Sunday, December 30, 2007

Gift on Blank Pages

Going through past entries in my journal, I came across this one on two mostly blank pages, face-to-face, the words: WOOPS (on the left page), Missed Pages (on right) and arrows pointing to the next page. So, in this abundance of space I write:
love these gifts of space and line
they're mine to retrieve and write
whatever addition to history
becomes the moment in poetic accord
for space is never wasted
by minds creative and sailing
on the sea of imagination

Poetry is Soul in free expression.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

baby steps

.
. baby steps . become a journey .
. first thought . a door to higher learning .
           . and the universe awaits .
           . with basket and apple .
.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Inherited

Each day is a Blessing in the Light and Sound . . .

Between now and the future
            is forever, and the past -- but a memory
that goes forward
like a kitten, a lion or a lamb.
           Is my direction from love
                       power
                                   or hope?
When the power of love is realized
hope is consumed by a certainty beyond reason
            and no calamity
                        or inconsistency
will defeat
the newborn's breath
            and the innate claim
                        to divine inheritance.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Rose Wise, 12/7/1943 to 11/29/2007

Here is the eulogy I gave on Monday:

Rosalia, Rosie, Rose. Sister, Mom, Grandma.

These are the names we called her. These are what we knew her as.

The Rose is known as a universal symbol of Love. Some of the other qualities it is said to symbolize are: respect, grace, gratitude, purity, security, protection, maternal love, unity, and understanding. But for me, through Rose, it now represents: wisdom, a new view of all things, innovation or considering a better way, and celebration.

A few years ago, Rose, our sister Marian and I were talking about how we wanted to be remembered, and our passing commemorated. We agreed, at Rose’s prompting, that a wake or funeral should be a symbol and celebration of the life of the one now in a better place.

Rose Wise. Love is the leader in the symbols of Rose. Love and wisdom are her blessings, and her gift to us. When our brother, Bernie, died in 1974, Rose placed a blue carnation on his casket, as a symbol of the highest, spiritual love. Love transforms everything to its highest form, and even overcomes the finality of death.

A friend I work with knew Rose only through the art of her greeting cards. When I told her of my sister's passing, we talked of the meaning of love in this time. And as tears started forming in our eyes, she said, “For me sometimes love comes through tears.” Don't deny this gift in your memory of her.

The Final Gift
Death is our passing from one state to another. In Rose’s case it was from pain to peace because of her ordeal the past few months. But healing the wounds of loss takes time. One way to handle the pain of this healing is a final connection with her. You may have things you wish you could have told her, or a question to ask. You can still do that. Rose is with us now, and I’m sure she is enjoying your presence. (I’ve heard it said that the one who enjoys a memorial service most is the one who has passed—seeing everyone in this time of unity, sweet memory and love.

For me, I can imagine sitting with Rose in front of a fire, warming heart and soul. TV news or talk show is on to stimulate the mind. She is stringing beads or snapping beans for soup—always busy with some project to share. Then, speaking my thoughts or asking a question, I can hear her possible response:
  • "That is so sweet of you." Or,
  • "You’ll know what to do." Or maybe,
  • "Just do your best. It’ll turn out all right."
It will be okay. It is. Such inner communication with Rose, and her response is a gift and blessing.

The Journey
We are all part of Rose’s journey through life. As we look back on that journey with her, each of us has our own impressions and memories. If these were all collected in a volume called Rose or Mom or Grandma, it would be just a small part of her. Yet it is natural for us to share these memories in gratitude for her gifts to us, and the loss we feel.

Memories
When I visited Rose in July, even as she was undergoing chemotherapy, she told me some of the gifts of reflection and resting in God's love. In that reflection and sharing, I learned how much family meant to her. Family is a lot like a garden—not always in straight, neat rows, but with a bounty of rich beauty, luxurious growth and dreams fulfilled. Family is the place where the highest love grows.

