Page the Second


A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Windsor Wedding

I watched the marriage of William and Kate Windsor today. Such a magnificent show of pomp and circumstance! Westminster Cathedral is breathtakingly beautiful with its Gothic traceries and arching vaults. Kate's dress was splendid and her veil gorgeous. The bridesmaid dresses were adorable. I liked the understated elegance. Everything was quite chic. I could see Princess Diana's taste everywhere.

The hats were perhaps the most entertaining part of it all. Who knew there could be so many ways to look completely ridiculous? I can't think how some of them--like Victoria Beckham--could see anything past the doohicky in front of their eyes. And what about poor princesses Beatrice and Eugenie (I mean, come on...they already have the most horrific names. Why saddle them with the most horrific hats as well--unless they wore those to make a humorous statement)?

Amidst all the pealing of bells and royal coaches and troops of horse guards and fly-bys, I couldn't help wishing that they had been married in the temple. Wouldn't that have been fantastic? Not only would they be married in the Lord's house, but forever, not just for this life. I was just a little sad to hear that they already had a parting clause built right into their ceremony, just as countless newlyweds have had for centuries.

Maybe someday...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Far Bridge

I had pulled an early watch and come back to camp to rest a little before the coming battle. I knew there would be fighting this day, as my king was restless. We had sailed from England and now waited to uphold our sovereign's lawful bid for the French throne. I had come without my liege lord, who was too ill to leave his keep. I, as his squire, must keep his honor bright and proudly wear the Mightrinwood colors. I raced to don the last of my armor as the trumpets blared.

All too soon I stood at the ford, sweating in the morning sun amidst a welter of knights and men-at-arms. I could feel the sweat trickling down my body beneath my gambesson. The anticipation and dread clawed at my stomach, threatening to bring forth the porridge I had hastily eaten for breakfast. This could be the day in which I met my Maker. I felt the talisman my sweetheart had given me resting beneath my jerkin. "For you, love, and for Mightrinwood, England, and God." I prayed, knowing that those around me did so as well. Who would come away from this fray whole and alive? I prayed that I would at least die with honor.

The trumpets rang out, heralding the coming of the king. We knelt as one as the king came to the fore. I heard nothing of his speech as the blood pounded in my ears and threatened to strangle the life from me. Soon it was over and we were rising to meet the glares of the assembled French knights. This ford lay at the back door to their heart. Whoever controlled it controlled the rich heartland of France.

Trumpets blared once more and we tightened our formations. I could see the pennons of the angry French tossing and snapping with the breeze which funneled up the river. Was that the Oriflamme, there behind the press? That banner meant there would be no quarter given. We would hold this nameless bridge or die trying. Acid rose in my throat, searing and raw. A shout rose around me and I added my hoarse voice to it. "For England and St. George!"

Again the trumpets blared and the two monstrous factions surged to the middle of the bridge. I was smashed from behind and knocked to my knees. I could only curl up beneath my shield and wait for a chance to rise again. I hoped I would not be trampled to death. The air was filled with the stench of unwashed bodies and the curses and cries of the wounded. Both sides bristled with spears and halberds, swords and maces. From somewhere behind us the English bowmen were hard at work sending cloud after cloud of the great clothyard arrows in a killing rain to fall upon the French.

The battle surged over me, the noise deafening, the stench cloying. I felt another's blood seeping through my gambesson. There was a tiny lull and then the battering on my shield came from a different direction. I peeked out and found myself staring up at the underbelly of a French knight. The French had moved over and past my hiding place and I was in enemy territory! Terror caught at my innards. Surely someone would dispatch me with his dagger before I could even make a single strike! I waited, in dread, for the sting of that dagger to enter my ribs or the 'snick' of one of our own arrows to find my heart.

At last a ceasefire rang out. The bridge was clogged with the dead and dying, stacked like wood in a bonfire. No progress could be made one way or the other. Both armies had fallen back while men dumped the bodies into the chill, black torrent of the river to clear the bridge. Now was my chance!

I struggled up and dragged the wounded knight on whose leg my head had rested, back across the gap. I could hear the astonished and angry French behind me. My heart lifted as my English mates cheered to see me rise. "The blood is not mine!" I yelled in amazement. They drew me back into their arms, pounding me on the back in brotherly bonhomie. We had somehow cheated Death's impartial scythe.

I turned. Now I was almost in the van of the new press. The French had an ax to grind with me, now. I could see the blood lust rise scarlet in their eyes as they searched me out in the second wave of men. They would be coming for me in vengeance. I breathed another plea to the Almighty that I would once again feel the tender arms of my sweetheart around me and breathe the clean air of Britain. The sheep would be lambing, back on the farm. Would I be there to sheer them in the fall?

