83

Independent /
Off the rails /
Absent-minded /
Twice-told tales /

Leaky plumbing /
Creaky knees /
Toenail fungus /
Cottage cheese /

Diabetic /
Lows and highs /
Medications /
Exercise /

Pertinacious /
Battle scarred /
Scooter wheelies
In the yard /

Hard of hearing /
Booming voice /
No pretenses /
Still my choice /

Hunky hubby /
Silver-haired /
Dauntless spirit /
Love unspared /

2022 Mary Boren
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In Due Time

(with apologies to George Bernard Shaw and Robert Herrick)

You tell us youth is wasted on the young,
that we must gather rosebuds while we may
lest fragile opportunities be flung
like flotsam on the canvas of decay.

With body toned, thick hair and creamy skin
commanding adulation from the masses
the pattern of predominance will spin
its own cocoon around the rugged passes.

But I submit the opposite is true.
It’s adolescent angst that stands in need
of energy to busily pursue
agendas misdirected to succeed.

For only at an age when pride is purged
can artificial values be submerged.

2021 Mary Boren
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A Figurative Analysis

The secret of peacock politeness
is keeping appearances plumed.
No horse ever entered the Preakness
without being properly groomed.

One’s laundry is judged by its whiteness
plus points for a three-cornered fold.
When windows are sparkling and streakless,
the housekeeper’s virtue’s extolled.

Affluence? The public will rate this
as, morally speaking, germane
and celebrate human uniqueness
according to obvious gain.

But…

A manifestation of greatness
akin to a solar eclipse
is proof of a dieter’s weakness.
It’s written all over her hips.

1999 Mary Boren
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Cascadia, 2025

Shades of Twenty-Twenty vision
lie beneath abandoned cities
packed with disregarded lessons
of the centuries before.
Finally the veil has lifted,
there’s a purpose in tomorrow
and the memories are fading
from the year that brought the war.

Looking forward to commencement,
parties, proms, and lazy summer
leading into jobs or college,
we were only seventeen.
Some of us were undecided,
some had mapped a certain future
in the pattern of their parents.
Others saw behind the screen.

Since we entered kindergarten
we’d been tested, used, and herded
for political agendas
on the nation’s shrinking stage
so it wasn’t unexpected
when democracy imploded
in a world already reeling
from the chaos of the age.

Virus after virus followed,
claiming half the population.
News from other countries filtered
slowly through the riot zone
’til the power grid was severed.
While democracy imploded
we were scrabbling for survival.
Now we live on wits alone.

Here I stand, the single remnant
from a family of seven,
flanked by unified companions
whose intention can increase
coexistence with the planet.
Taking only what is needed,
with the help of one another
we will make a lasting peace.


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2020 Mary Boren
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2020 American Heroes

Coronavirus slithered through the sea
to wake a nation unprepared to face
its own reflection. Stumbling in the dark,
the sleeping spirit stirs from shore to shore
as, shaking chains of partisan divide,
vibrations rise and rumble. Soon the chant
becomes a roar, “Let’s make a better choice!”

This unexpected intermission taps
the vast potential waiting in the wings.
From dormant ranks, new patriots emerge
with intellect, integrity, and love
for fellow citizens. They’ll show us how.


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2020 Mary Boren
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Contemplation

With a weighty decision to make
I had better be fully awake
and aware of the options
lest short-sighted swaptions
compel me to make a mistake.

So I’m giving the matter the bulk
of my serious thought. Choices hulk
like a gaggle of guesses.
No’s prudent, but yes is
less likely to lead to a sulk.

If I go the direction I like
it will cost me an hour on the bike,
but this cookie I’m holding
is well worth the scolding
I’ll get from a blood sugar spike!


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2020 Mary Boren
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Halt, Who Goes There?

I see you coming, melancholy mood,
descending like a demon eighteen-wheeler
from out of nowhere racing to occlude
my passage through perception’s truth-concealer.

I’m drifting in bewildering terrain,
white-knuckled now, my eyes are turning glassy.
As wretched shocks dislodge me from my lane,
I can’t escape the damage to my chassis.

With wanderlust careening off the road,
it takes a heap of strength to hold the center.
The labored engine threatens to explode
before my awe-struck psyche starts to splinter.

But wait—I have a built-in safety pillow—
I’ll stomp the brakes and let the airbags billow!


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2020 Mary Boren
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Conversation with a Toddler

Mommy, can I pick my boo-boo scab?
No.

Why?
Because you’ll make your boo-boo bleed.

Why?
‘Cause kids with boo-boos always need
to keep out germs.

Why?
In a basement lab
a man discovered bad goo on his hand made
infection. That’s what germs are all about.

Why?
For good goo in and bad goo out,
a boo-boo scab works better than a band-aid.

Can I pick my boo-boo?
No, don’t pick it.

Why?
You’ll never see me picking mine.

Why?
‘Cause it’s against the boo-boo laws …

Why?
… and if you get a boo-boo ticket
you’ll have no money for the boo-boo fine.

Why?
Because, my precious. Just because.

———

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2001 Mary Boren
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Use and Care Manual

If my body is a temple
for the Spirit of the Lord,
who’s responsible for keeping
every window, tile and board
in presentable condition,
as befitting royalty?
I’m that nonchalant custodian
entrusted with a key.

The deposit has been covered
with a waiver for the rent.
Grace secured for me a mansion;
I’ve disguised it in a tent.
Curtains sewn from silk and velvet
hang like tattered calico.
Lick-and-promise doesn’t cut it
in the faded afterglow.

It’s a partnership arrangement.
No decision is coerced
from an occupant who doesn’t
choose to serve the Owner first.
But the maintenance is easy
when the basics are obeyed:
His to flood the place with Heaven’s light,
and mine to raise the shade.

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2002 Mary Boren
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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.

———

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2014 Mary Boren
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Gifted

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.

———

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2014 Mary Boren
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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.

Lamar_Grade2__Amarillo_TX_1955