Tuesday, January 31, 2023

On faith

To me, there are moments 
When faith is like this boardwalk:
 A clear path that was built for us 
Through what feels chaotic and confusing; 
An implied focal point that allows us 
To keep moving and growing in times of stress. 
Even when there’s no discernible end in sight, 
Faith invites and allows us to trust 
In positive, hopeful outcomes.

Monday, January 30, 2023

A rooster question

Alerted by our cats, 
Who were crouched at the window, hissing, 
We discovered a rooster in our yard yesterday. 
Both our neighbors raise chickens, 
So we assumed he was an escapee, 
 But no; both neighbors said,
 “We don’t keep roosters anymore.
 Perhaps,” they suggested, 
“Someone just dropped him off? 
People leave stuff at the road end all the time.” 
When I looked again after those phone calls, 
He was nowhere to be seen, 
But it did leave me wondering: 
What kind of world is it, 
That we don’t need roosters anymore?

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Balancing drama

Drama is a bit like spice:
It creates a certain focal point,
But it doesn’t take a lot to liven things up.
Unfortunately for some, it’s all too easy
To become addicted,
To the point where, if we can’t find it,
We create it — like sneaking sweets,
When what we really need
Is some more productive activity 
To appease that restless, hungry spirit
While still maintaining a healthy balance
In our lives.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

There may still be a way

When you think you’ve finally reached 
The end of the road, 
 Don’t get distracted by reflections 
 On the journey that you’ve taken, 
But keep looking: 
There may still be a way to get through; 
A path that will reveal itself to the discerning eye 
And gently guide the way to a new direction.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Below the tangles

I remember a time when I feared 
That if I were to meditate, 
To truly sink into that space 
Deep inside myself, 
This is all I would find: a hairy, tangled mess, 
Filled with sharp edges and black holes 
To get torn by and get lost in. 
With time and practice I learned to find 
The deeper ground beneath, 
That point vierge where we’re all linked 
To spirit, and to each other, in love.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

What we’re missing

It’s all too easy to lose sight of the mystery 
That’s a part of everything: 
We interact with the roads we travel every day — 
Like the people we see every day — 
Without really noticing them. 
Lost in the dailiness, 
 Intent on where we’re heading, 
We rush by, taking for granted 
All the gifts they have to offer; 
No longer observing 
 The special moments when they shine, 
And in forgetting their uniqueness, 
We lose sight of our own as well. 
At some point in your day, 
Make time to stop, or at least slow down, 
And try to be fully present 
 To the magic in the moment: 
You might be surprised to see 
What you’ve been missing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023


So much of what we see 
Is colored by what we long to see; 
Its clarity marred by reflections of what’s past. 
It’s no wonder that two witnesses 
Will never quite agree on what’s true. 
That said — the way you see the world 
Is truly unique; a vision that, when shared, 
Might help complete another’s picture.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

How and when to help

What can we do 
With what the world expects from us?
 So much is broken: how can we know 
Where to direct what healing energy we have? 
How do we discern what — 
 Like falling leaves or the setting sun — 
Is part of a natural cycle of life and death, 
And what might need our intervention; 
Where we can effect productive change, 
And what must be left 
 For time or other forces to resolve?

Monday, January 23, 2023

More and enough

In a country obsessed with celebrity, 
With so many folks posting daily on TikTok, 
Making their videos 
And trolling through Instagram;
Young people honing their gifts and their skills, 
Hoping for college admission, or stardom —
 TV, or a movie, or a statue someday; 
Always striving for More; to be seen; to be heard. 
We lose sight of how it might feel to be average 
And what it must take 
To support those celebrities—
 The ticket takers and camera men, 
The cleanup crews and concession staff, 
Traffic cops and bus drivers, 
All doing their best to help meet society’s needs
 For order, for transport, for shelter, for food, 
For education, and for entertainment. 
Remember to honor the millions of workers 
Who find joy in the small things,
 In friends and in families,
In watching and walking,
 For whom the willingness to serve 
Is simply enough.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Step outside

What if you were to set your phone aside; 
To disconnect from all that clutter of information 
 And step outside; to find a place 
 Where you might breathe 
The scents of growth and decay; 
Of stability that lasts more than a lifetime; 
Of fragility that nourishes, 
Even as it dies; 
Of rigidity that learns to bend to survive; 
And therein rediscover 
Your own ability to endure: 
 To learn, to grow, and utilize 
Each challenge that you face 
As an opportunity to drink anew 
From the infinite well of resources within you.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

