It Could Go Either Way

Imagine a life in reverse
through quantum entanglement’s grip
that’s moving from better to worse
aboard an impetuous ship.

Technology’s ready to fly
above the unknown for a cure
to human advance gone awry,
but what if we cannot endure?

Unless we start pulling together
in pooling resources to last,
the future’s unlikely to tether
our tenuous link to the past.

Survival is never a given
if progress is avarice-driven.

2023 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Inspired by the sci-fi novels of Douglas E. Richards and A.G. Riddle, who responsibly explore such themes as emerging technology, AI, the singularity, quantum physics, time travel, medicine, ecology, and human nature with an equal measure of despair and optimism.

Wealth vs. Worth

“We will all go together when we go.” – Tom Lehrer, 1959

When the seers and prophets of old
saw the future, they boldly foretold
of utopian dreams,
disregarding regimes
being bolstered by glorified gold.

Greater power and wealth manifest
has primarily guided the quest
in the barbarous march
under history’s arch
all the way from the East to the West.

In a world that has waited too long
to unite, the misfortunate throng
is unable to pass
the omnivorous class
that has gotten it horribly wrong.

So humanity lurks on the brink
of a terminal failure to link
all the money on earth
to a semblance of worth
as it circles a nuclear sink.

2023 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Loose Fitting Garment

“Wear your ego like a loose fitting garment.” – Buddhist proverb

My ego bows before us
neither witty nor astute
attired in nothing formal—
just a simple birthday suit.

For having shed the layers
of its standard-issue clothes
assigned upon arrival,
bluster cannot strike a pose.

Raw ego knows its purpose
is to pacify the id
while challenging the toddler
to outgrow the foolish kid.

And in that conscious effort
it will follow me through time
as mentor and protector
to facilitate the climb.

But often I’m too wimpy
to embrace what lies ahead.
I dress my ego gaudily,
and hide behind instead.

2023 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Resolutions Schmezzolutions

“May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.” —Joey Adams

I wish you supreme mental health
in the pleasure of being yourself
for there’s nobody else who can do it.
May you boldly decide to come through it
unscathed by the false expectations
imposed upon new generations.

In the futile commitment to change
as if thinking alone could arrange
your unique DNA to work better,
there’s a trap that serves only to fetter
your link to the fullest extension
of you without vain intervention.

So before you fall prey to the guff
that your essence is less than enough
to equip you for finding fulfillment
released in the deepest distillment
of innocence, peace, and humaneness
within, just say no to insaneness.

2023 Mary Boren
View discussion.

On Quarks and Quirks

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

When stardust, quarks, and mystery combine
to make a human, nothing can compare
to possibilities. Some say beware
of ultimate betrayal to confine
the breath of life where tangled roots entwine
with evolution. I can only stare
in utter wonder, blinded by the glare
of dazzling supernatural design.

For wedged between the elemental ash
and sentient entity, surprises lurk
in hidden crevices of every hue
across the spectral plane, and in a flash
all heaven is exposed. It’s but a quirk
the miracle of promise can renew.

2022 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Family Labor of Love

With hammer, saw, and simple plans,
our daddy brought the skillful hands
to build a cabin in her pride
plus all the furniture inside.

Our mama had a role to fill
in hauling lumber up the hill
as she and Uncle Buddy rode
on back to anchor down the load.

Once, perched atop the pickup bed
while Daddy drove full-speed ahead,
the lumber slid and so did they
for downhill surfing all the way.

With many hands, all work is light.
When time arrived to clear the site
of lumber scraps and small debris,
they all pitched in; not so with me.

For Daddy said that none of us
must help unwillingly, and thus
I once invoked the right to shirk
my contribution to the work.

But seated on a log I squirmed
as, soon thereafter, conscience burned.
I heaved a sigh and pursed my lips,
then joined the crew to pick up chips.

1995 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Pivot Point

In evolutionary terms,
a quantum leap is overdue
as callow human nature squirms
from murky embryonic stew.

We exited the primal cave
with harnessed energy enough
for all, then willingly grew slave
to needless manufactured stuff.

Like toddlers with flamboyant blocks
we fashion castles in the air,
then fortify our walls with locks
and selfishly refuse to share.

While streamers from our satellite
project an ostentatious glow,
unlike the fabled phoenix flight,
velocity is all for show.

Unless we rise victorious
as one, the looming cosmic crash
will leave behind no more of us—
an evanescent puff of ash.

