Labyrinths of Lent

My faith is yearly challenged by these forty days

this year on Ash Wednesday I was led to write the ways

Given as an offering placed in basket

should you care to ask. It

was to give up judgment of others’ intentions

those in particular I needn’t mention:

they are not responsible for my actions

though frequently bring me dissatisfactions

So, with great resolve for change each day, and prayer

to label those thoughts, ‘Judging’ I feel the cross I wear

Within my heart: on Ash Wednesday God moved it there



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Posted by on November 8, 2019 in faith, transitions


Dying to Return

He had to die to come home

After all the decades he’d roamed.

His parents, sibs, rellies, all others

Banned his return at life-end of mother

Now as ashes he rests beside her

Was he dishonest, the now-mourned cur?

Baffling those divergent tales, his coda, all

From beauteous birth to addictive fall.

Prodigal gathering at his passing~~

Or was the plea 80th kiss-my-assing ?

Jenison 7/15/2019

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Posted by on July 16, 2019 in Uncategorized



Snowstorms are no winter novelty to one who has lived

Near, all her years, a Great Lake, thenrest of life cicumnavigating its shores

Chicago-born, suburban childhood, by circumstance borne as single mom

To Michigan, where my now- far flung children were raised.

Their travel relates primarily to business and children’s country & worldwide trips, sometimes to us at the enchanting lake.

This winter weekend with iced road multi- vehicle accidents I remain inside. Hoping the power will not fai us, among 150,00 already without.

I read the crawls: schools on their 11th to 16th snow days; services to my mother-in-law cease all week, this due to rehab facilities closures so she leaves in worse shape than she arrived ;

and all nearby freeways close for miles of multi-car pileups that lead the national news evening reports.

All occurs in Michigan’s lower peninsula, more normal to Yoopers who qiuckly clear or close the single highway that transverses east to west. Whiteouts are common as are blizzards at Easter. Often the two-lane highway with too-few passing lanes close fore and aft for whiteouts, leaving only 38-mile detours on unplowed northerly stairstep roads.

Sixty mph wins scream along the shoreline discouraging beach walks toward the Soo Locks final days ; at night the anchor opposite awaiting their call to progress.

Snowshoeing one birthday didn’t prevent sinking up to my waist. I removed my snowshoes, crab- crawled across the snow to the road. Argh! Snowplow piles were 28”wide & high, impossible to cross! I could only creep back.

But how I miss its beauty, even this 2019 winter. God’s country, it’s called.

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Posted by on February 15, 2019 in Uncategorized


Fondly remembered

The day I went to retrieve a small garden seat restored by former neighbor, Bill, I received a message from his wife Rosemary. She had been called in to sub at Fredrick Meijer Gardens at an outdoor Art Cart for someone suddenly unavailable.”If I’m already gone, I’ll leave it in the breezeway for you to pick up.” Workable, and I was eager to see her Bill’s woodworking skills applied, so continued to their home filled with memories, next door to the one I had sold years after my husband’s unforeseen, sudden death in his sleep years earlier.

In the breezeway I saw several objects I had left with them, but had forgotten over intervening years, like so much of that past life. A wave of nostalgia engulfed me, and I dared to look across at the door at the home shared so many of his last years with mylate husband who departed in his sleep. We had bought the higgledy-piggledy home sporting 5 outdoor exits from many add- ones for its gardening potential, though it appeared to have none of that charm remaining after the years of my new life away.

I had purchased my parents’ condo of 20 years when they moved to luxe living in a senior care center apartment in mom’s hometown in a neighboring state with two brothers and their tribes of children and grands accessible within two miles, either direction, who saw my dad through his final illness, mom visits on a nearly daily basis now at age 95.

Before: back to my former home and the pickup. The door was cracked open! My companion was warning and mortified as I went in to see what changes had been made by the buyer who resold it at huge profit to a scientist from halfway across the globe. Knowing from former neighbors that the man had just begun to move in but was at work all day. I decided to have a peek. I mean it was shrouded by bike path tress along the road at least 100 feet distant.I assure you.

I discovered with certainty “you can’t go home again.” The home charm had departed and a structural house shell remained. Rooms had been eliminated starting with the entrance sunporch with windows on three side, high ceilings that had accommodated the tallest Christmas trees, even ceiling skylights , so hard to clean or pull tricky shades with hooked, long poles. What else?

It was basically a white shoebox within. The new owner had placed suitcases, travel bags, a few grocery bags along what had been the multi-paned dining room window, no furniture yet. Were the rhododendrons restored after a heavy ice storm per my reading of those leveled in England, cut to ground by a successful post-WWII army of gardeners’ own blitz? I couldn’t bear to look out either wide window, dining nor living room to the front, lest I see that bleeding hearts, too, were staunched.

