Category Archives: Uncategorized

ALL WE HAVE IS RIGHT NOW

ALL WE HAVE IS RIGHT NOW

Even though, my mind has gone blurry,
even though, your name might escape me,
even though, I can’t make you coffee
like I used to,
I’m so happy you’re here,

sit with me for a time,
take my hand,
share the warmth of your kindness,
the warmth of your heart,

I hope you recognize me,
the me I was before
this blurred state
consumed me,

when my dignity and grace were intact,
when my giving spirit and smile defined me,
when my words were accessible,

so much has been taken,

in truth, the edges of my days
often feel like unsafe cliffs
where nothing can save me
from a treacherous fall,

yet, I do find delight
in momentary joys,

my caregiver and I sing old familiar tunes,
the words rising from unknown wells
deep in my mind’s recesses,

we keep a balloon aloft,
back and forth it floats,
a blissful, playful interlude,

I guess we’re all trying to keep things aloft,

balloons,

songs,

hopes,

each other,

all we have is right now.
all we have is each other.

This poem was inspired by my friend, Diane Rogers,
who is a compassionate, selfless caregiver.
Diane provides care for the wonderful woman in the photo.

It’s written in first person, but is only my interpretation
of what a person with Alzheimer’s Disease might wish to express.

SEEING EVERYTHING

SEEING EVERYTHING

Oh, to be an owl,
whose wisdom sits
lightly on shoulders
feathered for flight,

who soars at night
on silent wings,
eyes piercing
through moonless, misty skies,

past trees
whose leaves tremble
in silent respect,

oh, to feel
his mantle of wisdom,
his steady strength,
imbuing us with fearless flight,

relieving our burdened spirits,
allowing vision beyond this day,
this way of being,

seeing everything
for what it is,

understanding our place
in this universe, this space
where each breath,
each sigh aligns,

where love and wisdom
still reside.

Art (colored pencil on suede art paper) by my cousin Kathy Garvey Quinn

THAT’S WHAT I THINK WE SHOULD DO

THAT’S WHAT I THINK WE SHOULD DO

There once was a twisted house,
not lived in by man or by mouse,

some people say,
if you pass by that way,
you’ll question your night
and your day,

what’s up isn’t up,
what’s down isn’t down,
yet the world is still spinning
around and around,

so what shall we do,
when we haven’t a clue,

stick with the things
we know to be true,

like the me that is me,
the you that is you,
and the days when the sky
is bluer than blue.

that’s what I think we should do.

The Twisted House is at the Indianapolis Art Center. It was created by John McNaughton.

TILTING THE UNIVERSE

Tilting the Universe

Birds die every day,
so many things do,
dreams, people, pets,

we can’t save them all,

but once in awhile,
we step outside
our passive sorrow,
to forestall the inevitable.

**************************

The duck was clearly in pain,
in imminent peril,
a fishing hook gouged his neck,
one end coming out the front,
the other out the side,

four intrepid friends
jumped into action,
employing wire cutters and a firm grasp,
they calmed and saved a frightened bird,

a steady hand clipped the curved hook,
another pulled out the straight end,
a third held the duck close
before easing it to the ground,
a fourth held her camera steady
to capture its joyous freedom flight,

it was quite a sight
seeing it soar into the evening sky.

**************************

Birds die every day,

but in that moment,
on that day,
four friends
eased one duck’s suffering,
while also tipping the universe
in a slightly more positive direction.

Poem by Rita Bourland Photos by Estelle Boyaka
Duck rescue at Sunny 95 Pond by Tanya Willett, Regina Goetz, Rick Calendine and Estelle Boyaka

WHEN OUR WORLD LOSES SHAPE

WHEN OUR WORLD LOSES SHAPE

A friend picked a clover,

every leaf a precious heart,

we had been looking
for hearts on our walk,

and then,
they were everywhere,

like we had conjured them
with a magic wand
to appear in the rocks, flowers,
trees and clouds,

on the well-trodden path,
heart shapes were there,

like a song of love
to walk us home,

after a day when important
things fell out of shape,

there in the clover,
unassuming hearts
assured us that love
continues to vibrate
in all living things,

renewing us,
even on days
when our world loses shape.

