Magic And Miracles

who has time for magic that needs spelling

miracles

more meaningful

have power

who has time to wait till cauldron bubbles

miracles

don’t need minutes

or vague hours

miracles can happen in a moment

a gasp of breath

to question

is this real

puffs of smoke

invisible

still gather

while magic takes some time to set its seal

who really wants to hear

the witches’ cackle

the haggard breaths and warts

that spell their names

one drop of faith

the potion is as potent

magic happens, daily,

just the same

magic

(source)

hold the universe

it daily wakens

within your hands

it’s there to weave all spells

all power bestowed in fragments

all components

a legacy of magic 

miracles

Trust Held

I almost lost my seventeen year old daughter at the weekend. I let her go to a music festival, trusting in her judgement and in others. Part of that trust was misplaced. She made a huge error of judgement, did something incredibly stupid and ended up in intensive care on a ventilator. No drugs were involved. Except alcohol is very much a drug.

Behaving irresponsibly with it is something probably many of us have done. I know I have. We experiment, we find our limits.

I let a girl – a really good and sensible girl – a really inexperienced girl – go off for a long weekend, out of my reach, out of my jurisdiction, out of my hands.

She failed her own test. Tested her own limits. Stopped breathing.

Her friends, others there – young people – young people who so often get a bad rap – seventeen and eighteen year olds – saved her life with their quick actions. They, the medics there, the staff in the hospital she was taken to – all of them – in the hands of god – returned my girl to me.

She’s fine now, home. She’s shaken, she’s weepy, she’s in some disbelief.

Chris Nelson put life in context for me today. My trust is very much shaken. But also, weirdly, very much reinforced in others.

My daughter, my whole family, owe a huge debt of gratitude to every single hand that reached out and put love and care into action. I can’t ever begin to repay them. I can hardly bear to think of the consequences had they not. But I can’t stop thinking of them.

At least one person lost their life at that festival. How many more ended up in hospital I don’t know. From speaking to the nursing staff and others there I know that two hospitals admitted people – both young and old – with various injuries and complications arising from drugs, weather, conditions at the site, violence.

Eighty thousand people with access to almost unlimited freedoms gives license to act stupidly, irresponsibly, dangerously.

One mother, allowing her seventeen year old to participate in what I never felt quite right about, going against my own judgement, facilitated what occurred.

I’ve made some dumb decisions in my life – like mother like daughter? I’ve been incredibly lucky that none of those decisions have resulted in near death. This was not one of them.

How do I ever trust myself again to…. just how do I ever trust myself again?

One of the reasons I think I have always trusted, despite it sometimes being misplaced, is the belief in inherent goodness in people. Yes, sometimes, I’ll be wrong. But a lot of times, most of times, I won’t.

Rachel fucked up big time. She knows that. She’s learned something it can take a lifetime to learn – that life is precious and we can’t afford to play roulette with it.

I’ve learned that my faith in people is not misplaced. That there will always be people who rise to occasions, go above and beyond, because they’re good people. There are far more of those about I believe than the, admittedly, many who don’t.

I hope Chris won’t mind me quoting part of his poem here, the first post I read today, something I needed badly to hear, the post that prompted this post of mine. I didn’t want to share my stupidity, my daughter’s, our pain, our naivete, but maybe sharing it will help us and others. Chris’s words certainly helped me.

‘With head high

Stepping out into day’s silent arms

Trusting that the wire will hold…

…As you raise your head once more

And look towards the skies.’

Life is trust. To live is to trust. We hope, we pray, we fail, we fall, we rise. We go on. Trusting, because what else can we do?

My trust, overall, was not misplaced.

My belief in others, in love and goodness, in the hand of god in my life was, in fact, reinforced. Mercifully and with thankfulness that will last my lifetime.

I asked my daughter’s permission before posting this because it is not my wish to humiliate her or to cause her more pain. But, what happened at the weekend, how many people were involved in saving my girl, how much I appreciate the NHS, how grateful we all are for the final result and the care shown, is a testament to love and trust in action. My thanks to Rachel for allowing this. Our whole family’s eternal thanks to each and every one. My trust is held.

Once Is Not Enough

I fell in love once.

It was futile in the end.

It didn’t last.

