For “Ch.” and her mom

Posted by Gerry on July 3rd, 2014

A thought upon overhearing a conversation – A person can’t be present for the person in front of her if she has to attend to the phone behind her at the same time.

So I offer for your consideration the following:

She Let Go by Rev. Safire Rose
from Bekah Outside the Box.

To paraphrase another statement (which I will quote properly when I can):

A bird does not rely on the branch to keep her aloft
because she knows that it is her wings
which will carry her where she wants to go.

Finally – guilt is a waste of both people’s energy.


Summer Solstice – gratitude and grace

Posted by Gerry on June 25th, 2014

062114 Grovers Hot Springs 077

For I am certain of this: neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nothing already in existence and nothing still to come, nor any power nor heights, nor depths, not any created thing whatever will be able to come between us and the love of God. Romans 8:39
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 06/21/14

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 06/21/14

062114 Grovers Hot Springs the boys

Our mountain
Our choice
More mountains
More choices
Gifts of love and understanding
Flowing down like rivers

The hint of a breeze,
The breathe of the Creator
Blowing across our lives
As the rivers were flowing o’er our rapids

We languished in the calm pools
Of joy and contentment
Brought by the wonders of our children
In them we shared the excitement
of growing and becoming

They traveled our mountains with us
Their discoveries flowed
Together with ours
In this river of life

Waiting for a sign
That such goodness and acceptance of life
Still flows in these mountains
And brings the water of our lives
Inspiration forevermore

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 06/21/14

062114 Grovers Hot Springs 018

Oh, life
Oh, death
Overwhelmed with quiet courage.
You showed us.
You gave us quiet courage.
Struggles through time.
You gave us more than we know
In sharing all that was within you.
Hold our hearts
As we hold you
In the place we reserve
For our love that is true.
Each of us
In a different way
Have gratitude
Which we can barely say.
Know this now,
In this place,
We know that ultimately
What we got from you
Is grace.
We love you now
As we always did.
Love doesn’t leave us,
As you had to.
For evermore you stay within us
Giving us grace
Only you can bring us.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 06/21/14

Here you are. Here I am.
Wind
Sky
Trees
Mountains
Rocks
Meadow
Here you move
As the wind will move you.
Here you shine
As the sunlight glows.
Your spirit glows
And the wind arises
Spirit soft
Spirit strong

Here I am.
The happiest person I know
Awaiting inside me.
Waiting, but not waiting, for the
Wind
Sky
Trees
Mountains
Rocks
Meadow

Here you move. Here I am.
You in me,
And I in you.
The pages of this book
Are blown
Flipping forward
As if to move on
Moving forward
With you
And without you

I drink a toast to you
You’ve made your mark.
Tears can’t obscure
What I know I’ve lost
What I know I have gained
Gratitude and grace fill my heart
And move my soul
As you do.
In this meadow where you chose to be
The wind rises
The Creator responds
With the reminder of spirit movement
All through the universe

The sun blazes
Warming boulders
To hold the depth of spirit movement
In the ancient stone
On this single spot
In the universe

The grasses ripple in the wind
Transient movement
Of transient things
Like life, not love.
Flowers blooming like star clusters
In distant edges of this universe

Sky will change
And earth will move
Seeds will blow
And the earth will turn,
Not love
Incomprehensible
In being beyond all these things

Ants will walk
Birds will fly
Hawks will soar on distant winds
Babies born will discover this,
The incomprehensible,
Not knowing yet that distant stars
Also form
In this universe
Of
Being.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 06/22/14

I want the warmth of this boulder
To stay in me
I want the sound of this wind to resonate in my dreams
I want our love to glow forever more
I want to move forward.
I want the depth of devotion to never leave me.
I want this thing that we shared,
This love,
This connection,
This devotion,
I want it.
I love it.
I know it makes me better than I might have been.
And you too.
In a thousand years this is where I will be.
Here and now.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 06/22/14

062114 Grovers Hot Springs 104

I toast all our dreams
We lived them here completely
Just by being here
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 06/22/14


forevermore

Posted by Gerry on June 13th, 2014

072507 snorkeling day 078

Shine forevermore.
Through our hearts. Inform our souls.
Shimmering life force.

072612 Grover Hot Springs 038

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 06/13/14


The day my parents named me

Posted by Gerry on May 24th, 2014

This poem is the third in a group, one which followed the other, and now this.

