side with
historic and holds the pride of hub to the rest.

My people came here from elsewhere
and left the map of those lands on my face
so I never quite fit, didn't look like most others.
My wandering ancestors

came from other places searching
for what they thought more important
than home, willing to make a new home
rather than live without, or who were driven

out by those who wanted what they had.
It all left its mark, so I call one place home
but search ancestral homelands to find
those left pieces of me to make me whole.

Meanwhile, my displaced people displaced others
to claim what they had, as if one could have
what another had by the wish or the taking.
My heritage is immigrant and for how long homeless?

For Poets United with the theme of Heritage Day. I took the photo in Boston during a visit in August.

23 September 2014

This Morning

                                                                                 image by Brooke Shaden

I watched you
pulled from sleep
in the shadowland
between wake and sleep
you murmered
something indistinct
eyes still closed
against the dawn
half remembered dreams
played on your face
before today's task
list takeover
you stretched your limbs
back arched just so
when you opened your eyes
I'm the one you saw
gathering you in.

Inspired by the photography of Brooke Shaden as presented by Grace (aka Heaven) over at dVerse Poets Pub. Brooke talked about finding what you're passionate about and, after 41 years with my Honey, it was an easy answer for me.

20 September 2014

Heavy Arms

The babe was sick when he left
but only slightly as babies do.
He was their first, a strapping boy,
thier farm was large and far from town.

He needed to fish with his neighbors 
to salt the cod and lay in stores for winter,
their open dory powered by rowing in turn
while the rest fished open seas far from shore.

When it was the young father's turn to row
his arms felt far too heavy for this task.
He knew it was a sign to direct him
and told the others to take him back.

He knew something was wrong, his wife 
had need of him. He returned to find 
his small son dead in his wife's arms.
Let me take him, May, he's gone.

He built the casket  
from the wood of his land and lay the babe inside
then carried him down the aisle 
of their church to ask final blessings. 

As he sat next to his young wife
he told her that the heft of the casket in his arms
was the same he felt in the boat,
the sign sent to bring him home.

There were no shortage of such stories in our Irish/Scottish family growing up. This is a true story of my grandparents in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia when they lost their first baby in 1914. My mother was born the following year. The photo is of my grandmother with my mother and uncle. 
For Kerry at The Garden who asked us to write about Superstition or Science. This story, like many, falls somewhere in between.

18 September 2014

To Travel Well

If you want to travel well
you must be prepared to lose things
to lose the certitude of best ways to do things
or right ways or that anyone can know such treachery

to lose the sense of one place as the center 
holding answers for all the world
or that one language can best capture thought
so all others should wrap their tongues around right words

to lose the belief that one religion outranks others
that other beliefs are strange, misguided, unenlightened
or that one culture reigns supreme, the final answer
with keys to unlock all mysteries

if you want to travel well 
you must be prepared to gain things
to gain certitude of best as cumulative
that right energy can be forged collaboratively

to gain ardor that our world is vast and central
and needs protection so answers can be discovered in alliance
that each language builds in a unique world view
not to be neglected even if we choose a common language

to gain the belief that religion's role is to point toward the holy
and that we're all holy within a holy world superceding dogma
that each culture takes its place in the scheme of things as one piece
of the whole which together can shed light on all mysteries

to travel well one must be prepared to be ambushed
by the beauty that awaits day after day
to grow tender toward the children of each place
as they play and meet strangers and live in sometimes unimaginable 

circumstances and call it home yet stay open to travelers
ready to lose separateness and gain oneness and be our teachers in this 
it takes a fearlessness, this traveling, an open heartedness
that stands ready to call sister, to call brother, to say yes.

In response to Poetics: Travel Poetry prompt by Gabriella at dVerse Poets Pub although I missed the deadline and for Grapeling's Get Listed- September with words from "The Art of War" over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads. I used capture, neglected, ardor, energy, alliance, treachery and scheme.

16 September 2014

Light from Darkness

I thought of something funny today and went to call you.
Since you're so newly gone, abruptly gone, I forgot
for one gift of a minute, the way I can't in night's long hours.
It's new to me since you're the first of us to go. Dad, at 98, says 

you learn to handle it after more and more deaths of loved ones, but 
I haven't mastered that detachment that doesn't succumb to
grief, doesn't get squeezed by grief's tight band,
doesn't wish for one more chance to say what I worry 

you didn't know: that I love you and miss you. Just that. Instead, 
I must trust you have peace, that you've gone from the formless dark
of death to the light described by poets and saints.

For Open Link Monday at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads.

20 August 2014

Fare Thee Well Love

 My brother's remains were laid to rest on Saturday, August 16, 2014 at a beach on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The beach was a lovely, secluded spot near where our mother was born. She often talked of their family farm that ran from the mountains to the sea and this beautiful beach fit that description perfectly. When I saw it and remembered Don's desire to visit Mom's birth place, I knew it was the best place to release his ashes. As my Honey, our daughter and two grandchildren drove to the beach we were listening to a new CD, These Are The Moments by the Rankin Family, and the song below started to play as we crested the hill: "Fare Thee Well Love". It made me cry. It was written by Jimmy Rankin from nearby Mabou, Cape Breton and expressed my feelings well. 
 This trip started out to be a retracing of my roots with John, Kelly and the kids in Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton Island and Boston. Having Don's remains added a dimension to the agenda in an unexpected but meaningful way. It was like having him with me to find his final resting place. We found a good one. Nearby was a cemetery filled with familiar Scottish names of our childhood, including many graves with our mother's maiden name, in this the place where my mother, grandfather and his father were born. So Don is back where his namesake, our greatgrandfather, is buried. 
 The day was cloudy in that almost raining kind of way and the sea had small but strong waves to receive and scatter the urn. I like that the urn had footprints on it, the footprints we leave behind as markers of our presence, and was built to dissolve in the arms of the sea. The Atlantic recieved his ashes and blended them with the elements of all other life in this ancient place from which we came. He's home. May he rest in peace. 
Fare thee well love by Jimmy Rankin is on this video on YouTube:
I feel honored to have had this hard task.

23 July 2014

On the Road Again...

I'm heading to the US for vacation time with family and friends. I'll have five weeks with my daughter and the grands and take time in Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island on a maternal heritage tour. It will be quite a journey and I'm excited. I'll check in as able.

May the rest of your summer be filled with fun activities.