Coming Home

2796CA24-7B32-45CB-93C3-73817068FC89

Sitting on a bench
Sharing our stories of
George Eliot
The pen named writer
The high school we all attended
The hospital where you were born
Once in the forefront
Then the backdrop
Of our lives

Sitting on a bench
Sharing our stories of
Riversley Road park
With the parading peacock
The pristine bowling green
The wading pool and bandstand
And of course the Museum
Once in the forefront
Then the backdrop
Of our lives

Sitting on bench

Sharing our stories

Outside
Abbey Theater
With new friends in times of need
Old ones re-acquainted
Once in the forefront
Then the backdrop
Of our lives

All these memories were fortunately made
So stories now can be re-told
And I can still cherish you
No matter how quickly
The two years have flown by

March 7th 1998

D8290163-17D5-404B-B6FE-1A38EB744B25

As the ‘passage way’

Of parenthood,

We’ve strived to be.

From nurturing to

Nagging,

As cheerleaders to

Protectors.

 

But actually,

With our smiles

Our laughter

And even the cries,

It’s Companions

We have grown

To become.

 

We’ve won as parents!

We hope you did too!

As despite any time

Apart,

We always feel that need

To come on back.

Back to the place

Of our togetherness.

 

So as 21 years

Rolls on in,

We have only to give

More of what

We’ve been blessed to have,

More WE.

 

From dream

To reality

You have emerged,

Definitely

A gift of complete

God-liness.

 

As beauty radiates

From inside out,

May you leave

Little gems

Of a life well lived,

Where ever

Your story unfolds…

Happy Birthday, Honey.

 

 

 

Mona Lisa

Parched as a summer sky
Harmless as fluffy clouds

Flat as crisp clean sheets

Thus your canvas
Lays ready for your mark
Prime colors and more
Compounded, concentrated
Paletted and waiting
Patiently to bring forth my being
Gently you stroke me
With rich creamy oils
Giving depth for my presence
Followed by subtle blends to conceal me
Slowly you find me
With layer on layer
Revealing my form
Shielding my vulnerabilities
How you know me
From inside out
Innocently coy
Expressively inviting
History has spoken
My darling Leonardo
They recognized your brilliance
As they preserve me with reverence
Intrigue we have inspired
Our secrets maintained
Hence you and I have become
Renown and eternally synonymous

 

Artwork courtesy of Nathan Sawaya

“….weather the uncertainties of love….”

I feel compelled to share a write up by Maria Popova from her Brainpickings publication, on one of my most favorite artists, Gibran, about his understanding of love…

The following gives me a window into how the depth of unfettered love can be allowed to unfold as we learn to love, not just a person but all parts of creation.

“Kahlil Gibran on the Courage to Weather the Uncertainties of Love

“Love is the quality of attention we pay to things,” poet J.D. McClatchy wrote in his beautiful meditation on the contrast and complementarity of love and desire. And what we choose to attend to — our fear or our faith, our woundedness or our devotion to healing — determines the quality of our love. How we navigate our oscillation between these inescapable polarities is governed by the degree of courage, openness, and vulnerability with which we are willing to show up for and to our own hearts. “The alternations between love and its denial,” philosopher Martha Nussbaum observed in contemplating the difficulty of knowing ourselves, “constitute the most essential and ubiquitous structural feature of the human heart.”

That is what the great Lebanese-American poet, painter, and philosopher Kahlil Gibran(January 6, 1883–April 10, 1931) explores in one of the most stirring passages from The Prophet (public library) — the 1923 classic that also gave us what may be the finest advice ever offered on the balance of intimacy and independence in healthy relationships.

Kahlil Gibran, self-portrait

Speaking to the paradoxical human impulse to cower before the largeness of love — to run from its vulnerable-making uncertainties and necessary frustrations at the cost of its deepest rewards — Gibran offers an incantation of courage:

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

Illustration from An ABZ of Love, Kurt Vonnegut’s favorite vintage Danish guide to sexuality

In a sentiment John Steinbeck would come to echo a generation later in his beautiful letter of advice on love to his teenage son, Gibran adds:

Think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

The Prophet remains a timeless trove of wisdom and a mighty clarifying force for the turbidity of the heart. Complement it with Gibran on why we make art and his stunning love letters, then revisit Adrienne Rich on how honorable relationships refine our truths, Erich Fromm on the art of loving and what is keeping us from mastering it, Leo Tolstoy on love and its paradoxical demands, and this wondrous illustrated meditation on the many meanings and manifestations of love.”

Peony

0BEE2CE5-99DB-40BF-B48C-AD2D02842E94.jpeg

Impenetrable
With concentrated density
Tucked and tugged
Her tightness to a bud
Inspiring intrigue
What will become of her
Will she unfurl
Or forever remain insular
Slowly enticed
Her surroundings beckon
With the welcome of suns
By nurturing nutrients
She begins to emerge
Tender gingering
Her mass begins a swell
What lays in her depth
Is both her discovery and reveal
Unending layers
Uniform throughout
Rich with color for living
Graced with buoyant form
Wanting to give of herself
Her soft embrace
Her plentitude
Her deepest gratitude
Yet her bud-time hesitancy
Never too far
As some restraint
Still grounds her down
Tale of the Peony
Who is she to you
You’ve watched her from afar
But she knows you’ve always watered her ♥️

Pain

Tears flow
Empty space,
Tears drained
Empty space.

Heart aches
Lonesomeness,
Heart hardened
Lonesomeness.

Eyes search
What futility!
Eyes beg
What futility!

Can I
Be consoled?
Can anyone
Be consoled?

Memories
Flood with pain.
Pain
Slowly lapped by sweet memories.

Deep within
Strength feels stolen,
Deep within
Strength yet stirs.

Embers rustle
Fire re-ignites,
Embers stoked
Life rekindled

Life, my one companion,
Please hold me
So I feel held.
Perhaps only then,
Pain may subside.

Brother Mine

Standing in your window.
Looking up,
I see your rainbows
Grey clouds and crows.

Looking down,
Garden flowers
Weeds and dustbins.
Wooden bench you built.

I hear the drift of tunes whistled,
Guitar strummed
Barking dogs
Children running.

Imagining voices heard
With orders barked.
Questions.
Where you are?
What you doing?
How long will you be?

Yet, Intuitive, kindly, you
Made school runs,
Senior drop off
Prescription pick up
Tiffin collections.

Innovative, cleverly
Business partnerships
Rental landlord,
Humble volunteer
Avid charity mogul.

Socially charming
Coffee mate
Beer buddy
Fancy date
Adventurous companion.

Did living and the living
Grate your nerves?
Was it chaotic?
Was it tiresome?

With all the doings
All the beings
Essence was missing, lost.
We are not the sum
Of successes or failures.
Yet one too many of any
And the pot can brew over,
And all is burnt away.

You leave me no choice.
In your memory
I shall love
I shall live
Wild and full.
And my tales
I’ll still tell you,
Be them without FaceTime or text
Be them without laughter between
Our eyes and face.

You’ve left this place
Our home together
Your room,
Once my old room.
How can this be!
Yet it is.

Hoping my reminiscing,
My processing and planning,
My tears and questioning,
Disturbs you not.
Darling brother of mine
Now you are gone,
Please Rest In Peace.