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Thursday, November 25, 2021

Not In Shame

On this Thanksgiving Day, I'm grateful for the end of pride.

I've had several bad falls lately, causing concussions, and now, while walking the dogs, I wear a hard hat. It looks dorky, but believe me, TBI is dorkier still.

If the poem seems familiar, it's because I wrote it as a comment for last week's Five Minute Friday home page, with the prompt HIDE.

It does say all I need to say.

Infirmity is something that
I would prefer to hide,
but now I wear a hard hat
when I walk outside.
My cancer'd leg will let me down,
so I won't be fussing;
even though I look the clown,
it's better than concussion,
and so I'd like to say to you
that there's no need for shame
in doing what you have to do,
just treat it as a game,
and go on with your head held high,
and bid your prickly pride goodbye.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is NOURISH. Alrighty then.

Each little congregation
is in a constant lurch,
so go ye, take your station,
and nourish your small church.
Take up a chosen ministry,
or go where you are sent
to serve, on Earth, Eternity,
and live the sacrament
of being hands and heart of Christ,
of spreading the good news;
some see it as sacrifice,
but you won't sing the blues,
for you'll see God's smiling face
when you're cheerful in your place.

Five minutes, plus a few seconds.

Music from Brewer and Shipley, with One Toke Over The Line.

Sylvia doesn't care if I look dorky. First things first, like ice cream.


Thursday, November 18, 2021

In Praise Of Cows

We have cows. Not our own, mind; our home is on the open range, and cows regularly drift through to munch on the sage, and on the desert willow that Barb is trying to keep alive.

They play with the dogs, and will sometimes peer in through the windows.

And last winter, I slipped on a patch of ice, and couldn't get up. A cow ambled over to offer a horn, and pulled me to my feet.

I like cows.

I wandered, lonely as a cow
far from the madding herd,
banished, for I would not bow
to that which they preferred.
They got themselves in such a state
when I forswore my cud,
and chose, instead to liberate
the rancher's case of Bud.
What followed, to them, was more crass
in what was now evoked,
my saying, 'staid of eating grass
that it should perforce be smoked,
but my case was truly torn
by my tooting my own horn.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is HIDE. Ok.

Cancer came and done for me,
there ain't no place to hide,
and it is no mystery
that it's kicking my backside.
The metastasis that's in my leg's
now clear unto the eye,
and it's tempting, yeah, to wail and beg,
"Lord, please don't let me die!"
But death has got to come to all,
and that's the Gospel truth.
Maybe Eve done tripped the Fall,
but that ain't no excuse
for whinin' like a hungry pup
when it's time to cowboy up.

Five minutes flat. Yee-ha.

For music, here's 'Deep In The Heart Of Texas'. Yeah, I'm in New Mexico. Close enough.

Sylvia appreciates cows, for they are the source of ice cream.


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Veterans' Day At The Wall

 As you walk on down the slope
past reflected years,
can you feel the once-bright hope
and hear the fallen tears?
Look behind each graven name;
please give them this small grace.
Lit by an eternal flame,
you will behold a face
whose eyes will dare to hold your gaze,
so dare not look away
and listen as the dead man says,
"Will you, on this sacred day
honour we who gave our all
to earn our place upon the Wall?"

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is WANDER. Well, ok. Same theme.

As you walk through quiet gloaming,
can you hear the distant thunder,
and see all the ghosts a-roaming,
but where is it they wander?
Do they go to milkshake bars,
where lettermen would come together,
or glide among the souped-up cars,
a poison to dear mother?
Do they visit high-school fields
where they found early glory
before the war would come and steal
the ending to their story?
Just know the shades you walk among
had loved their lives, and they were young.

Five minutes, and I wouldn't change a word.

Music from the soundtrack to We Were Soldiers... the haunting Scots ballad 'Sgt. McKenzie'.

Sylvia just appreciates her ice cream.


Thursday, November 4, 2021

Skating Through It

One of the hardest things about keeping one's chin up on the cancer road is the need to be not just active, but proactive about morale. It's so easy to fall into despair.

Especially now. My 'good hours' in the day are measured in minutes, and the rest of the time is spent trying to skate through the pain. I can't focus on a movie, and it's getting hard to read... just getting to the next moment, until fatigue overwhelms, is everything.

I'm not saying this to garner sympathy. It's simply true, and I have to work at planning ahead to use the hours I have in a productive manner.

It's no longer working upon aeroplanes, or even writing (there are novels that are finished, but I lack the energy to bring them to the light of day, and writing sonnets, always a challenge, is now very much an uphill climb).

So now it's custom gunstocks, made with hand tools, care, and, yes, love. Red oak (cheap!), laminated, and stained to taste with wine, then treated and polished with tung oil.

There is something almost mystical in listening to the wood, learning how it wants to be shaped. Grain is a language, and texture is poetry, far deeper than I can hope to write.

Or maybe it's all hokum, make-work for my End Of Days, but I don't think so.

Care about wood, you care about trees, and you care about Creation. And yes, I do see the irony of showing a love for Creation by working on weapons.

Works for me, and it had better. I'm running on empty.

 It can be tough when chips are down
to find a middle path ahead
between the moper and the clown,
the vivid and the dead.
You can fix eyes on the Hereafter,
but only for so long,
and then must find your love and laughter
in this life's ongoing song,
so take each given hour
and drink down every drop,
for when you're in the Looming Tower
time won't slow, nor stop
for you to find new ways of feeling
about the fate with which you're dealing.

The Looming Tower is a Qu'ranic reference (4:78); "Death will find you, even in the looming (or lofty) tower."

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is PRAYER. So...

I may still be living,
longing for the air up there,
taking what God's giving,
living on a prayer.
I am daily praying,
for strength and hope and healing,
but, well, this might be saying,
or even more, revealing
the things that give me animation,
that sparkle in my soul,
and though I offer protestation
I know it makes me whole,
this life to which I yearn and cling,
to see grace that the morning brings.

There, five minutes (and it shows), but I also worked in last week's prompt, MORNING, so there!

Music from Kool And The Gang, with 'Celebration', through this link.

Let's celebrate with Sylvia, and ice cream.