Rose told me little snippets of that love and her love for you. She told me of
-- Tom, who gave up so much for her children and grandchildren.
-- Charlton: soft spoken, competent, calming in tough situations
-- Jonathon: gentle, openhearted, loving
-- Carina: caring, sensitive, talented in so many areas, especially motherhood.

Your shared love is the legacy of Rose.

I’d like to invite any of you to share your stories and memories with us.

[Others share their memories and impressions.]

Below are other things I had prepared to say if it seemed right. I shared the first one.

--Last month Rose told me that the common saying, God is Love is not exactly accurate. Instead it is Love is God. If you love, if you have love, you are living the divine presence. Rose has always lived there, and by your presence, by your love and honor of her today, we know she continues to live in that highest place.

--Another thing I recalled this morning is a dream of last night. In it we were gathered in at a party or potluck. As the evening ended, Rose was slipping little gifts in our pockets or bags as we left. Later I took it out of my pocket and saw this little box that was more light than matter. But on it there was the word Joy.

--In earlier years when Rose was more able to get around, she loved to garden. A poem I wrote some time ago is of gardening and following your dreams, but I think it applies to Rose’s life as well.
Growing Rose

What love is it that chooses heart’s direction?
Talent never learned this life
But lived like bees to honeysuckle’s center
To one an awkward duty
Another makes it dance.

Are we not followed on the road to choose
By choices other than our own?
Our map in math or science knows
Growing rose and radish
An easy work of art.

