Wed. December 6

The sun disappeared for awhile.  Days this week have been cloudy and it is cooler.  Slightly more like winter.

I started going to therapy and then I decided to stop it.  That is because the therapist gave me a list of exercises to do and told me that I should do those particular ones and no other from now on.  So I do them at home; I couldn’t see having Medicare pay for me trundling over to the therapy facility to repeat the same old exercises.  Didn’t make any sense to me.  Besides, it took a chunk out of my day for nothing.

So now we are thinking about Christmas, right?  It cannot be avoided.  Here is a poem that I dredged up from my memories:

MY CHILDHOOD CHRISTMAS

only a fresh pine tree,

festive with ornaments

and garland unpacked

year after year,

tinsel reused,

aging yet undiminished

in splendor just because

of the season.

 

what did a child care?

stores were not crammed

with cheap ornaments,

plastic Santas and

fake poinsettias

there were no stores selling

only Christmas (for indeed

you cannot buy Christmas)

 

no TV specials (no TV at all)

no carols played on the

radio in November

so that by December 25th

everyone has heard

White Christmas for

the two hundredth time

with Santa coming to town so often

by Christmas Eve he

becomes a bore

 

Christmas meant

once a year treats,

like chocolate mints,

mandarin oranges, and

the Christmas goose,

Mother’s fruit cake

and pumpkin pie

 

it is only nostalgia now,

memories to be held dear,

dancing in my head

instead of sugar plums

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Sunday, Nov.26th

Wow!   Can you believe it is almost December 2017?  Next Sunday begins Advent already.  It is particularly hard for us to believe here in the deep southwest as the weather has been more like early fall.  It is warm and sunny, with cooler nights.  Makes it hard to know what to wear.  This morning when I left for church at 7:15 AM it was not even 40 degrees, but this afternoon it will be at least 75.

My daughter Lara came down from Denver to spend Thanksgiving with me.  We had a good time together, as always.  Her visits are always much too short.

I will be starting a round of physical therapy this coming week.  This time I’ve been given a very experienced therapist. If he cannot help me with the back pain, then no one can.  He explained to me that because of my long history of disk deterioration, I will likely never be pain free.  I knew that, really, as I have been through just about every therapy known….shots, surgery, etc. and still it continues to worsen.  I deal with it by resting a lot, using ice or heat, and my TENS unit.  I hate that I can only walk short distances or stand for short periods of time, but that is my lot.

I guess I’ll start my Christmas card list this afternoon.  I used to have all my cards mailed to Canada right after Thanksgiving.  This year I am dragging.

So……..here are 3 more poems that I have written during 2017:

This one was written last January, not recently !

 

             FAIRY FROST

    This morning was cold and when

I went to my car, ready

to scrape ice off the windshield…

 

surprise!  no sheet of ice was there.

Instead, a frosty fairy had

painted lace designs of winter flowers,

 

intricate, ethereal loveliness for me

to marvel at. I wanted to leave it there,

it seemed unfeeling to scrape it away

 

but Sun was out and his pragmatic rays

would deny the fairy art in time

and  I had to see to drive away.

 

                     METER

There is rhythm in the metronome of life,

a swing dance between birth and death,

learning and forgetting,

joy and loss,

comfort and pain.

 

As music flows in meter

it measures the beat of our lives—

often the steady four-four of day to day,

sometimes the smooth three-four of a waltz,

occasionally the cut time syncopation

of the unexpected,

and we dance to them all.

 

This next one is all about my bird phobia.  I think it may have begun with my Dad’s chickens.  Birds, alive or dead, give me the creeps.

PANIC

Oh no!

How did you get in

the house?

Please, please

see the open door.

You can’t be here.

 

Oh no!

Now you’re behind

the hutch.

My fear is rising,

tears,

gasping breaths,

panic!

 

I cannot leave

the room….

you might move

and I wouldn’t

know where you were.

I must stay

and stare.

I shake

and burble.

 

Hours pass.

I’ve dissolved

into a useless

life form staring,

unable to move.

 

At last, my

rescuer arrives.

A husband who

chirps cheerfully,

“It’s only a bird!”

