Bouncing Ball (Triple Haiku)

Bouncing ball to play
One child sees much brighter day
And what should we say?

Yes, be like the child
Just carefree and fun and wild
And yet meek and mild

Leave behind the fray
And, oh, go the child’s way
And for awhile stay

Jesus once said that you have to become like a child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, for the Kingdom is made of children. Perhaps, then, we adults need to learn to grow down?


Sweet 16 . . . How It Hurts

How can it be that you’ve grown so quickly?
Ah! It was only yesterday that I carried you
Along the pathway through the city park
And secured you against that dog’s bark;
Has it been so long since I taught you
To play hide and seek, to ride a bike?
Was it not only a few weeks ago
I showed how to climb the tree?
Now I look and see beauty in a young lady,
And I’m stung and tongue-tied and defied
By time that’s passed by so quickly,
Deftly stealing away my little girl . . .
How can it be that you’re now so grown up?
Only yesterday I was shown a baby,
But today I see an outstanding lady!
Nobody told me such loveliness in my child,
So meek and mild, could hurt so very deep
Where I will forever keep you in my heart;
And can I say, ‘happy birthday?’ Yes . . .
And many more as you tear my heart away
And say, too, ‘I love you . . . and always will!’


Yesteryear is somewhere I hold not dear,
And shed not one tear that I can only peer
Into my past – to cast but a quick glance –
And it does not last . . .
Oh, yes, there’re fond memories, I’m sure
But they do not serve to cure my dejection
And so my rejection of too much reflection
Comes with ease with ne’er ghostly figure
To tease, and no shade to rise up to please,
Nothing to freeze my soul in bygone years;
And tell me, what could be more charming,
If not alarming, for an avid pupil of history?
Ah! an invigorating story I love, so savory!
But really there’s not one bone of interest
To pick from my own,
Sown in the mundane . . .
So yesteryear is not dear but rather drear;
But, then, I hear it is medicine for the soul
To reflect, to recollect, and so it might be,
So, you see, I do reminisce in quietness;
No, I do not hate the past, so I meditate,
Yet this does not last very long;
After all, I belong here and now . . .
Yesteryear may be as near as one thought,
But reliving those days cannot be bought
With the world’s gold, not even one’s soul,
And why try? To want to live in yesteryear
Comes from fear of bowing here and now,
Turning ‘golden days’ into towers of power
Under which one cowers . . .
And this came to mind as I was pondering

Dread Fate of One Beautiful Rose

Ah! I’m so sorry, my rose, that your gardener knows so little
But tingles with self-ambition from head to toes, though you
Grow best in the garden where you are, with so much sunshine,
Rain and stars, in such lush, sweet garden where lovers meet
And admire your beauty as you abide your duty in lovely glow
To show all passersby just how one flower can flourish despite
Slack care and lack of cultivation by the gardener, who is hard
Pressed to truly impress anyone; you have been rooted in good
Soil with other healthy shrubs and trees and flowers, and from
This you’ve drawn strength and power without allowing yourself
To sour from neglect, misuse and abuse; yes, and you grew into
An awesome rose in all, tall in magnificence without pretense,
But now … ah! but now how the gardener is ripping you up by
Your very roots while sipping on poisoned wine, perfectly fine
With the decision to replant you with scant attention to your
Health and well-being, seeing there is more to gain in another
Garden despite what pain it causes you and how askew the plan
As if laid out by a madman, but can anyone ban the transfer?
Kinsman, clergy or wise man? Oh, but each one tries in vain
As the gardener only continues to lie, claiming the uprooting
Is best and will ultimately invest you with even more charm
And beauty, though we all know it will only harm … only harm;
And I’m so sorry; it breaks my heart, tears it apart! I’m sorry
If I could I would leave you just where you are
And plant the gardener in scant soil instead!

Parent or Pretend?

