Welcome to Four Lines! I have a goal I would like to write at least four lines of poetry or a haiku every day for the rest of my life. I'm excited about this challenge! Also, along with my daily poem, I will be reading at least four lines of another author's poetry. I'll try to include that here also. So I'm thinking - how difficult can it be to read and then write one poem a day? We will see! - Claudia

All poems on this blog, unless noted, are written by Claudia Callaghan.
© 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 Claudia Callaghan
Used only with permission. Please feel free to join Four Lines and request permission.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

I remember the year
David and I bar hopped
on New Years Eve
in Minneapolis.

Talking and laughing 
in brimming bars
with people we 
didn't know,
we drank beer from
as many countries
as we could
and absorbed the hot
Minneapolis music sound.

We ended up at an Irish Pup
just before midnight.
Women left their purses 
and everyone their coats inside
(No one steals anything in Minnesota.)
as we stepped outside 
with glasses of champagne
to toast the New Year
with fireworks.
Snow delicately falling.

I kissed David
feeling warm inside,
and cool, with a dusting of white on my hair, 
safe and cozy, our arms around each other.
We watched chrysanthemum fireworks
fall from the sky
in the crowd of cheery people
sipping our champagne
and kissing.





Friday, December 30, 2011

Coffee and tea are both for me,
add chocolate and I am in heaven.

Give me a slightly curious enemy.
I'll graciously serve him a cup of tea
and home made chocolate truffles
every day for one year.
Our hearts will grow
like tulip trees.
We'll share some commonality.

The next year every day
this chocolate-tea enemy and I
will also read ten poems
and walk ten miles together.
Every Sunday we'll alternate
attending each other's
religious services.
My church is the conservatory's
piano practice room.
After the second year,
even though we disagree,
we'll become half friends
and half chocolate-tea enemies.

The third year every day
my former curious enemy and I
will read ten poems and walk ten miles,
I'll graciously serve him a cup of tea
and home made chocolate truffles
unless he insists on serving me.
We'll alternate attending each other's
religious Sunday services.
Essential to our course,
we'll daily deliver to the disabled and elderly
meals on wheels,
our exercising hearts
growing stronger each day.
So....after the third year
we'll become friends,
friends who agree to
sometimes disagree,
friends who sometimes even agree,
and friends who serve each other gracefully,
chocolate truffles and tea.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Evolving

Upon blank pages
something ancient rages
I do not want to write of.
The good news is
changes come
in stages
with desire.

If change is history,
desire must surpass
histories roarings.
If change is cooking
a ten chocolate cake,
desire must surpass
last weeks uneatable two,
by eight.

If I stay the Coyote
and you the Road Runner
or you, the Coyote,
and I the Road Runner,
no matter how much love
we also experience
our evolution will end.
Our descendants will never fly,
swim under water with gills,
be able to walk through walls,
inhabit the moon,
or live on earth peacefully
loving our neighbors
as ourselves where all life
has what is needed
to uniquely grow.

Upon blank pages
something ancient rages
I detest to write of:
Bad changes usually
come in stages,
with desire
that ends in
fire.

I choose to surpass
my cake by eight
and history before
it's to late.
What do you choose?


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I like potatoes,
love tomatoes,
adore rhyme.
In a day or two
I'll find thyme
to makeup a recipe
for potatoes, tomatoes,
rhyme and thyme
stew.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's because of Jim this poem is undone.
He's funny like most people breathe.
I can't think to see to write.
It's because there are salads and scones
to make, dishes to wash,
and the table to set that
I can't stop to start a line.
It's because I hear Michie telling Kelly
she wants red hair like her,
or Janie explaining to Orion and Zoli
how to play and win at scrabble,
and Richard, Rick and Emma visiting
from Kalamazoo making our table 11 that
I can't stop to decipher, to light up a line.
It's because I hear how to make fresh raspberry sauce,
Mom, Jim and Mina's discussion of Les Miserables,
and Elaine and Tim, whose opinions I cherish,
ringing the door bell that
this poem is an unassembled casserole.
It's because I love seeing Orion's planetary smile
and Mom merry in her element that
I stand up and push in the chair.
Poetry and promise lost precedence.
I turn off my lap top.  Close the lid.
The voices of my family have won.
This poem is left undone.



