On Filaments and Firmaments

Every night when Lady Luna
beams across the wooded steep
after daily clamor dwindles
and the children fall asleep
Emma comes to tend the garden,
kiss the flowers, and commune
with the fairies, imps, and pixies
frolicking beneath the moon.

Emissaries of the spirits
spawned before the planet’s birth,
Emma and her sisters hover
gently on the edge of Earth
in the space between confusion
over what we’re doing here
and The Realm That Knows Forever
liberated from the sphere.

She is but a fleeting image
of the fiber that connects
all the multiverse’s secrets
to the path that intersects
with the pattern of Creation
spreading from a single source,
infinite beyond description,
dauntless on its chosen course.

Someone waited in the shadows
half the night to capture proof
in a picture we can study,
then she vanished in a poof,
so I left this verse for Emma
in a scented envelope
thanking her for nightly visits
seeding peace and sowing hope.

o0o

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 2019 Mary Boren
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With thanks to the unknown photographer

Gremlins & Goblins & Trolls, Oh No!

In the prevalent rage
of the digital age
to debate without logic or manners
be aware of the march
scheming under the arch
waving signs and political banners.

They’re a scurrilous lot
with a penchant to blot
Lady Liberty’s gains in the ether
as the poison they brew
stirred with spittle and spew
hits the platform that wobbles beneath her.

Social fabric will rip
from the zingers that zip
through each forum and blog in the cyber
til the populace learns
to ignore scum that churns
in a cauldron of fictional fiber.

If you want to survive
the incursions that thrive
on your ignorance, look to the sages.
Join the movement afoot
to see miscreants put
in the cages of history’s pages.

o0o

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2019 Mary Boren
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Published
Categorized as All Poems

Rational Aftermath

“There is something deeply hypocritical about praying for a problem you are unwilling to resolve.” -Miroslav Volf

Given the nature of tyranny’s arrogance
strutting itself on the national stage,
why should an outbreak of violent rage
borne on the bullets of deadly velocity
come as surprise when another atrocity
massacres hope?

Spare the survivors the devious sacrilege
pouring from pundits’ imperious airs,
hogging the cameras, offering prayers
full of their own brand of blatant hypocrisy.
Decency clings to our fragile democracy —
throw it a rope!

Bring us some leaders with courage and principles
poised to deliver the legal restraints
long overdue, and as reason repaints
citizens’ rights, let the cry of humanity
carry the flag of compassionate sanity
mounting the slope.

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2019 Mary Boren
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“It takes a monster to kill children. But to watch monsters kill children again and again and do nothing isn’t just insanity—it’s inhumanity.” -Amanda Gorman

Thurston High School.
Columbine High School.
Heritage High School.
Deming Middle School.
Fort Gibson Middle School.
Buell Elementary School.
Lake Worth Middle School.
University of Arkansas.
Junipero Serra High School.
Santana High School.
Bishop Neumann High School.
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Martin Luther King, Jr. High School.
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Washington High School.
Conception Abbey.
Benjamin Tasker Middle School.
University of Arizona.
Lincoln High School.
John McDonogh High School.
Red Lion Area Junior High School.
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Bowen High School.
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Milwee Middle School.
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Duquesne University.
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Weston High School.
West Nickel Mines School.
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Henry Foss High School.
Compton Centennial High School.
Virginia Tech.
Success Tech Academy.
Miami Carol City Senior High School.
Hamilton High School.
Louisiana Technical College.
Mitchell High School.
E.O. Green Junior High School.
Northern Illinois University.
Lakota Middle School.
Knoxville Central High School.
Willoughby South High School.
Henry Ford High School.
University of Central Arkansas.
Dillard High School.
Dunbar High School.
Hampton University.
Harvard College.
Larose-Cut Off Middle School.
International Studies Academy.
Skyline College.
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University of Texas.
Kelly Elementary School.
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Millard South High School.
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Oikos University.
Hamilton High School.
Perry Hall School.
Normal Community High School.
University of South Alabama.
Banner Academy South.
University of Southern California.
Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Apostolic Revival Center Christian School.
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Osborn High School.
Stevens Institute of Business and Arts.
Hazard Community and Technical College.
Chicago State University.
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Cesar Chavez High School.
Price Middle School.
University of Central Florida.
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Ronald E. McNair Discovery Academy.
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University of Southern California.
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Academy of Knowledge Preschool.
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Paine College.
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Fern Creek Traditional High School.
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Pershing Elementary School.
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Mojave High School.
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Madison High School.
Antigo High School.
University of California-Los Angeles.
Jeremiah Burke High School.
Alpine High School.
Townville Elementary School.
Vigor High School.
Linden McKinley STEM Academy.
June Jordan High School for Equity.
Union Middle School.
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University of Washington.
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STEM School Highlands Ranch
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Blountsville Elementary School
Holmes County, Mississippi (school bus)
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College of the Mainland
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McAuliffe Elementary School
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Texas A&M University-Commerce
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Oxford High School
Robb Elementary School
(last updated May 24, 2022)

