POETIC BLOOMINGS is a Phoenix Rising Poetry Guild site established in May 2011 to nurture and inspire the creative spirit.


Linda is a Speech Pathologist in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She loves writing of all kinds and has been writing poetry since childhood.   She feels that the things that are created with one’s hands, whether they are made of words or more substantial materials, seem to be the only work that remains done rather than having to be continually redone.  Linda has always dealt with her emotions by writing them down, finding it the best way to dispel anger and sadness as well as  to share happiness and love.  Her life experiences are chronicled in poetry and will probably continue to be so.

89 thoughts on “LINDA SWENSKI


    There was a man who had a thought,
    T’was his and not by others wrought.
    This thought in time brought him much grief:
    The thought had grown to a belief.

    This thought was not by others shared,
    And when they heard it they were scared.
    And once the seed of fear was sewn
    It grew aggression on its own.

    One man’s thought, anothers fear:
    The conflict flourished year by year.
    A fight ensued, a battle won,
    And then a full blown war begun.

    So it continues here today,
    Fighting about what others say.
    And even what they think, we dread,
    “What’s going on inside his head?”

    But wars have solved it not at all.
    Empires rise and kingdoms fall
    Yet not a single mind has changed,
    Only politics rearranged.


    To some an ending
    of a warm and playful time,
    so now the fun is over.
    For teachers, the start
    of many new adventures:
    a chance to make a difference.


    The ability to communicate:
    It is so basic
    It seems so simple.
    But for some, its an impossibility.

    To get one’s meanings and emotions across
    To other people;
    To get one’s needs met,
    To simply make a connection to others.

    How does one function without this simple skill?
    So much frustration
    And isolation.
    Being so separate from others with no hope.

    In my job I am able to teach some skills
    To those who can’t speak
    But have things to say:
    To find ways to communicate with the world.

    It might seem that this is my gift to others,
    It’s a gift to me
    From those who can’t speak.
    For now I understand what they have to say.

  4. SIGH….

    My daughter’s gone to college.
    My heart went with her there.
    She left me a messy room here,
    Her stuff strewn everywhere.

    She knows I have a job now,
    And great! Tthere is this to do.
    You know there’s more to my life
    Than cleaning after you.

    The trash, the junk, the dirt, the mess
    The clothes left on the floor,
    It seems there’s more left when your gone
    Than was in here before!

    So I must clean this dump site.
    I wash the sheets and clothes.
    What is it she wants to keep?
    Only a psychic knows.

    I go through all the papers
    To sort the good from trash:
    Throw out the high school homework,
    The art and cards I stash.

    What’s this under the jewel box?
    Oh, how the years do flow….
    It’s the valentine I gave her
    So many years ago.

    She saved it like a treasure
    And though we are apart,
    I’m lucky beyond measure:
    I’ll always have her heart.

    Education, big frustration
    No support from administration.
    Dedication, innovation,
    I deserve a big ovation!
    No! Not an evaluation!


    As I prepare to leave my work,
    my spirits rise.
    That’s no surprise.
    As I reflect on all the kids
    I taught for years,
    here come the tears.


    I can’t wait to grow up!
    Halloween is my favorite.
    When will it get here?
    I want to be a teenager.

    I want to graduate
    School takes so much time.
    I want to be 21
    So I can party!

    I hate my job.
    I can’t wait for the weekend.
    Is it almost Christmas?
    I need a vacation.

    I am so uncomfortable.
    When will this baby come?
    The kids are growing so fast.
    What will they be when they’re grown?

    I can’t wait to retire.
    I will do what I always wanted.
    Life will be sweet,
    Except now I am getting old.

    Where did the time go?
    I forgot to enjoy all those moments.
    I kept thinking past them.
    And now my time is up.


    I do my job well every day
    For no appreciation and little pay.
    I feel like the bosses are up my butt
    With a flashlight looking for I don’t know what.
    I understand concerns for financial stuff,
    But there’s nothing in my colon: I’ve had enough.
    When I bend over there’s a blinding light.
    I don’t care about the reason. Its just not right.
    You know what might be a little more fun?
    A pat on the back when my work is done!


    For every soul, man or beast
    Who stood with me in ranks
    With touch or smile
    Or spending a while
    I offer gracous thanks.

    I only am who I’ve become
    Because you’ve joined me here.
    Without your bit
    I wouldn’t fit.
    I’d be a broken mirror.

    I’m made of those I’ve met and known;
    A puzzle with tiny parts.
    Each piece is wrought
    Of time and thought
    From all those precious hearts.

  10. OUCH

    Life gives us troubles, woe, and pain.
    With each, a lesson can be learned.
    Some learn lessons and apply them well.
    Others seemed doomed to repeat their errors.
    Some choose unfortunate love mates,
    Others can’t keep their jobs,
    Many can’t control their finances.
    Addicts repeatedly destroy lives.
    They don’t listen; they don’t learn.
    The key to the best life one can live
    is to try to derive a lesson from every trial.
    It won’t make us perfect, but it makes us better…

  11. GOOD-BYE

    There is no easy way to say good-bye.
    I want to hug and hold you, not to cry.
    But mixed with happy memories I had before
    I feel the fear that I can’t bear them anymore.