Monday, December 26, 2011

My mother's house is never lonely
with family, step family, half family,
friends, in-laws all cooking in the kitchen.
Her kitchen, shaped like a triangle,
is the biggest room in the house
with walls of windows floor to ceiling.
Children run in and out of this kitchen,
throw snowballs outside and play
recital songs on violin and piano
for friends stopping over to say hello.
And oh, every day you can hear adults say,
"Turn off the video games!"

My mother's house is never lonely.
She is not alone,
when we go home.
Her cohorts are sorority sisters
grand canyon hikers,
book-group readers and potters.
Last fall my step father died.
This summer we're meeting
to place his ashes in the ground.
But he'll never be in the ground.
He's watching out for my mom.
That is also why she is not alone
and my mother's house is never lonely.



Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holiday

In Michigan with my family of copious conversations
not posting due to poetry procrastination,
instead I'm in moments on holiday vacation.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Apologies for not wrapping this poem
in green ribbons and bows under the Christmas tree.
It is in peices, unboxed not ready to see.
Tracking notes: delivery by post when I'm home.

Friday, December 23, 2011

In the middle of this dreaming, winter white pond
we stand still on ice looking out.
In summers here sheltered mallards swim
we stand still behind cattails looking in.

Written by Claudia Annabelle

Thursday, December 22, 2011

While a hundred resumes click,
hum, and print away,
I day dream...
day dream of seven dimensions
branes, according to physicists
membranes moving in the universe.
I sit, breathe in my ambling,
bird watching, tree hugging brain
to imagine that marvel.
Could it be true?
And in my dream
Seven dwarfs appear
Happy, Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Sleepy,
Sneezy, Grumpy...

Orion walks in.
- *poof* go the lined up dwarfs -
Collecting resumes, I say
"I got to tell you, I read today that
there may be seven dimensions!"
He stares blankly and says,
"Mom, that's nothing.  In school
 they said there maybe 11."

Orion sits beside me as we combine resumes
with spiffy cover letters and stuff them into envelopes.
"That's nothing," I say. "Dr Barbour,
[who reminds me of Spinoza]
is mathematically proving there's no time.
No such thing as time."
"A time to be born, a time to die
a time to plant, a time to reap
a time to laugh, a time to weep.
Da da da laa laa laa da da da da da.."
Orion stares at me singing.
I'm the dorkiest Mom in the world.
"No son, not like that song,
no time, no time what-so-ever,
no ticking, Big Ben's busted,
no past, no future.
Just now.
Only now.

Orion stops envelope stuffing,
gazes ahead at nothing,
breathes in his 13-year-old
football and piano playing,
sociable brain until cross eyed.
His concludes grinning,
 "No time? Common, Mom.  I have no time for this."
"What about 11 dimensions? Do you have time for that?"
"No, I'm going to Chris' house."
"Thank you, Orion, for helping me,
I think I'll look for a timeless job
but make sure it's in this dimension."
"Good idea" he says.

Please.. please.. please...
let my next job be one
where Orion and I can live
sublimely, without struggling,
and.... in no time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Writer's Block

She's here, visiting
-I'm not sure how long -
gravity gone askew.

I write ten
  blah blah oblong poems
from perfect pearls,
never to be worn.

It's as if beads of a necklace
I am stringing drop,
and scatter
                 across the floor
     in    different
directions,
         hide under the couch
and disappear
                   into heater vents.
Like my soufflé is
                    falling,
oatmeal cookies
             burning and
long composed songs
are foldered,
as drafts.

And yet.... when she sits besides me
drinking her coffee and I drink my tea,
if my schedule remains undaunted,
       the fantastical happens.

            It begins to rain.
I sit at my table without an umbrella
water splashes onto my computer,
rolls down my face,
soaks my clothes to the skin.
      Puddles form on the floor.

That's when she kisses my forehead,
gives me a hug and
fast as she walked in
                          she walks out.

