Reaching Out in Love
by Donna Lisle Burton (read by Jill Preyer)
I love this place that I still call my church,
for all the facets of the care it brings
to an old and ailing woman—I mean
love and food and flowers and greeting cards—
you’d think I mattered here—only one of
six hundreds plus—who could spend so much
time for one?
I think I know; one for one
here. Not six hundred for one but one card,
one phone call, one visitor, one huge tub
of the sweetest strawberries I ever
ate—half a dozen hugs, one at a time—
who wouldn’t fall in love with a place like this
congregation, church; whatever its name.
by Sylvie Delaunay
The sun sets the skies ablaze
Before darkness settles
Millions of stars dancing
Keep the moon awake with laughter
A flower pretends to be the sun
In fields bursting of yellow
A tiny bird can fly so fast
And yet be so still
A fish lives in the desert
Where it never rains
Creatures travel thousands of miles
So life can be born
I am here to remind you
Of life’s mysteries,
Of life’s miracles
And through uncertainties
I am here for you
I love you
by Joan Weiner
Because I have failed
in so many ways large and small—
so small hardly anyone noticed
so large their weight tilted
my sky for years,
and because I have not cherished
enough of what I’ve passed—
the silvering stream lapping its banks,
the gentleness of the golden leaves
floating from the branch, the tightness
of the infant’s fingers curled around mine
and because my dead have left me
since I could not protect them
from the sweep of time
and now are sailing so far away
I may never recover their rosy cheeks
or angry scowls or restlessly drumming fingers
and because I did not listen fully
to the notes that were played
and now have forgotten them
and go tune-less through the world
and because so often I have traveled
as if underwater, oblivious to the air
moving against my skin, the color
of the sky, the pebbles beside the path
I might have pocketed and burnished
and because so much is lost
and, like falling leaves, will only return
in unrecognizable colors or shapes
that do not assuage the grief
and because the mouse found
dead in the driveway this morning,
his pink feet curled tight against his fur,
spoke of all that is gone, all that is beyond
rescue, so that I thought at once
of myself, flying blind now,
at the mercy of this burning season,
of the sometimes bitter air,
of the rubble mounting all around me:
Please, if you will let me,
I will hold you so dear
together we will recover everything
The Deadliest Sin
by Andy Reed
Redemption calls us to reveal our sins.
Even we, whose language of belief
has no such words:
Atone, repent, forgive, or else … Or else,
Circle the wagons, call the marines,
Harden your heart and thicken your skin.
Obscure, dispute, deny, rebut. Display
Uprighteous rancor—never shame—
That Anger, Envy, Greed and Sloth
Insinuated such transgressions … here?
No, not in this pure soul! Nor yet, we hope,
Lust, Gluttony, or Pride, those other deadly sins,
Or worse, Despair, the deadliest of all….
Validate but hope, reach out in love;
Expunge despair, and sin
will be redeemed.
by Norris Orbach
Toenails grow until they break
Cut first into woolen socks,
Stuck my finger through the sock,
Made a shadow duck on the wall.
Quack- what webbed toenails
Have we here?
A brown downy duck
Stuck thumb-billed through-
I hid under covers,
Safe in my cave.
The woolen ceiling above my head and toes,
Had window holes to peek through
At ducks that feed on fingers
And toenails outside my room.
by Liz Preyer
She slathers her lips pomegranate red,
with a competent strokes eases on deep set eyes,
and turns, arching back to stare defiantly at the mirror.
Smiling tauntingly she covers her curls with an ebony wig.
Slither of black stockings, smooth as snake skin,
urging on a skirt hardly there.
Wriggling into a shimmering shirt,
bright like salt water fish in an aquarium,
she stares back at her reflection.
An aquamarine bottle sprays lilacs onto arms and wrists.
With a steady, proud flourish, she twists sharply,
strapping the precarious high heels onto her feet.
Tottering towards to the door,
the heat pours from her volcanic body.
She lurches towards my hand,
grabs her Halloween bucket.
Our Firefly Girl
by Liz Preyer
That brightly burning, dancing, swirling
woman child we have all loved,
has flown off into the ethers.
Her passionate, bubbling and aching soul
has asked for Respite.
And so we must now honor her request.
Such energy, creativity, her sweetness also masked
deep pain, feelings unspoken.
We gather together, all of us mourning
her abrupt shocking departure from our midst.
But like the flickering beauty and light,
turning on and off, our firefly girl will not be forgotten,
tucked safely into the depths of our hearts.
When you see those magical Fireflies
wafting freely under steamy summer nights,
gently greet that beautiful beloved Serenity.
Tell her we shall all take tender care
of those she loved and had to leave behind.
May she dance now, ever brightly, in Peace.
by David Post
there was a time when I was nine
I loved a girl named jean.
there was other who would bother
cause her was was green.
I think I loved her hands the best
her fingers were webbed and short.
and when she spoke, she didn’t speak
she let out with a snort.
so if u think it strange
that I meet her on a log
come with me and u shall see
my beloved is a frog.
by David Post
by never forgetting that our father is the heavens
and our mother the earth
and all living things their children
the Darkness of the world cannot diminish the fire from the
solitary flame of our one tiny candle.
–christmas day 1972
by David Post
we stand (sit) here together forming a circle
a border separating what is known from what is not
we look behind and see our paths only too well
we look ahead and see an ocean…not well enough.
we fear….we long….we choose
Death says “sit down, my friend, ur path is long, so long”
but I say “not yet, my friend, my path is long enough for me.”
tho much we do not know this much we do-
we are standing (sitting) here together forming a circle
a link, the link, between what has been and what shall be.
