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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Argument 

Frustrated in tears, I say,
"How can you mean that?
It's like He's on the cross again,
nails through feet and hands."

He responds in fury,
"How dare you?"

"You are turning
His teachings upside down
burning them in a fire
of desire and greed
for power and possessions.
Can't you see that?"
I'm grasping to create an epiphany.
"What if Jesus stood in front of you
in jeans, plaid shirt and long hair
speaking the highest holy tenants,
'son remember... remember
God.
Your neighbor.
Love.
Forgiveness.
Non-judgement.'
Would you hear him?"
Shuffling my feet I feel
like I'm pleading.
"What about love and forgiveness -
loving your neighbor as yourself?
Jesus was a beautiful, radical.
How can you love,
profess Him as your Savior,
while ignoring his teachings?
What about the poor?"

"What of them?"

"What of them?
Some republicans remind me
of modern day pharisees,
who abuse and use holy words
to advance their agenda,
unconcerned with anyone else.
It's me and mine.
Mine better not stray out of line
or they'll be disregarded and discarded
faster then they can say, "Tea please."
On TV, like on biblical street corners,
it's 'Look at great me and look at those sinners.
I know God's laws and will not compromise.'
That's not the way it is.
We are equal like blades of grass
in a garden.

"Your diatribe is faulty.
Blades of grass in a garden?
Like you don't have an agenda?
I don't care what you say
or how fervently you say it.
I will not compromise.
Those who compromise are weak.
No new taxes means no new taxes.
An inch means a yard down the road. 
I am not ignoring His teachings,
and what Jesus came here for."

Stepping back I say hesitantly,
"You may think you follow him
but it is a thought, a feather falling,
when followed by opposite beliefs
and actions. That's hypocritical."

He steps towards me,
suddenly looming taller,
wider, undeterred, indignant.
"Who do you think you are?
Forgiveness?  For everyone?
Love?  Love everyone?
Be realistic! This is not
a utopia we live in.
You are the one who is a
judgemental, unloving -
He's on the cross again? -
socialist, un-American
hypocrite."

Starring at each other, intensity fills
the long and melancholy moment,
as if we are walking down an empty, echoing hall,
doors at the end in different directions.
"I'm sorry... what I said about Jesus on the cross,
for naming, labeling you hypocritical.
You're right, I am judging.
I just don't get you." I stammer. "and I...
instead of... that way divides... I ... hoping...
I was hoping to open a window..
I was shaking you, shaking you to see..
trying to wake you up..
It was the wrong way."

"Trying to wake me up,
shaking me to see?
I'll open my own window, thank you.
Just you see who wins the election.
Apology accepted and...truly...
I don't get you either.
Opening your eyes to see my view?
Opening your window?
Futile.  Hopeless.
I wouldn't even try."
he says as he turns and walks away.
Looking down, I feel a waterfall
of silent tears and hear his shoes
on the tile floor and the opening
and closing of the door.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Faith

I'm circling, rampless,
in a labryinth of ideas
I can't bring into cohesion.
My compass, left behind,
the food stores, empty,
my flashlight weakening,
I'm satisfied, witless, sleepy.
Nothing seems to matter!

So, my friends...
I'm going to soundly sleep
knowing the sun will bring
a new perspective
and a way out
in the morning.
It always does.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Next time when you're rolling,
rolling, down, down, down
a high and heartless hill.
Stop...
stand up...
breath slow....
and say, "Everything's ok."
Affirm that over and over.
"Everything's ok.
Everything's ok."
perhaps add in a "hey!"
"Everything's ok. Hey!
Hey! Everything's ok."
Even if we don't think it is.
What do we know,
humans in the universe?

Then -
breathe slow and listen...
listen and step away...
towards kindness...
What will we hear
when we listen?

Next time when you're rolling,
rolling, down, down, down
a high and heartless hill. 
Stop...
stand up....
breath slow...
"Everything's ok.
Everything's ok
Everything's ok. Hey!
Hey! Everything's ok."
breathe slow and listen...
listen and step away...
towards kindness...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

    one rose
    outshines 
  a dozen roses
  on my piano
    

Friday, January 27, 2012

She used to be statue scarred,
chiseled by someone else.
Nurturing and healing days
are here.
She creates herself.
Patience and love
are required to
become a gracious song.
Put your chisel away,
carving to make her wrong.
Nurturing and healing days
are here
for you too.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Winter cattails.
I pine to paint them -
golden in winter like wheat.
I sit cross-legged on the snow
my dog sitting, too, beside me,
now as tall as I am.
We are at the delicate edge
looking into the tall and the fallen,
broken, sword and sheath leaves,
at the edge of the cattail forrest -
the tip of the iceberg -
most of the cattails grow under ground.
The stalks, like blown out torches, 
are topped with withered, 
candelwicks.

