"It's sort of like Jack Horner's pie."
"Prayer is like Jack Horner's pie?" asked Art Baker, looking up from his famous Notebook.
"In a way. It seems to me prayer is the truest form of introspection, the very frankest method of getting next to yourself."
"What's that got to do with Jack Hormer's pie?"
"Well, I'm a Jack Horner's pie, so are you, so's everybody. We're baked in what we might call a sophisticated crust for protection, to hold all our dreams and hopes and silly faults together. We get so used to the outside crust we sometimes forget to stick in our thumbs and see what kind of plums we're made of. These so-called prayers are simply my attempt to stick in my thumb. You can kid yourself along, see your troubles and mistakes through the rose-colored glass of excuses but when you put those conversations with yourself in the form of a prayer you're not kidding...you strip down the facts...all cards on the table...a sort of strip poker for the soul. But don't let it throw you, the book is far from being a serious matter. ...And I don't say everyone will agree with my idea of introspection in prayer form. That's something each person will have to decide for himself but there's a poem in here to fit every kind of foot...every kind of mood.
"Instead of having the book in two separate parts as originally planned, we decided to scramble the poems...after all, life gives us laughter 'all snarled up with tears.' We figured the poems were about heart-size with everyone doing his own fitting...."
"Thus IF THE SHOE FITS, put it onjust look what Cinderella got!"
This advice I
that's influenced me quite a lot
"IF THE SHOE FITSput it on!"
Just look what Cinderella got!
God knows the language
that I speak,
His eyes can see thru any pose,
and if my tongue is in my cheek
or not, God knows.
The fact I might smile
doesn't cheer me much, somehow
don't stall me with some vague "anon,"
I need a laugh right now!
A potter gazed about him
at last he had made bowls enough for all,
so he put up a signboard advertising,
"My handiwork is free to those who call."
The first who came was stormily impassioned,
"I wouldn't give them room upon my shelf!
I find them empty, ugly and ill-fashioned,
I could make better jugs than these myself!"
A smuggler came, "What cunning, what perfection!
I'll fill the hollow handles, so designed
to hide their contents they'll defy detection
I'll bet the potter had this thot in mind!"
The next brought flow'rs, arranged them and with praises
proclaimed the potter's art, his skill and powers.
He smiled, "But my hands made only the vases,
'twas you who made them beautiful with flowers!"
I try to make
the minimum of slips,
and yet in some way I cannot foresee,
I always manage to knock off the chips
life carries on her shoulders just for me!
To smooth out introspective
tangles, God, I need Your
help, so will You listen now and then,
without insisting on the usual procedure
of formal salutation and amen?
God, I don't know how to start
or what to say.
I do not know the language of a formal prayer
so long it's been since my heart felt the urge to pray,
so long I've made believe no need to pray was there.
But, God, somehow I don't believe You are the kind
to hold a grudge for what I have or haven't done,
and if I just start praying I know You won't mind
or worry much about the way my prayer's begun.
It's over. I've been wrong and I'm not going to make
a lot of fancy promises that may not last,
a lot of crazy vows I'm weak enough to break.
You see, I have discovered mem'ries can be short,
and even tho right now my feet are on the ground,
it's hard to keep them there, so much comes to distort
my sense of values and to twist my views around.
I don't know yet if I can find the way to You,
I am afraid I'm apt to falter now and then,
but I will do the most that anyone can do,
if You'll have patience, honest, God, I'll try! Amen.
Listen, God, listen to the world
that You created,
just listen, God, to what is happening down here!
Hear the agony-filled cries of men nobody hated,
of men who die for reasons never wholly clear.
Can You hear the wild cacophony that bombs are making
in their death-strewing life, so violently brief?
You, Who can hear the sob a heart makes when it's breaking,
what must You hear in this accumulated grief?
Listen, can You hear the awful quiet of no laughter,
the poignant stillness of the gayest sound on earth?
Can You hear the trembling of a child's lips after
he's learned to know the feeling of fear-stifled mirth?
Skies once peaceful now are loud with deadly man-made thunder,
hope's gallant song is silenced by greed's firing-squad.
Can You hear this bedlam in Your world? If so, I wonder,
what are You thinking as You listen, God?