Start to feel connection with life and tools of craft
In school what luck would have the leaders
Follow heart and soul?
There is more than light and scent
To growing rose.
~~~

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Waiting for Winter

I say it at the start of every season: I love this time of year with the changes taking place. What it does to place seems so different than what it was for months. Oh, sweet review of 12 months past.

Waiting for Winter

Across the field I see hills mature past
Full autumn show
Ready for snow cover
And calling
For their winter’s sleep.
I too wait with excited expectancy.
Spring aged to summer, fall so full in gold and rich
In its family of reds
And now waiting for winter
Is bold.
Like the oak, leafless in its form
And strong.
Love the blessings
Of this year.
And now waiting
For hard frost and first snow
In this time of reverie.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Battles Past

It'll be a new picture after first snow cover. But now: a Montana memory.
Or maybe North Dakota. Last week's road trip ended on Sunday, and a visit to a long, narrow and surreal place is recalled--in fact and imagination.
Driving is an altered state, and I see in new ways.

Battles Past
Stark beauty in this lone, dead tree
When fall of three or five years past
Released last leaves of summer's dream.
Now shadow cast in spindle ribs
Its trunk still bold yet barren of its armor coat
White ghost, now free
From bark of battles lost
And littered at its feet
Past robes are shed and show
In each noon light.
This spirit of ancient arbor stands
On field of reverie.
Lone, dead tree recalls
All autumn-colored dreams
In some ten thousand scattered seeds.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chico & Haun


This and the previous poem are from last week's trip to Montana.
This morning of days
Awake with tea, we visit
With Jonathon's cats
(Kitty haiku)


Chico is the black one. Haun is almost human.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Winter Score

As I sat in the parking lot of St. Vincent Hospital I was inspired by a crow. Pondering its lonely call, I wrote:
Crow knows the score in barren oak
Repeats the toll of winter
Sunshine
White cloud
Autumn leaves have fallen
Crow knows the score of winter winds
Snowflakes not yet drifting

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Island

When you speak,
           I hear the poetry
           of Keats and Rumi.
When you laugh,
           their muse of angels
           sing through me.
Now your memory
           is an island
           on the sea of silence.

           (rev. 12/30/07)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Waconia

Fall is better for color, texture and poetry. I can see relaxation ahead. We drove out late yesterday, to the town pronounced why-CONE-ee-ah in these parts.


Waconia

The way to Waconia with hills
rolling 'long side to sunset sky
gray-pink and white with azure blue.
Gold never looked so true and rich and live.
This trip on highway 5.
Hills rolling with late harvest
grain and greens
a tree of early autumn mottled patches standard in its show.
Mute-colored texture metered by the bend.
Texture-heavy sections folding
in this evening approach.

A barn.
More a dream of classic
presence than the century stone
to silo base and west wall supports
the boards of gray and many colored coats
most gone. Seems red.
And loft door hinges raked in happy angle.
Orange rust-iron turned to German chocolate brown
the year granddad was ten-years-old.
It has a cupola.
Once a vein long gone
with weather tracking antique hunters.
And a deer could cross the road.
Oh, highway 5.

The way to Waconia with rolling hills.
Did you see the burgundy of oaks,
September reds and graying barn?
It has a cupola and weather vein of dreams.
I saw it once on the way.
Waconia.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Forest

Some days are better reviewed from another world...

The Forest

A spring rain fell.
But wasn't it yesterday?
Leaves still damp and moss beneath bare feet.
Touch my toes. My knees.
A drop falls down and I look up.
Look up.
Floating through the emerald-green-lit arbor leaves.
Sunlight here before the stars.
I leave.
And drop my hands, my feet,
my limbs like they are laundry in the chute.
I'm free.

I walk the forest floor in dreams
and leave.

The River


After a reading in Stranger by the River by Paul Twitchell and contemplating the passage I took my own journey of soul:

The River

Always the River.
Early Autumn.
Gentle current carries the first yellow leaves
dropped from the willow on the bend.
Turtle slips into the water from a slight crag at the inlet shallows.
Inch-long fish in school turn quickly to show an instant glint of sun
from under the surface near the reeds.
The temperature pleasant with buttoned sleeves.

I listen.

More the breath of God
than a million gallons per second flowing home.
I am sleeping already in the arms of love.
Yes! How could life be more than what it is in this moment?

Monday, September 03, 2007

A Harvest of Time

The morning after shared time with friends at our house yesterday. Now…contemplation and reverie…