When home from school,
my son doesn't notice
the rain in the house.
I hand, this young critic
of most of my work,
a poem that he reads word by word.
    "Wow Mom!  I like it!"
he says and then asks,
"Did you make any
oatmeal cookies?" 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kevin's going to bed, "Goodnight
and Merry Christmas," he said.
So, that's what I'm sending to you,
I hope peace and goodnight will do.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Five Mikes live on my road
of four homes and 6 twin homes,
four beam sun-shiny hearts,
one sun-shiny heart is hidden.

This Mike watches passers-by from
a window.  If the person passing
or her dog steps a toe on his lawn,
he opens his window and, whatever
he says, they never near his grass again.

Once in the middle of the night
"Little Running Horse" -
our dog's nick name - woke me
whining and pacing by the front door.
Earlier she feasted on
home-made vanilla butter cookies
supposed to be cooling on the pan.
Dark and cold, we passed Mike's house
walking quietly on other side of the street.
I jumped hearing his window open.
"You and you're landscaping,
you and your flowers" he said.
I pretended not to hear,
picking up our pace in passing.

I wonder about him.
The first year we moved in
he gave us two bags of delectable apples.
I thanked him with an apple tart.

A beautiful apple tree,
the most beautiful apple tree in town,
grows on the corner of his lawn
near the street.  With just three steps
you are close enough to pick a few apples!
This autumn the branches profuse
with sweet, crispy, crimson fruit
caught my eye each time I passed.
Never have I seen such an apple tree!
I would smell apple pie with cinnamon,
warm apple cake with walnuts, apple tart,
and apples in a waldorf salad.

This Mike used to be gregarious,
talking with neighbors
returning home from work as we
collected our mail, raked leaves,
weeded gardens.
Something happened.
Something happened to Mike.

I decided then that Apple Tree Mike
has a hidden shinny heart,
otherwise, he couldn't have
the happiest apple tree in town!
Otherwise, I couldn't smell apple walnut cake!

Next fall, I'm gathering my courage.
May be I'll start gathering it now.
I'm going to ask him for some apples
and promise to bake him a tart.
May be that's what he needs!
And that's the reason
for the apple tree.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


"Love is not an emotion,"
is more than a spiritual notion.
It's a revelation given for devotion.

Love is your infinite Spirit -
you may not want to hear it,
not different, but the same,
irrelevant of the name.
A fossa, a friend, a rocky shore
is space of creation at the core.

To love your neighbors as yourself
freely share your care and wealth,
not with gossip, assumptions, prejudice too,
because your neighbor, your neighbor,
is you.


And Words from Jesus, Harper Lee, and Eckhart Tolle

Jesus said,  "It is easier for a camel* to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."
*another translation for camel in Arabic is rope.  Thank you http://www.biblicalhebrew.com
The New Testament according to the Eastern Text, George M Lamsa, 1940, p.xxiv and note on Matthew 19:24.

Harper Lee said through Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird" "If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks.  You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."

My heavenly and humble contemporary spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says when you are looking at your neighbor you are really looking at yourself.

Friday, December 16, 2011

If I had to write a poem today
the poem would be about
loving and liking to love one man,
when my breathing is winded
just thinking of him.
I hesitate to look into his eyes
and when I do,
I desire to look fiercely because,
I am as strong as he is.
Or... I desire to look gently because,
he is as kind as I am.
Or... I desire to look longingly because,
we're together when even apart.
Or... I desire to look intuitively because,
we can feel our smallest to our deepest thoughts.
If I had to write a poem today
the poem would be about
loving and liking to love one man,
until our deaths and after our deaths,
our births...



Thursday, December 15, 2011

My brothers saved me a million times
when we were little,
when our back yard was ten times
bigger then it is now,
when we walked downtown
barefoot in summer.
Jim ate wild garlic that grew
by the haunted house on our road,
ran home smiling and breathed
in our mother's face. She laughed.
I could never cry when he hugged me.
John talked of his day at the kitchen table
and enthralled the three of us for hours.
He won awards in grade school
writing melancholy, beautiful stories.
My brothers saved me a million times.

Love is a mystifying, ethereal thing,
so powerful.
It held my world together then.
When we divided, I fell into pieces.
Now I'm finding it within myself.
I promised not to write of sadness
anymore, of fear and pain,
being lost in the mind,
of why and how, what and who.
Suffice it to say,
My brothers saved me a million times.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Snow falls diagonally
in a hypotenuse wind,
a tempest of downy white,
flakes as big as popcorn.

