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, March 31, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

   in an ancient
former        life,
           I
        was
           a
     magnolia


Well, ancient in human terms

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What to do, Mr. Congressmen,
about your sudden entrance
into our bedrooms?
Do you like it here?
Would you like a chair
as you legislate away
our private decisions
about when to have our children
and how many children to have?

What to do, Mrs. State Senator,
- you who espouse
less government control?
Aren't we being responsible
by using birth control?
Who will be responsible
for 25,000 more babies
born yearly into poverty
in Texas alone?
Will you create laws to support them?

Were you born in poverty,
Mr. Senator?
Bright, few and lucky
escape poverties prison.
Bright, few and lucky.

Women unite!
It's time to close our legs ladies! -
There's a Senator in our bedrooms! -
Close them tight, we have the right
to protect our bodies, our lives.
Women unite!
Limit our access to birth control?
No more passion honey,
our skirts, we're keeping on.
Kisses, we turn away,
kisses, many of us, adore.

No.  No free access to birth control.
No.  No yearly health care visits.
Eradicate all Planned Parenthood clinics.
Mr. Small Hearted Senator commands
sitting in our bedroom chair.
No - not for our poorest of our poor,
our struggling single mothers,
our disabled, our young women. 
Mr. Short Sighted Senator
cares less about our babies
after they are born -
perhaps even one day
he will hate and fear them.
Their ongoing care
he washes his hands of.
His "love" and "concern"
ends at our babies birth,
his closed mind, thin,
through misinterpretation.

Women unite!  
Time to close our legs ladies!
There's a Senator in our bedrooms!
Close them tight, we have the right
to protect our bodies, our lives,
our children born and unborn.
Women Unite!
Limit our access to birth control?
No more passion honey,
our skirts, we're keeping on.
Kisses, we turn away,
kisses, many of us, adore.

If a man wants love
a woman's nurturing, 
intimate, true love -
he must respect, 
support women, 
her sisters,
our liberties, 
our rights to determine 
our lives 
and he must 
care for and support our children,
already living.

May be the truth is,
Mr. Senator doesn't feel love
or caring anymore.
What he desires is...
Power.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring maple leaves
emerge like butterflies,
breaking free
from delicate, petite,
chrysalis flowers,
of crimson and gold
as lovely as maple leaves
in summer and autumn.

Down flowers fall
aided by wind
creating a circle,
a red blanket
on the ground
underneath
the maple tree.

Like snow,
these soft, dry
flowers soon melt
into the earth,
as will the leaves
in autumn.
This metamorphosis
has me thinking,
that everything,
everything,
is like snow.

Monday, March 26, 2012

They talk geocentrically -
I'm sorry Galileo -
backwards politicians of 2012,
the year winter disappeared,
against quality education,
against democracy,
"We the People..."
against universal health care,
against new taxes,
"We the People..."
against separation 
of church and state,
against compromise,
"We the People..."

They talk geocentrically -
cave men, cave women politicians,
detesters of Occupy Wall Street,
against birth control,
against equality,
"We the People..."
against gun control,
against protecting the earth,
"We the People..."
against protecting people,
against protecting animals,
probably against peace,
unless it's their piece,
against the whole,
"We the People..."

Next they'll be espousing
on the billion-dollar, corporate, campaign...
Plato, Pythagoras, Eratosthenes
also were wrong.
The earth is flat,
like a coaster.
We the People better
stay clear of the edges
or we'll fall off.

Who am I to criticise?
I tell myself I am not
the center of the universe,
when I think like I am
and act like I am,
almost all day long!
I'm a closet egocentric,
geocentrist who dreams
of believing in,
"We the People..."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I'm not writing poetry today.
Little Running Horse bolted loose
from her chain and, due to temporary
dog insanity, chased and bit - she bit! -
a sweet, cute, shaking with fright,
little brown dog, who had been
enjoying her walk, peacefully,
while minding her manners.

I told the owner, I was so sorry -
devastatingly sorry is more like it -
and would pay for her dog's medical bills
(even though I'm still unemployed).

Two hours ago the inevitable call came in,
causing me to shake at my obligation,
my emotions, my lack of centeredness -
yes, a minor, peace-of-mind toppling earthquake.
The estimated bill is between $500 and $700.