Burnished knuckles and polished stone
forever the preparation of home
last grout washed and paint brush stroke
at 3 a.m., the mat.

Reflecting on the days of battle – love of craft
and life by fruits of labor leading up to now.
Relax and heal in gifts of beat receding
The rewards of challenges metered out
By . The passage . Of time .

Do you hear it?
A tone, a tune, a metronome
Punctuation to every breath – the Sound.
First afar – from the roof of end neighbor's yard.
Then in my maple, a chorus of crows
Each call, a phrase replete with memory
and laid to rest in well-made bed
the scent of roses and thorns of rose.
Alarm well-set in pillows.
Muffled.

Yesterday’s crescendo and friends
to open home
and garden harvest in light
a love – resplendent.
Could it ever end?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

transforming light

Always the morning and God's love

transforming light

. sun gold green canopy .
. silver maple .
. masters light .
. day shades of blue .
. and mottled .
. by spindle limbs gray .
. sky iris crystallized .
. good morning .
. is love .
. transformed .




© 2007 Ardi Keim 9/1/07 (rev. 12/30/07)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Catching Breath

One more morning by the gift of life. Thank you, Great Spirit.
Catching Breath

Cooler these mornings and waiting . longer to light
Slower the chorus of crickets . sometimes just one.
           It stops.
Earth turns . and seasons count down
by the breath of heaven.
           Good day!
Reverie this moment . in the age of iron
and still gold nuggets . of love.
           I catch my breath . and touch
           the Face of God.

                       (rev. 12/17/07)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Morning Anointing

Yesterday, the night. Today, the Light. And my garden.

Morning Anointing

Sun in my face and facing the play of green
yellow-lime and jade to shaded forms
the east-lit trees
three sentries standing ancient in
this age of spruce
this garden growing teamed
with bees and moth
and butterfly
by song in reaching oak
three squirrels of industry
a toad unseen below
to soak past noon
this room outside
my garden window
I contemplate this view of life
from deck on padded seat
and stool, my feet
too perched to face
the morning light
with soul remembering sweet
sod, then mud
anointing, now washed
in new sunlight.

(I hadn't seen a toad all summer, then later that day I did.)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sleep Interrupted

Love the blessings of summer nights and early morning storm. Last night was one. . .

Sleep Interrupted

Storm in the night. First
Sound and light west
Now approaching
Would another dry run
Pass us by?
I can seed it with Love makes it rain
Thank you Great Spirit!
This gift to the earth
Populated and craving
We love quenching of flesh
And its passion
First drops with wind waving trees
In dance for a downpour
Now flashing and crack snap exploding
So close or within
Is our spruce or theirs in its split?
The neighbors awake in same celebration
The lake and the rivers rejoice
Heavy drops turn to splatter and splash
Love making rain out of passing light show
And sound flashing us back
To our bones, to our roots
Up, close the windows
And open to love
Of this gift
From the gods of creating
The rain. And sleep
Even better. Storm
Banging the east
Thunderous treat and cool
Morn repeated
In dreams of last night
Sleep interrupted
And love

Monday, July 30, 2007

defining the craft

.
poetry is

recreating an experience

of one soul in another

through the creative craft

of word and voice
.
.
when I first heard yours
my heart could not tolerate its elation
till I gave it your name
.
now always
you live in my being
and that lilt
is the cadence
in an eternal season
of rhythm
and joy
.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Highest Love

She said this is such a gift. Leukemia. Chemo. Reflection and resting in God's love. I thank my Creator for my visit with her this week. There is Love.

Rose garden showing
a beauty unlike no other
a loving heart and smile
sharing so much
and blooming
.
I've thirsted long
for this
a saturation
soaking up this love
that feeds me
.
we come together through
parents oddly matched
perhaps
grow in the experience
with spice of life and
human folly
finding partners of our own
purpose and passion
and soul's destiny
to grow
.
and our offspring too
this love
is family in the making
together we are one
of the highest love
one of purpose
we are love
.
this is a garden
of the highest love
is family

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Grey House in White

A reflective view from my morning window: Lit now in new light. What quality of service do we offer? The house is still empty after four weeks. Some are never really home. Could a call have made a difference?

Check in with the living.

Gray House in White

House once home to older lady
Lonely after Dad had passed
Mom ten years before
And now she too – no heirs
Thought no one cared
The neighbor said

I shoveled snow in February
Thank you polite with smile
and wrote my phone number
