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

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Come Holy Spirit...


Today we celebrated Shevout/Pentecost
at Beth Israel Worship Center


Pentecost 1979 is my Spiritual Birthday!

Image credit: commongoodonline.org

ACTS, CHAPTER 2

Sometimes—
when I read my Bible
I imagine myself
there, in the rumpled, dog-eared pages
where and when remarkable things
were happening

For instance—
Oh, I wish I could’ve been
in the room that morning in Jerusalem
on the Day of Pentecost
when an astonishing sound
of rushing wind came from Heaven
and filled the place with the Holy Spirit

wish I could’ve been among
the crowd of bewildered people
clutching garments and belongings
securing food baskets and money bags
amid the sound of whirring wind
wondering what was going on

I would’ve seen with startled eyes
blazing tongues of fire appear
then split and rest above us all
would’ve heard the Galileans
miraculously uttering languages
they did not know
proclaiming good news
to people of every nation

Oh, joy! Euphoria!

I would’ve heard
preposterous ridicule and accusations
that we were drunk with wine
Drunk with wine so early in the morning!

Had I been there, I would’ve seen
Peter stand with his brethren
and quote the prophet Joel
and speak of Jesus
Crucifixion, Resurrection
and call us to repent

and finally, would’ve witnessed
three thousand souls receive salvation
and I would’ve been in that number

Oh! How great that would’ve been
How exciting to imagine

but, I didn’t need to be there
God had other plans—

On another Holy Pentecost
His Spirit came to rest on me
just as surely as it did
on the early believers
in Jerusalem, that day

and just the same as they
I have been changed

forever

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Irises Are In Bloom

Presby Memorial Iris Garden, Montclair, NJ
essexcountyparks.org

THE IRIS GARDEN

I delightedly strolled
along an iris rainbow
one effulgent Sunday in May
while would-be VanGoghs
painted under sunbrellas.

God could’ve made irises gray,
but He’s as lavish with color
as He is with love.

Maude Carolan

Photo credit: mfacebook.com



Sunday, May 26, 2019

WE'RE PRAYING FOR REVIVAL...

Image credit: revivalhut.com


REVIVE US, DEAREST JESUS ll

My Prayer for Revival in America

The morning sun is streaming in as I prepare to pray
recalling what my pastor said in his word to us one day.
He spoke of the time we live in and of people losing faith,
of disregard for God’s Holy Word, and an increase in hate.

Many churches are closing or the Gospel gets watered down,
there’s disrespect for spiritual things and God is made a clown.
My pastor said he’s burdened; therefore he’s asking us to pray
for a nationwide revival; hope for all who’ve gone astray.

Oh, my dear Lord Jesus, You were born to save us, this I know,
and by Your death upon the Cross, You conquered the evil foe.
I know Your desire is that none be lost, that’s my desire, too,
therefore, I am humbly on my knees and crying out to You,

to reveal to all who know You, Lord, the need to repent.
Point us back to Your Holy Cross and why Your Blood was spent.
America must turn back to You, and live our lives Your way.
Oh! Let there be revival here.  Let us see it in our day!

We must have sorrow for our sins, and confess those sins to You.
We need to call upon Your Name, and then be Born Anew.
Through Your amazing grace and love, there’ll be splendors in store
and by Your Resurrection we will have life forevermore!

May multitudes flock unto You, countless as grains of sand.
May churches fill up with faithful folks all across our land.
May dusty Bibles be opened and hearts abound with love.
Lord, I’m sending my morning prayer, straight to Your throne above.

O Savior, You are worthy to receive our honor and praise.
Draw the backsliders; draw the lost, to walk in all Your ways—
Revive! Revive us, Jesus! I long to see what You will do
in answer to this earnest prayer…all glory belongs to You!

Maude Carolan Pych


Sunday, May 19, 2019

METAMORPHOSIS


It's Spring!

I've been noticing the pretty butterflies
and thinking about...


Image credit: martydavisphotos.com


METAMORPHOSIS

Once I was a caterpillar, dwelling upon the earth,
Crawling along day by day, adept at feigning mirth.
I only knew the earthy life, I thought that that was it;
I took what terra firma gave, the pleasures and the grit.
There was no beauty in me.  No one ever looked here twice,
Few cared if I were evil, no one knew if I were nice.
I was only concerned with myself, what the earth could give,
Yet, inside I was sensing a far better way to live.
Instinct led me to spin a thread and weave a neat cocoon;
I became a living mummy, wrapped tight within my tomb.
What was happening to me?  I tried to kick and shout,
“Help me!  Open up this thing!  I want to get right out!”
No one heard and I was powerless, so I went to sleep,
Not knowing what was ahead of me, feeling something deep.
I don’t know how much time went by within my tiny tomb,
But sensed that I was being changed, as one inside a womb.
Finally, instinct worked in me.  There was a sudden urge
To break out of my chrysalis and from the dark emerge.
Somehow, I then received the strength to burst my being free;
Alas, the golden Light broke through and there was a new me!
I took some time to understand, some time to wonder why,
Then I just shook myself a bit and I began to fly!
And `lo, I was so beautiful, and `lo, I saw the sun...
Oh, after living on the earth, soaring was great fun!
A wretched worm was I no more, I knew that that was true,
I was reborn and I became a creation wholly new!
A butterfly!  A butterfly!  I received my wings,
Glorious splendors of the Heavens, all the higher things.
All old things have passed away, they’ll never come again;
I’ve set my mind on things above, on these I will attend.
Now, even when I swoop to earth and walk upon the ground,
I’ll never be a worm again...I’m Butterfly...glory bound!
Praise God for metamorphosis, it’s by His loving grace
That I’m a new creation now, and I shall see His Face.

Maude Carolan

Sunday, May 12, 2019

In Memory of My Mother


Happy Mother's Day!

In Loving Memory
of my dear mother...

Frances Longo Walsh--1915-1966



OLD MOTHERS

Never had the opportunity--
missed the privilege
of doting upon my old mother.
Mother died
of a heart attack
at fifty-one

Watch with envy--
sweet old mothers
with rosy rouged cheeks
and charming smiles
carefully navigating
footed canes
or wheeled walkers
Dutiful daughters
accompany them
pleasantly
in doctor’s waiting rooms
taking their tweed coats
making small talk
about the grandchildren
and what Aunt So And So
will be serving
the church ladies for lunch
Blessed daughters
who left beds unmade
dishes in the sink
who listen attentively
to doctor’s instructions
see that Medicare
and supplementary insurances
are processed properly
who assist them
with their coats
and to their cars
stopping at pharmacies
on the way home

Maude Carolan

The above poem won an honorable mention in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest and was originally published in the "Paterson Literary Review."