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, November 5, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I remind myself
it is a matter of wonder
each moment, simple or complex,
does not matter
warmth in noon September sun
does not matter
loss of mittens in December
does not matter
when or where dying befriends
does not matter
gentle holding of my hand
my hand the telling of my heart
does not matter
letting go, an open palm,
does not matter
listening to breathing, rising bread, 
falling souffle as the table is set,
a piece of dark, Dove chocolate
melting music in my mouth
they do not matter
his tender kissing of my face
does not matter
winning any kind of race
does not matter
daffodils breaking
through Minnesota snow
clinking glasses, eclectic conversation
hugs as friends and family leave
wrapping presents with tender care
do not matter
Mount Ranier above the rain
if one does or does not see
these do not matter
green locks of the willow tree
do not matter
except for wonder
except for wonder
I remind myself wonderful
I remind myself often
wonder matters


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I always thought you had an angel
on your shoulder,
the way you drove defying death
off the road a million times.
Even in Monoco, zig-zagging down
the mountain like Princess Grace,
you refused to relinquish the wheel,
a stubborn, splendid nobleman on his steed,
as Mom and I prayed and prayed and prayed.

I always thought you had an angel
on your shoulder
after World War II you needed sewing
to piece you back together,
electric shock to burn away pictures
and then you graduated
from Michigan Law School, became
the city attorney, was appointed judge,
ran for and was re-elected.  You determined
to visit over 100 countries, topping
that by four.

I always thought you had an angel
on your shoulder
the way you'd walk into a dark, greasy alley
and come out with a friend at your side,
the way you'd shake hands with the president,
a president to a president.
It was true,
the Rotary Club and Judges Society
to name two.

I always thought you had an angel
on your shoulder.
You said I could fly to the moon
if I wanted.  You said all people 
are good, some just don't know it.  
That is what I believe.
I'm beginning to think you bequeathed
your most valuable asset to me.
An angel for my other shoulder.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Jim and I sprawl on the floor
with stuffed animals,
freeing their voices, our minds ajar.
Leo hides in grasses golden
as his mane.  "I see you," says Scarlet,
on sunny currents of gliding air.
Raisin peers through leafy walls,
taps his shoulder, "You're it!"
and dives away camouflaged.
I don't want to go down the stairs.
                      I'm not going.
                I'm not going.
        I'm not going.
   I'm staying here being Leo
with Jim next to me.

We line up.
"I did it," Jim lies.
Into the dungeon my brother decends,
taking what was meant for me,
though I did something as small
as leaving Raisin on the floor.
I cuddle my Leo, 
must go down, 
       down,
               down.
                 Scarlet flies
                     above my head
                           until the last step.
                                             

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

                 Felt

Tender I move with bare feet,
always bare, across stones
sharp as tiny broken shells,
on a dusty worn pine floor,
on boulders, perfectly placed,
begotten as snow flakes,
as blue whales and quaking aspen.
They bleed freely, these feet.
These feet, they cry and laugh,
fall joyfully calloused,
fly demigod-like, no, god-like.
They speak an invitation, 
a lullaby, an invocation.
They speak to you
like an umbrella in the rain,
a shawl around your shoulders,
to a seamstress a present of felt.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wally watches his waving hand
as if he has not seen it before,
as if it were an angel's wing.

Back and forth, he rhythmically rocks,
grinning to music, kool 108,
entrance to his enigmatic world.

Beside him on the rocking chair,
I groove and listen, am honored to visit,
his place where there is only music.

No chairs, no house, no cars outside,
no squirrels jumping tree to tree,
no sidewalks and mid-summer gardens,

no visions, no feelings
no thoughts, no one else at all.
We are synchronized, parallel

until even we disappear.
I cherish

I cherish breathing with my singing skin
tapping my singing toes under morning sheets
the steadiness of my singing feet upon the oak floor
water with lemon in my singing mouth
wind of Earl Gray tantalizing my singing nose
water soaking my singing pores and singing hair
the dawning of voices in my singing ear

I cherish you across the table, your singing eyes
you pass the butter with a singing hand,
speak of your singing day

I cherish my work with a singing mind
sing to my colleagues, who listen or not,
some do not know they sing

I cherish my son who sings at night -
a 5 am bird - I wake to his song winding up stairs
and into my room, my singing room

I cherish my arms, my singing arms,
that wrap around you and all the world
a singing world that is not quiet
a singing world that is not quiet
like Beethoven's forest fires and flowers
Carl Witt's melodies of emerald showers
Vincent's hues, Bonnie Raitt's blues

I cherish my crying before I sing
your singing to my silent song
our singing, even when off key


Thursday, June 13, 2013

I play C
a rock and flower
for me

prior to addition
crawling
opening my eyes

C encompassed the womb
and before
the atom

this morning
with a cat on my lap
green rain and leaf

beaming in
I om to C
and 

a song begins.