but never called
And I thought once of phoning her

Empty now across the street
White by morning sun
Just a week from diagnosis
So little hope in lonely
I could have called
Gray house across the street
In white of morning sun


Reckoning by Heart

It flowed so fast from somewhere out there--within. I have to read it a few more times to get it. Sometimes things change so quickly, unexpectedly. But really, we knew all along. For time is an illusion. And space. You know. Without sadness, we would not know joy.
Reckoning by Heart

I’ve never loved another more than I love you
And I’ve loved many as much, and I still do
True love doesn’t recede with the waves of time and circumstance
It’s not by chance that we each unfold in the Light and Sound
It’s by the beat of each heart as it recognizes the divine in every Soul
so clothed in human form and race.

Then reckoning relationships from birth to death
Simple ones like love of mother
and others more complex.

We each have chosen well in perfect recognition of our needs
like the vine that grows from dark to light to reach the sky
Why I never loved another more than I love you?
First there was the swelling of the seed in earth
I’ve learned a lot by love
that blooms and dies—
for it’s not gone
The seeds were hiding.

After harvest there is a feast of celebration
Every heart that sings remembers its own weeping
In the season of eternity it seems so short
And I’ve never loved another
more than I love you.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pending Death

On highway 7, just west of 101 . . .

We could all look at life this way
were it not for a view of Soul in eternity.
But still its possibility is most unwelcome
when it is viewed more immediately.
Even when it has little to do with oneself
or family or loved ones.
For we are all family really.
This morning on the way to work
it was a pleasant drive despite the wind all night.
I should have known something
was coming on the wind.

But still, it was too sudden.
The shock too great.
Traffic, two lanes each way.
It changed my day.
Though not as much as those
six tiny ducklings on the highway median
without a mother.

Wind Bending Grass

On this windy day the willow seedlings sway out back of my western window at work. There are taller cottonwoods and ash beyond that. The view takes me back to another place . . .

Wind Bending Grass

Ears waving, trunk and tusks
above the head-tall grass
now bent in wind,
and jungle in the back.

So real, like yesterday,
yet not sure when.
Hot wind. Monsoon.
Quench the fire after noon.
Was it 1966? This seems too recent.
And still…

Hot sun almost lost in hazy sky.
In tall grass bent by wind
I see the ears and trunk,
but not the tiger stripes and tail.
She could be hiding.
Stone fence and iron grill
stops them all, but not
the snakes.

Saw a cobra once
by green banana grove
not hooded now to strike.
But hacked and quartered near the gate
By guards of palace grounds.
Maybe 1923. Was it a dream?
I look around.

The next excursion leaves.
It’s not too late.
The hunt of kings is not in here,
but outside the palace gates
beyond the elephant grass,
jungle in the back.

What’s in this wind
that bends the head-tall grass?

I've spent some time in Thailand, and even more in dreams. We've all lived before. It's hard to tell where it comes from. So real.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Five A.M.

Some mornings are better than others. This was one. Across the street is a maple just visible in the breeze. And across my feet... as I take the recliner for a slow ride. Loving it now. And here.

five a.m.

. still .
. listening . i wait .
. sense of earth this hour .
. resonant with bounty .
. and springtime too .
. its life . its bliss .
. with cool air washing .
. and birdsong in the dark .
. springtime .
. at 5 a.m. .

Saturday, May 19, 2007

To a Poet Friend

I wrote this last week for the birthday of a co-worker, an engineer and a poet.

To Aubrey Forbes:


Engineer Poet -- the Two Sides of Soul

There's a challenge for every man who is a poet.
First there is the part of being man
when there is woman with which he coexists.
You see, this world is more than earth and water, wind and sky
it's more the life God fits it with.
And I do not mean mere biomass,
but that flesh and blood possessed
with Soul and song and dance
and thoughts of love,
as if God above gave each a test
impossible to pass.

But he tries to live up to that higher calling.
So he goes to school to learns the rules
of race and culture, law and order,
business, science, engineering.
And heads for home (wherever that is)
across the waters, 'cross the sky,
Jamaica, Toronto, Minnesota,
so he can grow and show
the world it matters
that he lives.

May live by numbers,
black and white.
For there's a living to be made
in reach of the everlasting quest.
And that is love.
Pursuit of it cost some death
and at their end was the bequest:
That there be something better
than is found by most.

But that's not all:
For those that are more well equipped
there is the mind and pen
and juxtaposed against it is the Soul.
An engineer with pen and mind and God