This beautiful chaos, 
an infinite criss crossing
of snow-scarfed leaves sparkles
gold, yellow, starry white,
in the sun.  A poet's, a writer's 
a composer's, a painter's dream. 
I am blissfully curious
what undying Van Gogh,
who loved walking among
and painting wheat fields,
would have written to Theo
if he could have walked among
and painted these golden
snow-scarfed, sunlit,
winter cattails.


Note:  Cattails are a wilderness food and are highly nutritious.  Please see Wikipedia for more information.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On the oak end table, on a saucer, sits
my cup half filled with warm peppermint tea.
Alone there in the shadow and golden,
candle light of a glowing lamp,
this cup is from my grandmother's
favorite set of everyday Blue Danube china.
Shiny, smooth and white it is simply patterned
in bluebonnet to delphinium blue
flowers, vines and ferns.
Some flowers resemble hand fans,
some leaves remind me of paisley.
The flowers of this old design begotten
from China's Yuan Dynasty,
is said to bring good fortune and joy.
The cup rimmed on each side is
fine-lined with blue gentle waves.
The handle is white, shaped like a wish bone.

Some days I drink from this cup oblivious.
It could be purple polka dotted or radiant red
and I would not notice it, a part of life's
paraphernalia taken for granted.

Some days when I pick this cup
from the cupboard, I remember
conversations and lunch at Omi's house,
with Europe and Asia in our dining room.
There was cauliflower soup in Blue Danube bowls,
chicken paprikas on Blue Danube plates,
coffee in blue Danube cups,
all on a white table cloth with light blue napkins.

I'm not packing these dishes away
only to occasionally grace our table.
We're using them every day
just like Omi did.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sara Eve, this is your mother
who gave birth to you
miraculously free of pain,
and in less than a hour.

I hope you're reading,
so you will call or text
(like you said you would)
to inform me that the date
with the young man you've just met
was incredible, interesting, fun, and that...

"No, Mom, he didn't hit me on the head,
steal my car, strand me at the wine bar,
or look unlike his oo laa laa picture.
And, Mom, I'm ok, will be over Wednesday
and will tell you all about him!"

Monday, January 23, 2012

Trees sleep in winter
gray as the snowing
grandmother sky
branches frosted white
without their greenery
as graceful as
summer flowers


Sunday, January 22, 2012

He thought of me and determined
"no show" remembering her;
she stood him up several times,
and so he left.
I called him asking,
 "Can you come back?"
and he answered, "for a little while."
When he looked at my green-brown eyes,
and long brown hair he commented,
"Funny, you remind me of her."
She has brown hair and dark-brown eyes.
He listened to my opinion and said,
"I've learned through experience
that women are always analyzing."
I wonder if he ever saw me,
if he ever could see just me?

I didn't see him right away.
He left before we could find each other!
When he returned I looked
into his handsome, bright face,
reminding me of no other man.
Heartedly, I heard him until
it appeared, the republican
hue of men I've known.
He waved "no" with his arms.
"I don't want to vote for Obama.
He's one sided and uncompromising."
Obama? One sided and uncompromising?
I stopped before saying,
"and your opinion of health care reform?"
Suddenly, I saw a man
distrustful of women
with tea party tendencies.
I wonder if I ever saw him then,
and if I ever could see just him?

Driving to meet him I sang Carly Simon's
Anticipation! and thought anticipation
would be a good theme for a poem.
I drove home ... imagining
his sophisticated, comical
poem from the week before,
how it made me laugh and dream.
The deal making or deal breaking
potential kiss had no time, no wine,
no candle, no coffee, no ambiance, or gravity.
We will never feel the make or break of it.

The next day I shooed thoughts away,
sweeping them up as they fell to the floor,
falling leaves of post-it notes -
him judging me,  me judging him,
him not seeing me, me not seeing him... -
all of it amazing!
I'm learning to love what flows
seeing my part in the current.
Still, I wish I could have felt his kiss.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

When I open my morning eyes
I may choose to see yesterday, 
last week's friendly, kindnesses,
past grieved memories of pain and stress,
repeating the same scenes again and again.
I wonder how my day will be.

When I open my morning eyes
I may choose to see tomorrow,
a critical interview plays in my mind,
worrying of what to say, to wear, and
if my experience matches the job.
I wonder how my day will be.

