A churchy kind of poem

Spring is here… it’s the time of year when children begin to wind down the school year in preparation for summer vacation, and those in Catholic schools are getting ready to celebrate their First Communion or Confirmation.

My poem is for all the parents who’ve been there, done that,
and all of those who are about to.

Confirmation

Perched in church,
nephew’s confirmation,
swaddled in finery,
big family occasion.

Grandma on the aisle,
camera poised.
Grandpa hunched,
both eyes closed.

Cousins ahead,
aunties behind,
uncles a-twitch
in neckties that bind.

Impure thoughts,
flecked with guilt.
Long time since
confessions spilt.

Mind’s a-wandering,
what a sinner…
wondering what
we’ll have for dinner.

We sit. We stand.
We stand. We sit.
Unfold the bench
and kneel a bit.

We genuflect,
we sing a hymn,
we bow our heads
and pray to Him.

Ah, sermon’s over,
we’ve all been blessed.
Tumultuous minds
for now at rest.

We chatter, we shuffle,
our exit’s begun.
We burst through the doors.
Church is done.

 

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For all those parents who have lost their baby boys

I wrote this poem years ago for a friend, pregnant, who learned she was carrying a son.

Today, I’d like to dedicate it to the parents who lost their baby boys to a senseless act of violence at Pulse in Orlando. And I’d like to go further and also dedicate it to every parent who has lost their precious child in such an unspeakable way: while at school, in a movie theatre, living in or visiting Paris and Brussels, travelling on airplanes, fighting in uniform overseas, and in so many other equally tragic events too numerous to list here.

My heart breaks for you. I really can’t begin to imagine.

butterly monarch pixabay
My Baby Boy

You’re a butterfly, my baby boy,
The way you dance inside of me.
Soon you’ll emerge from your cocoon,
to be loved by us unconditionally.

Can you feel the joyful longing
that awaits you on that day?
I will count your toes and fingers
and rejoice that all is okay.

I’ll cradle you so gently
in the circle of my arms.
You’ll feel my fervent promise
to protect you from all harm.

baby feet pixabay
I will marvel at your silken skin
and stroke your downy head,
Sing lullabies and rock you,
Keep you warm and dry and fed.

I’ll bandage knees when they’ve been skinned,
and wipe away your tears,
Teach you about rights and wrongs,
and help to ease your fears.

No matter what your mischief,
when I look into your eyes,
Love will blossom in my heart,
and turn my scolds to sighs.

boy and teddy pixabay
School plays, long summer days,
High school will soon arrive,
Rebellion, hormones, hockey, girls,
and teaching you to drive.

As time whittles the years away,
I’ll need to set you free,
and have faith that I have raised you
to be the best that you can be.

With tears of pride and adoration,
I’ll then uncap my jar,
to free my precious butterfly—
proud of the fine young man you are.

butterfly pixabay

 

There was actually a time when winter wasn’t so bad…

After dusting the cobwebs from my memories of winters in the past, this is what I found.

When This You Read, Remember Me

Remember when winters never seemed long?
Cold? What cold? We were young; we were strong.
kids-winter-20With every new snowfall, remember the thrill
of tugging our sleds up the nearby hills?
sledding childrenRemember the outdoor skating rink,
with its indoor wood stove and hot cocoa to drink?Remember our snow forts, and hiding inside
from those boys who threw snowballs at us from outside?
snowball girlRemember plucking icicles from the balustrade,
and using them to decorate the snowmen we made?
sledding and snowmanRemember how we laughed, our breath frosting the air?
Ice balls on our mittens, our scarves…in our hair.
playing in the snowThe winters, they were never so long back then,
when they were shared by the best of friends.
best friendsHere’s to you, Sue, my best friend then and always.

The Snowstorm

snow day1You and I, we view every snowstorm as a major inconvenience: yanking on coats and boots and scarves and hats and gloves; treacherous roads, traffic snarls and fender benders; grey skies and Seasonal Affective Disorder…

But children, they see that same snowstorm through a completely different set of eyes.

 

winter scene through windowThe Snowstorm

Toasty little flannelled feet,
Tiptoe ‘cross the nursery rug,
Busy, dimpled starfish hands,
Give the drapery cords a tug.

The amber glow of streetlamp light,
Illuminates two widened eyes,
That dance, as icing-sugar spills
In silence, from the murky skies.

Cheeks a-bloom like scarlet roses,
Button nose pressed to the glass,
Watching God’s vanilla frosting
Spread to hide the crisp, brown grass.

mother and babyA gleeful gasp of baby’s breath;
Behold the wondrous sight below!
God has closed his doors above,
And scattered stars upon the snow.

