Commentary on Haiku 10.13


A few days ago, I was walking my 3.5 mile route on Thunderbird when a poem formed on my fingers. Let me explain. I was walking enjoying the 4 pm heat and my walk when I started to think in haiku. A haiku poem started to move from my brain to my mouth. As I started to say it, test it out loud, I would count the syllables on the fingers of my non-walking stick hand.

I was more tired than usual but was determined to make the climb. The high side was tougher for me that day. I finished my first bottle of water earlier than usual. I pushed on.

Here is the tragedy. I didn’t remember until just now as I’m sitting here at the keyboard. I forgot the poem. It is gone. Even counting silent syllables on my left hand didn’t bring it back.

Another example of the fact that I’ve forgotten more than most people remember. Can I get back what I’ve lost?

Do you remember my daughter? The one I mentioned recently, who surprised me with a visit. We had Chinese food. We talked. We reconciled. Then came Father’s Day. In the recent past a day of silence. But not this year.

I’m grateful and happy to say that my daughter honored me on this Father’s Day (6/16) with a sweet greeting and message that made my heart sing. Thank you, my sweetheart. And the pictures you sent me of your fine, good-looking son graduating from Ft. Benning were a special treat. I’m proud of you both.

Father’s Day comes once a year. But not being a father. Once you have children, you are a father forever. No matter what the circumstances are, no matter how the circumstances of relationships, geography, or whatever change, we are always the father of our children. If we are good fathers or poor fathers, we are fathers. Is it trite to say that if you are reading this you had one? For better or worse it is so.

My father used to tell me over and over again that my hand was so small that it was no bigger than his thumbnail because I was a “preemie.” So, the haiku about my premature birth.

With Father’s Day, there is a catch, a double-edged sword. I not only think of me as a father and my daughters, but I think of MY father. I don’t want to but I do think of him. As a young soldier, I remember him recounting the thumbnail story. He liked telling me the story, but his love for me didn’t live up to it. He was very abusive. Add to that the trauma associated with the fact that my twin sister died at birth; my parents blamed me for her death.

Maybe I shouldn’t write blogs just before going to bed. It is going on 10:30 pm. You see, my father seemed to forget the joy of childbirth. I’ve got to dig my way out of this or I’ll get myself and you depressed. There is an up side.

I saw it in my daughter’s face, in her smile when we sat and had Chinese food. Our love was unbroken. For me, time disappeared. I saw her when she was five again. The light of our love as father and daughter did not go out.

When the love of a father (or parent) has failed us, who can we turn to? Who can we trust?

Psalm 27:10 says: Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. (NIV84)

You can take this to heart. I know personally it is true. And there is another scripture I want to mention that has been on my heart all week.

Isaiah 42:3 says, in part: A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. (NIV84)

I am bruised, but will not be broken and cast aside. The Lord will not let his light in me go out. He tends the wick. God the Father loves me with a steadfast unfailing love.

My Father God, knew that my hand, as big as my father’s thumbnail, would someday be in his hand. May it be so for you. Parenting isn’t easy or perfect. As a child of God, we have a father in heaven who will never forget us or leave us.

 

The Boy of the Lamp


He rubbed the lamp.
Nothing happened.
He rubbed it some
more.

The books on the
small shelf in his
room were his pride
and joy. They became
one with the lamp.

So,
he rubbed the lamp.
Nothing came out.
He rubbed it some
more.

There was no hope
outside of the lamp.
He waited for the
lamp to speak.

For years he rubbed
the lamp. He hoped
his dreams would
come true because
he believed they
were in the lamp.

He rubbed so often
and so long, the
lamp’s surface
shined like polished
silver. But the lamp
was silent.

Now he was old. His
dreams faded and the
lamp never spoke.

Why?

When he was a boy,
when nothing was
safe, he spoke his
dreams into the
lamp.

Over the years,
his heart and all
his hopes were in
the lamp. The
fantasies of the
lamp assuaged the
painful realities
of his life.

He placed value on
the lamp. He couldn’t
see the value in
himself because he
couldn’t see that he
was the genie of
the lamp.