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Of Two Minds

A brain cannot absorb more than its mass.
I tell myself it helps to let it drain
in seeking to achieve a higher plane.  
How often, wearing blinders, do we  pass
the Buddha Image in a blade of grass
or shun the light beyond the windowpane
for fear its pull will render us insane?
My will is steel, my spirit tempered glass.

Yet there are times the mind will not be barred
from grappling with enigma.  Nonchalance
won’t turn the key to wisdom or prepare
the soul for nourishment.  Without regard
for tethered cognizance, my psyche wants
to conquer obfuscation in the air.

o0o

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2002 Mary Boren
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The Road Home

There is more to a word than the spelling,
neither future nor past in its tense,
and the story that grows in the telling
can jump over a pastoral fence
on the drive coming home. It’s compelling
in a deeper than physical sense.

When I think of the love that enfolds me
in the leap of a frolicsome pup
and the arms of a husband who holds me
like an obelisk propping me up,
there’s a presence that softens and molds me
to the shape of serenity’s cup.

From a window, the woodland is sounding
with the hush of an orderly mind.
In a natural rustic surrounding
there is space for the nerves to unwind
from the noise of a world that is pounding
the humanity out of mankind.

So the run-of-the-mill intersection
on the way to our humble abode
masquerades our affluent connection
to a heavenly area code
as it leads to supernal perfection
living large at a bend in the road.

o0o

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2019 Mary Boren
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At the Base of the Tower

“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tyrants learn to climb a ladder
stepping on the hands below,
thinking status gained will matter
in a human puppet show.

Sycophants advance by reaching
wildly for the boots above,
spurred into a frenzy, screeching
epithets devoid of love.

Bullies on the ground are spreading
lies to bring the ladder down,
instigating chaos, shredding
decency from base to crown.

All of us approach the spire
bearing scars that touch the core;
none are standing any higher
than the people we abhor.

Marching next to truth revealers
labeled neither “Ours” nor “Theirs”,
let me be among the healers
on a stronger set of stairs.

o0o

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2019 Mary Boren
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In the Silence

In the silence, coexistence
overcomes innate resistance
to denials that evade
Spirit, while its masquerade
chases bodily subsistence.

Synergetic intermissions
born of mystical omniscience
flourish as divisions fade
in the silence.

Buddhists, Humanists and Christians
meditating through the distance
bring a unified brigade
facing chaos unafraid,
seeking peace with calm persistence
in the silence.

o0o

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2019 Mary Boren
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Choose Love

“We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The lifeblood of the planet is in peril
of swift extinction by exsanguination
from injuries inflicted by the feral
barbarians attacking its foundation. 

Physicians for society have proffered
a proven remedy through mass injection
of Zenicillin. Hordes, instead, have coffered
an arsenal of hate to breed infection.

But deep within the body, organisms
are gathering in overwhelming numbers
to spread the needle’s healing for our schisms,
awakening compassion where it slumbers.

The power of love is dazzling when it stirs.
Don’t flee before the miracle occurs.

o0o

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2019 Mary Boren
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Epiphany

Epiphany, that sacred day
the Magi’s beacon led the way
to witness royalty that lay
in Baby Jesu.

The virgin birth’s a fragile myth,
an ancient bulky monolith—
irrelevant—yet teeming with
epiphany.

For only when the trappings dim
can rebirth rise above the rim
of rigid views to welcome Him,
The Christ Within.

