Posts Tagged 'love'



Compassion

Compassion

 

Her ling’ring smile calls out to say

“My hope is running wan and thin.”

His eyes show pain in pleading tears

For someone’s arms to shelter in.


Their houses sit as rubble piles,

Their water in roadside pools,

But what can I, one person, do

With resources minuscule?


So, what if life would now be changed,

If I should be there, not here?

What tiny act of humankind

Would help calm my daily fear?


If I can manage one small part,

To do whatever I can,

I’ll build a bridge from me to them.

For all of us, hope is God’s plan.


I’ll save some pennies, cull my clothes,

Serve meals to those without homes,

Read books to those who cannot see,

Tend aged with brush and comb.


Oh, I am known by many names

In my harried, hurried day,

But my real name is compassion,

And I cannot turn away!

Hal C Clark – March, 2010

This poem started as an exercise from the book “Poemcrazy” by Susan G. Wooldridge, and I decided to develop the idea. If you are not familiar with this book, I highly recommend you check it out. It tells the story of how she developed as a poet.

Anyway, I wrote this because I believe each of us should do his or her part in helping others. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it benefits both the receiver and the giver.

My wife and I sponsor (through World Vision) three 10-11 year old girls, all from areas where HIV/AIDS is a major problem. One is from Mauritania, Africa; one is from Rwanda, Africa; and one is from the Dominican Republic, near the area of the earthquake. The money each month helps improve conditions for the girl and her family, and makes it more likely that she can continue her education. The other part I like is writing letters to the girls, encouraging them and asking questions about their families, country, etc. It’s great to get their replies and watch their progress.

Greg Mortensen started a program years ago of building schools for the children in Afghanistan and he gets money for his foundation partially from the “Pennies for Peace” program in which school kids in the US bring spare change from home and drop it in a container. This program has raised a lot of money and helped to build 31 schools in the sparsely populated areas of Afghanistan. The people of these communities supplied the labor and the good will, and Greg has done more to bring peace to these people that all the politicians in Washington.

In our own United States, many children get only one or two meals a day during the summer (School programs help during the school year) a problem improved by local food banks. The purchase of one or two extra canned items on each trip to the grocery, and donated to the local food bank could make a big difference over a year.

We have all kinds of government programs to solve all kinds of problems, but I believe what really makes the world work is the compassionate acts of individual citizens working quietly behind the scenes. God bless all the givers!

Symphony

Symphony

 

We find what we are looking for

     I’ve very often heard it said,

I look in my life’s travel bag

     And try to find a common thread.


A snarl

A wrinkle

A big furrowed frown

A screeching challenge in the street

Pink combat boots

A shy fragment of a smile

Trash scattered

Tall weeds

The fragile golden goblet of a daffodil

A child and her mother, hand-in-hand

A blaring horn

A tiny, sky-blue butterfly


I see what I have packed away

     And vow to choose more carefully,

For what I want to take along

     Is all the earth’s fair pageantry


My heart fills up and brightens when

     I, through my senses, understand

My living God’s bold symphony,

     As scored by His loving hand.


The fragments that we hear and see

      Are part of a much broader fare

And beauty can be found in all

     If we but seek to find it there.

Hal C Clark, April 2010


This poem wrote easily at first, when I thought I knew what I wanted to say. The list after the first stanza contained some good things and some bad things in it. When I finished what I thought was the last stanza, it seemed incomplete. What was missing? The item that puzzled me most was the pink combat boots. I still don’t know where that came from, but I like it.

As I thought about those boots, it occurred to me that they might be a symbol of women standing up for themselves and their rights, as more and more women are willing to do today. With that in mind, I looked at the other items and found that, if I tried climbing out of my limited viewpoint, all of them could be positive. That was when I found the last stanza that tied all things together into a bigger, all-knowing view. If God can find the positives in all of creation, shouldn’t I at least try?

Well, isn’t that why we write: To try our best to understand our world, and then share our understanding with others? What makes my blogging such a positive experience for me is the supportive environment I have found among the blogs I visit. Among bloggers, I have found support for the two needs of all humankind: validation and dignity. If we have those two roses, we can deal with whatever thorns find their way into our lives.

Memorial – OKC

Memorial – OKC

In a fragment of a moment they were gone.

Sitting, standing, smiling, stumbling, tumbling

Twisting, flying, crashing, crushing, sobbing,

Bleeding, exhaling, growing cold…, still.