But I’ve loved since then.

I cried some tears once.

I shed them for a friend.

They flowed so fast.

I’ve cried again.

We fought a war once.

A promised one to end.

Peace didn’t last.

Wars fought since then.

I hoped and prayed once.

For violence all to end.

I held on fast.

I prayed again.

We had some faith once.

Belief that we could mend.

It faded fast.

We’ve believed since then.

We built a world once.

With love we had to tend.

That didn’t last.

Needs must try again.

Crying Shame

This one is a little more serious, content wise.

I am a dormant alcoholic you see….

Then, I began to write.

I wish I had started earlier, the writing part I mean.

I was 19 when I took my first drink.

A Crying Shame….

Image
I scored the winning touchdown during a junior varsity football game.

It was a 58 yard touchdown.

My first touchdown.

There was only 1:16 left on the clock in the 4th quarter.

I was the hero for the next day.

Then, life went on….

I was working on a power plant as an Ironworker. I was sitting on top of the highest steel point of the structure, 340’ above the ground.

2 fighter planes from a nearby base had been using our construction site as a mock target for about a month.

This particular day, they flew by the building so low and so slow, I saw one of the pilots throw me a salute as they passed.

I waved back.

Then, life went on…

My daughter was born, and we gave her a name that was on the front of a baby name book sitting beside my wife’s bed.

We called her “Copyright 1985”.

No, not really. Her beautiful name is Stephanie.

She doesn’t call me daddy anymore.

She doesn’t call me at all.

That doesn’t stop me loving her though.

I call her every day in my mind.

Life goes on.

Of course I remember when both my son’s were born, but not with as much clarity as the first.

I had started drinking by then.

I don’t remember how or why I started, but I can assure you that it robbed me of memories.

Maybe I shouldn’t say “robbed’.

I’ll say “I gave them away”

I have some idea why I started, but I can’t blame that on my wife or the new responsibilities of a father.

I won’t even blame the sexual abuse, my Bi-polar dad or my depressed mother with abuse in her childhood.

I just can’t remember why I started to drink.Image

I will write about particular occurrences or what I can recall of them in later posts.

Something happened the other day that surprised me and made me look at myself in a different light.

It made me ashamed of myself, but also helped me to realize that this is what sober people probably thought of me….through their eyes.

I have started following a blog from Catherine Lyon, a recovering “Gambling” addict.

Catherine had read and commented on one of my ‘sad’ posts. I pulled up her site to return the courtesy and to see
what she was all about.

When I saw that she was a gambling addict, I began to explore some of the details she was giving about her life and addiction.

Do you know what the first thought in my freaking mind was….?

How in the hell can someone be addicted to gambling?

That’s just stupid….throwing your money away like that!

I have no concept of someone

“NEEDING” to buy a lottery ticket or “NEEDING” to play a slot machine!

I didn’t have that problem.

I can take it or leave it.

The only reason I even buy a lottery ticket or two during the year is mainly because I have a dollar or two left over from a purchase, or I’m bored.

Can you believe I actually thought that?

Me…? A freaking alcoholic, judging the merits of someone else’s weakness or addiction!

I hate hypocrites!

I HATE BEING A HYPOCRITE!!!

What do gamblers say about alcoholics then?Image
Maybe they say…. “How in the hell can someone be addicted to getting drunk?”

“That’s just stupid….throwing your life away like that!”

It’s amazing isn’t it? I’m sitting here shaking my head as I type this and seeing myself a little better.

Of course I look handsome in the mirror, but I obviously need a little work on the inside.

I cannot believe that I was judging other addicts….or anybody come to think of it.

I think I’m gonna get tattoos on the back of my hands that say “Judge not”.

I’m such an asshole sometimes….

I cannot and never will understand why people say that they are addicted to porn, but if porn can be addictive…..I can say
that it is REAL IN THEIR MIND.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a bar and looked across the counter and seen my evil twin “TreyDawg” in the mirror behind the bartender, staring back at me thru rows of bottles, shaking his head….a sad look on his face.

He asks me “How in the hell did we get back in here?”

“I have no idea” thinks I…

Addiction can happen AT ANY TIME!

TO ANYBODY!

It’s not enough to keep your distance from ‘addictive’ things.