2022 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Soupe Au Lait

I didn’t choose a mealy-mannered man
who never makes me mad—the utter boredom
would do me in—nor would I want to can
resentments under lock and key and hoard ’em.

When tempers flare, we let the passion boil
like milk infused with onions, salt, and taters
until it nearly overflows. You’re oil,
I’m water: counterclockwise oscillators.

Then just as suddenly the flame subsides
in recognition of our equal freedom
to percolate with peeves, but love abides
in knowing when to cool instead of heat ’em.

I wouldn’t trade the flavor of the soup
that’s cooked with spices added by the scoop.

2022 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Up There

“If we look at the path, we do not see the sky.” – Native American Proverb

I learned to walk by trusting Mom and Dad
to hold me up, my hands attached to theirs
on either side, my fledgling vision clad
with confidence until I met the stairs.

Then common sense infringed upon the scene
as blunders, bumps, and bruises set me back,
convincing me that hazards lay between
each halting step, determined to attack.

But drudgery of living on alert
by counting obstacles along the path
in pebbles, roots, or topsy-turvy dirt
will sacrifice the magic to the math.

I’d rather fall a million miles than miss
the marvel of unmitigated bliss.

2022 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Wabi-Sabi Waits

The wearer who would camouflage herself
behind a superficial face will muster
resistance from the dreaded  bottom shelf
when flawless, creamy skin has lost its luster.

Strategic bits of plastic might extend
her fleeting fifteen minutes’ worth of glory
as frivolous embellishments transcend
the chance for character to tell the story.

She shuns the wrinkles; sages see the grooves
created in the crucible of patience
as surface grinding gracefully removes
the residue of youthful limitations.

For only in the artistry of lines
can wabi-sabi polish its designs.

2022 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Wake-Up Call

Suppose the power brokers of the world
are not the politicians we elect
to do the people’s bidding on the stage?
What if instead, identities unknown
are hovering in shadows, pulling strings
in turn — precision choreography
perfected long ago on training grounds
unbound by borders. Privileged by birth
alone, they’d hold the legacies amassed
beyond the reach of fundamental laws.

If that’s the case, imagine how they’d stifle
the growth of motivation to awaken
the consciousness of independent thinkers.

2022 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Conversation Between My Eyes

“I see a healthy couple standing there
barefooted, soon to pace unsullied sands
along the peaceful shoreline, holding hands,
invigorated by the morning air.
I feel the love they share.”

“You must be daft! Delusional! Insane!
There’s nothing but a stretch of barren beach
as far as Eye can see. Beyond the reach
of colorless monotony’s domain
lies tedious terrain.”

2022 Mary Boren
View Discussion

A Godsend

When angels gather for their nightly nose count,
there’s one who ought to be there, but she can’t be.
She’s here performing ministries, and those mount
as presently she’s cleaning out the pantry.

Her chariot got sidetracked in our kitchen
and, once she’d seen the pitiful disorder,
a down-to-earth declutterizing mission
commenced today at noon. Can we afford her?

I’ll summon all my fortitude and scareful-
ly venture in the kitchen for a survey,
remaining ever vigilant and prayerful
of finding all the discards, sorted her way.

What havoc she can handily unwreak,
when Mama comes to visit for a week!

2001 Mary Boren

Image Source 

Aqueducts

“Are you a cul-de-sac or a channel?” – Nancy Woods

A home is offered on a cul-de-sac
located at the bottom of a hill.
The carpet, furniture, and bric-a-brac
would be at risk in heavy rainfall; still,
it seems a pleasant place to live.  I’m told
the problem’s not the overwhelming type,
since rising water’s easily controlled
by channeling. The groundwork’s laid, each pipe
is needed in its place as, drop by drop,
the depths are filled to bring one thirsty plant
a crucial chance to flourish.  Dammed up top,
however, they won’t hold a trickle.  (Can’t.)

Imagine a supreme communal force
with every channel flowing from its source.

2002 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Fickle Flight Plan

Well, if I ruled the world, all the fish in the sea
would have noses and fingers and toes
and each air-sniffing human that’s wishing to be
unencumbered by nostrils and clothes
could swim free.

And if I ran the planet, the stars in the sky
would be spelling out secrets in verse
as the passage through parallel bars on the fly
would empower the people of Earth
flitting by.

But with me in control at the helm, I suspect
unintended results could occur,
so let’s leave all the plans for the realm in effect
in the hands of The Maker. With her,
dots connect.

