Category Archives: poetry

The human chain of life

I had a dream, under a cloud be-speckled blue sky

that we all joined hands
with our nearby neighbors,
to the right and to the left,
whose opinions, possibly,
probably, almost certainly,
differ from our own.

Me with thee and thee with thou
until we reached the end of the lane,
the boundaries of the neighborhood,
the extent of the town, 
the limits of the principality, 
across the borders of countries,
over the oceans, lakes and rivers
until we encircled the world.

We formed a human chain 
spanning races, nations, cultures,
crossing opinion, without distinction 
... gradually, 
incrementally, 
hardly noticeably;
bridging every gap,
    grip by grip,
person by person.

No one concerned about
contaminating viruses 
sticky fingers 
or dirt under the fingernails.

So grateful were we 
for the touch of another human, 
we gave no thought to 
where the chain would lead,
how or where it would link up
with the other side
on the other side 
because there would be no other side.

Just the one continuous connection.
Incremental effort,
tugging us in 
each others' direction,
extended arms 
encircling Mother Earth.

She, who has the final word;
Her Pull is the gravitational hug that grounds me, 
as the strength of connection tugs me
toward you on my right and you on my left --
and you toward your neighbor,
whose hands you hold
for the sake of all life.

When the stone the builders rejected became the cornerstone

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
Cornerstone of a movement
Catapulter of a cause,
Motivator of a people.

Launch point of a mission,
Rally cry of the populous,
Mainstay of the faithful.
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
Product of his hometown;
Tethered to his past,
Kept from his future.

Where did he come from?
Who were his teachers?
Where was his father?
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
He was tall, they say,
Dark-skinned, bearded,
Active, even athletic.

Son to a loving mother
Friend to many
Known in his hometown.
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
Read his Bible,
Found peace there.
One of the flock, but lost his way. 

Moved to a new town
Looking for a new start
Tether of the old life proved too strong.
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
Remembered... mostly 
For the way he died:
How he suffered,
How he called out,
giving up his spirit, at the last.
Come to me, 
all you who are weary and burdened
And I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you
 and learn from me,
For I am gentle and humble in heart,
 and you will find rest for your souls.
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

a sign, a story and a stay-at-home time

I guess you could call it a sign of the times.

It all started with sidewalk chalk, well actually not. But that was the idea we had. Hopscotch and curlicues drawn along the sidewalk, encouraging passersby to kick up their heels and play.

But this wasn’t what was in the package when our order arrived. Our new chalk was not of the sidewalk variety, it was of the chalkboard variety. “Dustless chalk!” it proclaimed, being of the modern day kind. One box: rainbow, one box: white; perfect for restaurants announcing daily specials to hungry would-be customers strolling on by.

Well, why not? I thought as I ordered such a sign. Not too big — didn’t want to trip people up — but big enough for people to read as they happen by. A few words. Just for fun. As we all take to the streets for our daily amble, pedal, jog or dog-walking excursion.

As all of us stuck in stay-at-home were having trouble keeping track of which day it was, the first sign idea was born. I wrote, “It’s Monday, you’re welcome” and set it on the small table in the front mulch bed. Please excuse the poor chalksmanship and drab color. We had low expectations.

But, wouldn’t you know? When I shared it on Facebook, folks liked it. (Apparently, others were having trouble deciding what day it was, too!) So, inspired and emboldened by Monday, I erased Monday’s for Tuesday’s. And Tuesday’s for Wednesday’s.

And that’s when it became a group effort. Our daughter (who is corona-stranded here with us) suggested “No whining Wednesday, but wining is okay.” And, she suggested, I might illustrate with a little wine glass by the wining, for those who might not be up on their homonyms.

So now this writer started ILLUSTRATING her words. Thankfully, chalk is a VERY forgiving medium. Passersby, being neighborly, kindly tolerated — heck, they even seemed to approve of my kindergarten drawing skills!

So “No Whining Wednesday” became “Thoughtful Thursday.” It was, after all, Maundy Thursday, the day we sit at table for the Last Supper with the one bound to save us. And then we were on to “Good Friday, neighbors.” That day we even received appreciative fan mail on an index card left by the sign.

This was getting serious. The bar was raising as increasing appreciation meant greater expectation. Sober Saturday, though it felt that way to me, didn’t seem encouraging enough, so now I had reached the second stage of sign-making: editing. I drew a line through Sober and wrote Silly, leaving the reader free to decide which their Saturday was. Who, really, was I to say?

But then came Sunday. Easter Sunday. “Serene Sunday,” the sign said. But was it? Certainly like no other Easter ever. All of us separated, one from the other, listening, watching, wishing, sending… Everywhere people were piping in Easter, but it didn’t feel like one.

But the sign proclaimed it anyway; this blank slate of an accidental chalk ordering had actually come to communal life. People riding slowed to catch today’s message. People doubled back to be sure they hadn’t missed it. One neighbor told me she drove out of her way on the way to work just to be encouraged by it.

What in the world? Well, yes, we did have some fanfare for Earth Day. One person even crossed the street to snap a photo of that one.

And Froggie Friday, that was a request. Wouldn’t you know we had frog visitors at the house that day?

Funny, it is only a sign propped up daily; a few chalked words and occasional amateur illustrations, then erased every evening to welcome the new day. It’s an original work of art with a 24 hour time limit. Who’d have thought something so temporary could stand the test of these times? Yet, day by day, it’s the gift we receive; the opportunity to write our way into each new day.

Last Sunday was “Sandhill Sunday! You say, Sandhill. We say, Sunday.” (Our community is called Sandhill Preserve, so there was a certain team spirit invested in that one.) Passersby waved and thanked, cars and bikes slowed to fist pump and smile and the curious circled extra wide to come looking.

There’s just something about an encouraging word or two and a community who needs one. I’m betting you live in such a community and you, my reader, are just such a writer.

We’ve been at this since April the 6th when it was “Monday, you’re welcome.” Expectations remain low and appreciation, high. Suggestions keep rolling in. There’s never been a better time to use your words well.

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