Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Two of Us


There is a frightened little girl in me
who fights the good fight every minute
every day and cries herself to sleep
and I don’t comfort her enough,
but now I’m longing to enfold her;
so we sit and rock, the two of us,
and, oh, what simple strength
there is in that, and bliss.
And as I wrap my arms
around the child, it seems
as if the whole big wild chaotic
universe is sitting on my lap
surrounded by and drenched in
love. I am the archetypal mother,
crooning, soothing, weeping for
my children’s pain. But the Creator
takes my tears, as all are gathered
for a baptism of rain, sweet, tender,
healing rain that makes the iris
and the poppy and the peach tree
bloom in spring. So when we cry,
the child and I, our grief is not
in vain. Our sighing is a gentle wind,
and when we laugh the leaves dance
on the trees again.

by Mary Campbell, 2008

Sunday, September 25, 2016


 by Bud Cassiday

The writers’ group at First Central Congregational UCC has been contributing to the liturgy—components of the Sunday-morning service such as the invocation and call to worship. Bud presented the following reading on September 4, 2016. The theme for the service was “Words.”

God speaks in many languages. The Word of God can be heard when children laugh. The word of God can be heard in whispering leaves, rushing water, and distant thunder. A baby’s cry might be God speaking. A coyote’s howl in the night might be God speaking. A cold winter wind might be God speaking. The music 0f a busker on the corner playing a saxophone for coins might be God speaking. The raucous noise of an urban Saturday night might be God speaking. A hot summer breeze might be God speaking. Rattling dishes in the cupboard from an earthquake in Oklahoma oil country might be God speaking. The drip, drip, drip of melting glaciers might be God speaking. We should listen to gentle rain, and squawking geese, and honking horns of traffic jams. We should listen to wind and rain and distant thunder and music and poetry and the creative spirits we hear all around us. We should listen to sunny days and dark nights, spring mornings and winter evenings. For if we do not, we may miss those words of God.

Bud Cassiday is an artist, educator, and musician who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. View his blog or visit his website to see his paintings, read his essays, and learn about his band, "Happy Together."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Wish You Were Here


I miss you more than I did Friday—
twice as much as Saturday.
The sky looks flat. It’s not quite blue.
The sun is slightly faded, too.
The white clouds skip along too fast
this busy, bright, coquettish, restless
afternoon that wouldn’t let me
reel it in freewheeling past
the garden gate on roller skates.
I needed time to take its measure.
Well. I can inspect it when it’s
yesterday, but then today is
in my lap, till it too races
off and joins its sisters in the
hinterlands. My darling Addy’s
party dress is wiser far than
I. It tells me: Love your life
and I’m reminded, if I don’t like
macaroons, don’t buy them. Well.
I miss you mightily, and since my
wings are resting, let us test the
only transportation left—my
teleporting nexus, which can
drop you at my door in seconds,
whereupon I’ll take you shopping,
followed by a supper for the
gods... an unpretentious little
place I patronize because it’s
celebrated for falafel—
not a favorite of mine—I’ve
yet to meet a chickpea that could
look me in the eye. But you have
such a fondness for falafel.
Equally it pleases me to
say it—that, bambino, Addis
Ababa.... Among life’s most
surprising, small, exquisite treats is
rolling words around one’s teeth like
lemon drops and savoring the
mix of flavors, sweet and sour,
a hint of salt, and not too much of
each. Well. I have designated
the ensuing twenty-four-and-
one-half hours (in case I’m running
late) YOUR DAY, commencing when you
rematerialize at eight past
six precisely. Summoning my
chariot and pilot, steering
leisurely along the scenic
route, arriving at the diner
just in time to snag a window
booth. You order your falafel;
I say Coffee, please, and hold the
chickpeas. Well. We talk a bit of
politics before we give it
up for more extraordinary
topics, such as cotton sheets and
whether angels pray for blades of
grass in clumps or singly. You say
Individually, and I
agree. We laugh like babies in a
bubble bath at everything—
Check out the natty gentlemen,
mustachioed and sporting beanies
(Yes! The sort with whirlies),
representing, we believe, the
International Convention
for the Preservation of
Anachronistic Facial Hair and
Playful Headwear L-T-D. Well.
Vastly entertained, we spend a
most relaxing evening, being
utterly at ease; without a
reason to do otherwise than
as we fancy, inasmuch as
we’ve eternity to talk,
falafel’s economical, and
best of all, imagining is
free. P.S. Did I forget to
say I miss you? Well. I do.
Exceedingly. Love,

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dust Falls Down Again


We haven’t any rights, you know. 
It’s icing, all of it, that the inanimate
behaves itself and that my daughter
makes a life of love and difference
for she was born to be magnificent,
defying entropy, whereas the dust,
not being sentient, does what it
does swept up by wind and with no
reason to do otherwise falls
down again

December 11, 2010—Voters in the Omaha Public School District recently elected my daughter (pictured above) to the school board. If anything was ever deserved, Marian deserved to win this election. She is prepared by education, knowledge, wisdom, experience, compassion, leadership, and a genuine commitment to OPS. She campaigned hard and smart for at least a year. Plus she's funny and nice to look at and I love her a lot.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

mary had another little iamb

iamb (n.): a metrical foot consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable 
followed by one long (or stressed) syllable.


Do the English-speaking population of the planet 
and descendants of the guys who colonized
the archipelago of Curious, the Cat Star—couched
among the first and least-dense embers cooled,
the early incubators of fertility, where growing
things analogous to trees still thrive in colors
never seen on Molokai—require another
metaphor of mine, a fresh pathetic fallacy,
with sonnets scattered here and there
for garnish? Are my anapests and little iambs,
rhymed or un-, necessities in galaxies
where volumes equaling in heft the OED
are written, polished, proofed, and posted

If something harmless is to be produced,
however, on my watch—and all the world
has been assured I don’t darn socks, do auto-glass
replacement, oversee production crews
for artificial kneecaps, or approve (nor do I vilify)
financial backing for an enterprise
that has invented still another way to package
nonprescription drugs in plastic bubbles—
then perhaps I satisfy my mission,
raison d’être, and my strategy for staying
out of trouble, as a poetry creator and purveyor,
pointing out, with artistry not yet achieved
by chance by chimpanzees by banging frantically
on Smith-Corona typewriting machines,
that truth is poetry and poems are so many
mangoes hanging from not quite so many
mango trees.

I have to write, you see. It is my contribution,
my amusement, and my destiny, which God and I
agreed upon prenatally and not a word exchanged
about utility. With inactivity the brain begins
to hum Stravinsky or Saint-Saëns off-key 

and thumbs do calisthenics so as not to stiffen up 
mid-simile. And thus I keep on doing as I ought, 
conjecturing delightedly, Has anybody ever had 
that thought? Why not? So what?