Looking back: Finding Treasures

Advent is a season of hope, beauty, and joyful anticipation, as well as,  lingering sadness and longing for past celebrations to be relived. Very often this desire to bring back the past is impossible. However,  what we are able to recapture is hopefulness. The Bible admonition to …seek and you shall find… can be applied to seeking hope from past events, looking back at sadness yet discovering hope in the midst of  sorrow. 

This was written on Christmas 2014 but was a reminiscence from Christmas 1998.

Lights

Blue lights on the windowsill
White lights on the tree
As if this Holy Holiday is like the rest.
Someone missing, separated
Distant both in miles and mindfulness
Beyond our reach.

Now there upon the branch of birch
Appeared a bird of blue, the color of the sky
Orange breasted, feathered, round and regal
A light, a prayer, a reason to believe
All is possible, all is well
Blue lights on the window sill
White lights on the tree.

 

This poem was written on this date, December 5th, in 2016.

First Snow

The first snow came in silence like a thief
Yet did not take from us but gave
A spectacle of white
The miracle that transforms everything is felt
Through the senses and the heart

Evidence of what lies beyond
The barren dreariness of winter
Beauty we cannot possibly imagine
Except at the sight of the first snow. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Birds on Thanksgiving

Bluebirds

Turkey-day, Holiday, day of thanks giving
Missing day, solemn day, day of remembering
Ending day, beginning day, another gone ahead.
A mother not present and a father before
Questions of the mystery of death and beyond.

Now three generations, that would not exist
Had it not been for those two and their love.
We gather together to feast and to mourn
The loss of our parents from whom we were born

Faith tells the story, they now live anew
But we seek the bodies, the persons we knew
We long to see, that we could believe
As we peer out the window two bluebirds fly by
They land on a branch of a tree and we see

The flight of two souls now closer to God
The beauteous blue points to where they reside
Tiny hearts beating in the winged beings
Two souls flitting like sparks or like birds.

Birds of a Feather

On this past Sunday morning I was inspired to write two poems. The first composed in the chilly November air on my modest deck facing east as the sun was just about to rise. The second, written from my warm and cozy computer room as I looked out the window. The first profound, I would venture to say, but the second, on the lighter side. Both having in common my belief that they were signs from the Big Guy in the Sky, a phrase I heard from my cardiologist.

One Solitary Bird Sings

In my distress, I dread to say despair
But yes, it hovers round me like a black vulture
Preparing to devour its prey
Yet, the pilgrim soul I am, still seeking
With one bedraggled wing of hope
I open a door to find some sign outside
And there it is, in the stillness of the autumn air
The lonely song of a solitary bird
One I’ve never heard before
His very own song God knows him by
Like unto the sparrow falling to the ground
Not alone, not unknown Indeed, loved by the the One who knows
Each and every song He gave to the lonely bird and me
One lonely soul amid the music of the choir He conducts
Yet allowing freedom to improvise, unlike the bird I heard today
The song He gave to only us, to me  A sign of love, a gift of God.

                                 Three Wanderers

Oh I, the genius muse I am what gift the Lord has given
That on this first hour of the morn I could write such lines of woe and hope
As I had opened a door, I now pull back the drape and seek a second sign
Alas, one I’ve never seen before there in my peppled drive
Three wandering birds red feathered, topped with redder combs
Chickens lost not far from home
Our neighbors source of breakfast eggs
Oh, wondrous muse, an even better gift of God
A smile – a sign of joy!  How glad that I was born!

The Poet

My love affair with rhyme began in grade school written on slips of paper in the quiet hours of night. Next the verse found space in notebooks through high school and college and my workaday world. When the first journal found its way to my pen is hidden in a remote corner of my memory presently inaccessible.

Today the lovely books are stacked among my treasures in countless places. And with the age of digital files they are quite randomly scattered in doc, pdf, etc. The question is from where did they come? Perhaps the answer can be found in a poem written some years ago that  I will gladly share with you.

The Gift

 Verse comes to the mind of the poet The mystery of some bit of truth Flowing from the mind of Truth itself To an unworthy poet Who has left the mind’s door ajar To receive this gift Tied with the bow called  poetry And given that others might know The joy of untying the knot  To glimpse the Giver.

Padre Pio: A Closer Look

Over a number years I have visited the Blue Army Shrine in Washington, NJ and passed by the life size statue of St Padre Pio, the Capuchin monk who was officially proclaimed a saint by Pope John Paul 11 now St John Paul The Great. I stopped and looked but never felt any spiritual connection with this Franciscan who lived at the San Giovanni Monastery and had the stigmata, the wounds of Christ. For many years he was both maligned and revered by the Vatican, many Catholics and others. I believed he was authentic but paid little attention to him.

Then a few weeks ago I received a book, Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry, written by Diane Allen who included true stories of numerous people she interviewed who had experienced spiritual, physical, financial help and also many who received personal guidance in their relationships and vocational choices from this humble friar.

Miraculous incidents of bilocation, healings, conversions, etc. are included. The most impressive revelation in this book for me is his profound love of God and people. He was known for the gift of reading souls and the tremendous number of confessions he heard. He could be severe in some cases, but he meant it for the salvation of the person’s soul.

In the modern world where the tangible, scientific, and intellectual are valued most– purely things of human understanding– we can surely profit from the mystical, miraculous, and yet the truly human saint. Perhaps you might take a closer look at this Spiritual Father.

 

 

 

Sunrise:poem

Sunrise

I rushed to see the sunrise
As it appeared through barren branches
Each rising like prints on fingers
Its own alone
This one ushers in the first spring-like day
The night’s rain dampening the earth
Songs of unseen friends of flight surround me.
I may not see another sunrise
And for certain not one the same
The orb with glorious rays
I cannot bear to see directly
Still its light reveals itself in everything and everyone
I do not rush to leave
My place here in the sun.

April 5, 2017

 

 

 

His Presence: poem

I looked for Him in the sunrise and in the glory of the night,the stars and moon, the canopy of lights. Still my soul searched on and would not be stilled tossing in the hours before the dawn. And when I rose exhausted from the lack of rest, I looked again for Him and asked, “Where are you, Lord?”
I cried until the waters of my sorrows ceased, and none were left.  No more could I seek or cry or ask, and it was then in the stillness of my distress He whispered, “I am here inside your heart.”

1Kings 19: 11-13  “… the Lord was not in the wind…the Lord was not in the earthquake…the Lord was not in the fire…there was a tiny whispering sound…and Elijah hid his face in his cloak…”

New American Bible: St. Joseph Edition