Perhaps my sense of humor
my laughter stricken with paralysis,
perhaps I'm blind but God, where have You hidden
the funny side of this?
God, sometimes my problems
seem so big to me
they fill a troubled universe and yet,
I know they would seem small if I could see
them in comparison to some You get.
God, I know You're busy with
far greater things
than these small problems that I bring to You,
but there is something in a prayer that brings
about a subtle change in point of view.
I get so wrapped up I my own affairs
my ego needs an orienting jar
and when I put my troubles into prayers
it helps me see how small they really are.
One needs to talk, to get things off his mind,
to pray and thus relieve a burdened heart,
and in such purging instances I find
the listener plays an all-important part.
There must be a receiving end. I guess
that one of the most futile feelings known
is that of blankof utter emptiness
which comes when one is talking on a phone
and finds it's been cut off, and all the time
no one's been there.
God, that's where You come in,
I like to feel You're there whenever I'm
in need like this and confidence wears thin.
And tho I seem to rant at dreary length
now hope is tangled and despair is rife,
I'm blindly searching in me for a strength,
the spark of You, breathed into me with life.
I know within myself there is such power,
my bootstraps wait the chance to hoist me high.
I'll reach them if, in this my darkened hour,
I have the knowledge You are standing by.
I ask no miracle to prove You're there,
I need no sign, no approbating nod,
my heart will find the answer to its prayer
if, when I need to pray, You'll listen, God.
Noisy grief, perhaps
seems stronger for you hear it burst,
but grief that has no word or tear
takes longer much to disappear
rainbow moments when
humanity seems worth its price,
but sometimes when I look at men
I think I'd rather be a mice.
I guess You know
what You are doing, God,
it's only folk like me who get confused.
It's too much to expect a little clod
of human stuff to know the methods used
in handling worlds. It must suffice for me
to carefully remind myself that You
must have Your reasons, reasons I can't see
for doing the heart-wrenching things You do.
I try to quell my fears with this belief
for I could never hope to understand
a reason that would justify the grief
that Your idea of life seems to demand,
nor am I yet presumptuous enough
to think I could expect You to explain
Your deeds to me. In this mad Blind Man's Buff
called living, it seems that I must remain
the one whirled in the dark, while You stand by
to guide my stumbling.
God, I'm not to blame
if sometimes I can't help but wonder why
You put so many horrors in the game.
To me it's a bewild'ring sort of world
where nothing seems to make sense any more.
You teach us to love peace and then we're hurled
into the gross stupidity of war.
It isn't that I ever want to doubt
the wisdom of Your ways. I trust in You,
but there's so much I cannot figure out,
not having an omniscient point of view.
We see this world of Yours from two extremes,
from where You are it's plain as A B C,
but God, please don't forget the way it seems
to little fellows in the dark, like me.
When folk try to impress me
I smile a bit at their absurd pomposity.
God, let such aims in me be self-abortant,
don't let me ever take myself too seriously!
that what I want
mostly to do
is to talk simply
but I am afraid
I do mostly
Where's the cooperation
of that old time fire brigade
that used to pass the buckets all along the line?
From much abbreviation now folks figure, I'm afraid,
if they can simply pass the buck, they're doing fine.
Please God, help me to help the ones
who look to me for aid,
let me think clearly at the time when they're confused.
Help me to know what's right, nor let me be afraid
the trust they place in me will ever be abused.
Let me feel sure within myself that I am strong
with the unfailing strength that true conviction gives.
If need be let my knowledge carry them along
until the time they realize theirs also lives.
Let me have confidence in my ability
to guide them. Never let me doubt the words I say,
and everything they think I am, please, let me be,
help me to never fail them, God, in any way.
Let me be wise that I may pass such wisdom on
to those whose destinies You've placed within my hands.
God, from my judgment let all prejudice be gone,
give me instead the tolerance this life demands.
They look to me for help and I must never let them know
how much I'm frightened at my vast responsibility,
I'll do my best, I'll help them every way I can, but so
that I may be more worthy of their faith, please God,
I know now you're young
and have valor to burn,
this patience must seem heavy stuff,
but take it along for the day when you learn
courage is not enough.
(This poem probably inspired John F. Kennedy's most famous challenge.)
