Calm Yourself, Woman

Circumstances shift –
breath the fertile air –
let dreams fly; expand

embrace change – hope,
now winged, an explorer
bursting with possibility.

I would move this old
body, relocate to new
beginnings, be reborn

but for these internal
trappings – begging for
extermination – retro

shaded memories –
long past expiration –
skewed accessibility,

stretched without purpose,
reconfiguration required –
history a real estate, I need

to unload; who will buy
a drama-laden, single
story alcoholic’s haunt?

Circumstances shift –
sniff the fertile air –
guard forbidden dreams

change, like wings, unfolds
in its own time; be patient,
possibility is taking flight.

(Poem originally appeared August of 2016)



scaling a steep
cliff wall

desiring relief,
a sign to indicate
a turning point
an exit

nothing worldly
can calm anxiety
life on hold

warms, reassures,
cannot counter
looming reality

stifled, begging
willing to deal
response absent
pleas hollow

to fear is not an option
strength called for
and courage

love and compassion
the only sword
of significance
battling disease.

(May 12th is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day.  M.E. is a debilitating disease that attacks all systems in body leaving 25% of its victims permanently bed bound.  To date, due to lack of research, there is no effective treatment or cure, even though this disease effects over 1/2 million Canadians and many more worldwide.)


Mother’s feet scream –
agony of her miserable condition,
underlying disease eating her.
My feet, free of calluses,
paddles slightly bent and fallen,
carry on with forgiving kindness.

Husband’s knees are red-hot pokers
shooting knife-sharp volts
with every rickety step.
Mine are knots in spindly
trunks that bear movement
graciously, allot me flexibility.

Father’s back grew weak
faltering in the end, hunched,
as if he’d born a cumbersome burden.
My back, not without its moaning,
carries me proudly erect –
like the spring sapling, winter endured.

Uncle’s heart beats erratically,
ceasing despite its mechanical support,
his life a testimony to modern science.
My heart flutters with expectancy,
aches with disappointment,
and soars with each new birdsong.

Sister’s tension rises,
the stiffness in her neck suffocating,
headaches blinding her vision.
My neck, slung now like a rooster’s,
puffs around my face like an old friend,
allows me the comfort of perspective.

Brother’s mind has seized,
lost somewhere between today
and yesteryear – never certain of either.
Mine, a constant churning cog,
gathers information, spews ideas
and bends in the face of creativity.

My eyes have seen suffering,
my hands throbbed with desire to help;
yet each bears their cross stoically,
and so I watch with compassion
and gratitude for the life I might have lived,
had my own vessel not been so blessed.

(This is an edited version of an earlier post by the same name.)


Sleep comes in great fistfuls
will not let me shake it
tosses me in seas of dreams –

a first love, teenage antics,
a mother’s toil – I am pulled
under, tossed like a rag-doll

a soft breeze like a mindful
caretaker, caresses my skin
reassures me with her lulling

sweetness, forgives negligence
of household chores, promises
all can wait; I succumb again





Educational Lapse

Confess, I am a proponent
of life as education, and would love
to expand on the lesson at hand,
but haven’t made the morning class yet
as consciousness and I have no early rising
agreement, and higher learning
involves climbing, and
staircases are out
at the moment

so even if the term
is in progress, I lack essential
energy to aspire to enlightenment
and I appreciate that you have prayed
for me, and Mary and her Son
may have inspired motivation,
but without working memory
directions are lost –
I could guess

at a destination,
would likely discover that
my aim has been off base,
could pretend I am gleaning
reams of information from the process,
just to appease higher-ups, but healing
is what I really need, not learning,
and help finding those elements
of self that others

have come to depend on
and now grieve, and if life is
education, then my time is fading
and as day gives over to darkness,
I’ve found my bed beside
the ocean of consciousness
calling me to another cause.


Illness like a mama bear
has accosted me, pulled
me into the darkness
of her hibernation,

the scent of her stagnancy
filling my lungs, suffocating

the sharpness of her claws
puncturing my equilibrium

I am tossed about, battered;
a limp fish in her powerful grip

chilled despite her prickly warmth;
too weak to resist being devoured

praying for sleep to obliterate
the nightmare of this flu.



Language Is Not The Barrier

Bought tickets once for Spain,
planned to escape the fading
autumn golds to find brilliance
of Spanish hillsides, vibrancy
of villages, radiance of smiles.

Succumbed, instead, to illness
a fate whose grip defied urges
to flee, thrust us headlong into
the ravages of a blustery winter
remorseless in its stormy rage.

Only dream now of exotic locals,
of sun-baked vistas and cobbled
streets, of busy marketplaces and
houses tucked behind hidden doors
where mothers gather their broods

Motherhood, I imagine, universally
driven to offer comfort, provide
security, no matter the resources –
a call to protect the inner richness
of the family – places that draw me.

Envision plates of home cooked
delicacies, offerings delightful to
the eyes, aromatic, appetizing, and
likely beyond my ability to digest –
this disease imposing sensitivity.

Travelling is a catalyst for change:
exploring cultures, encountering
residents, inspires reflection, the
magic of communicating without
words – languages no barricade

I am marred now, an ungracious
guest – such is the sentence of
this disability – unable to bear the
disappointment on the faces of
those who would extend welcome.



Slippers, perched at night stand,
twitching impatiently,
mark the absence of feet,
cannot appreciate the meaning
of unruffled bed covers.

Abandoned, a coffee mug
bemoans its curdling contents,
complains of thick brown lines
contaminating its porcelain shine,
has not noted absence of hands.

Chair, pushed back from desk,
in partial rotation, sits awkwardly,
commanding attention, disturbed
by its misalignment, has not thought
to ponder absence of body.

House, uncomfortable with silence
creaks unnaturally, loudly voicing
objections to the absence of footfalls,
automated machinery and incessant
rings, beeps, and chimes of technology.

I try to reassure them that the absence
is only temporary, that the man whose
presence so strikingly fills this space
will return,  hope they cannot read
the apprehension in my tremulous heart.