Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Academically, one can separate them, as one separates egg whites from yolks. In my heart and my life experience, faith vibrates in my soul, love soars with the beauty and power of a symphony, and under, around, and within it all is the music of my life. Even this biological shell I inhabit vibrates with electrical discharges and maintains a magnet field of sorts, a wondrous electrochemical entity. The music of the universe, God's music lives in me.
Faith, Love, Music
Awake in the dark still hours of the night,
I listened to the music in my heart,
And wondered could it possibly be right:
Can faith, love, and music exist apart?
The essence of all that I am says, "No!"
For music is more than notes on a page.
The triumph of song lets my spirit go,
Beyond the borders of illness or age.
For when I love, my spirit simply sings,
Severed from fetters and free to take flight.
Faith touches my soul with warm golden strings,
That resonate with pure love day and night.
Each treasured prayer that I pray is a song;
It lives in my heart, it has all along.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
It is a dangerous risk we take when we receive a blood and marrow transplant, but the alternative is death. I very nearly died on May 26, 2010 -- the day I was diagnosed with leukemia -- a fast approaching anniversary. For a time, I wandered in the abyss, afraid and feeling very alone. Family and friends gathered quickly around and I discovered I was not alone. Now I can stand at the edge of that abyss and know it is only fear down there, and I can walk away and get on with living each day.
At the Edge
The abyss is always nearby you know,
Some days I stand and look over the edge.
I peer at the swirling maelstrom below,
And I struggle with unwanted knowledge,
Of what terror that depth-less darkness hides.
For I have beheld with benighted eyes,
The shadowy horror which there resides,
And with hopeless voice my future scries.
It was there I first heard the mouth of fear,
The first soundless sound, just a breath of air,
The first nameless dread whispered in my ear,
First doubts and forebodings encountered there.
Then voice becomes voices, a gallery
Gathers to measure my every flaw,
Free-forming an image to frighten me,
From failures, regrets, and injuries raw.
My nightmare self-portrait subsumes the voices --
Now seated, the conversation must start
At a table filled with endless bad choices,
All interconnected, each breaks my heart.
My spirit, sickened, refuses to choose.
I search through my image's lifeless eyes,
To find only myriad ways to lose.
Only then to finally realize...
I'm facing a mirror within my mind.
The whispering voices are memories,
Of failures, regrets, and acts unkind,
That unlock my fear with self-hidden keys.
With faith and a mere speck of fortitude,
I turn from the table and walk away;
From the fear-soaked darkness and solitude,
To walk in the light, where fear has no sway.
Now I stand here staring at that dark hole.
I smile at the sun shining on my face.
I shiver, once at a chill in my soul,
Remembering still that gloomy, dark place.
I shake off the cold and gathering rime,
Its lure and pull have been made to cease.
For choosing to live one day at a time,
God's daily gift lets me live on in peace.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Monday, May 09, 2011
Saturday, May 07, 2011
Friday, May 06, 2011
I guess I never bought into the "Nurnberg Funnel" concept of the mind, even as a child I knew that it continued its business while I slept or worked on other things. When I began writing, I learned the value of "sleeping on" an idea, or a particularly tough prose nut to crack. The poem below is simply one little story about how I might have discovered a little darkness and a bit of magic in my Erratic Attic.
I went digging upstairs, in my attic,
Just thinking I might find some treasures rare.
After all, an attic must be static,
And what's put there ought to remain right there.
Yet, somehow my things have propagated;
And you cannot imagine my chagrin,
I found piles of stuff I thought I hated,
Right next to my good stuff, or all mixed in.
And somehow, my attic had grown larger,
I could no longer see its boundaries.
My flashlight was downstairs on the charger,
Yet in the murky gloom I saw with ease:
Boxes, trunks, and bags were cast and scattered,
Folders, files, and photos stacked in between,
And years of dust lay on things that mattered,
I don't know why I thought they would be clean...
Odd thing is, I had no trouble finding,
The things I knew I had recently stored.
As between those stacks my step was winding,
Were piles of dusty items tied with cord.
Was my attic now self-organizing?
And who was moving my old stuff around?
After all, who was I criticizing?
I must have put it all here, I'll be bound.
The first of many mirrors caught my eye,
It shimmered and it shone like liquid glass --
Couldn't touch the surface on my first try,
Somehow I missed on each successive pass.
I moved on to specula more stable,
To older mirrors, some of them with rime --
All reflected me, yet I was able,
To see the me was from another time.
Just beyond, some movement caught my vision,
Just in between the darkness and the light.
There, velvet on velvet, with precision,
Dark shadows danced at the edge of my sight.