God, ev'ry year about this time,
according to routine,
I've bowed my head in the accepted way
and offered thanks, like some well synchronized machine
that prayed because it was the time to pray.
But, God, this year is different, this year I seem to feel
America's Thanksgiving is my own,
that in my nation's gratitude I have a part that's real,
a part that until now I've never known.
And, God, this year a deep humility has filled my heart,
a newborn pride rings true thruout my soul
because I do belong, because I have and am a part,
a tiny part of one tremendous whole.
I think I know the feeling of those first Americans
who said, "We must give thanks for this, our land."
I cherish now the rights that are each woman's, ev'ry man's,
the rights I've just begun to understand.
This year my heart has learned what all Thanksgiving Days are for,
true thankfulness at last I realize,
but, God, I'm sorry that it took the tragedy of war
in other lands to open up my eyes.
Again I bow my head but this time deep within me stirs
a mighty prayer, part of one vast design,
"God, help me make America as proud that I am hers
as I am proud, and grateful she is mine!"
I cannot realize
that you have undergone
the oldest duplication known on earth.
You seem so very young to have been let in on
the secrets of the wonder we call birth,
and altho I reiterate the fact so bland
I cannot make myself believe nor understand
that it is true.
You seem so young to be so old, to know so much
you know thru you, another life's begun.
You know against your breast your baby's pulsing touch,
that you are two who but so recently were one.
I can't believe it, tho I know that it is so,
and when you gaze down on that tiny head, I know
no more can you.
I have a flower-bed
from toppled-over Christmas trees.
Kaleidoscopically it fools
the othersbut my small heart sees.
They think they're just electric lights
Oh, what a lovely view," they say,
"It must be grand on moonlit nights!"
and one by one they go away.
They do not see the craftsman's tools
star-carving instruments on high,
that made my flower-bed of jewels
and let it bloom against the sky.
They think they are electric lights
but God and I know differently
it took two thousand Christmas nights
to grow the garden that I see.
So very much
of friendliness she gave
she can't depart
from us who go on living. We can save
deep in each heart
a tiny space where we can keep alive
a mem'ry all our very own, for I've
that as we daily contact those we know
they give to us
a part of themthat's why all life is so
There is a bond of life eternally
but it takes greater faith when it must be
We knew her, therefore we must never feel
that we're bereft
but rather that we are enriched and we'll
be proud she left
so much of her with us. We are more blessed
because of youand you have most and best
you are her son!
My sorrow now
but I have lived to learn'
that altho time can heal a wound
old scars can ache and burn.
trying to forget
why do I treasure everything
that brings me, in an icy sweat,
the torture of remembering?
One thing I wish
you'd please explain
that causes me intense chagrin,
why, when I'm due to sip champagne,
does life slip me a Mickie Finn?
I want the moon's clear light,
it may be hard and cold
but it's gold
is soft and bright.
I thot that I could hold
to my hope for it and fight
but my purpose is controlled
by the earthly laws which quite
proclaim the logic they unfold
and I am old
and wise tonight
for in spite
of what I'm told
I want the moon.
God's taken my life
as a whole,
has added up my joy and grief,
and then has put me on a dole
of single moments for relief.
With comforting catabolism
He's made minutes of my years,
of joy I'll have no cataclysm
nor yet can there be one of tears.
So I find no resentment in it,
I know that I'll get by somehow,
If I get thru the single minute
God gives to me right now.
If there were just one prayer
I think perhaps that prayer would be
just this, "Please God, don't ever let
my sense of humor fold on me!"
So many things this age
with ruthlessness, but no more do I mind,
for suddenly my soul has realized
the fact that God is simply God, streamlined.
Dear God, don't let him see
to have him go.
Help me make him believe instead
it's better so.
Help me to look into his eyes
and keep mine bright.
Help me to look into his eyes
and keep mine bright.
Help me to make him realize
that it's all right.
Don't let me have to fight in vain
to keep my guard,
and so that I can bear the pain,
make my heart hard.
God, since it seems my heart must bleed,
don't make me weak.
Altho I long to cry my need
don't let me speak.
Don't let his man-eyes see my ache,
make me quite strong,
as for my life, dear God, don't make
it last too long.
Help me to be big and broad
with no regret,
and after he has gone, please God,
let me forget.
