"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.
Give yourself permission today
to be the gift of joy,
even in this season of sadness and stress,
give yourself permission to listen, and see,
to be safe spaces,
shelter in the rainy day chill of life.
Be the nana who kisses away the hurts;
be the color in the leafless grays of winter skies.
Like a flowing mountain stream,
or a chorale echoing in a grand cathedral,
or a seed germinating warmly in the cold ground
to bloom an expected spring surprise,
permission to become,
broken or whole,
on a run or on your knees,
to call forth the mystery within.
Your dying self groans in death pangs,
terror of the night, shadows,
the plan -- a breath away,
light within, magnetic pull toward love,
journey of heart, mind, and body joy,
multiple ways of knowing love,
love's echo resounds,
baritone and bass of our being,
heart song symphony,
beauty and light seeded from the depths.
unbalanced, where is the
line between prayer and
I hope that line is on the side of protective bubbles of love energy surrounding you.
where is the line between praying for your safety, well-being, heart space,
and sprinkling fairy dust into the air?
I don’t cry but if
I did I would cry until
there were no more tears
left to cry.
Prayer for freedom song,
love song, song of innocence,
song of joy, I pray
your desires include yourself, let you escape your past, let you close the gap between pain and contentment, fear and delight. I pray you find the threshold and cross it. I pray you see what you can become, the beloved child you are, and the love you have waiting for you.
I have taken a pause from writing poetry to finish a book manuscript. I just sent it to the publisher; you can be on the lookout for it to be released in the fall (End of Life Communication: Stories from the Dead Zone, co-authored with Dr. Jon Crane). In the meantime, to thank you for your patience as we finished the book and I now catch back up on writing poetry, here is an excerpt, from the closing chapter:
The morning lights through droplets of ice, let it lead you through white fire spaces of snow queens, snow angels of the dawn, pondering hearts. listening and watching, shoveling sleet and body awakening.
White sky, white-tipped trees,
white tail deer and feeding birds,
(originally posted 5/16/2018)
Darkness comes in many forms these days and sometimes it's hard to see those pinpricks of light. Amid
the news reports of
mean-spirited conduct and
indifferent acts, how
did we come to this, I wonder, this time
of evil triumphs,
and my heart hurts, and worries.
I look for escape
from the feelings of helplessness, despair, wonder at how low human beings can go and at the impotence that overwhelms good people, at the pull to hate the haters and descend to their darkness, to close your eyes and pretend you don't hear the cries of the walking wounded.
How can you know this
and how can you love the this
you know, honor all
life, perhaps it is time to let the sun shine in the corners of darkness, light of love,
overwhelm the hate
with joyful exuberance
and courageous love.
ization, blanket of ice,
Wonder in the way a snow day brings out the child in all of us (and a demanding one at that): must go outside to play, must drink hot beverages, must pull out the crock pot. While winter deepens our nesting instincts, the hibernation principle, the magic of snow turns us into social creatures. snow can't be enjoyed in solitary, it must be shared: "look at this!" on Facebook; to the loved one in the recliner next to us.
Busy hands and distracted mind, deadlines, edits, mental critiques.
But, mother nature had other plans -- a beautiful golden leaf from the sky floated to land on top on my head.
I promise to give myself permission to pause and breathe in the holy, accept the gifts, and fill my heart with the joy and love that is already waiting for me, reaching down to me, calling for my attention.
Final stage edits, last chance to change, kill your passion line by line, close look at every word that could have been formed better, clearer, lovelier, party with the negative voices in your head, invitational critic, hopes and dreams realized or killed, hanging on the edge of possibility, future formed by red pen.
In the holiday visit afterglow,
coffee in hand and toys strewn about like clothes after a torrid affair,
I savor the memory of warm bodies and wide smiles,
My heart breaks for babies in diapers saturated with tear gas, placeless and homeless, facing off against closed boundaries and coldness of heart,
sticky hands, joyous squeals, and exuberant explosions of love.
Arms open wide to welcome warmth, protected bodies,
novel experiences excitement,
fears and tears dried with kisses and safety of home. facing the slap of hostility, sting of rejection, again, hatred spewed like water from fire hoses, fears realized, naked vulnerability, desperation, no help, no heart.
Hold onto tiny fingers, hands grasping, ecstasy of love and baby talk.
Hand clutching arms, running, explosions behind, screams of terror and nowhere to turn,
Babies in diapers sprayed with tear gas.
See the world through Jonah's eyes,
Frisbee a percussion instrument,
dog's tail, a toy,
face amazed, novelty all around.
Uncontrolled chaos, love explosions,
exuberant, interminable child energy
and unmitigated joy, enduring.
8 degrees -- a temperature so cold even the heat pump stays cold. Although it is hard to leave the warm bed, it isn't at all hard to leave town for the warmer Arizona climate.
The airport is the usual holiday crowded, and the flight-- sold out seats, tattooed man next to me spitting what I hope is chewing tobacco in a bottle he pulls out for that purpose -- is cattle-car friendly.
"I want to make marks on paper that change people's lives," I think as I sit in a pondering mood. Stifled breath and stale air, coughed-up germs, bathroom lines, price to pay, warm hands.
The leftover chicken and pork I surreptitiously nibbled on earlier in the flight isn't sitting well in my stomach and I am ready to arrive.
Actually, I've been ready to arrive for a long time, maybe my whole life. Solitaire-playing tattooed man, seasick captain, me--arriving soon.