Louie Bowman Almost Killed Me


Louie Bowman

Years ago, a two year old
Runs outside after church,
Down steep steps to the sidewalk,
Trips, falls down and rolls and rolls
Down the embankment,
Out into the street
Just as a car is pulling up.

Louie Bowman is arriving to
Pick up his ailing Bessie.
He sees the young boy rolling down,
Red hair flying. as out into the street he comes,
Rolling right in path of his car.

Louie yanks hard on the steering wheel,
Pulling as hard as he can to the left.
But he feels the right front wheel
Hit something and he panics,
Braking the blue-green 1948 Ford
To full stop in the middle of the street.

He hears the boy screaming,
Adults running, and it takes
A few seconds for Louie
To process that a scream is good.
In order to scream, the boy
Must be alive! Praise God!
He wipes his brow and sobs.

The wheel of his car had only
Grazed the side of the head
Of the little boy named Freddie.
The boy will forever hold memories
Of rolling out into the street
And the rush of the car toward his head,
Vulnerable, helpless in front of the church.

It was only the first of many times
When Death swooped close to Fred,
But left empty handed. As an
Adult, he counts about ten.
Together, they form a web within the mind,
Surrounded and held by patterns
Only partly formed by things that never were.

Whose life is really their own?
Control an illusion, from the day
One is born till one breathes no more.
A child tumbles and rolls into the street,
Only a moment too slow to be killed,
Remembers the story seventy years later.

He counts on fingers the many times he
Could easily have died— car accidents,
Falls, near drowning, illness where he could have,
Should have died, odds objectively calculated at
More than 99.8% that he should have died—
Yet he lives and breathes and finds love, purpose,
Mission, determination from the whole of life.

What of your life? What is the shape of your Web?
Does it sparkle in mornings from dew?
Does it shimmer in the arch of years?
Where has it led you, vulnerable, lucky,
Disposed to exertions of will….
Spun by spider as agent of the Hand of God?
Strangely translucent, mysterious as prayer—
Do you notice each day of your life?

Everything we do belongs to a world
We have not created by ourselves,
Has its history before history
For better and worse. For millennia,
People have pondered such webs in the stars,
Seen omens, cast spells, studied
Visible and invisible webs we call destiny.

In ancient scripture,
God tells Moses for Israel to designate
Six cities of refuge “so that anyone
Who kills someone inadvertently
May flee there for sanctuary.”
Those who kill with weapons cannot live there.
Accidents were contemplated
With great deliberation by highest authorities.
Would Louie had lived in a city of refuge
Had I died at the age of two that Sunday?

Roads leading to cities of refuge were to be well marked,
Free of obstacles, wider than regular roads,
So those who have killed through hand of fate,
Unwittingly, might proceed without delay,
Not be alone with their regret or guilt….
Poor old Louie came close that day, as close
As the little red haired head to his wheel.

Was that one of the reasons Louie and I were friends—
Years later while I was in high school,
Invisible bonds from me to him and he toward me?
I only know we never spoke of it. I wish I’d gone
To thank him for my life, to express my gratitude,
Told him I would be okay now, he could relax.
Something terrible never happened.
And it deserved attention.


So Much Has Passed

Much Has Passed

In Memory of David W.

Tonight, I thought of you sitting at table,
Eating from these same plates,
Remember your hands that held this glass.
No longer are you here. So much has passed.

Music playing was your favorite music,
Now more than simple music to my ears.
It brings tears to eyes, vibrates, imparts
Not only to ears but touches longing heart.

I smell the apple pie you often made
Each time I taste orchid’s fruity sweetness
Mixed with honey of your eyes.
Sad we never said goodbye.

So many times you moved my heart,
Touched my life in ways I never knew,
Now remembered daily…. Your face that cast
Laughing smile, alive in memory and does not pass.

Twists and Turns

Twists and Turns

Some days the sky fills with clouds.
I do not know why some are dark,
Some are white, some every color,
Blazing, amazing, confusing.

Do clouds cloak the truth,
Hide the Sun or face of God?
Or do clouds show the way—
Another sign that life’s a-maze-ing….

So many twists and turns,
Most I cannot see or sense—
Looking for an entrance,
Exit, portal to mindful presence.

Sometimes I feel all alone in this.
Then suddenly there you are,
Beside, behind, above,
Fluttering within my heart.

Without Hope, Still We Resist

Yes, there were some who saw
Into the Dark Truth that was descending.
But regrettably, they were few.
Most were living within delusions,
Not realizing how blind they were.

