How did we get here
to this world of
hollowed out horror
this growing red circle
of pain, thickening
As it seeps into all the crevices
of our souls
i remember the words
just a faint whisper on a page
will there be any faith left?
but the crows will
peck at it
murder the edges
Mock the mourners cries
Dance as the stench of death
Fills our nostrilS
Muttering as we clasp our ears
against the toning
of the bells and their fluttering wings.
#Godthoughts. Beyond Words
In my brother’s garden
Rising from the soil
They do not toil
Their visit short
(Like this poem from your sister)
Photo Les Chisholm. Edit: Val Letkeman
There are moments
When everyone is not enough
And everything breaks our hearts
Those moments crash into us
No warning, we stumble Into the abyss
Perhaps we weren’t watching, just singing silly songs.
Grief pours from us
We stumble around blindly, carefully
Not touching anything
For although everyone reaches out
They cannot replace the one
That we know was everything.
What really keeps me up at night
Is the hum of muses
As fragments of old words and songs
Seep into my soul
Tickle my senses, diffuses.
The heat of the day
Still warming my bones
Gone, as the moon rises
Accepting the worship
Due the fading Friday sun, alone.
I can still hear it.
The gleeful laugh of my children
Through the sheen of my tears
Fluttering away in the twilight, gone
Fading into the great unknown, again.
Photo of my Mom, Grandma Bunchek my four children and their cousins…happy summer vacations in Minnesota.
On the edge
Art: Containing Chaos. (Michael Lang)
Measured against eternity
How quickly does time fly?
And where is the end of It?
In the blink of an eye
My measurement has changed
The tape is skewed, my eyes blind
I am lost in the spring sunshine
Waiting for things that are no longer there
As I search for clarity in the light
I speak to the trees, the birds, the river
i speak to myself, and to those I love
Eternity feels like a long, long time.
(This pic was taken in Las Vegas. The exhibit is Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room) it was a soulful experience.
(An ode to my sister Joyce. Gone but not forgotten. April was her birthday month)
Remember daisy chains?
We wove them nimbly
In fragile wreaths
Hung about our necks
Wilted in the summer sun
Dancing with us in the meadows
To be cast to ocean breezes
Tuned in to each other’s breath
Pledging to never forget us
As they floated forever away.
In the darkest dark
Take root, break apart
Through the night
Dark thoughts cannot remain
But come to light, burst in birth
When they come in contact
With the morning bright
Which waits to greet all
Who try to grow, to test their worth
Just for spite
When words get stuck
and I have no lips
to You I’ll come
I’ll tell You
that something is missing
You’ll tell me
That even if I shut the door
on your foot
I am to remember
that when I take you for granted
You will still be there
but in silence
a waiting that stretches
Until I remember
#GodThoughts (Beyond Words)
art:by Guillermo Wright
I communed with God
I heard him knock
Be a light, he said
Carry the torch
Listen to the light
Of their voices
As others crawl
through the darkness
Disperse the fog
Strike the match
So that they may hear
If they cannot see
Do not be desperate
Hope burns bright.
#GodThoughts (Beyond Words)
Sometimes I cry
the rain of tears
fail to hide
with words unsaid
I hit the wall
for the fight for holiness
deep, down, dead
my heart reels
I wait for the blessing
He knows my shame
and rains down
Art (Parshat Naso) Yolanda Raanan The Priestly Blessing
Today I am mindful of memories. of warmer climes, warm breezes cold lemonade and daisies.
I feel regret for things that no longer are
Or will be exactly so again.
As I focus on the memories, I press them to my heart
Crushing the sweet fragrance of their blooms and inhale
Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really…How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
Almost through another week. The snow falls. We struggle to find our smiles as we slide along slippery streets, bundled against the frigid northern breezes. It is dark and restless now. I stare into the dark night sky. No stars, just a cloud blanket shaken by an unseen hand, showering snowflakes. A lone figure stalks along with his dog. I never envy anyone walking a pet in cold weather. It looks like all duty. None of the joy of a summer dawdle.
When we were a family, we trained our dog, AJ to take his own walk…along the path to his spot, around the curve and back again, always returning with that same satisfied grin. 365 days x 6 years. He was always joyous to reach home. A simple bark and the door opened and he bounced right in.
