Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Memorial Day Tribute

For Cpl. R. J. Roberts, USMC
America at War in Iraq – March, 2003

The message on my computer screen
said click on The Presidential Prayer Team –
the Adopt Our Troops link
and be given a soldier to pray for
until the end of the war

I don't know any soldiers
stationed in Iraq, personally
soldiers who startled us with Shock & Awe
soldiers who endured stinging sand
blazing days and shivery desert nights
Don't know any who engaged in combat
manned planes, copters and tanks
or risked biological warfare
during that arduous trek to Baghdad
Don't know any at all
so I clicked on the website
…but was unable to access the link

When the morning paper arrived
the front page held a full color photo
of a British medic
examining a newborn Iraqi baby
cradled in a cardboard box
with the flaps torn off
I placed my hand upon the soldier

Jesus, bring him home, whole

laid my hand upon the infant

O Lord, please have him grow up
safe and strong
in a land free of terror…

At work, later that morning
a co-worker approached my counter
softly singing a hymn

How lovely to hear singing
in times like these, I remarked

My son left Tuesday, she said

Our eyes locked
mother to mother

I'd like to adopt your son, I told her
I'll pray for him every day
until he comes home

He is a Marine, she said
serving in the air delivery platoon
Cpl. R. J. Roberts
He'll be on the ground
distributing supplies in Iraq

I know he'll return

Our pastor prophesied
a few years ago
that R. J. will become a preacher

He's not a preacher yet…
though I suppose
there's a very good chance
he may be preaching right now

When I got home
I fastened a yellow ribbon
to my front porch railing

Maude Carolan

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Circumcised Heart

Photo Credit:


There was no mohel
no Bris Milah on my eighth day
no drop of blood
from my cloven heart
So, when and how it happened
cannot be pinpointed

Perhaps it occurred
when I read Moses’ face shone
after he was in the presence
of the Lord, on the mountain
or that David danced
uninhibitedly before the Ark
out of impassioned love for God
or perhaps when I heard Boaz
put his covering
over the gentile Ruth
and became her kinsman redeemer

Oh, it might have been
when I made aliyah in ’86 or ‘87
or again in 2006
each time praying                                  
at the Wall and the Tomb
or it may have happened
upon becoming utterly awestruck
at the Little Cupula of the Tablets
or possibly the night we sang
every carol we knew
in the shepherd field of Bethlehem
It could even have been
when I drank water from
the ancient Jacob's Well
or experienced sunrise over the Dead Sea
dreaming of the Great Day
when fish will thrive
and vegetation bloom, miraculously
in its healed waters

It may well have been
the sight and smell of the land
as I walked in the footsteps
of my Jewish Savior
or when my heart
caught fire while reading
the melodious Psalms
or Solomon's Song of Songs
or as I poured over the account
of Peter's prison praise
Actually it probably was when
I received blessed assurance
that I am eternally saved
by the Blood of the Lamb…

All I know is
some way, somehow
something happened
to spiritually circumcise
this gentile heart
making it echad[1]
with the Heart of the God
of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
and I haven’t for a moment
been the same


Maude Carolan Pych

[1] one

An earlier version of this poem was published in my first chapbook (no longer available for purchase), "The Circumcised Heart".

Friday, May 9, 2014

Remembering My Mom on Mother's Day

 Photo Credit:


Mother was satisfied
with the two dresses
she alternated wearing
to her salesclerk job
at Quackenbush’s.
When she’d arrive home,
she’d change into a house dress
and hang the dress she wore
on the clothesline to air.

Mother was satisfied
with her old winter coat.
It was warm enough.
It didn’t matter to her
that the sleeves
were beginning to fray.

Whenever there was
leeway in the budget,
she bought for us.
She could wait.
She was satisfied.

When I turned sixteen,
my first job was at Woolworth’s.
I was paid ninety cents an hour
to work after school and Saturdays;
brought home twelve dollars a week.
I gave a portion to my father,
bought my own clothes,
paid for bus fares, lunches, books,
and saved.

One day I saw it
on a rack in The Mart,
a nice gray wool coat
with neatly folded unfrayed cuffs.
Nothing fancy,
just new and neat
and on sale.

I wrapped it for her birthday,
January eighth,
but gave it to her
in early December.

It was the first time
I’d given her
more than a trinket.

Maude Carolan

The year was around 1960, five years before my dear mother passed away. That was a very long time ago, but memories of her are still very much alive in my heart. This poem was previously published in the "Paterson Literary Review".

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Let's Give All the Tired Moms a break...


Dead tired

I see it in their strides
their slumped shoulders
their shuffling feet
as they drag themselves
through their tasks

I see it in their uncovered yawns
their dull expressions
the darkness below
their lusterless eyes

All the women I know
are weary, drained
they stare into refrigerators
they stare out windows
they stare at papers
they try to remember
what they intended to do next

All the women I know
shower rather than bathe
drive rather than walk
phone rather than visit
They dream about
what they hope to do
when there's

All the women I know
are sleep deprived
up too early
down too late
as they try
to get it all done

They can't get it all done
there's not enough time

All the women I know
are tired

Dog tired

especially during the holidays
because they love, they
shop and clean
cook and bake
wrap, decorate
send cards

They're exhausted

especially those who go to work
especially those who go to work
and have children
especially those who go to work
and have old, ailing parents

All the women I know
fall asleep over teacups
in the evening
or over a book
or over the bills
or in front of the TV

All the women I know
believed the lie
drilled into them
in the 70's
that they could do it all
be it all
have it all

all what

all is nothing

when they languish
in their shoes

Maude Carolan

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 11th. Try to think of something you can do to pamper a mother or give a mother a break. What a blessing that will be!

The above poem won an honorable mention in the national Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest.