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.
Mary Boren, 2001
See discussion on this poem.
Laughter’s pealing through the spaces
hollowed by the weight of loss,
filling cracks in broken places
where distress and mercy cross.
Open hearts attend the healing
with the balm of fellow feeling
softening misfortune’s traces.
Mary Boren, 2015
Public Domain Image
Joy, abiding in the heart,
like a filly off her tether
prances ’round the apple cart
in a field of golden heather.
Tribulation comes and goes —
buckles chafe while Sorrow’s riding
on her back, but heaven knows
Mary Boren, 2014
My soul, innate divinity —
the spark of God that lives in me,
connecting one with all the universe,
your light can penetrate the veil
and shine where hateful thoughts assail
the finite realm, and easily disperse
the darkness of mortality.
With two or three in easy reach,
you leap to meet yourself in each,
reminding what we didn’t know we knew.
As seat of peace and love and joy,
you magnify the best, deploy
the rest, and fill the spaces through and through
without a single breath of speech.
When ego gains a head of steam
and plots to keep me in the dream
of nothingness, you hold my fear at bay
until the balance is restored.
You are my wings, my rock, my cord;
without you, I would be a chunk of clay
instead of holiness supreme.
Mary Boren, 2010
In midst of my apology
you smiled and reached a hand to me
and said, “I love you just the way you are.”
That unexpected, simple gift
to give my heart a needed lift
was warm as toast (and fuzzier by far).
So now I want to turn around
and give the world the joy I’ve found
in loving me as well as them and you.
It doesn’t cost a penny more
to factor kindness in the score
and give the benefit of doubt when due.
No punishment can more constrict
a soul than what we self-inflict.
I’ve yet to meet a person without flaws.
A gaffe’s an opportunity
to learn, and then it’s history.
Forgive and love oneself because, because.
I’m what I am — no more, no less;
sometimes a saint, sometimes a mess —
like every rider on this carousel.
If anyone takes pleasure from
accepting me the way you come,
I’ll take the gift … and wish the others well.
Mary Boren, 1997
I caught the fragile essence of a rose
that floated from the pinnacle of pain
and wafted through my senses. In the deep
encrusted caverns of my heart, I felt
an indescribable, compelling rush
of joy — unfettered, boundless joy — and as
it bubbled to the surface seeking out
the path of least resistance to the light,
I clung to earth, awash in healing tears.
It comes and goes, but always leaves a gift:
Love’s fragrance clings to all the rose has touched.
Mary Boren, 2002
The lifting is assisted by a jump,
so eager is the package to arrive.
He’s landing on the platform with a thump
and smoothly shifting into hyperdrive.
As if to celebrate his two-year span
of time among the mortals, at a height
unprecedented, toddling Mini-Man
ascends the ladder to his launching site.
A sunbeam, filtered through his wispy hair,
cannot begin to match the light that’s dawned
upon his face. How better to prepare
a child for living, earthbound and beyond?
The joy inherent in a playground slide
is not the destination, it’s the ride.
Mary Boren, 2001