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

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


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.

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.