Again the armies crashed together, the sound deafening--ominous with the cries of the wounded and dying. I could feel the tentative poking of several spears, trying to feel out my defenses. A halberd came over the top; it tried to hook my shield down to let the razor-sharp spears in. I knocked it away. Again. Again. Again. Spears thundered on my shield and skipped across my helm. Splinters of wood and droplets of blood and gobbets of other men's flesh filled the air.

I took every chance to catch the spear-men unaware. One good yank and a man could be rendered weaponless, allowing one of ours to end his life. Our own spear-men worked around and over me, hiding behind my trusted shield. Now and then they sent me a thankful smile as an incoming spear skipped harmlessly off, or I trapped it and sent it behind me for our own to use.

Inch by excruciating inch we crept across the bridge, stepping over the fallen, trying not to trip. The time dragged onward, seemingly forever. Hacking, slashing, bleeding, dying. My face and legs bled from a hundred cuts, but still I fought on. My muscles screamed from the effort of holding up the shield, from the sword, and from the battering of my men behind me and the spears and halberds in front.

At last we began to see the French weakening. The men in their rearguard had endured too many of our stinging arrows and were fleeing the field. At once our king bellowed a charge and we thudded into the French line, pushing, yelling, slicing into them; bludgeoning over them. I could see those eyes change from rank disdain to abject terror as we ran up their sharp spears to kill them.

All at once we were through, like a stopper removed from a dam. Into their backfield we raced, dispatching the wounded, imprisoning the survivors. I stopped, gasping for breath, when I found no enemy left to fight. I doubled over retching into the French dirt. At some time my colors had been torn from one shoulder and hung dripping with blood, sweat, and filth. I had not dishonored the Mightrinwood name.

I had done it! God had kept me alive to see the end--to see my fair one once again--to return to till my good English soil. Perhaps I might even reach home before the lambing was over!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On Shopping

I don't know about you, but I think shopping rots.

I think going from store to store looking at things you never really intend to buy is tantamount to time robbery. My philosophy is: Go to one store, get in, get 'it', get out, go find the bookstore. I'd almost rather have a root canal than trail around to several places, check all the prices, decide which item makes me look less like a hippopotamus on water pills, decide it's too expensive, and start the whole excruciating process all over again.

Once I decided to make myself a plate rack/curtain rod set for my living room. I designed everything and wanted to go pick out the lumber and get down to business. Unfortunately I took my beloved husband along. When I go to Home Depot, I go straight to the man in the little orange apron and ask for exactly what I want. For me, looking at boxes of screws and bags of cement and plumbing pipes isn't all that gripping. My husband is one of those men who walks up and down the aisles for several days, looks at everything, and then goes home to think about it. And that's what he did!

I figured that maybe measuring the windows and the walls above said windows could possibly be a good idea, so that time it was acceptable (even though I knew I'd have to have at least six long boards for the project and we have a stinkin' saw). I measured twice and came away with what I felt were acceptable measurements. My second mistake was taking him back with me! He still wasn't happy with my measurements and it was my project!

I was nearly apoplectic when he dragged me home lumber-less that second time. I was beginning to doubt my admittedly slight prowess as a persuader of husbands. I felt that if we went home a third time without my shelves, I'd be bucking a straight jacket. I don't know whether he saw the tic in my eye or that slight trigger finger twitch but the third trip we finally left with lumber. And the shelves look spectacular, I might add.

My sister, Lisa, is a shopping maven! She might take a month moving around one store but she comes out with slamming deals every time. We know that if she's shopping, she's going to be at least two hours late for whatever we were going to do together. But she has peerless taste and doesn't settle for garbage. I bow in awe of her shopping prowess.

I, on the other hand, glance around quickly, see what looks like something resembling what I want, and sprint for the checkout stand. I've come away with some truly repugnant messes, only lightly disguised. I'd almost rather go on wearing my dowdy, outdated, dumb-looking hand-me-downs than go shopping for clothes.

I don't know if you noticed the bookstore reference. That is a different fish altogether. I'll shop for books. I could support one of those Barnes and Noble clerks for a whole year on the money I spend there on books and the occasional Gaelic Storm CD. I still never leave book-less, though. That's massively counterproductive.

Now if only Lisa could find those dancing shoes I want...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Eagles, Hardware, and Scouting

I've been quite busy this week helping my second son work through his Eagle Project. He is building gates and fencing for Colossal Cave National Park. His birthday is soon, so it's push time right now. I have no idea why he waited 3 whole years to do his project, but there it is. He waited. Silly son.

At any rate, he decided to go down and ask Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, and Frys for donations. None of the other boys in our ward have been able to get anything from Home Depot for various reasons. I was almost loath to even ask them, since it was an extra trip. But Hunter donned his uniform and we went down there.

