adversity · art · life · nature · poetry · writing

Mountain

I navigate sharp twists,
confront rough trails,
steep slopes, swoon
at dizzying heights,
frailty felt.

This path is for rugged,
mountain-born,
those accustomed
to the sheer immutable
force of rock –

and yet, my lens
tells a different tale –
speaks of shadows
shifting witnesses
mutations of colour

describes a giant
whose facade reflects
the day’s passing light,
demonstrates compassion
in earth’s stillness.

(Mountain first appeared in February of 2018, inspired by the Apache Trail, Arizona.  Watercolour image by yours truly.)

adversity · culture · life · poetry

We Are Voyageurs, All

(Note:  This is an edited version of the poem Self-Delusion, originally written in May of 2014.  The imagery was inspired by a dream of a wagon traversing the prairies carrying the individuals described.)

Obsessed, she presses onward,
feet digging in, body sweat
blackened by relentless dust
swirling in the prairie heat;
she is fatherless, widowed –
charged with the command
of horses, and everything,
and everyone – she is a pioneer
bent on delivering her cargo
to a promised land.

Wounded, a body lies
curled, shamed –
only straw for a mat –
teeth clenched in pain
determination overriding
suffering – feigns sleep,
braces against jolts,
stifles gasps – bravery
a necessity – longs for
a destination, an end
to the bleeding.

Laughter bubbles up
between bouts of fear
and boredom – children
bear the bumps, try
to be good, but the ride
is never-ending –
youthful spirits yearn
for cool waters to splash in,
ache for games of hopscotch –
cannot control the spontaneous
bursts of adventure – bear no
sense of responsiblity, trust
unwittingly in the journey.

A young man has visions,
sees beyond the confines
of wagon walls – senses
purpose, smells gold,
passion raging –
a fighting soul,
willing to strive,
fearless – rails
against the trappings
of obligation, held
captive by elders –
is overlooked.

The faithful seek inspiration,
all-believing, hopeful,
prayerful – caught in a web,
pleading, asking, forgiving,
accepting and wondering –
What can I give of myself?
What does God want?
Am I not good enough?
How have we sinned?
Are we being punished?
Must we bear this cross
to be received in Heaven?
Help me, they pray
to be more worthy,
more deserving,
when Judgment Day comes.

A mother worries,
cares, hopes for the best,
caters to all – in many ways
still a child herself – bears
each experience with borrowed
strength, selflessly focused –
drawing, drawing
from a well seldom replenished –
tired, oh so tired
she carries on.

Frail, the aged are wise
have endured adversity
surrendered to the knocks
know that in time all things pass
guard their wisdom with silence
acknowledge the value
in each journey
in each interpretation
understand that delusion
is commonplace and
destination is temporary –
recognize the power of now;
are patient and accepting
that life is as it is.

adversity · life · poetry

Dawn’s Promise

The mountain before me
blocks out the rising of the sun
and if I focus only on its enormity
and the challenges it presents
I miss what is happening beyond.

A tree at the peak stands barren,
stark naked against the grey of the sky;
it is the dead of winter and nature sleeps.

But I do not.

The turmoil inside me continues to churn
and while nature reflects my dying spirit,
still I am unable to slow the inner mechanism.

Light begins to streak the sky,
beyond the tree,
beyond the mountain;
colours take hold -A new day is dawning.

Inside, there is celebration
A new day is dawning in here as well –
New hope, new joy, new possibility –
For I am yet alive.

(Penned January, 2002, edited 2016)

Image from:  allposters.com.au

disability · dreams · health

Disability’s Wintry Grasp

Disability, a bitter wintry storm,
constricts movement, freezes
intentions; intervals of icy peril.

I push against the onslaught,
will exert myself for promises
of toddler-sized embraces, live

for the sunny exuberance of
a grandchild’s laughter – am
momentarily revived; warmth

cut short by the tangled web
of instability defined by this
chaos – am learning to choose

battles; even the most mundane
tasks crippled by complications;
I live short-term, close to home;

bed, the only sanctuary I know,
awaits beyond the banks of
accumulated debris, pushed

aside in my haste for progress;
I am like a baby,  startle easy,
sleep lightly, comfort elusive;

I am smothered by protective
measures overstated; sealed
in a plastic bubble, suffocating.

Difficult not to be snowbound
when disability’s frigid tempest
unleashes it heartless blast.

