Whine Not


Preparing for the journey, travel light.
Bring only what is needed for the day:
the music and its laughter at the height
of harmony with friends along the way.
Don’t take your troubles into town.
Whine not.

The baggage that is carried from the past
creates a stumbling block upon the road
as memories of hurtful things can blast
a heart to smithereens beneath the load.
Release your grudges, lay them down.
Whine not.

Tomorrow lies in wait, a subtle trap
that’s set to rob the present of its glow.
Entrust the future to the fates and lap
the nectar of The Now’s unending flow
above, below and all around.
Whine not.


cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren,  2014

The Young Foodie’s Alphabet


A is for an Appetite for scrumptylicious food
grown in sun and soil instead of stapled, sealed and glued.

B is for the Broccoli that looks like little trees.
Roaring like a dinosaur, I chomp their heads with ease.

C is for the Cinnamon that’s sprinkled on my toast.
All the other spices cry ’cause I love this one most.

D  is for the Dairy cow that grazes all day long
making milk and cheese that help to build my muscles strong.

E is for the Elderberry, fighting off the flu
like a little soldier in a uniform of blue.

F is for the Fava beans with pods about to pop,
bursting with the energy that makes me skip and hop.

G is for the Gardener who honors nature’s plan.
Earth cannot protect herself from fools, but humans can.

H  is for the Honeycomb that holds a golden treat
pretty as a fairy’s sunny smile and just as sweet.

I is for the Idaho potato someone found
on a farm in Kansas with its head still underground.

J is for the Juice of lemons, oranges and limes
perking up my mouth and puckering my lips at times.

K is for the Kiwi fruit that keeps my skin so creamy
I would want to kiss myself if no one else could see me.

L is for the Lettuce Leaf that makes a salad crunch.
(Only when it’s fresh enough; if not, have beans for lunch.)

M‘s for Macadamia, a heap of fun to say —
tough to crack but packed with vitamins like E and A.

N is for the other Nuts with names we love to mutter,
best of all when roasted, raw, or blended into butter.

O  is for the Onion with its layers paper thin
squeezing out their flavor for the dish we put them in.

P is for Persnickety, a word my mama uses
when I wrinkle up my nose at food that runs or oozes.

Q‘s the sign for Quinoa, packed with protein, low in fat,
bulking up a salad — I could go for some of that.

R is for the Rutabaga, something like a turnip
with a purple bonnet so its topknot doesn’t burn up.

S is for the Sweet potato. Nothing smells like heaven
half as much when two of them are baking in the oven.

T is for expensive Truffles. Those who can afford
pigs to go and dig them up are probably just bored.

U is for Unsaturated fat that comes from fishes —
better for the brain and heart and swimmingly delicious.

V is for the Vinegar that makes a zesty dressing
with a hundred other uses for the household’s blessing.

W‘s for Watermelon. Families who pause
for a summer picnic feel it dripping from their jaws.

X will mark the spot where other natural delights
wait to be discovered in a test of tasty bites.

Y of course, is You, the one who eats nutritious fare
offered by the world’s providers — those who really care.

Z is saved for last because it represents the noise
coming from the sleeping heads of healthy girls and boys.


cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren, 2014

Image Credit / Product for Sale

Feathers Don’t Fade




I want to be a feather in the pageantry of life,
a witnessing participant that floats above the strife.

A gavel strikes the judge’s bench
with undisputed force
until the next election
when the tide reverses course.

Subjected to the elements,
a hammer’s head will rust —
its handle rendered useless
as it slowly turns to dust.

So whether championed publicly
or building walls alone,
I’d rather drift aloft
than be indentured to the bone.

For fletches fall as gently as a whisper in the mist
delivering a summons with a finger, not a fist.



I want to be a feather in the cavalcade of art,
severely buffeted by bluster,  never losing heart.

A mule can plow a furrow straight
with naught but fallow rows
awaiting fertile harvest
while its droppings decompose.

A school of fish can navigate
impenetrable lines,
but following the current
draws predictable designs.

