Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Goodnight, Gita

At night, Lord, when I go to rest,
remind me that I did my best.
Remind me always: every day
—in work or leisure, pain or play—
that everything I’ve done I do
so I can give it back to You.

Help me see that all my actions
(taken wholly, or in fractions)
are just simply mine to do—
results of them are up to You.
Then even when I’m in the act,
I’ll feel Your presence as a fact.

Today’s behind me: bad or good,
honored or misunderstood,
all of it I now release,
relaxing, and then finding peace
here in the thought that if I could
have done it differently, I would.

There’s one more bucket under bridge,
one less pudding in the fridge,
one more mistake I won’t replay
(or, not in that specific way),
and maybe one more good deed done,
a smiling glance that cheered someone.

So there You go, and welcome to it.
That’s my day, and it’s the truest
thing to say that I don’t mind
You taking credit for the kind
of things that every day I do:
they’re all just stepping stones to You.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Today's Poem

I could write a poem today,
assuming it included
computers, routers, printers,
and credit card terminals.
Or perhaps what I mean is
that the inanities of
technology would have made
more sense today had they been
in verse. Though perhaps that is
not saying much, as very
often they make as much sense
in Swahili.

                     Yet, somehow,
everything works again, and,
somehow, a poem of sorts is
written.

              Though I’m not sure which
part I managed to write down.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Villanelle. Really, Just a Villanelle.

All month I’ve tried to write a villanelle.
The thought has pestered me now every night.
No matter what, it doesn’t turn out well.

My mind will visit every day this cell,
wherein it frets upon its self-made plight:
a month now looking for a villanelle.

It seems a pleasant verse in which to dwell,
where thoughts can bed down cozy overnight,
but somehow still, it never turns out well.

I try to conjure up the proper spell,
the one that makes the words align just right.
Once more I try to write a villanelle,

but lines with funny colors, awkward smells,
and itchy skin descend on it like blight.
No matter what, it doesn’t turn out well.

I swear this strange desire I will quell!
I’ll squeeze the poem out in black and white!
All month I tried to write a villanelle,
and now I have… though really not that well.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Brightness

A black piece of paper
held in sunshine
will reflect more light to the eye
than a white one
kept in a dimly-lit room.

Never mind your faults.
Just keep turning up the light.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

What Is Left

What is left when my hair turns gray, falls out?
          when my skin wrinkles?
          when my eyesight dims,
          and hearing fades?

What is left when the poems,
          the songs, the melodies
          no longer come to me?
          are no longer needed from me?

What is left when memory blurs?
          when I’ve forgotten even my youthful body?
          my sparkling mind?
          my loved ones’ names?

What is left when I can no more remember
          what upset me?
          what delighted me?
          what I allowed to define me?

What is left when all that was not me
          is gone?
          and all that I thought was me
          has followed?

What is left when that single remaining
          point of consciousness
          is surrounded by nothing
          but the universe?

What is left is
          Everything.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Underwater

The dreams begin already underwater,
no lead-up plot line to offer hints
as to how I got here, why the glinting
non-air now surrounds me, blotting
out my lungs as my heart begins to flutter
and then pound, sprinting.
I struggle with competing instincts,
and then, surrendering to what matters
most, at last I breathe.
And thickly though the water flows,
I do breathe, and in the breathing find
a wonder, one that helps me to believe
a truth submerged beneath life’s woes:
that open, trusting faith will bring rewards in kind.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Teacher's Triolet

As teacher, you can’t really teach:
All that you can do is share.
For howsoever much you preach,
As teacher, you can’t really teach
Till student steps into the breach,
And matches his experience there.
As teacher, you can’t really teach:
All that you can do is share.