    Though friends and neighbors offer their support,
    my total grief does my faulty smile distort.
    For with you, something in us all will die—
    There is no easy way to say good-bye.

    And so together we should face our grief at home,
    For in the end our fear is being left alone.
    We will never heal our hearts, and yet we try—
    There is no easy way to say good-bye.

    I know that there were times we fought with rage.
    My memory scrapbook doesn’t seem to have that page.
    No consoling words erase the need to cry.
    There is no easy way to say good-bye.

    There is a part of you that lives on too—
    A treasure chest of memories that I shared with you.
    These loving thoughts will help me to get by.
    There is no easy way to say good-bye.

    So through my sorrow I must face another day.
    So soft shoulder serves to take the pain away.
    And though my heart is breaking, my eyes are dry—
    There is no easy way to say good-bye.

    If to us a thousand lifetimes more were left,
    The final end would leave me still bereft.
    So with prayer or song or quiet or tear-filled eye,
    There is no easy way to say good-bye.

  12. HEROIC

    I’d like to fly .I’d like to soar.
    But some things matter even more.
    I want to be the one admired
    And recognized when well attired.
    I’d love the glory and acclaim:
    For everyone to know my name!

    A lottery winner! A superstar!
    A rapper in a fancy car.
    Someone known by a single name—
    Unlimited money and massive fame.
    Is that what makes a person great?
    I thought so, but my heart said, “Wait!”

    Is this what measures a person’s worth—
    A talent or accident of birth?
    No, heroism is so much more.
    It’s what is at a person’s core.
    No need for cape, money, or glory.
    A hero has a different story.

    The man who saved a person’s life,
    Or helped a friend through pain or strife,
    The mom who raised her kids alone;
    This is how true strength is shown.
    We are all heroes every day,
    Doing something great in some small way.

    My feet are now back on the ground.
    To be a hero, look around.
    Just find someone who needs a hand,
    Or wants a friend to understand.
    There is so much that we can do,
    So let’s be heroes, me and you.


    Bright sunshine warms my face.
    Breezes tickle my arm hair.
    Floral scents spread through my brain.
    I am showering in a fountain of Springtime.


    You try so hard to make them grow.
    Why you do I don’t quite know.
    Sufficient water, lots of light:
    They grow themselves outside all right.

    Pat the soil, watch the leaves
    For signs of insects or disease.
    And though it gets its share of light,
    It doesn’t seem to grow quite right.

    Though you did what you could do,
    It grew unlike it wanted to.
    A plant is meant, not to be grown,
    But to develop on its own.

    So now remember you and I
    And don’t let faded memories die.
    Keep them watered with your tears
    And cultivate them through the years.

    For if you leave them all alone
    They might develop on their own.
    Yet one day memories must be faced.
    They can be changed, but not erased.


    Oh beauty bright in dawn’s soft light,
    The early sparrows sing.
    The flowers’ glories tell garden stories
    To every living thing.


    If I were you
    I would write down how I am feeling today:
    The anger and fear of knowing that the end is so certain and near.

    If I were you
    I might keep writing every day
    So that others who must travel the same path will know that they do not walk alone.

    If I were you
    I would hold a magnifying glass to my faith
    Finding and taking every comfort that it was designed to give.

    If I were you
    I would find joy in each task I undertake,
    Because if I am taking the time to do it, it must be worthwhile.

    If I were you
    I would spend hours every day doing the things I have always wanted to do.
    I would lunch with friends, sit in the park, read fabulous books, and take long fragrant baths.

    If I were you
    I would find something small to do that I know would make a difference,
    So I would be sure that the world is a better place because I was here than it would have been without me.

    If I were you
    I would burn the concept of a Bucket List.
    Joy is found, not in the huge events, but in the very small ones.

    If I were you
    I would go to sleep each night recalling my accomplishments,
    Since I have never had time to consider them as they occurred.

    If I were you
    I would remind my loved ones that I will always be with them.
    My actions, words, and thoughts will come back to them unbidden whenever they are needed.

    If I were you
    I would not spend one second thinking about what I will miss or regret,
    But instead spend every minute embracing the wonderful things I experienced and enjoyed.

    But I am you.
    My journey is growing shorter every day with certainty,
    Though I have not yet been notified of my final flight or destination.

    Because of you
    I am going to change the journey I take
    And do these things that I should have done my whole life.


    Little town
    With big dreams:
    It seems the only way.
    Small minds
    With big ideas
    Lure me far away.
    But family
    And great friends
    Make me want to stay.

  18. 60

    You’re lucky to be sixty,
    I will not give you grief.
    Instead, I’ll share my philosophy,
    For this is my belief.

    Now that you are sixty
    Your children are probably grown,
    And if by chance they have a job
    Your life is now your own.

    By the time that you reach sixty
    You know just who you are.
    Considering your crazy twenties,
    You have come quite far.

    If you are still married at sixty
    Your marriage is probably good;
    You have someone who certainly loves you,
    And you are understood.

    If you look forward to retirement
    The time is drawing near;
    No more putting off vacations
    For another year.

    You know your friends are plenty.
    Your memories are numerous too.
    If your health and wealth are adequate,
    Your problems are probably few.

    In conclusion, in your sixties
    You have happiness beyond compare,
    So whatever you wish for the rest of your life,
    I truly hope you get there.