So whether borne on eagle wings
or molted from a wren,
I’d rather drift aloft
than be akin to hoof or fin.

For quills will still be moving in the metaphoric haze
as lanterns of enlightenment until the end of days.


cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2014



Fun with friends, circa 1998. This is the sort of thing that sent me racing to open my email every morning before knuckling down to work at my upholstery business. Old Friend, by Perry L. “Willie” Williams, provides a prologue to the exchange.

From: Don "Tatereye" Tidwell

Hi Mary;

This was inspired by my knowledge of your other than rhyming talents,
when I was poked where I sit down by a wayward spring on a favorite
chair....but, beware (and be aware) of poetic license: :)


	If I were a chair
	In dire need of repair,
	I would not throw my arms up
	In total despair.

	I'd go and find Mary,
	That lady with flair,
	And ask her quite sweetly
	Her talents to share,

	By re-doing my hair...
	(or whatever is there)
	   If I were a chair
	         In dire need of repair.

From: Mary Sullivan

That's mighty chair-itable of you, Sweet Tater, and something tells
me we haven't ex-seated our limit just yet on the Loose Spring Saga.

	  Springing Back

	Now if I were YOUR chair
	Being sent for repair
	And you sat on a spare --
	Don't think I wouldn't care ...

	Should you ask me to tell
	If I'm handling it well,
	I'd hysteric'ly yell,
	"No, I'm jealous as hell!"

	"That inferior seat
	Doesn't know how to treat
	You with love pure 'n' sweet
	From your head to your feet."

	"Though loose springs may appear,
	I will cradle your rear
	Ever gently, my dear,
	If you'll just keep me here!"

(But don't get stuck. :)

From: Tater

	    Spare Chair

	I think I might swear
	Were I pinched by a chair
	That was merely a spare
	For one in for repair.
	Forewarned is forearmed
	And though my life is charmed,
	On a chair seat deformed,
	I could damnwell be harmed.
	Get busy, I say...
	Work real fast don't delay.
	Fret thee not 'bout yer pay...

Or at least in time so you can bring it with ya. :)

From: Bernard Gluck

	~oOo~ The Spring That Broke in Summer   ~oOo~

	Poor Tater was poked in the bottom
	By a spring in his chair where it got'im
	Darn near had a fit
	Cause it hurt where he sit;
	By the hole in his pants, you can spot'im.

From: Don Tidwell

Do ya think limericks will ever die a natural death??? Hope not.

	      Frayed and Betrayed

	Betrayed by the hole in my pants,
	Forevermore robbed of the chance,
	To walk in the crowd
	Head held high, walkin proud,
	All because of a strange happenstance!

	Nevermore will I sit in a chair
	With a cold bayonet planted thar**
	A tightly wound spring
	Is a dangerous thing....
	My advice to all sitters..... Beware!!

From: Bernie

	About that chair ...

Tater's chair is broken now and what does worry me
Is how the guy can manage now to ever watch TV
Mary's way down Texas way; the chair in Utah state
There ain't no way to get it there, so standin' is his fate.

A band-aid he is wearin' on the place where he got stuck
A big one showing lots of stars, I'd say the guy's in luck
In case he ever drops his pants with his behind in view
Whoever sees it will conclude that it's a nice tattoo.

From: Tater

	In keeping with the tradition ...

'Tis nice of Bern to worry 'bout my favored broken chair...
I'd pictured him as stodgy, and as one who wouldn't care.
His worry is for naught though and with fancy runnin free,
He just assumes I'll have to stand while watchin the T.V.
                                  (I got a spare chair)

He's wrong about another thing I 'aint about to pass.....
That big star studded band aid that's in place across
                                  (that place where I got hurt)
He oughta know a guy like me has better things to do,
than go around jist moonin folks, to show off my tattoo;

From: Bob "Bubba" Badger

Now Tater's gone to belly-achin' 'bout his spring stuck
                                 (place where he got hurt),
But there are those (who knew him "when") who'd say it's hard as brass.
So, 'bout them stars that Bernie says adorn Don's bandaged rump...
Could they be sparks?   Did I hear "CLANG!?"  Or was it muffled "Thump?"