The stores all told us that they'd get back with us. To me that meant that there was a distinct possibility that we'd be doing fund raisers for the money and that I'd just wasted three hours of precious time I could have spent writing. True to form, none of them called back.

We decided to go down anyway. Again, my son put on the uniform and got spiffed up and we drove down there, braving traffic and road construction. On the way, I told Hunter we needed to pray. He looked askance at me, but then said a very heartfelt prayer asking for help in this honorable endeavor.

We got to Home Depot and they could not have been more kind. It wasn't a matter of having to dredge up the money from somewhere, but of finding the cheerful, helpful, complementary man who was going to give us the money. We left with $25 worth of free lumber, several pats on my son's back from old scouts, a card for a free bowling game, and an amazing feeling.

I looked over at my son and said, "H., that was a direct answer to our prayer. God takes care of His servants." 
He agreed. He seemed a bit amazed that it had worked out so well--that God had helped us so incontrovertibly. I wasn't.

Next we went to Lowes where they said they'd exhausted their extra funding helping out Japan. They did, however, say that their regional manager might be able to help us. So we are waiting on confirmation for him.

Next we went to Ace, where they showered us in cement, screws, fittings, and every bit of hardware we needed. Again, they absolutely couldn't have been more wonderful, helpful people.

Then we went to the other Home Depot, where they said they'd call us today. We'll be down there in a little while in a scout uniform and smile. Frys helped him out with food.

Can I just say that I am, once again, brilliantly, and unquestionably blessed? I have once more seen the hand of my Best Friend in the workings of my life. He shows me daily that I matter to Him. I hope I have made it clear to my son that it wasn't a coincidence--that he knows exactly why several busy people took time out of their busy lives and money out of their tills to help us out.

This is Monday. On Saturday we went out to Colossal cave. I was glad to see so many people there. Many of them were people we had helped through their own Eagle projects.
We clipped the old barbed wire, pulled the old fence posts out (including a rotten railroad tie), re-dug holes, clipped spiny bushes back, and then cemented the new poles into the ground. At the end, we cleaned up the area cleaner than we'd found it, and finished building the last gate.

For next Saturday we just have to screw the crosspieces to the fence, and hang the gates. I'm hoping that the uneven ground won't bollix the 'wheel' idea Hunter had for stabilizing the big gates. If it does, though, I'm confident that he'll be able to drop back and punt. He's done well at that so far. It has been a very worthy project.

I must say that the Scouting program is truly inspired. I wish the men in charge could really catch the vision of that and make a fantastic program for our Venturers. After the Scout level, our program tends to fall apart, somewhat. I've seen so many boys have to rush like crazy at the last minute to finish their projects before they turn eighteen, like my second son and like my eldest. Number Two son has been ready for this project for three years! In all that time, he mostly played sports, instead of finishing up more merit badges. That is a break in the system.

I'm not speaking out of my hat, here. I am a unit commissioner in charge of several units, both packs and troops. I have done Woodbadge (yeah Bears!) and was a troop guide there (yeah Eagles!). I've been to National Camp School to certify as Camp Director/Program Director. I've trained countless leaders. I've run many Cub Scout camps and staffed those and Boy Scout camps. I've been an Asst. Den Leader, Den Leader, Cubmaster, and Assist. Cubmaster.

I see the later boys getting lost, like hikers in a dense fog. Their leaders rarely get enough training and can barely figure out what they need to do for the boys. It's easier just to let the boys play basketball. After all, the boys are supposed to be doing it all now, aren't they? It's the blind leading the blind, and a colossal waste of time, in my opinion.

Leaders need to GET TRAINED so they know what the heck they're doing--so they know how much to do or influence--and how often to step back. They need to care about the boys enough not to waste their time with babysitting measures. They need to care about them enough to show enough leadership so that the boys learn what it is to be a real and effective leader.

Don't even get me started on girls. I think the girls have been robbed in this area for years. Nearly everywhere else in the world girls go right up through the Scout ranks along with boys. Here, they're relegated to lame Girl Scouts, which is a whole other can of centipedes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In Defense of Big Words

I LIKE big words. Words were put on this earth to help us communicate effectively. They allow us to make pictures in our heads which carry meaning and feelings. Words help us grasp concepts which might otherwise get obfuscated by misunderstanding.

Too many people nowadays are starting to lose the capacity to communicate effectively. They are lost in a maze of one-letter words they text from a hand-held device. Those words generally convey very little. We are the generation of the Twitter and the text. Gone is the poetry and the sense of wonder; gone the pithy description. Gone too, is our memory.

