MORE OR LESS

MORE OR LESS

Life can feel like a race,
leaving us a bit winded
by its unrelenting pace,

like bicyclists pedaling uphill,
legs churning,
we move through our days
trying to reach the top
of some elusive peak,

we search for more,
but can’t ignore the simple truth
that finding more
often feels like less,

maybe there’s a blessing in knowing
we are more or less
navigating the same path,

a path that is infinitely more
rewarding when we travel
with a lighter, less burdened spirit.

SHOW STOPPING HUES

SHOW STOPPING HUES
How can such beauty exist
in a world that suffers so,

while we carry on
with guns and strife,
there are precious, hopeful plants
breaking through warming earth,

reaching toward a sun-drenched sky,
showing us an array of elegant perfection
in each leaf and blossom,

instructing us in show stopping hues
with endless clues,

Value this,

Seek that,

Embrace this,

Treasure that,

drink in every nourishing drop
until there’s no more room for hate.


Rhododendrons 2022

HEARTS ARE TORN

HEARTS ARE TORN

As the train
leaves the station,
hearts are torn
from grief-stricken souls,

sad eyes say
it might be forever,

never uttered,
yet understood
to be true,

untethered,
the train hurtles down the tracks
toward fraught unknowns,

away from identity,
purpose,
place of being,
where hearts could rest at night
without fear of harm,

no more, no more,

now hearts are torn,
strewn along the tracks,
lodged in the cracks
of rocky, weed-choked land.

Who will collect these ravaged hearts
from the forgotten, war-torn tracks of life?

Photo and Poem by Rita Bourland

TODAY I PAUSE

I pass the statue
every day,
its presence no longer stops
my gaze, my steps
from continuing
along the path,

my dog in tow,
we know the way,

but today I pause,
a forgotten hat and ball
add a splash of color,
of whimsy,

I step closer, I smile,
I think about my sons’ first steps,
my arms reaching to catch them,

before they fall
for the first time,

before life trips
them up
in unforeseen ways,

the way it does for all of us,

but today it’s all joy,
stopping in the park,
imagining a first step,
then a second,

then who knows where
his tiny steps will take him,

trusting his mother will
never let him fall too far.

Alfred Tibor (February 10, 1920 – March 18, 2017) was a beloved sculptor, Holocaust survivor and Bexley, Ohio resident who dedicated his life to expressing art that evoked human emotion. He said, “As a Holocaust survivor, I believe that my life was spared to do my work so people can enjoy it. I never lost faith and I never gave up hope that tomorrow would bring a better, brighter and more beautiful future for all. Whether it is one of my Holocaust sculptures, a biblical figure, or a woman standing proud and tall, the human aspect of the piece is what is being expressed to the viewer – that there is beauty and value to be found in all our lives, for I truly believe that life is a celebration.”
Tibor’s art can be seen in over 500 private collections and countless public spaces. Many are in the Columbus, Ohio area.
This sculpture is called “Second Step”.

WE ARE SEEKERS OF LIGHT

WE ARE SEEKERS OF LIGHT

We are seekers of light,

even on our darkest days,
we search for rays of hope
through shuttered windows,

since the dawn of time,
since the sun’s first rising,
our eyes have sought relief
from life’s encroaching shadows,

our hearts have drawn
comfort from a candle’s gentle flame,

we have blossomed beneath a full moon,
grown hopeful under starry skies,
felt protected by a beaconed lighthouse,
its steady beam guiding our way,
righting our ship,
leading us home,

but we needn’t journey alone,

if we reach out to others,
we will see in their eyes
how they search,
how they yearn
for the same light,
the same hope,

whether it’s in sorrow or celebration,
in grief or joy,
in darkness or light,
we can be a beacon,
a full moon,
or a gentle flame for one another,

we are all seekers of light.

Photo of Mabelle by Estelle Boyaka © 2022 – Sunny 95 Park neighbor and friend

THE HAND THAT I HELD

THE HAND THAT I HELD

I remember that day
when my toes were so cold,
when I thought I’d never grow old,

I remember how good it felt,
the hand that I held,
as I trudged up the hill
to slide down again,
and again,

I can still taste the cold,
feel the crunch of the snow,

I think of it now and again,
and remember how good it felt,
the hand that I held,

I remember it even now
after so many winters have passed.

Poem and Photo by Rita Bourland
Norton the Dog at Sunny 95 Hill
Photo editing by Philip Bourland

GRATEFUL

GRATEFUL

Flamboyant leaves fall like drops
of luminous paint,

their brilliant, textured hues
take my breath away,

pull my eyes to the canopy above,
then to single leaves below,

I walk slowly,
not wishing to disturb
their comfy, earthen bed,

grateful to witness
another fall miracle,

another forest brushed
with the grace of dawn,

grateful we humans can’t squash
the dreams of nature,

nor deter its desire to be seen
at the peak of its brilliance,

a reminder to celebrate all
who wish to paint the world
with their own, rich palette,

who wish to be loved
for their abundant, textured hues.

Photos taken at Whetstone Park of Rose by Rita Bourland – Fall 2021

FINNEGAN THE FROG

My name is Finnegan the Frog and I live by a pond. I’m happy there. I have everything I need. I snack on flies, moths, crickets and slugs. I bask in the sun. I nap in the shade. I like to watch ducklings and goslings grow up and swim with their mamas. I like to watch people who come to watch the ducklings and goslings.

The problem is the other frogs. They gripe about the mud, about the ducks and geese making a mess, and about the frogs they don’t like. But mostly, they gripe about frogs who become princes. It doesn’t happen often, but every few years, a princess comes by, kisses a frog, and POOF, he turns into a prince. Then he goes off with the princess to live happily ever after.

The other frogs dream endlessly about becoming a prince.

I have my doubts about the happily ever after part. I’ve heard rumors that some of the princes long for the pond and the good old days of catching crickets with their buddies. They’re tired of wearing itchy clothes, uncomfortable crowns and having to mix and mingle with fancy folks all day.

And they really miss the mud – the oozy, squishy, wondrous mud.

I, on the other hand, am completely happy living by the pond. Every time a princess comes by, I run for the reeds and hold very still until she passes by.

Truth be told, I only have eyes for one very special frog. Florina is shy and mostly stays on the other side of the pond. I leave bugs for her as small tokens of my affection. I wink and smile with beguiling charm. In a remarkable display of athleticism, I even swim backstroke across the pond. I know that one day I’ll win her over with my impressive ribbits and croaks, my superb hops and leaps and my aforementioned positive attributes.

It’s clear to me there will never be a princess as fine as my dear Florina, nor a place any better than the glorious pond I call home. A place where I can be the very best frog I ever hoped to be.

TIME HOLDS NO SWAY

TIME HOLDS NO SWAY

The dust is thick,

hanging in the air
with persistent hesitation,

wielding a heavy hand,
it weighs down dry, thirsty brush,

a lazy sun masks the horizon,
using brushstrokes of rusted amber,

nothing moves
except a lone giraffe
on a well-worn path
in no hurry to disturb
this languid space,

time holds no sway over this land,

each dawn cracks open
in anticipation
of another South African day
where the rhythms beat slower,
resonate lower,
hold mysteries closer,

a world apart,
yet a part of the same vast world
we walk.

Photo by Annalies Corbin taken at Kruger National Park, South Africa
See more of Annalies’s photography at: https://annalies-corbin.pixels.com/
and follow her at: @annaliescorbinphotography on Instagram

EVEN IN SILHOUETTE

Photo by Lisa Berg ~ Words by Rita Bourland