Categories
of Gratitude

A Christmas Toast

A Christmas Toast

To my family and my friends
It’s Christmas time again
Another year is over
and just around the bend
a longer year than most
we all wished that it would end
I hope we never see
A twenty-twenty here again

The election, it’s all over
The vaccine, just months to come
We’ll celebrate with eggnog
we won’t dare forget the rum
The Christmas tree is up
The stockings are all hung
The mistletoe we skipped
So few kisses, that’s no fun!

The schools will all be open
The masks will disappear
No rush on toilet paper
We’ll be free to breath the air
We’ll dine inside if we want to
All store owners will declare
Come inside, there’s no Corona!
Come inside, pull-up a chair!

Merry Christmas one and all
Happy New Year, yes it’s true
At last we’ll be together
Shed our fear and all our blues
God bless the ones surviving
All the ones who passed-away
Here’s to twenty-twenty-one
Here’s to you and better days!

-J

Categories
of Gratitude

Ambling Man

Ambling Man

As I sit and meditate
soft music and nature sounds
filling my head

As I contemplate my journey
I realize that I have walked a crooked path
A path with many turns, winding

Forks that I have taken
Many
I have faced great heights and deep chasms
I have known glory and defeat

The crevasses into which I have fallen
barely escaping and near impossible to climb
Yet here I stand to walk, again

Exposed by the light
Hidden by the darkness
In this life, I have seen things
I feel more than most

Unfairness and redemption
Purity and evil
Love and Hate
Success and failure
Things that seemed perfect
Things that were terribly ugly

The path has leveled,
suddenly narrowed
Once crooked, now straight
No longer my worst enemy

The roads not taken
I have surely travelled
Some would say a waste
Now my greatest asset
I can comprehend peace

I must amble along
Leave my rambling to younger men
Resist the forks, fewer, still tempting

Resist what once appealed
Those places that angels fear
The demons I have danced with
many times

I have earned these lines
Each speak to me
of times unique and wonderful
of deep regret and some of sorrow

Yet here I stand to amble on.

-J

Categories
of Gratitude

A Lovely Work of Heart

A Lovely Work of Heart
(for Catherine Searle)

When I’m anxious
When I’m blue
When I’m scattered
or in tatters
What to do?
I turn to you!

So lucky to have you as my friend
You never scold me or pretend
Your always there to lift me up
when times are dark
when times are rough

You lend an ear when I’m in fear
You cheer me on in my endeavors
Share my laughter and my tears
and when I’m lonely, make it better

If time and distance separate us
in my heart, I’ll always be
so very thankful for our friendship
all your love, your love, for me

To you, I owe so much
Just how would I survive
all the heartache and the strife
without you there in my life

I’ll love you always and forever
A better friend could not exist
Sincerely, from my heart
from my soul, I‘ll just say this:

Thank you for your friendship
Thank you from my heart
I thank God that he created
Such a lovely work of art

-J

Categories
of Gratitude

No Wonder

No Wonder

Woke up this morning
Got up at six
Drank me some coffee

Shaved
Took a shower
Put on some fresh clothes
Then had some more coffee

Went outside
A beautiful brisk morning
And I breathed

Breathed in the fresh air
Smoked me a fag
And stared

At the leaves on the trees
The leaves on the ground
The sun rising up
The wonderful clouds

Leaves blowing in the breeze
The crisp fresh air
And I wondered not

-J

Categories
of Gratitude

The Man in The Mirror

The Man in the Mirror

The mirror is kind. As I look, stare, examine the face looking back, it’s less me, and more someone else. Someone lovely and deserved of admiration, who lived a life of wonder and experience. The man and his essence, there, staring back at me.

He hurt. He laughed (that laugh). He lived truth and with magnitude; a life of burden and challenge; a life of disappointment and great heights; a life to live.

In my way, in these times perhaps, I have known more of his life than I realized.

To have braved the moments, terrifying and glorious. My terror, light, my glory, less but remnants, still, of his journey. No courage lacking. A spot, sweet, vulnerable, but never weak. I have survived this day and for that, he’d be honored.

This man and his brothers, perhaps his own brothers, the bravest and most honorable men. To take all and turn it into a hunt, a chore, a challenge, an expectation of and for me.

Passed on and not forgotten. The man, hauntingly, follows my every step. I’ll never be the man but I’m honored to have learned something of his character. I’m proud to carry his name and his favor.

The man glories in my struggles and my victory. No longer an issue for the man he wished I’d be and will become, God willing.

My debt, frankly, to him (alone) as I stare another morning into that lovely face.

-J

Categories
of Gratitude

But for the grace

But for the grace

A thin man walking, alone
each step, proud
a steady pace
a determined expression
shoulders back
a smile on his face.

He meets a stranger along the way
pleasantries exchanged
a howdy-do
a chat about the weather
a sturdy handshake
and a hardy adieu.