is called to poem.
And now all creation,
this very world's reality
could be at stake.
You see the light and hear the sound
with eyes and ears of flesh
but wait--beyond the words
are worlds of wisdom and a new voice calling
all of us to better goals in love and life.

Soon great secrets hidden by the world.
At first just nuance, than in inkling.
Finally the niggle
can be ignored no more.
Life by math and its mere measures
finds small reward in rendering sketches,
or bending wrenches.
Instead he sleeps and dreams
of mystery schools and golden wisdom temples
to learn the finer art of honing
higher forms of human endeavor.

And when he awakes
from his night of days in making
the engineer-poet
is still taking words and verse
and building bridges for all souls
to the worlds of God from this planet earth.

And even after all is fixed
replete with sound and well-lighted
in these two worlds that are united
there is a man (if not many)
schooled in math, and much higher,
who lives and loves the mysteries in life
and their complexities in love
especially the one which is his wife.

Engineer-poet, you bless us
with your writing and your life.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Tree Line

(From my journal almost a year ago.)

Do you hear the raucous call
from the dark contingent?
Crows on the tree line.
What do they see in this day's end,
when my mind would rather
robin in the sprinkler?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Celebration of Robins

Very much robin this morning
trying their best to compete
for full and complete enjoyment of the rain
in thunderburst celebration
of nighttime blessings
fresh. And the tulips
today.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Crystal Candle Base

What light unfolding
into colors bent
on rainbows work
at water falling into mist?
Then distant fires dance at night
and days at carnival's parade of costume craft
an arc replicated on itself now filled to glow of white halo
could be Mother Mary's crown or Prince of Peace on passion's cross
for fireworks bright when I was five
brilliance alive and in its shift,
a pull at breath
as in a lover's little death
at new moon racing silver clouds
or taking sun dogs to heaven's gate?

All in this crystal candle base
or vase with single rose.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Spring Watch

Sea gulls on the gale
Spindle tree with kinky twigs
Against a gray-blue sky
Cold-steel Spring
           They say it's coming
           In a week or month
           Of Sundays
Yesterday's snow foretold in verse
And tomorrow's still writing.

Trade this poem for Song of Sun
And bluebirds garden watch.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Haiku of Longing

By the verse of others on Spring Haiku I know it's out there somewhere in the northern hemisphere. Till it's here I ponder...
Paris in daisies
Birds trill in Romanian
Minnesota snow

(It started again this morning. Maybe next month.)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

green bud

I just can't help myself from season.

green bud
.
yesterday the mist
on last white patches
thinning by the light
breath of each new quick
come forth bright show
green bud and
bloom
.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

spring forth

.
season pleased with its launch
sky pressing gray hills and hiding cottonwood
mist touching my heart before the pussy willows soft
touch it here and magic
soul knows
gold and reds and many shades of earth
still hidden by the thatch of tan-bleached grass
and snow patched a few more days or hours
on the north side hiding
sun loves too
o spring
green forth with joy
trickle drip
and rich
.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Song of Season

The snow is melting again. Oh, the anticipation...
Song of Season

When the air warms my arms and legs
Instead of calories consumed and conserved
By sweater's padding
Sun shines for buds pressing
Their vortices of dance
Into an aura of life
To know the song of season:
Oh, Spring!
And the birds.

Spring Haiku: Out of Place

.
smug in your sunscreen
bare legs with iPod on skates
Minnesota watches and waits
.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Steed of Turning

Went to the woods last summer
After a morning of light.
(Fog in the meadow.
Mist on a patch of lavender blooms.
With yellow buttercups in their sheen.)
Sat beneath a tree in the sun
One whose broad leaves did fall
And will re-bud for the call
Of the force this Spring:
About to mount its steed and ride
More anxious than the parade allows
In most season’s turning.
Was a breeze in that sacred space.
And soon the wind.

Marshmallows

.
Know the heart by a smile.
Follow a dream.

Do what you love most this time.
Talk to your dog with raw meat.

I shoveled snow last week
for me and three neighbors.

Tomorrow marshmallows
at the fireplace.

It wasn’t always like this,
But I’m learning.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

...and the three before

The three men standing reminded me of the three I wrote of in 2002:

Young families are moving into our neighborhood, as great-grand dads leave the world they’ve built in the ‘30s. Amazing changes in that time….