Dear God, since you must hurt
hear now my prayer.
Help me to never let him know
how much I care.
Please do the very best You can
to make me his.
Help him to always be the man
I think he is.
He is the one that You must make
me worthy of,
so please don't make me ever take
a lesser love.
Since You saw fit to teach me joy,
I'll not forget,
but don't let loneliness destroy
it with regret..
Keep our love always just as sweet
and just as dear,
help me stand squarely on my feet
with head quite clear.
Help him to know he'll never lack
my love and then
have pity, God, and send him back
to me again!
God, couldn't You sort of
and help life hold herself in check,
until she's learned to know anatomy, at least?
Each time that I hold up my chin
she thinks I'm sticking out my neck
and lets me have it, boom! like lightning freshly greased!
It is to laugh
that we were given senses
of humor, there our only power lies.
This one small gift is all that recompenses
a man for seeing life thru human eyes.
It is to hope that we have hearts, thus letting
our minds be free to separate life's chaff
to serve its purpose, and keep us from forgetting
what really glorious fun it is to laugh.
God, these folk who tied knots
at the marriage altar
seem prone to overlook its fundamental use,
to many it's a slip-knot, while to some a halter,
and God, I greatly fear to some it is a noose.
Please God, if in the future I should find love's unction,
help me to tie the marriage knot again some day,
to serve no a perverted, but its truest function,
tieing two loose ends together so they'll stay!
I've eaten my words
and I've swallowed my pride
and I find it a difficult diet.
Each meal leaves me feeling more hollow inside
with a very disturbing unquiet.
It isn't the fare I thot love would choose
to exercise my epiglottis
but being so starved who am I to refuse?
At least I've learned what food for thot is.
God, he sits by my side
and holds my hand,
he, who has been so long away.
I look at him, trying to understand
and wait for the words he does not say.
God, why is it we are the way we are?
Why is his silence so verbose?
It's only when he is near, he's far,
when he's away, we're awf'ly close!
So many moons
have I seen follow Maytime,
so many balmy nights described as "June,"
with romance grown anaemic come the daytime
and love that lives just for the wedding tune.
My knowledge, now, is far from theoretic,
I know full well all that a June can mean
so why each June finds me more apathetic
I can't explain unless it is because I've seen
so many moons.
My heart rejects
and joins my pride in outraged wail
"Buthe can't DO this to me!"
(Echo: You can't put me in jail!)
My faith and my trust
were the knives that you used,
my dreams were the things that you tore
but now that it's over and love has excused,
dare I give you the weapons once more?
It takes so many
to tell why God invented laughs.
is some thing
we can't share
we can't share.
Fear not that
my heart is wrung
with anguish, my despair is small.
You were the peg on which I hung
my thots a little while, that's all.
If only I could think the way
I used to think, somehow,
could just go back and be contented, as I was before,
but I fear I have loved and learned so very much that now
the little thots I used to wear won't fit me anymore.
so many things untidily about,
hangers-on from summer's greenery,
all the dogged die-hards which altho they're tired out
stay like bar-flies on the scenery.
Likewise in my dismal heart some straggly hopes remain,
trying to pretend they'll still unfold,
hopes that haven't sense enough to come in from the rain.
That's why brilliant autumn leaves me cold.
Even tho love's spring is past and summer, too, is gone,
one last misguided dream clings to its stem,
stubbornly insisting on a standing marathon,
thinking by this faithful stratagem,
ultimately it will prove that dreams can still come true.
There it stays til Indian summer quits.
Thus I'm constantly in torment, I'll be glad I'm telling you,
if and when love's winter comes and its
It seems that all my life
I have been holding out
for something better than I've ever known.
I've held out for the best so long sometimes I doubt
that it is right for me to be so prone
to wait. I wonder if it isn't selfish, too,
for me to say I must have the best or none,
and yet, I know there's really nothing I can do
except to go on as I've always done.
I know I'll not give in to second best, not now,
not after I have stuck it out this long
for my ideals. I can't revise that first fine vow
I made myself. Tho time should prove I'm wrong,
I'll keep on saying no to every proffered chance
for makeshift love, which life keeps holding out
for me to take as substitute for the romance
I have long since built all my dreams about.
I cannot change, I know I will go on the same,
I'll have no imitation ecstasy....
