NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Twenty-Five

She came, needing to buy
a replacement for something
broken — accidentally,
unfortunately, sadly —
and then she began to weep,
her husband, not dead six days
would have known how to fix it
how to do all those things
and she did not,
and so she stood with me
weeping, both of us
and a wordless space
holding on to each other
no heroes,
trying again to breathe.

I told a minister a little about this chance encounter and said something like – what can anyone say? He said – I can tell you as a minister there is nothing you can say in times like that. It was an interesting day – one of those days when you wonder what the world is trying to tell you, and if that’s the case, why can’t it speak a little plainer.

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Twenty-Five

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Twenty-One

There was stuff going on today, Easter, News, stuff, all kinds of stuff. So here we go at the last minute!

The water in the glass is clear
conforming perfectly
and perfect in its clarity
playing tricks with light.
Perhaps it remembers being steam
but it has never glowed
red hot as the glass did once.
They sit easily together
within reach of my hand
and being so ready
to answer that reach
strong and fluid and cool.
Quenching as they part
now I am the vessel full
and the empty glass
waits to be filled again.

Also, Mom gave me this folder she found at her house – full of drawings I’d done while in high school and some yearbook photos. Amazing!

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Twenty-One

What? November 22nd?

Where has November gone?

Some of you remember today as the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Some of you know November as NaNoWriMo – 50,000 words, 30 days, 0 excuses.

While I do remember the death of JFK, I haven’t forgotten NaNoWriMo either. But this year, I was just finishing up one watercolor class when another started. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m easily meeting my November goal but as you can see from the word counter at right, it’s not showing in words per se.

Still and all a very successful November and it ain’t over yet!

Watercolor Class//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

I’m closing with Kennedy’s famous inaugural speech:

Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, Reverend Clergy, fellow citizens:

We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom–symbolizing an end as well as a beginning–signifying renewal as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe–the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans–born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage–and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge–and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided there is little we can do–for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom–and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required–not because the communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge–to convert our good words into good deeds–in a new alliance for progress–to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.

To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support–to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective–to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak–and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.

Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.

We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.

But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course–both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final war.

So let us begin anew–remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms–and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths and encourage the arts and commerce.

Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah–to “undo the heavy burdens . . . (and) let the oppressed go free.”

And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.

All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

Now the trumpet summons us again–not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need–not as a call to battle, though embattled we are– but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation”–a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.

Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility–I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it–and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.

Day Twenty-one, NaPoWriMo

There on the floor,
the unexpected.
Finding a cat’s whisker
is a rare event
despite the multiple
cats and their
multitudinous whiskers.
They seem unusually shed
but it must happen like
any hair, certainly more
often than say the kitten’s
teeth, which I’ve never
found a single one after
generations of kittens
grown to cats
and gone now beyond.
Today, a single fine
black whisker which
must be Molly’s,
the singularly black
matriarch of my three.
She shows no interest
when shown this treasure.
The kittens, lighter tabbies,
show no concern at all.
It will be lying on the table
when I return tonight
and I’ll consider its fineness
again and consider all it has
encountered and think of the
collection I’d have if I’d saved
all the whiskers I’d found
over all the years and cats
But I don’t save them,
anymore than I save the
first green grass of spring
or those first sour apple
starts of summer.

Day Three NaPoWriMo 2018

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality… Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The slatted sky shows bars of light and gray
this rearview mirror filled with returning light
history chases, pursues relentless
while trees wave, and houses watch in passing
the news is full of old things,
sacrifices of saints, deaths of heroes.
Who listens to their words, who notes?
Who keeps their dreams of justice?
Linking arms we’ve sung our hopes, like gods
wanting the power to be ours
to change the world each day
for good, for glory, for our salvation
Each morning we put it on, determination —
great shield and buckler. We’ve just to hold.

Day 19 of NaNoWriMo

I was off for a few days this week and then succumbed to the cold that everyone else had last week, hitting me like a brick on Wednesday night and then pushing me into bed with some DayQuil and a box of tissues for a couple days.

In between naps and tea and hurtling kittens, I managed to write. As I reported to the NaNoWriMo folks I was mainly writing by obsessively checking my word count and watching the bar chart go up and the daily words needed to finish go down. That last happens slowly but down it went. Most of this bit of progress happened in two hundred word chunks.

So tonight I watched the counter tip over thirty thousand words and felt really good about it. And I get to blame the DayQuil for all the typos, right?

Tuesday, the 14th of NaNoWriMo

Yesterday, I had things to do – wash to do, trash to get ready, you know – stuff. And last night was a big show on The Voice. I think it was in a short span between doing laundry and getting ready to go write words that I felt a need to sit down and throw paint at paper. (The paper wasn’t too cooperative and I realized later it was because it was the second to last sheet of paper in the block. So it wasn’t really attached to anything. OK, but I still like taping my watercolor paper down more.) This is what came of it.

I was off today. I was off Monday. I am off tomorrow. I am grateful to whatever caused that to happen. This morning I was up bright and early to get three cats to a meeting with destiny, I mean, the vet. That took some pre-planning yesterday and some trickery this morning but we all got there and back and as far as I know, no one got hurt or bitten.

The kittens are now vaccinated and won’t have to go back until probably January when it will be time to deactivate their reproductive systems. They’re in fine shape and didn’t even seem thrown by the two shots today.

Anyway the mission was to get them there and back and then to find some way to get some words written. And that happened too. I got a few hours where I wrote a big scene. Not exactly sure that is how it went down but there’s something and I’m moving on. Yesterday was harder writing because there were five different groups of people who delivered blessings for the newlyweds and those are in poem form. Today I was writing a coronation speech but the Queen is a pretty good inspirational speaker so not as hard. Ended up with more words than this and there might be a few left in me.