Sunday, August 11, 2019

Celebrating Sunflowers!

One day I drove past a house with a splendid garden,
a garden that boasted sunflowers in bloom.
I went home and printed a chapbook
of sunflower poems and left the booklet
on a little table in their garden...

Find information below
about how to receive a free chapbook
of sunflower poems.


Maude's Sunflower Garden--2018

SUNFLOWERS

Lafayette, New Jersey, September 1, 2001


God’s abundance wows me
from a sprawling field of sunflowers
which tower above
on thick woody stalks

They lift great ochre heads
framed in ragged haloes
of yellow gold
to shine sunrays upon me
like God’s own radiant face
amid a communion of saints
and I must smile back

Their leaves
are big green hearts
In their midst
my own heart
grows and greens

How God loves me!
He astonishes His child
with wondrous whimsies

Soon, when the season ends
they’ll just nod their weary heads
and shed their golden haloes
on the ground

and bequeath their gift of seed
to ravens of the air
which will feast festively
upon God’s abundance
unto them

Maude Carolan


Free Chapbook
Leave a comment below
and include your email address,
and I will be happy to send you a printable copy
of my chapbook of sunflower poems, titled:
"In My Sunflower Garden."


Sunday, August 4, 2019

Sunflowers are in Bloom!

Have you noticed all the magnificent sunflowers...
kings of the backyard flower gardens?


Happy me in my 1918 sunflower garden!



SUNFLOWERS MAKE ME SMILE

Sunflowers make me smile—
because they’re absolutely outrageous!
They’re taller than a beanstalk
and way, way larger than a flower should be

They easily pass me in height
and keep right on growing
Each stately stalk and its sturdy leaves
go up, up, up like a ladder to Heaven
and when that flower bursts into bloom
it lights up my whole backyard
like the sun’s come down for a visit
All the shaggy petals are golden sunrays
shining upon me, while
the bees buzz with delight
sucking in nectar

I think God made sunflowers
to cause us to look up and take notice
of His handiwork and His generosity

His Love, too! The bigness of it!
His magnificent magnanimousness!

Oh! It’s certainly no wonder—
Whenever I see sunflowers
they always, always, always make me smile J

Maude Carolan Pych





Sunday, July 28, 2019

"The Boardwalk Pavilion"

Summertime Worship
in Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Ocean Grove Beach Pavilion


THE BOARDWALK PAVILION

This glorious summer Sunday morning—

We’re drawn eastward
from north, south and west
by the magnetic pull
of God’s love-force

Drawn, to the old wooden pavilion
to the Atlantic, the Jersey shore
to the boards at God’s Square Mile—
Ocean Grove. Drawn

wearing khaki and denim
tees and tanks
sundresses, flip-flops
carrying water bottles
carrying Bibles
fanning ourselves
with song sheets

We fill the benches
then spill over
into the periphery
onto folding chairs, lawn chairs
beach blankets. Some stand
Some look for shade

It’s 80-plus and breezy
The sky, clear
The sea glistens
Waves slap the shore
merrily. We’re merry

Vacationers stroll past
Some peer; some stop
some smile; some don’t
Bikers pedal by
joggers jog

Hymnsong; guitar-strum
Son-smiles; praise dance
heart-moves; Kidz church
Gospel-preach

Agape flows outward
aboutward

Sea mist rises like incense
upward, Heavenward
toward the One
enthroned

We bask in the warmth
of His smile

of His warm, sunshiny love

Maude Carolan Pych





Sunday, July 21, 2019

Introducing Barbara Higby's New Book...

Bob and I returned this week from our fabulous summer vacation to visit family in Colorado and California. One of the best things I found waiting for us, amid the huge stack of mail, when we got home, was a package containing the new book by Barbara Higby that I had pre-ordered. It is titled "I Was Broken, Too."



Barbara is my friend and the facilitator of the North Jersey Christian Writers Group (NJCWG). The book tells the story of her remarkable journey from brokenness to hope. 