Sad, that. We lose the capacity to see a vision in our mind's eye simply from reading the written word. Now it must be spelled out for us in a 3-D movie. Now our children entertain themselves for hours shooting little figures with big cartoon guns instead of romping in the fields of the written word. Our husbands can hardly write sentiments in our birthday cards. Thank goodness for Hallmark.

Bring me words such as pyroclastic, insensate, ambulatory, lapsus, proprioception, and glaucous. Shower me with extravagant fireworks of episememes and dispersoids and primogenitors. Confront me with gyrofrequencies and attenuators. I want to be indefatigable in the quest for knowledge and a champion of those poor, foundering words. I shall endeavor to indemnify those souls I can reach, against the loss of words such as obvolute, laconic, and pallor, rout and spicate, swathe and philately and ineradicable.

Power to the word and words have power, I say.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Siren

This blog is like a siren, luring me away from the real writing I should be doing on my manuscript. It tempts me seductively to come and present my opinions and maundering for the perusal of my friends, drawing me ever onward with another thought or fresh string of words.

I can see it now: the evil fairy cackling as she devises new methods of distraction, weaving her spells of rhetoric and imagination. At times she throws a phrase into the boiling cauldron, which doesn't seem to fit. Then I have to plunge my brain in there and fish it back out; the brain gets goopy and unclear. But can I leave it and go onto my desktop and into my documents? Nope. Must extract icky phrase.

And the clock ticks on.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Issues and PC

Alright. We're having this out right now. I HATE the word 'issues'. "Why?" you ask.
Heh. Now you've done it. You've opened up a whole can of issues--or worms--or cockroaches for that matter. (I don't know why one would keep cockroaches in a can unless they were doing their insect study merit badge for Scouts.)

Why does everybody use 'issues' until it's ground into the pavement like a body that has fallen off of a ten story building? It's just as messy! If you're wanting to say that you have problems...SAY IT. Don't stand around it just watching the word struggle to drag itself off the ground and mean something.

When I hear someone say they have issues, I'm tempted to talk like my dad, who was an English/German teacher. I can hear him now: "What newspaper? I don't see you holding a newspaper." Issues is an over-stuffed suitcase word. People use the word 'issues' to hold too many meanings.

My other pet peeve is 'political correctness'. What the heck? When did it turn political to be tactful and mannerly? When a person labels something "not politically correct", that's when I decide to say that very thing as much as possible, just so they don't get to tell me how to talk. Saying something is not politically correct brings the government MUCH too close to my face. Saying something is unmannerly or rude merely sounds like my beloved mother trying to raise her children correctly.

One might say that I take issue with 'political correctness'...:o)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

True Love, Wasps, and Bodice-rippers

I just have to say that it aggravates the heck out of me when I buy a book and find out it's full of trash.

I bought a book for my birthday last month by an author who I have enjoyed reading in the past: Marion Zimmer Bradley. I enjoy her world-building and her characters sparkle. The problem, I believe, is that she has been dead, now, for some time. Other people are using her name and worlds onto which to build their own junk.

These authors who build bad things onto good structures are like the wasps in our atrium, which appropriate my birdhouses, causing the birds to nest elsewhere. They move in and daub their trash onto the walls of the birdhouse, so that I'm constantly having to clean them back out again. The effect is disheartening.

So I went back to the bookstore and returned the book. It had serious garbage of a kind with which I just can't fill my mind. I looked around and found what I thought was another good book. Usually one can't go horribly wrong with a Jane Austen spin-off. One would think.

This one, however, was chock full of sex. I can't imagine how an author can get Jane
Austen so wrong. Her books were so completely the opposite of bodice-rippers. Her characters got to know the real person instead of feeding the forest fire of sexual voraciousness. The main characters actually fell in love, not lust (I'm not counting Willoughby or the Wickhams here). We knew that those who strayed off the path were very much in the wrong.

This new book could not be more different. The scenes were engineered to raise the blood in increments to the boiling point and then leave off, just like a bodice-ripper. The characters knew they were doing something illicit, but they continuously slapped themselves on the wrist and called it done.


That is exactly the opposite of what Jane Austen stood for. It was probably as bad as net or phone sex, I'm guessing (not having partaken in said activities). I won't say, here, what I think this book would be in aid of, but you get the picture. It was engineered to perform a certain service--which is NOT an evening's light entertainment. This book would
not be one which I would read in the company of my two-time missionary mother.

This book left me feeling completely robbed. I wanted more insights into Elizabeth and Darcy
after the wedding. I haven't really found a book which does that justice. People can't seem to write great love stories about people who are married to each other. I've read many spin-offs from Austen's books and none of them really feature the same people. Why is that?

