Psalm 23

So, recently the book of Psalms has been popping up in my life a lot. In my poetry class, we had an assignment to write a “between the lines” poem. Not that I pretend to be anything like David, but this exercise helped me creatively look at this old familiar poem in a new way.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.

With Him I have all I need.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

In the calm of the morning,

He leads me beside quiet waters.

With songs He reminds me I’m alive.

He restores my soul.

Without Him, I am nothing.

He guides me in paths of righteousness,

Out of sheer joy and pleasure,

For His name’s sake

He smiles as we become one.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

When torturous mysteries surround me,

I will fear no evil,

I reach out and feel your warmth

For you are with me

My protector, my guide, my God,

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Despite my meager humility,

You prepare a table before me

We feast together as kings.

In the presence of my enemies

I can stand shameless and proud

You have anointed my head with oil

I am one of your chosen.

My cup over flows

Your generosity never ceases.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me,

Even when I turn confused,

All the days of my life

Until my last given breath.

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.


With Him I have all I need.

In the calm of the morning,

With songs He reminds me I’m alive.

Without Him, I am nothing.

Out of sheer joy and pleasure,

He smiles as we become one.

When torturous mysteries surround me,

I reach out and feel your warmth

My protector, my guide, my God,

Despite my meager humility,

We feast together as kings.

I can stand shameless and proud

I am one of your chosen

Your generosity never ceases

Even when I turn confused.

Until my last given breath.


Gypsi with a Needle

A poem based on my story.


I creep from behind

Quiet through the door.

Here sits my Gypsi on her bedroom floor.


Stench of cheap perfume

Drowns me to a cough

Mozart on repeat. She never turns it off.


Gingerly I step

Sitting on her bed.

Gypsi just doesn’t care – doesn’t turn her head.


All around, all about

Scattered here and there

Lay cutthroat pieces of a dead teddy bear.


In goes the needle

Out comes the thread

Deep through the flesh of the teddy bear’s head.


Granny smith eyes

Shot blood red

Tears stain the pillow on her unmade bed.


Poised pen in hand,

“Far as I can see,

Didn’t make friends when I made up you and me.”


Green gaze flashes up,

“Author, tell me why

You killed my baby sister

And left me with a lie.”

Washing Day

Long ago at age eleven – maybe we were ten

We clomped to the barn – our souls hand-in-hand.

Too-big, borrowed boots flopped in rubbery smacks.

Hay above and hay below and hay just out of muzzle reach

With stiffly smell like snapping grass. We sucked rugged,

Black licorice with a kick like gin in old movies.

Over paddy, shaven wood, we stealthily snatched the beast.

We tied him up and wet him down slathering swaths of soap.

In the mane and down the back, her expert fingers played.

Swirling currycomb patterns across his golden skin,

Suds splashed our giggling cheeks. We spat the stickily sweet

Mane ‘N Tail into the draining dirt.

She taught me how

To spit, to cluck, to groom, to post, to buckle, to mount.

We played with his dripping, soaked-wire tail

Too long, too far, too deep.

His leg muscle rippled with tension.

If he could talk, he’d have sworn.

I swear my short life flashed.

The angled knee calculated for my gut.

She pushed me to the side.

That spit-fire, half-pint spanked him hard

and roared with parental authority,


And saved my life that day.


Days at Daycare

(A year ago today, I started working at Absolute Love Learning Center. I learned so much during my time there about life and about myself.)

Days at Daycare

“Good morning,” you say, “I’m Miss Catherine.”

You sure hope it’s a good day.

You have so many books to read.

You tell her there’s no need to cry.

Raised hands mean they need to go potty.

“At the day’s end, perhaps I’ll have peace.”


Oh, you young fool to think of peace

While children run screaming “Miss Catherine!”

You thought you’d be nice, then her potty

Made you go home and change that day.

You will find many styles of crying

From dying to pouting till face is red.