The magic and the majesty

The grace of finding time 
To commune — however briefly — 
With the natural world 
Lies in these moments of absolute stillness, 
When we know ourselves to be in tune 
With everything that is: the clouds, the trees, 
The mountains, the creatures, and the seas— 
All participants together In the magic and the majesty 
 Of this life and this earth in which we share.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Mystery in the dark

In the dark and fog, familiar shapes 
Take on a certain mystery: 
Distracting details disappear 
 And light becomes alluring…

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Making choices

Why take a tree and carve it into art?
 Whether you’re an artist or an athlete, 
A politician or a parent, a coder or a carpenter, 
A sculptor, a surgeon or a salesman — 
 Whatever role you’re playing, 
You’ll need to be making choices, 
So what’s the value driving them? 
Why this instead of that? 
Could it be growth? Or generosity? 
The greater good, or simply greed? 
Too many possibilities to name, 
But it’s good to be aware; 
To be conscious of both the impact 
And the driving force behind your decisions.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Honoring Beauty and Effort

How many things do we walk by in a day — 
Man made or natural — 
Without giving a thought to what it took 
To create them; 
For a tree to grow each tiny little branch; 
For an architect to design 
This circle of glass, this curving wall, 
 And for the brickmaker and the builder 
To create these gentle curves. 
In truth, there’s beauty and effort 
Everywhere we look, 
If only we’d make time to pay attention.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Patterns and connections

You ask me what I see.
 I see patterns, and connections: 
Not just the spread wings of the cormorant,
 But the echo of his posture and his beak; 
Not just the round dots of the bolts,
 But their echoes, the ways that they repeat; 
Not just the verticals of the wood, 
But the stripes lent by the weather, 
By the guano, and by their aging from the salt. 
To me, these things become a symbol 
Of the ways we’re all connected;
 How our worries and delights echo 
Across the span of time and race, 
Gender, nationality, and party affiliation: 
A reminder that we’re each unique, 
Yet alike in many more ways 
Than we’ll ever understand.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Taking turns

I sat and watched the Steller’s Jays 
As they scrabbled for their peanuts. 
And I noticed they take turns: 
One keeps watch while the other performs 
The tricky task of excavating 
 The peanut from the wire, 
And then, as soon as the first bird 
Has the peanut in its mouth, 
The other positions itself, ready to dive in. 
If only humans could always be as gracious…

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Into the light

Keep walking toward the light. 
You may not know where the road will take you, 
Or who awaits you along the path; 
Just keep walking, toward and into the light, 
Knowing that you’re where you’re meant to be.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Lift thine eyes

Occasionally, through the branches —
 The distracting exigencies of life — 
We catch a glimpse of the benevolent spirit 
 That watches over us, inspires, guides, 
And keeps us safe — 
But only if we stop to breathe 
And lift our eyes above our current 
Occupations and obsessions…

Friday, January 13, 2023

No clear way out

And then there are the days 
When the forest of choices seems impenetrable, 
And the only one that stands out 
Is clearly a dead end. 
With no clear way forward, 
And no desire to return, 
It may be time to stop and breathe;
 To breathe and breathe again until 
The drive that presses forward subsides, 
And you can relax and look around you; 
Consider all the options that await you, 
 If only you are willing 
To contemplate a shift in direction.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Opening before you

Can you see it?
 There, before you, opening up, 
A broad way forward, lit from above? 
You’ve finally found your way! 
After having struggled 
 On this dark and narrow path for so long,
 A new year; a new era lies before you,
 Full of opportunity and promise; 
A new direction, to be sure,
 But no longer just a short cut: 
A clear, well traveled invitation 
To take your rightful place in the world.
 Let optimism abound: 
 You’ll finally be where you were meant to be.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Fog, like love

Fog, like love, has a way 
Of making all things beautiful — 
Magical, mystical, inviting … 
Reducing the distractions, 
Softening the boundaries, 
Opening and deepening, 
We focus on the essence of what’s there, 
And are suffused with delight.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

How we spend our time

At first glance, seeing this, 
I thought it might depict two modes: 
Doing, and being. 
But the more I looked, 
 The more I began to chuckle, 
Because, like many people (Myself included),
 I was confusing the gathering of tools, 
The planning, the intention, 
With the actual work of doing. 
It’s really not enough to make a list, 
Or to add another task to an existing list: 
We need to actually do the work: 
To vacuum, dust, or wash the floors; 
To write that letter to your congressman; 
To add another chapter to your book; 
To weed the garden, shovel snow; 
To pay that debt you owe or call your mom — 
Whatever the task, it will not be accomplished 
By accumulating lists, or plans, how-to books, 
 The right clothes, or the best tools, 
Or imagining what rewards you might receive: 
None of that is either being or doing, 
And yet much of that is how we spend our time…

Monday, January 9, 2023

Why seek to improve?