Quoting from the back cover..."I Was Broken, Too" was written for you, the broken, disillusioned, and wounded. If loss of any kind has assaulted your hope, follow the paths that revived Barbara's--they are achievable and hope is possible. You will discover that what God has done for her, He will do for you." 

Her book is published by Elm Hill Press and is available at amazon.combarnesandnoble.comand Christianbook.com.



And now, a summertime poem...

Let me introduce you to my granddaughter, Alana Dulce Muniz. In the photo below, she is in my kitchen, learning to make Irish soda bread. In the poem I'm about to share with you, Alana struggles with learning to dive during swim lesson classes, last summer at Erskine Lake...


Alana Dulce Muniz



LIKE A BABY BIRD
For Alana Dulce Muniz

Granddaughter Alana stands on the edge
of the diving board over Erskine Lake
Her arms are positioned high above her head
fingertips of both hands are touching
and pointing over the water
Her feet shuffle anxiously

She drops her tired little arms
looks around
lifts her arms again
points her fingertips, shuffles
trying to muster courage
wanting to do it so badly, but
too afraid to let herself go

Grandma calls to her
You can do this, Alana!
and Alana knows that’s true, so

she lifts her arms again
points her fingers again
shuffles right, left, right, left
then turns around
and climbs down the ladder

When she gets home
the baby sparrow in the straw nest
outside the kitchen window
is perched on the edge
It flutters its wings
It shuffles its little legs
The bird looks below
and shuffles some more
as mama bird flies to and fro
flapping her wings
with encouragement

Alana tells little bird
You can do it!
as we all stand by, like cheerleaders
hoping and waiting

Little bird remains perched there
for a long, long time
We give up watching
and don’t see it take flight

but it’s gone now

and a week later
when Grandma wasn’t there to watch
Alana perched herself, determinately
on the edge of the diving board
and dove victoriously
into Erskine Lake

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Uncle Fred & Miss Liberty's Torch...


Happy Independence Day!

My uncle, Frederick Leo Harris, 1984




UNCLE FRED AND THE TORCH OF MISS LIBERTY
In memory of Frederick Leo Harris

Uncle Fred was an unassuming kind of guy—
a master crane operator who ran
a long-necked crane for Canger, Inc.
He never boasted about it
didn’t speak of the special skills required
or dangers or the scope
of projects he was working on

nor did we even think to ask
except perhaps to inquire, conversationally
about where he was working
It could have been Jersey
or New York or sometimes Pennsylvania
He just put on his work clothes each morning
put in his eight hours, and came home
to their three room apartment
in Paterson, every night for dinner

On the 4th of July in 1984
Uncle Fred was the engineer
chosen to remove the original torch
from the hand of Lady Liberty

That particular Independence Day
marked the start of restorations
on the Statue of Liberty, with completion
targeted for her 100th birthday, in 1986

I don’t recall our uncle telling us
about it in advance. If he had
we undoubtedly would’ve been there
with our young children
to witness his feat

He probably dressed for work that morning
just like every other day
had his coffee, drove into the city
got himself to Liberty Island
and quietly set about doing 
exactly what a master crane operator
would be expected to do

There was a special ceremony
that Independence Day
with pomp and circumstance
a brass band and dignitaries—

and in the cab of the tall crane
hunched over the controls
sat our Uncle Fred, confidently
doing what needed to be done
to expertly bring down the old torch

The honor bestowed upon him
was completely lost on our Aunt Carol—
She was at home and unhappy
because he had to work on the holiday
and therefore they had to miss out
on normal 4th of July festivities
like a parade or a cook-out or fireworks
When a news reporter called
to ask her some questions
she let him know exactly how she felt
and what she said was directly quoted
in the newspaper the following day

It wasn’t until she saw a picture of him
standing next to the old torch
on the front page of the Paterson News
that she realized the illustrious way
he spent the 4th. Suddenly
she became overcome with pride
and fussed over him to no end
even though, I’m certain, Uncle Fred
could easily have done without
anybody fussing over him, at all

The original torch is on permanent display
in the base of the Statue of Liberty
with a plaque telling of its removal
and the statue’s restoration that followed
It includes no mention of our uncle’s name
which, surely, would not have bothered him

but we know, and we’re proud
and this poem is written to keep
that special memory of him alive

Maude Carolan Pych





Sunday, June 23, 2019

Summertime Sky Dancers...