Or when I open my morning eyes
I may choose presence and only see
and sense the good surrounding me -
the colors, sounds, smells, intuitions -
gently waving thoughts away.
I wonder how my day will be.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A couch potato is a vined tomato,
growing bigger, too heavy.
What delicious potential! 
Vegetable stew, ratatouille, 
tomato mango salsa, 
tomato tarragon soup,
in an onion omelet, tomato basil salad.
Instead, too weighted, it drops
from the vine - blop! - to the ground.
Out of view, shaded, slowly dying,
until someone's hands reach down 
to pick it up, holding it in the sun.
"Oh! What a beautiful tomato!
I'm so glad I found you.  
Now you won't go to waste."
Infinite reciped possibilities
await a fallen ripe tomato.
Infinite hobbied possibilities
await a rehabilitated couch potato.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Air is not a commodity for sale,
although, knowing you,
you'll try to buy
air anyway
and sell it.

Aplomb is not a commodity for sale,
although, knowing you,
you'll try to buy
aplomb anyway too.

I love aplomb,
the law of ballet,
roots of a tree,
stability growing into
beauty, grace, creativity,
what I and many will to be.
Please don't try
to buy
aplomb.

Land is not a commodity for sale,
like you and I.
We are not for sale.
Earth lives for the living,
all of the living.
The Lenape* were right.
Is it too late
for land?
Is it too late
for water?

I believe
"...hope remains
while the company is true."*2

Don't even think about it!
Hope is not a commodity for sale!
although, knowing you,
you'll try to buy
hope anyway
and sell it.


* Lanape refers to the Lanape American Indians who, in a misunderstanding, "sold" Manhattan for trade goods and 60 guilders (about $24).  American Indians believed land is not something anyone can buy and there is a spiritual essence to the land.  They also believed that people are part of the land and that spiritual essence.  <Leni Lanape means: "Human Beings" or the "Real People" in the Unami language.[2]  -  quoted from my one of my dearest and favorite hubs on the web, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.>
*Quoted from "Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring" 2001, Novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien & screenplay by Fran Walsh.  Galandreil, Lady of Lorien, Lady of the Wood speaks to the Fellowship of the Ring.  She says: "The Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little, and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while the Company is true.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Too old to carry two big buckets of apples?
Not my ninety-four-year old Uncle.
Too old to race walk on Sarasota sand?
Not my eighty-five-year old grandmother.

Too old to help me change my flat tire?
Not my ninety-year-old neighbor.
Too old to love?
Too old to feel young?
No one.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

I bought spring-green daffodils
fledglings, one to three inches tall,
impatient to wait for April
- when ice begins to thaw.
I placed near my windowsill
imminent winter-gold daffodils.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My electric bill is under control.
I turned the heater ten degrees down,
put two sweaters and two pants on.
Still my hands are cold.

I ask my son if he's warm enough,
just be to sure, because I think he is.
He tries to sneak to school in shorts
and a sweat shirt at 10 degrees!

I make a cup of strong coffee, hot,
mix raisins and chocolate chips,
and curl up with the British comic debut,
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand*,
wearing gloves on my wintry hands.


*Major Pettigrew's Last Stand,
by Helen Simonson, is a fabulous,
love story way worth reading,
with brilliant, colorful, succinct writing.
On a cold, cold day, it will warm your heart.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

He's writing again....
witty, winsome words
charming compliments
a manly gentleman
with considerable aplomb

He's writing again...
shares my language, laughing love -
"With your sweet singing lips in mind, dear Annabelle,
I request the pleasantries your countenance divines"

He's writing poetry again...
in his opinion
it's all about the kiss
the deal taking
deal breaking
ending far from the finish line
kiss or...
the deal waking
deal making
kiss that speaks...
of love and more kissing
the kiss humans desire
yes, more than rain
more than fire in the north and south poles
the kiss that touches the soul...

I'm writing again about his writing...
an epigram, jocund, cleverly crafted
that leaps off the page reminding me
of Jane Austen's novels that
I love to read.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Yesterday I read an article
while at the dentist's office.
A lighting bolt struck my head
in the waiting room chair.
The dentist didn't have to
ask me to open my mouth,
because of the jaw dropping
article about Mohamed Bouazizi.

Courage opened my mind.
My fear of a sound,
a high pitched drill,
of a smell, the burning enamel disappeared,
dignity begotten through inspiration.
Deciphering courage.
What gives a person courage?