Now Tater plays for sympathy because his butt is hurt,
But Bubba will admonish him with words quite terse and curt.
Ol' Tater ain't as tender as he's said (and that's no joke)
It sounded like some cymbals clashin' when his damn chair broke.

From: Tater

    Hey Bubba ...

How  'bout fetchin Mary from away down Texas way,
And headin north to Utah where the sun shines every day.
Have her bring her needles and some cloth and special pliers,
So she can fix that dadgummed chair and all them broken wires.

My rear end really ain't as tough as you would seem to think,
It really took a nasty gash when that damned spring went "clink."
O'le Bernie thinks the Lone Star State is much too far away,
For Mary Dear to fix my chair, but there's gotta be a way;

So saddle up Ol'e Roland, and throw the gear in back,
And point him north to Utah on the highway's fastest track.
We'll make Ol Bernie eat his words, so he can plainly see,
I'll be sittin 'stead of standin, while I'm viewin my Tee Vee.

And hurry!!

From: Mary

    Now hold on just a minute...

While all you boys are plannin' this big job for me to do,
I'll have you know as projects go I've done got quite a few.
There's lots of folks who'd like to have their chairs upholstered fine,
And them that wants my services has got to stand in line.

I tried to circumvent this job by layin' on the guilt
About your pore chair's feelings, and I played it to the hilt,
How quickly all you men will cast a faithful gal aside
Just 'cause she's gettin' old and tends to prick holes in your hide.

Now Tater dear, you know I love you good and I'll confess,
I'd really hate to see your tender backside in distress.
So when I come to Utah I'll poke in a piece of foam,
But when I'm on vacation, friend, I'm leavin' tools at home!

(You'll hafta bring that chair to TEXAS! :)

From: Bubba

    Pore Ol' Tater

Now, Tater, don't you fret none 'bout that mean ol' Mary Ess.
I'll come up there and help you fix that chair that is a mess.
I'll bring a ball-pein hammer and a chain saw and a wrench,
And when we're through a-workin' that damn chair won't make you flinch.

I'll bring a bale of hay to stuff the cushions so they're plush
And burlap sacking for the tick should give your bum a rush.
But we'd best not do TOO damn good, 'cause I have heard it said
That when a chair gets comfy, it gets stole by Cuzzin Fred.

From: Bernie

	Let's Be Chair-itable Girls!

	Now we have got a problem here
	With Tater's broken chair.
	It seems you gals ain't willin' now
	To mend that gal-darned tear. ('scuse profanity)

	And now you ladies are a-headin'
	For the nearest door,
	And leave the job for Bubba, well!
	Ain't that what friends is for?

	Miz Mary's got the tools and tacks
	And nothin' much to do.
	Experience ain't what she lacks.
	Pure stubbornness, it's true!

From: Mary Sullivan

Oh, so you fellers think you can pass the mustard, huh?


	Now the chair repair commences --
	No attempt to spare expenses:
	Workers whirlin' 'round like fan blades,
	Bernie's standin' by with Band-aids.

	See ol' Bubba swing that hammer
	Catch the spirit, hear the clamor.
	Sawdust flyin', haybale scattered,
	Workin' like it really mattered.

	Looky there at what a job done
  	Envious, some thief might rob one.
	Tater's shotgun's poised and ready,
	Lest that thing appeal to Freddy.

	On the bench, arriving early,
	Joyce and Mary watch with Shirley.
	When the deed's pronounced as finished,
	Hear their snickers undiminished.

	Upside down and topsy-turvy,
	Straight in spots that should be curvy.
	Seeing wrong-side-outwards burlap,
	Mary's hands will stay in her lap.

	In the rush to finish fastest,
	Boys will put the firstest lastest.
	Rubba Dubba Toil and Trubba,
	Better stick to drivin', Bubba.

(You just get us thar and "hit'll all be saw to." :)

From: Bubba

Okay, Onion, you asked for it...

	Why we had to hurry

	See Joyce and Mary and Miss Shirley
	Laughin' through the hurly-burly.
	Sittin' on that bench so smugly
	While we stretch upholst'ry snugly.