My son and I shovel in vain,
the snow rising, rising
past and into our boots -
icy and wet on my shin.

We're doing the shovel dance -
"one foot forward, two feet back,"
while shovels and snow madly fly.
Two little fish in a sea of snow.

I see my son laughing.
We laugh and laugh, the belly kind,
until I fall on a cushiony drift and
he throws snowballs at me.

One year the banks were seven feet high
on both sides of the drive way.
This is why I celebrate with champagne
when in Spring the first tulip breaks

through Minnesota snow.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This is my first attempt 
to explain my love for
Moonlight Sonata's,
First Movement - 
that reminds me of creation.


Emptiness and space,
from nascent dark to luminous,
day and night from water.
The first day.

Omni One
forms a euphony
separating oceans and sky.
The second day.

The third day.
Earth is home
to the 10,000
green and fruited things.

The movement is quiet beyond quiet,
powerful beyond powerful,
beautiful as beauty was born.

It is the sound of Source,
the sound of Source moving
upon the face of the waters,
the deep waters.
It is the music - of this
Nameless, Infinite, Intellect
beyond the understanding
of most earth-raised, three dimensional minds -
that is part of you and part of me.

Emptiness and space,
from nascent dark to luminous,
day and night from water.
The first day.

Omni One
forms a euphony
separating oceans and sky.
The second day.

The third day.
Earth is home
to the 10,000 living
green and fruited things.

God saw that it was good.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

              1
Every morning Moon Beam
wakes me purring,
gently tapping my face
with her paw.

              2
Fearless Moon
wind in her face
takes in the world
bike riding in her basket.

              3
There's a moon
shining in my house
rascally sweet
confident, unowned.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Orion, my thirteen-year-old constellation,
sometimes you turn your "Mom's volume"
down and I'm drowned out by Linkin Park,
a phone conversation or your piano playing.
I have something important to tell you.

This has to do with me,
I'm not going to say....
 "Finish your home work.
Read every word.
Take out the garbage.
Walk the dog.
Great effort!"
or...
"One hour of piano!
Let's go to Big Bowl!
How was your day at school?
Close the front door -
It's 15 degrees outside!"

I'm going to say ....
I want to, but I cannot
attend your choir concert today.
I can imagine you
walking on stage,
singing with your class mates.
I hear Christmas Carols and Hanuka songs.
I hear your voice too,
changed to a beautiful base.
You may goof off a little
but mostly you are concentrating.

I love you to the edge of the universe.
That is how far love goes.
And the universe is expanding too,
so I guess that means,
I love you forever.

I give you my word.
I will go to the May concert
if I have to run five miles
because my car breaks down,
(You know my running ability!)
if I have to cancel tickets 
for a trip to Hawaii,
if I have to decline a date
with the greatest man on earth,
if I have to jump over the moon 
and bring back a basaltic moon rock.
I will be at your May Choir concert.
I will be there.
I hope you have your, or may be
I should say, please have your
"Mom's volume" set high enough,
so you can hear me.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My piano misses me.
I hear him yoohoo! as I pass
to do some task or other.
I don't think he's lonely.
My son rehearses for a recital
and the kitten leaps across his keys.
I probably shouldn't wait
till he starts yelling, or miraculously,
playing "Clair de Lune" on his own
- the song I imagine myself to be -
to start practicing again.
Actually, I miss my piano.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


This poem is mine.  This poem is yours.
You may read these words 
and understand them.
You may dislike them, crumble them up
and lob them into the waste basket 
like a basket ball
or make them into an airplane
and fly them across the room.
You may decide to memorize them,
send them to friends,
or magnet them on your refrigerator.

Poems become our thoughts -
the partnering, the square dance,
the ballet of words --
about the places where we walk
and places where we have never been,
the people we love,
death, life and birth,
about tears flowing, hurting,
the inability to cry,
beauty, ugliness and all in between,
trying till you sweat and apathy,
about flowers we water,
and trees we plant that become forests.

