Monday, September 12, 2011

Mr. Bones

This is a poem I wrote many years ago before so many deaths had occurred in my family. I found it today, its a little rough, a little irreverent, but kind of interesting...

He comes at night
a shadow to fear.
A light tap on the shoulder
and they disappear.

He strolls the garden
in earliest morn
his robe dew damped
bedraggled, worn.

He dances away
the minutes of day
Tick Tocking
Time to Decay.

Mr. Bones
comes a'tappin'
Took my love
whilst he was nappin'

Be gone, Fine Death
come no more
to take my love
my soul no more...


Today I walked among the dead,
resting quietly in their graves.
I wandered among them
speaking aloud
a name
a date
a sentiment,
carved in coldest stone.
Speaking them into being
for just a moment
just a breath of time.

It is peaceful
away from the living.
The quiet broken
only by birdsong,
breezes rustling
the leaves beneath my feet.

Sun warmed granite
rough to my touch.
cool even at midday
with the sun arching
over us all
warming the cold ground
beneath me
above them.

I embrace the solitude.
I revel in the peace that flows
across time and being.

I have no fear.
I have no quarrels with the dead.
It is the living that presume.

Beautiful Boys

I work with a lot of teenage boys. They are awesome in ways I never imagined. Bold. Strong. Fragile. Insightful. Forgetful.

They are dreamers, schemers and preeners.

I feel for these kids. They have had tough lives, spent years with people labeling them as stupid, dumb, just another redneck/gangbanger/poor white trash/poor black/stoner/trailer trash kid...

They are not those labels.

They are scared. They put up a tough front and that scares some people. But I choose not to be afraid of them. I talk, I listen, I praise them. They sometimes blush at the praise and grow silent. I don't think they know how to respond to kindness or positive words. They only know the negative. That they can respond to, they can get angry, they can hit, they can yell, they can lash out...

But kindness, that catches them unprepared. That throws them at times. But I don't stop. I keep telling them what they do right. I praise their efforts, I celebrate every success however small.

Today I met with two of my boys. Two boys the school staff told me were incorrigible. Two boys the staff had given up on. Two boys on probation in court. Two boys they warned me I should be afraid of because of their anger and violence.

One holds the door for me, answers "Yes M'aam", "No M'aam". The other who looms over me, waits til I am seated before he sits. In telling about a rough day, he cannot bring himself to curse in front of me, instead saying, "Ms. Martha then I said the "f" word."

Today I reviewed their grades. Both were passing all the classes for the term. Only one F for the nine weeks and that will be brought up when more homework is turned in. I praised them for their efforts. I told them I knew how hard they had worked. I said, "I am so proud of you!" and I meant it. Both blushed. One said he was proud of himself. I broke out in a big grin and laughed with happiness. This was a kid who had once said his purpose on Earth was to feel pain, and today he was beaming with joy.

I can't take the credit. They did the work. They made the effort. They were the ones who chose to change. All I did was listen and tell them the truth about themselves. They are winners, they are strong, they are all beautiful boys...