I know you worked hard to see—
Felt the tremors within the Earth,
Hoped for a cure and not a curse.
Who among us does not struggle
With our own addictions and false myths,
Hoping that hard work and prayer
Might change the world for the better?

Now the Ogre sits upon the throne,
Undoes all the good done in past years.
All we do is wonder where we went wrong.
All we can do is resist and resist.
May we learn that though we
Be weak and poor, together
We can be strong—overthrow
The Darkness that envelops the Light.

Let us attend the redeeming work
as we begin to understand
a call for selfless mission,
bringing not death but life
to each other and the World.
Can you be open to the hidden vision
found deep within your heart?

Beginning or Ending

My Time,My peace
Under a waning moon,
I lay in the grass before dew had formed—
Though it was cool and damp,
Like quickly dried hair after shower.

Sky darkened and stars went away,
Birds were asleep and out of the way.
I sensed calm descend along with piercing sight
Not known in heavier heat of day.

My tongue was wood and my limbs were stone,
Tired eyes were about to succumb to sleep.
Under my head were strands of grass,
Clear in my mind, the hair of the Earth.

The lawn was a carpet that stretched to the end
Where trees towered unseen where they bend
Like willows that reach to bring their arms
Swaying in breeze as they work their charms.

This is the World I inhale into lungs,
Absorb into skin and take deep into bones—
This is my place, this is my home, this is my time….
Beginning or ending, my rock and my peace.

I Find Myself Everywhere

Mountains-mountains-and-waterfalls-8387762-1476-988Last night, I woke in darkness,

Discovered I had become drops of rain

Falling hard upon the roof.

This is not the first time.

Last year, I opened bottle of vintage wine,

Breathed in bouquet, realizing

I was not only the wine, but crushed grapes,

Even vine on the hill, warm under Sun.


On Fourth of July, I am always

Shooting stars exploding in night;

Or the red canoe covered by winter snow

Down alone on the shore of the lake.

I am the bull in the meadow;

Sometimes rout swimming alive up streams.

More than once in cities,

I was paper blowing down windy streets.


The cracked china plate in the cupboard is me,

More often than I admit I see.

But never am I afraid to acknowledge

I’m full moon behind the clouds or the trees,

Candlelight flame on the mantle….

Singing cricket on summer’s evening—that’s me.


But never am I the big sharp knife in the drawer;

Never the rifle waiting hidden behind the door.

Please, God, never the weapon that wounds.

See me instead as chipped cup that still holds tea.

Look for me when searching for first robin

Singing in early spring or eagle soaring or

Ancient mountain forever sleeping beside calm lake.

Memories Remain, Tumbling and Polished by Time

Memories Remain

Back in the days when I was young,

Winters were long and summers

Never seemed long enough to dwell in

Contemplation of the lightening bugs

Captured in Bell jars, holes in the lids

So they could breath. I hated that they died

By morning light, translucence turned to lead.


Some winters there were drifts that covered

Bedroom windows, blocking light morning, noon,

Even cold stars at night. In such frigid temperatures,

How could Jesus find me, covered as I was in

Blankets on the bed, knees askew and close to head?

Yes, I’m sure they had it worse in Saskatchewan,

Though once the paper said it was as cold

As surface on Mars, considering wind chill.


Thank God there were no dust storms; no plagues of locusts.

We managed population of frogs on

My grandfather’s farm ponds, feeding a

Childish imagination that eating frog legs

Would permit you to jump higher

Than those who only ate chicken. Back then,

Chickens ranged free, as all chickens should,

Until necks were rung and prepared to fry.


In Boy Scouts, I learned to march in time

Down in the basement of the church— left, right,

Left, right as we made a trip around the room.

Camping out on the edge of the lake, we collected

Mosquito bites like merit badges, learned history

On a fifty-mile trek that followed old wagon trails.

I remember unfolding a wrinkled canvas tent,

Finding a scrap of paper hidden inside folds

With “I love you” printed in pencil.

I never found who wrote that note

But wondered for years

Why a Boy Scout would be up to no good.


Clear water to fish; flat stones to skip on the ponds.

Mowing grass, riding horses out on the farm.

Memories remain, tumbling and polished by time.

In dreams, I’m still a boy and the small town

Has never changed. Before morning, I know

My grandmother still lives, back in the years

Before cancer destroyed hope that love would last.


Then the edges splinter. The dinner bell rings,

Calling me inside for dinner, after which

There’s one last hour for lightening bugs,

Communicating in some silent commentary.

Then as bugs and stars are wearing down,

I say my prayers to Jesus, and the air is sweet,

Dreamy embers of the starry sky and sleep.