As the sun begins its rise above
The dips and peaks of whipping cream,
Nanny finds, upon the sill,
Her charge, curled ‘round a winter dream.

A Redneck Christmas Poem

I’ve been negligent with my posts in recent weeks. I was in Cuba with my daughter for a week, and we spent some wonderful, quality time together. I’ll post some pictures in a future post. Work has been busy. Life has been busy. It’s a busy time of year, yada yada.

With all this busyness consuming my life, my brain has been going through a dry spell with any creative writing too. Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I moderate a community writers’ group that meets the first Wednesday of every month, and we’re expected to bring something to read aloud at meetings. Of course I had nothing prepared for our December meeting.

To make a long story short, I wanted to write a quick poem during my lunch hour and hadn’t been able to think of anything to write about all morning, when suddenly, an image of a redneck who’s pissed off Santa popped into my mind (only God would know why…and maybe a psychiatrist). You can read the result of my brain fart below.

Mullet_redneckA Redneck Christmas Poem

Santa don’t come down
muh chimney no more,
He don’t even come through
a window or door.

No more presents for me,
‘cuz I think he bin told,
‘bout the six-pack-o Bud
an’ the smokes I done stole.

An’ how I drunk moonshine
straight from the still;
Spent two days in a whorehouse, smashed to the gills.

Borrowed Clyde Dooley’s truck to cross the town border,
An’ pick up the ten pounds of weed I done ordered.

Hid the weed in Clyde’s barn, where I thought I could trust it,
Sheriff got wind, an’ poor Clyde, he got busted.

Next day, I beat a ho with a hickory switch,
‘cause she gave me somethin’ that made muh balls itch.

Dancin’ and scratchin’, I dug out muh 12-gauge,
An’ blew more than a gasket in muh boy-gone-wild rage.

Now, there’s a mess of buckshot in the whorehouse walls,
An’ no more glass windows in the ol’ town hall.

Sheriff’s car? Well it done look like swiss cheese,
spoutin’ with fountains of green anti-freeze.

Needless to say, it weren’t a good year,
I don’t give a damn ‘bout no peace an’ good cheer.

Christmas ain’t comin’ for me anytime soon,
Just the sheriff and his jailhouse posse o’ goons.

There ain’t no frickin chimneys in the county jail,
for Santa to come down and pay for my bail.

Feel free to come knockin’, ‘cause my trailer ain’t be rockin’,
I know I’m getting’ coal instead’a crack in muh stockin’.

‘fraid I won’t be gittin’ no presents no mo’,
No mo’ boobies and butt under the mistletoe.

Yep—Santa—he don’t love me no mo’.
‘cause this year, I bin a baaaad, baaaad bo’.

 

Nursery rhymes for serial killers and other frightening types

I’ve been negligent with my posts lately because I’ve been so busy with work, work and more work. Ugh. Well, there is some light at the end of my tunnel because I’m off next week on a much-needed vacation to the beaches of Cayo Coco in Cuba.

For now, I’d like to offer a belated salute to Halloween with these scary scary nursery rhymes that are NOT meant to be shared with children (unless said children share all the characteristics listed on the FBI’s behavioural science checklist, warning signs that you may have a budding serial killer on your hands. If that’s the case, these nursery rhymes are the least of your problems.)

Little_Bo_Peep_3Little Bo Peep

Little Bo Peep’s
In trouble deep,
And isn’t sure where she should turn.
She stuck the mister
With her sewing scissors,
Last time her affections were spurned.

In a panic, Bo Peep
Fell sound asleep,
And dreamt that she heard him bleating,
But when she awoke,
There lay the bloke,
Messing her rug with his bleeding.

So up she took
Her silver crook,
Determined to haul him outside,
It took more than a sec,
With the hook ‘round his neck,
To drag him to shore by high tide.

As he bobbed out to sea,
Bo felt wistful, indeed,
For life’s lonely at times with just sheep.
If he’d only behaved,
Her rug could have been saved,
And he’d not now be down in the deep.

Bo Peep heaved a sigh,
Wiped a tear from her eye,
And back over the hillocks she went.
Once again, sought her sheep,
Not a one was a creep,
They were far more endearing than men.

 

pixabay2Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With Harold’s eyes,
And Robert’s thighs,
And Ray’s ribs buried all in a row.

 

gratisography.comO Where, O Where Has My Manager Gone?