 

ONLY a bird!

and my

inexplicable

state of phobia.

 

 

Sunday, November 12

Well….another lovely fall day. Greetings to all my family and friends who bother to read my blog. (I don’t think you are many, but I appreciate the ones who do.
I said I would keep you informed of my health problems this way. I saw my nephrologist last week and the news was good, PTL ! My number (percentage of kidney function) are up from 34 to 41. So I’m breathing a little easier as I don’t feel quite so close to facing transplant or dialysis. I should be able to hold out for perhaps a few years yet if I am strict with my diet.
Actually I’m not literally breathing easier as the last few days I have experienced difficulty breathing. For no good reason. So I don’t know what is causing that. I was to see my cardiologist over a week ago but they changed the appointment so now I don’t see him until the 30th.
Any way….change of subject. I am reading an excellent book called “Being Mortal” by Dr. Atul Gawande. He writes about the way medical science has screwed up how people with terminal illness are treated and how they approach death. Many folks would like to just get on with their lives and live as long as they can, but doctors and families so often insist on radical treatments that only make the patient miserable while not prolonging a life that is satisfying.
I would recommend this book be read by everyone who is getting up in age, as I am, or by anyone who is facing illness or death of a loved one. It is informative and easy to read.
I have written quite a few poems about death and dying and while I am comfortable with the subject, some are not. I don’t find it at all morbid or inappropriate. We are all going to die and it is better to face it while we have our wits about us.
My daughter doesn’t want to think about the fact that I may die and leave her one of these days. As a Christian believer, I have no fear of death, while also knowing that whatever may hit me before I pass on, God will help me get through it.
So, I’ll share a couple of poems on the subject:

JUST NOW

When there’s no reason to look back
and no need to plan a future
there comes a certain simplicity
into your days.

Dreams of the past become
the past of dreams,
a place you have and have not been.

Embrace the calm, the slower pace,
no need to rush or fret.
Become
your
peace.

LINGERING

I stop to linger over memories now
and hurry past the memories that bring pain.
I turn my head when grieving grasps my heart
for I must visit happy times again.

I linger over coffee now with you
for this today will soon become tomorrow
and then again that day may never come,
and memories of you bring only sorrow.

And goodbyes often cause me long to linger
for love and friendships do not always last.
But in that long forever that awaits me
all sad and painful memories will be past.

SURRENDER

I shall not fight the wrinkles,
nor the age spots, nor the pains.
I’ll sit and wait for sunshine,
‘cause it hurts me when it rains.

When friends say I look good, I smile
for they mean well, I know.
But the mirror shows me someone else
with hair as white as snow.

Oh well, the clock will not turn back;
my youth will not return.
But I have gained some wisdom, so
I’m sure somehow I’ll learn

to just surrender to what is,
not wish for what can’t be.
I’ll entertain my memories
and offer tea to me

Sunday, October 23

It is nearing the end of October already, but the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is still in recent memory. I think it has been held the first two weekends of October for at least 40 years or more and never fails to inspire and amaze. I haven’t been to it but once since moving to Las Cruces. I saw lots of balloons all the years I lived up there, and now the crowds are so horrendous. The hotels are full and the restaurants crowded, etc. But everyone should experience it at least once. Pictures do not do it justice.

BALLOONS

In October, beautiful balloons arrive in Albuquerque.
They worship the clear blue sky—-
a parade of colors, shapes and forms,
more stunning than a photo.

They worship the clear blue sky,
taking passengers high above the mundane
and familiar into quiet awe.

A parade of colors, shapes and forms
by the hundreds fills the sky
in the crisp morning air.

More stunning than a photo,
though many pictures go home
to show friends what they missed.

Last weekend I drove up to Albuquerque to visit friends. (Balloon Fiesta was just ended). I wasn’t sure I would be able to drive the 3 plus hours without pain, but I wanted to try. I made it there and back, but not without discomfort. I had an MRI on my back again last week and maybe it will show the exact cause of my pain. Of course some of it is “age” and old friend Arthur Itis. A week from tomorrow I see my nephrologist again so will find out the status of the kidney disease.
I guess everyone has some kind of phobia, large or small. I have one that I suffered from since childhood, probably due to the chickens my Dad kept………….

