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.


2018 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Photo Source


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.


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.

Heart on a Hill


The valley of their moody discontent
was littered with illusions that became
a monumental momentary glint
that blundered on the battlefield of blame.

Their bickering beget a bitter crop
of grievances for one divided whole,
a couple poised to scale 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.


Mary Boren, 2016
View discussion on this poem.

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



Condescension’s mother is a calculating witch
and Laziness personified’s her father.
Sister’s turning tricks and little brother is a snitch.
They never share a meal at home. Why bother?

Life within a family that doesn’t know enough
to foster self-esteem in all its members
overshadows empathy and tact. Her manner’s gruff
because her tinder’s been reduced to embers.

Seeking affirmation in a loving human spark
to no avail extinguished childhood wishes,
left her feeling hopelessly inadequate — the mark
of naked fear … and Fearful can be vicious.

Cut the girl some slack — she’s only following a script,
commanding awe without regard for kindness.
Look behind the scenes; her false bravado armor’s chipped,
a mask of power propagating blindness.



2013 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Thank You

If life was like a scoreboard
and we each received a mark
for kindling in a rookie
an inherent human spark,
the names beside the numbers
would be cycled down in lieu
of one who gives so freely
from the reservoir of you.

Regardless of my showing,
still your total would be more —
my only consolation
is that no one’s keeping score.
So, seeing I could never
reach the top of such a chart,
I’m simply saying thank you
from the bottom of my heart.



1995 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Coming Around

The planet holds its orbit
while we all hang on and spin,
and everything that goes around
will come around again.

A smile, a friendly gesture,
simple acts of kindness shown
cannot be bought or hoarded —
they are placed with us on loan.

And so it is with hurtful words
that never disappear —
they roam the vastness over
seeking out their sender’s ear.

In unimagined future lives
as former selves, we meet
with clouded recognition
when the circle is complete.

Though some retreat in panic,
others face it with a grin
when everything that’s been around
comes back around again.



1999 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Show Me


You expound, justifiably proud,
having read every book on the shelf.
I’m convinced: You are clearly endowed
with an intellect. (Unlike myself.)

You have pondered the id, and the odd
knotty questions of life. You emit
solid confidence, coolness, unflawed
dialectics, unflappable wit.

There’s a long string of letters to show
you’re a scholar with knowledge to share …
but don’t ask me to care what you know
’til I know you can show that you care.



2002 Mary Boren
View discussion.

The Global Rule

Maybe if I had a billion dollars
I could oversee a massive mission,
blitzing through the deserts, hills, and hollers,
rounding up the poor folks. Good nutrition,
clothing, shelter, basic education,
birth control and medical attention
ought to be enough to bring a nation
out of fiscal failure, not to mention
perk up productivity. However,
what if there was no such thing as money?
How would altruism flourish? Never
underestimate two hands. It’s funny
seeing focus shifting when the labor
asked of me is simply love my neighbor.



2005 Mary Boren
View discussion.