Let Them In

Let them in

Let them in, Peter
They are very tired
Give them couches where the angels sleep
And light those fires

Let them wake whole again
To brand new dawns
Fired by the sun not wartime’s
Bloody guns

May their peace be deep
Remember where the broken bodies lie
God knows how young they were
To have to die
God knows how young they were
To have to die

So give them things they like
Let them make some noise
Give dance hall bands not golden harps
To these our boys

And let them love, Peter
For they’ve had no time
They should have trees and bird songs
And hills to climb

The taste of summer in a ripened pear
And girls sweet as meadow wind
With flowing hair

And tell them how they are missed
But say not to fear
It’s gonna be alright
With us down here

 

Thinking Out Loud

https://youtu.be/lp-EO5I60KA

When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?

And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70 (AND BEYOND I PRAY)
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 33
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Well, me—I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am

So, honey, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are

When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don’t remember my name
When my hands don’t play the strings the same way (mmm…)
I know you will still love me the same

‘Cause, honey, your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen
And, baby, your smile’s forever in my mind and memory
I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe it’s all part of a plan
Well, I’ll just keep on making the same mistakes
Hoping that you’ll understand

That, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
Thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are (oh, oh)

La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, lo-ud

So, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Oh, darling, place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
But maybe we found love right where we are
Oh, baby, we found love right where we are
And we found love right where we are

Happy Birthday Nancy
May 21

 

Dumb and Dumber

When I was in 6th grade I had a teacher who gave extra credit to her students who read a book and provided a written book review of one page. She also gave the students a gold star on a chart where she posted everyone’s numbers of books. I read more than anyone in the class and almost more than the rest of the class combined. In mid-year she left the school due to illness. The new teacher took down the chart and did not explain nor sub a different reward system. I kept reading but did not do another book report, required or not, until college.

Dumb and Dumber.

When I was in 7th grade I had an English teacher who gave weekly spelling tests. The tests were graded in class by passing them to the student in front or behind. I was and am a terrible speller. I got tired of the comments of my class mate graders so I hit upon the solution. My solution was to put my name on a blank sheet of paper and pass that to the grader. This upset the teacher greatly and he invented a special “F” grade as a result. I got a bigger F for the blank sheet than if I had misspelled all 20 words of the test. I failed English.

Dumb and Dumber.

I took a number of aptitude tests in basic training which the Army used to determine skills and job placement. Much to my surprise and to the surprise of the company officers, NCOs (non-commissioned officers –sergeants) and the 250 or so other recruits I got the second highest score on the Officer Candidate School (OCS) test. The company Major wanted me to apply as soon as I was of age to do so (I was 17 and you had to be 18 ½ to apply for OCS). The company Master Sergeant (who in 1966 had already served a one year tour in Vietnam and would be going back) told me I was too lacking in common sense, life experiences, and age (my words as he was not that kind) to make a good officer. I was in Vietnam when I turned 18 ½. I did not apply to OCS because I did not want to be responsible for other people’s lives, fear of failure and my acceptance that his comments were all valid.

Dumb and Dumber.

I learned late in life that while you can do things that make you feel dumb that letting others to cause that feeling in you is actually dumber. I wish I could teach my grandkids to be less dumb and never dumber.

Twice a Hero

Twice a Hero

Richard A. Penry was one of the 258 who received the Medal of Honor for service in Vietnam. He was a hero as they all were. This is not about that but you can read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_A._Penry  for details. He saved 18 wounded men and likely the rest of his company. He was 21 at the time.

After he returned Richard suffered the effects of lupus caused by Agent Orange, bitterness over his treatment by civilians, a failed marriage, cocaine and alcohol abuse, and he spent time in jail.

The second time he was a hero was when he reached peace with himself, got clean and worked in a homeless shelter kitchen.

Richard was born, lived and died in Petaluma California, my home town since 1988. Like me he was born in 1948 and like me he served in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. The 199th motto was Light, Swift, and Accurate. 754 of us died in Vietnam and 4,679 were wounded not including Richard and others like him who suffered in the peace.