You have to actively be on the alert for anything that may ‘tempt’ you.

Needful things….

“I’m not an alcoholic” I said as I pulled myself from the dumpster in the alley behind the bar.

“I’m not an alcoholic” I said as I lay in that water-filled ditch outside a bar.

“I’m not an alcoholic” I said for the rest of my life…..

Denial…

It’s all I had left that was truly mine.

If I couldn’t believe it, how can I fault other people for not believing me?Image
I have actually stood in front of a beer cooler physically shaking, and contemplating stealing beer because I just realized it is a Sunday and there are ‘No Beer Sales on Sunday’.

I have actually bribed and succeeded sometimes in getting a cashier to sell me beer after hours or on Sundays.

Most times the ‘gratuity’ costs more than the beer did.

I only needed enough to get thru the day you see….

It’s been 2 years since I have had a serious binge. But, I’m going to tell you a secret….

My mouth is watering….I want a beer.

I want a beer bad.

I’m typing this, trying to recall instances of binges and my fucking mouth starts to water….

That…is how close I am to relapse.

On the edge of a razor soaked in alcohol.

I start to think about it, my body STARTS TO CRAVE……

I am actually feeling my body get that ‘anticipation’ feeling all addicts/alcoholics experience.

“He’s thinking about it! That’s a good sign” says the monster inside me.

Weird…and scary.

But for now…I’m fighting it.

You see….My FEAR is greater than my need.

I’ll use anything that works.

But I also know that fear subsides with time….and, I KNOW me.

My pen gently weeps…..

As I write this, I just realized that I must be living in constant fear.

I have to…The “need” is always here….my shadow.

A dread chain…

“I can’t go back….I won’t go back…I will never touch it again”….has said every addict/alcoholic.

What a life, my life.I am sorry that I judged Catherine’s blog and her gambling addiction.

I’m sorry that I was a hypocrite.

But, I’m glad that I was able to recognize this when it happened.

Usually an addict or alcoholic takes a lot more time to figure out that they’re being assholes or truly care about anyone else’s feelings.

You see, every true addict/alcoholic will tell you that we are a selfish lot.

The crux of it is…. Is that we DON’T WANT TO BE THIS WAY.

“Then stop doing it…Change!” say the regular people.

We try every day….every minute.

“Saints are sinners that never quit trying”Image
Alcoholics/addicts aren’t sinners, at least as far as our addictions go.

We’re just people….

People that have lost our way at some point, on this narrow path called life.

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol/addiction—that our lives had become Unmanageable.

I’m sorry fellow addicts/alcoholics that I was judgmental….

Does that mean I’m getting normal again!!?? LOL!!!

There is one thing extra I’d like to share with you dear readers.

Something that I have just realized at this moment, as I was trying to end this post.

This blog that I have created….

These stories that I tell….

These memories that I share….

Keep me humble, and aware of my feelings.

I honestly believe that writing keeps me sober.

So…thank you all for being my new addiction!

I crave you…. LOL!!

Are you available this Sunday?

Acclimatising

Blame not

the cast of shadows

on corners closed to light,

But flame the torch,

sconced,

awaiting willing hand.

Trip not,

in hesitation,

cursing blunderous steps,

But feel cracked pores, crevassed pointing,

thirsting

for faith touch.

Idle not

in disharmony’s speculation.

Rather, murmur

faint remembrances

Till refrain

makes glorious your voice.

Fear not

the underground passages

dependent on your darkness for existence.

Rather, shelter there,

acclimating

eyes to gloom’s recognisance of faint shafts.

Knock On Wood

Kill me with your words

of kindness, abruptly torn.

Starve my soul

of presence, gone.

 

Deceive, aggrieve,

repent until you’re done.

Then knock on wood,

ere hope shorn.

 

Belittle love in guile,

Oh! errant knave,

Abstain from pleasures true,

behold the grave.

 

For want of trust,

belief in price once paid,

confusion lies, bereft

at words unsaid.

 

Oh, honesty and kindness

where art thou?

Gods lie, distort,

question here and how.

 

A game of chance,

splendoured by each season,

false deities exposed

to truth and reason.

 

If truth be told,

expose your soul to me,

no hidden heart

but kindness guarantee.

