Sunday, November 18, 2018

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Day!

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She smiled as she dusted
the framed family photographs
on the old oak credenza
sang as she swept the kitchen floor
even Lysoled the bathroom bowl
with effervescence

Humming a favorite hymn, the woman
skillfully rolled pastry into a twelve-inch circle
adjacent to a bowl of peeled apple wedges
tossed with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves

Spontaneous praise to Jesus
proceeded from her lips
as she stuffed the twenty-pound turkey
trussed it tidily
rubbed it with butter and sage
and lifted it into the moderate oven

On the antique table linen
that had been stored away
in her mother’s cedar chest
she placed her best china, crystal, and silver
then set a wicker cornucopia
abounding with miniature pumpkins
and assorted nubby gourds, right in the center

Her feet ached, but her eyes sparkled—
This was among life’s highest joys
Her children and grandchildren
would soon be at the door
carrying homemade casseroles
and bringing lots of hugs and tales and laughter
and she would get to serve
Thanksgiving dinner

Maude Carolan Pych

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

In Memory of Dr. McCabe

In memory of Dr. Henry J. McCabe Jr.
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In Memory of Dr. Henry J. McCabe

My doctor retired in June—

but when I entered his office
just a few days ago
there was a framed photograph
of him, relaxed and smiling
beneath the words:

In Memory of
Dr. Henry J. McCabe

He died two weeks ago
on October 16, 2018, at the age of 69

Those words and that photograph
immediately caused me to tear-up and gasp
He’d been my doctor for 27 years—
a kind man, bordering on holy
with a calm manner and gentle spirit
He was refreshingly unhurried
never kept his hand on the doorknob
always would ask at the end of each visit
if my entire list of questions were answered

Actually, he was like Mister Rodgers
with a stethoscope
with a cardigan sweater
and easy manner of speech

He’d inquire about my poetry
and appreciated when I’d bring him new poems
When my husband, Leo, was dying
from the ravages of lung cancer
Dr. McCabe helped us make decisions
just as if he were treating
his own father
I’ll never forget that

I Googled his obituary
and read a stream of remembrances
similar to my own, and thought
how beautiful it is
to leave behind such a fragrance
how in a world like ours has become
full of so much hate, terror and violence
there are human beings like Dr. McCabe
who leave only goodness behind
peace and gentleness

I will miss you, good doctor
and the sweet aroma
of your presence here will linger
for a long, long time

and when it is my turn
to depart this earthly life
I hope, like you

to leave something beautiful behind

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Happy Birthday, Hubby!

Happy Birthday, Bob

Robert F. Pych
For Robert Pych

You’ll be 89 tomorrow, my darling—
a true milestone

There’s so much to celebrate—
reasonably good health, great family
a few wonderful friends
a comfortable life
but most of all
truly, truly, most of all
this is the perfect time to celebrate
enduring love, in these, our golden years

for we live a gentle life
with lots of I love yous
and spontaneous embraces
that generate smiles throughout the day

We take care of one another
and worry about each other
each, in our own unique ways—
You’ve endured plenty of poetry readings
I’ve been known to flip
through magazines at the racetrack
We often gather at the Scrabble board
and squabble about those two-letter words
or by the TV, where we really try
to find something mutually agreeable to watch

Every evening we join hands in prayer
for all the people we love
and some we don’t even know
whose names are given to us by others
to add to our always lengthy list

Who would ever have thought
love would keep right on growing
and be so wonderfully alive
as hair gets greyer
wrinkles get deeper
memories get muddier
and backs get achier
but the truth is
at least in our case, my darling
it does

Happy birthday, Bob!

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Circumcised Heart

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There was no mohel
no Bris Milah on my eighth day
no drop of blood
from my cloven heart
So, when and how it happened
cannot be pinpointed
Perhaps it occurred
when I read Moses’ face shone
after he was in the presence
of the Lord, on the mountain
or that David danced
uninhibitedly before the Ark
out of impassioned love for God
or perhaps when I heard Boaz
put his covering
over the gentile Ruth
and became her kinsman redeemer
Oh, it might have been
when I made aliyah[1] in ’86 or ‘87
or again in 2006
each time praying
at the Wall and the Tomb
or it may have happened
upon becoming utterly awestruck
at the Little Cupula of the Tablets
or possibly the night we sang
every carol we knew
in the shepherd field of Bethlehem
It could even have been
when I drank water from
the ancient Jacob's Well
or experienced sunrise over the Dead Sea
dreaming of the Great Day
when fish will thrive
and vegetation bloom, miraculously
in its healed waters
It may well have been
the sight and smell of the land
as I walked in the footsteps
of my Jewish Savior
or when my heart
caught fire while reading
the melodious Psalms
or Solomon's Song of Songs
or as I poured over the account
of Peter's prison praise
Actually, it probably was when
I received blessed assurance
that I am eternally saved
by the Blood of the Lamb…