Why can't a person still be learning how to love their spouse after the wedding? It's not as if life suddenly becomes boring and stodgy the second one gets the ring on. They often have the same struggles they had before the wedding. I'm sure Elizabeth had to struggle all her life with a man who could, at times, be prideful and arrogant. I'm sure she misunderstood him regularly. He hadn't had a mother for the better part of his growing up years. Of course he'd have difficulties. I want to read about how they work through those difficulties. I want to see their love blossom into something full-blown, enduring, and real.

I want it to still be about them, though, and not just hop forward to their children. It's a cop-out (if you bill it as their continuing story) and it's been done. In fact, I and my sister have a fairly decent library of Austen spin-offs and continuations. Don't get me wrong, many of them are pleasant--just not about Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam.

So now I have to take another book back to the bookstore? I suppose if I did that enough times, they might get the hint about the kinds of books they sell. Or not. I'm certain that for every cruddy book I bring back, there are a load of others going out to other people.

Maybe I'll have to be the one to write this story, sometime when I actually learn the secrets of life.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

O Bubble Wrap

(disclaimer: This post is not meant to be sacrilegious in any way--just light-hearted.)

1. And it came to pass that the boy did find bubble wrap in two great rolls upon the side of the road. And he did rejoice exceedingly. And he did take the unwanted rolls and put them in his pack.
2. The boy began to lay plans for the wrap with great joy. And his mother did ask whether he would share the wrap with his friends. The son did treat the question with great consternation at the beginning.
3. Soon the boy did come to see that the bubble wrap had been a gift and must be shared by all, equally.
4. And it came to pass that the boy did tear off a piece of the wrap and did cause his mother to carry the rest of the wrap home with her, enjoining her to refrain from popping the wrap exceedingly. And the dutiful mother did lug the wrap home after extracting a promise from the foolish son to rub her back and play with her hair.
5. Yay verily all was done as the boy said. And there was great rejoicing in the house of the boy, for his brothers and sisters returned home before him.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Justice, the Imbecile

I spent all morning going down to the courthouse to be a character witness. The whole case makes me feel sad for the person who only wants to make life better for at least two people who need each other. One being a tiny boy who cannot speak for himself.

Sometimes it seems as if justice is not only blind but dumb as a bag of wet hair. It ignores the plight of the weak and unrepresented in favor of the loud, powerful, and rich. It isn't supposed to be that way, but it is. Why should it be that justice favors the liar?

Meanwhile the boy suffers. Who shall stand for him?

Monday, April 11, 2011


It's bulky pick up time again. This means that people put perfectly good stuff out on the curb for other people to pick through before The Claw gets it. Of course the perfectly good stuff is sometimes hidden by a great deal of less appetizing garbage, but if one digs, one can find gold.

Today, for instance, I found: a rusty heart-shaped cake pan, two hatchet/hammer thingies, a Skilsaw case without the saw, a heart-shaped lawn ornament, a life jacket, and a china hutch.

Pure Gold I tell you!

Just imagine how I looked walking home in my purple velvety pants carrying all that crap...:o) (except the hutch. I had to go back later and get that with Grumpy Perry) I'm sure my neighbors think I'm an absolute loon. Just thinking how absurd I must look, was making me crack up. So not only was I looking like some freaky kind of bag lady, but I was giggling maniacally to boot. I suppose I see why my daughter flees the house early so she doesn't have to arrive at school in my extremely embarrassing presence.

Now I'll have to get back to that Adirondack chair before the little Mexicans in their pick-up trucks get there to scavenge it first.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

30 Days of Poetry

I have greatly enjoyed participating in Poetry Month. It did take time away from my regular fair, but sometimes it's good to exercise the brain in alternative routes. I hope you enjoy my small offerings.
H. Linn Murphy

Day 30-Last Poem of Poetry Month

Light the bonfires
In the night
Raise the beacon
Burning bright
Light the lamps
Their fires aglow
Place them in
The dark ships bow
Light the candle
And its match
Light the fire
Its tinder catch
Set the lighthouse
light aglow
That its light
Might wax and grow.

All the light
Makes darkness flee
The dark can't stand
In one spark's lee.
Christ is come
As world's light
He is the torch
The beacon bright.
Here He stands
A God aglow
Banishing dark
From world below.

Day 29-5 W's Poem

Ethel Zipporah Muzzlethumper
Found a rotten banana,
Beneath her pillow,
After a very sleepless night,
It squished in her ear causing a squelching sensation.

Day 28-Clerihew Poem

There was a man whose name was John
Who came to steal his brother's throne.
He met a man all dressed in greens
Who tickled him to smithereens.

The man in green was Robin Hood
A man who stood up for the good.
But when he had none bad to fight
He tickled rich men with his might.