 

Should deities redeem

all that they could,

we, mortals, pray and fast,

then knock on wood.

Ophelia

She drowned that day for want of love and truth

And suffered blackest depths in silken waves;

Wrapped by grieving cold, unjust of lovers,

Embraced deepest liquidity of graves.

 

Other fault of miscommunication,

Disbelief, flawed lover, by no means brave –

To dwell on words of patent jealousy;

No trust nor second chance this love he gave.

 

Suspended, in timeless vault of darkness,

Eyes closed forever, nothing more to save;

Surrendered heart and soul into river

And damned by love’s mistrust became its slave.

 

‘Sweetheart, you not once believed my loving

If so easily heart has misbehaved.

Cherish only what was held between us,

A love, time was, assumed we two had craved.’

Arc Of Understanding

Rainbow arc

Hidden by clouds this rainbow,

Only a portion revealed,

Shades of light seen for a spell,

More often than not, though, concealed.

A glimpse of light in its splendour,

Multi-faceted hues. Like

Iceberg submerged by ocean so deep,

Clouds conceal all the clues.

Poached by encroaching darkness,

Storm clouds gather to quell

Hope represented by God-given sign,

Stark matter can do this so well.

Doomed to diminish in darkness,

Etched evanescence in skies

Disappears swiftly from unseeing eyes,

Photons buried in lies.

Luminosity destroyed by dullest of days,

Cast vision further afield.

There, by and by, different portion of sky,

Silver lining, ultimately, revealed.

silver lining

Ashes Of Peace

Ashes of peace,

Treaty entreated,

No phoenix to

Surface in flight.

End of the conflict,

Gives no concord,

Truce settled for less

Than they might.

 

Divergence of interest,

No contradiction,

Consistent

In their discord.

Battle still rages,

Though behind lines,

Neither believes

One word.

 

Fear and mistrust,

Goodwill gone astray,

Ceasefire may last

For a while.

Without true intention,

A closer inspection,

No solution.

No style.

 

 

Michael

True or not, believed or not, this is a lovely recount of something I came across years ago. The story of a soldier’s protection. Just as we have been protected by them. ‘Lest We Forget’.

*********************************************************************************************

 

There’s a story about a young Marine named Michael who wrote a letter home to his mother while he was in the hospital after having been wounded in Korea in 1950.  A Navy Chaplain named Father Walter Muldy apparently was given the letter, checked the facts and concluded what was in the letter was true. A year later he read the letter in public for the first time, to a gathering of some 5,000 Marines at the Naval Base in San Diego.  Here is the letter:

Dear Mom,

I wouldn’t dare write this letter to anyone but you because no one else would believe it. Maybe even you will find it hard but I have got to tell somebody. First off, I am in a hospital. Now don’t worry, ya hear me, don’t worry. I was wounded but I’m okay you understand. Okay. The doctor says that I will be up and around in a month.

But that’s not what I want to tell you.

Remember when I joined the Marines last year; remember when I left, how you told me to say a prayer to St. Michael every day. You really didn’t have to tell me that. Ever since I can remember you always told me to pray to St. Michael the Archangel. You even named me after him. Well I always have.

When I got to Korea, I prayed even harder. Remember the prayer that you taught me? “Michael, Michael of the morning, fresh chord of Heaven adorning,” you know the rest of it. Well I said it everyday. Sometimes when I was marching or sometimes resting. But always before I went to sleep. I even got some of the other fellas to say it.

Well, one day I was with an advance detail way up over the front lines. We were scouting for the Commies. I was plodding along in the bitter cold, my breath was like cigar smoke.

I thought I knew every guy in the patrol, when along side of me comes another Marine I never met before. He was bigger than any other Marine I’d ever seen. He must have been 6’4″ and built in proportion. It gave me a feeling of security to have such a body near.

Anyway, there we were trudging along. The rest of the patrol spread out. Just to start conversation I said, “Cold ain’t it.” And then I laughed. Here I was with a good chance of getting killed any minute and I am talking about the weather.

My companion seemed to understand. I heard him laugh softly. I looked at him, “I have never seen you before, I thought I knew every man in the outfit.”

“I just joined at the last minute”, he replied. “The name is Michael.”

“Is that so,” I said surprised. “That is my name too.”