So still.

Snuffed out by brutal hatred like half-burned candles

Under some cruel, hellish breath,

And nineteen tiny candles

Only briefly touched by flame.

So brief.

In the quietness of evening a broken assemblage

Of departed souls sit mute within

Glowing rows of straight glass chairs

Cascading gently down a grassy slope

So serene

With no laughing conversation, giggle, sigh

On chairs with names carefully inscribed

Sit squads of silenced soldiers

Unwillingly recruited to an obscure battle never won.

So quiet.

In this holy place, consecrated with

The spilled blood of each departed,

Visitors pause, listening, sensing the silent

Presence of kindred strangers, and pleading

For a breath from even one.

So final.

In this sacred place I breathe the air they breathed,

Just before they breathed no more

I sense the pain and ecstasy and hopes

And fears and joys they must have felt before

Being stolen from their families

So unfair.

Some, swallowed by inferno and yet

Somehow untouched, in pain still ask,

“Why them and why not me?”

They weep and pray for those who died

And promise, “I’ll always remember.”

Please remember.

Hal C Clark – Feb 2010


About Memorial – See more at http://www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org


The morning of Wednesday, April 19, 1995 began as a normal, bright spring morning in Oklahoma City. Then, at 9:02 a.m. a rental truck parked in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, loaded with tons of explosives shaped to bring about maximum death and destruction, exploded. One hundred forty-nine adults and nineteen children were killed in the blast, most instantaneously. Rescue efforts occupied the following week while the Nation mourned.

Several years ago, on a sunny afternoon, we visited the memorial. It occupies two city blocks and is centered around the reflecting pool which replaced Fifth Street. An American Elm, now called the survivor tree, somehow weathered the explosion, stripped of all its leaves and with several broken branches.

One lone wall of the original building remains and is inscribed with over 600 names of people who survived. On the footprint of the destroyed building is a gentle slope covered with grass and 168 metal chairs, each with a lighted glass foot. On the glass of each chair is inscribed a name of one of the dead. The nineteen children’s chairs are smaller. But for one, all of these children were in the day care center located on the second floor, immediately above the truck.

Since my visit, I have been haunted by what I saw there, and felt. The memorial involves you and brings you back to 9:02. Even though the rubble has long ago been removed, I had a sense that the echoes of those lives still remain in that place. It is library-quiet; the only sound, the trickle of water in the reflecting pool.

A chain-link fence stands at the west end, left over from the days of rescue and recovery, covered with gifts of remembrance: watches, flags, stuffed toys, necklaces, pictures, many children’s things. These are the recent gifts. The originals are archived in the museum across the street. The gifts keep coming, fifteen years after the tragic event.

I think often about that memorial. I can’t seem to get it out of my mind. The above poem is an attempt to make sense of what happened there. It is so easy to love those around us, love all humankind. Hate must be labored over and fed and intensified by shutting out empathy and caring and compassion. Hatred is an anonymous beast that cannot be tamed. Why does it persist? Only God knows, but He didn’t create it.

Hal C Clark

Feb 11, 2010

Waiting

Waiting

I wait and breathe cool mountain air

Listening to porch planks creak beneath oak rockers

Deep vermillion crawls away,

Inviting diamonds into

An indigo sky.


Your image flows through

Channels of my memory,

My fingers tangled in your hair,

Your warmth pressed against me.

A smile lights up your face,

Accenting crinkles long familiar.


I press my fingers to my lips,

Point my hand skyward,

And wait for

God’s consent to join you.

Hal C. Clark

November 2006

About Waiting


As my parents grew older and approached their seventieth anniversary, I thought about which one might go first and which would best deal with the loss. My mom was devoted to my dad and he depended on her for many things, most of all for companionship. I don’t know if he depended on her for her sake or his own.

My dad died when he was ninety and my mom went on for two more years, although she admitted to us kids that she was ready to go. She just had to wait around for the right time. She loved her children, grandchildren, and great grands and looked forward to seeing them. But she didn’t have much excitement for anything else.

It’s hard to think of that time between your very overactive life and that time when you leave this world, but most of us will have to face it. The happiest of our senior citizens seem to be those who are physically able to find some useful pastime such as some way to serve others. For some, that involves family, for others, a church, for some, maybe writing.


Take some time, a few minutes a day, to honor older relatives and make them feel worthwhile. It makes everyone feel better.

Feb 10, 2010


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