Day 27-Lantern Poem

Hits things hard
Banger of nails

Day 26-If You Were Poem

If you were a wing nut

And I was a screw
We'd stick so tightly together
We'd be one, me and you.

Day 25-Quinzain Poem

This rising generation
Will it last the night
That comes now?

Day 24-More Free Verse
Easter eggs so smooth and round
Rainbows play
Across your skin
Never two alike
And yet
Beauty in perfection found

Beauty fleeting
Like sunsets
Like sand paintings
In the sun
Just a moment
Bright and luscious
In a second
Cracked and gone.

Perhaps your beauty
Is not only
On your outer
Smooth skin found
But inside
The golden center
Wrapp'ed in white
A treasure bound.
Day 23-Free Verse
I saw the Savior
Standing there,
His robes billowing
In the wind
My tears streaked down
As I knelt to touch
The wounds in
Hands and wrists and feet.

I had given Him those wounds
My pride, selfishness,
My greed and shame.
I wept to see them
But He smiled.
He lifted me and touched my face
He dried my tears and
Kissed my cheek.
"You," He said "are my loved child.
Come into my arms to stay.

So I came.

Day 22-Free Verse
When I see the sunset's paint
I see the Author of it all,
The sparkle of the firmament

Reflected in His eyes so kind.
Flowers arrayed below His feet
A springtime carpet spread for all
He set the lion and the lamb
Released blue whale, and silver minnow
Flamingo pink and Mockingbird.
He gave us all to use with wisdom,
To serve his plan and cause
Keen joy.
May we keep His stewardship bright
With Knowledge, kindness, hope and love
Let us care as His children,

Day 21-Rictameter Poem
Christ' sacrifice
Given for all the world
A gift none else could ever give
He paid the price to open up death's door
And shed his own life at the cross
The cross was not the end
An atonement

Day 20-The Real ABAB Poem

When the teacher says to sit
Instead I like to go and play
She gets so mad that she could spit
My wry shenanigans make her day.

Geography, science and some math
She asks for papers by the score
Instead I skip right down the path.
It's not for me, I won't do more.

Finally when the day is done
And teacher is a frazzled mess
I realize I have had my fun
Now it is time to go confess.

I go up to the teacher's knee
Apologetic look in hand
She's crying as she looks at me
Why that is I don't understand.

Day 20-AABB Poem
I see you there beyond the gate
Laughing, joking with a mate,
With your golden haystack hair
And your eyes of azure fair.

Laugh with me and be my beau;
Dance with me alone and slow;
Speak to me with honeyed phrase
Of your heart and better days.

Rock me in your arms so strong;
Kiss me gently all night long.
As you did once long ago,
Woo me, woo me, my sweet beau.

Day 19-Alliteration Poem
Mary Muldoon made much of the moon
Making mud-pies in May to a marching tune
She mixed up some mud
And added a spud
Making Mary May Monarch in the month of June.

Day 18-Holiday Poem
4th of July
Parades marching
Hot dogs grilling
Bands playing
Chicken yummy
Fireworks popping
Flags flying
4th of July

Day 17-Nature Personified Poem
A tiny breeze
Tiptoes in
To lift your hair from your sweaty neck;
It plays with airy fingers
Through your hair and across your face.
Then stealthily it dances away
Leaving you

Day 16-Monorhyme Poem
Yesterday I crav-ed sleep
I needn't count those fluffy sheep
A harvest of long hours I reap
At least my meetings I did keep
In them I made not a peep
When I got home I did sleep
My slumber was so long and deep
My Sunday clothes were in a heap
My snoring echoed loud and deep
For wasted hours I truly weep
But finally I need no sleep.

Day 15-What if...Poem
What If...
What if Wiener schnitzels walked around in herds like sheep?
I might bring my fork and snack 'til sleep.
What if I walked around in a cape and pink boots?
I could hide out in comic book stores with all the fruits.
What if they banished you to the land of Cooked Carrots?
I would follow you there with my tweezers and ferrets.
Can I wake up now?

Another day 14 poem
(This was written for our eldest daughter who was going off to serve a mission for the LDS church in Ecuador.)


Off you fly, my own songbird
To sing songs of Joy
In faraway lands.
Though my heart yearns ever
For friendship gone south
Not for the world your wings
Would I clip.
Fill the damp air
With crescendos of Joy,
Touching hearts with Christ's love
Bringing light to the darkness
Spread your wings
And be free
To fly home again
With honor.


Sandals striding dusty roads
Urgent tasks of love
So little time
So long the road
Bearing burdens of the heart
Listen, hear, lambs of the Lord
See, the Shepherd beckons.