“I know,” he said and then went on, “Michael, Michael of the morning …”

I was too amazed to say anything for a minute. How did he know my name, and a prayer that you had taught me? Then I smiled to myself, every guy in the outfit knew about me. Hadn’t I taught the prayer to anybody who would listen. Why now and then, they even referred to me as St. Michael. Neither of us spoke for a time and then he broke the silence.

“We are going to have some trouble up ahead.”

He must have been in fine physical shape or he was breathing so lightly I couldn’t see his breath. Mine poured out in great clouds. There was no smile on his face now. Trouble ahead, I thought to myself, well with the Commies all around us, that is no great revelation. Snow began to fall in great thick globs. In a brief moment the whole countryside was blotted out. And I was marching in a white fog of sticky particles. My companion disappeared.

“Michael,” I shouted in sudden alarm.

I felt his hand on my arm, his voice was rich and strong, “This will stop shortly.”

His prophecy proved to be correct. In a few minutes the snow stopped as abruptly as it had begun. The sun was a hard shining disc. I looked back for the rest of the patrol, there was no one in sight. We lost them in that heavy fall of snow. I looked ahead as we came over a little rise.

Mom, my heart stopped. There were seven of them. Seven Commies in their padded pants and jackets and their funny hats. Only there wasn’t anything funny about them now. Seven rifles were aimed at us.

“Down Michael,” I screamed and hit the frozen earth.

I heard those rifles fire almost as one. I heard the bullets. There was Michael still standing. Mom, those guys couldn’t have missed, not at that range. I expected to see him literally blown to bits. But there he stood, making no effort to fire himself. He was paralyzed with fear. It happens sometimes, Mom, even to the bravest. He was like a bird fascinated by a snake. At least, that was what I thought then. I jumped up to pull him down and that was when I got mine I felt a sudden flame in my chest. I often wondered what it felt like to be hit, now I know..

I remember feeling strong arms around me, arms that laid me ever so gently on a pillow of snow. I opened my eyes, for one last look. I was dying. Maybe I was even dead, I remember thinking well, this is not so bad. Maybe I was looking into the sun. Maybe I was in shock. But it seemed I saw Michael standing erect again only this time his face was shining with a terrible splendor. As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he seemed to change as I watched him. He grew bigger, his arms stretched out wide, maybe it was the snow falling again, but there was a brightness around him like the wings of an angel. In his hands was a sword. A sword that flashed with a million lights. Well, that is the last thing I remember until the rest of the fellas came up and found me. I do not know how much time had passed. Now and then I had but a moment’s rest from the pain and fever. I remember telling them of the enemy just ahead.

“Where is Michael,” I asked.

I saw them look at one another. “Where’s who?” asked one.

“Michael, Michael the big Marine I was walking with just before the snow squall hit us.”

“Kid,” said the sergeant, “You weren’t walking with anyone. I had my eyes on you the whole time. You were getting too far out. I was just going to call you in when you disappeared in the snow.”

He looked at me, curiously. “How did you do it kid?”

“How’d I do what?” I asked half angry despite my wound. “This marine named Michael and I were just …”

“Son,” said the sergeant kindly, ” I picked out this outfit myself and there just ain’t another Michael in it. You are the only Mike in it.”

He paused for a minute, “Just how did you do it kid? We heard shots. There hasn’t been a shot fired from your rifle. And there isn’t a bit of lead in them seven bodies over the hill there.”

I didn’t say anything, what could I say. I could only look open-mouthed with amazement.

It was then the sergeant spoke again, “Kid,” he said gently, “every one of those seven Commies was killed by a sword stroke.”

That is all I can tell you Mom. As I say, it may have been the sun in my eyes, it may have been the cold or the pain. But that is what happened.

Love, Michael

We have search the internet trying to find the Marine soldier named Michael’s prayer which he said every morning.  Finally, we found a saintly elderly priest, Fr. Joseph Reitz, who knew the prayer.  Here it is: 

Michael, Michael, of the morning,
Fresh chord of Heaven adorning,
Keep me safe today
And in time of temptation,
Drive the devil away.

This prayer must be prayed upon rising every morning.

Image

http://www.tldm.org/News10/MarineNamedMichael.htm