Panorama

If you tilt your head
a bit to one side and squint
like the light’s too bright
then the common thrills
the daily defeats and small prizes
along the well-worn path
can take on the aspect
of a grand adventure

The relative perspective
may be that your tragedies
and comic episodes would not
translate into a Hollywood
blockbuster, there may not be
enough explosions or
gratuitous sex, but stay
the course and you will

reach vantage points
where your personal panorama
becomes evident and decisions
on directions can be made.
Forward, left, and right are
possibilities. Back is next
to impossible. Standing still
is inadvisable. Make of your
adventure what you will.
Take the slow way down.

Rising

The saying goes
you will reap what you sew
so the goal is to sew good
seeking a just reward
peace and love
and the other cliches
what more dare we ask
of these earthly days

but we are not blind
to the purveyors
of discord and hate
with whom there
can be no debate
I am in awe of those
whose fate
is to be the harvest
which sweeps them away

For there must be
a rising tide of good will
a flash flood of love
God may punish them
on another plane
but if we do not strive
to erase the stain
He will likely ask us
to explain

Why we failed to stand
up and say “No!”

Lumps

Rules and routines
fall by the way
on the average of
about every day
the necessary not
always convenient
the preferred out of the question
the things you really want
just a wishful suggestion

But the world keeps turning
and everything changes
soon enough there’ll be
too much time on my hands
so take the lumps
that come in the gravy
pretend they’re part
of the master plan

Above and Beyond

You can’t make sense of senseless
no matter how you try
been at it for decades now
no closer to a reason why

What does make sense is families
and friends and yes, communities
loving each other
through heartaches and horrors
lifting each other
above and beyond
the how and why and where
being irrelevant compared
to what happens
from this moment on

Conditions

Low in the morning, high in the evening
the thermometer has the right idea
I could be high all the time
if I could only see ya
since that is impossible
I strive for an even keel
I try not to act crazy
even when that’s how I feel

Grandma said, “the devil hates a coward”
but I didn’t want him for a friend
he makes temptation so appealing
it’s hard not to give in
The fires he lights
are hard to extinguish
and the smoke makes it hard
to see your true wish

there’s a weariness that sets in
when you feel burned out
one of those conditions
you can’t do much about
try to get it home
before it crashes
lock yourself in
something may rise from the ashes

To Find That

Try to decipher
the omens around
try to remember
what’s lost and found
try to hear the warnings
born on the wind
try learning the difference
between enemies and friends

Then take a deep breath
and slowly exhale
know it’s okay
to succeed or to fail
The only rule
is to keep on trying
you may be surprised
to find that you’re flying

Ambulance

There were no visible signs
of carnage, no police cars or
fire trucks, but the ambulance
in the street with lights
flashing and the neighbors
milling around offering hugs
and leaning shoulders gave
me to understand that lives
were being profoundly altered,
unfamiliar people behaving
familiarly, the human family,

I slowed down respectfully
and curiously no doubt
turned the music down
said a short prayer for mercy
and a short prayer of thanks
that it wasn’t me or those
I love this time reminded
that everyone has a time
which may come at any time
so take no time for granted

and I drove on thankful
for a humdrum destination
and a humdrum day
determined to smile more
and hug more and take
no one for granted