Monday, July 27, 2015

Camp Meeting Week, Ocean Grove, NJ

My husband Bob and I just returned from a weekend away at Ocean Grove at the Jersey Shore, otherwise known as "God's Square Mile". A bonus to the weekend was that our pastor, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, of Beth Israel Worship Center, Wayne, NJ, and author of "The Harbinger" and "The Shemitah" was the guest preacher in the Great Auditorium on Sunday morning. He delivered a rousing sermon entitled, "Handwriting On The Wall" to usher in the 145th Annual Camp Meeting Week in the grove.

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn     Photo Credit:

Several years ago, while vacationing in Ocean Grove, I wrote a poem in honor of Camp Meeting Week. I'd like to share it with you now.

The Great Auditorium, Ocean Grove, NJ
Photo Credit:


An hour and a world away
is a charming place we love to stay,
where time stands still a little while,
in fact, some call it, “God’s Square Mile.”

Our spiritual retreat vacation
at this gem within our nation
is where we find more than we seek,
at Ocean Grove, Camp Meeting Week.

The Great Auditorium’s surrounded
by quaint tent houses, abounded
by flower gardens, every hue;
coral, magenta, lavender blue.

Great preachers come from far and near,
expectant pilgrims come to hear
the preaching and angelic choir
as the great pipe organ sends its fire

of resounding music through the air,
inviting all who will to prayer.
All this takes place beside the sea
in a grove of sweet tranquility.

Stroll tented lanes in ocean breeze,
past tabernacle, B & Bs;
Victorian landmarks give a show
of “painted ladies” row on row.

Visit eateries, little stores
and take the garden trolley tour.
This Jersey shore town gives to each
respite, chapels, sandy beach,

a quiet boardwalk and pavilion,
where perhaps, more than a million
over the years have stopped and heard
Gospel concerts and God’s good Word.

So come, find more than you may seek
at Ocean Grove, Camp Meeting Week.

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Celebrating Summer With a Poem...

A summertime pleasure...butterflies dancing in the sky!

Photo Credit:

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 happen-stance.

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, July 12, 2015

Missing the Monarchs...

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Have you seen a monarch this summer? I haven't and I miss them. I read in "The Record" newspaper this week that the monarch butterfly population is dwindling greatly and that it's likely because weed killers are destroying the milkweed plants necessary for their survival. Environmentalists are planting milkweed in the hope of saving the butterflies and increasing their population again.

My poem, "There Used to be Butterflies in New Jersey" follows. It is one of my earliest poems, a true recollection of a day, probably around 1977, when hundreds of monarchs surprised us by suddenly appearing on Cupsaw Lake beach in Ringwood, NJ.

Let us hope we will see God's fanciful and beautiful winged creations fill the air with "tangerine profusion" again.

Photo Credit:

There Used To Be Butterflies in New Jersey

I remember the day the monarchs held court
on Cupsaw Beach
And filled the air with tangerine profusion
As they soared and danced
with natural choreography.

There used to be butterflies in New Jersey.
They haven’t left completely,
But I see fewer every year
And miss their lilting frivolity,
color and grace.

Today, I strolled a lane in South Carolina,
And was gifted with more species than I know,
The sum greater than I’ve seen in years.
Praise God,
they simply filled my heart with joy
As they danced with gay abandon
among the wildflowers.
They flitted against the sky with petal-soft wings
As resplendent in hew as the blooms
They landed momentarily upon, then sprang
Into fanciful Fantasia pirouettes.

Maude Carolan

Sunday, July 5, 2015

!!!Now is the Time for Fireworks!!!

Photo Credit:

For Logan

Mid-June and through July
especially weekend evenings
the nighttime sky erupts
with intermittent flashes of firelight
and thunderous booms—
Fireworks over Erskine Lake
Ringwood, New Jersey
Summer, 2007

Grandma puts 3 ½ year old Logan to bed
when a sudden deafening blast
shakes the bedroom
(or so it seems)
Logan reaches for her arm
and says, I'm scared

Of that? asks Grandma
tousling his dark brown hair
Let me tell you a story
about Uncle Kevin
when he was a little boy
not very much older than you…

Not far from here
there's a grassy meadow
we call, "Sally's Field"
Our family went there
at the end of every summer
to watch a big display of fireworks

We put blankets down
and sat and gazed upward
as brilliant fiery flashes
burst in the darkness

We oooohed and ahhhhed
at their vibrant beauty
as we watched the sky in awe
but it was Uncle Kevin
who liked the booms best of all—

He'd stand up
and wait for a thundering boom
then he'd clutch his chest
as if he were shot
(Uncle Kevin watched too many
cowboy movies, I guess)
then he'd fall to the ground
and laugh

then he'd stand up
wait for the next big boom
clutch his chest
fall to the ground
and laugh

then he'd stand up
wait for the next big boom
clutch his chest
fall to the ground
and laugh

Sleepyhead Logan asks Grandma,
Why did he laugh?
She replies, Because Uncle Kevin
likes big! bang! booms!

Two weeks pass
Grandma tucks her grandson in again
Again, a fireworks boom rocks the house
Again, Logan reaches for Grandma
I'm scared
Again, she says, Let me tell you
a story about when Uncle Kevin
was a boy

This time Logan perks up and says
Uncle Kevin heard, 'Boom!'
Logan puts his little hands
over his chest, remembering…
He fell down
Then what happened, asks Grandma
Then he laughed, says Logan
with a grin

Grandma lingers at his bedside
while Logan drifts off to sleep
then kisses him softly
on his forehead and whispers,
God bless you. I love you. Goodnight.

Maude Carolan Pych