  19. 63

    Where is the party for age sixty-three?.
    For such an odd number, why would there be?
    But there are still things that need to be said,
    And so many questions inside your head.

    Am I now old? Should I retire?
    Are there still things to which I should aspire?
    What are my goals? Who are my friends”
    What were the means that brought me these ends?

    And so I’m here to give you a clue.
    You are no different than when sixty-two.
    A small wrinkle here, another gray hair,
    Nobody will even notice them there.

    Time marches on and you go along
    Singing the words to some old fifties song.
    This dance is exactly what you should do::
    This is the journey that morphed into you


    Bright sunshine warms my face.
    Breezes tickle my arm hair.
    Floral scents spread through my brain.
    I am showering in a fountain of Springtime.
    Bird calls echo in my ears.
    The sight of gently rocking branches
    quickens the rhythm of my heart.
    Hope rises like a phoenix.


    I once knew everything
    But I gained knowledge
    And experience
    And now I know nothing.


    I have spent a ;lifetime
    trying to find that talent or skill
    that would make me a leader–
    That would make me respected.

    I am not strong or coordinated
    I can’t sing, play sports, or model.
    I am not beautiful or rich or powerful.
    I am smart, but not a genius.

    I have none of the attributes
    that makes one great, makes one a leader.
    So I followed those with the talents.
    I tried to be like them, and failed.

    Thereafter, I just raised my children,
    did my job, and was a good friend.
    I entertained myself by writing,
    joking, and creating beautiful things.

    Then one day a group referred to me
    as the person who could do everything.
    All the small skills that seemed insignificant to me
    were perceived by others as a big talent!

    Life is not always measured
    by the big successes
    but is often seen as a collection
    of the very small ones.


    I have noticed that things we don’t say
    Often scream louder than the words we voice.
    Words are free,
    But we don’t always feel free to use them,
    So many remain unsaid.

    Words can cause both joy and pain,
    Both with their use, and in their omission.
    When we care about others,
    It is wise to consider our words.

    My Mother said she was never sorry
    For something she didn’t say,
    But there are many things
    I am sorry I didn’t say.

    Mostly I’m sorry for not letting others
    Know how much they meant to me,
    How much I cared about them,
    How much they enriched my life.

    Words are free
    But we don’t always feel free to use them.
    We get scared, embarrassed, shy, or lazy.
    When we don’t speak up
    We sometimes send the wrong message:

    “I don’t care”, “You aren’t important”,
    “You are invisible”, “I am a fool.”
    We need to realize that there is a loud message
    In our silence.
    And words are free.


    A stranger can make my day
    with kind words
    Some days I’d trade my pay
    for kind words.

    Anger can often fade
    with kind words.
    New friends are sometimes made
    with kind words.

    They don’t cost a dime,
    those kind word.
    It doesn’t take much time
    to find words.

    There is no better way
    than kind words
    to help a friend today.
    Try kind words


    I have noticed that things we don’t say
    Often scream louder than the words we voice.
    Words are free,
    But we don’t always feel free to use them,
    So may remain unsaid.

    Words can cause both joy and pain,
    With their use, and in their omission.
    When we care about others,
    It is wise to consider our words.

    My Mother said she was never sorry
    For something she didn’t say,
    But there are many things
    I am sorry I didn’t say.

    Mostly I’m sorry for not letting others
    Know how much they meant to me,
    How much I cared about them,
    How much they enriched my life.

    Words are free
    But we don’t always feel free to use them.
    We get scared, embarrassed, shy, or lazy.
    When we don’t speak up
    We sometimes send the wrong message:

    “I don’t care”, “You aren’t important”,
    “You are invisible”, “I am a fool.”
    We need to realize that there is a loud message
    In our silence.
    And words are free.

  26. CHANGE

    It is in the air.
    Fear follows
    not knowing
    what is next.

    It is in the air,
    but hope rises..
    It could always
    be better.

    Change has claws,
    and teeth,
    and a smile,
    and muscles.

    It can be creative
    or destructive.
    It is our choice
    how we use it.

  27. WATER







    Once ago I slipped into this universe:
    from where I know not,
    nor shall I ever unless I return–
    Which from what I understand, I cannot.

    Once hence I shall slip away.
    I will slide further in,
    or perhaps will skid out.
    My direction is not yet clear.

    I am whizzing on faster and faster.
    I reach out to grab that which will slow me down,
    but it does not exist,
    so further on I fly.

    My exit is rushing nearer,
    although I cannot detect it.
    I know it is so from those that go before me,
    but I cannot perceive my destination.

    I pay a price for coming through.
    I am slapped in the darkness.
    It hurts, but I am powerless to stop it.
    There are simply objects in my way.

    I will leave with only what I brought.
    I have lost and gained, but all for naught.
    I know that I must leave it all,
    but I have enjoyed holding it for the duration.


    I watch the flickering candle
    Through eyes that burn with tears.
    I wish that I could get a handle
    On all my stress and fears.

    The day has burned into my soul;
    A tight, barbed wire noose.
    But the dancing flame makes me whole,
    And turns my spirit loose.

    Our lives are busy, strained and stressed.
    Techniques we must employ
    By finding how we can be blessed
    With simple moments of joy.