Opposite that front wall was a trendy sliding barn door I opened to two master suites on either side of a long hallway. Jutting out to the living room side ell, the French doors remained, though a wood burning stove, its brick dais below, and display brick wall and shelf behind did not.

Outside those doors, the charming deck with overhead trellis beams and built- in benches and nooks created behind seating, the site of many gatherings , particularly for Easter egg hunts for up to 60 with families…gone. A blank large concrete slab covered that area from house wall outwards, and only a covered round smallish hot tub offset midway on a smaller slab provided yard decor. Surrounding fragrant mature, tall lilac bushes had been surrendered fornthat hot tub spot I had once pruned annually, filling the house with lush fragrance. Gone! as was the raised annual garden the lilacs guarded from deer feasts between them and the deck.

Remaining: a clear view of a middling lawn surrounded at far end by renegade shrubbery, unpruned for years. Still at side border of property, beyond a line of shrubs that bloomed in vernal sequence was a credible view of tall trees guarding that neighbor’s 8-10 foot stacks: five years of firewood adequate for their wood burning furnace, grace of nearby retired grandpa who delivered trailer loads, tree cutting his hobby in retirement. A hot tub with a forest view, alive yet no longer charmed by a long perennial garden leading to our neighborly pass-through. A few brave asparagus plants gone to seed remained near the deeply buried bones of the cat who chose his spot after goodbyes from neighboring children ( and parents) passing with me petting him to the music of The Lion King Broadway version, mewing faintly whenever the disliked Disney version came on.

Occasionally I am overwhelmed by the effects on my body of postpolio sequalae of almost 20 years now, 20 more if I live long as did my forebears. The struggle to get even a single bulb or plant into the ground without jostling my uncooperative limbs…or potential dislocation. Or reprimands for unsettling soil, tho my plantings from my home to my parents were years are ‘ grandmothered ‘ in prior to ” flowerpots only” bylaws.

So I then garden- grub on the deck rail-hugger pots as I will today. It looks out over a channel (which I disrespect by calling it a ditch) where we –my husband of a year- plus–have identified more than 20 species of life, mostly the 3 dozen ducks who live much of the year here. He is an excellent photographer who has caught most of them in close-up from fish in water passing from nearby Grand River to a small lake to spawn, or a baby beaver, to a pair of hummingbirds capture digitally in mid-flight, their wings stilled.

There is an interesting placement of twin ponds with fountains across the ‘ditch’ at the care cottages of another condo village. Nothing floral nearing what I recall. In gloomy days which can multiply in cloudy West Michigan, I can now get downstairs to the big, yet cozy library my dad created during their two decades living here. There, next to a left-behind lounge chair, is my remaining photo scrapbook stash of My Secret Garden photospheres, others gone to my children and a brother who evolved to become the family archivist with a same-age cousin who shares his interest. Lou, hubby, photographed all pages before I parted with them, so a photo stick contains memories of. 35 years of family life, while two books do not require computer use for my fondest memories of life journeys moved on.

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Posted by on September 29, 2018 in Uncategorized


A 3/4 Heart in Time

Where did all the love for

Me originate? There’s always more!

Our hasty marriage after so few months known

We both had imagined living alone

Soured relationships, so much hurt,

We came together cautious, alert.

Our full year passed

It may not be the last! Next

Cardio appointment six months hence

Not daily, weekly, monthly…whence?

Decreased meds to be glad for

Reduce his daily zombie stupor

My Vitruvian Man whose heart is quarter-dead

Caresses me daily with cherishing words said

He ought not be loving me in his caretaker role

But in it he’s strong of heart, spirit, soul

As I face surgery # 25

Mirabile visu we both are alive

I suspect God saw health-hopelessness, pain,

Then winked for us to meet, try again

For however long, no one can know—

Lives might end in sleep or adagio

Whatever the pace or meter, our time

Promises journeys to reunion eternal, sublime.

July 21, 2018, NAV


Posted by on July 24, 2018 in LouLove



My husband thought I meant with him when
I used that four-letter word I’d forbade my children
“Bore”– I meant that the calendar was filled
Constant medico appointments for my many ills

Mine increased to 3 majors last week
1) Mid-year mark of foot rebuilt foot, nowhere near peak
2) Cataracts healing though weeks of eyedrops to go
3) B A D hip dislocation,scissored as I sat, doncha know!