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2019 Mary Boren
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Published
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America in the Mirror

We’re appalled in confronting the picture —
a reflection for too long denied —
of a country that’s spiraling swiftly
down the drain in its ethical slide.

As each visible blemish emerges
it uncovers what runs underneath
that’s more painful and deeply enduring
than the spinach between our front teeth.

We’ve been stripped of our make-believe mantle
in assuming an elegant pose,
for that arrogant profile’s now hidden
by the hideous wart on our nose.

What we fancied a flawless complexion
is revealed as a sallow facade
tinged with orange, an outbreak of acne
that is oozing infection abroad.

It’s a face only Mother could cherish,
overdue for a treatment to rout
every trace of disease and self-loathing.
We are one. “As within, so without.”

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2019 Mary Boren
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Somebody Else’s Burden

The load that weighs you down with care
has sabotaged your inner peace;
its mass will steadily increase.

While staggering from here to there.
your steps are slowed, your back is bowed
because it isn’t yours to bear.

Cut loose and lovingly release
the load that weighs you down with care.

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2018 Mary Boren
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One (Redux)

I’ll be your hearth, your welcome home,
your trusted secret-hearer —
unwavering, conditionless,
your witness and your mirror.

This door may stand familiar,
but it’s not the destination.
The journey starts anew with each
repeated affirmation
to mindfully return into
the loving Gift of Presence
from every tempting escapade
that calls us from our essence.

For breathing one another’s air
beyond the realm of reason
where metaphor and matter meld
(if only for a season)
as better half or weaker half
at odds is lunacy.
Commitment in its fullness
summons vibrant unity.

And so I come before you whole
with all my baggage carried
across the threshold, labeled “Ours”,
unpacked … profoundly married.

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2018 Mary Boren
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Revisiting a 2014 poem originally written in free verse.

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.”

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2001 Mary Boren
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Hummingbird

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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2002 Mary Boren
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The photo is my grandfather in 1906.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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2018 Mary Boren
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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.

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2003 Mary Boren
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Capital Eyes

A single mother struggles with the rent
heroically, determined not to brood,
accounting for each penny that was spent
on school supplies, insurance, gas, and food
from insufficient paychecks promptly chewed
to shreds before they reach her eager hand.
She’s one of countless workers who is viewed
as chattel by the corporation’s band
of brigands holding hostages to marketing demand.

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2018 Mary Boren
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The Disappearance of Limits

“Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps, intelligent life may be watching these lights of ours aware of what they mean… or do our lights wander a lifeless cosmos, unseen beacons announcing that here on our rock, the universe discovered its existence?” – Stephen Hawking

The mental giant in a metal chair
resided in a multi-layered sphere
beyond our grasp, as we who simply stare
into the heavens, wondering if here
is all there is. He brought the world a gift
enfolded in a cryptic paradigm,
unwrapped in subtle stages for a shift
in scientific thought on space and time.

The message of the multiverse is veiled
in gossamer and lace, with calico
and pleated velvet drapes that have assailed
our curiosity, but this I know:
Illusion born of suffering absconds
when consciousness is freed from mortal bonds.

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2018 Mary Boren
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Image by Mitchell Toy

Leaping the Heap

When I’m stuck in the trap of malaise
and self-pity flares up in a blaze,
I am forced to concede
that for lightness and speed
this old body has seen better days.

But my spirit’s not bound by the hide
that is holding my fragments inside.
When the flesh is enmeshed
in itself, I’m refreshed
by escaping the prison of pride.

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2018 Mary Boren
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To the Song of the Cosmos

Your melody’s transporting me away
to sunrise in a candy-coated land
where no one suffers at another’s hand.
You offer me serenity to stay.
I’m tethered to the protoplasmic clay
you fashioned from the void. I’ve always planned
to hitch a ride back home. You understand
my murmurings in spite of what I pray.

But I’ll decline the invitation while
my fellow travelers are left to grieve,
for who would sing these lyrics if I leave?
I’ve given them the only things I had
to share, a simple sonnet and a smile.
I’ll catch you on the flipflop. Don’t be sad.

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2018 Mary Boren
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Precious Metals

When I die and my worth is extolled,
it won’t be for the riches I hold
or my saintly deportment,
despite tooth assortment
of porcelain, silver, and gold.

I am being replaced by degrees.
With titanium joints in my knees
and the plate in my wrist,
I should clang when I twist
like a full set of prison guard’s keys.