Wednesday, June 12, 2013

daughter of two
lover of one
mother of three
sister of infinity

Sunday, June 9, 2013

My favorite tree -
I sit beside, play guitar, 
sing, recite and read poetry to
will live well beyond me.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Saturday, May 25, 2013

He gives me roses,
transposes my moves.
Around my rows,
I juxtapose his garden.


Monday, May 13, 2013

wombed winter white
 is reborn green, 
green like sunbathing
 sugar snap peas


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Yes, I can't sleep.
It is your face,
the comical look,
one eye closed, chin forward,
lips crooked, that face,
I see in my mind's eye,
that makes me burst out laughing
at 1 am.

Yes, I can't sleep.
It is your face,
as you lift a glass of wine to me,
eyes sparkle, sincerity flows -
no one toasts like you.
I feel like star dust that I am,
clay on a potter's wheel
shaped with yours.
It is that face,
I see in my mind's eye
at 1 am, that makes me think,
you're color I adore
after winter.

Yes, I can't sleep.
It is your face
I retreat from,
turn to the book,
the one you bought me,
because otherwise I might
pull an all-nighter
jump out of bed at 1 am,
run to the piano to write a song,
Yes, that would be
the second song you inspired.
It is easy to see CDs.



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Even after all this time -
  I miss what I never had
when growing up,
  what I never had,
that started my war.

Even after all this time -
  I miss what I never had
when growing up,
  what I never had,
that started my war -
  my war I'm ending.

Even after all this time -
  I miss what I never had
when growing up,
  what I never had,
that started my war -
  my war I'm ending
in peace negotiations.

Even after all this time -
  I miss what I never had
when growing up,
  what I never had,
that started my war -
  my war I'm ending
in peace negotiations
because I love and believe.

Even after all this time -
  I miss what I never had
when growing up,
  what I never had
that started my war -
  my war I'm ending
in peace negotiations
  because I love and believe,
not just a little or some of the time.

Even after all this time -
  I miss what I never had
when growing up,
  what I never had,
that started my war -
  my war I'm ending
in peace negotiations
  because I love and believe,
not just a little or some of the time,
  but in the majority.

Even after all this time -
  I miss what I never had
when growing up,
  what I never had,
that started my war -
  my war I'm ending
in peace negotiations
  because I love and believe,
not just a little or some of the time,
  but in the majority.
Now I don't miss what I never had.

Even after all this time -
  I miss what I never had
when growing up,
  what I never had,
that started my war -
  my war I'm ending
in peace negotiations
  because I love and believe,
not just a little or some of the time,
  but in the majority.
Now I don't miss what I never had.
  I have it.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Orion, snare drumming,
confident -
like his namesake shines.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Running Energy (second pass)

running chords of energy   laughing Michael
I'm a piano   under your practicing hands
keyboard singing as you glide
over me Michael   learning to feel    music
we cannot and can see    life
that is not and is our own
in this veiled room, white from snow,
in the evening April air -  feathers fly through windows
bel canto    we're alabaster instruments 
tuned to love and water    space   running chords of energy
healing Michael   you're a piano   under my practicing 
hands     keyboard singing as I glide
over you Michael   learning to feel    harmony
we cannot and can see    life
that is not and is our own

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Omi died, 
refusing food from a tube,
resolved, dissolving, dignified, into bone. 
In her sentient stories, glorious and tragic, 
tears never fell or laughter sounded
from her European mouth that never spoke of war.
I cry for her and laugh (she thought)
unladylike.
I hate and honor her decision,
not to live.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Standing at the sink,
like a coral flamingo,
one foot on the wooden kitchen floor,
one foot above my knee,
in perfect part-tree pose.
My hands alligned in soapy,
slippery, warm water,
slowly washing dishes,
one dish per line.