Penry Park in Petaluma is named after Richard and there is a display of his medals at the Sgt. Richard Penry Medal of Honor Memorial Military Museum in Petaluma.

Richard died May 9th in 1994 at the age of 45. RIP Richard A. Penry, 11/18/48-5/9/94. May your trip to the heavens have been  light,  swift and accurate.

Victims of Life

 

Victims of cycles, victims of life
Victims of wrong, victims of right
Victims of anything, and all the above
Victims of hate, victims of love
Victims of hate, victims of love

If you’re rich, you’re hungry for money
If you’re broke, you’re hungry for bread
If you’re wild, you’re bound to die young friend
If you live in fear you’re already dead

Victims of cycles, victims of life
Victims of wrong, victims of right
Victims of winning, victims of loss
Victims of payment, victims of cost
You got the victims of violence, victims of peace
You know we’re all victims, exactly like me
Victims of anything, and all the above
Victims of hate, victims of love
Victims of hate, victims of love

I sold that shovel, I got two arms
They’re digging a trench, right through my heart
They can’t agree, except on one thing
They gone too far right now they’re too close to leave

Victims of cycles, victims of life
Victims of wrong, victims of right
Victims of anything, and all the above
Victims of hate, victims of love
Victims of hate, victims of love
Victims of anything, and all the above
Victims of hate, victims of love
Victims of hate, victims of love

 

 

 

How Will You Carve Your Rose

Author:  Deborah Girard

Last month the time of the year that is marked by hearts and flowers and words of love. For those of us who have experienced the loss of our “lifetime Valentine” there is a recent or distant sadness that sits in our hearts. While others are smelling the scent of red roses we gaze at the ones from the past that though dull and dry still seem as bright and beautiful as on the day they received.

I love stories, listening to them, reading them or telling them they represent our oral history. In 2016 we lost a master musician and storyteller, Leonard Cohen. He wrote; Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. The parable below is about how the “cracks” we feel in our heat and soul from the loss of someone we love can help us open our hearts and let the light in.

The following parable tells the story of an Irish King and begins ……Once upon a time there was a King in Ireland which was rather a common thing to be back then. At that time Ireland was composed of lots and lots of small kingdoms, each ruled over by its own King. Essentially they were all “ordinary kingdoms” and “ordinary Kings.”

One day, the King in our story receives a diamond;  a huge beautiful diamond that was a gift from a relative who had died. It was the biggest and most beautiful diamond that dazzled all who saw it. Word of this masterpiece of nature spread and the King began to receive more attention from the surrounding Kings who began to arrive from shores more distant and lands previously unknown to the King. The people from these faraway places also began to arrive in droves. Both King and Kingdom prospered greatly.

The King kept the diamond on constant display in a glass case surrounded by four guards at all times. One night a nervous guard approached the King to tell him that somehow the diamond had suffered a rather large crack right down the middle. The horrified King ran to the diamond himself and saw that indeed the guards’ description was accurate.

The next day the King called all the jewelers in the land for advice. The news was bad as all of the jewelers said that any repair efforts could destroy the diamond. If they tried to cut it in half, it might split in a million pieces. Scraping and sanding would grind it to practically nothing.

As the King pondered his options, one final jeweler arrived and as he gazed at the stone he said, “I can fix this, I think, if you give me a week with the stone. As the King didn’t want the stone leaving his kingdom it was arranged for the jeweler to work in a closed room with guards posted at all times. For the duration of the week the guards and the King heard gentle grinding, cutting and scraping as they nervously waited for the jeweler to finish his work.

Finally, the week was over and the King gazed upon the diamond but this time with tears of joy. The diamond was even more beautiful as the jeweler had carved a perfect rose across the top with the “crack” within becoming the stem of the rose.

The Irish say that this is how we become whole and healed again after being broken apart by life, by taking our deepest flaws and our hurts and carving them into something beautiful if we let it.

Yes, I love stories. I love listening to them and sharing them with others.

This story really applies to the work of hospice at the end of life. When death is viewed as the “crack” within our life, hospice workers become the “jewelers” that can assist in uncovering the joy and beauty that exists within the story of one’s life.

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate  notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

By Derek Walcott