31 May 2013

When I Heard Your Lips

"When I first heard your lips define my skin"
it led me out, your sound true, your scent known
in ancient ways of knowing. As elfin
cloud forests cover dwarfed plants until crowns

of flowers emerge, sing their songs to all
and touch those bereft of color, so blown
to life was I. Your fingers traced maps, called
forth sight, showed hidden paths that might be flown.

Is love clear like that, smooth when ways are rough?
From whence comes this gift unbidden if not
sheer beneficence then bestowed pressed down,

flowing over for forty years, toughness
gone, not needed, love enough that I caught
your lips and let them define my skin, gowned.

In response to Victoria Slotto at dVerse Poets Pub who asked us to write a poem using synesthesia that intermingles the senses. *She gave an example poem by Jane Hewey- "I Let You In". I fell in love with Jane's last lines and used them as my first line.

29 May 2013

Safe Within Myself

Safe Within Myself

It took this particular constellation
of experiences to arrive here-
a middle child, vigilant
in my family's brand of broken, went
within like turtle, grew
radar that detected danger, safety. Erred
on the side of self- reliance. Learned
self's true safety, and another's,
by naming love, loss
and life's knocks as grace.

Written in response to Mama Zen over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads who asked us to describe our place of safety and make our words count in less than 53. Mine's 52.

High School, 50 years on...

We've all changed in 50 years; some remarkably, some quite well. Some of the attendees I'd not seen since graduation, others at our 25th reunion or beyond. I visited, had dinner, listened to old tunes, danced, received my "golden" diploma and felt glad to be alive to do so in the light of absent classmates. Afterwards, I went to a party graciously hosted by two friends, now married. We had the chance to sit and share memories, happy, sad and painful in such an intimate way that I felt moved, privileged to be there to bear witness, sorry for the experiences that shaped lives in hurtful ways, grateful for the ones that shaped us in positive ways and finally aware of how little sometimes separates one from the other. We each had our story, of course. It was precious little time to catch up and hear even a bit of those stories. Left me wanting to hear more. I'm not sure what I can do about that but it's a niggling, recurring thought at this point.

I stayed with my best friend from high school, Ann, and had the opportunity to tour some of her world, meet her fiance, daughter, grandchildren and talk the days away in our effort to bridge the gap of too many years. It won't be that long again, we vowed, and retirement can make that resolution a reality. I liked and admired her in high school and found that I still do. We sang as girl scouts: "make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." She's gold.

We toured some of our old haunts the day after the reunion, a perfect Boston spring day, and just enjoyed each other's company. The beaches I frequented as a high schooler stretched before me, stirred memories held for years and grounded me once more in home. Put together with the memories of my classmates, it rounded the picture of where I came from, the complexity of what shaped me, good and bad, and generated not quite a nostalgia, but a desire to know and understand more.

I also had the chance to see my father, now 96, and spend the day with him and his companion of sixteen years. They had been dancing the day before, spoke of their outings with other seniors and discussed current events, so I'm holding him as my aging mentor.

It was only five days but they were full and impacted me in ways I'm trying to understand more fully. I'm glad I went.

14 May 2013

50th High School Reunion

I received an invitation that threw me for a loop- to my 50th high school reunion. I graduated in 1963 so, of course, it's my 50th anniversary, but I hadn't stopped to think about that until the invitation from a former classmate who tracked me down on Facebook. I'm going, of course, and will stay with my best friend from those days who now lives in Hartford, CT. I head for Boston the day after tomorrow. It brings a new dimension to the term elder on this journey I'm living. It makes me realize that I'm there and not just on a journey there. Although my 96 year old father says: "Your 60's are just the youth of old age.".

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around this and I think actually being there will help me to do so. I'll let you know.

In the meanwhile, my computer won't upload photos to my blog. It's a new problem and I don't know why. It was preceded by the screen turning bright yellow while uploading photos and then by it turning black. Seems ominous to me. Any ideas?

What I planned to post were photos of some everyday things that fill my days. Simple things, like my Honey starting to make bread, with focaccia and ciabatta the most recent delicious examples. Of lunches and dinners enjoyed with friends, a double rainbow that followed a storm last week, new herbs and geraniums already growing on the balcony, purple blossoms on the chives surprising and delighting me (who knew?), an ancient olive tree found in the country with its branches trimmed in a fanciful way, and my daughter and the grands fostering a young hawk until he or she can survive on his or her own. My life is full, my heart is full, but 50 years since high school? Wow.

12 May 2013

Mother's Day

Some recent photos to wish you a Happy Mother's Day.

May your day be sweet.

May your day contain beauty.

May what fills your heart cause you to soar like a hawk.

10 May 2013

Being There

My neighbor called
crying, afraid after
a bad night with her cancer,
no treatments left, far
from home, disheartened,
faced with the transition
that no one can grasp. Not really.
Nothing to do as her friend but be there,
give a hug, listen, listen some more, and
believe in her ability to navigate this

For the G-Man and the hope for a peaceful weekend. 