  30. A Poet’s Wish

    I close my eyes
    to send you lazy thoughts
    and peaceful dreams.
    May your troubles be gone,
    love be present,
    and sleep be granted.

  31. THEFT

    I carefully weigh life’s priorities,
    (the life I am living is mine)
    then find they are being adjusted
    to suit someone else’s design.

    Resentment will build when another
    takes over control of one’s time,
    because time is more precious than money.
    Usurpation of life is a crime.

    I am being required to donate
    what I am unwilling to give.
    For another’s convenience I forfeit
    the way I’ve decided to live.

    So please don’t tell me I’m selfish
    in asking for time of my own,
    and don’t tell me I’m foolish or lazy:
    time offered to you is a loan.

    For mine is the real decision
    of what I am willing to do.
    Remember, my time’s only borrowed.
    It doesn’t belong to you.

  32. This one is just for fun for those of you old enough to remember…


    I hear our little man resigned
    and no one even seemed to mind.
    I heard that there were quite a few
    who said, “Its what he ought to do!”

    So now a new man takes the floor.
    Few have heard of him before.
    It seems like someone missed the boat:
    We didn’t even got to vote!

    I wonder if Ford is worried now.
    Well, he’s stuck with it anyhow.
    I hope that he can do the trick
    and not mess up like “Tricky Dick”.

    He’s really going to need support
    if he is going to hold the fort.
    A basic political trust was lost
    at tremendous national cost.

    How can Ford turn around and say,
    “Don’t worry Richard, its okay.”?
    Well, Nixon might be off the hook,
    but I believe he IS a crook!

  33. KARMA

    Do not underestimate your influence
    You touch others every day.
    Your anger multiplies,
    as does your kindness.
    If you smile, others smile.
    If you bark, others bark.
    If you sing, others sing.
    If you frown, others frown.

    If you are kind, it will come back to you,
    from a place you do not expect,
    from a person you cannot repay,
    for a reason you cannot explain.

    If you are selfish you may lose yourself.
    Others will not see you.
    They will not care about you.
    They will not want to listen to you.

    You reap what you sow.
    The lesson is in the Bible.
    It is in the Koran.
    It is in your life.

    How do you wish to be remembered?
    You have the power to decide.
    Are you a force for good,
    Or do you just exist?

    Some think it is important only to be remembered.
    I think it is important how you are remembered.
    Do you represent what you intend,
    Or what you despise?

  34. (Trimeric form)


    Happiness requires peace.
    Angry souls cannot dance.
    Bitter faces turn to stone.
    Cold hearts keep others out.

    Angry souls cannot dance.
    Too stressed to see beauty,
    their joy is stunted.

    Bitter faces turn to stone.
    Lines remain when frowns fade.
    A scowl becomes permanent.

    Cold hearts keep others out.
    Happiness needs warmth,
    Love needs forgiveness.


  35. I DIDN’T CRY

    I was at a party
    when I got the news that day
    that my son was in the ICU
    miles and miles away.

    The party was important.
    My family all was there
    I didn’t want to spoil things,
    but to leave I had to share.

    I was factual for certain
    when I gave the news to all.
    I informed them, but I didn’t cry
    I told them that I’d call.

    I had to drive 5 hours.
    Stay calm. I had to try.
    It isn’t safe to panic.
    And so I didn’t cry.

    When I ultimately got there
    and found he didn’t die
    The relief was so tremendous
    I finally had to cry.


    Sleep eludes me.
    I toss and turn.
    I need some rest.

    The bathroom beckons,
    A brief escape
    From night’s futility.

    The brain cannot shut out that which haunts the conscious mind


    Seven people in a tiny house.
    One bathroom and five women.
    Compromises needed to be made;
    We learned consideration.

    I slept in a triple bunk bed.
    I was at the top,
    so near the ceiling
    That rolling over was risky.

    Seven people in a tiny house
    brought us closer,
    made us aware that
    what we do affects others.

    We are older today,
    but we still live the lessons
    we learned from each other
    being seven in a tiny house.


    I met her shortly after I got married.
    She knows all my secrets,
    and still loves me.

    She was there when I was pregnant,
    and all my single friends fell away.
    She understood my loneliness.

    She threw a baby shower for my second child,
    something I never had for my first,
    and gave me such joy.

    My children cherish her,
    my husband likes her,
    I can’t be happy without her.

    She has been my analyst,
    my companion, my sounding board,
    my entertainment, and my friend.

    Together we have solved the world’s problems,
    and our own.
    She gives me hope.

    Our lives have all been richer
    because she is with us.
    I hope she always will be.


    Your cheesy goodness makes me swoon;
    don’t even need a fork or spoon.
    From Cheddar Bay they say you come,
    I just know I want me some.
    Your warmth and softness are the best.
    Though I love bread, you beat the rest.
    Red Lobster was the only place
    that I could see your luscious face.
    But I can make you now, I bet,
    thanks to the good old internet!


    I could smell it from blocks away
    when I stepped off the bus from school.
    My mouth would instantly water.
    I had to be careful not to drool.

    She started in the morning,
    for it took all day to make.
    It was worth every minute cooking,
    please make no mistake.

    There is nothing I remember
    that could so quickly make my day
    than knowing Mom’s spaghetti
    was just a dinnertime away.

