There’s no degree of dominance
in hate or fear or guilt.
as each is fundamental in
the prison thinking built.

Beyond it is the vast unknown,
above it is the sky.
For me it sparks a sense of awe;
for others just a sigh.

Constructed of materials
that masquerade as strength,
it towers, unassailable
approached by width or length.

Look closer! There’s a way around
or through, or simply this:
Tear down the wall that stands between
your yearnings and your bliss.


cc-by-nc-nd  2007

Horticultural Anomaly


With healthy nurturing, a garden plant
bears fruit abundantly. If you’d impede
its spread, then keep it dry and let its seed
be trampled in the noonday sun. It can’t
get up and walk away or change its slant
from prone to upright posture. Thus the weed
encroaches like a zealot to a creed
as shallow as its source — no gifts to grant.

But I, a human bean, can make a choice
to situate my roots in fertile ground.
Protected, fed, and loved in every phase
of growth, encouraged by the Gardener’s voice,
I’ll soon be sprouting produce by the pound
and bursting with the joy of rainy days.


cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren,  2003

Water Wise


An eagle shrieks. A pair of fledglings flee
the bluff. It crumbles with a crashing force,
careening down the hill without remorse
or mercy. Racing boulders and debris
arrest the river’s rush. Transcendingly,
as if awaiting orders from its source,
the water halts, then takes an altered course,
regaining its momentum, snaking free.

Life, help me take a lesson from the flow
of undefeated waterways. Instead
of flailing in frustration on the brink
of interrupted progress, let me grow
in wisdom born of setbacks, gently led
and buoyed by providence before I sink.


cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2002




“I’ve got the gift of goodbye.  It’s the tenth spiritual gift.” -T. D. Jakes

In the ever-continuing surge
of humanity, pathways converge.
Though the pattern’s unclear
from the middle of here,
some are destined to cross, some to merge.

So if some overshadow the rest
and you’re forcibly keeping them pressed
in the pages you write
while you’re dreaming at night,
ask yourself, “Are they loved, or possessed?”

The devotion we’re trying to show
can’t compare to the gift we bestow
on reluctant companions
through chasms or canyons
by loving enough to let go.

Simply bless everybody you see
in the cosmic mosaic. Just be.
They shall all come to pass,
not to stay. Raise a glass,
flash a smile, wish them well, set them free.


cc-by-nc-ndMary Boren,  2011


State of the Art


A baby comes with software preinstalled —
first generation code: Life One-Point-One
We don’t expect he’ll walk before he’s crawled.
He’s laptop-bundled, pure phenomenon.
Initially, a meg of RAM will do.
No operating system needs more stuff
than it can process, plug ‘n’ play when new.
A modest modem speed should be enough
to keep him wired. Increasingly, demands
exceed innate resources — that’s the norm.
As Junior’s drive capacity expands,
more popup/download options fill the form.

The coping patterns used in infancy
won’t last, but Life’s upgradable, for free.


cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren,  2000

Seams to Me


My skin’s an old recycled flour sack:
a would-be calico that barely rates
as simple unbleached muslin; basted, slack,
and hung where pocket lint accumulates.

My mind is made of seven yards of denim.
Utilitarian, these rugged genes
can take a lot of needlin’ with me in ’em,
and durably expand beyond their means.

My spirit is a bolt of silk — no cloth
more intricately patterned, finely spun.
Sometimes I am the worm, sometimes the moth.
I ravel when I’m cut, but seldom run.

Though seamingly my id’s all tuck and nip,
it’s written: “As ye sew, so shall ye rip.”


cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2001

Image courtesy of Bee Creative (Visit blog for more creative repurposing ideas.)




It dawdled on a hook eleven years
and never ticked a tock. Perhaps some dust
had lodged inside the brain and rendered gears
immovable, as if its wings were trussed.

Why fix what isn’t broken? Twice a day
it told the proper time and, looking good
around the clock, held loneliness at bay.
Its own true song lay dormant, cased in wood.

The day I left I moved it to a wall
across the room. The pendulum swung free
and rhythmical; stout heartbeats ticked for all
their reawakened value. Much like me.

A change of scenery can loose the flow
of lifebound energy. Get up and go!


cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2003


Three Wheeling


Fantastic, insurpassable machine,
a marvel of assorted nuts and bolts:
you’ve always carried me in style between
the places I must go. Some jumps and jolts
along the way have left me shaken, stirred
and stupefied, but never pushed beyond
endurance, and where boundaries are blurred,
you somehow find a bridge across the pond.
Simplicity in motion, balance, sense;
you’re poetry from frame to handlebars.
A bike equipped for training won’t evince
the same aplomb or point me to the stars.

Still holding on, I trust my Big Wheel guide,
and pedal hard to give my butt a ride.


cc-by-nc-nd  Mary Boren, 2002

Cycles of Life


By morning’s glimmer, helmeted and gloved,
she’s primed and ready, pointed at the peak
that’s begging to be conquered. It’s a bitch.
Now huffing, puffing, standing on the pedals
and hunkered over handlebars, she’s pulled
by daily regimen with certainty
that, having sweated to the top, the ride
is worth it all. Experience will steer
her wheels away from gravel traps and ruts.
A tree-lined web of intersecting paths
that overlay the park extends a range
of choices: valleys, hilltops, shadows, sun.

It’s symmetry in sway as every climb
is answered with a corresponding coast.


cc-by-nc-nd Mary Boren, 2008