Bored with him? Never! tho he’s so left-brained fixit
I try to learn, but my word nerd brain nixes it.
Now I truly believe in a laughing God
Who brought us together, two-gether as one bod.

June 22, 2018


Posted by on June 23, 2018 in Uncategorized


22nd on 22th

Never predicted I’d reach twenty-two

Surgeries, till I could not fit nor walk in a shoe

Cannot bear weight now surgery’s through

Forty years of spraining right ankle

Vanity excluded growth to a “cankle”

Turns out there was more going on, making it sore

Foot bone grown into tibia, pain when foot hit floor

All tendons loosed, had to be lassoed

Between x-rays and surgery two months passed: how rude

Doc got to fish out new bone chips, serves him right

Overbooked patients did not my ambulation delight!

Winter 2017 NAV

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Posted by on May 9, 2018 in Honeymooners


Hurricane Balance

When there’s a hurricane hiding

How do I achieve balance, quit backsliding?

Foot’s back in Airboot, shoe caused relapse

Back to walker shuffle between pain pill naps.

Heart is heavy, so like the weather

Pressures down upon me, no light feather.

It will change, but without my control

My stalker begs a call, mail answers: really my soul.

All this so tiring body, trapped again

Should I have refused to rebuild foot,

Make each step a cleaver pain?

No, chose to get to the post-polio root.

Full year recuperation seemed doable then

One-quarter time past, would I choose it again?

Everything falls back, no passwords release

I pray, listen, meditate, hope to find a little peace.

But what of Lou, each day’s side-effects are rife

Heartbeat enabling meds make him groggy, yet he still treasures life

Last year he lost all: job, hobbies, home, friends

Left a woman scorned, condition with no amends

Our extended honeymoon just passed month ten

Will we see a year anniversary, hardly more, I ken.

One thing is certain, opinion of top medico

Lou will die in his sleep: instant widow way I know.

5/9/2018. NAV

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Posted by on May 9, 2018 in Uncategorized


Mother’s Day’s Away

Counting down the days I’ve mailed to

My grandkids’ mom a card bought new, I

Didn’t realize this year it’s her birthday, too,

But FaceTiming she indicated the one would do.

How will it be for me, I review:

A package arrived but not from either of my two.

Fresh flowers often their expedited pricey buy

But if we travel away, how long would they lie

Awaiting our return on the next front porch

The blossoms enduring storm or sunscorch

Don’t yet know if I can do the roundtrip, for

Last weekend was a recuperation flop- flip

My footsteps forward went many pained steps back

In a car, how to endure without an ice pack

Hours could set healing farther back to starting line

Or if I’m cautious, all will be fine

Dilemma: be the unheard daughter; niece, cousin, wife

Not the honoree celebrated greatly in earlier life

Homemade cards, school-crafted gifts to brag about, share;

Better play it safe, cozy cat on lap in La-Z-Girl chair?

May 9 2018. NAV

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Posted by on May 9, 2018 in Uncategorized


Plus and Minus

A thousand times I’ve said before

Another thousand writ–and more:

Je t’aime plus qu’hier, moins que demain

To you my favorite, dearest man

I shall always love you ‘more than yesterday, less than tomorrow’

It has been my joy, but remains my perpetual sorrow

Waiting to hear your voice in the world past pain

I’ve sensed you here, know we shall meet again.

Watching when I, time traveler, advance to the when

Forgotten are coordinates of now with then

My heart aches so for those gone  a-widowing:

One’s aunt’s husband, dear uncle, to heaven I’d sing

He, post-polio bellwether, like an older brother

I, their first “kid” 12 years till she became mother

Life and death in a helix swirl

Now I am no one’s ‘girl’

(Though they would all deny it)

Wear my solitary shoes: go on, try it!

Rarely so lonely: would that still be true

If I’d missed all those years, never been so loved by you

Loco love I had/have with  you.

               +  &  –

Jenison January 17, 2017


Posted by on January 18, 2017 in dreams, transitions



How long will this pain stay with me

How often return to unsettle me

O, to know

There comes more snow

Making ambulation scary

Every step I take outdoors:wary,very

Some say that hell is fire

Purgatory snow should soon expire

Permutations we call winter weather here.


To relocate in south or west is my wish dear

Though even plane flights are hard to bare

Although destinations, lives I wish to share

It is an awesome leap to leave the net

What use to remain? Untried the bet?


For now I’ll  layer like an enchilada in wraps

Then to the mailbox, avoiding slippery traps.

Walking necessary for what ails me

Each step praying no limb fails me.