How often I have stood watching the night sky. Sleep is often elusive. I am comforted that I am not alone. I have a simple faith. God is there. Walking with me. 365 days X 65 years and counting. ❤️ I’m not in any hurry to move on yet, but I’m sure about where I want to go. I’ll be happy to reach home.
We all stand
beneath the same sky
for things that are
clouded in mystery
shrouded through history
until that great day
when all will
weep for we
have been set free
from our collective misery
For we all stand
beneath the same sky.
Hello friends. It has been a sad, slow journey since the untimely death of one of our daughters. I find it difficult to put words to page these days. A few months before she passed away, in a happier moment, my husband and I bought a vacation package to Las Vegas for New Years.
We aren’t gamblers, but enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the many entertainment venues and eateries available. Visiting the hotels with all kinds of interesting stuff is a treat. One particular favourite stop of mine is the Art Gallery at the Bellagio. It is a small innocuous spot nestled along the busy promenade where visiting artists are showcased.
This last visit was spectacular in its simplicity. Perhaps it was my melancholy that perceived it this way, but the exhibit by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama was riveting to me. As the picture shows, it is just a collection of stainless steel polished globes. They are all grouped. But they are not randomly placed. The interesting thing is that they are arranged in such a way that no matter where you stand in the room you can see your reflection in the balls. It is named The Narcissus Garden.
The story of Ms. Kusama is really intriguing . You can check out her website here. I’ve included her picture. Spoiler alert….she has an obsession with dots. She also continues to wrestle with the big question of who we are and where are we going. As do I. ❤️ Then there is my experience in the Infinity Room. More on that later.
True story: While grocery shopping the clerks always asked if they could help me carry my groceries. When I was younger I felt quite offended. In fact one time I responded with a terse “I’ll let you know when I need help” as I picked up my 40 bags and struggled to the car. By the time I dragged them home I had broken out into a cold sweat. My husband offered to help, but I waved him away intent on proving that things were lighter than they looked.
Sometimes we are unwilling to let someone help make our burdens “light”. We would rather struggle along self righteously or indignantly wearing ourselves out, perhaps not wanting to be seen as weak… ignoring the help that is offered. How silly it seems now.
My days seem to speed by. I guiltily carve out some writing time this evening. Actually it’s all been a bit wispy snowy and foggy lately. As the denseness evaporates, the trees have acquired a white frosty attire that makes me think that Christmas is just around the corner again…lol. I am a busy property manager, and found myself out and about with my husband Ken, (my maintenance manager) earlier than usual, surveying my “Kingdom” as I jokingly tell my staff. Snow blankets everything.
It actually wasn’t that cold. Walking along, hearing the crunch of my boots in the morning air was a comforting sound. I was reminded of the words of Maya Angelou, “Still, like air I rise”, as we strolled along catching a glimpse of our site bunny sitting as still as a statue against the fence begging us to ignore him. We eyed him back, looking to see if there is any change in the colour of his fur which indicates the soon arrival of spring. You don’t need a groundhog when you have a site bunny. 😁. How quickly that would bring a smile to Ken’s face as he “strongly dislikes” snow and cold. Perhaps soon he will be rewarded. The new month of February is coming…Praise God. The groundhog awaits !😬 Here is an Elfjie ❤️ Shaped like a tree. Go well today friends. It’s all about the praises.
Celebrate their Creator
Every day they whisper
My little brother
Drowned the cat
In my mother’s wash bucket
That’s a fact.
A kitten actually,
To see, he later said
If it would go to heaven
With God -then it wouldn’t be
Into its nostrils
A panicked breath of life
That sudsy cat came back.
Scratching and biting
Hissing and snarling
We all agreed
That in his fright,
He had not
Seen God, or
What he had seen
Did not convince him to stay
Much to our delight.
Our kitty looked like this 🤗
Haha ok. I’m a lousy listener. My mom (there she is again, sorry mom) told me once that I was vaccinated with a phonograph needle when I was a child. I think I was the only one in kindergarten that was rapped across the knuckles by my teacher with the pointer and told to “sit down and shut up.” Less social souls would have curled up in a ball sucking their thumbs, not me. I always have a word in due and not so due season lol.
It’s hard to explain, because I get accused of not listening enough. Let me tell you a secret. I hear it all. the important stuff. Ok ok…perhaps my husband Kenneth would argue at this point but ask me…his favorite colour…RED, How he likes his toast. Charcoal…almost. See?
