"Focail do a chara" is Gaelic for "Words for a Friend." I hope you find my poems meaningful, or insightful, or beautiful, or perhaps disturbing. I write about my experiences -- in my study of death and dying, children's health, and mental health; in my teaching; in my spiritual seeking; in my call for social justice and compassionate living. I hope these words find you, friend, and bless you. Please click the "Subscribe" button below to receive a daily email of poetry.
Traumas and terrors in the midst of the nightmare,
and you can't let yourself see the big picture for the darkness,
and all you want to do is sleep.
Follow the stars;
their nebulous light illuminates your way.
You will know the truth when you see its face.
Let the path unfold minute by minute,
unexpected detours and momentary pleasures approach;
endings are beginnings
and play is real.
Let go of the struggle; let life pursue you for once.
Unpack your stuff so you can find your way.
Answers are elusive but still the river flows.
Crowded airports and delays are
the order of the day.
Connection dreams will fade in future memories, but
today relies on trust
Sailing smooth and soaring,
in this tubular train,
and passengers poised to pounce
when the doors open at the gate.
Miracle disguised as frustrations--
one hundred years ago it took
six month to cross the Atlantic.
On the ground safely in 20 minutes;
the mad rush awaits.
Strangers connected in space and time.
Black crows again this morning - change is on her way.
Spirit messengers and fresh air after
cleansing rain night but regrets weigh heavy;
they wash over me and what is freezes me to now
and the only way out is forward.
Feeling the blues,
blue snowstorms and blue iceburgs
stand ready to usher in a tsunami of love and justice.
The birds cry.
Three black crows appear on the branches outside my window,
pausing, posing, peering inside. Sitting.
Silent. Yet I see the message.
Darkness lasts but a season, then flies away.
The light always returns.
Problems, injustices, and things that need to be
answered, fixed, done, referred, and helped.
Questions tug at me like suckling babies
and frustrating stubbornness and deliberate obfuscation, intentional
ignorance and neediness weigh me down. I need
a cup of coffee to face this day. Breathe.
Yipping dogs intrude on my solitude,
but who has time for solitude these days
Yet I awoke to a chorus of bird calls,
and the breeze still blows the tips of the trees,
and these sick trees, dying, are still producing leaves.
So I suppose I can breathe in
the life-giving presence
of the dappled shadows on the forest floor
and the sudden sun illuminating
those leaves overhead;
watch the bug float by,
and the white flowers explode from the lush foliage;
and feel my edges dissolve.
Nature is loud today; her wind-whipped
branches and cackling caws reverberate through
the rhododendron thicket. A whisper then a lark,
beware the resistance; a tsunami of justice is upon us.
The tide turns, the roar begins, now
is the time to take back your power.
Be strong today.
The world's abundance sings to me today,
connections of love and lushness of life.
From the ant inching her way across the rusty
ledge, to the leaves quivering in the gentle
breeze, blue skies, bird songs, and sun,
the breath of life, speak,
Technology troubles plague me
and I hide in my treehouse in the rhododendron
thicket; take in the greens of the trees,
mottled dogwood branches drawn
across the canvas sky; bees
buzz the nectared flowers; bird
songs spacious dropping seeds
of love. Perhaps you haven't heard--
the world awakens within; we
are one- open your eyes to see.
The sun feels deliciously warm on my skin
and the light on the trees is a beauty to behold.
Greens on greens on greens,
slate sky behind,
and a lone bird finds her voice.
Release the 'what is' because maybe it's not.
Release the 'have to's' because maybe you don't.
Maybe your task today is to observe
the lush abundance of the dogwood tree
reaching down to shield and shade
and provide a branch on which the bird can rest.
Life is fragile and on the edge, delicate,
death and decay await eagerly,
darkness around me,
waiting for the full fruits to light the way with
sparks of joy.
I wish I could believe in
the power of life to renew and regrow,
and love with abandon.
I'm sorry for not paying attention.
Satisfying sensation of returning home,
holding the pause in the moments before my gate is announced.
Perfect balance of coffee, backpack, bag, and body,
shoulder to shoulder with fellow sojourners,
I come from a line of strong women.
My DNA perseveres.
I carry in my body ancestral memories of pain and hunger,
courageous action and adventurous undertakings.
I hold in my cells the desperate desire for a better life.
I hold in my breaking heart the dream of a better world.
May the holy being-ness of Mother Earth bless you with unexpected paths and hidden treasures,
secret visions and moist grass after a summer rain.
May your life be as blessed as a field of wildflowers arrayed in all the colors of the rainbow,
and may all your weeds have lacy leaves and curious crawling bugs.
May your spaces be thin, and healing,
may doorways always beckon you, may your climbing vines and ancient stones and flowers bloom for love of life.
Bless your delicate blossoming and the blue-gray sky.
From the rainy mist and the mossy ground a fire burns,
leaping flames and crimson core,
crackling, reaching, shooting stars.
Purple sparks and red-hot beauty
and a petal of love is birthed.
Rough-edged ideas are ready to fly in the smoky haze.
The voice of the poet is the pen for the vulnerable,
embodiment of anger over injustice and greed,
bodies killed but never silenced.
Voices crying from the grave,
speak my story,
don't let it die with me.
The spirit lives in the poem.
Feel the words, taste them, live through them.
The voice of the poet is life.
I must find a way to bring life to my study of death--
breath of the body to the bones and the gravestones,
touch and feel and caress
to the academic examination of wailing cries and farewells,
scent of decay, acrid in my nostrils,
eyes heavy and heart open.
My own tears fall.
Lovely canopy of leaves,
shade me from the destructive powers of darkness and dread;
fears so fierce they are afraid of babies.
Shield me from the children’s terror—their cries echo in my ears and I cannot bear to witness the far too many horrors felt in their young years.
Flowers fresh and petals white, tell me,
how has our world gone so very wrong?
Babies wrenched from mothers’ arms,
like leaves dashed down in yesterday’s storm.
Ash tree white, you understand the loss—
carcasses lying at your feet.
The voiceless, powerless, vulnerable bodies
are virgin sacrifices to the gods of heartlessness and greed.
Walled garden, roses climbing and petals blooming,
decorate the tent cities of the children.
cover them with the fragrance of care and plenty and beauty, warmth and soft,
wall them off from the slums of violence committed in the name of god.
Protect us all from the hate committed in the name of god.
Protect all the children of god.
I am haunted by her face,
the mother, breasts heavy with milk,
arms heavy with the ghost of her child,
belly swollen from months of carrying love.
Her face, as they ripped her child,
from her breast,
face frozen in a millisecond of disbelief,
then, as she feels her heart breaking in two,
she is wracked with cries so loud I can hear them 8,000 kilometers away.
Can you hear her cries in the wind?
Raped and beaten, threatened and starved,
she crossed 500 miles of dangerous desert
for the land of refuge,
now a house of horrors.
Rachel weeping for her children.
And I weep in gratitude that my forefathers cannot see what we have become.