Here I am, in the middle of,  - TEST TIME!
How will I fair?  Will I see positive
in this canine charge and attack of aggression, 
the following complete canine healing,
and the withdraw from my declining savings?
Will I stand my growing ground, strong,
my mind still envisioning maintaining enough
money until I secure a good-for-me future job,
a sweet salary, in a healing profession, and....
one day, wilderness acres for Little Running Horse
to run in, and music and poetry for me to be me in?

I'm not writing poetry today,
unless perhaps you consider this
a poem, -  a wobbly, swoobly
wibbly, babbly, wubbly poem -
but a poem none the less.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

mother, son contrast
I, wheat grass, apple smoothies
he, barbecue buffalo wings

he, lacrosse passes
I, yoga stretches

I, write poems
he, writes jokes

he, fourteen
I, fifty-four

Friday, March 23, 2012

One can be gifted advice anywhere,
even in Byerlies' produce section,
before profuse, gorgeous leaves,
green and red leaf lettuce,
bok choy, bib lettuce, kale,
mustard and collard greens,
radicchio, spinach, water cress,
romaine, mesclun, arugula,
escarole, endive, belgium endive.

If you stand there long enough,
in front of these divine plants,
you may feel what it's like
to be one of them, fresh,
lighted, inspected, staged,
gently sprayed with cooling water,
like the African American lady
and I standing side by side,
looking over these life-filled,
crisp, bountiful greens.

"I think I'm going to buy
mustard greens." I said,
half speaking to myself
and half to the refined, thin
lady standing next to me,
delightfully holding up
and choosing red leaf lettuce.
"I love collard greens.
I cook them all the time,
but I'm not sure how to
cook mustard greens."
"Oh, I do." she smiled.
"I've been cooking them
since I was a child, with my mother,
grandmother, and great grandmother."
"Really?" I stared. How cool!
I pictured her with her mother,
grandmother and great grandmother
all in the kitchen talking, laughing
and cooking mustard greens.

"You need kale, too, to sweeten
up the mustard greens a bit -
one big bunch of mustard greens
to one or two smaller bunches of kale.
Cook them in a little water
for 30 min to 45 min, add butter,
salt and, dear, do you know
what you'll end up with?"
Smiling too, I waited for her description.
"Heaven." she said, somehow, glowing.
"Wow." I said, imagining a plate of celestial,
nutritious, scrumptious, warm mustard greens
and kale. She nodded and walked away
with her giant pile of lettuces and greens.
"Thank you so much!  I'll try it!"
I called after her, her light, lemon-hued linen coat
disappearing into the colorful produce.


PS  I now cook this recipe, changing it slightly,
using olive oil instead of butter.  Also, I cook
one bunch mustard greens and one bunch kale
for 20 -25 minutes - and sometimes even less time, - 
adding fresh lemon juice and a little salt at the end.  
The outcome, I agree, is Heaven!  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My voice sounds horse,
nay, not from yelling
at my four-teen-year old
free-spirited son, a challenge
to rein in I admit,
or from catching a cold, 
descending like opaque violet
fog in early spring.

I set my voice free....
like a wild mare running 
through city streets, suburbs,
into farmland, past horses - 
with a stallion catching her eye -
over hills, into wilderness.

I set my voice free....  
sang like pouring rain in winter,
like the summer sun in spring.
The passion, joy... of singing
classical songs in French,
German, Italian for hours!

Now, I speak in a pastel,
raspy, bitter-sweet whisper,
like dancing all night and walking
on sore feet in the morning.
I think I should set my voice free
more often. 
my dog barks
in her sleep
waking me up

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Today I wash the backyard deck, singing
with Five for Fighting on the boom box...
"when you only got one hundred years to live.."
Will I live 100 years,
be washing my deck then and
planting lettuce seeds in early spring?

Balmy breezes blow my long brown hair
with a river of fluid, pretty gray.. at 54.
We've got to make gray graceful,
winkles radient and hip,
keep sparkles in our wise eyes.
So we shall, we lovers of life.

The deck shiny, I plant in clay pots mesculn,
arugula, kale, wheat grass, collard greens seeds.
Soon I'm off to yoga. I lengthen muscles,
still my mind, connect with Source - our Creator.
Source made me enthusiastic, to sing, to write,
to play piano.  Source wants bliss for me,

to live a long life... be beautiful at 100 years old,
and wants that for you too.