I come, a weary messenger
To point you to His shelter
Follow me back
Down dusty roads
Stones and hatred dog our heels
Peace awaits and cleansing tears
Enfolding arms of the Shepherd
A job well done

Day 14
Freestyle poem

Old Growth

Who are these people
Whose lives are lost
Among the scarlet autumn leaves of time
Layers lain down in Eternity
Whose rich, moist soils now make up who I am?

Who were these singers of distant lullabies
Whose voices soothed countless seeds of generations,
Roots now spread lace-like to bind us to them?

I hear their faint echoing, those voices
Calling us home from our games at twilight
Begging remembrance.

I am new leaf;
Fresh sap rising

I am their sum.
Are they proud of me?
Will my voice someday
Fill hearts with longing
And a wish to spread
Up towards the radiance of
The Son?

May I stand so firm a tree.

Day 14-Anything Goes Poem

(I wanted to post another poem I wrote a couple of years ago here, but I can't find it. So here's something wacky and completely fabricated I wrote back at Christmas.)

The night before Christmas and all through the home
The people were sleeping except me; I roam.
With visions of I-pods and Cellphones replete
They hoped against hope that their haul would be neat.

While I in my sweat suit sat down on the floor
Wrapping the presents and bundles galore
When what to my wandering eyes should appear
But another lame TV show and adverts for beer.

I turned off the tube and was turning around
When down from the roof came a thief with a bound
He was dressed in black jammies from his head to his foot
And was bound and determined to swipe my new boots.

He turned in a moment with his bag full of toys
And climbed up the chimney stealing toys from my boys.
I flew to the window with my shotgun all full
And said to the burglar "Please get down or you'll fall."

So I settled a round of rock salt in the gun
And had just a little target practice fun
Then I heard him exclaim as he tore out of sight
"I am NOT going back, 'cause they put up a fight!"

Day 13-Grammar Poem

Bubble wrap
Soft and squishy
Waiting to be popped
As pillow-y as a cloud
If only the roll would last forever

Day 12-Tanka

Clothes on the clothesline
Myriad rainbow colors
Flapping in the wind
Like flights of brilliant birds
Rising up to greet the sun

Day Eleven- Limerick

Our invisible dog named Blinky
Got hold of a ten year old Twinkie
He was barfing out back
'Cause he'd eaten the sack
Now he looks like a sprung out slinky.

Day Ten-Spring is...
Spring looks like paint on cactus tops.
Spring sounds like rain splashing big drops.
Spring feels like fuzzy quail chicks.
Spring smells like creosote at dawn.
Spring tastes like Popsicles on the lawn.

Day Nine-Cinquain 2
Eagle Project
Rear in gear
Before you turn eighteen

Day Eight-Cinquain

Round Stones
Waters gliding over
You are so diff'rent yet the same

Day SEVEN-If I were...

If I were a wing nut, proud and true,
I’d be one that sticks tight especially for you
I’d hold your skates and gates and weights together and
I’d not come undone 'til I rusted away.
I’d be your very own trusty wing nut.

Day SIX-I Am…
I am creative and vulnerable.
I wonder sometimes what people say behind my back.
I hear them whispering and wonder if it's about me.
I see their looks as their heads are bent together
I want to leave all of that behind and fly free
I am creative and vulnerable.

I pretend that someday people will say they 'knew me when...'
I feel hopeful that my God will lift me out of self-reproach
I touch His hand and know that I need not be vulnerable anymore.
I worry that this realization will come too late.
I cry, "Help Me, Lord, to light my lamp."
I am creative and vulnerable.

I understand that God loves us despite our flawed state
I say that He gave me talents as gifts to His servant
I dream that someday I will stand shining before Him
I try to light the lamp now
I hope He welcomes me with a smile.
I am creative and vulnerable.
Day FIVE-Onomatopoea Poem

The Murphy Mobile as it toils down
The road has a language all its own.
Hunk jugga hunk jugga bunk bunk
It says. Then, going over a
Speed bump and into the driveway:
Clang clang uuuuurk ba-chunk
Hunk jugga hunk jugga bunk bunk
Squeeeeeeeeeeee be-chunk
bugga bunk bunk
sighhhhhhhhhhhh urga bunk
POW! Bunk.

Day FOUR-Haiku

Discouraging day
Already begun badly
Remedied with prayer.

Day THREE-Acrostic Poem

Another anniversary of Christ' birth
Paints our land with flowers bold.
Resplendent in their flamboyant finery
I am amazed at their gift of abounding

Day TWO-Triplet

All this day a pounding head
Has kept me haunting my old bed
So it's hard to write and read.

Day ONE-Couplet

Watching Conference can be fun
'Specially if you've had some sun.