Courage was Mohammed Bouazizi
in Tunisia.
Courage was Ibrahim Kashoush,
singer of the revolution in Syria.
Courage was Neda Agha-Soltan in Iran,
Mohammed Darrat in Lybia,
Courage was Nelson Mandela
and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi,
Courage was Martin Luther King,
Susan B Anthony, Oskar Schindler,
Anna Politkovskaya, Thich Qung Duc,
Wang Wielin at Tiananmen Square.
Anne Frank, Harriet Tubman,
Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan,
Wesley Autrey in New York,
Scott Olson and Ray Lewis, 
- Wall Street demonstrators -
Courage was Steve Irwn protecting
Australia's native wildlife.
Courage was Gunnar Kassen
and Balto in Alaska!

I vaguely saw my dentist's face,
barely heard about my tooth,
wondering about millions
of courageous people
all over the world
who I don't know.

I didn't go to the dentist
during my thirties
because of made-up fear
that became real.
It is easier to cling to fear!
In my clinging, I did nothing.
There is unbelievable cruelty
inflicted by power obsessed,
power married, insane people
in our world unable to see,
unable to give, unable to love,
to value and defend differences
because of fear.

When winter thaws and wall street protests
return to Minneapolis, I'll be there.
I'll be there and be thinking about
all the courageous people in the world.
Everyone participating for peace and freedom,
matters in tipping the scale,
matters in creating a caring world.
Courage begets courage.

I left the dentist's office,
numb but singing,  "We the people..."
smiling at strangers
in the parking lot.
"We the people of the earth..."

Monday, January 9, 2012

In winter I miss
bumble bees lighting
flower to flower to flower.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

"You're going to be a delicious
pineapple upside down cake," I say
patterning fresh pineapple slices
into a pan of melted brown sugar
and butter, sprinkled with cinnamon.
"Sorry, I talk my cakes as I make them."
I look over at my amused friend.
He hands me another glass of wine,
our third. Clos de los Siete, 2008.
"As long as the cakes don't talk back."
he winks.  I sip this third glass
of fine wine, - two is my usual limit -
feeling silly, giddy, like dancing in the snow.

"If you were a cake, what kind would you be?"
I want to know.  "If I were a cake?"
"If I were a cake?  If I were a cake? hmm.."
Suddenly, we're a laughing, hysterical duo.
I, manage somehow to steadily
pour the batter onto the fresh pineapple,
melted brown sugar, butter and cinnamon
and place this already delicious smelling
dessert into the 350 degree oven.
His laughing almost stops.  He starts thinking.
This is a matter of greatest importance,
official business, a promotion breaker.
"What kind of cake would I be?" he muses.
Curiously, carefully I examine his face,
one eyebrow up and one eyebrow down,
bright green eyes, Greek god nose,
half serious beautiful mouth. He's trying
not to look at me.
"Dobos torte! - delectable, cake
layered with chocolate butter cream frosting
topped with caramel.  My Dad's birthday
present each year from my mom."
"Wow!"  I'm amazed.  "Really?"
Leaning against the kitchen counter
I imagine Dobos torte...drummer cake,
a seven to twelve layer Hungarian sculpture,
an edible Hungarian sculpture,
unmatched when home made,
may be one day sold for gold,
dobos torte a delicious piece of history.

This intelligent, bright green eyed man,
move towards me grinning, "and you?
What what kind of cake would you be?"
Not a millisecond passes,
not the beat of a hummingbird's wing,
"A three layer dark chocolate cake
with dark chocolate frosting."
I gather all the reasons in another swift beat,
"antioxidant rich, soothes emotions,
causes delightful musical hhmmmmms....
a chocolate cake centerpiece on any table
is as exquisite as a bouquet of red roses,
love and happiness lives in every piece
of dark chocolate cake.
Do you know what I say to this cake
while combining, stirring ingredients?
You are the finest, most delicious,
decadent, delovely cake in the world.
You are poetry."

Casually, I sip a little more wine,
as if this conversation were
an every day occurrence.
"I think you're slightly crazy," he smiles,
but... I like it! I hope you'll make me
dark chocolate cake some day."
We raise our wine glasses,
"To cake!" he says brightly.
"To cake!" I reply beaming.
To cake!



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Listening to rhythm of poetry slammers,
the rapid, passionate, perfect phrases,
it dawns while dusting the dining room table,
then my grandmother's walnut cabinet,
that I long, I pine, I desire to inspire,
and may be I don't have it in me.
May be in mid age, I'm too unbending
to gift poetry from these hands,
or too scared to dare
to say engagingly,
lyrically what I know,
what someone else knows.
I remember what it's like
to be purple and blue,
will that mean I'll succumb
to the fear I'm not near
- in the back of the pack -
of these poetry slammers
who leave me breathless.
Breathless.