Monday, March 19, 2012

walking alone
in cooling rain,  home,
          to raspberry tea

Sunday, March 18, 2012

This morning she woke,
eyes still closed,
we've all been there -
on the edge, the cliff,
looking down.
The past brought her here.
This morning she refused to fall
or be pushed maliciously from behind.

She turned into the present,
felt sweet wind against her body  -
then passing through her cells.
She was diaphanous,
spacious.
Birds flew in and out of blooming trees,
vision brushed with the Painter's pallet.
People sang in the distance,
a concert in the park.
She looked back, feet secure
on land.

Miracles are happening.
Moments can turn
into joy in seconds
when we change our minds.

Synchronized energy
is everywhere even
at the precipice.
This time she brought a
                  parachute!
                                 and more..
the ability to decide differently,
                    to change,
                                     and create...
                                                         miracles.

This morning awake,
she opened, wise, lighthearted eyes.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What is happening?
What is happening
to our home, our Mother Earth?

What is happening
to her turquoise, clean water?

What is happening
to her pollinating bees?

What is happening
to her awe inspiring wilderness?

What is happening
to her trillions of life giving trees?

What is happening
to her rich farm land?

What is happening?
to her transparent ozone coat?

What is happening
to her unique, amazing animals?

What is happening
to her mountains of glaciers?

What is happening
to her long freezing winters,
to the evenness of her seasons?

What is happening?
What is happening?
Humans swarm and fight over her ground -
multiplying, destroying,
arrogantly, ignorantly.
Some of them love and create from love!
More do not know love and create narrowly.

That is what is happening.
Humans swarm and fight over her ground -
multiplying, destroying,
arrogantly, ignorantly.
Some of them love and create from love!
More do not know love and create narrowly.

What would you do if you were Mother Earth?

What would the hopeful say?
May be she can somehow teach humans
of Love, that all are sacred and One.
May be humans will cease
swarming and fighting, and rise up
to defend her.




Friday, March 16, 2012

At the salad spinner,
by the sink, I spin
around and around
the red leaf lettuce.
I just drove Orion and
his friend to see
"A Thousand Words,"
with Eddie Murphy.
Eddie Murphy's
character can only
speak 1,000 words
in his entire life.
Then he dies!
Orion planned
to stay overnight
at his friend's house.
I'm alone tonight.

Cutting up kalamata
olives, carrots, onions,
broccoli, raw almonds
for my salad, the house
stands in silence.
Even Onyx sleeps,
I see her on laying
on the wood floor,
moving her legs,
dreaming of chasing
a flying rabbit.
May be I'll put in
even more veggies
to keep me company.
I'll crunch the
solitude away.
Sarie visited this
evening and has decided
to go into pre-med!
She left to have
dinner with Chang.
He's almost finished
with law school, loves
mountain climbing, is
funny in a "totally cute
way", and  "gorgeous."
(Sarie's descriptions.)
Perfect for her!

Smiling, I gather
the salad dressing
ingredients : one cup
fresh parsley, one
clove garlic, Grey Poupon
mustard, olive oil,
Braag apple cider vinegar.
I place them in the blender.
While the ingredients whiz
around and around
Sheri, my sister in Florida,
calls.  After six stretched-out,
gray, unemployed months
she's received two
fabulous job offers.
I'm happy for her also!
Tonight Sheri is
going out with Jeremy,
visiting for the weekend.
"I love you!" she says
"Keep up the poetry!"
and hangs up.

I pour salad
whizzed dressing over
crunchy veggie salad
and wonder
if I should watch
Jean-Luc Picard and company ...
boldly going where 
no one has gone
before...  and imagine
I'm their friend and
am going too,
because tonight...
for the first time
in a long time,
I, not only am alone,
I feel alone,
the space left
from a relationship
broken into pieces.

I had mentioned this
to Sheri when she called.
She just laughed and said
I am not alone.
I have my kind, creative
self and a bowl full
of nutritious roughage!