It's officially...
Sum-sum-summertime!!!

Photo credit: pbs.org
SKY DANCERS

There's something happy about butterflies.
They flit-flitter as they flutter by,
flying flowers against the azure sky.

They alight upon the milkweed, and then
they circle, soar and alight again,
toe-dancing on pink petals in the glen.

Ever dwelling in hue and sweet fragrance,
in garden splendor, they flicker as they dance.
Pollination is purely happenstance.

I delight in their overflow of joy.
(They wouldn't even know how to be coy.)
A flame of mirth! A whirligig! A toy!

Do they recall they once were grubby worms,
remember well their dark and squiggly squirms?
Reborn, now grace and beauty each affirms!

This almost seems to be sheer fantasy,
sky dancers as enchanting as can be,
springing from blossoms right in front of me!

So, merrily a-nectaring they go,
reaping and sowing sweetness in day-glow…
Seems they have learned what all of us should know.

In contemplation of their simple ways,
I wish to add their ballet to my days,
to sky dance Heavenward on wings of praise!


Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, June 16, 2019

A Father's Day Tribute to My Dad...

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, DADDIES!

The following poem is in memory of my father,
Frank H. Walsh...

Frank H. Walsh
This photo was taken on the day
my parents were married.


THINKING ABOUT MY DAD
In memory of Frank H. Walsh ~ 1912-1985

I went to see The King’s Speech
the other night
This started me thinking about my father
who became a stutterer
as a result of nervousness derived
from his childhood battle
with crippling poliomyelitis

With child eyes
I never saw him crippled
though he walked with a pronounced limp
one leg being shorter than the other
He wore a heavy soled shoe
reinforced with steel with a metal brace
attached that extended up to his knee

I didn’t think of him as a stutterer either
though he had great difficulty
saying what he wanted to say
stammering over, over and over
trying to get the words to spring
from his tangled tongue

To me, he was just Dad
…ordinary Dad

Looking back now, I think of him
as extraordinary and tenacious
a “can-do” kind of father
…even an overcomer

Handicaps never seemed
to handicapped him
never kept him from doing
anything he set his mind to—

He wasn’t a builder, but
he built the house we grew up in
and a bungalow next door for Grandma
did all the plumbing, electrical work
installed the drywall, spackled, painted
built porches, set the sidewalks
climbed a ladder to the roof
He built a patio with an outdoor fireplace
and a cement wading pool, too
He erected a coop for chickens
which he raised from fertilized eggs
He slaughtered them
mom cleaned and we ate them
for Sunday dinner
He also plowed the backyard
and planted a big vegetable garden

You name it, he did it
and usually did it well

He sang “Heart of My Heart” and
“You Can Have Her, I Don’t Want Her,
She’s Too Fat for Me”
without any stammer at all
danced to a rollicking “Beer Barrel” polka
with his heavy shoe thumping the floor
and I’m told he even pedaled
his bike once, all the way up Skyline Drive

Dad took us on vacations every summer
usually tent camping at Bear Mountain
or the Adirondacks or Truro at Cape Cod
setting up camp and cots mostly himself

He built outboard motor boats,
Water Lily and Water Lily II
and a blue egg-shaped camper trailer
which he hitched to the back of our car

He brewed root beer
bottled it and we drank it
even though it was flat and fizz-less
and he brewed beer beer
I can still remember the smell
of it fermenting in a huge crock
in our spare room

When I was a child
I thought all daddies did those things
And when I got married
I thought husbands did those things

To say he was remarkable
seems an understatement—
I only hope some of the stuff he was made of
has worked its way into the bones and marrow
into the blood and sinews
into the gray that matters
into our Walsh family genes

Maude Carolan Pych