He walks, again, alone,
picks an apple from a tree
he bites and chews
then spits it out
not yet ripe, a little green
he tries again but has his doubts.

He stops to sit a little while
crosses his legs, then with a smile
he holds a sign for motorists
“Hungry, can you spare a dime?”
he stands and reaches for the bill
and adds a dollar to his till.

He thanks the driver
says “God Bless”
he thanks his God for all the rest
he counts it up, then put’s it down
he’s saved it for another round.

A thin man walking
used to be
a working man
used to pull some dollars down
‘till fate and luck just dragged him ‘round
Now, he walks and smiles.

-J

Categories
of Gratitude

Half Full

Half Full

In the dark, in my chair
the sound of silence
splits the night

Paul and Art
forgotten friends
play hauntingly
softly sing to me
on this cold thanksgiving night

holiday spread
a pot pie, apple sauce
well… it’s fine
I dine in
a little whine
then, I feel

grateful
for my life
my job
my sight

my girls, the gift
that saved my life
left to me
by my sweet wife

grateful
for old friends
no more
grateful for closed
and open doors

grateful
for my insanity
keeps me sane
I laugh, I cry
glorious thing

grateful for the music
that fills the void
I stop, listen
really listen
whispers of souls
fill me with experiences unlived
but felt, then somehow known

grateful
for Lou Reed
for all the Janes I’ve known
and loved
Sweet Janes

grateful
for every mistake
without
there’d be no success
a million successes
a billion mistakes

grateful
to feel deep
yes, deep
everybody hurts you
who’s worth suffering for

grateful
for my imperfection
and yours
grateful
for this man in the mirror
you and I, at times, abhor

grateful,
for my things
precious things
can’t take them
but they’re a part of me
cherished and loved
gathered and used

grateful
for memories
colorful and rich
flooding my mind
with highlight reels
of life worth living

grateful
for wisdom
some, it’s nice
on occasion
young souls appear
stories, advice
look at me strange
not too much, just enough
to suffice

grateful
for heartbreak
essential sweet sorrow
to feel and feel deep
the greatest gift
steeped in joy
and heartache

grateful
for addiction
without it
wouldn’t know
how not to live
what not to do
with half my life

grateful
to Cecelia
she graced my being
some never know
the joy of cooking
a hot flame
the taste of delight
which is mine

still…

grateful
for this, my only life
worth living

worth giving
worth sharing
daring
to be satisfied

I am great, full.

-J

Categories
of Gratitude

The Breeze

The Breeze

I sit in my breezeway
overlooking the pond
God staring just at me
as He waves His magic wand

I see fish and some tadpoles
I see geese, a lonely crane
I see deer and some ducks
I see trees, it starts to rain

I see clouds in the distance
the sun peeking out
This sight is just for me
At this moment, there’s no doubt

The fountain in the middle
rises-up just like a geyser
To say there is no god
left to men, who’s none the wiser

Behind the grove, I hear a train
It keeps rolling down the track
It always makes me wonder
where it’s been and why its back

My neighbors, they’re all sleeping
in this early morning hour
Another morning coffee
As I witness all His power

As I go and leave behind
all this wonder then He greets me
The day turns bright and sunny
This is God and how he treats me.

-J

Categories
of Gratitude

Another Start

Another Start

As I wake
from a dream
Put my feet
on the floor
To the kitchen
I walk
for my coffee
once more

I look around
Light a smoke
Wipe my eyes
Take a toke
Hear the quiet
of the morn
Thanking God
that I awoke

In the quiet
Just the sound
of the clock
Another day
as I listen
to the silence
I kneel down
and I pray

I pray, oh Lord
You give me strength
You recognize
my thankful heart
My routine
every day
Every day
another start…

-J

Categories
of Gratitude

One More Day

One More Day

A face I don’t recognize
In the mirror
Staring back at me
Each morning
Each day

As I trim my beard
Mostly silver, mostly grey
Another day goes by
And I say
Thank you

Thank you for my sleep
Deep and restful
The watch you keep
The dark and quiet room
Where you’ve prepared me
For another day

Thank you for your mercy
Your embrace
Your loving son
And all his grace

One such as I
With all my faults
And much disgrace
In the end, to be counted
Among the saints

I humbly ask
That on this day
You guide my thoughts
You hear me pray
That this old man
Not fade away
But walk in faith

I thank you Lord for this chance
To do things right
Not happenstance
A chance I pray
A chance to say
I’m blessed again
with one more day …

-J

Categories
of Gratitude

A Tiny Drop

A Tiny Drop

A single drop of rain
This sunny day
On my shoulder
Did lay

I noticed and wondered
Where it came from
from where and why did it come

Quenched thoroughly for a moment
As I absorbed its intent
It’s power
It’s wonder and mystery

Giving me life and hope anew
A blessing as I was wilting
Again, just in time
Did His loving power
Reveal itself to me

In a tiny drop

-J