20 Lines A Day

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A Stormy Night With You

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As I listen to the rain spattering against my cabin’s window,
I think of that night when we were stranded here.
The roads were washed out and the creek overflowing,
but I was in your arms , safe, warm, a long-awaited dream.

I saw the lights blink on the alarm clock, the bang on the transmitter.
I smiled, we were alone, you and I , no one would check on us.
I tugged on grandma’s quilt and you tugged back-asleep.
I listened to the sweet sound of your breath, soft, even.

When I awoke, stars glimmered in the window, the clock was flashing.
Darkness still surrounded me, along with your strong, hard arms.
I wanted this night to last forever, the moon seemed satisfied with just a peek at us.
You and I, finally in a place where life brought a freshness-alone, together.


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There is a place

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There is a place in my heart, somewhere, I am sure-
where I can still feel, still love, still care.

My world is so empty, unfulfilling, sorrowful,
I cannot remember joy, peace, wanting to wake up.

I search for my little children, the son I lost,
Those who grew up and moved on without me.

I search for a love I tried so hard to believe in,
and never spent a night without a doubt or fear.

Surely, there is a place where my mother, my son,
my life still exists, waits for me as I wait alone.

I look, I try, but the lies, the lack of caring shouts.
Around me, it is like life laughing in my face.

I am your wife, I am your mother, I am your daughter,
You cannot change that any more than I can change you.

There is a place where I will get what I have toiled for
my entire life. That I have suffered and begged for.

When I get there, some of you may be there, and then,
some of you will not. Then, finally, I will have peace.

My world is so empty, unfulfilling, sorrowful,
I cannot remember joy, peace, wanting to wake up.

I search for my little children, the son I lost,
Those who grew up and moved on without me.

I search for a love I tried so hard to believe in,
and never spent a night without a doubt or fear.

Surely, there is a place where my mother, my son,
my life still exists, waits for me as I wait alone.

I look, I try, but the lies, the lack of caring shouts.
Around me, it is like life laughing in my face.

I am your wife, I am your mother, I am your daughter,
You cannot change that any more than I can change you.

There is a place where I will get what I have toiled for
my entire life. That I have suffered and begged for.

When I get there, some of you may be there, and then,
some of you will not. Then, finally, I will have peace.


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slide through silk

By Jonathan McCallum

“snow” by Jonathan McCallum

crossing freshly fallen trail of

snow,

skis slide through silk,

snow,

falling light,

snow,

moon bright,

snow,

welcoming fireside cottage,

snow.

Poem by Jonathan McCallum @peoplepoesia Poetry Blog

Would you also consider allowing me to write a poem about you? See the Living Poetry gallery helping to promote the international work of Girl Rising.


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White Showers

School children wait, anxious for that first flake to fall-

“The weatherman said…” cried a child under her breath.

Workers  share the same anxiousness, hoping the snow waits-

until they are home by the fireside with their lover.

Snow plow operators can’t wait, they have to be ready,

start their engines when that first flake falls.

 

And it is so beautiful as it coats everything in white,

Children rejoice as they play in the frozen fluff.

Parents who can, relax and watch the joy on their faces.

Then drivers notice that the snow is turning to slush.

Such beauty becomes an ugly grey mess, and yet, next time,

We, for some reason, go through the same routine.

 


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The Last Walk

DSCN1835Walking on the island shore at night always held a fascination for me, especially with my young teen. We would walk along, watching as the lights on shore glimmered off the amazing expanse of water all around is. It was one of those moments that needed no words, the feelings, the magic, spoke for itself.

He reached down and picked up something, turned to me, held it up and smiled. It was a whole conch con, shimmering in the starlight. Wow! I said, as we walked on. I will never forget that night. It is burnt into my soul. A tear runs down my cheek even now. It was the last night we ever spent on the beach together.


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Nature as a Child

After the darkness,

Blue skies surround me

Clouds drift on the horizon

Drifting away at last

Every day is different

Fresh and exciting.

Gladly, I look for

Hovering bees and bugs

Ice melted at last.

Just one warm day

Keeps me hoping

Long after cold returns

Moonlight sparkles

Night times stars

Overhead-your head and mine.

Perhaps I treasure nature

Questioning it’s rhythms

Reining in its surprises

Turning from chill to warmth

Until I come upon the first

Violet, a sure sign of spring.

Wonder if other over it as much

X-citined as I am

You may know-tell me

Zestfully smiling.


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The Feeling of Home

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Home is the place where I walk in the door, recognize the fragrances, smiles at the messes, savor the peace and feeling of security. When my family is with me, What I miss most about home, is simply home, itself.