    So I made it for my children
    when they came home from school
    thinking it would have the same effect
    and for it they would drool.

    What they said instead was,
    “Don’t we have Ragu”?
    which is way more in my skill set,
    just between me and you.


    It was not like Disney,
    with the handsome prince
    and the white horse
    and the happily ever after.

    It was embarrassment
    and confusion
    and a lack of understanding
    and perhaps mild obsession.

    When he was around
    I couldn’t speak,
    I couldn’t think,
    I could barely remain upright.

    I thought of little else
    for nearly two years.
    I watched him from afar
    and ached inside.

    He thought about me too—never.
    didn’t know I existed.
    didn’t know I cared.
    still doesn’t.


    When cleaning or crafting, I simply can’t stop.
    My head hurts, my back aches from bottom to top.
    I just have to finish, I can’t take a break.
    If not done by tonight, it will keep me awake.

    My mind and my hands work, I toil and I fret.
    I’m dirty and cramped and I’m covered with sweat.
    I may listen to music or maybe t.v.,
    But don’t try to have a discussion with me.

    I know I can finish today or tomorrow,
    if not I’ll continue, much to my sorrow.
    When it’s all done, I know it will look great.
    I just want to see it complete. I can’t wait!

    Okay, the work’s over, I’m finally done.
    Now I’d like to see all of the trophy’s I’ve won!
    What? No report card? No ribbons? No cash?
    But I’ve finished the job and piled up the trash!

    At least I feel better. Accomplishment’s mine!
    It’s finally completed and it looks just fine!
    Will I do it again? Here is my explanation.
    It’s going to be hard to find good motivation.


    I was born Bahen, a name unique.
    I was told it was Irish, but even Ireland
    said it could not be so.
    I still claimed to be Irish.

    I was 55 before I discovered
    that it had been changed at Ellis Island
    from Behan, definitely Irish.
    Someone could not spell.

    A research project in grade school
    showed my real heritage:

    More concisely, I am American.
    We Americans are a mix
    of all the wonderful cultures
    this planet has produced over its lifetime.

    The strength and richness of America
    comes from this diverse mixture.
    Though it has not always been smooth
    we are who we are because of it.

    Now my last name is Polish,
    and my children can add
    Polish, Slovak and Russian
    to their American heritage.

    I hope that the wealth of our ancestry
    continues to add diversity,
    for the more we include
    the richer our family becomes.


    We worry and scurry and hurry
    until all that we do becomes blurry..
    We must take time to see
    what a real life can be
    when we quit living in such a flurry.


    It seems that when your cell phone
    is in your ear or even in your hand,
    you cannot see your daughter jumping rope,
    that your sister is sitting beside you,
    that your car is veering off course.
    You cannot participate in real life
    because your are in a virtual one.
    Put the cell phone down.
    Turn the damn thing off.
    It will still be there later when I am not,
    when others are not, when life is not.
    Use your ears, eyes, nose, and hands
    to experience what life is giving you,
    not to mess with the cell phone.
    When your cell phone is on
    you don’t even notice that you have a life.
    If one died, which would you miss?

  46. The Dishes

    With seven people, it seemed the job was never done.
    There is just no way to make dish washing fun.
    Because I was the oldest I did it every day.
    It seemed that I would never get them put away.
    I finally went to college, then lived on my own.
    The hatred pf the dishes never was outgrown.
    When I got married we took an unusual vow.
    Wherever we lived, there would be a dishwasher now.
    For 35 years it has been just the thing.
    For my marriage, its more important than the ring!


    You were always there
    when I came home from school,
    when I had a problem,
    when I just needed to talk.

    You were always there
    to make me do my homework,
    to comfort me in illness,
    to teach me difficult tasks.

    You were always there
    for kissing me goodnight,
    for correction when needed,
    for moral guidance.

    You were always there
    writing me letters in college,
    giving advice in child rearing,
    holding hope when things were tough.

    You are always there
    even though you have left this world behind,
    you are in my thoughts, in my heart,
    in my actions, and in my soul.

  48. AN OPINION (revised)

    There was a man who had a thought,
    t’was his and not by others wrought.
    This thought in time brought him much grief:
    the thought had grown to a belief.

    This thought was not by others shared,
    and when they heard it they were scared.
    Then once the seed of fear was sewn
    it grew aggression on its own.

    One man’s thought, another’s fear;
    the conflict flourished year by year.
    A fight ensued, a battle won,
    and then a full blown war begun.

    So it continues here today,
    fighting about what others say.
    One misinterprets what is said,
    and all react with fear and dread.

    But wars have solved it not at all.
    Empires rise and kingdoms fall.
    Yet maybe we can all be free
    if we agree to disagree.

  49. When YOU were ALIVE?

    It was Martin Luther King Day,
    back when schools still had class
    on such a holiday, in 1989.
    My 9 year old son had returned from school.

    I asked him if they had talked
    about Dr. King in school that day.
    He said they had an announcement
    But that was all. Why is it important?

    So I tried to explain a large concept
    to a small child in words he could grasp.
    “Things have changed because of Dr. King.
    When I was a child, things were different.”

    When I was growing up:
    Black people could not marry white people,
    Blacks and whites had to use different bathrooms,
    different drinking fountains, different hotels,
    different restaurants, even different schools.
    Black people had trouble getting jobs,
    getting an education, getting justice.