Sometimes it’s easier to ignore the problem, pretending it’s not there,
Even though it’s staring you in the face, or tell yourself it’ll go away
While the monster grows, showing itself more and more, boring a hole
In your soul; oh, but it seems simpler just to keep up a ‘normal’ pace
As you look into your sweet child’s face and you clearly see the trace
Of pain and suffering; it’s far more comforting to remember your child
As that meek and mild infant, that toddler at play on sunshiny days…
But deep inside you know something is wrong, something is there that
Does not belong, but you’d rather sing a happy song than to bring the
Problem out into the open and talk about it, with openness and honesty,
And tackle the trouble head-on; you’d rather live in a bubble of joy,
However fake than to take the time and make the hard effort to fight
An unnerving battle with all your might … but the sight of your child
Decaying will never be made right by grand illusions and self-delusion;
So what will it be? Love that goes above and beyond the call of duty —
It is your duty — or intense pretense of caring without bearing any
Weight of responsibility for the fate of your very own offspring? Eh?
Sometimes real love is rough and tough precisely because it is love!

Times Flies, Then ‘Goodbye’

Child, I’m not frozen,
And I’ve chosen to spend my time with you,
So cheer up, my dear,
And don’t veer away from me every day…
Time does fly, my child,
And then we must say ‘goodbye’ at last;
Then comes a fast blast,
When you realize how you cast your dice;
But, dear, I am here now,
So how do you want to spend your time,
As the clock chimes eleven,
And so soon heaven will surely call me home?

Too Young, Too Young

Achlys_goddessToo young to see such horror; are we ever old enough?
Too young to sing funeral dirge, of death to be told;
Too young to bring flowers to dress the coffin cold;
Too young to ring the funeral bell for Reaper’s hold.
Too young to wing your way to Mors for life to mould;
Too young to kneel by dying frame, expected to be bold
Beyond your years, to shed no tears lest someone scold.
And who will hold you right tight against such fright
As night rolls on till beam of light in Sol’s stream?
Too young to withhold free scream at such fright-sight;
Too young to be old enough not to care at death bare.
Too young . . . too young.
Your life has just begun.

Note: Dedicate to my two children, who have seen too much too young

Up Into the Sun: Longing for the Child

When I was a child, I thought as a child,Child-running-in-field[1]
And I played like a child, the days so mild.

Looking through a hole in the cloud I saw your smiling face,
It made me so happy, with every line such beauty to trace;
You looked down playfully from the sky and joyfully danced,
And I wildly jumped like a child in your fantasy entranced.

Your Spirit wind blew through trees so wild,
While I chased my dreams a mile-high piled.

Away so far in that big, bright star you led me to a special place,
And who would’ve thought you had a kingdom in outer space?
We sang and skipped, danced and twirled round the fire trees,
And watched in awe the lava honey collected by blazing bees.

When I was a child, so easily beguiled,
Playing so free from the bitter world exiled.

You’d always say the day was for play, with nothing else to say,
So I’d run toward your rainbow with pleasure paving the way;
You’d say I had to leave all sadness behind so I could have fun,
Then you’d take me by the hand and lead me straight into the sun.

From childhood my exodus I made, crossing my Nile
Into the world as it is, still in lonely exile.

Now I long for your days, with such amazing places to go,
And lift my dim eyes into the sky instead of looking so low…
To see your radiant face shining through that hole in the cloud,
To rediscover there are places where joy and happiness abound.

Ah! Sing again your hauntingly beautiful song in hypnotic melody!
Lady Beauty from starlit sky, join the song of the child in harmony!
By trees, flowers, silk air and woolen creatures your lover surround!
In silver stream waters, refreshing, bath me, your grace unbound…

For when I was a child, I thought as a child,
I played like a child, and the days so mild.
So blow through me again, your Spirit so wild;
Let me chase again my dreams, a mile-high piled!


Moxie’s Midnight Memories

MoxieSS3aOne night, when Lucent was 14-years-old, her despicable father returned, drunk of course, and her mom let him in the house … again, even though she had three brothers living nearby who’d have gladly beat the man to a pulp. Within 10 to 15 minutes he was already yelling and starting to hit her mother. He was extremely intoxicated, Lucent was very athletic and strong for teenage girl anyway, and she’d had enough, so she literally side tackled him, knocking him down. He hit his head, good and hard, on the floor and one of the kitchen cabinet doors. He was stunned, to say the least, so she immediately jumped on him and started double-barrel pounding him until her mother jerked her off.