Cry, body, never

Seek sun’s warmth ever

Try till pains leave~~ forever.

                 Jenison MI  *Midwinter* 01/09/2017

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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Nature, transitions



The magi came, brought symbolic gifts, then fled
By the light of the same star that earlier led.
We heard of them, much about constant or guiding stars
Then baskets were passed so we could choose ours:
Each with a word to ponder today or all year.
When they reached me, I shrank back in fear

There, right side up, a huge one read “harmony”
‘O, please don’t let this be the star for me’
I quickly thought as I scanned the facedown others
Knowing it was mine, even as my heart felt smothered:
Events of past week, the sign no more Haarman y Hill
Remembered, but focused, grabbed it through force of will

It’s quits, but this Epiphany day you must know
I’m cherishing good days we had, all others I’ll let go:
Harmony is crucial facing surgery, I maintain,
It is what I wish you tomorrow, and thereafter to counteract pain.
May you be healed throughout efforts, and also with prayer
Of all beloveds near to you now, returning your care.

January 8,2017

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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Uncategorized


Madly Resisting

The bull pulled by his nose ring

enters the chute heavy with scents of fear

screaming erupts from the stands flummoxing him

to a point of paralysis, barely able to move forward ,

Unable to retreat. Aha! Escape through an opening gate!

prodded forward he emerges to total chaotic cacophony but

for the man twirling as a ballet dancer, cape aswirl in the

spacious ring as picadors emerge from their hiding spots to

force the bull closer to the gyrating gent

Mindful of their many practiced feints, he moves quickly to

avoid their speedy sharp thrusts


Finishing his pirouettes

el matador advances eye-to-eye now while

picadors retreat behind their fenced screens

When the cape flashes red

bull paws briefly, charges ahead~~

there can be no return to the closed chute;

training, fear, outrage merge, then

audience is upstanding, gyrating for the

blood sport they came to see:

advance/ retreat both man and beast

fencing flamenco partner the weighty beast to

His biped antagonist now brandishing his un- caped sword

Stomps, snarls, snorts the bull, charging as sword zeroes toward him

Ole!! Matador  slices deep and well, blood flows from the startled beast

Que? Bull retreats, then, seduced, sashays then gallops to return the insult, thus

furthering well-placed thrusts which collapse him awkwardlykneels,

front legs askew; labors to unstably turn aside to rise while distant

crazed cheers thunder;  el matador curls cape as magician would, but

does not magically disappear, no, his coup de grace 

ends swiftly the torment. Then, with choreography of

ears removed, proudly, it would seem, he circles to display to all but

One pair of lifeless glassy eyes which lately dark with menace glowed

Within the hour el matador swings onto his home’s road

1-3-2016    downstate


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Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Nature, transitions


Left at the Turn

off we race 5 miles on icy snowpack to a

near collision with propane truck–potentially

tripling deaths en route to sister’s funeral,

not a word spoken of speed. Driver risked his own life through

miraculous control, drove  into ditch to prevent

collision incineration:

mirabile visu did not overturn full payload —

only topped-off tanks

entered our lakeside road in winter


A. drove greatly exceeding its low summer speed, then

hit black ice on the 90-degree road-turn

Mention surprise to his OCD perfection~never!

We voyaged in near-silence four hours. Though

my shock abated, it never left me.





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Posted by on January 4, 2017 in Uncategorized


Room to Mourn

O, God, Jesus!

it wasn’t only him

seeing rain from the window

Triggered tears for more than Jim

I may have been resilient,

Inured to physical pain

Now I have to leave anew

Evermore, far from family again

Struck! I do not do this well

No one around me knows

Piercing  lightning hits my heart as

Too-short visit comes to a close.

Pray, keep me from sarcasm

When proffering goodbyes

Heard as stronger abrasions

I rarely do disguise

Even from myself, retro-glancing

I sadly realize

How  lancing

My words have been: not a way to part.

Past 70, I must hurry to learn

To show, to share my heart

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Posted by on December 31, 2016 in transitions


Out of the Gray

Eruption suddenly volcanic, his usual way

Visit’s fifth calm day, it occurred on roadway

I kept driving, traffic was post-holiday light

Respond succinctly to his set-up airtight:

He’d crossed the uncrossable line this time

‘Just joking’ reply:but I called him out his slime

Not to me could that ever be humor

(I thought self-sabotage he meant to occur)

Mouthed words like a canker spewing pus

He thus ended the entity known as “us”

So many accusation eruptions I knew,

Calmly drove on, no need to stew


Car garaged, packages arranged, taken

His  familiar face read:’Yea, I am forsaken’

Unmoved I: same scenario  six  years?