    Black people were angry,
    and white people were afraid.
    Dr King wanted change,
    but he also wanted peace.

    He helped to change America
    by advocating peaceful change,
    passive resistance, reasonable discourse.
    And things are much better now.

    My boy then said, “Those things
    happened when YOU were ALIVE?”
    It was not a .question,
    It was an accusation.

    I felt guilt and shame as never before,
    Even though I was a child at the time,
    and I had worked for the change,
    I have never gotten over the shame.


    My Father’s voice, so deep and resonant,
    stays with me in my heart, my ears, my mind.
    That is probably because it carried with it
    the wisdom that I will always carry with me.

    I used to think him such a fool
    when he threw words at me.
    The old man just didn’t understand.
    He couldn’t know what my life was like.

    He said things like:
    “Friends come and go, but your family is forever.”
    “If you never work for anything, you will appreciate nothing.”
    “If you can’t be happy with what you have, you will never be happy.”

    Cliches from a dinosaur, I thought.
    But as I have lived my life, I have discovered
    that these are beacon truths in this world.
    This is the knowledge gained by experience and a loving heart.

    I found myself throwing the same words at my children.
    I am sure they though that I, too, was a fool.
    But I also know that their lives will be guided
    by my father’s unappreciated wisdom.


    Busy day,
    long shopping line,
    what’s the hold up?
    Old people,
    short of cash,
    too many groceries.
    How much?
    Just put it on my credit card.
    Thank you so much.
    We will pay you back.
    No need.
    Pay it forward,
    it will come back to me.
    At dinner later at Big Boy,
    The waitress is embarrassed.
    It was an accident.
    Our bill combined with others.
    Someone else paid it.
    Please don’t report it,
    she would get in trouble.
    How much?
    A little over $26.
    There are no words.
    Lesson learned.


    Five siblings,
    all different but all the same.
    Different faces, same smile.
    Different personalities, same values.
    Different dispositions, same temper.
    Different lives, same dedication.
    Different jobs, same work ethic.
    Nature or nurture?
    Some of both, but all raised in love,
    and all devoted in love
    to each other and their families.
    How empty my life would be
    without any one of my
    five siblings!


    I resent that I couldn’t be perfect,
    I regret that I thought I should be.
    What made me think that perfection
    was a state that was suited for me?
    I tried it when I was a child;
    believed I’d find it when I was grown.
    I failed miserably,
    as it surely must be,
    but could not face my flaws as my own.

    My life would have been more accomplished
    if I had much earlier known
    that lessons are learned from each failure.
    That’s how true progress is shown.
    So now I’ve accepted my weakness
    as part of my humanity.
    But I wasted my time
    thinking faults were a crime
    and denying them only hurt me.

  54. Schanie on said:

    I hope you are putting these on greeting cards!


    I insist on giving information,
    not needing your permission.
    I hurry you along each day
    so you don’t blow your mission.

    I am a sergeant, small and mean
    that measures you at work.
    I mold your day and end it,
    making sure that you don’t shirk.

    My movements are a stressor
    that doctors cannot cure.
    I eat your life in small bits,
    unrelenting and obscure.

    You may try to beat me
    since it seems my wheels are spinning.
    I know my speech may have a tick,
    but I am always winning.

    You may take out my battery
    or turn me to the wall,
    remove my plug or fail to wind,
    but somehow I will call.

    So don’t think you can change your life
    by throwing me away,
    for time will march on all the same.
    I mark it day by day.

  56. REALITY (TYBURN form)

    I want to be caring, sharing life.
    But now I am wearing, bearing strife.

  57. AUTISM

    A small sound
    the wrong order
    lights that are too bright
    a slight irritation
    food that isn’t bland enough
    something that is unexpected
    and I blow apart.

  58. Losing Things

    My glove was in my pocket.
    That’s where I saw it last,
    but now it isn’t in there.
    I’d better find it fast.
    Perhaps it’s in my backpack,
    or maybe in my room.
    If I don’t want my Mom to know
    I’d better find it soon.
    It seems I’ve looked all over.
    It’s nowhere to be found.
    I’ve covered every inch of floor
    but it’s just not around.
    I’m really getting worried–
    I haven’t found it yet.
    My Mom is gonna kill me.
    How much worse can it get?
    She says I’m ALWAYS losing things.
    I guess she’s kind of right.
    I just can’t keep my clothing straight,
    I must not be too bright.
    Whoopee! I can’t believe it!
    I found it in the john.
    Before I next misplace it,
    I’d better put it on.
    I worried all for nothing–
    I wish I’d known before.
    But now, where is my homework?
    I left it on the floor…

  59. What Is Love?

    It is big and small, it is warm and cool.
    It is moving and still. It is humbling and exalting.
    It is smooth and furry. It is black and white.
    It is real and imagined. It is light and dark.
    It is restraining and freeing. It is hard and soft.
    It is hopeful and despairing. It is heartfelt and insincere.

    It comes from reality and from dreams.
    It comes from people and from animals.
    It comes from books and from movies.
    It comes from the mundane and from the sublime.
    It comes from nature and from nurture.
    It comes from life and from from death.

