Bridled Joy

I remember simple joys,

innocent and pure.

Different from the complicated joy,

forged in a crucible of losses.

 

So very grateful for today,

yet unlike the gratitude,

of my childhood;

before I learned what,

life and death can bring.

 

I love this moment deeply,

because I know,

the next moment,

might snatch it.

 

I love you intently,

knowing that tomorrow,

you may be gone—

my newest memory.

 

Love, without loss,

Joy, without sorrow,

Gratitude, without anxiety;

would it be better…

 

to never have known these things?

 

Better to have fallen?

Or never to have known,

such heights are possible?

 

I remember paradise;

now a flaming sword,

prevents my return.

 

So I look around me…

 

How wonderful is this moment!

How excellent is this day!

 

Yes, we are infused

with death and decay,

but it could be so much worse…

 

And it is so much better—

though bitter.

 

~FS

The Blah-blah Monster

Can you tell me, if you know,

Is there really such a creature,

as the Blah-blah monster?

 

My grandniece Zoey asserts,

with fifty percent certainty,

this monster is only imaginary.

 

Which leaves room for doubt,

and further inquiry;

Is Blah-blah perhaps a reality?

 

I must admit, I’d never heard of,

this monster named double-blah;

nope, never heard of him, and never saw.

 

But Zoey’s question is worrisome,

if Blah-blah is really real,

what’s he up to, and what’s his deal?

 

If Blah-blah is real, I’m guessing,

he’s not the type to hide under our beds,

he’s more likely to lurk inside our heads.

 

Perhaps he’s a specter of the air,

hiding in plain sight everywhere,

filling the space between mouth and ear.

 

From a family renowned for its tedium,

his father was Blah, and quite boring,

and blah-blah-blah are his offspring.

 

Blah-blah the monster, might be real,

the signs all show probability,

but take this with equanimity.

 

Blah-blah is not very scary,

if this monster exists among us,

I’m seventy-five percent sure that he’s harmless.

 

~FS

Prayer of the Lonely

Please Lord, don’t hide yourself from me. For the beauty of this world, which I take pleasure in, loses all meaning apart from You.

Some appear to find contentment in this world, looking no further than their senses; they find thoughts of You unnecessary.

But I cannot live that way. There is no beauty apart from You; and that which I find beautiful becomes distraction, and painful, without You.

I am amazed that others appear to not need You; so I have forced myself into their shoes. I’ve searched out the secrets of their autonomy, but have found nothing.

Still, I doubt myself; is it rather pathology, and not sympathy, that leads me to You, dear Lord? Yes, I am ill and I am weak without You.

Come, Lord please, fill my heart and dwell within me. Let me not look upon any pleasant thing in this life, if You will not reveal Yourself therein.

When others stand afar off, doubting and bemused, I’ve both attempted to convince them to believe, and have hidden my belief; because sometimes it is lonely searching for You in this world.

When I’ve found You, hidden in my heart, so that the world unfolds miraculously before me, then I have prayed that others also would believe and find You; because it is lonely in this world without You.

Lord, what is this life without You? It seems to me a sad travesty and a pale parody. Please reveal Yourself to us, let us see and know Your love and beauty. Enliven these dead bones with Your Spirit; breathe Life into this life, that we all may Live.

~FS

Little Sparks

Little spark,

cloaked in darkness,

waiting to come forth.

 

I cried a little,

when you began,

life touched me so.

 

Then I awoke,

the universe expanding,

my littleness fading.

 

Light called us out,

from the darkness,

and gave us eyes to see.

 

Wonder at our newfound life,

with breath abiding,

we’re sparks you and me.

 

Intertwining,

skyward climbing,

hearts finding room to be.

 

~FS

The Doormats

Were I to love you with a perfect love,

laying my life before you,

in self-sacrifice;

would you understand me?

 

Prostrate at your feet,

ready to serve,

hoping you’ll open to my love;

would you shut the door?

 

When you gaze upon me,

in my simplicity,

do you see a human being;

or do you see a doormat?

 

Would you disarm,

and lay your power down;

or take it up,

and lay me lower?

 

Will you allow me to wash your feet,

surrender up your fears;

or will you trample me underfoot,

an obstacle to your ends?

 

I will be your doormat,

I would wash your feet—

nothing will be taken,

which isn’t freely given.

 

I will to love you with a perfect love,

laying my life before you.

Understand my actions—

I’m asking you to do the same.

 

~FS

Happy To Be Alive

It’s a sleepy morning,

all is still and quiet.

The air is cool, but warming,

as the sun rises slowly in the sky.

 

A bird chirps here and there in the distance.

But for that, one hears only

the sound of their own gentle breath—

rising and falling in measured cadence.

 

It is easy to forget oneself this morning—

the mind drifts outward among the towering trees,

climbs up into their canopy of leaves,

and floats between the branches.

 

But something is stirring,

rising, awakening—

an invisible flow is coming,

trailing vitality in its wake.

 

Awake! Dreamer!

It is no longer time for slumber—

Life is come, and has arrived,

make ready your eyes and see!

 

Feel your pulse quickening,

and your heart begin to race,

as the surrounding world bends,

sways, and starts to dance.

 

Fresh scents from a distant place

fill the air: salt from the sea,

and the fragrance of roses—

hints of honeysuckle and mint.

 

Shadows and shifting lights,

flicker, fall and rise,

as clouds march overhead—

the day begins to tantalize!

 

Our senses all aquiver,

fluttering and darting,

like birds upon the wind,

happy to be alive.

 

~FS

Keith (A Man of Silent Sacrifice)

At just nineteen he took possession of a mighty B-17,

The Army Air Corp’s durable workhorse

Continental Europe’s liberating air force

The bomber known as The Flying Fortress,

He signed his name on the dotted line, to pilot this war-machine.

 

No longer a boy in forty-three, he took to the skies in battle,

On December 5 to Paris and back

Then Kiel, Ludwigshafen and Osnabruck

Ringing in the New Year over Cognac,

Five missions into a long campaign, he’s a man not easily rattled.

 

A man of silent sacrifice

Of the special ones who fly

Young men who defend us

War eagles of the sky.

 

A modest spiral notebook logs the record of his tour,

In columns, names and dates and years

No embellishments or fanfare

Thirty missions in European air,

A marathon of horror that most men could not endure.

 

The logbook doesn’t tell the tale of the courage, fear and loss,

Friends like brothers gone too soon

Flak and Messerschmitts at noon

In dense fog the barrage balloons,

Nor does it mention his receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross.

 

A man of silent sacrifice

Of the special ones who fly

Humble warriors who protect us

Liberators of the skies.

 

His was the lead position, throughout life as in the war,

Husband, father, grandpapa

Honor, duty, fidelity

Service was his earthly call,

Giving all on every mission, and leaving nothing more.

 

Upon his final flight from earth, the stars bright in the sky,

The moon casting the fields aglow

Cultivated row upon row

Stars above and stripes below,

Our nation’s banner, as God’s creation, enfolds him in its glory.

 

A man of silent sacrifice

Of the special ones who die

Our fathers who watch over us

The sentinels of the sky.

 

~FS