Descartes Before Dehorse

The mistress cracks a psychic whip, and he,
a blinder-fitted plodding workhorse bound
by honor, hopes to find a patch of ground
that won’t give way beneath his hoof. To be
or not to be, his sole identity
derives from someone leading him around
in circles, heaping judgment pound for pound
with unequivocating certainty.

He’d never think of putting up a fight,
for every time he jumps, she lifts the bar
to keep his motivation locked up tight,
convinced that it can never venture far
from her own brand of patent black-and-white
philosophy, “I think, therefore you are.”


cc-by-nc-nd  2001 Mary Boren


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Hummingbird, you offer inspiration
fluttering your wings so tirelessly.
Any other creature in creation
can’t compare for diligent esprit.

Smallest of the species sporting feathers,
delicately colored, poised mid-air,
you are picturesque in form that weathers
all adversity, though unaware
how much you achieve by simply being.
Preening’s not your nature; you’re compelled
constantly to seek out food, foreseeing
fuel needs for energy expelled.

‘Til I learn to hover in the ether,
trusting there’s enough to fill my beak,
gliding on the currents underneath are
heaven’s gifts. You’ve given me a peek.



cc-by-nc-nd  2018 Mary Boren


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The Long View

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Unanswerable questions plague the minds
of all who yearn for justice in the world.
Why must the battle rage relentlessly?
How can it be we never seem to learn
from all the brokenness and suffering
humanity inflicts upon itself?
Will any of us live to see the day
when sanity prevails across the globe?

But earthly eyes are not equipped to view
the picture from the timelessness of space.
Our singular assignment in this realm
of fitful dreams is training to connect
with love in all its forms. If Gandhi could
experience and witness all he did,
yet cling to the belief the universe
is ultimately kind, I’ll do no less.




cc-by-nc-nd  2018 Mary Boren


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Lord Help Us

Dear Lord, you know me inside out,
and love me — warts and all.
You’re always there to comfort me
and catch me when I fall.

I worship you with all I have,
but sometimes, just the same,
it’s hard to comprehend some acts
committed in your name.

For where is love reflected
in a history that tells
how radical Crusaders slaughtered
countless “infidels”?

Such hatred, even to this day,
is hard to understand,
as churches preach less tolerance
than shown at Disneyland.

Oh please, before I close my fist
to cast a hurtful stone,
impress upon my foolish heart
that judgment’s yours alone.

Protect me from your followers,
the holier-than-thous
who claim the inside track on knowing
what “God’s Will” allows,

As each of us alone must answer
for the things we do
that cause another soul to stumble
on the path to You.




cc-by-nc-nd  1997 Mary Boren


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A Sharecropper’s Prayer

“Every summer was so hot. I can remember heat waves dancing across the fields. I also remember my daddy praying for rain one night. He was sitting in the porch swing by himself. Farming was hard. One time my daddy and brothers poisoned cotton all day. (i.e., sprayed insecticide) Late in the afternoon a heavy cloudburst came and washed all the poison off the cotton. They did it again the next day.” -Memories of the Depression, Aunt Alice

I ain’t askin’ fer much, Lord, jes’ thankin’
for the woman and six healthy sprouts
that ain’t starvin’ like some in the cities.
Bless the pore out o’ work down ‘n’ outs.

Lord, I know folks is keepin’ ya busy
day ‘n’ night with their aches ‘n’ complainin’.
an’ I don’t mean to whine, but I’ll tell ya,
we’ll be mighty obliged when it’s rainin’..

Maybe, Lord, if it’s comin’ tomorrow
an’ it ain’t too much trouble to swap,
you could turn it a-loose in the mornin’
so we’ll know not to poison the crop?



cc-by-nc-nd  2002 Mary Boren


The photo is my grandfather in 1906.

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Thoughts From Room 2125

To nurses working day and night
to answer every urgent call
though needed elsewhere down the hall:

While rising to uncharted height,
you stretch yourselves beyond the norm
with steady empathetic form

in carrying compassion’s light
from room to room. Encouragement
accompanies each flourish sent

through dimmest corridors despite
the toll a bad prognosis draws
when healing treatment’s held on pause.

Ungracious patients seized with fright
extort demands you can’t fulfill,
but you react with kindness still.

I tip my hat with all my might
to nurses caring for me now
and aides as well deserve a bow.

To nurses working day and night
while rising to uncharted height
in carrying compassion’s light
through dimmest corridors despite
ungracious patients seized with fright,
I tip my hat with all my might.


cc-by-nc-nd  2018 Mary Boren


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Tire Kicking

Before I judge, I wish I would
     remember to
consider things not understood
’til someone looks beneath the hood
     who isn’t prone to misconstrue
the chassis blemishes I see.
Then nothing but the truth of you
     with dignity
     could shine like new.




cc-by-nc-nd  2018 Mary Boren


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The Preacher’s in the Parlor

I’m hidin’ in the barn. They’re droppin’ in
at suppertime and Papa’s lookin’ green.
Ol’ Skeeter’s broke his leash and fled the scene.
Deliver us from bible-thumpin’ kin!

Aunt Smerka Lott’s a vision: beehive hair
and buttoned up plumb shut from chin to sole
‘cep one long finger waggin’ through a hole
waist-high. (I wouldn’ guess what’s under there.)

Now Mama comes and drags me by the neck
into the parlor. Uncle Filler Buster
is warmin’ up to toss his well-worn cluster
of pearls before us pigs. Oh Holy Heck!

I pray, “Dear Lord, please hurry. They deserve
to be called home.” God’s workin’ up the nerve.



cc-by-nc-nd  2003 Mary Boren


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Radiant Reflection

“My forgiveness is the means by which I become aware of the light of the world in me.” – A Course in Miracles

When a harbinger of horror stalks the hall
and the silent sycophants embrace its call,
if you feel your spirit caving
to the voice of doom enslaving
tattered vestiges of courage,
come and stand behind the children
who believe the world’s worth saving.
See the light.

When custodians of chaos overreach
past the sentinels of liberated speech
and the sun goes undercover
where the creeping shadows hover,
bring an instrument for digging
through the wreckage of illusion.
Hold a lamp for one another.
Free the light.

Though the oracles of anger spread their lies
to the detriment of people they despise,
meet the hate and halt its churning
with the self-assured discerning
of a watcher who has witnessed
the capacity for healing
in a love that’s ever-burning.
Be the light.

For the weary world is longing for the day
when the universal truth goes on display
in its unimagined starkness.
Neither powerless nor sparkless,
each of us can stoke the passion
for our destiny that’s dawning
as divisions born of darkness
flee the light.




cc-by-nc-nd  2018 Mary Boren


Meme of unknown origin

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Job Security


Adaptable, dependable, designed
explicitly to fill a threaded slot,
you serve, content to be yourself. You’re not
a bolt, but when some nut gets in a bind,
you’ll spiral in if qualified. Maligned
and snickered-at behind your back? So what?
Opinions turn you neither cold nor hot —
that’s not the way your character’s defined.

For whether long or short or fat or thin,
or backing out or boldly pressing through,
the key is in the willingness to spin
according to the job one’s called to do.
Humanity could learn a lesson in
the perseverance of a lowly screw.


cc-by-nc-nd  2003 Mary Boren


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