(Image: www.alabamawx.com)

aging · dreams · Family · Humour · life · poetry

The Character of Old Houses

Old houses exude charm,
walls whispering nostalgic
wonder, eliciting yearnings
buried deep within the soul.

Purchasers are spellbound,
transported to simpler times,
read mystical forecasts in
archways and carved nooks.

Committed, they settle in,
noting too late cosmetic
fixes, startled to uncover
structural faults, despair

to learn that the dreams
which built this place have
now crumbled and cracked,
repairs needed extensive.

Overhauling beyond means –
physically and financially –
old houses not only offer,
but test, character – beware.

(Image from thisoldhouse.com)

adversity · aging · disability · dreams · health · life · poetry · recovery

Evolution

Evolution takes effort –
requires a heart unburdened
by unrequited daydreams
holding me in limbo, emphasizing
past heartaches, yearning
for unconditional love.

I pedal backwards, am
overwhelmed by where
the past has led me –
exaggerated reproductions,
laughing at my proposals,
spurning attempts at reparation –
I am out of touch, stale dated.

I long to make a difference,
find value in youth – declarations
of worthiness are jeopardized
by this state of immobility –
I hang on tighter, resist
progress, believe hope
is in the past – obligations
wrench me back to present –
evolution a preferable destination.

adversity · dreams · Family · Humour · life · relationships

Choices

“Come live with us”, Mother suggests
in her there’s-nothing-we-can’t-handle
tone of voice.  Father lowers paper,
raises eyebrows, stern blue eyes
flashing over spectacle rims, says
nothing.  Am I supposed to interpret
concordance or contradiction?

“But you live in a box!  Where would
I sleep?”  “More of a rectangle.”
I contemplate room dividers, imagine
claiming a corner of the room.

Or I can move in with the man-child,
learn to tolerate delusions, listen
to incessant rants of how he’s been
wronged, content myself with
picking up after endless trails of
discards – same four-walled
containment, different cohabitant.

But wait!  “Where’s the plumbing?”
How does one discreetly manage
personal excrement in a one-roomed
existence?  I startle; awaken.

No plumbing needed here;
I’ve received an invitation
from the grave!

Sometimes life gives us choices;
no guarantee either will be palatable.

th

creativity · disability · dreams · health · life · passion · poetry · recovery · spirituality

The Ocean Awaits

This old house wraps itself around me,
radiates the warmth of memories,
a solid testament to the passage of time,
offers space to grow,
a hospitable and loving place,
I am safe here.

In my dreams,
the ocean awaits,
a rhythmic keeper of time,
reflecting clouds, moonlight,
raging with the storms,
in quiet times, calming –
a blessed, imaginary,
companion.

The rains have come,
swamped our intentions,
forced us indoors,
inconvenienced play,
turned our solid ground
to clay – a soggy tribulation –
they will subside
and new growth
will follow,
I tell myself.

I am an eternal student,
in love with life,
education unfinished,
a stumbler,
not a scholar,
temporarily lost,
seeking direction
in unfamiliar territory.

I am a neophyte,
longing for guidance,
recognizing my vulnerability,
a delicate balance this
emotional wading,
mindfulness needed.

I project the mud of the past
see only insurmountable hills
outside these walls,
anticipate setbacks,
fear a lack of tenacity  –
abhor my own ugliness;
rally myself with hopes
of solid footing ahead
and the ocean beyond.

On the other side of madness
stands a mighty fortress –
a castle to hold court –
we have all passed that way,
the passage is well-marked,
communally served,
I have committed
to the descent, am
Earth’s child.

Life is but a station,
a temporary stopping place,
we are all time travellers –
destinations varied –
called to take action,
choose a route.

I have been distracted,
missed signals,
opportunities,
find myself left behind
shamed, alone, uncertain,
aborted my search,
preferring retreat
need to reorient.

The kingdom harbours
an abundance of offerings,
sustenance abounding,
fruitful, flourishing
delights, uniquely
appealing, perhaps
an acquired taste.

Spring, like a faerie nymph,
draws me in, a harbinger,
hopeful, playful, promising
new adventures,
calling me to indulge
in fantasies, dine on
wild imagination,
recreate myself.

I am wondering
if I can accommodate,
fulfill my soul’s longing
know the wonders of
heaven, play host
to the mysteries of beauty
without ever leaving
the warmth of this old house.

The ocean calls me,
from the dream time,
will not let me sleep –
her tidal pull a magnet
for this weary sojourner,
beckons me to rise,
to strive, to succeed.
She is my destination.