Photo and Poem by Rita Bourland

Thank you to Regina Goetz for finding the beautiful clover and to Estelle Boyaka for suggesting we look for hearts on our walks each day.

SNAPSHOT OF JOY

SNAPSHOT OF JOY

Two hours earlier,
these children were
dressed for an outdoor wedding,
hair combed,
shirts tucked,
shoes laced,

everything in place,
without a trace of mud
on their sparkling faces,
their well-scrubbed knees,

the reception site
offered the perfect setting
to undo all that,

racing through the mud
toward a well-worn tire swing,
they launched into dizzying spins,
raucous screams,
untethered peals of joyous laughter,

if I could bottle that feeling for you
I would,

instead I offer it here,

a snapshot of joy
emblazoned on their faces,
forever remembered
from that singular, perfect moment in their lives.

King of His Realm

King of his Realm

They gather at his feet
like subjects before their king,
he wields power
with a decisive toss of his hand,

but the land he commands
is neither kingdom nor realm,
and he neither king nor prince,

just a homeless sentry
in a city square
feeding pigeons day old bread,

passersby see a tattered life
with no respite, no relief,

yet his plight in life
is of no concern to the hungry birds
as they peck and push to get
their hard-earned share,

unaware there is no share
for the gentle man
with the biggest heart
in the kingdom.

SHIFTING ROCKS

SHIFTING ROCKS

Do not be afraid
of shifting rocks,

they will always exist,

take my hand,

plant one foot
as best you can,

don’t panic,

if the stones move,
find some balance,
then lift your other foot,

wait until it’s secure
before moving forward,

keep doing that
until you reach shore,

until you reach
the end of another day,

remove your boots,
dump out the muck,
the unwelcome stuff,

get some sleep,
then plan to wade through
another day tomorrow,

shifting rocks
are all around,

take my hand,
we’ll find our way together.


Picture was taken by my niece of her two young daughters with their grandfather (my brother)
at the Yellowwood State Forest Spillway in Indiana after a day of fishing.

TAKE IT TO THE GARDEN

TAKE IT TO THE GARDEN

Her hands plunge deep into the flower bed,
pulling out rocks,
breaking up clumps
of stubborn dirt,

her fingers hurt from household work,
the soreness easing while kneading
rich, affirming earth,

a respite from cooking, scrubbing, mending,
lending an ear to each child’s concerns,

she learns to take it all to the garden,
where her smiles and tears
mix with sprouting seeds,
her prayers lie down with iris bulbs,

her plants much like the children she’s borne,
each one unique, each one a treasure,
needing time and space to fully bloom,

in death, her labors were done,
yet the work of her hands carried on,

irises bloom from original bulbs
in the gardens her children now grow,

plunging their hands into welcoming earth,
they sense their sweet mother,
hear her kind words,

knowing they blossomed
alongside these bulbs,
alongside these seeds,

in ways she envisioned
so many long years ago.

This poem originated from a discussion I had with my friend (and park neighbor), Tanya Willett. The irises in the photo are now in Tanya’s garden but were originally planted by her mother at Tanya’s childhood home.

IT’S EASY TO MISS A MIRACLE

IT’S EASY TO MISS A MIRACLE

It’s easy to miss
a miracle,

like a moment
of unbidden grace,
it arrives unannounced,

dropping into your life
like a soft, spring rain,
brushing your cheek with
a tender kiss,

not asking to be
the star,

just a miracle
so quiet you
might miss
it altogether,

save for the subtle shift
in the air
suddenly imbued
with a taste so sublime
you might think
it was spiced
with nectar from the heavens,

that taste, that moment
so rare,
is a miracle just for you.