I wonder tho, could two be playing at this game,
could life itself be holding out on me?
reads my medical report,
"caused from jumping to conclusions
and falling short."
We are not
the darers, are we?
And to take a chance we're loath.
It's better to be safe than sorry....
but it's the devil when you're both!
the miracle You wrought before?
You caused the dead to rise and life to start again.
God, see my need, bring back my hope, my faith once more.
Please God, let there be Easter in my heart! Amen.
Please God, let me be
all things fine to one man,
and please, let him be all things fine to me.
Let love be worked out in an all-in-one plan,
at least that's how I want my love to be.
Let me be comfort to him when he's tired,
give him no reason ever to complain,
let me be ev'rything he has desired,
let me make up for any former pain.
When he is serious, then let me be serious,
and rough-and-tumble when it's time to play.
In love, make me enchanting and mysterious,
help me to understand him ev'ry way.
My hand in his, we never should be lonely
a moment in this earthbound interim.
Please teach his eyes to see my soul's face only,
so that I may be beautiful to him.
And as for him, let him be light and darkness,
my heartbeat, mental coziness, and then
tho You take else, I'll glory in the starkness,
he'll be the strength and courage of all men.
It's not too much to ask to be to one man,
wives should be all things fine, You planned it so,
and I can do it, God, if anyone can,
give me the chance and I'll make good, I know!
tossed me love
I've lived my quota, now,
of storm-filled hours,
and tho my heart is not one that complains,
just tell me, if you please, where are those flowers
that it was promised with the April rains?
Too long have I been housed
with weary things.
I must get out and gaze up at the sky
where winds are brave and free and somehow, I
must emulate the city sparrows' wings
which, with a few defiant flutterings
can take birds up to fresh blue that is high
above the squalor of the streets. God, I must try
to feel courage that a shaft of sunlight brings
to warm a waiting world and make it bright.
This cloistered way I live is all so wrong.
I must remember how it feels to fight
for my beliefs, to struggle and be strong.
I need a new perspective, one that's right
I have been housed with weary things too long!
God, now and then I am afraid
I get a bit impatient,
these minutes dawdle so, and tho I want to do my part,
I'm looking forward to the future with an urge insatient,
this waiting's very trying on my over-eager heart.
I pacify myself by saying when it is expedient
I should be holding time's fulfillment in my arms at last,
I will not once regret these aggravating, intermedient,
oh, so long hours which, fortunately will be then all past.
It isn't that I'm int'rested in actually bud-nipping,
I know my calmer, patient moments will come back again,
but God, right now I wish You could arrange a little skipping
over these swollen hours that separate my now and then!
Flat on my face
in a thorny thicket
with life's finest brambles going to town
God, didn't they tell You it wasn't cricket
to hit a fellow when he's down?
down the hall,
I hold my breath and hope once more.
Somehow I never learn they always
keep on going past my door.
You're like the rose
that stands apart,
secure within its own conceit,
and flow'rs of lesser fragrance scorns
but I could find it in my heart
to wish you weren't quite so sweet
and had a few less thorns.
What's the limit?
Sure, I'll make it
I can manage, but, dawgone
God, just because a girl can take it
do You have to pile it on?
God, help me find my way again,
I cannot see
this rush of unsuspected tears has made me blind.
My future's star-blown skyroad to eternity
is now all blurred before my amblyopic mind.
It's not as tho I hadn't seen the way before
it lay ahead of me so smooth and clear and long,
but now I'm thrashing in a swamp of doubt once more,
bogged down in darkness. God, where was it
I turned wrong?
How did I lose my way and stumble over pain,
to cry and blind myself with stupid tears?
God, somewhere shining up above this mental rain
is that same highway stretching thru the years?
Help me to find it for it is the way I want to go,
help me to find and put the stars back in my sky.
They'll be my signposts, then I won't get lost, I know
or if I do, next time I will know better than to cry.
God, how do I go on from here?
What happens, now?
The only world I care about is gone.
I know I must go on some way but how, God, how?
There seems so little left to build upon.
The fine incentives that I had before are dead,
and what did all my eager effort prove?
Futility, perhaps, but God, what lies ahead?
What is the next move when there is no move?