I’ve got pincers and pins in my toes
for reshaping the elegant pose
of my hooves in their shoes,
and a stash of loose screws
rattles ’round when I’m blowing my nose.

If you’re secretly hatching a plot
to heat a gargantuan pot
and melt me down early,
don’t bother — you surely
won’t get twenty bucks for the lot.

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2018 Mary Boren
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Style and Substance

(After A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s “Ambition and Art“)

Style

I am the vessel that boldly glides
through seas uncharted,
chiseling shadows on open sides
where craft is started.

Splitting the distance from east to west
in measured portions
calms the peripheral ocean crest
without distortions.

Tossed on the shore of Eternity
where dreamscape thrashes,
trust an alliance of form and free
to salvage crashes.

Substance

Come to me under the stars and bring
your shining essence.
Nothing uncommonly bright takes wing
without your presence.

Whisper the secrets celestials tell
behind the curtain,
music and magic to gently quell
the lust for Certain.

Consciousness voyages wispily,
its scent alluring,
flooded in fathoms of mystery
through time enduring.

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2018 Mary Boren
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Give Me Your Tired

With boundless greed invading
like charging bulls, creating
an atmosphere of hating
all up and down the aisle,
remember how we started
with open hearts unguarded
and immigrants rewarded
for waiting by the mile.

For all have benefited
from hordes that were admitted,
like threads securely knitted
in variegated style.
Our tapestry unravels
if loudly pounding gavels
prevail. In all your travels,
outshout them with a smile.

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2018 Mary Boren
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Photo from the U.S. National Archives

Malevolence Concealed

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Malevolence concealed in shadow waits
for optimal excuse to storm the gates
when every guardian of night has fled
and left no vestige of the light they shed
across the peaceful courtyard love creates.

A solitary candle flame abates
the siege as amity illuminates
the calculating coward that propels
malevolence concealed.

No other coalescence separates
abiding love from hate that cultivates
chaotic storms within the citadels
like unity of purpose that expels
unwanted dispositions and negates
malevolence concealed.

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Mary Boren, 2018
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Pilgrimage

light on hills

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” -Rumi

The hills are steep, the climbing’s hard.
If you would persevere, it
may leave the body deeply scarred
and dissipate the spirit.

But when you scale the furthest crest
and overlook the valley,
abrasions suffered on the quest
will yield a grand finale.

The gift of elevated sight
revealed as you continue
will radiate the path with light
that’s coming from within you.

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Mary Boren, 2018
View discussion on this poem.

Cleaning the Slate

cat in mirror

Before I face the coming year
in a flurry of resolutions,
I stand before my conscience here
in the middle of my ablutions.

Reflections of a scowling brow
when my patience was sorely tested
are splayed across the mirror now
in a mural of time arrested.

New promises are meaningless
on the altar of Good Intention
’til heaven brings its cleaning mist
in a powerful intervention.

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Mary Boren, 2012
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Image Source

Frosted Patterns

“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown,
and in between, there are doors.” -William Blake

Frosted patterns on the glass
camouflage a portal frozen
on its hinges. Clustered mass
needn’t hide the path we’ve chosen.

Opening the inner eye,
focus on eternal matter
binding everything. Defy
powers of illusion — shatter
frosted patterns.

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Mary Boren, 2017
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Leader

"Namaste" by Thom Ricks

If you can set your biases aside
to champion what’s compassionate and just,
and value every member of your tribe
as if you’d given birth to each of us;
awakening to true community,
not rushing into battle unprepared,
but seeking out a path to unity
when sleepers’ predatory fangs are bared,
and forging through the darkness to the source
of light, replenishing your spirit when
the mantle sags, thus modeling the course
of energy infused with wisdom, then…

I’ll follow you with every nerve and bone
to places I’m afraid to go alone.

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Mary Boren, 2017
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Painting by Thom Ricks

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.

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Mary Boren, 2001
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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.

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Mary Boren, 2017
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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 co-existence here for you and me
derive from Capricana’s maiden 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.”

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Mary Boren, 2017
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Image Source

Scorpio

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’

2017 Mary Boren
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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.

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Mary Boren, 1995
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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.

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Mary Boren, 2017
View discussion on this poem.

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.