On a Gusty Day in December

Atop a ladder, Jack, with hair askew
and frownful countenance, leaned in to fend
away resistance. Wrestling with the wind
to hang the Christmas baubles, temper too
acquired momentum. As his banner flew,
three letters pirouetted out to bend
around his backside, shining end to end.
A passer quipped, “Does JOY live there with you?”

I wonder, does it show that she has earned
a front-room space with me? A cozy bed
among the other beds, a comfy chair,
a plate — so little asked, so much returned.
In peaceful co-existence, Anger, Dread
and Sorrow hold their tongues when Joy is there.

 

cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren, 2001

Aubade

sunrise tree

Close your eyes and feel the stillness,
stillness in the morning air.
Morning is for soft reflection —
light reflects without the glare.

In the glare of busy hours,
hours spent in toil and grind
grind to dust your mortal fullness,
fully binding bone and mind.

Mind the body. Sleep, awaken
through the wake of days before.
Soon, before today can claim you,
claim it for your heart and soar.

Soar above your active planning,
plans and thoughts aside, inhale
hailing blessings wrought in silence,
silently behind the veil.

Now, availed of inner hearing,
hear the robin, smell the rose.
Rise and face the day replenished.
Plenty clings to twilight’s close.

 

cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren, 2011

Pride and Privilege

“Don’t tear that statue down! It represents
my heritage.” The Civil War still rages.
Although it ended, losers ever since
have sabotaged the bleak and bloody pages
of history. The altered facts we swallowed
have been exposed to light and judged a ruse
to whitewash the atrocities that followed.

The symbols we so carelessly confuse
with patriotic zeal across the board
from founding days are neither right nor good —
they’re remnants of a past to be abhorred
by those “endowed” with three-fifths personhood.

And liberty is just an empty word
until each citizen is seen and heard.

 

cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2017

Photo source and more info on the history of confederate statues

Origin

William_Blake_Eve_Tempted_by_the_Serpent

Did Planet Earth evolve from random bits
of space debris intensively colliding
in willy-nilly fashion as befits
the current state of omnipresent fighting?

Does the existence here of you and me
derive from Capricana’s first manned landing?
A Legend of Creation holds the key
for those demanding doubtless understanding.

Before a single footprint punched the soil
foreshadowing humanity’s uniqueness,
a serpent was positioned to uncoil
the moment opportunity met weakness.

The Maker softly sighed and shook Her head,
“I wish I’d fashioned something else instead.”

 

cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2017

Image Source

 

Selah

The day of your birth is a signal
to pause and reflect on the whys
of a love that parades in full color,
though it dresses sometimes in disguise.

We are bound by reciprocal blessing,
nonchalantly defying the odds
of a Gemini/Scorpio marriage
that survives undercover facades.

It goes deeper than quickening heartbeats
as our chemistry crackles the air,
past the pleasure of running my fingers
through your silvery, lush head of hair.

For through lessons of trial and error,
I’m convinced that I never could be
satisfied with a man whose behavior
was predictably pleasing to me.

I adore your inquisitive nature
and your staunch, unassailable pep
in the wake of the septic infection
that embezzled the spring from your step.

Standing tall as a dowager’s hero,
you are dauntless, determined, and dear
with a spirit of fierce independence
blooming heartily year after year.

Not to mention the fact your persona
is uniquely aware and alert
for a man who, on November Second,
is officially older than dirt!

Happy Birthday, Darlin’

11/2/17

Bringing In the Sheep

As I’m heating my lunch in a timed microwave
and browsing the web on a laptop computer,
I think of the effort my grandmother gave
and wonder how modern-day living would suit her.

She would keep the fires burning preparing three meals —
no electric appliances, no running water —
while my grandfather labored all day in the fields,
yet together they planted five sons and a daughter.

Raising children on faith in a sharecropper’s home,
they instilled in each seedling the value of prayer.
There was no need for TV or light bulb or phone,
for the family’s singing would fill the night air.

It has often been said life was simpler back then.
I suspect our ancestors might challenge that view,
but I’m sure they’d be willing to do it again
just to see what became of the crop their love grew.


Visit Hal Upchurch Chronicles to read about the life and times of the children of Frank & Winnie.

cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 1995

Beneficence

In days of plenty, when they pass the plate,
assorted fives and twenties fall, and these
can help, but donors shoulder little weight
of suffering from hunger or disease.

In seasons when the world is steeped in woes
and inequality exacts its due
with repetitious cataclysmic blows,
the needs of many overwhelm the few.

But that’s when public spirit kicks in gear
among the open-hearted; those who spring
into the void, rejecting the veneer
of halo’s glow — true colors taking wing.

Compassion is the radiating face
of membership within the human race.

 

cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2017

This was my part of a collaboration with my friend Bill Keller, in which we were challenged to take opposing sides of an issue but write as one voice. We decided on altruism, and he graciously took the con side with a reverse Shakespearean sonnet in response. Our joint effort, entitled “Give and Take”, won second place in the contest.

Photo Source Unknown

American to the Core

I stand alone, disoriented,
penniless, displaced —
a victim of the vilest storm
the Texas coast has faced.

Though long before the floods begin
receding, men with boats
arrive en masse to rescue any
living thing that floats.

Unnumbered benefactors give
their money, strength, and speed
with no concern for politics,
age, gender, race, or creed.

And Mattress Mack’s the first to offer
shelter to the horde
of sudden homeless families
the Lakeway Church ignored.

With H-E-B employees working
endless double shifts
to haul supplies and open doors,
the city’s spirit lifts.

My mother died a year ago.
I cannot find my dad
to share the agony of losing
everything we had.

All thoughts of going back to school
are shoved aside for now.
The only thing that matters is
surviving this, but how?

I’ve never known another way
of life but hand in glove
with fellow Texans honoring
this country that we love.

I’ve never held a higher goal
than study, work, and strive
to gain my legal status
by the time I’m twenty-five.

Another dream is shattering,
all hope has been aborted.
The news arrives from Washington:
“Prepare to be deported.”

 

cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren, 2017

Image Source This photo is actually one of the FEMA rescuers, who could just as easily be a DREAMer.

What?

Communicating on the fly
with empathetic protocol,
I’d lob a thought and your reply
assured me that you caught it all.

The interchange of sparkling wit
between us was a smorgasboard
of lively parlance to befit
the range of topics we explored.

But suddenly…

Everyone began to mumble;
TV’s on, the walls are shaking;
sentence fragments feint and fumble
through the loopy route they’re taking.

Funny how, as ordinary
conversation grows abstruser,
now the tone is thrust-and-parry.
Hard of hearing? No! Not you sir.

===
cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren, 2017

The Psyche Takes a Break

Transported to a long abandoned hill,
the vision through a classic poet’s eyes
allows reflective drops to crystallize
in images ascending from his quill.
And, for a moment, time lies hushed and still.
The blush of first discoveries arise
in panoramic sway across the skies
with vibrant colors bending to my will.
But then despair begins to overwhelm
my senses. What’s the use of fantasy
that clings to an ethereal caress
while suffering afflicts the tarnished realm?
Encircled by the world’s insanity,
the mind deserves a holiday, I guess.

 
===
After On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer, by John Keats

cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren, 2017

Image Source