I know I'm not the only one who feels like this,
the world itself is torn and troubled, too.
It waits the time when doubt will find its nemesis
as night in day, as...oh, God, is that the clue?
The answer?...God, I think I see now why You gave
the promise of a dawn to every night....
God, suddenly it is no effort to be brave
this darkness, too, will pass into the light!
So many memories
were in my heart,
leftovers from loves of a quondam day
I didn't know we could be torn apart
'til you moved in and swept them all away.
In sep'rate fields
we've worked, alone,
but now, together, we shall reap
the harvest of the stars we've sown,
all piled up in one shining heap.
Dear God, the necessary
preparations are all made,
tomorrow I shall step into another kind of life.
I was so sure...I don't know why I'm suddenly afraid
and trembling at the thot of being actually his wife.
I know I love him, God, it isn't that I'm backing out,
but all at once I see the age-old role in which I'm cast.
Its sheer enormity fills me with paralyzing doubt,
have I the wisdom that it takes to make a marriage last?
I see now You've made "wife of man" life's most important role,
it burgeons mothers....God, let me be worthy of the part!
Give me the courage, stamina, and beauty in my soul,
God, give me confidence to match the love that bursts my heart.
Because it is love, God, and it will make me sure and strong,
there'll be no faltering, it will cast out all doubt and fear;
his strength will be my strength when I at last know I belong
that I am his, a part of everything I hold most dear....
But what of all the other brides? They also found a mate,
they must have had the same ideals, have felt love's driving force.
What happened after that could make their love disintegrate,
could make their marriage simply a bleak prelude to divorce?
What if I disappoint him, if I should fail him? No, God, no.
I can fulfill his hopes! Those fears shall not come back again
because I know my answer, now. You see, I love him so
I cannot fail...nor can our marriage, please, God, please! Amen.
No, I do not have a yard
for humming birds and finches
where all my fav'rite flowers can entwine,
I have just a half a yard, but those glorious eighteen inches
are of heavenev'ry inch of it all mine!
Please God, stand by me
while I am repeating
the pledges in the marriage vows once more.
This time I know the problems we'll be meeting,
this time I will be wiser than before.
My eyes are open wide, I see more clearly
the meaning of these promises I make,
I realize that they are prayers, not merely
some words recited for convention's sake.
I've learned the miracle of hope's resilience,
once more the surge of confidence I know,
and if my eyes have lost that first fine brilliance,
they shine now with a much more steadfast glow.
The love I offer now is so much deeper
than once I had thot love could ever be.
This covenant to be another's keeper
I take with undisguised humility.
And to this trust my life I'm dedicating,
the only thing I ask is that You bless
our union with Your wisdom, consecrating
my right to guard another's happiness.
Please God, let faith and understanding suture
the edges of our separate lives and when,
hand clasped in hand, we pledge our common future,
God, make us truly man and wife! Amen.
On mountain tops or by the sea,
in cities or on farms,
a man can easily find sanctuary;
but woman isn't safe until she's in her husband's arms,
and even then, she isn't very.
I don't know why I love him, God...
Ah, yes, ah, yes, I do.
It's only that I do not know exactly where to start.
There are so many, many reasons, yet they are so few,
and far too simple to explain a woman's complex heart.
I love him for his strength and for a valor scarcely used,
and for the little boy in him with dreams still in his eyes.
I love the way his mind remains completely unconfused
and for his tenderness, kept constantly in rough disguise.
I even love his gruffness for I know it's there to hide
a certain inner shining that my eyes alone can see,
and tho he seldom throws his vast beloved reserve aside,
I've glimpsed an innate greatness, harshness can't conceal from me.
I know to share his life I must be fine, I must grow tall
to stretch my step to fit his stride, to find a world that's new.
For this I love him but what matter why when, after all,
the only thing that is important, God, is that I do.
Oh, this is the tale
of the too gentle men,
their appeal was, I fear, mostly mental.
Unfortunately they were too gentle men,
entirely too, too gentle.
The many dreams that lay
within me soporific
have suddenly been roused to wild activity.
They clamor for release in ways made most specific,
insisting on an outlet well defined to me.
I long to tell you of this violent emerging
of new desire in me, and yet my voice is mute,
and tho my throbbing inclination needs no urging
the syllables cling to my tongue, irresolute.
