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)