I turned to run and stumbled in the gloom.
I fell and somehow landed on my bed.
I woke up from my nap in my bedroom,
And knew I had been visiting my head.
Perhaps the best description I can find:
My dark, erratic attic is my mind.
Thursday, May 05, 2011
I was just sitting on a stone pillar, atop Brockway Mountain (near Copper Harbor, MI) on a warm September day, with my camera set and ready to capture fall colors from the forest panorama -- much of it framed by the deep blue of Lake Superior. An artist's sky swung overhead -- brilliant blue with plenty of fluffy, puffy, white clouds moving rather rapidly before the wind. The sun was high, causing the clouds to cast shadows on the forest and on the surface of the big lake, shadows that chased each other through the valley and hills below.
I remember the incredible speed of the shadows, which seemed to change pace as they crossed the rugged terrain. Despite the chase, no two shadows connected. They just followed each other out of sight over the next ridge. Sometimes, it feels to me that I am chasing along behind one shadow and leading another, racing over rough terrain or blue water, and never quite connecting with any fellow shadows... leaving no trace of my passage...
In open field, I sat upon a stone,
As scudding clouds drew shadow puddles, fast
Approaching where I chewed my thoughts alone,
I wondered if I'd feel them when they passed.
Touched cooler, yes, than full sun on my skin,
The shadow puddles played upon the field,
And rushed upon the wind, they raced their kin,
Though none could gain advantage, none would yield.
This playful trifle I might have ignored,
Yet, odd, there on my stone that I should find,
The passing puddles touched a deeper chord,
Played deep within the music in my mind --
A song whose message I could not rescind:
We're shadow puddles driven on the wind.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
In recent months, I've spent a lot of time writing about change and about who I am becoming, both as a result of the blood and marrow transplant and meeting the emotional and spiritual challenges of grappling with Graft vs Host Disease, sudden changes in my condition, and learning to live one day at a time. Throughout those journals of my journey, I ponder and reflect upon that search.
I was put in mind of the three characters or faces of us all: The one we show others, our true character or face, and the one we believe is our true face. I wondered, if I am searching for the real me, which of these characters can help me in my search? It started out as a bit of fun, but brought me to a serious question: Should our three faces be in harmony with each other, and would that mean the face you see really be me?
Three Characters in Search of Me
Meticulously made, the mask you see,
It's pattern so familiar to my friends --
So difficult to tell where the mask ends,
And where begins the rest of the real me.
How can this character help me find me?
Beneath the public mask, my private face,
A visage carefully long set apart,
And dancing to the music of my heart,
Without concern for vanity or grace.
Can this character help me in my chase?
Behind them all, an aspect, I believe
Exists as one true face that plays no role,
The one that tells the story of my soul,
A face my soaring spirit would conceive.
What can this character help me retrieve?
I'm faced now with this trichotomy:
The countenances may be a disguise,
When viewed by a variety of eyes,
And yet if they were all in harmony --
Would not the face you see be the real me?
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Imagine my surprise when my friends and family asked me to continue! I nearly ran and hid away in my erratic attic -- my dusty, musty mind. However, poking about in there has proven both useful and surprising for me, and sharing some of what I have found has helped clarify my responses to daily challenges and changes. Viewed through the new eyes of a soul that takes each new day as a gift from God, each new breath as a gift from my brother, and each moment as a treasure to be shared -- those bags of dusty old memories and those many mirrors in my mind demand I consider sharing them. This poem, my first in many long months, describes my decision to share.
I ran among the mirrors in my mind,
And fearing any inadvertent glance
Would touch my eye, or else that I should find,
Another presence watching me by chance,
So suddenly suspicious and afraid,
Blind panic robbed my reason and my wit;
Until by dusty bags of thoughts delayed,
I chose a smaller one and sat on it...
While sitting on the bag, as still as stone,
I calmed myself down, as I knew I must.
I'd always felt as though I were alone,
When shuffling among cobwebs and dust,
When peeking into mirrors old and new,
When sorting through my musty memories,
When seeking shadows, hoping for a view
Down into why they grow like a disease.
I pondered in the hazy, silent gloom,
What caused me both to startle, and to run
Around within my ancient storage room:
The feeling that a new change had begun!
It happened when I opened up a door,
And shared the contents of my dusty bags.
Then opening some windows, I shared more,
By dusting off my mirrors with old rags.
As I discover memories long sought,
And search among them with a focus small,
Assessing if the recollections caught
Within them should be shared with one and all;
Then having shared so many recently,
Among my family and many friends,
I'll share whatever cleans up decently --
And hope and pray the sharing never ends.