Poem: Food For Free

School Lunch Lines

with hair net lunch ladies

and cement paste potatoes

and spit filled ketchup

But today the book said:


(160 if you count 5-year-old Luciana)

Lining up outside

long before the prison-bolt door is let loose

drawn like a vortex

walking and sweating with bags and backpacks

or stopping in front from the city bus

and the cars stuffed full as they hope they will be too

“Sign the book”: is the weary demand

it is the Payment

The Price

for all you will get

Fill your bags and your belly

“I have no teeth, so no corn on the cob”

“No dessert because I am diabetic”

“I am homeless and live in the streets”


Thank you

I am now the lunch lady

I give food for free




Poem: It Works This Way 

To all the Mothers out there

and to how we toil

and care

would give our


for their life

and sometimes do

in child birth

in war

sometimes just 

to give them a better 


If they are happy 

we are happy 

So Mother’s day can only really be 


if all the children of the world 



The Bird And The Seed

The Bird had been looking a long time. It knew by now, that when satisfying hunger, one must not give up. There were many others that were hungry too, and not much to go around–that’s just the way it was sometimes, but the Bird didn’t complain. The Bird understood The Way of things, but it also made him strong, willing to keep going when others just gave up. Finding what you are looking for may not be easy, but when you do, it’s sweeter for the trying.

Finally, The Bird landed on a plant. It was a rather flimsy thing, which barely could hold him up. But he had noticed that there on the plant was what he had been searching for: The Seeds. There weren’t many and they were hanging off a thread like stem, one that would never hold his weight, this he knew as The Bird balanced precariously on a nearby leaf.

But the hunger burned in his belly. So close he was to his goal and his journey long. Quietly he sat and pondered his predicament. Every time he moved closer to The Seeds, the more they seemed to get away from him. He moved slowly, but would slip down into the swamp below. He would contort himself, but The Seeds would dip into the waters with every move.

After much time and many different attempts, The Bird was eventually able to manage to grasp hold of a small part of the plant! And now, carefully he drew it closer to his beak and plucked two small seeds to eat. He had partially satiated his hunger and yet…as he grabbed for more–

He slipped! Now he was in the water below and what he had been there for: gone. The Seeds had fallen and plunged into the depth of the marsh and were lost.

The Bird, being the creature he was, simply climbed back up…shook out his wings and contemplated. He did not fret or cry out. It was The Way, after all.

And now it was time to move on…




Photo: Christmas Day


Today was an interesting Christmas day. It didn’t really feel like Christmas, maybe because my kids are older, maybe cause it’s Wednesday and I had to work the day before and after. Maybe the spirit just doesn’t move me as much anymore? I’m not sure, but I still try to dig deep to get some of the feelings to rise to the surface.

I’m a gift giver every day of the week and don’t need a special holiday to tell me to give. A co-worker told me the other day that I was ‘sucking up’ to two important people in the world of emergency medicine because I gave them each a gift! I found that statement rather offensive. Partly because this person ‘sucks ups’ to our Chief all the time, but also because they obviously miss the whole point of giving.

I tried to explain that it has nothing to do with that, but rather has to do with thanking someone and with respect. But I’m sure my words were lost on this person. Funny, but I pointed out that I gave him a gift too and I certainly have no need to suck up to him!

But today had its good points: two of my three daughters were home for a bit and we opened a small amount of gifts. No-one seemed to mind that there was nothing big or special this year. My youngest and I each gave the other a pottery cup from the same artisan obtained from a craft fair. That was very cool. We have the same taste. She also knit her boyfriend a lovely stocking that was ‘commissioned’ by me, and I stuffed it. But then she surprised me and made me one too! I was stunned and happy, but also surprised since no-one ever gets me a single stocking stuffer! But I have one heck of a stocking now! And it was the first year in forever my middle daughter was actually able to purchase gifts for us since she’s working at Wal-mart! She was very proud. So was I.

And then they were off into their other lives and I actually skipped off to do something too. It was rather cool that I actually had something to do! Usually I sit home Christmas day and do nothing. So maybe this is the year of good things. I hope so.

It’s been a tough year for the world: the weather has been wild, wracking havoc on the world. There have been wars and conflicts that have killed millions. Hunger and poverty, and other human tragedy beyond belief still runs rampant.

Here I sit, so insulated by my cozy pellet stove, with a full stomach, knowing my children are OK, with dogs that eat better that most children in the world! I pray for things to change, and world leaders to come to their senses and stop putting innocent people in their path of political foolishness. Hope that they begin to realize there are other ways to solve differences and conflict besides war.

So my holiday and New Year wishes are not only for myself and my family, but more far-reaching: I hope the peace that I have found in my soul this year is a peace I can spread. And that someday all humans can live with the same comforts, security and joy that I am so blessed to have.

Merry Christmas

Good Americans

I had a discussion at work today with someone about what makes a good American. Well actually, I’m not so sure it was a ‘discussion’, but rather me defending the fact that I was a good American in a different way than this person.

This ‘talk’ started around the lowering of the flag for Mandela which this person didn’t believe we should do because he wasn’t from this country. He feels that only dignitaries and important people from America should be honored by such a gesture. He was a marine and feels the flag has special meaning, but implied had particular meaning especially to him.

I took offense to this honestly. And it raised questions in my mind, just what does make a good American? While I certainly understand why he feels such pride having served our country, and I would by no means diminish that–I feel there are other ways in which people do honor to this country.

He made the point, and strongly, that many men and women die for our country overseas, and the flag doesn’t go up and down for them. Yes, I do understand that for sure. But they are honored with flags of their own and in other ways. I tried to explain to him how Mandela stood out as a human being and how he saved a whole country from war. I am not saying an individual life isn’t any less important, but when one person particularly shines, then an allied country can pay tribute.

Maybe I did not enlist in the service, but I do service every day.  I have been a vegetarian for 37 years and therefore cut my carbon footprint considerably. That means I don’t tax the resources as much in this country. I’ve also been an athlete so I stay healthy and thereby don’t put a burden on the healthcare system like most Americans. I recycle and have way before it was fashionable and compost too.

More importantly I try to be kind to my fellow human, no matter what race, socio-economic background or religion. Would I die for my country and freedom? If push came to shove, I would.  I personally believe in trying to work things out peacefully, but I don’t think that makes me less of an American.

Some people choose to be soldiers that carry guns. Others of us are soldiers that use words to change things one person at a time. Our way is much less noticeable at times, can be frustrating and certainly isn’t always as immediately as convincing as pointing a gun at someone. But people do die for their words or go to jail for many, many years. And for their beliefs.

So no, I don’t carry a gun and I didn’t enlist to fight for my country, but I do always fight for what’s right! Equality, peace, justice, freedom for everyone, ending hunger and poverty, and spreading love. Sometimes the people with the biggest guns don’t even remember why they were carrying them.