Of course, coming home alone is a different story. The joy of beloved faces, sloppy kisses from kids and pets, and the “ahh” of taking off the uncomfortable shoes or clothes you’ve endured while you were away, all of these give home that all important feeling of belonging.

What strikes me most about my feelings for ‘home’ is thinking of the homeless. Thinking of not having that place to rest, not being able to go to the kitchen, open the curtains and fix some chai tea. Not flopping down in your favorite recliner, or taking a hot bath. I honestly believe that the best thing about home is simply HAVING ONE.


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What You Could Be

What You Could Be

I look at him, same age as you,

when death snatched you out of the blue.

He’s just 15, but teachers say,

that he will make it big one day.

I touch your photo, hold it too,

each time I pass, your place, your room.

It looks just like it did that day

when Hell took you and life away.

I see him grow, a brilliant smile,

when he creates, he dreams, compiles.

The things I wish that you could see.

I wonder, Babe, what you could be?

It’s just so wrong that you aren’t here.

I see your face, your eyes, your fear.

Still, no one knows, but you and me,

The truth about what you could be.

I pray the day will not be long,

When something might take up the wrong.

And somehow just, please let me see.

The beauty of what you could be.


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Pied Piper

 

Pied Piper 9-20-13

 

Once, in the mist of summer day,

I saw a group of young male turkeys

pecking away in the field next to my house.

 

I watched how they, much like crows,

had a pecking order-

some of them would try to keep

other turkeys from eating.

 

It is interesting how, we, humans

sometimes act the same way.

Thinking we are better,

more deserving, than others are.

 

Now, I often make the greedy turkeys

allow the ones they chastise

a chance to eat.

 

They have learned to follow me to my porch,

knowing I will allow them to eat.

There is enough for all of us

winged or human, if we will only share.


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Irish Colleen

It had been an exhausting trip for Colleen, but, finally she was at the front of the pub that had belonged to her family in England for over 150 years. Colleen, having been born in Georgia, in the United States had heard of this place since she was a child, sitting on her Grandpa’s knee.

Her Grandpa had always called her his, “Irish Colleen”, with her flowing red tresses. Suddenly, it felt real, she WAS that “Irish Colleen”.

“Colleen!” a voice shouted. She looked ahead in astonishment. Her cousin, Siobahn, was her mirror image! Grandpa was right! Irish genes were strong!


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Under a Rotting Log

Under a Rotting Log

 

 

It was a simply beautiful spring day.” She thought. She couldn’t help but take in the tiny buds on flowers, mosses, now growing on damp stones, even the azure sky over head seemed especially lovely.

 

She reached down and gently lifted a rotting log, encased in a curly gray lichen. Just as she picked it up, a shiny creature writhed towards the from underneath the log

 

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It’s just a blue-tailed skink, laughed her brother, a lizard!

 

She felt a little foolish, still, after all the excitement, she was sure the memory of this spring adventure would remain with her always.

 


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Life After Death

She never quite had what others got so easily, it seems. She worked twice as hard and got half as much. Still, every summer she would find a way for a seed or two to curl their heads into the sun, sprout fuzzy, perhaps a bit prickly leaves that soon became a bud.One day, the bud would begin to open, showing its crimson soul. For a few days it would magnify itself, command comments on it’s beauty, then it would begin its trip home.

 Fall would come, she would hake her brown fluted bowl of seeds in the wind and finally succumb to winders cold and wind, break open and spread her seeds. And then spring would come again, and season after season, she would struggle to produce those lovely, fleeting blossoms.

 One year, someone mowed down her beautiful blossom, but she fought on for many years. Sun, rain, wind, cold, her strength lie somewhere inside that tiny seed. One autumn, it seemed no pod had formed,

No one noticed the one hidden in the soil. The poppy no longer bloomed in the place it had always been, But in the spring, a child scratched out a tiny patch around a new plant by her sandbox. She lined it with stones from the creek and soon, a beautiful red flower appeared.

 “What is this, mommy?” she asked one day.

“Oh, my! A poppy!” mommy gasped. “My Aunt Carol used to grow them! Be sure and save the seed pod.”

And she did.

In loving memory of Carol Johnson, November 5, 1948-August 1, 2013


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A Blossom in the Wind

It wasn’t difficult to remember the first time I had been to that old house.

My curly hair was drooping in pigtails, golden brown from the summer sun.

 My Aunt Lilly had whispered to me as we dried the dishes, “I have something I want to show you!”

 “Okay.” I smiled as we continued to work.

 Soon, we climbed into her 1966 white Ford and bumped our way a few miles down the dirt road to a drive way that looked as if had not been used in years. It seemed like the bumping and grinding of the gravel went on forever. Now, I realize, it was only a half mile or so.