Her mom began screaming at her to leave him alone, calling her all kinds of vile names, and then told her “just leave … get out of here!” Well, Lucent did exactly what her mother told her; she packed a haversack of basic belongings and headed two miles down the road to the uncle who lived the furthest away from her mother. Her Uncle Ben Keener took one look at her standing on his front porch and said, “Come on in, Lucent. This is your home now.” She never had anything to do with her mother again. Lucent didn’t want her father’s name, of course, and she thought she was actually more of a genuine Keener anyway. Consequently, she changed her last name as soon as she could do so legally. She officially became Lucent Probity Keener.

At 18-years-old, she married an affable, handsome young man, who gave Lucent one child the same year, then left a bit over two years later never to be seen or heard from again. To tell the truth, though, she really didn’t want to find him. She was bound and determined that she and her little Moxie would make it just fine without some pathetic, fastidious man in the way anyhow. Not that she felt that way about men in general. Oh no! Nothing could be further from the truth, because she loved and respected her uncles dearly. No, it was her run-away husband who was pathetic and fastidious. Anyway, she changed her last name back to Keener and, due to extenuating circumstances, the court allowed her to change Moxie’s last name to Keener as well.

Lying on the twin bed in her room at home, Moxie reviewed her venerable heritage and just how much it made her who she was and would become … and she was proud. Rightly so, she thought, but Able’s having to begin another heritage for himself now, just like my mom so many years ago. Tough, but exciting, and I get to be part of it, just like I’ve been part of my mom’s. Moxie smiled. She loved her mother more than any woman in the world, and practically revered her.

For Moxie it all began in the teeny-tiny town of Green Twig, located about 20 miles south of Splinterbit, which was just fine. After all, she spent an awful lot of time with her great uncles and cousins repairing small engines when she was growing up … well, at least her first ten years. They called her their “little grease monkey,” and this was her start on the road to her own little business in small engine repair. At age ten, they moved to Grand Oak, where Lucent finished her Master of Science in Nursing at Grand Oak University and Hospital to become a nurse practitioner. Moxie was especially proud of this achievement. Her mother never sat down and quit, never gave up or gave in; she just kept pushing up and onward.

Moxie looked around her room. Russet brown walls, deep blue ceramic table lamp, small oak-wood desk with an old computer and newer laptop off to the side; two five-shelf book cases, with one very dark, rustic gold shelf overtop of the desk. Her bedroom was bordered in trim of a darker brown background than the walls, and overlaid with perfectly dimensioned swirls of wine red, hunter green, ocean blue, and dark yellow. Somehow the room seemed to magically blend together into something mysteriously attractive, even fantastical. Colorful but nebulous art on three of the walls added to the mystique. Appropriate, she mused and quietly chuckled. Our life story together so far could be titled ‘Mystique: The Incredible Story of Lucent Probity Keener and Her Wily Daughter.’

Lucent had already earned an Associates Degree in Nursing and passed certification at age 20, then went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing by age 24, despite her persnickety, hard-to-please, irresolute husband. This was astounding enough, really, given the difficulty of making the trek to Splinterbit College day in and day out, while working at the little clinic in Green Twig and raising a daughter (with the much appreciated and necessary help of aunts and uncles, of course), but deciding to pursue a career as nurse practitioner was … well, almost beyond belief. But Lucent did it, and with degree in hand and certification achieved, they moved 30 miles southwest of Grand Oak to Splinterbit, where she began work at the Hart Community Clinic.

Moxie glanced at her bookshelves. The titles were evidence of her mother’s passion for very substantive, well-rounded learning. Hard Times, Oliver Twist, and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens; Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky; The Gospel in Brief and A Confession by Leo Tolstoy; various “How-To” mechanic books and, of course, a couple of good dictionaries, including the magnificent Oxford English Dictionary. The shelves also sported A Quick History of Philosophy, The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, Third Revised Edition, and A New History of Anthropology by Henrika Kuklick. Moxie smiled. None of it was decorative dressing for the sake of her room’s appearance; besides, how many girls would really stomach having this kind of personal library anyway? How many boys, for that matter?

