Monday, December 27, 2010

Let It Snow!!!

It's snowing outside - been doing it since late afternoon on Sunday (today is Monday, 12/27/10) - and it's supposed to keep on keeping on most of this day so who knows how much it will be when it ends. The title for this post is "Let It Snow" but we really don't have a choice about that. Can you imagine what it would be like if we could choose? Anyway - I wrote the following poem after another serious snow storm back in 2006. I think they had called it a blizzard at the time.

Blizzard of 2006

At 6 AM - it is already snowing,
Don't know when it started -
The temperature of 20 degrees
Will keep it light and fluffy.

On TV last night they were running
"no church" listings for today
Like school closing lists.

If you have to have a blizzard
It is better on a Sunday -
People can stay home
And the plows and sanders
Can do their work a little easier
Though I doubt driving the plow
Through near whiteout conditions
Is easy.

At noon I shoveled 8 inches -
Light fluffy snow -
But it kept coming -
Collecting and covering
That which I had cleared.

I watched out my window
Sideways snow -
Driven by the wind -
Sculpting shapes as it drifted
And built up to overhang
A roof edge - ready to fall
On any below -

In the evening,
I shoveled again -
Another 8 inches -
And still it snowed

Come to think of it -
Maybe God was using His
Snowblower in heaven -
Blowing the snow to earth;
For the next morning -
The sky was blue and the sun was shining.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dark Cloud

It is Holiday time – time for traveling, sometimes long distances to be with loved ones, family and friends. Too many are serving in the Military with the mission said to be preserving peace and going after al Qaeda and the Taliban far from home – threats from other countries – whew! I know I’m short on details but my point isn’t to tell the news – that’s in all the media – with the fear factor fanned constantly. News of bombs going off at embassies, and the process of either electronic (i.e., x-ray like) searches in airports or for those not sure of the TSA equipment safety you can let one of the agents feel you up (scuse me – do a detailed pat down) – all this to go through to get where you are going.

About 7 years ago or 3 years after 9/11, I wrote the following-

Dark Cloud

Fear has crept into our lives
Here in these United States -
For so long we lived in freedom,
Which included freedom from fear,
Until 9/11.

Now the fear is here -
Almost like a fog which can move
Through openings
We didn’t know were there -
Filling the spaces
We used to have when free from fear.

It is hard to see
In this dark cloud,
Hard to believe
The sun still shines,
Hard to trust
There will be a tomorrow.

We turn to each other now,
Connect more,
Talk of love more,
For love is the one surety
In this time of fear.

So much that used to
Separate us,
Divide us,
Isolate us -
Seems so unimportant
In these fearful times -

Perhaps our growing love
For each other,
Can dissipate the fear cloud,
Just as the sun burns the mist away
Of a foggy day –

As we sing
To the children in my church:

“Go now in peace, go now in peace,
May the light of love surround you,
Everywhere, everywhere,
You may go.”

As we end 2010, may it be so.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ginger has become a breakdancer - we were watching a breakdance video and he just started keeping the beat perfectly. However, once I got my camera he kind of backed off a little and then Tori flew in and distracted him.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Christmas in the 90s

Maybe there's snow - maybe not,
The magical presence of Santa Claus -
Modern derivative of Old Saint Nick,
With bag of toys - never tricks,
Travels by sleigh and flying reindeer -
Over our housetops,
Magical flight.
Down the chimney he comes
In the midst of the night -
So they say.

His presence brings presents
Once in the year,
And what had begun
As a spirit of giving,
Has morphed to a season
In which Christmas sales
May be the reason
We still earn a living!

I wrote this poem in the 90s and each year we see the stores and malls start earlier and earlier to put Christmas things out (even before Halloween now), trying to get a running start on sales. I don’t know if it helps – but it does also show up the web that ties so much together – good sales = jobs, manufacturing of goods. And poor sales mean layoffs and fewer jobs. We are so very interconnected in this!

Another part of all this are the endless Santa’s and lines for kids to tell Santa what they want him to bring them –

What You See Is Not What Is

In the card, a wonderful picture
Santa with a small child on his lap -
An image of the magic of Santa
And Christmas and children -

In reality -
The child screams and cries,
Stranger danger -
And this one the strangest of all -
Or perhaps - the coming to life
Of this white-haired, red-suited figure
Seen in stories and film
Is what frightens -

Mothers plead, cajole
To get the kid in the lap and picture -
Some even threaten
Muttering dire consequences
Under their breath,
While the photographer
Tries various toys and antics
To bring a momentary smile of glee
To that captive face caught on film.