Hmmmm... I pour
myself a glass
of filtered water,
squeeze in 1/2 a lemon -
wishing the water
were Merlot -
sit on the couch
with my crunchy salad,
covered with whizzed salad
dressing.  May be
I'll call my friend,
Peter, a practitioner
of Chinese Medicine
and acupuncture,
who lives in Cleveland.
Actually, I wish Peter
lived around the corner.
I would invite him over
for crunchy salad,
whizzed salad dressing
and water with lemon.
We could sit on the
couch together and
talk for hours.  Oh,
never mind the water,
we'd drink glasses
of delicious Merlot.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

              snow gone
           old beard grass
white, pale yellow, gray, green

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

talking poem
in progress
petitioning for patience
while I listen

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In tepid spring air I stand
under one of my favorite trees,
looking up at chickadees,
five or so, flying from
budding limb to budding limb,

as if playing on a jungle gym.
I can see them clearly now,
cocking their heads, preening
feathers, then flitting almost
like butterflies, the camouflaged
color of late winter branches,

or of my dignified grandfather's
blended hair:  dark brown,
black, silver gray and white.
In summer I'll strain, peering to see
the chickadees in this leafy tree.
They, however, looking down,
will always see me on the ground.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Orion is playing "Let It Be"
in different keys,
to get him out of C major,
his teacher said,
where he writes most of his songs.

I'm practicing to get out of C major too.
If I "let it be," there will be
no songs in modes with sharps or flats,
no minor, dorian, pentatonic scales.
Birth through death will be as one season,

on one horizontal, straight line.
Or conversely does, "let it be"
mean to allow growth and learning
creating or not creating...
without resisting as music flows,

a symbiosis of myself and the piano?
The turtle suns himself, motionless,
logged in the swamp.  I notice his
beautiful shell walking on the bridge
and upon my return he is unmoved.

Has a fly passed by to be snapped up
and swallowed whole by the turtle
with just an opening and closing of his jaw?
"Let it be..." is this what Jesus in the bible
Matthew 19, 22 through 31 refers to?

"The lilies, how they grow:
they toil not, they spin not;
and yet I say unto you,
that Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.*"

Were Jesus and Mother Mary,
living "let it be...." in order to create
new understanding and peace,
a garden of change through love?
If Michael Angelo let the marble be

would he have found David
or was he letting it be by
sculpting and assisting
David's becoming into being?
If I meditate, pray all day,

will that bring food to the table
for my son and me?  Or must
I look to find means to clothe
and feed us?  Am I of little faith?
Should I turn to run away

if someone hits me on the face
or should I turn the other cheek
allowing, not resisting, letting it be?
Oh, I am circling, chasing my tail
like a cat!  Sometimes the answer,

and this is one such moment,
when no matter how much
pondering, puzzling and figuring
I end up deciding to simply...
"Let It Be."

* Matthew 19, verse 27

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Corporate America

Sarie bought a gold fish
for her eight hours a day,
square, high, cubicle.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Blue

From my window pane
I see blue sky.
It's calling out my name,
all the blue sky.
How can I resist the reverie
of blue, blue sky?

Like lines on a hand,
what does blue tell?
A song moves us to stand,
I know blues tell.
In the spring, her garden
sings a descant
of blue, bluebells.


Refrain
When he goes away,
or the train crashes inside,
or the winter hangs on gray,
blues behind, with colors, baby.

You see that and I see this,
let's meet in the blue space.
We'll shake hands or bow or kiss,
in the clearest blue space.
Even black and white blend into blue,
in this blue, blue space.


Refrain
When he goes away,
or the train crashes inside,
or the winter hangs on gray,
blues behind, with colors, baby.

From my window pane,
I see blue sky.
It's calling out my name,
all the blue sky.
I am running out to meet you
catching rays
of blue, blue sky!

This is a song I wrote and hope to have the recording here on this blog soon too.  These lyrics mean a lot to me, but the melody too, I believe, is beautiful.  The difference in writing a song and a poem is intriguing and I could opine about this all night and into the morning!  Blue, is poetic, however, it's structure is typical of a song.  I wrote "Blue" because I love Joni Mitchell's and Lucinda Williams' songs also called "Blue," and was inspired to write my own song "Blue," about this color I also love.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rocky Mountain High 

ecstatic!
on Longs Peak's peneplain
potential manifested



When I was 16, my mom, brothers and I climbed many of the mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.  The last two we climbed were Hallet's Peak and Long's Peak.  I understand completely John Denver's song, Rocky Mountain High.  Exhilarating!



