Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

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I Long to Dwell

[This one’s a work in progress. Might need to tweak it some. Suggestions welcome.]

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I long to dwell in a gentle place

Where acceptance doesn’t depend on race.

Where sins are forgiven, each person driven

By self-knowledge of culpability.

I long to dwell where people smile;

They say to me, “Sit down a while.”

They listen quietly, as do I;

We nod our heads understandingly.

I long to dwell where children are safe

No longer victims of hate or rape.

No longer killed inside the womb

Nor victims of parents’ inconsistency.

I long to dwell with an inner peace,

Having confessed my anger and grief,

No longer concerned what others think —

Open to growth and flexibility.

I long to love as Jesus loves,

To fly like an eagle or a dove,

To have a purpose that fits like a glove,

And live the joy of humility.

There Is a God

There is a God, unfath’mable,
Whom many do not know.
Dark forces work continually 
So that our faith won’t grow.


They work on unsuspecting minds
And turn our thoughts away
From heavenly things, from angel’s wings;
Mankind’s their greatest prey.


There is a God Whose love is deep,
Who knows our ev’ry care.
He woos us with a perfect love;
His love is everywhere.


He never lies; nor does he cheat,
Nor practice any foul deceit.
He will not force His ways on us,
But waits in patience so discreet.


A love that’s forced can never be;
A real love must be free choice.
For freely chosen love’s the way
We’ll enter heaven and rejoice.

Every Place

Every place

Has its ups and downs —

The smiles and the frowns,

The spooks and the clowns,

Disgraces or crowns.

You’ll find

Snakes or bugs,

Scorpions or slugs,

Crows or eagles,

Mosquitos or seagulls.

Every place

Has climate and weather,

The storms and the thunder,

Hurricanes or earthquakes,

Humidity or drought.

Every place

Has interesting neighbors

Who do you kind favors,

They help with their labors,

And pick up your papers.

Every place

Has frowning faces —

Won’t give you the time,

To judgment inclined,

Won’t lend you a dime.

Every place

Has pleasures and dangers —

Or are they both one?

Pleasure can be danger

If overdone.

Every life

Has its moments

Of goodness and closeness,

Of fear or of faith,

Of love or of hate.

O Lord,

Give me hope,

So with life I can cope —

To keep a deep peace

As my faith You increase.

If Not for the Bird Songs

If not for the bird songs

My mind would be lost

With all the changes

With all the strangeness 

If not for the fairy fireflies

I would have lost the wonder

My mind torn asunder

I would have gone under

If not for the thunder

I would make the blunder 

Of sinking in sadness

Being blind to the gladness 

If not for your smile

I would have dwelt a long while

In a pit of despair

Might have torn out my hair 

If not for your kindness

I’d live only in blindness

A desert of dryness

So listless and lifeless

If not for God’s comfort

My life would be forfeit

My joy would be dormant

My thoughts tending morbid 

O, the greatness of God

Who lifts up the lowly 

Who brightens our story

Let us give Him the glory!

ON MOVING TO THE MIDWEST IN SUMMER

A distant cloud, with flashing light. 

A soundless thunder, a sense of wonder. 

Fireflies flirting; the sidewalk skirting. 

The air hangs heavy, hot and wet; 

I wipe away the beads of sweat. 

The bugs are biting; a little frightening. 

Imagining fairies riding fireflies, 

In evening silence, their dance delighting. 

For quite some time, I forget the biting. 

Until I wake at 3 a.m.; the itching has begun again. 

My long-gone mother comes to mind. 

She prayed for me; her heart was kind. 

So many changes; can’t keep track.

Need to recall– God’s got my back.

He comes to fill what I now lack.

Exhaustion is my current test;

In God I need to take my rest.

His plan for me must be the best.

Grief

I cannot excise your pain,
The painful, pounding refrain,
The unmet need
Of a  heart that bleeds.


I can only say I’m here
And wipe away a tear,
Or say that God is walking near —
The pain won’t disappear.


You will learn to carry it, accept it. 
And through that burning, searing stab,
The mending bone, the itching scab,
You’ll know you lived and loved.


One day the wound will heal
And only leave a scar.
You’ll know that you are real,
That you have lived and loved.

Blessed Night

Blessed night
Stars are bright
Calming silence
Peaceful quietness

Sleep so softly
Clouds are lofty

Gentle rain
Song’s refrain
Birds sing brightly
Sky is lightening

Dawn begins
Joy within

Given Good Gifts

The world is still turning
The seasons come and go.
My heart is still beating;
Life has its ebb and flow.

The blossoms still open;
The birds still laugh and sing.
My heart can be broken,
But then it sings again.

The children are smiling,
And many others cry.
Some have empty stomachs,
Some hear sweet lullabies.

If you’ve been given good gifts,
Please share them with the world,
And one day love will conquer
All the tragedy unfurled.

Remember California

At my home near the Bay,
Stepping out into the rain-drenched air,
Covering my hair.

And then the rain stopped,
And I sensed other California places
I’ve mostly been.

The snow-chilled air of winter Tahoe,
The sea scents of Half Moon Bay,
A whiff of pungent pines in the Sierras,
Or Central Valley heat, like an oven baking.

You can smell the mud, fishing by a river,
Or at the Elkhorn Slough.
Or catch the skunk’s scent at night while driving,
Hoping death did not cause the fumes..

Did you ever smell the Jeffrey pines at Lassen?
They’re like vanilla pudding!

We all breathe the same air —
Remember California in your dreams.

The Peace I Crave

The mighty eagle spreads its wings.
Upon the waves of wind it sings.
Through mountains, valleys, low and high,
It touches earth; it touches sky.

How will I find the peace I crave?
I must be strong; I must be brave.
From worldly rage, beyond control,
I must protect my living soul.

The mighty eagle spreads its wings;
In storm or sun, its call still rings.
Through mountains, valleys, low and high,
Glides undisturbed in raptured sky.

(with Tom Rodeheffer)

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