O where, O where has my manager gone?
O where, O where can he be?
With his ears in the freezer,
His tongue down the drain,
There’ll be no more demands made of me.

 

The Queen Of Hearts’ Son, Jackjack and knife

He cut out the hearts,
Of the neighborhood tarts,
‘twas a signature of Jack’s.

Fortified with gin,
He absolved them of sins,
Tied their hands up with cord at their backs.

Jack’s mission began,
When he punished his mam,
The biggest tart of them all.

She and her feller,
Are laid out in Jack’s cellar,
Tucked up in a funeral pall.

 

pixabay3Sing A Song Of Sixpence

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of lye,
Four and twenty digits,
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened
By the county coroner,
He quickly then determined
That a murder had occurred.

A hand was in the suspect’s house,
Stiffened ‘round some money,
An ankle in the parlour
‘tween sliced bread and honey.

A torso in the back yard,
Hung among the clothes,
And a scarecrow in the garden
Wore the victim’s severed nose!

 

there was a little girlThere Was A Little Girl

There was a little girl,
Had a gun inlaid with pearl,
Aimed right at the middle
Of his forehead.

When she was broke,
She was very, very broke,
And when she was broke,
She went robbin’.

Photographs compliments of gratisography.com and pixabay.com

I wish I could be a kid again

clouds2Like most kids, I spent my youth wishing time would speed up so I could finally become an adult. Like a mantra, I constantly grumbled to myself, “I can’t wait till I’m older. I can’t wait till nobody can ever tell me what to do again. I can’t wait till I can stay up till whenever I want, buy whatever I want, go wherever I want. I can’t wait till I’m free to do anything I like, whenever I like…”

Well it sure wasn’t long before my wish came true.

As an adult I discovered that I finally had the freedom to: (1) buy whatever I want (most of which I can’t afford); (2) eat whatever I want (except if I do, I won’t be able to fit into any of my clothes, all of which are bargain basement vs. designer); (3) go wherever I want (as long as I’m back home before the street lights come on so I can be up in time for work five days a week); (4) do whatever I want (after I’ve discussed it with my spouse); (5) not allow anyone to tell me what to do (except for my boss, my spouse, my kids, my doctor, my banker, society, etc.); and so on. You get the gist.

Little did my child self know that the joys of adulthood would also include: (1) increasingly achy joints, along with other my-body-is-falling-apart-faster-than-an-overstuffed-hard-shell-taco health issues; (2) a burgeoning intolerance to loud and intrusive noise of any kind—particularly where neighbors are involved; (3) the realization that pretty much nothing you purchase is actually a good deal; (4) bills, bills and more bills for totally boring stuff like a new roof, car repairs, taxes; and (5) learning that: surprise!—life’s not fair; no matter who you vote for, there’s always an asshole at the top making chimpanzee-level decisions; you have a lot less control than you thought you had when it comes to any form of interaction within the confines of the human race; unless you’re Helen Mirren, your window of opportunity for wearing a bikini without appearing as if you’re desperate to regain your lost youth closes with a wham after a certain age.

So, now here I am—a full-fledged adult—wishing I could be a kid again.

our gangGo figure.

I Wish

If I were to:

Wish upon the brightest star,

Catch fireflies inside a jar,

Ditch my car and ride a bike,

Switch “hell” and “damn”

With “rats” and “yikes,”

Race outdoors to build a fort,

Guzzle Kool-Aid by the quart,

Play Barbies with the kid next door

And hopscotch till my feet are sore,

Read the comics instead of the news,

Wear only scruffy running shoes,

On Saturday mornings, watch cartoons,

Make farting noises with balloons,

Make sure I’m indoors every night

Upon the glow of outdoor lights,

Fight to stay up far too late,

Keep ignorant of time or date,

Do some homework every day

But always find the time to play.

Do you think if that is what I did,

I could just go back and be a kid?

I wish…
our gang lineup

 

Here’s to the bride and groom!

41.tent on propertyWe attended a beautiful wedding last weekend, with the reception held outdoors on the bride and groom’s gorgeous country property—a couple of acres of rolling lawns bordered by a meandering stream and surrounded by forest. It was so magical.

Participating in the joy of a wedding celebration amidst so much glorious nature brought to mind how similar marriage is to the quiet strength of the trees that towered all around us.55.property

I wrote this poem a couple of years ago while thinking about my own marriage, but I’d also like to dedicate it to our newlywed friends, as well as all the brides and grooms out there who are about to begin their journey together.

The best of wishes to you all.