I love words, and conversation. I guess I learned it from my Father who loved a great debate and like myself, loved to read and be informed and discuss, discuss, discuss. I feel strongly about things. I take it to heart. It usually isn’t about who is right. Its the FUN of the conversation. and when people give me their words I fill up with answers. Everyone wants to tell you THEIR story. Rarely do they ask to hear yours.
“The world had a way of speaking to you if you let it; the trick was learning to hear.”
― Justin Cronin, The City of Mirrors
The Bible , a book I read often as a child and adult says something I think is very profound.
“Can two people walk together unless they be agreed.”
That means listening to the whole story. And agreeing to remain friends. Sometimes it means to agree to differ.
And that’s the word. Ciao friends, thanks for listening.
Sometimes the heavens
Have ceased to hear me
I speak to the silent earth
I pray to the god of the lesser things
The god of everyday birds
Who offers nothing
Just sits on the edge of each new day
watches the unraveling of life
In unexpected ways
Pecking on empty seeds
Idly observes the demons
Wipes no tear stained cheeks
Lingers sullenly, consumed ,
Silently taunts my humanness
It’s not giving up really, just a bitter cup
Move along, there’s nothing to see here
Just a lesser god doing nothing
Except reminding me of my weaknesses
Daring me to give the heavens another chance.
photo : Ondrej Pakan
Mary was a precious soul. Her poetry paints beautiful pictures with her unique vision, style and language. My life has been enriched. Thank you Mary.
Photo :Iris~ vcl©️
I remember Mr. Murray well. Designated as our homeroom teacher, the grade 11 class regarded him warily. Perhaps it was the ascot knotted at his throat, unusual apparel for a Nova Scotia fishing town. Or it may have been his pasty skin, the unwell appearance of an unhealthy person, wearily moseying along the road of life.. nearer to the end than the beginning. Every movement he made was languid. I remember the class atmosphere as whispery, as if we were all in a hospital waiting room. It was instinctive that we felt compelled to best behavior.
He taught us English Studies. I loved to listen to him speak about the characters in the stories we studied. He had a lovely way of shaping words. One instance, I cannot remember the name of the book, he stated how over dramatized and “gushy” it was, and that any minute we could expect violin music emerging from the bushes, highly unlikely in the circumstances. We were encouraged to envision it. The girls giggled, the boys rolled their eyes. His danced merrily.
My Father was a religious zealot. He was quite firm on what literature his children should have access to. It was with a sinking heart that I brought home the designated reading for the semester. Of course it had to be “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” by Canadian author Mordecai Richler, newly minted, off the presses and reallllly controversial. My Teacher was that kind of man. Controversial. My father was angry and impetuous. Pulling open the kitchen coal stove lid, he thrust the book into the flaming fires of hell, and slammed the lid shut. No child of his was going to read that garbage!
I was a nervous child. It was not easy living with a Father that talked directly to God. Unfortunately, neither he nor God accompanied me to school to explain the situation to my teacher. Approaching his desk, I gathered all of the little courage I had, and I told him my story.
I must explain here that I am an eye watcher. Eyes say everything, especially in unguarded moments. I can read even the faintest twitch of untruth. My children despise me for it. I remember his eyes that day as they changed from curiosity to interest in my story and then to pain. No anger, I was used to anger. Smiling sadly, he stated that he would give me another assignment. “I want you to write an essay “he said.” I want you to write about Success. Tell me all you can learn about Success.”
Then turning to the class, he called it to order. Pulling an armload of envelopes out of his satchel, he proceeded to hand them round to each student. “ I am going to teach you something that will be the most important information you will ever need to know as you venture out into the world. I am going to show you how to fill out Income Tax forms.” We spread them out on our desks, rolled up our sleeves and got to work.
I wrote my essay on Success. I do not remember much of what it said or the mark I received. I left for another school at the end of the term. I heard that Mr. Murray did not return the next year either. After a I graduated I got a job. I got married. I felt the most happy feeling each year as I got out those forms and filled them out because I had the knowledge my husband didn’t have yet. I felt needed. As the years past and the taxes became more intricate, I willingly passed them over to our tax man.