The line from At Home with the Homeless was “Can people see the truth as my parents did the day they named me?” It inspired this one. Both references though are to the people I work with. I learn their names and hear the beauty and the tradition that must have been theirs, and their parents on that day. I often wonder about how things were for them then.

I had a great friend, Gary Kerr, who was one of the very best CPS social workers I ever met. In CPS work we often dealt with conflicts between adolescents and their parents which were somewhat intractable. Gary used to re-frame the issues by asking the parents to recall that day, when the child was so small, when they gave them their name. He asked the parents to recall their hopes and dreams from that time; and bring it into the solutions for the conflict. So a bit of this sentiment is influencing this too, now 20 years after I learned this way to help parents.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
On the beautiful glorious day my parents named me
They only looked forward and believed my future was bright.
Anticipation exploded into celebration.

Becoming, in each day, someone who would come to be
Less, then more, then less, living happenstance of passing night.
And each change brought in the experience of temptation.

Somehow changed and formed in unexpected trajectory.
For the times I struggled and succeeded and did what was right
If someone noticed, then sometimes cheers and acclamation.

At other times, through life’s din, I ended up on my knees;
Bent, broken, spitting out the dirt and cursing at my plight.
Burdened down hopelessly by stagnation or starvation.

I can’t help recall on the day my parents brought me here
All was well and complete, if they kissed me and held me tight.
Just this simple thing was a magnificent sensation.

Family providing encouragement and hope, not fear;
Made my young life whole, like glimmering in potential light.
All that could be was powerful, full of fascination.

Did they know of the awful forces that brought on the tear?
How daily grind, or setbacks, find the weaknesses so slight
All the hope and joy shaken, each day a trepidation.

Thus arriving here, staggering regretfully my fate did veer
To struggles large or small, that could sap any fragile might,
Given over to delusions brought by deprivation.

Can the lessons learned let me into better future peer?
And truth derived or wisdom burned into my soul each night
Become what my parents named me to be, thus into my salvation?
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 05/24/14/

101508 Hood House  108


Wood of life

Posted by Gerry on May 7th, 2014

050414 Fort Ross, California 160

Wood of life in a chapel
Where for over a hundred years people came daily to pray
A blessed place where baptisms were celebrated
And the end of life symbolized a return to the almighty
Should I pray here, or, anywhere the Spirit moves?
Oh, Creator, wherever you are, wherever you have gone
Can you tell me if the people from across the ocean to the west,
And those who joined them from the north
Found any solace in these walls of redwood.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 05/04/14

050414 Fort Ross, California 147

050414 Fort Ross, California 143

050414 Fort Ross, California 149


Petrified Forest, Sonoma County, California, Earth

Posted by Gerry on April 27th, 2014

042614 Petrified Forest Sonoma County 038

042614 Petrified Forest Sonoma County 149

Being in a place looking at the ground
Where three and a half million years ago trees were blown down.
Forces in the earth reached up to the sky
Sending shock waves and ashes so mighty trees would lie.
Then resting under the ashy ground
Water seeped until trees it found
Changed were the trees, no longer of wood
Silica seeped in and for ages it stood.

If life changes to stone when left all alone
Do memories turn to magic and sorrows once so tragic
Become the stuff of wisdom and grace
Passed through generations each in their time and place?
Vague beliefs come from ancestors buried long ago
Like trees made of wood in sunlight they grow.
Then history and mystery morph underneath
Into truths now eternal and solid beliefs.

Changed by earth’s power we can reflect on this hour.
Our mothers and fathers walked earth of their time
Finding forests and seas and mountains to climb,
With some even knowing when their days they were done
The only thing they left was their daughter and son.
Passing knowledge like water to become wisdom like stone
Hardening certainty of the truths to be known.
That good and evil are recognized in the fruits of their labor
And striving to be better was what each life or day was meant for
As descendants of descendants we dig the earth to find
A solid heritage formed like stone; we were meant to be kind.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 04/26/14

042614 Petrified Forest Sonoma County 120

042614 Petrified Forest Sonoma County 124


A couple coded poems

Posted by Gerry on April 19th, 2014

Each of these poems has a secret.
Can you tell me what they hide in plain sight?