PTEROPHOBIA

It was chickens first, I think,
with glaring beady eyes and scary beaks.
The day my dog laid a large loon
across my door was when I really freaked!

A bird got in my house and panicked.
So did I when it would not go away.
I know it was irrational and I
cannot explain why I was so afraid.

I’ll handle snakes and bugs you see,
but keep those feathers far from me.

I like them
in the trees,
please.

October 2

Today we are hearing all about the tragic mass killing in Las Vegas. They are saying it is the worst in US history. There will be no end to these events until the government wakes up to the fact that they must put an end to the reign of the NRA and make it much harder for ordinary people to obtain those guns of mass destruction.

Anyway….got a couple of poems to share with you today:

GOD, HOW DO YOU KEEP US SORTED?

I said to God, “wouldn’t it be simpler
if we all looked more alike,
perhaps all spoke the same language?”

And God chuckled. He said
“what fun would that be?
I started out with simple creatures and
I got better at it. I fixed it so that
every time a person is born they look
different from all the others.

What if every story or poem you wrote
was the same? Every painting of the same thing?
No, no, I must create. It is who I am.
As for keeping you all sorted, well,
that’s my secret.”

HATE
Uh, there’s few things I hate
y’know, but
uh is one, y’know and
so is y’know.
It’s “sorta like”
you don’t know
because you don’t have
the words to “kind of”
say what you mean.
I listen to your uhs, ums,
and “kind ofs” and
“sortofs” and inside
I scream, “is it
really just “sort of”
or are you sure
of anything?

Will someone
please
find a speech teacher?

September 27

Today it is raining. Most of our rain in southern NM comes in the summer, but often lingers into September. We rejoice every time it rains, for the moisture is always needed.
I have pretty much given up any kind of strenuous exercise. (Never liked it anyway.) Even just doing ordinary things gets me out of breath and my heart beating, sometimes irregularly. I feel better when I don’t exert myself.
I always said exercise didn’t agree with me. I’m much better at reading, writing, imagining, and relaxing.

Poems for today:
HUMILITY

age is when
humility knocks softly
at your door, asking
“are you ready?”
explaining gently
that you must now
relinquish ability,
achievement,
appearance, yes,
and strength.

if you resist,
age will become
a home invader,
snarling and
threatening
until you bow
to its demands
and accept it.

loss announces
its presence too,
bringing
loneliness along
as friends and
family die
and resources
dwindle.

then you are forced
to look in the mirror
to see your
closest companion,
hoping that she
will like you and
make no
demands.

SMELL

There once was a man from Ouray
who loved to eat garlic each day.
It was healthy, he said
as he climbed into bed,
but his wife said, “Oh please stay away.”

September 17

No whining today ! I feel as well as can be expected. Still lots of pain here and there……even had a shot in my hip because Dr. said he thought I had bursitis. Helped a little (I think). My biggest problem is the breathlessness and pain upon walking any distance. So I have to do the things I can do without the physical effort. I have a TENS unit now and that helps a lot.
I hate shopping online, but I think I better get used to it as walking around stores is out of the question.
Anyway……poetry is the goal.
I thought I’d share something a little different today. I’m going to post a poem that I wrote when I was 11 years old. My first poem I think, at least the oldest surviving one. Then I’m going to post a poem I wrote a short time ago.

Here’s the 11 year old:
THE SAD STORY OF THE ALPHABET

A funny animal is sitting.
By him sits his little brother.
Crying hard, he sits and sniffles.
Drying eyes-his little brother.
Every animal must have his cry
For the boys have lost their mother.
Go and bring to me our father
He commands his little brother.
In no time at all he scampers,
Joyfulness all now has left him.
Kangaroos jump out of hiding.
Lose his way? Oh, no, he musn’t!
Mother now is all his thoughts.
Nose all wrinkled up a’sniffing,
Oh the trail is hard to follow!
Presently he bursts on father.
Queer that he should find him here.
Right away he tells the story.
Slowly, sadly, father follows
To the place where he left brother.
Under rays of gleaming sunlight
Very slowly he approaches.
Were he’d never seen this day!
Xerxes could not have been sadder
Yielding to the Greek’s great power.
Zebras watch from far away as they
kneel beside the grave.