2022 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Steve Jobs Reflects

A digital encyclopedia
finds followers who cling to shifting ground
above the swirl of social media
where fabricated adages abound.

With Morgan Freeman’s name below the quote
or what the Dalai Lama might have said,
a circulating myth could stay afloat
in perpetuity when they are dead.

The final words attributed to Steve
concerning wealth and power don’t ring true
about a man compelled to take his leave
exhausted by disease, without a clue.

In truth, as heaven broke across his brow,
he simply said, “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.”

2022 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Fact check: Final words of Steve Jobs were not about wealth (Reuters)

The Heartbreaking Last Words of Famous People

Surface Disburbances

A pebble skipped across a pond
incites a hectic scene
until the ripples spread beyond
the center of the screen.

An incident that floods a mind
with bitterness can dredge
impediments unless we find
discernment on the edge.

When stillness or resistance calls
between opposing views,
the shadow of perception falls
wherever people choose

2022 Mary Boren
View Discussion

To the Selective Hearer

It seems I can’t advance a smidgen closer
to clarify precisely what was meant.
While other speakers tend to wax verboser
in lieu of true rapport, I’ll take the hint.

If cluelessness precludes communication,
I’ll make a faithful effort to review
or paraphrase, but layered obfuscation
can dominate a player’s hearing too.

Ignore me if you must — pretend I stuttered,
then lay the blame according to your need.
My words will not be offered drawn and buttered,
or spoon-fed, tossed with dressing, fricasseed.

For even if I sweeten and de-fat ’em,
I cannot understand ’em for you, madam.

2022 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Circular Curriculum

We only have, on average, the span
of eighty-seven years to mount a quest
for wisdom steeped in life. The lesson plan
is stacked against the odds we’ll pass the test.

For some, the obstacles occur at birth
before the child has drawn a second gasp
and never cease, while others’ inner worth
is nurtured from the gate to final grasp.

But if distracted by the siren call
of fame and fortune, don’t expect to reach
the summit of serenity. The fall
of hubris supersedes us in the breach.

And any course curtailed before it’s done
will be extended for another run.

2021 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Meet Me in Seattle

You said, “Don’t come when winter’s on the ground
in slushy piles of gray beside the road
from SUVs and eighteen-wheelers bound
for stations where a guy can drop his load.

“Don’t come in April when the yellow haze
of cedar pollen permeates the air.
Don’t come in shoulder season — humid days
are not conducive to a love affair.

“But come instead when everything is right,
when waves of magic cast a perfect spell
to cure the atmosphere of human blight
and all the people wish each other well.”

That’s when I knew your summons was a stall.
It’s clear that you don’t want me there at all.

2021 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Liberation

When agents of oppression rise
like buzzards under cloudy skies
to sabotage you in the steeplechase,
remember cheaters can’t compete
with fairness in the final heat
so leave it up to fate to set the pace.
In time, you’ll either forge ahead

or abandon the rules of the race
and relinquish your rider instead.

2021 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Photo Source: As racehorse death toll continues to rise, Congress moves to salvage the ‘sport of kings’

Resilience

There’s a corner in the basement
where nocturnal creatures spawn
mortal fear that renders optimism sparkless,
but the balance born of nature
in the crucible of dawn
is reserved for those who waited through the darkness.

Human history is littered
with unspeakable events
that would justify eternal condemnation
but a nucleus of dreamers
rising up to love’s defense
can emerge from any faithless generation.

As the curtain falls on freedom
through the apprehensive night,
may a unifying spirit find us banded
with rejuvenated purpose.
Let it lead us to the light
where impossibility is countermanded.

2021 Mary Boren
View Discussion

What the Tree Taught Me

When I witness your existence
as you navigate the distance
from the origin of purpose to the peak,
I am humbled by persistence
past the line of least resistance
in your resolute pursuit of what you seek.

While invincibly curtailing
paralytic fear of failing
you are crushing obstacles along the path.
Does the mountain you are scaling
lead to summit views unveiling
the reward for struggle in its aftermath?

Let us climb the hill together
as we both escape the tether
of conditioning that binds us to our birth,
for the thesis isn’t whether
we are made of wood or leather
but how feathered faith can soar above the earth.

2021 Mary Boren
View Discussion

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
View Discussion

Momentum

If you’ve ever rolled beside an eighteen-wheeler
while the traffic signal’s hovering on red
then you’ve noticed how the driver will maneuver
in anticipation of the road ahead.