When he was very old
he saw himself as a
boy. The boy would
do anything to make
the pain go away.

The old man watched
the boy put everything
he loved into the lamp.

The boy loved to read,
so the old man saw the
boy wish his books into
the lamp.

The boy changed anything
in the lamp to whatever
he wanted it to be. He
changed his books into
a writer, movies into a
soldier or an actor,
verses of scripture into
an end-time prophet.

The boy in the dream
turned to look at the
old man. Their eyes
met and the boy was
consumed by the lamp.

For the first time in
his life the old man
saw the lamp for what
it was, so he spoke to
the boy in a whisper.

“Boy, your safety and
true value are not in
the lamp. A master of
fantasy is a slave to
the lies of a wounded
heart, a master of the
air, who believes he
can catch the wind in
his hand. Come out.”

The old man stood
with his arm around
the boy’s shoulders.
They stood together
on a dazzling tile in
a room with a gold
throne, a room filled
with bright light.

The lamp was gone. Never
to appear again. He was
no longer the boy of the
lamp.

It was then that they
caught a glimpse of
a man on the throne with
the wind in his hand.

Commentary on Haiku 8.13


I’ve had a busy few weeks. It was at the beginning of this month. On the Monday after I got my poetry book reformatted and published by CreateSpace and Kindle. I got an email from my daughter, who works in Cincinnati, that she would be flying out for business meetings and hoped we could meet for dinner on Wednesday night.

Sure thing. Short notice. So what; I’d move a mountain to meet her for dinner. I’ve missed her very much. She was moving to Cincinnati while I was moving to Phoenix. We both had that and big things going on.

I drove to her hotel near the airport to pick her up. I told her I didn’t understand why she still looked twenty and I’m the only one who has appeared to have aged.

When she smiled, I still saw my little girl. Great joy.

We drove a few blocks away to have excellent Chinese food at a restaurant in the COFCO Chinese Cultural Center. We talked and got caught up.

In the course of our conversation, I knew I had to ask her to forgive me. Hence, I know what it is like to soar like an eagle. Something magical takes place when you are reconciled with your children. A weight is lifted that you may not know is there.

Forgiveness restores honor.

I thank God that we got to talk. It was worth the wait. We both know that life eternal is ahead. Her family is sweet; we’ll catch up some more soon.

No pressure or false expectations here. The fact that we connected doesn’t mean major changes. I don’t expect a major increase in text messages, emails, or calls. It is not practical that we will see each other often. Distance, jobs, obligations, stuff. That is okay. I am proud of her and respect her. She is a great mom, wife, and busy corporate manager.

Why no false expectations? My sweetheart blessed me more than all of those things. I’m forgiven. Honor was restored. We are together forever now; I am her father and she is my sweet daughter forevermore. We’ll be in contact and get together. It will come.

I thank God for his faithfulness. After reading this, if you think you’ve hurt someone you love, you know what you have to do. Then you will soar like an eagle too.

Hope Without Windows or Doors


My mind is racing, but doesn’t
land on a gem. My hands rest on
the keyboard; my finger taps
the F key and waits.

What do you say when you have
nothing to say? How do you wait
when you don’t know what you are
waiting for?

Coming or going are the same in
a room without windows or doors.
I feel like I’m driving through
Kansas at nightfall with no
turns, no end in sight.

You remind yourself that hope
is just ahead. But what is hope?

I look up. I hold my finger up
and close one eye to test the
clouds in the sky. They don’t
seem to be moving.

Is hope a hot air balloon racing
the setting sun? Sometimes it
dazzles me just hanging high
in the air.

Sometimes it seems to duck behind
a mountain. Floats too high. Or
looks so low, I could touch it.
Then, it is gone.

No, hope must be more than that
or it wouldn’t be called hope.

I pause to think and start
tapping the J key. I can see hot
air balloons at sunset from where
I sit. More than five. No, eight!

Hope is like a balloon that passed
by my window; I can’t see it but it
is still out there.

Said another way, hope is what I
can see from my room without
windows or doors.