Beside me,
open on my music, staff-book stand,
like vased, fresh-picked gardinas,
a book of poetry wafts,
whirling like snow in wind,
now melting into earth that I am.
I smell spring flowers

as I read aloud,
one line per dish,
soaking in visions -
cups, plates, bowls
delicately painted,
purposefully painted,
with buds, blooms, berries
beauty.
My hands swirl,
as thought remains steady,
frequency high and colorful.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

running energy   laughing  I'm a piano
under your practicing hands   my body singing
as you move above me   we're learning to feel
what we cannot see   life that is and is not our own 
the room is pale white from snow in this evening's April air   
next to the window feathers fly through   bel canto
we're alabaster-crystal hued instruments   tuned with snow 
you're a piano under my practicing hands   healing  
running energy



Sunday, April 21, 2013

I decided yesterday
      I couldn't write anymore
and here I am writing,
      to you again.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Six minutes to lose my carriage,
  kingdom, gown, my handsome prince,
    till all the lights go out.
      Morning I get them all back!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Laying in bed, a breathing line,
  I think how late it is.
My love, beside me, 
  holding my hand, disappears...

Friday, March 29, 2013

I know what the problem is.
I haven't hugged a tree in months,
retreating this winter from nature -
beloved siblings of leaf and wood.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

    Sun pours into this house,
   water from an endless pitcher
  filling a crystal glass to the ceiling,
            melting snow.
  I listen to a lullaby of drops
  like a mellifluous, soaking rain,
   a xylophone of sounds,
    a healing meditation.

   My son wakes this quiet house,
  energy drumming from his room,
 rhythmic waves he's practicing
         focuses our hearing.
I listen to the rifts repeat,
  mingling with melting icicles,
 as sun beams warm this little space
       in healing meditation.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

She was covered more than a nun,
  black as coal. I knew nothing of her,
      except she could be me 
 by the blink of God
         and I her.  
Then I would trail behind him
  unaware he is eyeing a colorful woman
    head to toe coveting her,
  she, poet, speaker, creator of goodwill,
    suddenly senses being sliced,
         like a packaged commodity, 
   viewed naked.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The old poet speaks
to time vanquished.
We, one with her
imaginings,
step with her lithe feet,
see through her ocean eyes,
tenderness.
Even the powerful,
distant or fearful,
break on waves.
The old poet speaks.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

She speaks uninterrupted, barely breathing
  or seeing, wound up, running on
pacing words and thoughts.
        Letting go of redirection,
(I used to try to stop her and she ran
  me over and over, run on sentences
shouting my words out of the way)
            I listen.  
I know her lonely story,
 the crying plot, cold without flowers.
She says she is grateful;
   I am the only person
  in the entire world who
listens.  She doesn't know,
  I'm also drawing her flowers.

Monday, March 18, 2013

"Breathe deeply.  Keep your eyes soft,"
  he says.  We're balanced in trikonasana,
   bending at the hip, right leg forward,
left back, heels aligned, right hand on a block 
  outside the front foot, left hand to the sky, 
face turned upward, legs and arms extend
  straight and even, energy flowing in and out.
I feel like a human four-pointed-star,
  a humble, little star, one of infinity.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I'm dreaming of strawberry shortcake -
delectable, decadent strawberry shortcake, 
heaping with honey-sweet, ripe, crimson, 
spring berries, spooned over homemade
moist vanilla cake, perfect with lemon zest,
covered with a cloud of real whipped cream.

Usually, this time of year, I dream of tulips,
like first notes of a song, brushes of paint
on a vacant canvas soon to be a colorful burst,
the demise of soundless, snowy white.

Now I am dieting and dreaming instead,
dreaming of strawberry shortcake.  
Strawberry shortcake.  Oh!
I'm dreaming asleep and awake of,
not just a plate, but a garden,
a town, no a world of
strawberry shortcake! -
for everyone.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Michael recites my love poem,
on his way to dog sledding
on the Iron Range -
last time it was from a helicopter,
before jumping into sky.
I sit silent on the sofa.
His sweet, strong voice
I would eat if I could,
clear, through the phone.
I tell him so, in the accent
of the Transylvania Count, 
"I want to eat your voice."
he laughs, then says,
"and I have eaten your poetry.
Many times. This poem is mine."
In the space between us I hear
swishing of wind shield wipers
clearing away snow.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Some moments,
few now,
I see dislike,
annoyance or indifference,
not in myself -
but in the other.