This ritual of the season
Plays out every year -
There is always that first time though
That first encounter with Santa,
The fear and tears and struggles -
Is it any wonder -
That children having survived it,
Think Santa owes them big time?

Lastly comes after Christmas when while shopping for an after-Christmas birthday, one encounters:

Christmas Rubble

The holiday storm is over –
Store racks and displays picked clean
With remnants of fine gifts
Offered now at bargain prices –
Last step before junk;
Impossible to find
A choice birthday gift
In such rubble.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Post November 2010 Election Thoughts

I wrote the following poem a couple of years ago when our economy tanked. My hope then was that we would find ways to recover from this and especially help each other along the way. The mid-term elections have just been held and there has been quite a shift in the power struggles of politics and it is hard to tell at this point how it will all work out or not work out. I wanted to have some sort of marker at the start – so in the next couple years there is a time when the powerful and politicians could have made a positive difference, thus this entry in my blog.

After the election results were known, it was kind of hard to hear President Obama’s speech about working together for the all – and to hear Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, say Republicans' number one priority should be making Obama a one-term president. Uh, scuse me? What have we done???

Economic Tsunami of 2008

The beach was calm,
Lovely –
Dolphins leaping out of the water,
Seabirds circling in the sky,
The sand warm –
We had it all – idyllic

Without warning
The water began to leave the beach
Going farther and farther out
Creatures fled the area,
Then out in the sea
A wall of water
Obliterating all of the view
Came rushing towards us.

Some frantically tried
To find cover,
But it swept in over all –
There was no escape –

After –
Do we try to rebuild?
Can we make structures impervious
To possible tsunamis?
Or do we evolve to a new model,
With less to be lost
Should another arise –
One in which we help each other
And with less greed –

It's still 2008 –
The extent of the devastation unknown,
And the recovery not yet begun.


Back when the full push for this election got underway and the media blitz of ads and phone calls began, I wrote the following:


Kind of a game
played by people
elected to govern/lead us,
Who tend to abuse
their positions and power
for their own good.

Poly means many,
Ticks suck blood
and spread disease
to those on whom they feed.

These are times of polyticks,
With many sick, homeless
and hungry,
On whom those in power
fed well!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Aging Thoughts

Typing a note about an 82-year-old woman and also knowing quite a few people in their 80s and some in their 90s still very active and sharp mentally, I am aware that the 70s are the new 60s. Which means 60 is 50, 50 is 40, 40 30, and 20-something almost a teenager. We really are getting younger as we live longer and better quality lives.

Friends who are aging send me the e-mails of “golden years” and various cartoons about old ladies and I often wish there were some way to affect these ideas to where we really could see we are golden as we age and to see the gifts that are part of who we have become. We aren’t quite there yet but there are individuals who are the exception and are amazing people.

Looking At You

The signs are there -
Mileage, passage of time, years of living
Etched in face and neck
And creaking joints.

Fifty? You dont look it!

Fifty is a look?
X(wrinkles + sags + bags) = 50 years of life.
If you have less (wrinkles, sags and bags)
You look terrific!
If you have more -
Well -
They just dont tell you.

But ME - the I -
Inside the look I wear (you see as me)
Sometimes is 2 or 3 or 5 or 10,
Every age I have lived -
And hardly ever 50.

Do you suppose that 90-year-old
They called
Remarkably spry and alert (for her age)
Do you suppose her I
Is only 2 or 5 or 10 sometimes?

Sure would never know it looking at her

Would you!

Published when 50 in To Listen to Flies: There Are Two Possibilities. Publication of a poetry workshop conducted at Rowe Conference Center in Rowe, Massachusetts from May 3 to 5, 1991 led by Andrei Codrescu

Peer Dumb

Surrounded by my peers,
I didn't know I was theirs
Until I looked in the mirror -

The above poem happened when one day I realized the people in my neighborhood and I were actually about the same age – funny how easy it is to see “them” and “us” – when actually we were all “us”.

And then, one day you realize the young clerk waiting on you in the store called you honey and another uses “dear” – and you begin to be aware that something has changed for you – you are getting older!


Somewhere around 50–something,
People begin to talk of aging,
Tricks for looking good,
Working out,
Needing glasses to read,
Aids to hear.
And with passing years
This process increases,
Adding maybe some aches and pains
or serious health problems.

I used to wonder and
not enjoy the conversations
with these seniors -
Who often didn't look the age
They had reached and
seemed to be reaching for
"You don't look that old!"

But when I got there –
I learned the why of this direction personally.
No matter what our "inside" age,
Our bodies change –
Doing that thing called
Getting old!

