9-11 #Poetry - Eagles Weep

Eagles weep the dust of fury
            Glory hangs in a breeze filled sky
Trumpets howl forth silence
            Empty eyes gaze on debris and cry

Paradox rains upon sweltering souls
            Discordant melodies find no harmonic tone
Sleeping giants fail to wake
           Dreams of horror in daylight come

Restrained talons seek to rip
            Flesh and bone. Retribution wails
Bridled shouts from viper lips           
             Broken tongues speechless, still

Such foreign chaos, grief born questions
            Here rests doubt, fear rooting
Anger to pain beget rage
            Tearing fabric, destroying the shoot

A blast through heart’s cage
            Cries, screams and eternal rage
Why! Demands our soul
            Why? Defiant voices entreat

Into this realm of despair
            Touching sinew of exposed hope
Lifting corpse-like remains
            Our Hope stands, lifted hands

In a speechless voice the whisper comes
            Gentle words rock our perilous stance
Words carefully spoken, deeply heard
            Faith, Hope, Love the memory calls

Again, glorious birds will find their songs
            Heavy banners will lift in a gentle breeze
Clarion call of brass sounds, proclaims
            Life has come and still remains

-Kim E Williams
September 12, 2001

Critical Conversation...oh, and #Coffee

This week I had a visit with a good friend of 5 years now. We met innocently enough at a local coffee house and talked over hot coffee and warm pastries. 


Ardmore Coffee, Winston-Salem,NC

Ardmore Coffee, Winston-Salem,NC

We spent about 2 hours together and I left with a bitter –sweet awareness.

The Sweet – We listened and talked to each other. We asked questions to better understand perspectives. We recalled life experiences and things we had read or seen to add depth and breadth to the conversation. We wondered together. We laughed, debated and share silence. I left feeling grateful for the time and stimulated in my thinking and creativity. Not once did we look at our phones or open a laptop or tablet.

The Bitter - I don’t have lingering, flesh-to-flesh, conversations nearly enough. I know I am busy at work and at home. I know the trend is for 140 character interactions, slinging videos and swapping texts, - trite verbal exchanges (and I’m very good at those – #justsaying), but I know it’s not enough. 

Have we somehow developed into a culture where conversation has been replaced with brief proclamations and affirmations? Has the art of reflective inquiry (was there ever such an art?) become too complicated, too time consuming, too hard?  I think one of the reasons that I love sharing coffee with others – just about anyone – is that it slows things down and creates a moment for conversation. It is hard to be in a hurry when you are trying to drink very HOT liquids!

My life needs more time for coffee and conversation, more space for debating, wondering with others. What about you? Care to join me for a cup of Joe? 

Clear Perspective - For The Birds

While watching the finches on our feeder I learned something about perspective...

 

The large bay window in our living room overlooks our front lawn; a large magnolia and maple tree drape the scene and arborvitae and rhododendron  break up the green carpet of the lawn. A thin pole stands outside the window holding a finch feeder. Regularly finches and other small varieties of birds visit, flitting from rest to flight. One of my favorite morning moments is settling in on the living room sofa with a steaming mug of coffee and watching the birds have breakfast. The view is private, simple and I feel an intimacy as I spy on their world, so thinly divided from mine by a pane of glass.

Today I noticed the blinds that hung, turned open, but still present - slicing my line of sight. The glass refracted the beams of light through hazed glass. Really, the lens through which I watch these birds isn't clear at all. I'd never noticed it before.

We look past things. We grow accustomed to the smeared glasses on our face, or the spotted windshield of our car, and the dirty window pane and the blinds. Now that I've noticed. I know and it bothers me. I'm already planning to dust and raise the blinds and clean the glass inside and out in order to see it the birds, the outside better.

Which causes me to wonder...what else in my day-to-day perceptions might have lost some clarity and could use a bit of polish and shine?

Get up. Move. Perspective.

The Solution: Simply move?

Hanging on the wall in my office, there is a picture of a tree that changes color and definition to reflect the four seasons. As you walk by the angle of the print causes the tree to shift from a winter scene of bare branches and snow, through sprouting spring foliage, the full greening of summer and then the autumn leaves of fall. From my desk seat, it always looks like autumn.


I like seeing the different images of the picture. The variety, changing colors and images offers a nice change from what is often the static unchanging art of an office space. There are times when I will just move to a different place in my office to see and enjoy the picture differently. It isn’t that I don’t like seeing the fall tree, I do. I like seeing the other images, too.


Here’s my thought: My living is often the same way. It is easy to settle into the same routine, the same patterns of moving through life and soon – everything seems to look stagnant. In the same way I have to get up and move to a different place in my office to see the variety of the tree picture, I can move to a different place in my living to see life with new colors.


The business of life glowed more brightly than the drab hues of work...

From a simple move, like visiting a different coffee shop, to a more dramatic change, like ending or starting a new relationship, we can experience the very different seasons of our living. I’m not advocating change for change sake, but I am encouraging myself to remember that sometimes I need to move a little and change my perspective in order to appreciate the rich variety of life.


I sat in a meeting yesterday with a successful local entrepreneur – a very rich man. He was clearly tired, almost exhausted throughout the meeting. After we had finished our business discussions, the conversation shifted as he explained his fatigue. He had spent the previous evening volunteering at a local homeless shelter. As he begin to tell the tale of his time helping others that night his energy lifted, his spirit soared and the conversation moved me to a different place. The business of life glowed more brightly than the drab hues of work...the previous conversation about his business.


Get up. Move. See. Enjoy.

Happy Birthday, Son

As today marks, by calendar date and tradition, the 25th anniversary of my son's birth and the occasion for gratitude, reflection and celebration, such that these moments bring, I find myself reflecting with fatherly thoughts and gentle emotions upon the man that has sprung, powerfully and dramatically, into life and work from the child that is my son. Many have been the thoughts and numerous the feelings, yet one piece of verse keeps echoing through my head. You will, no doubt, know of the work for it is old and well read among those of us who care to read such things. 

 

I dedicate this post and this classic piece of poetic truth to my son. Happy birthday. You are a man - being and becoming. I'm proud of you.

 

If—
BY RUDYARD KIPLING
(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!