All I know is
some way, somehow
something happened
to spiritually circumcise
this gentile heart
making it echad[2]
with the Heart of the God
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and I haven’t for a moment
been the same


Maude Carolan Pych

[1] Aliyah means ascent in Hebrew.
[2] Echad means one in Hebrew.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Today is Our 12th Anniversary...

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Bob & Maude Pych
Celebrating our 12th anniversary
at Calandra's Cucina, Fairfield, NJ.

Here's the poem I read at our wedding ceremony in 2006:


For Robert Pych on Our Wedding Day, October 21, 2006

"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine."
Song of Songs 6:3

Shirley says
my heart is a thimble
and God's love is the ocean
and He wants to pour all that love
into my little heart

I have learned that the Lord
has made my heart
a little like His own

that the heart is limitless
in its capacity to love

that it may seem
the heart's chambers
are about to burst
…yet there's still room

that bodies grow older
…but not our hearts

I have learned
that God
is the Restorer of Hearts
the Master of mending
broken ones

that although sorrow
may visit us
the heart keeps its rhythm
…hope is not shattered

I grew tired of the Titanic song
weary of Celine's heart going on
and on and on

but now I understand
the heart does go on

I've also discovered
my heart is undivided
when it professes
Ani le dodi ve dodi li
and speaks of
two bridegrooms
One of my soul…Jesus
and one of my heart…Robert

and I believe
one of the best things there is
about knowing God
is that He is Love

…that we love
because He first
loved us

He just keeps on
filling our thimbles
with inexhaustible oceans

so we'll always
always, always
have Love
to give

Maude Carolan

Note: Ani le dodi ve dodi li means "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine" in Hebrew.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

My Favorite Book...

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It’s not one of those expensive
gold edged, leather-bound volumes.
Its margins are filled
with scrawled notations
gleaned from personal revelations
and years of teaching
under Jonathan and Wayne.
There are yellow highlights,
asterisks, exclamation points, arrows,
underlines, sometimes double underlines,
sometimes double underlines in red ink.
There are little line drawings, dates,
Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic
transliterations, translations,
prayers copied on blank pages in front,
prayer cards tucked in its pages,
bookmarks, tracts,
a few notes and letters.
Its pages have lost their brightness
from handling and caressing,
they’ve absorbed tears,
illuminated joys.
There are jagged pen slips
from dozing,
many index labels have fallen off.
Its spine has been repaired
again and again.
It doesn’t look like anybody’s treasure.

When I pass on,
there might be a little money,
property, some poems.
There might be a few pieces
of inexpensive jewelry.
You’ll rummage through
the way we did when Grandpa died,
when lots of things were thrown in dumpsters,
lots of things were divided up and given away.
You may be tempted to toss this book,
but, no, no, I know you’ll know
this old battered Bible
is the most valuable possession
I’ll leave behind.

Maude Carolan              

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Leaves are Beginning to Turn...

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I meander through woods
along a beaten pathway in North Jersey
and the music begins immediately

There’s chittering of crickets
and the cacophony of other insects
that are hanging on to life
until the frost, which will come soon
Leaves rustle in the trees
some whoosh past me
as they fall to the ground
and there’s a crunch
of dry ones beneath my feet

I hear an occasional snap of a twig
and the scamper of squirrels
or chipmunks, a raccoon
or field mice scurrying unseen
up and down tree trunks
or frolicking in the dense brush

There may be hidden deer or a bear
Some sounds I cannot identify

Birdsong completely fills the air
all kinds of birdsong—
chirps and coos
and warbles and squawks
I even hear the flutter
of wing flaps

Tying everything together
is the faintest whistling in the breeze
that feels something like tinnitus
ringing in my ears
but it’s not unpleasant

All the sounds blend together
into Nature’s symphony—
a serenade to my spirit
as I stroll

Maude Carolan Pych