MJ blathers

dark poet who loves to laugh


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paradise burns

home video
but home is lost
to embers from the distant fire
whipped by wind
raining, without life-sustaining water
on the shed and roof
starting a blaze
among a dozen blazes
a hundred
a thousand
FLEE!
gather the children
push them into the car
and hope
as you press into
three lanes on the two lane road
heading east north east
praying
as the children pose
fearful questions
you can only answer in measures
of relative safety
almost past the inferno on our right
roll up your windows
high and tight
and now we’ve nearly gone by
the towering bright yellow-orange
flames on our left
see, we’re nearly safe
can’t we go faster?
all the cars in front of us
want to hurry, too
we’re moving so the flames can’t get us
that tree is outlined in brilliant fire
but we’ll be passed before it falls
all the scrub by the road is already gone
just one more raging fire up there
half way by
there! see, clear sky! clear sky!
we’re safe
who wants to say a prayer of thanksgiving for us?

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what i say; what i feel

be easy, child
hush, be still, i’m here
let me hold you
you don’t need to be afraid
i have you

be still, my soul
know there is more above and beyond
my weak self
pray, gentle this frightened child
as He stoops to gentle you


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Uncle Bob

Bob had a smile
that made friends of passers-by
A huge part of the joy
of my childhood
he, and his slightly
older brother Bill
taught me and my sister
Carolyn to swim by tossing us
off the barrel raft
into Lake Eire
and poling away as we
doggy-paddled back
but they knew – and snatched
us up out of the water –
when the game was done
poled us back to Kelly
Island shore and taught us
to make golden melted s’mores
over the rocky beach night fire
Himself snatched from high school
into WWII and out of college into
the Korean War, Bob taught me
patience and loving-kindness
despite personal tragedy
that has sustained me
time and again, but
i’ve never quite learned
to smile just like
Bob