    Love is everything. It is why we are alive.
    It is the result of all our interactions;
    of everything we are and ever hope to be.
    It is more life sustaining than food and water.
    Its absence is incompatible with life.
    It is what truly brings happiness, even in very small doses. .


    When I’m feeling sad and blue there is something I can do:
    I walk away from trial and strife and straight into my virtual life.
    In this new life I can be free of all those things that torment me.
    I’m the lovely princess bride who lives the life that I decide.
    My friends are perfect by design. They worship me and treat me fine.
    My work is only what I choose and I decide which worlds to use.
    If my dreams were so defined that they were just what I designed,
    then I would choose to never wake. i’d stay in dreamland, no mistake.
    But since my dreams are uncontrolled, I’ll use the mouse that I now hold
    and with one click avoid this strife, escaping to my virtual life.

  61. BICKERING LIKE CHILDREN (chastushka form)

    It cannot be overstated:
    Congress is quite overrated.
    They should make our nation strong,
    but not by fighting all year long!

  62. LIBRA

    The scales of justice weigh on my mind.
    I can’t see the fairness I so hoped to find.
    I’m bursting with anger
    I cry with despair
    when faced with injustice I see everywhere.

    The courts and the politics drive me insane.
    I feel the rage building inside of my brain.
    I know no one’s perfect,
    I see it’s not fair,
    But certain improvements could help us get there.

    Because of the fighting, the balance is lost.
    Good people suffer to cover the cost.
    Don’t others see it?
    Don’t people care?
    The weight of injustice is too much to bear.

    I wish someone told me a long time ago
    that the rules I grew up with were only for show.
    Commandments aren’t honored,
    laws and rules made of air.
    It’s just unacceptable. Life isn’t fair.

    I wish I was Gemini, Leo, or Aries,
    Cancer, or Virgo with all that it carries.
    But I am a Libra
    so the scales I wear
    insure that I’ll campaign to make things more fair.

  63. Sealed from Public View

    There’s a smile on the outside,
    the part that you can see.
    There’s crying on the inside,
    the hidden part of me.
    I’m youthful in appearance,
    you’d never know the pain.
    But when examined closely,
    one clearly sees the strain.
    A book judged by its cover?
    So come walk in my shoes.
    Appearance is deceiving.
    These are cliches we use.
    But things are deep within me.
    They’re sealed from public view.
    Try not to harshly judge me,
    and I will not judge you.

    Title: “Thousands of Butler crimes sealed from public view” article by Sheila McLaughlin in the Cincinnati Enquirer 2/17/2013

  64. LIMITS

    No one can tell me how fast I can go,
    how far I can fly
    how high I can climb
    How much I can love.

    No one can tell me what choices I have,
    how hard I can try
    how long I can continue
    how soon I can begin.

    No one can limit my existance
    my resistance
    my exuberance
    my patience.

    Try, just try to stop me.
    The only thing that can limit me is my imagination
    my reluctance,
    and my fear.

    And I will never allow that to happen.

    From my earliest memory
    I wanted to be a teacher.
    Not because it seemed
    glamorous or respected,
    but because it felt important.
    My Father was a teacher,
    and so were the most
    influential people in my life.
    I did become a teacher
    and have enjoyed it greatly.
    But as I grew I soon realized
    that I have a more important role.
    I am a lifelong learner.
    If not for this secondary role
    I could never be a teacher,
    for what would their be to teach?

  66. WAVE
    Like the rhythm of my heart,
    I feel the motion of the water
    like a biological function.
    The sound of the waves
    crashing upon the shore
    nourishes my very being.

  67. ALONE

    Alone with the sand.
    Alone with the water.
    Alone with the sky.
    Alone with my thoughts.
    Alone with my troubles.
    Alone with my joys.
    Alone for a moment
    or alone for a lifetime?

  68. Eyes Closed at the Beach

    Crash, pound, crash
    running, giiggles, splash
    Hot sand ouch ouch, ouch
    Warm lazy sun

  69. In The Womb
    Like flying, it is,
    my weighless body
    without the support
    of solid ground,
    water lapping in my ears.
    I don’t move a muscle,
    have a thought
    or give a damn.
    I return to the water
    from which I came
    and am once again

  70. DREAM ON

    My life’s ambition has always been
    to leave the world better than I found it.
    I have always wanted to be an asset
    to the earth and the people who live here.

    For most of my life I have been engaged
    in caring for myself and those I hold dear.
    It has made our small world a better place
    but has not improved the world at large.

    Am I too old to make a difference?
    Am I too weak to make a change?
    Was I too ambitious in my goal?
    Or am I just to lazy to strive for it?

    Now I know that I have changed the world,
    In small ways certainly, but in good ones.
    I have made life better for some by kindness
    And raised my children to do the same.

    It is a fine dream to change the world.
    It is a grand achievement to do so.
    It is a revelation to recognize truly
    that what you do really matters.

  71. Bondage

    It lazily reaches up from the depths
    wrapping itself around my ankles
    trying to drag me down into desolation.
    The tendrils of memory and regret,
    anger and shame, loss and hopelessness,
    tie me to the past and steal my happiness.
    I must swim harder, kick away these bonds.
    For to surrender to them would be
    The end of any possible future.

  72. Paddle On

    The beer is in the back,
    snacks are on the seat,
    our friends are in the middle
    putting up their feet.