My hands, so much desiring to caress you, tremble
in incoherence while my straining fingertips
lie helpless in my lap, unable to assemble
the strength to trace the tempting outline of your lips.
My own closed lips are impotent with words unuttered,
and longing to encircle you makes my arms numb.
My eyes, to hid the message in their depths are shuttered
and forces long subdued have struck my body dumb.
Each tiny party of me is aching for expression
so please, may I suggest you somewhat understate
the case when, fortified by facts of your profession,
you say my hyoid bone is inarticulate.
What can I give
to a little boy
I love in the way I love you,
something the future cannot destroy
or change in the way futures do?
What can I give to two tiny hands
that already cuddle my heart?
Yours are such simple, so few demands,
small boy, with your dreams at their start.
Beads that can dazzle and make a noise
and you're satisfied for the nonce,
butlife gets harder for little boys
and starts complicating their wants.
Where can I find a gift I can give
to help when the going gets rough?
I can give you my life for as long as I live
oh, but that's not enoughnot enough!
What can I wish
for you today
that would in some small way impart
the love I want it to convey
to you from out my teeming heart?
What wish of mine could best insure
your happiness fresh with each morn,
what wish will make your joys endure
and all your sorrows be stillborn?
Not "May you have your heart's desire!"
for these fulfilled are flimsy stuff,
the heights to which you now aspire,
attained, are never quite enough.
It takes a broader scope than ours
to know what's ultimately best
for us. It's not within our powers
to even know what to request,
but in my heart the wish is there
so, loving you the way I do,
I'll breathe it in a skyward prayer
and let God send it on to you.
I'd like to make this
my last marriage, God,
I want to make it permanent and fast,
I do not mean like my last marriage, God,
that is completely over with and past,
but please, please make this my last marriage, God,
I mean God, make it last!
I know, God, I am
not a mollycoddle,
I'm not cut out to be a Caspar Milquetoast's wife;
and, if I have suppressed desires to dawdle
upon the slightly sentimental side of life,
I keep them well suppressed and out of focus,
as common sense and simple logic both dictate.
I wallow in no mental hocus-pocus
to make and let a magic moment scintillate.
I see now there is no need to be tender.
If that is now it must be, that is how it is.
My viewpoint gets more masculine in gender
as I succumb to modes of living wholly his.
And I am strong, I never stoop to simper,
in fact, a smile upon my face would look absurd;
God, I can bear gruff words without a whimper
and go on just as tho I'd never even heard.
Huge plenitudes of armour I'm amassing.
Against his harshness my heart's found a sturdy brace,
but his sudden kiss on top my head while passing
and I want to cry my foolish eyes out of my face.
God, I wonder if,
when You first thot up
the idea of what a man would be,
resultant people weren't something got up
according to a poet's recipe.
I do not mean there was collaboration
but only, when the plans were first designed
to give incipient man imagination,
You must have had the future bards in mind.
Because You gave us eyes to hide our gleams in,
and tiny baby fingers tightly curled,
You gave us secret hearts to hold our dreams in
and love to let us share a separate world.
You gave us moments when we know despair,
and breasts for hope eternally to spring in,
with poets to remind us it is there.
I think that when You tossed in each small item,
it was the poet's need You had in view,
now, each one can write on a d infinitum,
and sometimes even make clichés sound new.
God, my actions really
need no explanation.
They're fairly obvious and yet for me
they hold a sort of morbid fascination,
I want to view them microscopically.
I know I'm full of moral superstitions
and, introspectively, I analyze
my various complexes and inhibitions
to scorn them as neurotic alibis.
I've heard about the menace of suppressions,
of dangers that beset frustration's path,
but so far I have made them no concessions,
they've merely served to whet my noble wrath.
But now the troublous fires in me, long dormant,
are suddenly completely out of hand,
my rebel body, fiercely non-conformant
with my punctilious mind, takes full command
and further explanations pedagogic
will only prove what I already know.
My mind admits defeat to nature's logic
but must my body gloat "I told you so!"?
I wonder what it is
about a day like this
that sets it quite apart from all the others.
It seems to undergo a metamorphosis
that makes it shine especially for mothers.
There is a sheen about it, diff'rent from the rest,
the green of hillsides seems a bit more vernal.
