MORE POEMS

I was away for some days. While I had good intentions of posting while away, I didn’t. We all know what road is paved with them.

I believe today’s poem was written after my husband and I visited the Washington Cathedral in our country’s capital city.

 

CATHEDRAL MEDITATION

Stillness in shadow,
hints of purple glow;
Solid granite grey
holds, anchors spirit;
Lines flow parallel skyward,
tracks for hope;
Glossy soft light beams
from worn path in stone;
Solo sounds caress reds,
blues of sky tones,
Smooth melody accompanies
thoughts to questions;
Single notes embrace
sketchy creed, as
Fragile faith is nourished
in chapel solitude.

Richard E. Lake

 

 

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VALENTINE

YOU ARE TO ME:

My best dream and poem,
idea and friend;

My closest kindred spirit,
company and lover;

My deepest thought and hope,
fantasy and spice;

The fullness of my past,
meaning of my present,
purpose of my future;

Joy in my laughter,
music in my step,
color of my visions;

Flavor of my banquet,
vintage of my wine,
mystery of my love;

And, so very much more!

Richard E. Lake

DEVELOPING – continuing a series of poems

The lens of my soul catches the
brilliance of your
wide-eyed smile;

The film of my heart records an
inviting embrace, a
searching touch.

The lens of my soul watches the
iced-mink slenderness
of your happy walk.

The film of my heart captures the
mutual magic of
discovered fondness.

The lens of my souls senses the
warm cuddles of
your zest for living;

The film of my heart translates the
passion, the excitement
into shared dreams.
Richard E. Lake
14 September 1982

DANCE IN JOY

 

In the church calendar year, Pentecost follows the season of Christmas. It is the time of the beginning of Jesus’s ministry. In the Gospel of Mark his ministry begins with his baptism by John the Baptist. As Jesus comes out of the water, a voice from heaven proclaims, “You are the Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.

After his death on the day of Pentecost is when tongues of fire are seen as the Spirit enables his disciples to speak in tongues and to be understood by all around them. This is often thought of as the birthday of the church.

 

PENTECOST

ACTS TWO: TWO BALLET
Acts 2:2

Smiling tongues of flames
danced, skittered, flitted freely
at head level,
choreographed by holy breezes,
laughing, gliding
from one to another,
releasing, unlocking, opening,
springing, freeing
the talents,
gifts,
skills,
crafts,
abilities,
creativity of creation,
in blossomed praise
and full color adoration
of the Creator,
birthing the Body of Christ
into full vibrant
ministry!
Richard E. Lake

THE BIG FREEZE

“As the days begin to lengthen, the cold begins to strengthen.”

My Dad’s saying popped into my mind this morning as the thermometer dropped way past the freezing to below zero.

It is a saying that certainly never fails to come true. In my rather long memory, January and February always produce the coldest days, and often the most snow. Richard and I lived in Interlaken, New York, while he studied at Cornell University and I taught in the elementary school. In February 1958 (or 1959), it snowed every day. School was cancelled all but four days. Those days, the buses were unable to reach the majority of the children. I had just one-third of my first graders those days.

The wind also blew and packed the snow between the banks of the state highway leading from Interlaken across the hill to Lodi on Seneca. The town broke a plow trying to get through it. A machine to chew out the stubborn bank was called in to no avail. Finally, controlled blasts of dynamite were used to loosen the blockage so plows could get

 

through and open the roads beyond there.

We lost so much school that New York State authorized us to make it up by increasing our school day by an hour. The snow brought me a benefit as a teacher. The wind had piled the snow to the top of my classroom windows. The children were not distracted for at least a month by activities outside.

The poem for this week is one of my favorites:
A BALLOON IN JANUARY

I laughed out loud
And watched
The small green balloon skimming
Across State Street
Touching, gliding, bouncing
out of place and time on a
January noon.

I watched
and strained
to follow its uncaring path
while the light gave me permission
to proceed on my defined route.