We'll come sit and watch the Brothers
So we know how to treat others.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On Houses and Dreams

Yesterday was a disheartening day. It was all I could do to edit what I'd already written. I had a headache and some problems I felt were insurmountable.
Today, however, the sun has slanted its rays into the dark corners of my mind and those problems seem manageable with the help of my Eternal Best Friend.

Today my son and I were fantasizing about the kind of house we would love to have someday. Mine had gables and turrets and Victorian gingerbread. It was a rambling house full of rooms quite like the house in which I lived when I was a foster mom for delinquent girls. That house had ten bedrooms and crannies I never even saw. It was amazing! My dream house would, perhaps, be a little less run down, but the serendipity of it would be there. I want to go around a corner and say, "Oh! Where did this room come from? I never noticed that before!"

I would love to have my computer perched in the top of a tower so that I can look out into the huge trees lining the street. (I'm remembering my friend's house which was actually a working mortuary. Her room was a tower. It was sa-weet! I can just see those gorgeous trees all fiery with autumn leaves.)

My youngest son's house mostly had to do with his magnificent tree house in the back yard. He even specified that it should be a huge old oak or a rowen. It should have a round floor, which wraps around the tree. There should be a balcony and a concealable ladder. He wants crenelations so he can shoot people with his nerf guns and they can't get him. I hope that we can make this dream come true at least a little, before he gets too old to appreciate it. Most of the trees around here are scrawny and full of needle-sharp spikes.

Now my mind is working on this dream for my son. He has mentioned it before--this wish for a tree house. I've got to at least find him a giant spool and some 'found' lumber so he can build it himself. I think that would really teach him that he has to actually do something if he wants his dreams to come to fruition.

Maybe I should remember that as well. No dreamer's dream ever came true if they only slept there dreaming.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tender Mercies and Easter Eggs

As my youngest and I walk to school together we talk about a wide variety of subjects. Today we were discussing God. My son has a friend who, at the tender age of 12, has decided that he is an atheist. I told my son that to decide that without any proof is absurd.

God shows me that He is there and He cares about me on a daily basis. I look for those tender mercies. It is always evident to me that it wasn't a coincidence--ever. One can look anywhere and see something which man cannot make, and coincidence cannot explain.

Sure there is evidence to support the Big Bang. There is also evidence to support the Big Crunch and String Theory. So what. Is God probably sitting in some tiny workshop somewhere putting things together like Legos? Probably not. Who is to say what processes he uses? Who is to say what chain reactions he sets into play and how far back in history?

So today I found that I really had to go to the bathroom. It was getting to be a pressing situation. I had already dropped off the boy and started back and I was wondering how I was ever going to make it home intact. So I had a little chat with God. I asked him to help me make it home in one piece.
He said, "Why don't you turn around and go at school?"
"'Cause it's back there and I'm already on the way home."
"Then go at the CPA's office."
"But I've never been in there. How do I even know it's open? Why would they let a stranger come in and use their potty?"
"Have faith."

So I did. The office was not only open, but the nicest receptionist on the planet showed the way to the Room of Comfort and Great Relief. When I came out, ready to be human again, I told her she was my new best friend; she commiserated with me about the woes of walking.

As I was leaving the office, I put my headphones back on. I never use them on the way to school, so I can talk to my children. On the way home, however, I use them to set a good pace. I have a fairly wide variety of music on my MP3 player--anywhere from Drop-kick Murphys to hymns to Skillet. I turned on my MP3 and just as if God were speaking to me through my headphones, I heard the Leahys sing, "I am yours and you are mine." The song went on to say that He loved me and considered me His follower. I tell you that I felt it with the force of a gale in my soul. As I trudged through the desert, tears were streaming down my cheeks with the knowledge that He loves me enough to consider me His follower. He loves me enough to answer the prayers over silly little things that might not matter to other people.

Then, when I had calmed down a little, a Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song came on. "I am yours. You are mine. You are what you are." So just in case I missed it the first time, there was another message nearly identical to the first, done by completely different bands.

It reminded me of a Dr. Who episode called, "Weeping Angels' in which the Doctor leaves Sally Sparrow 'easter eggs' (embedded messages one must search for) on a bunch of the DVD's she owns. The whole concept is delicious. I love that episode. My MP3 song thing is just like the Easter eggs left for Sally Sparrow. It's another of the millions of ways God can use simple things to bring across His messages.

I am in awe that God can and does manage such magnificent weaving of myriad time lines, even though we all have our free agency to choose what we will do or not do. Still He accomplishes His works. The scope of it boggles the mind! Each little sparrow knows the touch of His hand as it fills the measure of its creation. Each spider, as it weaves its web; each dolphin as it sports in the waves; all follow His pattern. Each water molecule and graphite nanotube has a pattern and a course to follow.

How can I not?