It's a hell of a shock
to find you couldn't avoid it –
To see your own wrinkles, lines,
to feel your aches and stiffness.

Hey everyone!
I'm still in here –
I'm not the old lady you see!
I'm not your "honey" or "sweetie,"
Underneath the wrapper you see
I'm still me!

Alas, few see me anymore –
They see my lapses, fumbles,
Not quite with it –
Wrinkled wrapper –
I'm not there anywhere
In their field of view.

For them – I'm gone
Before I'm gone.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Full Moon

As I wrote the previous entry – the moon was still up in the sky, full and bright shining into my west-facing window. They have names for this moon as they do for many other full moons – I think this one is the Hunter’s moon –

Full Moon

Full moon
Looks in at me
Through the window,
Here typing on my computer –
Staring boldly,
Brightly –
Just staring,

And we who stare back
Give it attributes and
Labels .

But the moon just stares
And stares –
None of the above!!

Sherry Swezey - 10/23/10


Saw a movie last night – it was Friday night at the movies at my church and the movie was Smoke Signals by Sherman Alexie. We watched, maybe 20 or so of us together in the darkened room and at the end, the lights were turned on and there was to be a facilitated discussion. I could not stay. I could not, having watched and listened to the film, start talking about it or anything that came up for me about it so I picked up purse and jacket and unobtrusively (I hoped) left. I took the movie and what I felt and thought home with me intact because -


Life is full of experiences
swirling about
free flowing,
waxing and waning,
through sound, light,
warmth, taste, smell, touch
Until they are labeled,
given a name

Which freezes them into being
what we call them
forever and ever.

In that moment
they cease to be ours
and become
what someone else
has said they are.

Sherry Swezey

Friday, October 22, 2010

Jack Frost has been here

Jack Frost was out playing
In the trees last night
In my back yard -
He wasnt doing serious painting yet -
A dab here, a stroke there -
As if to get a sense of what colors to use
And how they would look -
Or maybe -
These first blips of color
Are some color-coded follow-the-dots
For his apprentice painters
To fill in later.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Enough already!!

I’ve been doing something all my life – not on the grand scale it seems Unitarianism encourages, i.e., working for GLBT people, immigrants, people of another race, homeless. A lot of the time I’m struggling to survive – not against poverty or any ‘isms out there – just to survive in this life. So I do and do the best I can for where I am and who and what I am and no matter what or how much – there’s always someone saying I should do more.

Yet if one gets into a meditation practice, one has to learn to be still, to quiet the monkey mind, and just be, maybe follow the breath. It is okay to keep breathing.

Years and years of therapy have always seemed to be about changing how I am, as obviously I am not okay with that. So each therapist supplies his/her point of view to help me be more okay than I feel I am. Too bad they never learned that whatever it is I am is okay and didn’t need changing. Funny thing is no one ever worked on that.

So much missed in this quest – never being enough – for a lifetime. In childhood, I wasn’t enough because 13 foster kids were brought into the home. Graduating 28th out of a class of over 300 kids in high school, my father said I could have been valedictorian if I had tried. My marriage ended because my husband felt I wasn’t enough anymore for him. A therapist of 12 years quit on me. A minister of 9 years left all of us for another church – wasn’t that because we weren’t enough for him anymore?

Imagine, if you can, that just because you are, you are enough. And any doing something is to do because you want to and enjoy the doing, but your only real task in life is to just be. Imagine being loved just because you are – not what you do. That you are a precious human being. Not doing – being.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Weather and Love

This was the summer of too little rain. The lawns turned brown and bare, trees and shrubs struggled through - at last a week of rain - I can see all these growing things gulping up the water, able to restore themselves before winter. In other parts of the world too much water, i.e., flooding.

In a way the weather is kind of demonstrating too little, enough and too much which is similar to so much in life. Hard to find that middle road of enough. Thinking of love - too many have too little and I doubt there is ever too much. Like the song says, "What the world needs now, is love, sweet love, that's the only thing there is just too little of."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Back Again

Now we are 3 - birdies that is. By age, Jockey ?17, Ginger ? 11 and Tori 9. We lost Billy also about 17 years old a month ago and it has been a very hard month for Tori as Billy was his buddy. Interestingly, along with his grief process, Tori has also launched into major new behavior - in the bird world, life moves on, painfully at first but new skills, new behaviors set in. Tori now "talks" just like Ginger with "little bird" and "wha cha doin" - as well as whistling that sounds just like a human whistle. Sometimes the grief takes over and he calls and calls and looks expectantly toward the windows and doors as if he expects Billy to reappear and I have no way to tell him Billy can't come back.