Richard E. Lake

 

Richard E. Lake in Albany, NY

A POETRY BONE

I have been very quiet on WordPress the past few weeks. I have spent this month getting organized in my office.

To begin I sorted all the paper that had accumulated in the last several months. I now have my stories and writing in folders so I can find a story and get it organized to go out to a publisher or agent.

Then I looked at the closet jammed full of stuff in no particular order. Everything came out and in putting it back, I discovered a notebook of my husband’s poems that I didn’t have cataloged. I located printed copies except they were printed in the mid 1980s on a 9-pin printer with a font that I don’t have with my new printer. Actually the words were fine, but they were often surrounded by strange coding that had to be deleted before I could transfer the poem to the file with the others.

I am a bit like a dog with a bone–when I start something, I can’t let it go until I finish.  Yesterday, I declared to be finished. There are still some bits of bone here and there to clean up, but that is not daunting.  Richard was a person who wrote lines of verse here and there, often leaving poems unfinished or in handwriting. Even in the nearly five years since his death, bits and pieces pop up when I open an old notebook.

Therefore, I have decided that for the next several weeks I will publish one of his poems. Here is the first one:

WINTER TIME FRIEND

Friend, O Friend,
Get close to the snow,
the gift of winter,
While you can.

The snow dunes molded by wind
can be a friend, a refreshing
challenge to the finger, toe and eye.

Fly and plop in the drift,
wade and waddle through the
crusty, crunchy freezing crystals.

Savor the stimuli on the nose,
laugh at the determined
fluff above the mitten.

Wonder at the shadow and shape
of infinite grays, whites and
curves and arcs arranged for you
by the wind.

Stare at the forbidding flow of
powdered sunshine freely dancing
to the tune of January.

Let the snow be your playground,
your pool, your pillow,
Allow yourself to indulge
the joy of frolic,

While you can, my friend.

Richard E. Lake 18 January, 1979

THE REFUGEES AND THE HOMELESS

This weekend I met the Secretary General of the Reformed Church in America, who told his story of being a refugee. His family left Nicaragua and came to the United States when he was eight during the 1980s violent Iran-Contra scandal.  He spoke of his fears, not being able to speak English, and being made fun of in school.

A few months ago, I listened to a story of the fear of a Rohingya Muslim mother with her baby being  driven out of Buddhist Myanmar. They walked for endless days through the mud and the jungle while being shot until they reached Thailand.

Breakfast at Sally’s by Richard LeMieux, formerly wealthy, tells the author’s experience of being left with nothing but his car and his dog and of his struggle to find food each day. Sally’s is the Salvation Army. When he was given an old typewriter, he recorded his tale of friends he made and lost. On the street, the homeless help each other find food, beg for food, and must wash in whatever bathroom available.

Refugees have lost their country and homes they knew. Many of our homeless who can no longer return to the home they knew, so in effect are refugees in their own country. John lives somewhere in the United States. Yonatan lived somewhere in Syria. Neither has a safe place to lie down to sleep. They have no home.

Why is John homeless? Any one of many reasons may have left John alone on the street. Poverty, even when a person works, can leave them without enough money to rent even a room. Sometimes a person must leave a home under threat of being beaten or death, a result of domestic violence or their neighborhood. Shifting work opportunities can leave groups of people with no income so they lose their home or business.

Yonatan left Syria where he may have been a teacher, but his school and neighborhood have been leveled by bombs. He may have been known as against the uprising or because he took part in the uprising. He has no income and fears for his life. He might be a Christian in a Moslem country. He could not stay in his country. John and Yonatan have left what they knew as home either as children or adults.

In Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, and Somalia there are similar stories.

The greatest danger for both the homeless and refugees is not being seen as individual men, women, and children with names but only seen as a dehumanizing lump called THEM.”

Perhaps the phrase that should come to mind is THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD, GO I.”

 

AN ANNIVERSARY

Seventy years ago the United Nations agreed upon and signed “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Article 1: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

Article 2: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty

Article 3: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

Article 4: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

Article 5: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”