Heart on a Hill


The valley of their recent discontent
was rife with misperception, doubt and blame.
They never seemed to trust the true intent
in one another. Days were all the same.

Each argument produced a bitter crop
of grievances for one divided whole,
a couple longing for the mountaintop
together, but without a common goal.

But then he tripped and banged the water pail
against his head so hard it made her sick.
Compassion rose within her like a gale
of cleansing air. Disaster did the trick.

So, climbing hand in hand, they claimed their hill
where happiness now reigns for Jack and Jill.


cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2016


The source of the photo is a mystery. If known to be in violation of copyright, please advise.



You’re as easy as a recipe for jello
running fifty fathoms deep beneath the foam,
an exasperating, independent fellow
as familiar as the road that leads to home.

At the door, anticipation is supplanted
by the telltale disappointment in a dog
when the one for whom he’s waited, pranced and panted
isn’t coming home tonight to lift the fog.

When I reach across the bed and find it empty,
it’s a pressing emptiness that’s amplified
by the silence in the darkness, and I simply
cannot rest until we’re sleeping side by side.

Over breakfast, hovering across the table
in the place of grizzled cheeks and tousled hair
is a multi-headed vacuum on a cable
sucking all the effervescence from the air.

So I’m sending you this telepathic summons:
Get your stuff together, put it in a sack,
hold your ear next to the ground and hear the rumblin’s
of how thoroughly you’re missed. Now hurry back!


cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2016


Public Domain Photo





I am your wife, unwavering
                     and welcome home.

This door is not the destination;
      it is the journey
      that begins anew
      with each re-entry
      from rock-strewn paths
      and ecstatic escapades
      that bring us mindfully
      into the Gift of Presence.

You are the air I breathe
in the unrelenting
      Realm of Reason
where metaphor melds
with matter
for I can be neither
better half nor weaker half
      or, for that matter,
           other half
when the fullness of union
suffers no halves.

I stand before you whole
with all my battered luggage
and labeled “Ours.”


cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2014



When Hope has nowhere else to go
through withering attacks,
she gathers strength from roots below
to rise between the cracks.

When Patience, buffeted by wind
is prone to pull up stakes,
he finds the buried grace to bend
before the auger breaks.

When Courage has forgotten more
than cowards ever knew,
it taps a hidden reservoir
to see the battle through.

Forgiveness, waiting in the wings,
unshackled from the past,
is summoning the peace he brings
when amity is cast.

And Love, in all her glory, holds
the power to dispel
alarm.  Within her apron folds
we know that all is well.


cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2013



That gold embossed certificate
entitles you to perks
exclusively for VIP’s,
and this is how it works:
It’s issued on conception
and expires in Never-Ten,
irrevocably binding on
your own parental kin.

The terms are clearly written on
its face in tiny print.
You won’t be held accountable
for time and effort spent
on unrelenting nurture from
your cradle to their graves,
for love is not contingent on
the way a child behaves.

Regardless of intent or act
in any circumstance,
the sum of all transgression is
forgiven in advance.
I used my own exemption as
my parents saw me through
the best and worst and points between.
I’ll do the same for you.


cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren, 2012

Voices Clamor


Voices clamor for an ear
open to the faintest note of
pessimism, doubt or fear
harboring a secret motive
poised to drive the spirit down.
Hope’s the nail and hate’s the hammer.
Songs of love alone will drown
voices’ clamor.


cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren, 2012

My Hero


for Hal Upchurch, 1918-2008

Be they wise men or foolish, tycoons, dukes, or earls,
paupers or preachers or thieves,
most fathers are worshipped by their little girls,
and in childhood, each daughter believes
that the man she looks up to can do nothing wrong.
She relies on what children should know:
that Daddies are patient and kind, brave and strong …
But, alas, it is not always so.

All too often a little girl’s dreams turn to dust
and her innocent faith starts to crumble
when he’s proven unworthy of absolute trust
and she sees her dad falter and stumble.
But though legions of heroes have fallen, and lined
the long pathway in lonely rejection,
in all of my actions I hope you will find
assurance that you’re the exception.

If you lay down and quit you would not be denied
a reprieve for a much-deserved rest.
I would bring you a pillow and sit by your side,
even then I would not love you less.
But I know you’ll go on and continue the race
’til your life has completed its course,
upholding the standard of courage and grace,
firmly mounted upon your white horse.

You’re a pillar of strength for your children and wife —
God forbid we should take you for granted.
I have known I was loved every day of my life;
In my heart lies the truth that you planted.
Your unselfishness springs from a bottomless well
for the family you’ve nurtured and fed
and, if we couldn’t speak, countless others could tell
how they’ve warmed in the light that you shed.

When reviewing the blessings I’m thankful are mine,
as so often I’m privileged to do,
from the group photograph, among faces that shine
in the foreground’s the image of you.
For your health and contentment I offer a prayer
with my love and a hope that is fervent,
until God calls you home and He welcomes you there
with a loving, “Well done, faithful servant.”


cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 1991

God’s Within You

God Within

God’s within you here and now,
omnipresent host in-filling
to the measure you allow;
undiluted love is spilling
over every vein and pore,
intertwined with bone and sinew.
Emanating from the core,
God’s within you.


cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2012

Public Domain Photo



He had curly brown hair
and a wooden leg.
I was tall and straight,
untouched by adversity.
We were seven.

Children called him Paulio
without a whiff of malice,
lining up for the novelty
of knocking wood —
playing knick-knack on one small knee.

I called him Paul
and carried his books,
always setting my pace to his.

We mapped music together
after school,
priming piano keys
with chocolate crowns
raided from Mama’s secret stash.
Chip for note, one for each.
Gobble – plink – giggle,
giggle – gobble – plink …

In the half-dappled shade of time,
instrumental memories
blink and fade like fireflies,
as moments relived
run the full scale of emotion.

Unflappable Paul —
boundless blue eyes, crooked grin.
Every feature lingers
in clear  focus —
each scene replays
to the tune of tenderness.

One muddy afternoon
I saw him fall in the ditch.
and ran to him … crying.
The woman driving by
saw only that he was down
and I was up.

She screeched to the curb,
blasting, lambasting me
through an open window
with her closed mind.

Push him?
I would have carried Paul
through flying bullets
on bloody feet.

My shoulders drooped all the way home,
but not from the weight of his books.


cc-by-nc-nd Mary,  2011


Doubly Blessed


The Maker etched his mark on each of us
and set our strides together on the path,
allowing us to skirt the frivolous.
It isn’t difficult to do the math.

Each forward foot consists of twenty toes.
Two voices ring in unison, the song
of service and surrender — love that glows
through shadows on a road four shoulders strong.

The symmetry of body, mind, and soul
compels our beating hearts to synchronize.
When quintessential oneness is the goal,
its promise is fulfilled before we rise.

Consensus hurdles independent views,
and merging trails are smoother trod by twos.


cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2006