Then I stand in days disappeared,
reappearing, traveling back in time,
not forward.

I let these moments fly across my sky, 
knowing I judge too,
choosing to let go and see
myself learning,
learning to love and loving,
in the other instead.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dancing across the wooden floor,
in the mirror we see ourselves
and colorful night lights of Minneapolis
through floor-to-ceiling windows.
"One, two, three, four," the teacher says,
"five, six, seven." Eight is silent.  
Understood.  
He is perfect, our teacher,
an extension of music, an instrument,
a passionate soloist. I wonder if his feet ever knotted,
as we stumble and catch up, practicing stepping rhythm out.
Music is a river.
This, our first class, carries us away.
"I love being with you," you whisper in my ear.
Steps and sequence repeated,
we face each other.  
I love facing you.
I'd dance forever with you - 
through this snowy night,
from venue to venue, crossing town,
state, nation, ocean, from country to country,
around the world, through fire, flood
and wild flower meadows.
You lean in. I feel, I hear your breath.  
You kiss my cheek
just before the music starts again.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013

      Four lines.
I can't decide -
like figuring out
what to wear.  There.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Wally looks behind as he walks
at stenciled tracks that are his own,
fleeting marks of water, ice and snow -
water, cracking ice, and snow
he joys in stepping through.
I pointed his footprints out to him.
Once a footnote in our journey, 
now they are in every chapter, of every day,
in every chapter of every day
as is music and tea.

Earl Grey or chamomile?
Maple syrup or brown sugar?
Vanilla soy milk or 2 percent?
Wally points to Earl Grey, brown sugar and soy milk.
At the table I follow him,
stirring my tea into a whirl before each slurp and sip. 
He follows me, clinking our cups. 
He always smiles as we clink cups.
We stir, clink, smile, slurp and sip through tea.

I think while in the rocking chair,
Wally is a shining, rocking star.
He sits on the couch tuning his radio 
to our favorite station, Kool 108. 
We listen, rocking back and forth,
in perfect rhythm, song after song -
song after song, back and forth.
I sing too, laugh, tap my toes, 
sometimes conducting notes in the air.
Wally glances at me,
seeing happiness pouring out of me 
at happiness pouring out of him.

Wally is Mary's music man
and she, his sister, truer than blood.
She tells me of her dream last night,
while I put my coat, hat, and mittens on.
Wally and she were in conversation!
"Wally was talking!  We were speaking to each other!"
"Really? Mary, that's so wonderful!"
"I don't remember what he said.
I woke up and cried -
realizing Wally's talking was only a dream."
A beautiful, wishful dream.




Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mr. T asked me to write a poem.
  Sir, I thrive and feel at home,
as you.  We have kindness to give;
  then, and only then, we live.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I yearn for green,
green grass to unfurl
and break this world
of white, white snow.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Poetry....
sometimes soft as Onnie's ears,
Moonbeams paws,
rose petals -
sometimes hard as a baseball,
Navajo to learn,
time to understand -
sometimes gentle as healing hands,
beautiful as a single willow in the sun
or, my sister, Clair de Lune -
sometimes sour as a key lime -
sometimes sweet as chocolate chip cookies.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Orion! 
Turn your alarm on!
Carpe diem!
Did you brush your teeth?
Everything ready for school tomorrow?
I love you.

I love you too, Mom.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

To Sir Michael

I love you.
  Everything.
Even what I do not like,
  I love.
Blessed me,
  I like you eternally too.
You are Summer
  all year long,
even when I trudge
  through Minnesota snow.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Come to me like leaves in spring,
like coffee wafts underneath my bedroom door
and rain falls on my garden where I planted seeds.

Come to me inside my dreams, inside my realizations.
At the masked ball of Prairie Home Companion,
dance across the room and peer behind my mask.

Come to me with presents, words that make me laugh,
with moments of love, as close as two can be,
with opinions of your veins and bones, your thinking well

and green.  Come to me with your abundant actions.
I will give you paintings with lyrical colors,
canvas life, unable to stay in.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

one note, one step, 
at the same starting line -
a poemed pirouette,
sublime