I will be honest. I am not happy.
No need to deceive or lie when you’re as old as I…
Now is the time to reveal as much as I can see.
I’ve recently slipped away from death again,
Just as I did when I was three and was hit by a car,
Wheel grazed against my face when I rolled
Down a hill outside the church.
Thank God, for me, the street of life has been long.
There have been soft pillows when I went to sleep,
But so many lost or forgotten dreams.
When I was five, I was thrown
While riding bareback on large trotting horse,
Held onto reins, pulled under beast,
Saw the face of death until hooves
Clipped against my head,
Finally knocked me unconscious.
I let go of reins and fell safely into blackness.
Eight times darkness has come and circled close.
I am like a beef stew, still simmering on the stove,
Invisible chef saying I’m not sufficiently tender,
Apparently for some unfathomed reason
Not yet ready to set upon the Table.
More lessons to be learned–
Battles to be won or lost before peace comes…
Praise God— I still have work to do!
But why should I be happy
When I look outside and see the sky…
Clouds billowing as sails,
Birds as distant yachts upon the roiling seas.
Who will hold my hand as it trembles on the tiller
When I tightly turn to port when day is done,
Gybing across the southwest wind,
Seek a place to anchor for the night?
I will be honest. I am grateful and I am not unhappy….
And I hope for another year and more…
How is the sky where you live today?
Here, limited visibility and the air thick,
Moist heat forcing me inside again,
Curtains pulled against the sun.
Do you see clouds against horizon of your dreams?
When I was young there were no clouds….
The sky eternally blue and I could see forever.
After sunset, fireflies and stars came out.
There were lamps that were lit in evening corners,
Music played late on the radio, and I failed to
Notice love was absent in the house.
I will be open— my life is no tragedy.
If you were here, I’d take your hand,
Look softly but intently into your eyes and ask,
“Has someone ever loved you fully?”
When you were young and alone,
Did you often think of death?
Did you ever spend a day outside upon the ground,
Watch blue skies, white rags of clouds
Sucking fantastic sweetness from the searing air?
Even now, do you feel sad when watching sunsets?
Did you lose yourself at the age of eight
While staring into coals of fire at night,
Have fears of hell instilled…. brush your hair,
Striving for a perfect look, insides unseen,
Alone with sleeping pain you hardly knew was there
So many wasted wishes, each one the same —
With every birthday cake a prayer
God would take me Home and not
Throw me into cold flames of Hell.
Speak to me. What is love if we are only birds
Flying as yachts among the clouds that block the sun?
Are there terrible questions that
Must not be asked, for shame,
Unspeakable shame to ask…..?
Love for me is someone giving a hand to hold,
Yet another chance to stop hiding—
Open all the windows and as light fades into dusk,
Perhaps the promise of an honest kiss.
Who knows you well enough to know
What answers you are afraid to seek?
Speak to me, my friend. I am here.
Should we speak plainly or merely in metaphor
As we shamble down the street?
Do you want to hold hands
Or walk two feet apart? Who are you now?
Are you happy when alone within your skin?
I am not happy; I am grateful and I am not unhappy.
And I am not afraid.
There have been too many births and deaths….
Even those unnoticed are mighty.
More will come before winter snow.
Perhaps we should look no deeper,
But since my youth, I always want to know….
Or would you prefer to sail upon a quiet surface?
Can you bare to read the wrinkles on your face?
Shall we sail together upon white-capped clouds,
Say prayers as we fly upon deep blue sky,
Raging clouds casting shadows at high noon?
Be forewarned, you cannot leave fingerprints in blue.
As gathered darkness comes, will there be answers
To our terrible questions or will the silence reign
Upon dry minds that thirst in prayer for more?