The newer one is about our iconic NM chile. Talk about addictions! Once you have it you will go to almost any lengths to make sure you get your fix!

FALL IN NEW MEXICO

Sunny skies clear as a bell
and in the air the pungent smell

of chiles roasting all over town,
tumbling in barrels round and round

until the skin will peel right off
and the chile pod is roasted and soft.

Chile for burgers, beans, and rellenos,
chile for enchiladas and tacos.

No matter where New Mexicans roam
when they return they feel at home

when they encounter that mouthwatering smell,
for chile’s been harvested and all is well.

August 25

WHAT BEAUTY!

Oh see it with me !
Mountains blue, misty, or rosy,
sunsets red and gold and pink,
forests green, tall trees reaching up
into blue blue never ending skies.

But wait–there’s more than that–
there’s beauty in a friendly smile,
a caring touch,
a wrinkled face and snowy hair,
a little child with trusting eyes,
a table set with thanks and love,
or a baby’s coo.

And oh ! There’s beauty in
well-written lines,
in deep emotions spilled on paper,
in marvelous music that moves to tears,
and in your face as
you look at me with love.

This poem I wrote because of memories of a special cherry tree that I loved to climb and sit hidden among it’s leafy branches when I was a child.
CHERRY TREE

first my shiny green leaves fell off
and I felt naked
snow fell and I shivered
in the cold and wind.

but the snow melted and I felt the sun again
soon the man who planted me
came with shears and saw
to cut off some of my branches

I looked down one day
and saw small green shoots
they grew longer and
I felt encouraged

the man brought his children
to see my new growth
he told them to watch and one day
I would wear a lovely white gown

the sun came more often to
warm my branches and
encourage my tiny buds to open
until I was covered in blooms

the children came and marveled
at my beauty once again
they climbed into my welcoming arms
and I was renewed in the circle of life.

August 10

I’m almost done with my weeks of therapy and I can’t say I think it has done a lot of good. Same old pain. In fact, this morning, after I left therapy, I thought I had dislocated my hip. The pain lasted for most of the day and I could scarcely walk. So much for therapy !
That’s my latest whine. The best thing to do seems to be to distract myself somehow, which does more good than anything. When I am busy writing or playing, or visiting with friends, the pain goes to the back of my consciousness.

AUGUST IN THE PARK

morning
quiet
the neighborhood wakes slowly
birds chirp undisturbed as seniors
stroll or sip their coffee,
yesterday’s heat forgotten.

pets walk happily here,
so close yet far from
the bustle of the downtown market
where dogs dodge crowds
in a confusion of legs streaming by.

here birdsongs are clearly heard
while the slightest of breezes
makes gnarled old trees
look askance at one another,
each unique although
standing for many years together
like neighbors who never left home.

SUMMER RAINS

after the rains the sage becomes
a proliferation of purple,
bursting out in a
joy of beauty,
ephemeral, and thus
more precious,
like pleasures that come
once a lifetime.

July 29

As I get older I revel in memories of those special times that meant the most to me in my life. My regrets include not having a chance to travel to Europe often, but my one trip to Ireland was so incredible that those memories bring me huge pleasure yet.

JUST ONE TIME

One time I stood where mother stood,
where family roots reached from the land
to entwine their stories round my heart.

One time I felt connection like no other,
belonging, a rightness of place, feeling a shiver
of welcoming family phantoms crowding round.

One time only I had a chance to be
where fiddlers play and leprechauns dance
with sheep that graze on green carpeted hills.

One time only did history feel so alive to me,
so much a part of my present, and my past.
My heart is blessed with joyous memories.

Oh to be just one more time on that fabled isle
where forty shades of green could sooth my soul
and welcome me to heaven.

***************************************************

Remember the little bedtime prayer that everyone knows?….
Now I lay me down……..
Here’s one for adults:

BEDTIME PRAYER

At night I lay me down in bed
to rest my aching back and head,
to sleep, to sleep, perchance to dream
of things that are not as they seem.
For when I wake, dreams flee away,
disgruntled at the light of day.