Maya Angelou wrote "Still I Rise" for the world.
Her poem is hers and is also mine. 
Eddie Vedder's "Society" belongs to society.
His song is his and is also yours.
A teacher's extraordinary teaching
belongs to herself, 
her students
and more than her students.
How far will her creativity
continue to create?
And who and what has
inspired her?

Even though I don't know you.
I've never seen you before.
Even though we have never spoken.
This poem is yours.  This poem is mine.
You may read these words
and understand them.
You may dislike them, crumble them up
and lob them into the waste basket 
or you may use them as some part of
your dance in creation.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What is chocolate, besides chocolate?
What is snow, besides snow?
What is a baobab, besides a baobab?
What is a crow, besides a crow?
Heaven, they are heaven.
That must mean we live in heaven.

What is a mean lie, besides a mean lie?
What is a gun, besides a gun?
What are dead zones, besides dead zones?
What is starvation, besides starvation?
Hell, they are hell.
Does that mean we live in part hell?

If God created the earth it must be heaven.

If hatred exists on earth is it then part hell?

Pray hard, with every cell, every atom, pray hard.
Ask for more than yourself, with more than yourself
with every person, every plant, every fish, every stone,
every mountain, every sun beam, every candle, every river.
Pray gently, with every cell, every atom, pray gently.
Ask for more than yourself, with more than yourself
with every creature, every island, every song, every home,
every star, every breath, every dance, every conscious moment...  

What is this earth in which we live?

The more you see heaven, the more it will appear.
Here is where heaven is.  Heaven is where you are.
When you drive a cab, don't fly a plane.
When you help your neighbor, forget about your email.
When you drink tea, just drink tea.
When you pray, only pray.
When you scuba dive, don't be in Madrid
When you're speaking to a patient, don't eat creme burlee.
The more you see of heaven, the more it will appear
Here is where heaven is.  Heaven is where you are.
If you plan to blow up a building,
you aren't where you are.
If are a judge with your future in mind,
you aren't where you are.
If you think of what someone's thinking
you aren't where you are.
If you wonder what's for dinner,
you aren't where you are.
If you're involved in why they're wrong,
you aren't where you are.
The more you look for heaven, the more it will appear.
Here is where heaven is. Heaven is where you are.
When you practice the piano, practice the piano.
When you walk on the sand, walk on the sand.
When you fill the bird feeder on a snowy day,
fill the bird feeder on the snowy day.
The more you see heaven, the more it will appear.
Here is where heaven is.
Heaven is where you are.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I will remember your voice.
And, yes, connect it to your name,
even though we've spoken only once.
Will you do the same?

However, if you call me Sherie,
I will call you Shane.
Beloved and God is gracious
are the meaning of these names.

Don't misunderstand this purport
as any precipitous caring.
It's strictly from amusement
and a sanguine sense of daring.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Knight Sir knight,
Thank you for the flower.
Get down off your horse
I'll kiss you for an hour.

Friday, December 2, 2011

two stanzas of four lines
intangible ticking time
a deft pantomime
juggles eight limes

a half second off trail
one falls to the ground
a passionate rebound
catches the heart's sail

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Your father has died.  What does that mean?
The paradox of paradoxes is visiting.
Wear black hats to black shoes,
weep on shoulders, share the blues,
revisit memories with the sad news,
solemn traditions assigned on your families behalf,
walk through the graveyard, read the epitaph.

Your father has died.  What does that mean?
The paradox of paradoxes is visiting.
Wear red and yellow, add in some green.
love and feel loving, hug Aunt Bernadine,
enjoy poignant music, your dad's favorite song,
smell all the flowers, laughing's not wrong,
cry and smile and cry all day long.

A spiritual note on the side,
it is for you to decide.
Teacher Tolle says we are
born to be conscious
to die and stay conscious.

Your father has died.  What does that mean?
The paradox of paradoxes is just visiting,
tapping your shoulder, whispering in your heart.
Your father's not dead!....you're never apart.
He lives and through death survives.
My friend, that is what it means.


Following poem XXVII by Emily Dickinson
(in it's entirety because I love this poem)

Because I could not stop for death
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played
At wrestling in a ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 't is centuries; but each
Feels shorter than a day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.