Oh yes…One quote I do remember is “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. “~Albert Schweitzer
BTW I picked up the forbidden book later in life. Funny thing, it is a story about a young man desperately determined to be successful. And he wasn’t. Thank you Mr. Murray. ❤️
I started real work as I call it when I was 15 years old. I went away to a church run private school and paid part of my tuition by working part time in a book bindery. My classes started at 730 am till noon then I worked the afternoon 1 until 4 . Oh yes…and all day Sunday. I worked as a cover layer ..rebinding old and putting new books together. Covers were cut and glue (old horse glue) was melted in a machine that was plastered on the covers and another machine was used to fold and trim the corners and edges. I was so efficient at my job that I was asked to make the year books. It was a huge task. Oh and all the work was done standing btw. And the hot glue smell? …..phew , especially if you forgot and it started to burn!
Those years cemented a lifelong love affair with books because an added bonus to my job was being able to read the books that I was working on during my lunch breaks. Books of poetry, books about the world, history books, books of maps, and magic…… all kinds of books.
I have also noticed through the years that whatever work I have done involves a lot of reading…❤️.
There is a song that I heard as a child that goes “I’ll work till Jesus comes” and I joke that I took those words literally.
If there is a heaven…(and I believe there is) …this quote says it all… book paradise.
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
― Jorge Luis Borges
With ghostlike steps
The unforgiving light of morning
Pours out, grief suspended , unended
Stopping the illusion
That anything can ever be okay.
Ergo I lean in
Strain my ear but
I can only hear
Faith, belief, forever
are only words I pencil in,
Grasping to my chest
My book of lamentation.
For littered among Christmas debris
I search the fragile memories
You said that freedom lies in solitude
The song of angels now stilled
I strain to hear the trill of your faint goodbye.
Art: Florence Blanchot
Draw me close, full cold moon.
Winter solstice, northern rising afar.
Coming down to bless us,
A silent symphony of blessings
Amongst the gleaming stars.
To be or not to be
But we insist
To do or not to do
Is our mantra
With least regret
So as we spiral
Down to death
And do our best
To be content
May we see the
Irony of our intent
That what we do is what we be.
You never get used to losses
Losses are like being set adrift
In a lifeboat with holes in it.
Always seeking the shoreline
All rescuing each other
For most people are not strong swimmers
Or never learned to swim at all
It is only in SOS that we declare
That we do not know how
To survive in this rudderless world
It is us against the world
Until someone else comes along
To claim your loyalty
I could warn you
That their lifeboat has holes too.
I watch the falling snow
The whirling edges
Sparkle into night
Windblown fingers grasp
The naked branches
Cavorting in the light.
Endless snowflakes fall
Like ageless dancing angels
Heeding winter’s flight
I am making shortbread
Cutting small shapes just right
Wishing you were standing near
As you do in every year
Judging the sugary cookies a delight.
Anticipation is something we experience even before our first memories are formed. This story is a revisit of happier times…to be mindful that there is meaning, wonder and even worth in the waiting.❤️
It started out innocently, the first year I was old enough buy a gift for him with my own money. As the oldest child, I felt I had done something that reeked of specialness, of significance. That first Christmas sweater was grey. It had large buttons and a cable knit design that my mother loved to knit when she was not mothering eight children. Boxed and wrapped, I placed it under the tree in high anticipation of its appreciation. (Mom said so.)
Here I must point out that my Dad was taciturn in personality. Christmas was the one time of the year that he broke from that self-imposed formalness and actually seemed to be more jovial. He ate chocolates and played games, and joined in the fun. When someone squealed to him that there was a present for him under the tree from me, he made a huge production of it. That long, drawn out week before Christmas morning, He would pick the present up as he sat in his favorite recliner chair by the tree and shake it gently…trying to guess the contents.
Was it a violin? I giggled and shook my head, no. A wallet then…boxed to fool him? I refused to answer. He would have to wait for Christmas like the rest of us. Then disaster struck. Christmas Eve had finally arrived and Mom was brewing up a batch of spiced hot cider in the kitchen. My younger siblings and I were stringing popcorn garlands for the tree. Dad reached down, picking up the package that had become a nightly ritual and looking at me intently in the eye said. “Does it have buttons?”
My face betrayed me. Viewing my crestfallen face, he crowed triumphantly. I was tearful but turned my face away. My surprise was spoiled. Another game he had won. That is another story. He, on the other hand was quite happy with his gift that Christmas morning. For the next ten years, I bought him a Christmas sweater. I never put it under the tree until Christmas Eve.
Each time I would put it in his hands he would look me wickedly in the eye though with his Cheshire cat grin and still try to guess, “Does it have buttons?” Sometimes it had a zipper.