In truth, you can never be well read

Enough to pick up all the pieces

Of little lives mixed with yours. Cry

Driving home, no more “Mit Capwin”

From day to foster – care no more today.

But you go back to cleaning up potty.


After one by one they all potty

Comes your favorite part: you read,

And then comes the chaos, all a daze.

At your face come flying pieces

Of bright plastic projectiles. “Miss Catherine

To you, young sir! Sure, let it out and cry.”


Tears drip on your shoulder, as they cry

You hug and hold them away. “Potty?

I’ve heard it before.” “But Miss – ”

“Nope! You’ve been twice. Nap or read.”

Show love but be firm and peace

Will come at the end of the day.


You will come to remember the days

I dare say, even miss them. Cry

Thinking fondly of your little potty-

mouthed boy you’ll never see again. Peace

Be with you as you go and read.

Remember smiles, hugs, and kisses, Miss Catherine.


Trickily Drops and Puddles – a Villanelle

When you can, please walk in the rain

Oh please, step in every puddle.

Please, do go out, if you can, once again.


With ease, if you please, no need to refrain.

See the people all out in a huddle?

When you can, please walk in the rain!


My oh my, what? Some say, “it’s a pain?”

This puts me all in a muddle!

Please, do go out, if you can, once again.


All the pompous, up-nosed disdain

Dry mouthed, wet blankets – subtle

When you can, please walk in the rain.


Hear how the trickily drops drain

I can just see them all scuttle

Please, do go out, if you can, once again.


Please oh please, never complain

As trickily drops gather in puddles.

When you can, please walk in the rain!

Please, do go out, if you can, once again.




Mound View Cemetery – my happy place

Mound View Cemetery

Long have I walked among the stones

They taught me how to read

I rode my bike along the roads

With Daddy guiding me


He took me up to “Dirt Bomb Hill”

We played with clods of soil

He led us to the old oak tree

Where squirrels often toil


Some days rounding the last bend

Un-pocket chosen stones

Racing, kicking them along

While beneath lay silent bones


The yard was always peace to me

Until sweet Caroline

Baptized in holy water

Drank communion wine




A Not-So-Stuffy Christmas Song

Is it just me, or do some Christmas songs just feel stuffy? We’ve heard them all our lives droned on by robed choruses with droll expressions. The words become stale in our mouths and don’t have the same punch (rum or otherwise.)

There are the fun ones of course, but they are usually about snow or Santa and not actually birthday songs. If you think about it, that’s what Christmas carols are really.

A few days ago, I went to this big Christmas shindig where we listened to carols and sang along to a few. The one that sticks in my mind is one I considered to be stuffy. The tune sounds natural with an organ (which there’s nothing wrong with organs, and sometimes it’s just the right thing, but it can also feel a bit stuffy if you know what I mean.)

The song is “O Come all Ye Faithful.”

The title’s even got a “Ye.”

Looking at the words, however, I came to the conclusion that this birthday song is one of celebration, excitement, and hype! Words like triumphant, exaltation, and adore jump out and say exactly what they mean.

Triumphant: having won the battle!

Exaltation: a feeling of elation or jubilation (e.i. SUPER HAPPY!)

Adore: to love and respect someone deeply.

This is a song to be sung with a big, sappy smile at the top of our lungs with arms outstretched! It’s a victory cheer. A birthday song.

Sometimes I like to rearrange old, familiar words to make them new and alive again in my imagination. When I do this to songs, they usually don’t rhyme anymore or go to a tune, but I see the original more vibrantly for it.

What follows is my ode to the birthday song “O Come All Ye Faithful.”


Faithful ones

We who are joyful

In our triumph!

Come to the place

Of our new king.

He is the monarch of the angels

They adore Him.

We will too.

Oh, sing, Angels

In exultation

Of the glory we now see.

Show that you adore Him.

We will sing with you.

Good morning, Jesus

We have long awaited

Your coming, dear king.

Happy vivacious woman celebrating the snow