Tree Of Promise

Look to this tree as a symbol
of the strength of our past
and the promise of our future

with roots firmly planted
around our goals
and growth nourished
by our devotion.

Its trunk inches upward
to meet our hopes and dreams.tree pic
Though the path, at times, is rough
it perseveres in its growth
as it stretches toward the promise
of sunshine and blue skies.

Its branches may curve
in different directions,
each one unique in its design—
yet together
the single purpose they share
keeps them connected
always to the core.

See this tree
as all that we have built together
and all that is yet to come.

There’s nothing like a good power outage to bring the old times back

twin-electric-power-linesIt was the summer of 2003, hotter than ten hells, and daily life in the GTA was whirring along in its usual frenzied state. It was midday, midweek when air conditioning overload caused a massive power outage unlike anything experienced in recent history.

Despite the lack of electricity, the air crackled with the panic of millions who no longer knew what to do with themselves in the event that life as we know it grinds to a halt and sends us spiraling backward to the golden days.

Of course, I just had to write about it.

Power Lost, Humanity Found:
The Blackout Of 2003

three-candle-flames-1431851138OtnThe entire city panicked
When the power petered out,
Everyone, that is, but I,
For I hadn’t any doubt

That this massive power mishap
Would be sure to pave the way
For my boss to shut the office down
Much earlier today.

No working traffic lights!
Drivers in despair!
Gridlock to the nth degree,
Brains impotent with fear.

traffic jamIt took two extra hours
To meander my way home
As I passed distracted drivers
Wailing into their cell phones.

Still—‘twas a lovely afternoon
And my joy was here to stay,
Since no power meant no need to cook
Or wash a load this day!

With sandwiches for dinner
And some still-cold pints of beer,
I joined my spouse and kids outside
On my reclining chair.

remoteThe luscious scent of grilling meat
Spiced the outdoor air,
Neighbors chatted over fences,
Bursts of laughter here and there.

No power meant no computers,
Radios, movies or TV,
Bewildered kids awakened
From their hazy techno sleep.

For the first time in a long time
All ages played outdoors,
Touch football, tag, hide and seek,
Just like the days of yore.

Armed with flashlights in the streetskids-playing-47
As darkness inked the skies,
The children laughed and whirled about
Like happy fireflies.

And once indoors, the blackness ebbed
To amber candlelight,
Board games were played by lantern till
‘twas time to say goodnight.

I realized as I went to bed
How tension-free I was,
My mind at peace, my eyes at rest
So blatantly because

our gangFor a day, we’d traveled back in time
To a simple life so rare,
And survived without the crutches
We’d been leaning on for years.

At first “all power lost” had
Simply meant a work vacation.
But as the lazy hours passed,
Behold! A revelation:

Our collective fixed reliance
On technology as a nation,
Has made us captive lambs
In our humbled desperation.

Progression or regression?
We’ve surrendered to the machine
And forsaken the joys of simple life,
The way things used to be.

We can never go back, too late for that,
But perhaps again someday,
We can blow the power lines again—
Return to yesterday.
courtesy of Joshua Earle of unsplash.com

Inspired to write

courtesy of pixabay4I’ve been moderating the Markham Village Writers’ group for the past fifteen years, and I can tell you that there’s no better way to be inspired than by listening to a group of your fellow writers as they read their work aloud and share feedback.

During the last fifteen minutes of our meetings, I throw out a prompt and everybody free writes until end of meeting. We don’t have to share what we’ve written—it’s just a little exercise to challenge the writing juices.

courtesy of Pixabay2The prompt that I assigned at our May meeting is below in case you’d like to try your hand at some free writing. There are no rules. Write whatever comes to mind. It can be one sentence, a paragraph or ten pages. You’re the boss. Once you get going, who knows what may happen?

Here’s the prompt: Write about a lie you told as a child, or that your character told.

This is what I wrote:

Liar

When mother asked where the money went,
When father found his fender bent,
When brother’s wallet disappeared,
When sister claimed that she was scared
to leave her room unlocked…

How shocked!
when they confronted me,
with blame-filled eyes that used to see
an angel boy, a stand-up guy;

To tell the truth, it made me cry.

Me? Steal from you? Or hurt a fly?
Me tell a lie?
Oh, no. Not I.

Ah, but their scorn. Their slurs! So in return,
I gave them good the truth they yearned.

Their ashes fill a lovely urn.
I watched them burn.

So obvious—I wonder why
they took so long to see that I’m

a psychopath. Of course I lie!
courtesy of pixabay3(Photos courtesy of pixabay.com)

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