- When Do You Open Christmas Day Or Christmas Eve? [POLL] (k99.com)
- Christmas Recap (callieleighcoker.wordpress.com)
Let me ask you this: What’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to you? How quickly can you recall this memory? Now try this one on: What are the most hurtful words anyone’s ever said to you? What about instances where the words uttered weren’t even intentionally mean, but they still stung deeply? I suspect this list would be the longest. Words that sting have a way of lingering.
My daughter’s untimely death has caused me to remember conversations, especially in the final weeks leading up to her suicide. It is not easy, not being enough for her to keep holding on. We always accused her of being cryptic…But my last conversation was clear as a bell. It will ring forever in my ears.
“It’s never been about you Mum. Bye. I love you.”
Her last text to me until the unending silence . A last gift. A last kindness. Even in her pain she sought to soothe. That’s why I love her. That’s why I’ve always loved her. Because she loved me. It was the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.❤️
Our favorite reindeer
Whose nose glows mindfully
*Poetry style ~ 1-2-3-4-1
Through my window
I watch the snow fall.
I am on the qui vive as it feathers down.
Almost apologetically, like a billowing bed sheet;
Collectively covering the ground’s
Nakedness and the tree’s limbs.
The picnic table stands in lonely, frozen silhouette.
Pigeons pace and prattle.
I open the door
and step over the threshold.
A dog howls a mournful tune in the distance.
Closing the door behind me I am enveloped
in semi- darkness. The snowflakes stare back silently.
Only one street light beams.
I am clothed in my own exhaled breath.
Bleak winter has arrived, once again.
Christmas ~ It makes us feel.
We inwardly wail and gnash our teeth
Or stoically keep a stiff upper lip
We wrap our gifts
Trim the tree, rearrange the Nativity…
And in the ritual, hope
To pass along the memories
To those who listen
Perhaps our children
Paying tribute to those we miss
Playing down the agonies
Elevating the bliss
A seasonal thaw, as if walking on stones
On the winter river
Frozen in place but beauteous ever
We find ourselves transfixed in this space
We’ve set aside for lost warm embrace.
And we hold it tight
For it is all we have
This celebration of lives lived, loved and lost
Consoling ourselves that we are present
With our presence, the best present,
Not a memory erased, hoping to return
At the end of the new glittery year that awaits.
She said, stop praying for me, Mother
I never prayed enough
to stop her
I have stopped praying now
Death whispers her name.
Time has slowed
Silence has replaced
The susurrous swirl
I whisper her name
I miss you more
Because your loss
They have died too.
This has been a long, devastatingly hard week since the passing of my daughter Stephanie. If there is any light at all, it is to be found in family who have taken time to support me. One particular person is my brother Les. His support and willingness to do the hard tasks will always be remembered in my heart.
We’ve been having lots of opportunity to reminisce as siblings do and during one of our conversations he told me about an occasion when he worked as a councillor at our church camp, with children who had various disabilities. One boy, he remembered, probably about 15 years old at the time, in an advanced stage of multiple sclerosis was confined to a wheelchair. My brother assisted him by pushing him around to meals and various activities. He couldn’t play softball but he liked to watch, and my brother said he stayed with him so he wouldn’t have to be alone.
The conversation turned to the ocean, the boy lamented that he had never been to the waters edge of a beach. The beach wasn’t easily accessible for a wheelchair. There were a lot of stairs to navigate. Les told the lad…”I can take you down the stairs….but you ain’t coming back ….haha” He laughed.
The boy continued, He hated being a bother to people, as if others had made him feel that way and Les said, “that it was no problem for him.”
Smiling up, He said to Les, “Everybody has a problem, it’s just that you can see mine.”
My brother, with the same kindness he showed to me this week …found a way to honour the boy’s desire. He said… I know a place… there was another access 3/4 mile away and he pushed the boy all the way there. Because He couldn’t get out of the wheelchair, Les cupped water in his hands, the boy tasted it and thought it was pretty neat.
As the sun was setting on another day, they slowly returned to the camp for supper. As Les helped him get ready for the meal, the boy asked….”Soooo, how does feel to be hanging out with a * gibble* ? Les said “Funny you should ask. I’ve always wanted a friend that was a *gibble*. Now I have one.
38 years have passed since that conversation, with its triumphs and failures, ( more of the latter he says) yet the memory of that day remains clear.
I think Confucius said it best: ❤️
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.