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My 14-year-old
wondrous son is
50% boy,
50% young man,
45% hysterically funny,
25% a pain in the neck,
60% loving and sweet,
90% a friend among friends,
85% athletic,
100% talented and smart -
35% of which he uses,
15% in cyberland.
This phase, in between,
is beyond mathematics.
14-year-olds defy logic.  
Thank goodness, it's only temporary!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

We stop at the park,
yes, you know, I can't drive past
without a mandatory walk,
the sensing of seasonal changes.
Today is the big thaw.
Orion, Onyx and I stroll
into the awakening, stretching forest,
and cross the slushy thawing lake.
Everywhere is melting, melting snow
and ice, falling drops in a chorus
sounding of wind chimes.
Everywhere are puddles,
clear, amoeba shaped puddles.
Orion and I step through them in our boots
and Onyx with her amazing paws.

As we turn the corner towards
the car, Orion runs ahead.
Suddenly, he stops and ambles out
onto edge of the lake,
looking down and then up
at the cornflower, shining sky.
He notices Onyx and me and waves.

Orion's head is wrapped in gauze,
a pony tail of wires hanging
down his back connected
to a portable EEG machine.
He took the bandanna off
earlier today when I said
he looked like a pirate.
A pirate is definitely uncool.

I love my second son,
14 and now taller than me!
The nurse at the clinic
last week made it official.
What will happen
height-wise this summer
when I pick Orion up from camp?
His personality will stay
mostly the same - gregarious,
funny, musically talented,
intelligent, sometimes bossy,
athletic, a tendency towards
disorganization, independent,
animal loving, and mature enough
to easily say, "I'm sorry."

Refreshed, we all climb back
into the car and I drive out of the park.
I know one thing for sure,
when I see Orion after
being at camp this summer,
he'll be even taller than taller,
even taller than taller, then me, again.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Some summers I visited with Ohma
the rolling mountains of West Virginia,
staying in her mother's white house
way up on a high green hill.

Ohma's mother, my great grandma,
had long passed away, but I felt her
watching in the rooms and hills
around her house, amused
at her curious seven-year-old
citified great grand daughter,
happy her daughter was there.

An old, still sturdy, three person swing
hung from the wide front porch roof
and an overgrown garden grew
on the steep hill behind the house.

Every morning Ohma and I
climbed up the hill, opened the creaking
half-hung wooden garden gate,
and picked a bountiful bucket
of beautiful delicious blueberries!
For breakfast we'd sit at the table,
with my invisible great grandma too,
in her bright kitchen with white lace curtains,
eating bowls of blueberries with milk and sugar!
My favorite breakfast to this day.
Then I'd run outside to swing on the porch,
watch the winding road below
and an occasional car pass by.
Ohma sometimes sat with me
on the swing.  She told me once
her favorite birthday present,
as a child my age,
was a pair of lovely, fine
high laced leather boots.

These memories I loved and kept,
even as things changed,
as my father's drinking
took hold of his throat,
eventually, suffocating him.
Ohma struggled and mourned
with why, just as I did,
as my mother and brothers did too.
Sometimes it felt like
we were all suffocating.

Ohma, if you can hear me,
I want to thank you
for taking me to the green
West Virginia mountains,
to my great grandma's white house,
for climbing the steep hill every morning,
picking blueberries with me,
and having beautiful breakfasts
of blueberries with milk and sugar,
with your mother, my great grandma too,
in the bright kitchen with lace curtains.
Thank you for swinging
with me on the porch.
This contentment I feel
as if it happened this morning.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

I'm not throwing this verse in the air.
Woosh!  Here, there
and everywhere
like boiling water thrown up
in -20 degree weather,
evaporating.

I'm writing a birth poem.
No more living by default.
My life beginning,
every breath more -
the first 53 years,
an awakening tour.

Today the phone is ringing,
loved ones and friends singing,
Happy Birthday! You're 54!
Happy Birthday! You're 54!
No more rambling idly amiss.
I'm going to follow my bliss!



Thank you dear Joseph Cambell, who said, "Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors to you where there were only walls."  Must reads from him are: "A Hero with a Thousand Faces" -1949-, and a series interviews with Bill Moyers, that also became a book, "The Power of Myth."

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Why do I love living on earth?
My God! I will be writing infinitely!
If I had only two things to choose?
I will be deciding forever.

Friday, March 2, 2012

My fingers are not working today.
I cannot type or get notes right.
My keys are no where to be found,
just like a job or lyrics without music.

Thursday, March 1, 2012