The bottomless courage of the heart

Posted by Gerry on September 13th, 2014

062813 UCSF Mt Zion - In the Meditation Room

“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.”
Blaise Pascal

Bottomless courage of the heart
Is discovered in the moments when the bottom falls out
Sometimes it happens in an instant
Sometimes months and months
Discovery of the bottom occurs as the movement is down
And down
Keep going down and no bottom is found
Hence the bottomless and no solid ground
The heart holds itself and everything else
On the trip down
As the heart sees or feels the sides and keeps going down
And down
And the heart holds on to courage
Courage of the heart is to be in the bottomless
And hold on
And find courage to bounce
Or arise or rise up
The bottomless courage of the heart
Is discovered on the way down
And formed on the way up
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 09/12/14

080308 Albee Creek Redwoods - God's summer home

A visit to the ocean

Posted by Gerry on September 4th, 2014

090114 Pacific Grove-8

On the edge of the lands
A poet stands
Looking west
Hoping for the best
Waves on rocks
Like ticking clocks
Comforting rhythms
For those who were given
Time to find
Some peace of mind
A place to watch for signs
Of how to feel and see our times
Seabirds swoop and glide

I have to make an aside
Sitting on rocks being profound
The water my footrest found
Waves splashed onto my shoes
And in a simple way just proved
While I sat here the planet moved

Back to sea birds gliding
And little crabs striding
In underwater worlds
Tiny lives in ponds unfurled
No one watching, no one caring
Except the lonesome poet staring
To see what is revealed
Transient feelings healed
Heart and tears
Overcoming fears
Beyond the maudlin
Sticking words in
Honoring past
Like looking glass
To places been
Visited again
While the unknown flows
One thing he knows
Future portends
As heartstrings mend
Ocean currents
All the torrents
More birds glide by
Breezes on the lower sky
The tide did rise
My foot stool hides
Now in the crabs domain
Showing what was always plain
The earth will move
And should improve
The poets evolving vision
Seabirds mission
Glide down the coast
And make the most
Of lower sky
While seals swim by
Kelp beds waiting
Light and shadows invading
To hungry seals
Fish revealed
Horizon line flat and fine
As waves at shore define
A changing edge of shore
Symbols perhaps of more
A future fine and steady
Once the poet is ready
To breach the rock edge
Of ocean with a pledge
To live here and now
Not then somehow
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 08/31/14

090114 Pacific Grove-7

Two white butterflies
Splashing of foam feels like home
Under ocean blue skies
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 08/31/14

090114 Pacific Grove-4

The water jumps for joy
As it reaches the shore
The sky may be gray or sunny
The ocean is still overjoyed either way
Nothing gets in the way of its happy leaping
Even though rocks try to
The water swells with pride
As it reaches the destination
Bright little crests emerge
As if they couldn’t wait to leap
Up in the air
Moving to the edge of sea and land
Finding a happy place
To jump for joy
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 09/01/14

Two white butterflies
Always two white butterflies
Traveling along
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 09/01/14

090114 Pacific Grove-2

who owns the sky

Posted by Gerry on August 23rd, 2014


when the wind swirls and around mountaintops curls
no one knows how patterns grow as the wind will always flow
down ravines air careens
pushed or pulled in patterns full
of meaning for those who wonder
who owns the sky

the sky is seen across time or dreams as limitless open space
meaning derived or arrived by happenstance in each place
by effects of interminable wind, blowing up or down again
half way down or half way up never clearly seen
except askew by the few who can see in between
sometimes seen as gates of heaven
moving life forward mystically like leaven
who owns the sky

the wind like breathe of God comes down
shaping space, then clouds, then ground
moisture gathered up above
comes down as snow or rain like love
to bring life’s beginnings or push us on
every night then every dawn
each day or evening like the ones before
buffeted in movement or in lore
though each day uniquely given
events or legacy somehow driven
blowing, swirling, whirling spaces
shaping or renewing faces
of land, or rock, even mountains moved
by wind and sky until it is proved
who owns the sky.

desert sky 1

August 19, 1994

Posted by Gerry on August 14th, 2014

Desert scenes

For * and **

I hate what this world has done to you,
Children of the desert.
Deserted in your own home by those who should love and guide you.
A child of three tender years
A child of five bitter years
Children of the incompetent
Children in the dust
God save you. And God save us.