Simply walked through routines with few inner tears

Reflections  good and bad times as year nears its end, I

Vacillate, wondering if we’ll be distant friends

Knowing when he leaves so will such consideration

Concerned for Godview, years of prayers for a shaky situation

Recalled then the wise nugget of third Advent Sunday

Knowing gray clouds will clear away:

We don’t call solo pink candle happy, but Joy

Arising from depthless source: this the image  I’ll employ

12/29/2016 GT







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Posted by on December 29, 2016 in Uncategorized


Fall Back Eve

Near sleep,enthralled by
Fish papparazzi glints
Off waves hurled to shore
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Posted by on November 5, 2016 in lakeside


Railroads /RickRack?

Six years later I know what he sought in relationship
Hands revealed non-interseooocting lines, suggest to me his huge slip.  
Chicago-bred me saw his marriage as RR:parallel lives at best, or,
As two years after he declared as his home's host, I am his guest.

Admittedly I heard that as insult to prior private vows
Bewailed such description, yet tried again
Left when verged on becoming co-dependent
To live afar, as an independent; later events:
I believed it the render-good way
His caregiver role I sought to repay.

Shoulda stopped while ahead,my own life, later health
Lagged as his fitness decreased; then deaths: I saw 7--a 'wealth'
He had "no problem" Driving Miss Daisy, highly visible role,
When I broke my wrist in a fall, all began to unroll

He believed I had returned to forever remain?
Any help/comfort offered was refused: I was his 'hovering' pain.
So now healing--not merely wrist--approaches: this is the gist.
I'll be driven home with belongings, my 'negativity' unmissed.
For him I reek of it--even my brother said word many years back
Hey! Siblings get past it, forget it, cut me some slack, for

You demand 'what's past-is-past', each day will 'unfold',
So I'm folding my tents, this baggage claim telling,so false, so old.
If anyone crosses your pure actions-- it needn't be me--
I always get the third degree

It could have been so good,as I look back
On meshed-together red and white rick-rack, 
Woven together as one, peppermint-striped for a holiday card
I still possess one,  I'll have to search hard
To find it-- my visual of dreams,calls,gifts,care,devotion.
Till compulsions overtook, paring essence from me;p
To tiny stub tho I held on in resistance 'gainst volcanic attacks. 
Ends soon enough: will it make you free of your haversack?

I don't think so, nor do many others
Who've approached me over your OCD smothers;
No longer my issue, all now clear to me
Au revoir, a prière ou ronger: others can continue to see.

 Michibay    11/02/2016

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Posted by on November 2, 2016 in transitions


I’ve Got Your Number!

Deciding, as I began to update address book today

Though you’re on celestial journey, your studio should stay

How did you ever get number for studio phone?

I knew months before your departure (tho I wasn’t alone),

I laughed half a century apres l’affaire des couers, not exclusivity

Chortling again at your humorous  duplicity

Two departures, one then to fame–but from me,

Another from life nine years ago–how did I see?

You stayed with the five and one despite such strife.

Who got your number for the lush life

Taught me deep love…to give another, whose bride I was, not just wife

Now you Eternally have mine.

Gulliver~ 7/30/2015



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Posted by on October 28, 2016 in transitions



‘Leaves of three, let them be’
Conversational silence was the morning decree
Yes,I blather thinking aloud:
Two is company unless one is in shroud

So going again, I resume cold weather walk
 Perhaps last safe time…snow in forecast: squawk!
 Autumn leaves, multicolored hues
 I study each two-toned maple, forgetting blues

Previously I’d gather, press and dry
 Past that stage—all left to compost,mortalify
 Why collect more at age 71?
 Killjoys always diminish such childlike fun

Shorebirds already did morning-light fishing
 I start each day at God’s right hand, never wishing
 Sorry Disney, dreaming doesn’t go far
 When omnipresent clouds hide well nightly star

Overhead normal predators squall around
Converge directionally—-victim found?
Squirrels scurry, two songbirds flit with ease
Through marshy spot, no percussionist ‘peckers in trees.

Bliss: flourishing milkweed erupting roadside
Presages abundance of Monarchs next year haven pods provide.
One mile-and-a-half to year-round neighbors
Gone~~though retired, today donating willing labor

Nice ‘work’ if you are able to provide

Add maladies to broken wrist, my writing alone abides

With reading till my head’s aswirl Recalling long-ago outburst: “Mother of pearl!”

Gulliver, 10/24/2016

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Posted by on October 25, 2016 in Nature