    The canoe drifts lazily
    our paddling is crappy,
    but we are having quite a blast
    and all of us are happy.

    A carefree, giggling canoe trip
    with people I adore,
    an afternoon of comradeship
    along the river’s shore.

    No river is quite long enough
    with all its twists and bends.
    I wish my life was like this boat,
    that carries all my friends.


    From far away
    your beacon bright
    steers me through
    the darkest night.
    From birth to death
    you’ll always be
    the guiding light
    surrounding me.
    Though you are there
    and I am here
    by your wise truths
    I always steer.
    So grateful I
    Will always be
    That you’re the Mom
    God gave to me.


    Clack, clack, clack, clack, clack,
    the excitement builds as
    the cars go slowly up the hill
    and we all anticipate
    what is on the other side.
    Then the grandest of all feelings
    as we go over the very top
    and see the fantastic drop.
    Our bottoms leave the seats
    and our stomachs reach our hearts
    and we are weighless.
    But only for a moment
    for soon the ride is over
    and we are once again earthbound.

  75. WAVES



    I look out across the distance,
    across time,
    across life.
    I see our joys and stuggles,
    our triumphs,
    and our strife.
    We’ve been through it all together,
    through laughter,
    and through tears.
    We’ve shared our lifelong journey,
    our life goals,
    and our fears.
    I am so lucky to see this horizon
    and my life
    joining you.
    We have have been quite fortunate
    in sharing
    such a view.

  77. SUNSET

    Swirling ribbons of color
    dance crazily before the sun
    as it settles beneath the sea
    looking for tomorrow’s children.

  78. UNCLE

    Brother of my Father and Mother
    a love given freely
    without obligation
    making me the special Other.

    A kind ear who is always there
    without judgement
    without guilt
    but guidance given with care.

    When I can’t go to Mom or Dad
    I know there is Uncle
    who will listen
    and help me not to feel so bad.

    Without you I feel quite lost:
    no more talks
    no more walks
    loneliness will be the cost.


    When a loved one is lost
    by death
    by distance
    by choice
    he stays in our hearts
    and in our minds
    instead of in our days.

    When you lose yourself
    through illness
    through confusion
    through neglect
    you are still in our hearts
    and in our minds
    instead of in our days.

    We will keep a piece of you
    until you want it back.


    In childhood my life was run
    by parents, teachers and adults.
    In adulthood, my life was run
    by spouse, children, and job..
    In retirement, for the first time
    my life is run by me.


    In this house, I keep all my memories.
    My children grew up here.
    I loved my pets here.
    Important decisions were made here.
    I found refuge from strife here.
    My marriage matured here.
    I entertained friends here.
    I cooked countless meals here.
    I accumulated possessions here.
    Life’s lessons were learned here.
    I grew old here.
    In many ways it contains my life.
    That is the meaning of home.


    You just click on my name
    and you know wherever I am
    I will answer as soon as I can.
    When nobody else is around
    You know somehow I can be found,
    I’ll be here, your Facebook Friend.

  83. DECEIT

    Who am I fooling when I lie?
    Who am I hurting?
    Who will ever know?
    Who cares?

    Why not fabricate?
    Why care what others think?
    Why give away my truths.
    Why be honest?

    Where will lies lead me?
    Where do I turn?
    Where are the answers?
    Where does the truth reside?

    When will I be believed?
    When do I give up?
    When is the reckoning?
    When will I get it?

    What is the truth?
    What is reality?
    What can a lie accomplish?
    What is my problem?

  84. FAIRY TALE (Rhupunt form)

    I imagine
    there’s a dragon
    with a wagon
    in his big cave.

    The hero shows
    with swords and bows
    to end all woes
    and show he’s brave.

    But when he sees
    the dragon, he’s
    swayed by its pleas.
    And with a wave

    He says good bye
    with tear filled eye
    and with a sigh
    resigns to knave.

  85. Moment of Rapture

    After many yearsign
    of feeling alone
    and mostly ignored
    he put his arms
    around me and said
    what can I do
    to make you feel better?
    And for that moment
    I finally felt loved.


    The peace only found
    in my own back yard,
    achieving a goal
    that was really hard,
    believing in dreams
    that seem out of reach,
    a beautiful walk
    on a quiet beach,
    holding on to hope
    when it seems so lost,
    putting it out there
    not measuring cost,
    hoping that life is
    not troubles and pain,
    but only a list of
    the treasures we gain.


    Sometimes the worst thing
    a human being can do
    is nothing at all.

  88. MY HERO

    I know a man who spent his youth
    fighting for our nation.
    In Vietnam, to know the truth
    is just where he was stationed.

    While he was there he nearly died,
    but was saved by his brothers.
    Guilt he carries still inside
    that he could not sve the others.

    His health and peace were sacrificed
    although he lives on still.
    He doesn’t claim its overpriced
    and he never will.

    With all that’s happened still he lives
    to serve his country strong.
    With a passion he will always give
    to his country right or wrong.

    But now he gives to others too,
    to his wife and family.
    He feeds the birds and shows concern
    For other friends like me.

    For all our heroes, small or grand,
    for those we do not know,
    I hope we all will take a stand,
    some gratefulness to show.

    They are among us every day,
    folks who gave their all.
    We must appreciate the way
    they showed up for the call.

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