From his lofty vantage point he can determine
how to coax the engine into keeping pace,
when to shift into a lower gear or idle
as the looming obstacle demands its space.

His experience has taught that slight adjustments
can result in smoother passage through the scene
and with any luck he’ll correlate his movement
with the crucial moment red returns to green.

The imperative to keep the big wheels turning
isn’t just for show. It’s practical and wise
to elude a full-on stop, conserving fuel.
Starting over takes more energy to rise.

If the call of forward motion guides your quest,
may you never break momentum in your rest.

2020 Mary Boren
View Discussion

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
View Discussion

Oh, My Children

With the power to penetrate
the mystic guise and orchestrate
each mortal decision and consequence
I’d be a god you despise.

But with peace to liberate
all whose acts incarcerate
forgiveness and empathy deep within.
I’d show you how to relax.

And with joy to activate
the spirit’s lust to luminate
the dubious shadow on every face.
I’d be the knowledge you trust.

Boundless love to incarnate
with no intent to violate
respect for your license to co-create
rises on wings of consent.


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2020 Mary Boren
View Discussion

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
View Discussion

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.

Watchers

Eating popcorn at the movie,
gasping at the gruesome scenes
satisfies a dormant longing:
life by artificial means.

In the field of entertainment,
chaos brings its own reward.
Heightened senses lust for drama
manifest in gun and sword.

Watchers trapped within the frenzy
clamor in a common voice.
Re-emerging from the darkness
offers up a brighter choice.

When the world jumps out of focus,
squint your eyes and stand behind
someone with a crystal vision.
Let your lens be realigned.

Be the watcher watching watchers.
unaffected by the fray.
Pressing through illusion’s gauntlet,
live on purpose every day.

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2017 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Remedial Retreat

tent-camping

If I could spend a weekend with the me
who used to be, I wouldn’t waste a minute
dispensing admonitions bound to be
unheard instead of boldly bathing in it.

I’d load me, bag and baggage, in the car
blindfolded, like a hostage—scared, unwilling
to see the wonder in the way we are
and take a trip abundantly fulfilling.

Awaking to the pungent pull of pines
with mind immersed in joyous morning glitters,
I’d hold my hand to swing between the vines
and join the chorus of the woodland critters.

Alert to every scent and sound, aware
of all within our common jurisdiction,
no leaf is left unfluttered nor a hair
unsplit in separating fact from fiction.

Now guided by example, having flown
the strictures of illusion that have driven
my younger self within, I’d say, “You’re known
and loved.  Unleash the laughter! Life’s for livin’!””

———

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2014 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Resemblance

dandelion

(in response to Lord Byron’s “Remembrance“)

I, too, have felt devoid of hope
while trapped within the narrow scope
of vigilance between the dreams.
When pessimism runs amok,
it’s difficult to stop and pluck
a thread of reason through the seams
that bind the soul’s imaginings.

But past the point of “All is Lost”
exists a realm where Fear is crossed
with Love, and there resemblance ends.
Forgotten soon, life’s petty woes
reveal themselves as beggar’s clothes
unfit to touch the royal skins
of you and me and all our friends.

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2013 Mary Boren
View discussion.

All is Well

Before the firmament was hung
as backdrop for the galaxies,
the spirit of creation stirred
and murmured, “All is well.”

Behind a white primordial screen,
the painter of the universe
was mixing colors, shades of light,
and smiling. All is well.

Between the oceans’ ebbs and flows,
the peaks and valleys, rocks and grass,
a changeless matrix is revealed
as proof that all is well.

Beyond the fundamental set,
the king of choreography
assigns the species to their marks
with purpose. All is well.

Because the players blink and fade
like stars in love’s connecting ring,
eternity’s a running show.
Forever, all is well.

———

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2013 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Holy Instant

universe

Based on the teachings of A Course in Miracles

Behind each errant thought there hangs a thread
of continuity, a knowingness
that’s hidden by an unrelenting fear
of meaningless existence. Only in
suspended judgment can the truth emerge.
When ego is subjected to the light,
illusion evanesces. One by one,
each child of God, awakening, recalls
his rightful heritage of endless love,
for separation never has occurred.
Now, following the thread back to its source,
we see the world for what it is, a screen
projecting unreality, a blip.
The little willingness is all it takes
to conquer thought and matter, time and space.