Today God placed His flow'rs on Mother Nature's breast
to hid the pain that comes to hearts maternal.
The sun itself seems just a little brighter one,
its filial homage from the sky comes streaming....
I wonder if, because it is her only sun,
the whole world with a mother's pride is beaming?
(Dedicated to my sister, Sylvia)
For that she will go down
in heaven's shining hall of fame,
for the original designs and patterns she devised,
I pen this tribute, not in lines like those which bear her name,
for hers are life lines, earning the award most highly prized.
She writes straight from her pulsing heart, as only mothers can,
true authoress, the kind of writer just God can ordain.
Her poems, fashioned in God's image, take their place with man,
the place that was made possible just thru a mother's pain.
She knows in full the harsh demands of the career she chose
and twenty-four hours ev'ry day the most of herself gives
to make her verses perfect....Ev'ry so-called author knows
her poetry's the only kind that ever really lives!
to me, how round about...
Somehow, I'm always taken in
each time I'm taken out.
There was no other
I try to say,
but eyes still full of memory
give me away.
They say it takes all kinds
and sorts of men to fill a world,
it takes all kinds and sorts to build a nation tall;
but ev'ry child whose fingers once around his dad's have curled
knows fathers are the most important of them all!
It's strange how much for granted
I have always taken you,
how much I have relied upon the fact you understand.
I never make a fuss the way a lot of children do,
in fact, somehow I never even say the things I've planned.
But, Dad, there are some things so deep they simply can't be said,
they must be felt, we both know that is how we care.
For me you've always been a source of strength in hours of dread,
I've turned to you and known I would find understanding there.
A clear-cut sense of values neither gold nor fame can swerve
is yours, and now is mine, the finest gift child ever had.
That's why I know I am more fortunate than I deserve
in accidentally happening to get you for my dad.
With eyes that you have taught to search for hidden worth
quite suddenly I see a truth I've missed before
thru having had you for a father here on earth
I've learned to understand my One in Heaven more.
Let them have their
daughters and their sons
I am happier than they by far....
There are bigger things in life than little ones
altho right now I can't think what they are.
Do you know how much
I am thinking of you, Mother mine?
How much I'm longing to be there with you?
Do mothers' eyes have special pow'rs to see between each line,
to read their children's hearts? I think they do.
Because the aching tenderness for you that fills my breast,
my gratefulness because God let me go
to you of all the mothers in the world, can't be expressed
in words, at least not any that I know.
Unless, invisible to all except a mother's gaze,
a halo's loaned to them some way, and even then
I don't know how I dare attempt to coin a pristine phrase,
to rearrange the same old words again.
But, Mother, God has used the same ingredients for years
and yet how diff'rent is each newborn child,
and from the same old formula of suffering and tears,
a brand new life is suddenly compiled.
So, Mom, because I'm part of you perhaps your eyes can see
a newer, deeper meaning when I say
how proud I am of you, proud in profound humility
because you're mine on this, and ev'ry day.
I ask for one
one moment bathed in understanding's light,
then, tho my path be lonely,
I shall not fear the night.
God, because someone left
and I had to remain
in an emptiness no other person could share,
I've learned the lesson evolved just thru pain,
distance can't separate people who care.
Love's not confined by space nor bars,
tho this is a very hard lesson to learn,
and, after this world takes its place with the stars
in contented retirement, once more love will turn
to help a new world go around and around,
to establish itself in a new wet of hearts.
Truths not so pristine, perhaps as profound,
will be learned thru fresh grief as some loved one departs.
They'll learn the truths I have come to know
thru days metamorphosing into months,
that the nearness, the sight, and the voice they miss so,
the things that mattered so terribly once,
lose their edge in a knowledge that finds its start
in the spring of experience, and death is defied.
Two can be closer when they are apart
than when they are sitting side by side.
This isn't a truth learned thru some other's grief,
not the kind that is learned in a day....
This deep understanding, this blessed relief
I guess we all have to learn the hard way.
God, I know against pain
I must make my heart numb,
all my dreams I must put behind bars,
but don't let me lose faith when the bad moments come,
let me always hang on to my stars!
My faith on the future
my heart and my hand I extend
this makes such a lovely beginning,
please, let's not make it