	They ridicule our final version
	Casting stones and vile aspersion.
	And Bubba says "Hand me that wrench
	'Cause now we got to fix that bench."

From: Mary

	   Temptation ...

	If Bubba wants us off that bench,
	He's gonna hafta bring a winch.
	(Now let's just see if he'll resist
	A play on words that can't be missed.)

From: Bubba


Miz Mary flung a challenge, and I hate to skirt a dare,
But this one makes me way too nervous...causes pallor.
I'd love to speak of winches for the wenches with a flair
But yet discretion is the better part of valor.

I think I'll stick to battles where, if I can weave and dance,
I might can dodge the slings and arrows when they come.
But, this here cause is hopeless.  I ain't got a snowball's chance,
And though I may not be real bright, I ain't THAT dumb!

...and then, again, maybe I am!

Y'all heard me voice concern about the bench on which they sit,
But did you read between the lines of Mary's verse?
It only seems appropr'ate, when you come to think of it
To know that pore ol' bench has borne a weighty curse.

Now, Tater is a gentleman and offered them a seat
To rest their bodies while we changed his chair around.
Those "Snickers undiminished"...choc'late calories replete
And it's no wonder that ol' bench is fallin' down!

From: Mary

   Skating ...

Sweet Tater, first-rater, you old chair donater,
You've saved Bubba's neck more than twice.
He should have been good for as long as he could,
But he's skating on mighty thin ice.

Yes, wrenches and winches and wenches on benches
Are too much temptation it's clear.
We lickers of Snickers must shorten his knickers
And dub him the Fourth Musketeer.

We'll nix further tricks as we fix him beTwix,
'Cause we girls have a plan of our own.
On Payday he'll play beyond Mars, Milky Way,
As we bask in our Bubba Free Zone!

(You too Bernie! :)

From: Bubba

	Thin ice

I figgered Mary'd be incensed and that she'd want to fight.
I figgered that my head would roll because of vicious bite.
I figgered she would slap me down and kick me with her feet.
But all this talk of candy?  I'm skeered now!  She's talkin' sweet!

From: Mary

It ain't gonna work, fellers, 'cause ...


If I had a nickel for each guilt trip laid on me,
I would not be doing furniture upholstery.
With a cache of servants catering to ev'ry whim,
I'd be barkin' orders out and orchestrating them:
"Pick my dirty socks up off the floor and wash the cars.
Bring me sodey water and a pile of Snickers bars!"

(But I'd bark real sweetly. :)

From: Tater

     Tax Deduction?

Whoever would have thought the likes of one old beat up chair,
Would perpetrate a coast to coast commotion....??
I'm quite surprised that Jeannie has'nt offered some advice,
From where she dictates far across the ocean.

I'm 'bout to draw my horns in and repeal my call for aid---
And petition Neiman Marcus for a new one....
Had I known my simple plea would cause a metered-rhyme tirade,
I'd agree with those who'd tell me that I blew one!

Miss Mary's got the know how and the tools to do the job,
But she's  about to take off soon on her vacation.
And when she's off vacationin, she leaves her tools at home,
And is disinclined to help some poor relation!

Then Bubba says "I'll do the job" with hay and balin wire,
And a special kind of Texas Monkey Wrench---
(Good thing he 'aint said blow torch, or he'd set my house on fire)
While Joyce and Mary hee-haw from the bench.

I'm better now, the wound has healed, the pants have been repaired.
The need for all this help has gone away,
I'll relegate that wayward chair to some dark basement room,
And that is where the dadgum thing will stay,

Until the "Brothers Of The Ark" solicit for their cause,
And then I'll dig the damn thing out you see,
And place it with the other loot atop their loaded truck,
All in the cause of noble "Chair-It-Tee!!"



An old contented cow? There’s brighter news
today. The gloom of seven years ago
dissolved as exercise renewed the flow
of life, old pumps replaced by running shoes,
and dancing in the rain uncovered clues
to long-forgotten knowledge. Eyes aglow,
her feet find purchase on a new plateau.
Surrounding her are unobstructed views.

