Sunday, June 24, 2018

Praise Him With Dancing

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In memory of Frank Schiavo, Jr.

In a circle
in the corner
of the sanctuary
the dancers
lifted arms and faces,
bowed reverently, rose,
offering gifts of praise to God.
Tintinnabulating timbrels
and tambourines,
their satin ribbons streaming,
swirled with shirts and skirts,
a kaleidoscopic rainbow.
Ineffable ecstasy
shone in countenances,
sparkled in dark, dancing eyes.

Parked at a row end
in the congregation,
Frankie sat
strapped securely
in his wheelchair,
his spirit whirling
in the dance.
Joy softened his face
into enthralled expressions
as praise
flowed fluently
from upturned lips.

perceiving the desire
written in his radiance,
a young man whisked
Frankie’s wheelchair
into the dance.
Circling, circling,
spinning, spinning,
wheeling worshipfully,
spiritually spiraling
upward, Heavenward,
an Elijah in a chariot
driven by horses,
their manes ablaze,
Frankie danced
his holy dance
before the Ever-Living God.

Maude Carolan

The above poem was originally published
in Sensations Magazine.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day...

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I've written several poems about my father
and read two of the
m at poetry readings
this weekend. Here is one of them:

In memory of Frank H. Walsh ~ 1912-1985

I went to see The King’s Speech
the other night
This started me thinking about my father
who became a stutterer
as a result of nervousness derived
from his childhood battle
with crippling poliomyelitis

With child eyes
I never saw him crippled
though he walked with a pronounced limp
one leg being shorter than the other
He wore a heavy soled shoe
reinforced with steel with a metal brace
attached that extended up to his knee

I didn’t think of him as a stutterer either
though he had great difficulty
saying what he wanted to say
stammering over, over and over
trying to get the words to spring
from his tangled tongue

To me, he was just Dad
…ordinary Dad

Looking back now, I think of him
as extraordinary and tenacious
a “can-do” kind of father
…even an overcomer

Handicaps never seemed
to handicapped him
never kept him from doing
anything he set his mind to—

He wasn’t a builder, but
he built the house we grew up in
and a bungalow next door for Grandma
did all the plumbing, electrical work
installed the drywall, spackled, painted
built porches, set the sidewalks
climbed a ladder to the roof
He built a patio with an outdoor fireplace
and a cement wading pool, too
He erected a coop for chickens
which he raised from fertilized eggs
He slaughtered them
mom cleaned and we ate them
for Sunday dinner
He also plowed the backyard
and planted a big vegetable garden

You name it, he did it
and usually did it well

He sang “Heart of My Heart” and
“You Can Have Her, I Don’t Want Her,
She’s Too Fat for Me”
without any stammer at all
danced to a rollicking “Beer Barrel” polka
with his heavy shoe thumping the floor
and I’m told he even pedaled
his bike once, all the way up Skyline Drive

Dad took us on vacations every summer
usually tent camping at Bear Mountain
or the Adirondacks or Truro at Cape Cod
setting up camp and cots mostly himself

He built outboard motor boats,
Water Lily and Water Lily II
and a blue egg-shaped camper trailer
which he hitched to the back of our car

He brewed root beer
bottled it and we drank it
even though it was flat and fizz-less
and he brewed beer beer
I can still remember the smell
of it fermenting in a huge crock
in our spare room

When I was a child
I thought all daddies did those things
And when I got married
I thought husbands did those things

To say he was remarkable
seems an understatement—
I only hope some of the stuff he was made of
has worked its way into the bones and marrow
into the blood and sinews
into the gray that matters
into our Walsh family genes

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Communing With God

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Alone, in the morning
except for gulls, pipers
and a few fishermen far out on the jetties
I walk along the shoreline
Fringes of waves
rhythmically roll over my sandy feet
as I worship You with quiet song—
The soft ocean rumble, my accompaniment

At rose-toned dusk
I stroll a mountain path lush in deepening shadows
Cognizant of my serenity, I appreciate the harmony
designed into creation by You

Cozy in my bed
in the quiet moments before slumber meets me
my pre-sleep meditation is prayerful thanks
for the blessings that surround me, and
the giving heart of You.

Maude Carolan

This poem began with an early morning stroll along
Ocean Grove Beach, vacation's end, the summer of `94.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Celebrate Israel!

What a Day!!!

Today is my Birthday.
 There've been joyous celebrations morning till night
and I'm truly blessed by every birthday wish.

This is also is the day
of the Celebrate Israel Parade in NYC...

With that in mind,
I've selected a poem to feature
from my Holy Land Pilgrimage collection: 

Israel Pilgrimage—2006

It’s nighttime—
We arrive at Mount Scopus
overlooking Yerushalayim[1]
The stars glimmer
in the heavens
and The City is lit up
like the jewel of all the earth

Wishful, I want
there to be fireworks
want the surroundings
to express the excitement
stirring inside of me—
Suddenly, I hear fireworks
boom, boom, booming
although I cannot see
their luminous splendors
bursting in the sky

We partake of the fruit
of the vine—
our cup of blessing
as we prepare to enter in

Our rabbi prays
for the peace of Jerusalem
prays the Shema[2]
prays the Shehekianu[3]
covers his head
with a magnificent tallit[4]
embellished with
the Star of David and the Lamb
He lifts his hands and prays
the Aaronic Benediction

Our joy cannot be contained—
This is the City of Our Great King

I watch a tear
trickle down
my rabbi’s face

Maude Carolan Pych

[1] Jerusalem
[2] The central prayer in the Jewish prayerbook (Siddur)
[3] A common Jewish prayer to celebrate special occasions
[4] prayer shawl