No, like mother, like daughter. Moxie Keener grew up under the tutelage of a voracious reader and became one herself. This included the holy Scriptures of Christianity, too. She spied her three well-used translations: The New Revised Standard Version (Catholic Edition), The Revised English Bible w/Deuterocanonical Books, and The Good New Translation (Catholic Edition). Moxie also owned The Inclusive Language Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation, but she really thought calling it a “translation” was a bit of a stretch, and the word choices throughout often felt forced. I’m all for egalitarianism, and I’m sure as hell an independent-type woman – just like my mother – but that one is just utterly disappointing because it’s so downright silly!

Moxie laughed out loud then and quickly turned over into her pillow to stifle the sound; she didn’t want to wake her mom at midnight. Thinking about egalitarianism and the place of women in contemporary society, though, brought to mind a recent confrontation Lucent had with a rather dimwitted, legalistic, misogynistic religionist. They were actually in the grocery store when she and her mother rounded the corner and happened upon a conversation this man was having with another man, presumably more intelligent and not of the same mindset. She heard the fundamentalist bemoan the “terrible state of society,” in which “men are no longer men, and women are doing men’s work instead of being obedient to God’s Word in keeping their place.”

Lucent couldn’t help it, really; she could have just passed him by without a word, but it was beyond her capability to remain silent. The fish was already on the hook! Why not go ahead and reel him in and flay him? Moxie mused with her face still buried in the pillow while she tried to stop what had now devolved into pure giggles. “Well, then, I suppose if you’re in an automobile accident and I’m the first one on the scene, you’ll want me to leave you alone, even though I’m a trained and certified nurse practitioner with eight years experience under my belt … even though I might very well be able to save your life? Because I’m just a woman, of course, and I should ‘keep my place,’ of course, and we should wait together until some qualified man arrives.”

The misogynistic religionist looked dumfounded. Maybe he’d never had a woman talk back to him? The giggles ramped up a notch and Moxie’s sides began to hurt. “Or maybe, just maybe, it’d be o.k. if I called 9-1-1 … unless women shouldn’t use phones, of course,” her mother had continued. “Hell, maybe I shouldn’t even be driving a damn car, for that matter! I wonder, is that what you’d tell me with your last dying gasps? Something like, ‘You’re just a woman! What are you doing behind the wheel of a car? Where’s your husband?’ And me there, with eight years practical, hands-on experience – with an awesome reputation, too, by the way – just standing there, doing nothing to save your wretched life, just because I’m a woman and it’s not my place.”

It wasn’t a long confrontation, really. In fact, the man just stood there looking like he’d just bombed the back of his pants. The other man, with his arms crossed and smiling, actually offered the only reply. “Point, set, match!” were the three words he spoke before turning around slowly and simply walking away. Moxie’s mother took this as her queue and continued down the aisle without looking back. Lucent was a professing, non-sectarian Christian, but she was also a healthy and athletic, fiercely independent woman, who was a strong advocate of education, the practical virtues, and common sense reasoning.

In fact, in her mind, the two went hand in hand. If the Christian faith meant redemption, then redemption meant liberation from oppression and marginalization, disease and maladies of mind and body, ignorance and down-right stupidity. In this sense, Lucent was a very “earthy” type Christian; eternity could wait, life now was to be lived now. Goes an awful long way in explaining why my super mom never slows down, Moxie mused. I wonder how many more degrees are in store for her? She’s just nailed down her Masters in Social Work so she can offer more and do more as a nurse practitioner. Bully for her! Moxie started giggling again, and so it was face into the pillow again.

This all sparked another memory, one of a conversation she and her mother had about her relationship with Able … all in all, good but somewhat uncomfortable for Moxie, which was unusual where her mom was concerned.