For being fully present is a choice.
She’s soaring now, aloft on silk and string,
skydiving on a sunny afternoon
and belting out an anthem in a voice
of gratitude beyond imagining.
The lyrics are as vivid as the tune.


cc-by-nc-ndMary Boren, 2008

In response to Grounded.

Hollowed Ground

A million years upon its course
the river flowed relentlessly;
unquestioning, unwavering,
it conquered all adversity.

How vain to think I stand prepared
to view the wonder Nature wrought —
this canyon in the making lies
beyond the grasp of finite thought.

Stretched rim to rim, it yet remains
a speck beneath the firmament.
Examining such depth, I feel
my smallness to its full extent.

I search my vocal repertoire,
superlatives exhausted now,
as from two lips that drip with awe
escapes a feeble whispered, “Wow.”




cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 1998


View discussion on this poem.

Having seen it only through the eyes of a child with my family in the mid-1950’s, I was privileged to return to the Grand Canyon in 1998 with family-by-choice, Bubba & Joyce.  We made a large circle through the western states to visit in person with some of the honorary “cousins” of  P.O.E.M.S., an online poetry group I hosted between 1996 and 2003.  It was an unforgettable experience on both counts.




I’m saving treasures in a dresser drawer:
a diaper pin, the little shoes you wore
with jingles in the laces, a barrette
still clasping strands of wispy hair. They whet
my hankering for things I can’t forget.

Before our paths converged, I held a view
of easy, unobstructed passage through
the challenges of motherhood. I knew
exactly what to do at twenty-two.

But that was long before my stumbling feet
were pressed into the coals, the searing heat
of constant battle forcing my retreat.
And though you’ve plunged my heart into despair
a thousand nights, I can’t forget to care.


cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2013

Beyond Knowing


churchHow I used to envy people
who, possessed with certitude,
soar above the plain and steeple
setting straight the misconstrued.

As a young adult, I traded
childhood spontaneity
for a rigid creed, persuaded
sure’s the only way to be.

Ultra-literal allusions
struggled to accommodate
metaphorical exclusions.
Feathers flew in hot debate.

Noisy flaps in lieu of balance
simulate a mighty whir
but, when gripped in zealot talons,
dogma’s merely tufts of fur.

Comforted by faith (the closest
place I’ve ever felt I stood
to the truth) I learned osmosis
wouldn’t make me right or good.

Soon the need for battle dwindled,
frantic worries losing steam.
Disencumberment rekindled
wonder in the Master Scheme.

Then, ostensibly regressing,
tender roots began to sprout.
I became immersed in guessing,
softly growing into doubt.


cc-by-nc-ndMary Boren,  2004


The looking glass reveals a creaseless brow
transposed against her face to disabuse
the notion she is aging. Truth subdues
the vision. Like her hair, her youth somehow
is running down the bathtub drain, and now
her bearing and behavior (like her shoes)
are sensible. “The mirror is a ruse,”
she sighs. “I’m just an old contented cow.”

She’d planned on parachuting once, immune
to gravity. (Weak ankles redefined
the plan.) At times she cocks her head, intent
on hearing fragments of an uncaught tune
that blink and fade like fireflies in her mind.
She can’t remember how the lyrics went.


cc-by-nc-ndMary Boren, 2001




The annals of significance are filled
with those who like to think they walk the walk
of greatness; minds intelligent and skilled
discovering a better way to build
a world where altruism is instilled,
but few compare to Doctor Jonas Salk.

Before the halls of medicine became
a greed-infested maze, he dealt a blow
against a viral epidemic’s aim
on countless children’s lives, and in the same
unselfish act, renounced commercial claim
on steps to rid the world of polio.

He could have been a multi-billionaire
exerting his proprietary right
to patent the vaccine, denying care
to millions who could ill afford to bear
the cost. He chose, instead, to share
his brilliance like a candle in the night.


cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2014

As one of the schoolchildren who benefited from the first wave of vaccinations in 1955, I am immeasurably indebted to this gifted healer and humanitarian.