Watching the waves 
Through the windshield of my car, 
Trying to avoid the icy wind,
 I shoot, and shoot, and shoot again,
 Trying to catch the biggest wave — 
But why? That question we must always ask: 
Are we doing this — whatever it might be—
 To impress, to win, to gain recognition?
 Or are we simply trying 
 To get better at our craft; to more fully express 
The spirit that flows through us;
 Doing our best to grow and to inspire?

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Becoming a tree

Trees still seem to be on my mind today: 
As I looked up from my reading — 
 Which spoke of a tree’s inner commitment 
 To unfold a certain pattern, 
And thus to serve as a manifestation 
 Of the vital energy of life — 
I noticed this reflection in my window; 
Of a tree appearing to emerge 
From a complexity of influences, 
As we all do, pulling together all we learn 
Into a unique and hopefully coherent whole. 
There are days, of course, when we still live 
In that entangled, scattered place…

Saturday, January 7, 2023

If you were a tree

Asked to draw myself as a tree, 
I asked my husband while on our walk 
Which tree he thought I’d be. 
His first response was “alive, not dead,” 
And his second was, “Evergreen; 
You never seem to lose your leaves.” 
And finally, “I think you’d stand alone, 
Not in a forest.” 
 And as our walk ended 
 And we came to our driveway 
I saw this tree that might be me: 
A dry beginning, a few setbacks, 
An about face or two but now leafed out 
And standing on my own. 
 It’s all good, and I am home at last.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Ripples on the horizon

As the winter moon ignites 
The ocean at her feet, we dream, 
And wake to find pink clouds and gray ones: 
Ribbons on a cerulean sky. 
Ever changing, ever stable, 
Like our center, that stays constant, 
While emotions, pain and pleasure, 
Wash across our internal horizon, 
Darkening, igniting, coloring 
All our thoughts throughout the day, 
Then fading into sleep.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

On art and time

Though I’m in no position 
To criticize contemporary art, 
 I can’t help noticing the difference 
 Between what currently passes for public art 
And the elaborate sculptures of the past, 
Just as I can’t help but observe 
How the sound bite of a TikTok video 
Compares to a Shakespeare play. 
I get that each takes expertise: 
The difference seems to lie 
 In the time expended. 
And so I examine how I spend my own time 
And am saddened to see how much is wasted
Staring at a screen…

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

A gift to share

There’s something so heartening 
 About the unexpected gift of flowers in winter: 
The thought that someone, somewhere, 
Took the time to grow, cut, and arrange them 
In so pleasing a bouquet, 
And another someone saw them 
And decided I’d enjoy this random blessing. 
I thought I’d share this loveliness with you: 
A pleasant antidote to the cold and dark.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Hope for our future

My daughter spent much of Christmas 
 Adding stitching — magenta threads — 
To this incredible quilt. 
When I was roughly the age that she is now,
 I was teaching quilting in New Hampshire, 
But nothing I created or taught in those days 
Began to equal the creativity, playfulness, 
Technique, or design she’s showing here — 
Which is one of the reasons I still have hope 
For the future of humanity: that each generation 
Can improve upon the previous: 
Become more open and more thoughtful; 
Can devise more creative solutions; 
Can build upon the knowledge of the past 
To build a more expansive and inclusive vision 
 To enlighten generations that follow. 
Yes, I get, that, like these magenta strips, 
Our path’s neither straight nor perfect, 
But overall we are still growing, 
And for that, I’m grateful!

Monday, January 2, 2023

Look up and out

How much of life do we spend looking down: 
So intent on finding 
Our own way through the world 
That we miss the magnificence around us 
And ignore the potential opportunities 
 For learning and friendship we pass by? 
Yes, it’s good to look inward, 
And to be mindful of where we place our feet, 
But it’s good to look up and out as well…

Sunday, January 1, 2023

And now it begins

And now it begins: another sunrise, 
Another day, another year, another opportunity 
 To become who we were meant to become, 
To do what we were born to do, 
To breathe, and grow, and hope, and love, 
And fill the world with goodness, and light, 
And walk the dogs and wash the dishes 
And vacuum up the glitter and confetti 
And sit and breathe and make lists 
Of all the tasks that lie before us. 
And all shall be well, and all shall be well, 
And all manner of things shall be well.