 My aunt grabbed my sweaty little hand as we skipped up the chipping rock steps of a wooden cabin, paint long faded to the natural gray of hardwood. She took the key, clipped to her shirt with a safety pin, and unlocked the door.

 It smelled musty inside, and I giggled, ”Yuk,” as I looked up at her.

 “Houses smell like that when no one lives there anymore, Sarah. This is the house I grew up in. I was born here.”

 “But you live on the hillside, Auntie!” I protested. “We were just there!”

 “No, honey, I mean when I was a child, like you. This is where your mother and our brother Willie grew up.”

 I glanced around he room in wonder. It was a mess. The curtains hung down limply, so dusty that the bright sunlight filtered through as if it were sunrise. There was a desk cluttered with writing materials,a yellowed tablet, the edges of the paper curled. a pencil that badly needed sharpened. I noticed that one of the drawers was partly opened and reached to see what was inside.

 My aunt stopped me. “That as mama’s drawer. We weren’t allowed to mess around in there.”“But it’s opened ,Auntie,” I said “Why can’t I look?”

 To be honest, I don’t have a reason, Sarah.” I guess it is just my remembering how we were not to mess in that drawer. Obviously, someone has!”

 “Yeah,” I whined, eyes cat to the floor. “I sure would like to see what’s in there.”

 “Sometimes, Sarah, it is more fun to imagine what a drawer may hold than to actually know.”

 I shrugged my ten year old shoulders and smiled. In my young mind, knowing what was in the drawer would be much more fun.

My aunt and I spent another hour or so wandering through the room. We looked at boxes of old doll, metal cases filled with uncle Willie’s cars. My aunt show me how the pedal operated sewing machine worked, the drawers where scissors and thread were kept. I remember my favorite was the button drawer. In it was an assortment of buttons removed from many different items of clothing before the cloth went into the rag-bag.

 “Why did you bring me here, Auntie?” I asked her as we started out the door.”

 I saw a tear slide down her cheek. “Oh, Sarah,’ she cried. “I was thinking of mamma. It’s been ten years today since she died. We started clean the house , your momma and I and one day, we just didn’t come back. It hurt too much. It was sort of like the drawer, we decided we would rather remember the house the way it had been when she was there, when we were children.”

 That was twenty-seven years ago. I had brought my children there a few times, my mother and I had even come here with Willie one day to get some things out of the barn. But today was different. Today, a tear slipped from my eye as we walked down the steps. We had just buried Aunt Lilly in the family cemetery on the hill. Somehow, I felt a deep, almost mysterious connection with my Aunt Lilly as I looked up at the apple tree, bursting in bloom as if nothing had happened.

 Life changes, time goes by, memories are made, but somethings never seem to change. I snapped a small branch of blossoms and twirled them in my hand. I already had a place picked out for them-the would dry and remain on the inside cover of my Aunt  Lilly’s oldest photograph album. Someday, a young girl with golden brown hair would remember the story that her mother had told her that day.


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Unnatural Fireworks

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The noisy booms from the sky, streaks of color lighting the clouds,

Yes, it’s the fourth of July, but Mother natures rules this year.

The tiny creek is a raging river, littered with trees, bird feeders, toys.

Our grave driveway is underneath the water that blocks the road.

My dad worked at the Tennessee Valley Authority when I was a kid.

Their job was to try to manage flood control. Where there were floods,

We went to photograph, special phone numbers told river levels.

We filled out charts in the days when a main frame took up a room-did one thing.

It’s in my blood. Two of my sons son and two friends sloshed up the road.

The water running down what used to be roads, way to deep to be safe.

Taking videos, pictures, laughing, giving up on umbrellas, soaked to the skin.

Though we laughed, it was muted, somber. We knew why the yards of mud came.

Our mountain city is obsessed with getting rich people from other places to come here.

Strip the vegetation so they can “see” from houses we couldn’t dream of.

We shout to no one, “GO HOME!” CLEAN UP THIS MESS!” But they keep coming.

The collapsed retaining wall and 8 feet of lost land are somehow “our” problem.

I know how the native Americans felt. For “white folks” we’ve been here a long time.

The 1780 US Census lists us in this county, by 1840, we were on this road.

We have lived in this house 5 generations and now my kids can’t afford to live her.

Something is really wrong with this. It used to be a quiet farming community.

I can’t help it, I am mad. I know good people have come here too.

For all the greedy developers, mostly bankrupt before to long, I have one message,”Go the heck home, glare down on your “lessers”, ruin their land, build mansions, ruin the land,

and don’t forget to take pictures of w=what life was like before you ruined it for them.

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