–mainely men 1992
wrapping it up (the gift)
by David Post
I ain’t done with life and life ain’t done with me’’
but one day I’ll awaken
as if from a Dream
and it will be over
and looking back I will say
“it was good. all of it.”
by Peter Olevnik
It was a special time at the family home
in South Chicago’s Polish neighborhood.
Grandmother, my mother and her sisters,
absorbed at the downstairs kitchen
coal stove crowded with pots of cooking soup,
sizzling pans of sausages and nearby
trays of rising dough; aromas
wafting through the kitchen’s tangled air.
With a bowl of chicken soup mother handed me,
and her all-purpose admonition, “you can go now,
but remember to be good.”
Soup in hand, I took the steps upstairs
to a hushed crowd of visitors, some aside
in prayer, murmuring, others stilled
in rows of folding chairs.
At one end of the large parlor, under a row
of lace curtained windows a casket rested,
church kneeler placed at its side
for me to see grandfather sound asleep,
dressed in a suit he rarely wore,
large hands jutting beyond the sleeves,
Forgetting my chicken soup,
I spilled it down his pillow case.
My mother took me aside. “Grandfather died.
He won’t be back,” with tenderness, she said.
“Funeral is tomorrow at the church across the street.”
Her words unleashed a torrent flooding through my mind.
like a door suddenly thrust open:
I knew some day I would die.
As quickly opened, the door slammed shut.
The Afternoon Dream of Juan G.
by Richard Horvath
He rubs the sleep from his eyes
brews a mug of Cafe Rico, and,
as he has done so many recent mornings,
walks down five flights of stairs,
side-stepping the broken glass,
to the sidewalk on East 4th
to play dominoes with the other viejos
on the over-turned orange crates
from the Big Apple Grocery on Avenue A.
The morning wears on
the sun climbs higher.
his eyes begin to drop toward sleep.
He shuffles to the park on East 7th
and naps on the bench
beneath the oak tree
breathing in the sweet scent of marijuana
wafting over from the bandstand
where the hombres jovenes hang out.
He begins to dream –
pecking in the dirt
at the rear of a small house
in a semi-tropical land
at the foot of a mountain
in the Cordillera Central.
A young man
lifting 132- pound jute bags of coffee
onto a donkey-drawn cart
bound for the barrio warehouse.
A young woman
carrying a basket of fruit,
the early morning sun
illuminating her face like a ripe plantain,
smiles at him.
They shared fifty years together.
shakes off the afternoon slumber
and returns to an apartment
that has turned to stone
where he feels
the hard fact of absence
whenever he turns to speak to her.
He longs again to see each morning
the early sunlight fall
across her fragile face.
by Paul Fleisig
Old hemlocks gust-bow
To flaunting white-gowned bradfords
And rose-spangled quince.
Of forsythia thrust at
The birthing cherry.
Yearning dogwoods spy
The willow’s wisps of chartreuse,
Straining, like kite strings.
Of the fickle spring.
The radiant sun’s
When will my last be?
by Paul Fleisig
Signs of renascence
Amid the frosted rubble.
Life, but without fruit.
Through curtains of withered leaves.
A resilient Earth.
What will replace us,
After nuclear winter?
What mutant surprise?
by Monty Berman
I think that I shall never see
A Society as inspiring as a tree
Unless it’s a UU Society that may in all seasons
Put forth the best of life’s good reasons.
by Krista Heldenbrand Christensen
The licking flames crawl up the seeming dead.
Charred limbs and ashen leaves: all are consumed.
The forest quivers in communal dread;
The weakest slump, collapse, and are subsumed.
They, steaming, sink into primeval graves,
Evaporating life. Resilient, tall
And straight, the strong withstand the heat which bathes
The forest in regenerative pall.
Then does the drenching rain arrive to smite
The itching flames: it washes fury clean.
A wedge of vacant sky provides the light
That tempts again each hopeful spear of green.
Though scarred impermanence herein abides
It is in such abandon growth resides.
by Jake Marx (Read by Jacqueline Larsen)
Lie by my side
In the twilight hours,
In the twilight years,
Our skin soft and pillowy,
Our minds traveling familiar roads.
It is quiet now, we are quiet,
And though the roses
That we planted
For our eyes to see
Have been cut back
To save from October frost,
They will redden our dreams
Come June and time.
We have both lost much,
Have left a dream or two
By the wayside
But there was enough left
To walk on, us two,
So that we find ourselves
Here in bed
In the twilight hours
Hued by the
Of our flower bed.
No Place To Rest
by Nick Andrea
If you think you know, you’ll get
crucified, fellow, cause,
that’s the fate of ego, when it
thinks that it’s so.
Truth is like this: demanding
constant sacrifice, ah
of our attach-a-ment , to
knowing cause that’s our vice; for,
like it’s been said, “I
am a mystery, I’ve
always been a mystery, and I’ll
always be a mystery,” Yeah yeah!
to the intellect
we’re instructed not to lean,
on, our, understanding, for it’s
al-so been said, that; “The
wind blows where it pleases. You hear its
sound, but ya just can’t tell,, where it’s
coming from or where it’s going,” No no!
Chi-ld, la-y down, the
one who thinks, “I’ve got it,” and
like the wind find no place to stop, and
think, that you know it. Instead,
Go, ride the wave, of the
never-ending Flow, and
like the Son of Truth, find no
place to rest your ego, forsooth!
And sink back in-to That, the
cloud of unknowing, oh
of-fer-ing, your whole Self
to its promp-a-ting. to-
day’s a good day to die, child, to-
day’s a good day to die, to the
One guiding you, from inside, where the
heart, the heart does fly.
And, do not let yourself be troubled, my love no,
do not let yourself be troubled, at the
ren-der-ing, of the
intellect to be, humbled; cause
you, are guided
you, are guided, you have
always been guided, you have
always been guided, you will
always be guided, you will
always be guided.