"What do you want to be?"
my inner voice asks me,
who is not of this world,
who is in me in this world.
"What do you want to be?
Because you can be that..."

An inspiring poet and song writer,
whose passion is fearless,
a wonderful mother, a caring friend,
a loving lady to a loving lord,
a defender of the earth
with a dictionary of swords.
I want to laugh and draw cartoons
till the end of my days,
to sense and perceive deeply,
to be what I sense!
a tree, a bear, a comet, a stone,
because I know I can.
I know we can.

I listen to brilliance of great poetry
slammers, jammers, warriors, and lambs,
I think this is who we are...
Yet, we speak with our own voice...
What I want to be I am capable of being.
What I want to be I am.


Friday, January 6, 2012

A Miracle...
Orion eating
a veggie burger
without complaining!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

He didn't kill himself, Vincent Van Gogh,
      in a wheat field of yellow-gold,
         in a barn, forlorn, as some have told,
           from deep despair so hot, so cold,
              or for beauty heaven sent.
                 His dying was an accident.


Per authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith in their book "Van Gogh: the Life," 2011, Vincent Van Gogh was accidenally shot by two boys he knew with “a malfunctioning gun”.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

This chilly, still, sunlit afternoon,
Onyx and I walked on the forest path
around Langton Lake.
The lake, our constant companion,
was twinkling, icy and white,
and puddled, from warmer days,
with unique shapes of sleek blue-gray,
vivid through vacant, graceful,
crisscrossed lines of gray barked trees.
As we rounded the corner,
where the granite bench sits,
the trees, the path, the sky, the lake,
Onyx, and I suddenly blended together.
It was as if we were all part of a painting,
glowing, detailed, multidimensional, one.
When I die, I bet I'll discover
the Creator is infinitely painting.
I'll be able to go
any time I want
to the gallery.
There will be paintings
of everything,
and of Langton Lake,
the forest path
and all the people and animals who walked there,
including Onyx and me.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Working people,
all our lives working people,
now laid off, 
trying to stay positive,
usually staying positive,
but sometimes... 
worrying creeps in....

Working people,
all our lives working people,
worrying about money,
survival things,
like food,
mortgage or rent,
electricity, water.

Working people,
all our lives working people,
worrying about money,
parental things,
like nutritious food, clothing,
a home, health insurance,
and perhaps,
piano lessons,
hockey uniforms,
ballet classes for
our children.

Working people,
all our lives working people,
worrying about worrying 
in front of our children.

Working people,
all our lives working people,
worrying about money,
the key things,
like getting a job,
sending out resumes,
is my resume good enough?
interviewing,
sounding confident,
what should I wear
to get this job?
will the salary support
my family?
how long till I find a job?
should I accept any job or
a job that right for me?

Working people,
all our lives working people,
worrying about money,
intangible things,
like happiness, 
maintaining confidence,
giving up,
fear.

Working people,
all our lives working people,
we keep going,
one step at a time,
one step, another step,
another step,
walking, walking faster,
jogging...
and then...
we kick the worrying out.



Monday, January 2, 2012

It's stunning when I open the door,
As my foot steps on the welcome mat.
Wind... fortissimo, cold ... andantino,
Ice .... adagio, Snow...  allegro con spirito,
and I... piacevole.


And the Zen saying
written by another author

The snow falls, each flake in its appropriate place.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My car is an icicle this morning
covered with 2 inches of ice.
I need to pick up Evie at the airport
on her return trip from royal palm, citrine sun,
ocean sand, Disney World, River of Grass*, and sea gull haven,
salty Florida. Tropical Florida.
Conga, rumba, bachata, meringue, vallenato, hip hop
Caribbean reggae, steel pan, soca, kompa, calypso
sizzling Florida.

Drizzling rain, snow, and ice, 
freezing and just above freezing,
until freezing won.
Now my car is an icicle this morning in wind biting,
theatre loving, white sky, bike trailing, music embracing,
snow man, snow angel, boundary waters, and loon haven,
winter Minnesota.  Midwest Minnesota.
Ice fishing, skijoring, dog sledding, snow shoeing, winter festival,
cross country skiing, ski resort, snowmobiling, hockey playing, ice skating, 
unbelievable Minnesota.


* Marjory Stoneman Douglas created this name for the Everglades - also the title of her wonderful book, "Everglades:  River of Grass."