Three Guys Walking

Three guys walking on Regent with babies in strollers.
Walking on a side street with babies.
Three guys talking of football
and stock options—
royal choice—
left on 35,
right on Quail.
Three guys walking with babies in strollers.


Ardi Keim 8/10/02

Monday, February 26, 2007

three men standing

On the way to work today...

snowplow-covered bench
looking west with intent and not a word
heard over traffic close and windy
oh bus stop by the highway
three men standing
do you see them?
dressed in black
scarves and
two have caps

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Next Month

.
first the robins trill
with morning light
later call of crows
woodpecker rat-tat-tats
dead branch and knows
spring next month
but now the snow
.
--ak

Bird Clock

In Minnesota we only sense its coming. Robins help.
bird clock sounds at 20 till
yesterday's foot of new snow
robins sense a crocus

--ak

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Life-Changing Event

Poetry for me is a succinct, sometimes subtle representation of where I am now in life. Some life-changing events rate more lengthy summaries. Here is a longer post with name changes as required by the foster-care system.

When I was 3 or 6, I remember Mom’s love. I remember her hug and soft, big breasts, which I pressed against in warm embrace. Mom was the whole of my love life—the one-and-only of experience as I knew it. Her kiss at bedtime was the blessing and symbol of all that was good. That was the first impression of love as I recall in this life.

My second perception of the concept was at age 9 or 10—pre-pubescence. And it is hard to see how this view could come from the first. But, I guess, love of self can only be an encore to the love of another. The world centered on me then, not me in tandem with Mom. Discovering there was a world outside myself and my arms-reach, my wants and needs of emotion and bodily function, brought with it the realization that there were many elements of drift in what I thought was a solid state. The layers surrounding the security of a sound source radiated and reflected, guided and tempered, controlled and shielded the blazing heart of Mom’s love. More than just the pleasure of its reality or the pain of its perceived absence, I was beginning to pickup hints and notions of some other kind of love, something that would take over when Mom’s love was no longer available fully to me. But in collecting data on this second type of love, in the environment of my childhood, in our farm family, at a parochial school in the Catholic Church, as well as within the extended family structure of Keims and Ungers, in which our family had its position in the pecking order of the clan: somehow the second type of love didn’t seem too appealing. The thought of boys and girls co-mingling and even touching had no possibility of rightness to me. Ick! Girls? Gag at the thought.

And that reality was firm till stage 3: Puberty – a few years later. Learning about the birds and the bees, and pollinating trees and why the bodies of boys and girls were different at first was repulsive, and then exciting. Sexual awakening for me started at 12 or 13. Keeping pace with the quick-change of body, mind and heart was like tagging rescue workers in a hurricane. Love was a fire then, raging with different winds and dying a thousand deaths in the rain of fickle hearts. There was constant need of stoking or quenching.

Now, that went on, for what seemed like too many years, and I will skip the details. Suffice it to say that the teenage-to-young-adult appetite for love does not evoke fond memories of peace and harmonic balance. In its happening it was more like the brilliance of fireworks falling on a straw house. And looking back from here, it seems like shelling out for the hundred-dollar, twelve-in-one power tool that isn’t worth ten.

But its ultimate semblance of control did set the stage for phase 4—monogamous marriage, thank God. Peace and harmony – pretty much – with just enough stoking and quenching to pave and repair the path of dreams. In comparison to childhood (stage 2) and teenage (stage 3) love, this was bliss. I could relax in the expression of love with Marily.

Then there came baby one, and the 5th realization of love. When Josi was born I could not believe the instant love I felt. No history, no doubts of intention, or fear of manipulation, just an open heart—she to me, I to her. I could not see how I could ever love another person as much as I loved this little one. But, then along came Sarah. And it happened again. Human love couldn’t be any better than the bond between parent and child. It made the pain of child rearing worth the effort.

I thought there could be no improvement to this type of human love. I knew that some day I would be a grandparent. But I did not relate to it like Marily did. She looked forward with great anticipation to the day she’d be holding and loving a child of a daughter. I could imagine it only as a yellowed photo in black and white. Not the picture of a virile and potent young man. Even a mere child or two ago, it didn’t seem right that I should ever be as old as it took to be a grandparent. Not a pleasant thought.