Tears flow like rain on the desert.
The sadness of those who don’t even know you
Does not know the depths of despair which will haunt those of us who do.
My August is bitter and bleak, when the middle of the month will bring you to mind all the days of my life.
Like a little girl from my past,
who died at the incompetent hands of her mother.
My sadness is like the fire of the hot ground
on the soles of unshorn feet.
God save you.
And God save us.

The little heart of a child should not know such darkness.
Perhaps you don’t.
But the tired heart of your elders carries the weight of your lost lives.
We are not responsible for you,
we who are sent to respond to you.
Or are we?
Your parents could not have foreseen this.
Or could they?
Your God could not save you.
Or did he?

Like the summer monsoon in the barren desert.
Our tears, both silent and weak, are for you.
Can tears and heavy thoughts be salvation?
I hate what this world has done to you, children of the bleak desert.
The children of the tender and the bitter years.
The children of my heart.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 08/17/2000

Easter at the Tram 2003

Red petals

Posted by Gerry on August 8th, 2014

012808 UCSF 11 Long

Red petals
Reflected in the glass
Harbingers of beauty and the past
Hopeful or harrowing
I cannot say which
Streaks of yellow down to the stem
Like heartache and hope reaching within
Hazy like fog my memories twinged
God and I know where we’ve been
Now image moves on to solitary tree
Transformed through time passing
To growth of new things
Handing my heart yet another idea
Old trees and new things
Are what’s left for me

Kings Canyon - Life clings

To rise and fall in living it all

Posted by Gerry on August 3rd, 2014

Point Reyes Lodge 030814-09

On July 2, 2010, our son Christopher, broke his back in a bicycle accident. On July 2, 2014 my cousin commented on happenstance and chance. This is what ensued.

Whole lives built out of the most fragile of happenstance.
That so little matters so much, and so much matters so little.
Is it grace or blessing or curse?

You know, God does what God wants to anyway. +

Kindness goes unrecognized.
Cruelty goes unpunished.
Distraction changes a life.
The inconsequential becomes too large
because someone thought about it too long.

Hold onto the inner strength when the outer strength is buffeted.
Rely on the outer forces when the inner strength wanes.

Four years ago the curse of horrific injury,
And the blessing of lack of permanence rained down on us.
A broken back described as “some scrapes” by our protective friend.
Eleven days in the intensive care of modern health care.
Not knowing.
Only praying.
With little confidence, and all the confidence.
No choices mattered anyway until it was all done.

Every day it is something.
Some chance encounter.
Some instantaneous happenstance can change everything, or nothing.

In our darkest hour there’s still a light shining down inside.*

The power of denial moves us forward
Until the realization bursts forth
It is denial
Reality is more present and real
We do not control it.
We only control our response to it.

Pull back the curtain my fears have drawn +

Whole lives built out of the most fragile of happenstance.
That so little matters so much, and so much matters so little.
Is it grace or blessing or curse?
Whole lives built out of the most fragile of happenstance.
That so little matters so much, and so much matters so little.

“What’s really crazy is how easy it is to get them confused and, how,
in an instant, you can also know the difference.”

*Zoe Muth
+Iris Dement
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 07/02/14

Taken while riding .... the bus

The moon glow unused
for affairs of the sole heart
shining reminder
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 07/06/14

You are a legend among the poor travelers
These who are the most basic of gatherers
Bus tickets and boots pass through your hands
Helping each other as we travel these lands
Heartaches and travails pinch on the heart
Stories and past glories each played a part
Travelers arrive asking help after miles
Hoping to sustain hope despite all their trials
Each went down a path as directed or deflected
Care and kindness must be perfected
By you the legend among travelers
Aligned with the simplest of gatherers
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 07/21/14

Bayer Farm Santa Rosa 071814-15

There were no visions in dreams
Hopes hazy after so many schemes
No haunted or hallowed ground
Elusive answers yet to be found
Time passes beyond how long tears lasted
Now and then somehow contrasted
Memories burst forth unexpectedly
When lyrics touch a nerve introspectively
As particular songs find heartache
Stark realization of no second take
Hands still do their work to transform
Listening to the world still informs
Singing still bursts forth
But my love is not there, so what is it worth?
I know I will find it as I search o’er the earth
The heritage of all humans who went through their birth
Day by day
To rise and fall in living it all
To rise and fall in living it all
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> 07/25/14

Point Reyes Lodge 030814-08

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.
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

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
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

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


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

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