———

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2012 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Calling

NASA-1996-sunrise_apollo

I have fulfilled my purpose
when I cease to wonder …

Why am I here?
Am I doing this right?
What does tomorrow hold?

… when I can sit in stillness
and lose all sense of self in …

the song of a wren,
the rustle of leaves,
and the colors of sunrise.

I have reached the fullest expression
of human experience
when I can …

fix nothing,
forgive everyone,
and let go of everything.

I have not been suspended in a body
to learn, grow, excel, repent, or conquer.
My sole purpose in this incarnation is simply …

to wake up.

———

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2011 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Pondering the Wandering

“You’d better let my people go!” he shouted
at Pharoah, ’til at last they gained their freedom.
Right off the bat, he then commenced to lead ’em
into a raging sea. (They balked about it
but followed nonetheless.) The trail was crowded
with hot and thirsty, weary folks who doubted
they’d ever find a home. The children needed
new shoes.  Fed up with manna, lost, defeated —
there was no turning back. The women pouted.

Anticipation of the Promised Land fills
the biblical account. Why God chose Moses
might well be moot today. In retrospections
on forty years of circling through the sandhills,
the fundamental question, I propose, is:
Why didn’t he just stop and ask directions?

———

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2002 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Conversation with a Saint

“Let your women keep silence in the churches; …” – I Corinthians 14:34

I shall witness heaven’s glory,
learn the meaning of the story,
smell the sweet celestial roses,
have a dialogue with Moses,
meet the other saints and martyrs.
Whew! And all that’s just for starters.

After years of hugging Jesus,
I’ll go drifting on the breezes
over to Apostles’ Tower,
bastion of enlightened power,
where I might politely query
God’s devoted missionary:

“Brother Paul, I find it troubling.
Don’t you like us frilly, bubbling
girls? I mean no disrespect, sir,
but within the female sector
your instructions are a puzzle.
Women born to wear a muzzle?

To Corinthians and Romans
did you mean to say that woman’s
proper place is in submission,
or was that your own rendition
of the Spirit’s implication,
subject to interpretation?

Yield to men and mutely follow?
That’s a bitter pill to swallow.
Was that just how Jesus said it,
or should we give you the credit?
Well, at least I aimed to try it.
Sorry, though, I couldn’t buy it.

Was it really your intention
to encourage deep dissension?
Spouting rules in such profusion
generated much confusion.
Mightn’t things have turned out better
if you hadn’t mailed that letter?

Please excuse me. I’m confessing
ignorance, not second-guessing..
I don’t mean to be judgmental —
my opinion’s incidental.
I just couldn’t help but wonder
if you made a zealous blunder.”

… But before my last word’s flung,
He’ll cry, “Woman, hold your tongue!”

———

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1998 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Window Magic

When smudges, smears, and streaks create
an outer-inner stir,
refocus on the garden gate;
let circumstances blur.

Decisiveness can train the eyes
to look between and through.
Beyond each imperfection lies
an unobstructed view.

So disregard the corner where
the creeping web is spun,
for only in illusion’s snare
can lies obscure the sun.

And peace awaits the mind that’s free
of misperceived reality.

———

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2006 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Poof

“I am never upset for the reason I think.” – A Course in Miracles

When the hairdresser clips you entirely too close;
when your child shows a penchant for sass;
when the seminar speaker is waxing verbose;
when your hero falls flat on his ass …
and a flood of emotion’s creating a stink
in your mind, STOP! Consider the fact
that you’re never upset for the reason you think.
You can choose how you want to react.

If you scrape off the crust of resentment or rage,
you’ll uncover a cowering imp
that is clutching a plagiarized script. On the stage,
he’s an icon. Exposed, he’s a wimp.
His persona’s all hype — “too ferocious to tame” —
but he only appears to exist
in the absence of love. Simply call him by name,
“little fear,” and he’ll fade into mist.

———

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2010 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Transition

Deep within the hidden country,
down a road nobody knows,
lined in shades of mystic colors,
violets and indigos,
stands the bridge that spans a distance
wider than the river flows.
Can you read the cryptic marker?
Do you wonder where it goes?

Only audible in stillness
comes the summons, “Take my hand;
we will cross together.” Choices
dance around illusion’s strand.
Quickening, yet not awakened,
shedding scents of La La Land,
on the cusp of Dreamed & Doing,
step into the ampersand.

———

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2006 Mary Boren
View discussion.