That was till Thursday, February 8th, 2007, 5:15 pm, when we arrived at the home of Josi and Kay.

In September they got a foster child. At the time we were all cautious not to be too attached, as she could be leaving any time. But time went on. Photos showed this little soul that was learning the same lessons we all learned in our growing. The blessings relayed and the challenges shared started the curing of reeds for a weaving. Our visit showed me that I still had a lot to learn of love. And there’s a new dimension in my love life. We call her Peanut. This fresh realization may be an expansion of stage 5 affection, but I feel like it is a whole new leap in a new direction. Stage 6 is grand, in deed. It’s like the debt is paid, the war is won, and the harvest is returning ten fold—a hundred fold.

How can I feel such love for a person I didn’t know was a possibility 6 months ago? To me it is a soul connection and so much more significant than bloodline. We choose our spiritual habitats from choices broader than the reach of hand and urge of instinct.

I’ve learned many lessons of love in this life. Some pleasant, some tough. The teachers of school and church, of family and friends, include our parents and children, and now a Peanut for me. I see the light of God in the twinkle of her eyes, the beauty of a heavenly bouquet in her smile, and the sound of music in her giggle, in her voice.

"Granddad! Granddad! Look at me now!"

I have a new name, a new title. And another understanding of love. What I thought was the pain of child rearing was really training for now. Even my hurting granddad-knees seemed a blessing. For the week following the visit I never soothed the pain, because I never hurt so good from playing for hours on the floor with Peanut, or romping in the snow.

Though my grandfather-hood is not biological, it is very real, for sure. And it doesn’t matter the age or form of love’s expression. Nor that I may, or may not ever, share the genes of a grandchild. Love, once planted, will always grow; and I will enjoy its blooming. Through trials and guidance, reasoning and mistakes, we are immersed in a living water. The whole of grandparenthood—last month a non-issue for me—is boiled down to a single point of focus: My feet are in the river of life right here and now. And there is one more Soul to love.

© 2007 Ardi Keim

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Morning Window Frame

Reviewing my journal written the last time here in August. On vacation now, a few days more, with daughter and family. I read and edit.

The light of colors muted, textures bold . . .
Sometime in the night the wind with rain and leaves
did decorate the cornice of a roof
and peeling paint exposes layers of lives
and love each molding made
by the hands of man.
Each tree seeded from above
the conscious fabric of
our passion, our search
now seen through
this morning window frame.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Who Wrote It?

I was reminded that I've been gone from here for too long. Sometimes I blame not writing on the long, dry winter, or the challenge and busy-ness of home renovation on a budget. But all are excuses.

This one started in morning contemplation.

Beyond the quick step and cold heart of winter
is the healing hand of spring.
Even global warming with science and warnings
will not keep the Great Mother
from purging herself of pain.
War and peace and sea level find balance
in the budding of cherry blossoms
and tomorrow's ten below.
What can I do, but listen and follow my heart
in the face of a nation of lemmings
heaven-bent with the glee
of a sea breeze or apathy?
Entertainment Tonight.
Super Bowl Sunday.
Or tonight's news . . .
Who writes it,
but we?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Heaven's Narrow Door

Draft feature not working. Pre-dating by 12 months.

Inspired by article of same name in
The Living Word, Book 3 by Harold Klemp. Yes, you have to drop a lot of baggage to gain entry. All but love.
Heaven's Narrow Door

The truth in life,
the truth in word is a study.
Learning lessons
reading the books --
slowly for me.
Reading is not easy.

Upon each reading
of a book of the Master
more lessons--new
or ones I forgot already.
Each moment is new.

Memory?
Is its purpose to set in stone
the truths of life?
My journal
is for record keeping.
All lessons of life and love
are in so many forms.
Does it pay
to cast them in solid form?

Life is also a journal--a journey
of ever-changing syllabus.
All is love.
I choose to study each lesson
in the moment.
Every word comes through
on the breath of God--
eternal respiration,
inspiring my steps.

In cadence
with the word in the wind,
in the scriptures ancient
and the daily news.
All is of the heart divine
and in the hearts of all
who walk the journey.
Come and go.
Inhale and exhale.

There is a message in the wind.
Take it as we can
and give it always
from the heart of Love.
Each moment
is an opportunity
for more.