Is This Winning?

The trial is over,
voices ringing in,
you’ve won, are vindicated,
You have what you wanted?
There is no game
in these deep, dark struggles.

Each day fills with questions, evaluations,
looking at innocent faces and asking
what are their needs?

Each of us might be right,
yet twisted from the perspective
of childhoods, values, cultures.

Yet all is so severe, so critical,
their lives hinged in the balance,
while pseudo learned people
battle out their beliefs
in unending churning.

So the fates are sealed,
children’s lives are changed,
their lives lived by decree,
imposed upon them by the well meaning.

So I won, you proclaim?
Look at their tear-stained faces,
witness their rage, hear the whine of confusion.

Why can’t those adult voices realize
that when young lives are at stake
innocent lives, there is no winning,
in divorce, in custody, everyone looses.

Pieces of me

Each time they demanded I caved,
giving just a bit more, just a bit more,
always emptying, never replenishing.
I’ve given so much of myself
I’ve forgotten who I was to begin with.
too many are frayed, jagged,
others imperfect recreations of faulty memory
and whole sections gone, vanished, black holes
where vital life force once flowed.

When I look in the mirror now –
I keep expecting a missing nose,
a hole in my throat.
My heart gone for sure . . . .
feathered away in fragments.

When, as a child, I lay in the night’s grass,
staring up at the Milky way,
there were so many stars, eons of them –
a wide, white swath cut through the dark,
bringing hope in silver rays.
Somehow the stars have faded now,
there are fewer, none so bright . . .
there is so much more night in my life.

My body is bruised from bumping into the unseen.
I should have been more selfish,
holding onto the pieces of me,
because one woman’s treasures
are another person’s garbage.
My heart is a cast-off in some musty attic,
caught in the dark,
with all the night’s lost stars.


Looking back from this not so distant future,
the bed and its occupants glow,
all anger and distrust and hurt gone.
Gentle voices, soft laughter and tears mingle freely,
washing away old animosities at the time of this parting.

In the face of the task,
to ease this frail, overused body,
to relinquish its claim on the radiant soul within . . .
all else fails.

Caught up in the normalcy of daily living,
time rushes past and we fail to hear
the heart’s true message from one to another
so the mountain of resentments
build bunkers around the heart,
preparing for battle.

It is only in this parting, so full of pain and sorrow
such pettiness can be lifted.
His life was  dedicated to healing hearts . . .
and in his final hours, he defied expectations
and created a surcease of souls’ angst
intertwining embittered hearts and bringing peace.


A string floats lazily
upon the water, eluding capture,
such are the strings of my life-
far reaching, uncatchable.

Just once I’d like to catch one,
direct its flow, have control –
but one who is greater
twirls the string
with perfect direction
and a greater, more magnificent plan.

Do you have a purpose for me?

All those times you were trying
to let me know you were there
and I holed  up in loneliness and despair.
I couldn’t feel anything more
than the pain of my psyche,
my broken body.

You were there…all the time.
How blind I can be to your presence –
to seeing opportunities –
to reach beyond myself
and try to comfort others.

Help me God to see your hand
and the direction it is pointing.
Give me the strength to follow your lead
without thought for me –
knowing you have a purpose
I need you.

(I wrote this when I was in rehab for back surgery.)


Shame-a draft of hot bitters-
unquenchable, harsh,
it can only be choked down.
You can drown in it,
wrap it around you,
a cloak to keep out fresh air.

It clings to you,
saturates creeps beneath the skin,
like a tick or parasite, corrosive.
So hard to let go of
for it is self-imposed.
Only you swallow it
hold on to it,
refuse to release it.

You can hold on to it an eternity,
or have the self-possession to release it,
strengthening your resolve
not to carry someone else’s baggage.
You can allow yourself to release it
and live a life of freedom.

Joy’s Revisions

Tears come of their own accord
catching me by surprise.
The Dam is cracking –
leaks ebb and flow
of their own accord
for days . . .

But they are the stirrings
of a new spring –
rejuvenating, cleansing,
purifying the soul.
Washing away crusty memories
of resentment or pain.
Letting life flow in.

They are far too few,
too spaced apart.
And while they may feel like pain,
They are the beginnings of joy.

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