08 May 2013


The young boy told his mother his dream,
to have a falcon of his own. But how? They
problem- solved together; can't buy one, hard

to catch one, maybe find a nest and take a chick but
where are the nests? Could he take one? Two days later
a neighbor brought an unfeathered hawk fallen from its nest,

only weeks old, unable to be returned. Despite
the dream, the young boy had no idea how to care
for a raptor. Their kinship with dinosaurs drew him.

A quick trip to google revealed their diet- snakes, lizards,
insects, mammals; things that need to die to be fed
to small carnivores. And the young boy must do the killing.

This is in response to Kerry O'Connor over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads who asked us to write something that's prelude to the main event which we don't describe. Her article on the types of preludes (mine is one of intention) is elegant so check it out.

07 May 2013

Fishing Shacks at Evening

He waited for the right
evening light, waited
until gray fishing shacks
on beach's far reach glowed
dun colored like rocks scattered
nearby. They sit in sand brightened
with water skim left by receding tide.
Did he see the willet caught mid-stride
in the same skim that holds shack's reflection?
Stilts shine white under two shacks, hold them
high from tide's flow and flood.
Blue green evening sky with cream clouds provides
counterpoint to short- lived wood glow.

(May, 2013)

For Open Link night at dVerse Poets Pub. Photo of fishing shacks in South Portland, Maine by Jack Kennealy, a physicist turned photographer, who waited 2 years for this shot. We lived in Cape Elizabeth, close to this beach, for 5 1/2 years.

06 May 2013

Grandmothers - Crucial for Human Evolution

New Evidence That Grandmothers Were Crucial for Human Evolution | Surprising Science

Surprising Science supports the "grandmother hypothesis": Here's a study (click on the above hot link) that shows grandmothering was the initial step that made us who we are, gave us the leg up we needed as a species to survive longer, more prone to cooperate with each other. Grandmothers helped our overall offspring survival rate and set the stage for us to be dependent on each other socially and to develop other of our uniquely human traits. It's a fascinating article that made me grateful. Have you thanked a grandmother lately? If you are one, give yourself a treat and read this article.

05 May 2013

Lear and Liam Win Over The Leprechauns

Liam the lowly leprechaun sought
just one thing, to fashion a fiddle
that played good music that couldn't be bought.
The teachers, the wood, the strings to diddle

made it hard to learn craft that didn't come easy,
meanwhile, leprechauns scoffed and ridiculed.
He made one and another as his friends teased
but songs squeaked horribly, quite constrictalooed.

On March seventeen lightening felled oldest oak.
Liam gathered wood with magic hoped inside
sure this would sound sweet or he's broke.
Bent he worked day after day when, woe betide,

the fiddle was done in time for summer's grand festival
but no one knew 'til the moment arrived for competition.
Liam took the stage while jeers rang out and it felt like a crestival
he climbed to raise his bow. But play he did with no need for contrition

for sky lightening and ancient oakness combined
to produce such music that all called: sublime!

Written in response to Kerry O'Connor over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads who wrote about Edward Lear whose birthday is in May and asked us to let some nonsense happen. I love his made up words so thought I'd give it a try.

03 May 2013

Rainforest Reconnaissance

The forest floor of our love holds
forty years of scattered leavings as loam
for yet more growth, riotous and jungly,
our understory thick as old growth mahogany.

Love, now moistly deciduous from our equatorial
heat or the chafing of our years' burdens, but so
sprinkled with caches of color, like strong- beaked toucans,
as to be in all our seasons' memories, suffused in beauty.

Now our uppermost branches expand
umbrellalike, held over the lives of loved ones
who come to sit awhile in the cool of this canopy. Some
become taller than those surrounding, a grand emergent

occurring unexpectedly, perhaps groomed by others,
like howler monkeys, in this fertile layer of our love.
Together we howl our loud lusty call down the rainforest strata
and stand awed by the swarming life sprung forth.

This is in response to Victoria Slotto over at dVerse Poets Pub who talked of Voice in poetry and urged us to speak of something we're passionate about and reveal our personal attitude in the process. Long- term love of my Honey is my passion and I seek to find new ways to express it. Meanwhile, Hannah, over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads, asked us to write about the tropical rainforest, so I used this as my inspiration for a love metaphor. Photo is taken in the rainforest of Trinidad where my daughter and her family live.

01 May 2013

A-Z Words Count

A boy considers doing
everything frightening girls.
He isn't just kidding,
likes mentioning names. Only,
people question rumors so
Unless viciousness warrants
x-rays, you zoneout.

In response to the prompt yesterday from Marian at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads to write a poem using words that start with the letters of the alphabet in order. I missed the deadline, however, so I post this for Mama Zen's words count, also at the Garden, as a poem with less than 45 words.