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.

View discussion on this poem.

Ephemeral

If you remember me when I am gone
with any sense of clarity, ignore
the critic in the shadows who has drawn
impressions from an outline on the floor.

I never fit within the chalky bounds
of others’ expectations. Still, I tried,
until I was awakened to the sounds
of omnipresent promise amplified.

So when you picture me inside your head,
unhampered by the superficial sphere,
behold a ball of energy that shed
the cover humans wear when we are here.

And soon, in less than one eternal minute,
a burst of light will follow. You’ll be in it!

===
cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren, 2017

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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

 

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View discussion on this poem.

A Can of Oops

If I could wield a monumental can
of Oops! and travel back through space and time,
I’d circle ’round the sun like Superman
obliterating planetary slime.

I’d wipe the stain from any human heart
that ever felt unworthiness and shame
and wash the tongues of any taking part
in propagating hatred in God’s name.

The odious graffiti on the wall
would melt away and metamorph into
the artistry of nature over all;
an unpolluted, unifying view.

And after false perception is destroyed,
I’d hurl the dirty rag into the void.

===
cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren, 2017

Silence is Betrayal

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
The words of Doctor Martin Luther King
hang heavy in the air. Intentions fail
to halt the arc of hatred’s brutal swing.

The centuries of organized oppression
are coming to a climax. You and I
must take a stand for justice. Shy discretion
is not a virtue when the stakes are high.

As hard-won rights are carelessly dismantled
before our eyes, the growing battle zone
erupting in the streets cannot be handled
with slacktivism. None should march alone.

Resisting with a vengeance, beat the drum
and shout in unison, “The time has come!”

 
 

cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren, 2017

Heart on a Hill

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.

Watching the Children Play

children on playground

We struck up conversation easily —
custodians with no apparent lack
of common ground. (It seems he has a knack
for working on transmissions.) Suddenly
his focus shifted momentarily.
Three names rang out, three children answered back.
His explanation made my jaw go slack:
“I need to hear their voices — I can’t see.”

He never saw my estimation rise
for one so fit, with miles and years to span,
whose handicap won’t bump him from the race.
I swallowed hard, then slowly raised my eyes —
two gluttons drinking in the scene — to scan
the playground, seeking out my grandson’s face.

 

cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2001

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Make Me

girl on track

Unjustly scorned, I fancied self-control
could somehow keep misunderstanding’s reign
from drowning out the music in my soul.
I’d only march along the sunlit lane
and never have to stumble, stoop, or bend.

The lessons in the dense and tangled brush
are difficult — who’d willingly extend
the season of their sorrows? I would rush,
but Father, keep me here until You’re through.
For laughter fades, and all is vanity
that doesn’t help produce a servant who
surrenders everything unselfishly.

It’s not the celebration, it’s the loss
that draws me to the shadow of the Cross.

 

cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2003

The Call of Home

Astral Projection

I’d love to travel astrally,
projecting past the sun and moon
into the realm beyond the bounds
of brick and mortar, blood and bone.

When carried on a single thought
aloft, my busy brain would cease
its constant chattering while I
enjoy the panoramic view.

But for the needs of day to day
existence in a mortal shell,
there’s no place I would rather live
than here at home on Planet Earth.

Let not her strength and beauty fade
because we failed to heed her cry.

———

cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2013

Knock Need

door

“Go often to the house of thy friend, for weeds choke the unused path.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m waiting, fidgeting with doubt, between
your door and the familiar country road
that points the way back home. I felt I owed
an olive branch at last. Beyond the screen,
I see you darkly now — an awkward scene
looms imminent. Where hearts once overflowed
with easy conversation, seeds we sowed
lie dormant in a fathomless ravine.

I never knew the reason. Twenty years
ago, I’d meet you if I had to crawl.
What stifled camaraderie? Illusion?
Perhaps, if puffed resentment disappears,
we’ll stand on common ground. Along the hall
your shadow nears. Reunion or intrusion?

———

cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2002