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Our door – September 16, 2005

Our door
Our door

A new day pushed the musings of morning slowly aside.
Restful moments between sleep and awakening, give way to
Driving through the mists of the unknown.
On arriving at the clear skies of the high desert, rain soaked and cool, dreams persist, and dreams cast about to and fro
Roaming from dawn to long after dusk away from our door – Too long

A wisp of an idea draws one away
Reality pushes unexpected plans
Dreams are discussed
Openly
Reflectively

A full broad expanse of spaces and distance
A journey to check on a possibility
A possibility that blew away with lack of warmth
A space that wasn’t big enough – so the distance was recouped
Back to our door

A deep bond of ideas draws one back
Reality is what we have made together
Dreams are discovered and lived
Our door at the beginning
Returning to our door at the end.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 09/16/2005

Annual Poem

just in time the winter’s here
frigid days when nights are clear
making storms chill through the bone
a shift can happen as orbit flown
maybe buds begin to flower
june bugs buzzing in daylight hours
joy in heat and sweat and life
august signs of the circle’s strife
showing completion as days crawl
one by one like leaves that fall
new and old beginning as if “amen”
descending into cold to begin again

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 04/18/2014


pictures waiting for a poem

Posted by Gerry on April 9th, 2014

070912 Bolling Memorial Grove

070912 Bolling Memorial Grove


My first poem about baseball and beer

Posted by Gerry on April 6th, 2014

Barley and hops and water
Melded, stirred, procured
A bit of flavor for one to savor
Watching the ball fly to the base
Before some guy puts it into space
Run across the field with a bound
Make it stop before it hits the ground
Toast those guys, give em’ a slap on the back
Before that bat gives another crack
All fueled by barley and hops and water

UCLA v Cal 031514

UCLA v Cal 031514


At home with the homeless

Posted by Gerry on April 4th, 2014

“There is such a level of unspeakable contempt from the haves in society bestowing shame in the homeless. Homelessness stirs up fear: frightens and saddens us at the same time. Judgments are as harsh as the plight itself. Homelessness conjures up thoughts of isolation. Call it what it is: injustice, racism and a harsh reality. Often the most vulnerable suffer the most, including children, teens, single mothers, elderly and the ill.”
Response by a friend

“May we never get used to the poverty and decay around us.
A Christian must act.”
Pope Francis @Pontifex 04/03/14

<> <> <>

In the evening of April 3, 2014 I spent some time with Homeless Action! colleagues Adrienne Lauby, Jen Parr, Karen Martin and Adam Kirshenbaum. They inspired me, and confirmed that this is a noble effort worth pursuing. I went home and this is the poem which ensued.

012709 Homeless but out of the wind

These are my people.
Not in any sense that I lead them,
Or they belong to me.
These are the people I belong with.
These are the people I align with.

I find their lives and their experiences
To be compelling and important.
I find their value as human beings
On a par with the Pope and me;
To be of equal value, of equal worth, and of equal dignity.
I am no better than they are,
And they are no better than me.

There’s a famous prayer attributed to St. Francis.
The prayer was actually submitted anonymously.
Does that mean that a homeless God might have submitted it?

Make me an instrument of Your peace,
To be among those who need some peace.

If there is hatred, and sadness, and regret
As I sit on a cold doorstep,
Where can I sow love?

If I have done injury
And have injured those I love the most
Where is there pardon?
The truth of my life, lived in the bushes
Is the error.
Can people see the truth
As my parents did the day they named me?

I have so many doubts.
I have so little faith.
Where is faith and hope?
It is here, in me.
If I could only see.

In my despair,
The hope
Is in the intrinsic value of me
Where I rest in darkness,
And cold,
And damp clothes
That make me shiver.
Is there faith in awaiting the light?
Are there leaders
And people who pull the levers of power
Who can act on my despair
To give me some light?

And in the depths of sadness,
From where I am now,
Yes, I know joy.
In the kindness of strangers
Who may not know
They have saved my life,
My hope,
My faith in humanity’s inherent goodness

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console.
On the streets
I am at one with my homeless brethren

To be understood as to understand;
I understand my sisters’ plight.

To be loved as to love.
I love without words in the grace of each moment.

For it is in giving that we receive.
As giving from the heart and the meager means
Is the true gift.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
As I hope to be pardoned by all those to whom
My mental illness
And use of altering substances
Or ordinary human frustrations
Have caused me to offend.

Even as I too have been offended
And then have pardoned,
Because that is the thing to do.

And it is in dying
That we are born to eternal life.
It is not the dying in physical death.
It is the dying
Of selfishness and self centeredness.
That is the death we should desire.

This is where I belong;
Among those without a residence.
To bring the realization
That first, and foremost,
And always,
A just society gives a roof
And warmth
And a daily resting place to each person
No matter what.

061913 Downtown Santa Rosa


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