Sunday, June 28, 2020

Simple Truths

Poetry...
Image credit: theconversation.com

SIMPLE TRUTHS

After reading my poems
the woman said that I am deep.

If she meant obscure,
obscurity is what I rail against,
but if she meant
the poems brought her
to a new depth
in her own perception,
then, praise God,
from my Bic
flowed
molten gold.

I yearn to be a poet
of God’s heart,
conveying Truth
in fresh simplicity,
not abstractions
that people scan
with screwed-up faces
then set aside,
untouched.

I want to write
as the shepherd/king,
letting the Spirit
guide my pen.

When the page
is put down,
perhaps
revelation
will flash
God’s glorious
guiding Light,

perhaps
gold dust
will sparkle
on fingertips.

Maude Carolan



FREE VIRTUAL EXHIBITION ONLINE...
The St. Catherine of Bologna Patron of the Arts Festival of the Arts is now accessible, virtually, online to celebrate 21 years of Art, Photography & Poetry. My poem, "Needing a Miracle, Like Jairus" is one of the featured poems. The event is free of charge. To access, go to: www.StCathArts.org. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Happy Father's Day to All the Daddies...

Here's an old story (in poetry)
about the fireplace my father built
in our backyard in West Paterson, NJ.


Remembering my father, Frank H. Walsh
on Father's Day...

My parents, Frank & Frances Longo Walsh
and baby Maude at my first Christmas in 1944.


OUR BACKYARD FIREPLACE

While camping along a river
in the Catskills with our family
during the 1950’s
Dad constructed a small rock dam
along the riverbank
to hold back enough water
to keep our beverages icy cold

We sat upon some of those river rocks
and dangled our feet
in the swiftly flowing mountain water
watching silvery minnows
maneuver around our toes

So many smooth grey rocks
gave my father an idea, so
when we were getting ready to leave
and the station wagon was packed
with all our equipment
Dad loaded every empty crevice
of the vehicle with as many rocks
as it could possibly hold

To vacate the campground
it was necessary to drive
across the river over
a creaky old covered bridge
Dad wasn’t at all sure the bridge
was strong enough
to permit the crossing
of our rock-laden station wagon
(which must have weighed
as much as an armored tank)

He told Mom and us kids
to walk across the bridge
then he slowly and carefully
with chassis nearly scraping ground
drove successfully across

Back home, Dad used those rocks
to build a backyard fireplace
which became the gathering place
for family and neighbors
centered around spectacular
blazes on warm summer nights

We roasted hot dogs and potatoes and
corn-on-the-cob and threaded marshmallows
on sticks and toasted them till they were charred
We sang, “Michael, Row the Boat to Shore”
and every camp song we could remember
and tossed woodchips into the fire
to watch the sparks fly

Once the fire blazed so high
someone from a block away
called the West Paterson Fire Department
and long red fire trucks, sirens blaring
pulled up in front of our house
Dad got a warning, squelched the flames
and offered the firemen hot dogs and beer

Many favorite memories were kindled
while swatting mosquitos
collecting fireflies in jars
watching our marshmallows burn to a crisp
under shooting sparks and stars
and summer moons
around that river rock fireplace
on Jackson Avenue
so many years ago

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, June 14, 2020

It's a Beautiful Day for a Walk...

Skylands Manor State Park
Ringwood, New Jersey

Photo credit: trover.com

THE LOOP

I walk the Loop at Skylands, with Jesus Christ, my Friend,
telling how it is with me and what remains to mend,

confess to Him my failures and share sweet victories too,
knowing my Lord, so well aware, knows me through and through.

I tell what I rejoice in, of those I hope He’ll heal,
those who need salvation and about the ones who feel

life’s not what they expected, or that it is not fair...
I give the burdens to my Friend; leave them in His care.

At peace with my Companion, we stroll around a bend;
I tell Him I love Him with a love that will not end;

He tells me that He loves me, I’m precious in His sight...
I know my Jesus means it, which is my heart’s delight.

Sunrays filter through the oaks and warm me as we walk
past the shady Turtle Pond, where we resume our talk.

I praise Him for creation, the flowers and the trees,
fauna scampering here and there, the butterflies, the bees...

I thank Him for the sunshine, the pond and for the frogs,
turtles sunning on the rocks and chipmunks in the logs.

Then, finally, I get quiet and only hear my steps
and nature sounds around me; I reach into the depths

of my very inner being and listen to His voice
speak gently to my spirit; I feel my soul rejoice!

His still small voice continues along the wooded path;
encouragement He offers, sweet mercies, never wrath.

When our stroll’s completed, my spirit feels refreshed
from wondrous time together, our union tightly meshed.

What a blessing my Holy God cares enough to spend
precious time walking Skylands Loop, talking with His friend!

Maude Carolan

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Revive Us, Oh Lord!

Oh Lord...If Ever We Have Needed You
We Need You Now...

At my congregation, Beth Israel Worship Center, Wayne, NJ,
We are praying for Revival, like never before.
Join us...

Image credit: brettowen.org


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 31, 2020

I Love Pentecost...


One of the things I personally love about Pentecost & Shevout
is that I get to celebrate TWO birthdays this week...
my natural birthday and my spiritual birthday!

Chag Shevout/Pentecost Sameach!




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, May 24, 2020

Special for Memorial Day...

A Poem for Memorial Day

Image credit: wfmj.com

Flashback to 2003...

MY ADOPTED SOLDIER
For Cpl. R. J. Roberts, USMC
America At War In Iraq – March 2003

The message on my computer screen
said click on The Presidential Prayer Team –
the Adopt Our Troops link
and be given a soldier to pray for
until the end of the war

I don't know any soldiers
stationed in Iraq, personally
soldiers who startled us with Shock & Awe
soldiers who endured stinging sand
blazing days and shivery desert nights
Don't know any who engaged in combat
manned planes, copters, and tanks
or risked biological warfare
during that arduous trek to Baghdad
Don't know any at all
so I clicked on the website
…but was unable to access the link

When the morning paper arrived
the front page held a full-color photo
of a British medic
examining a newborn Iraqi baby
cradled in a cardboard box
with the flaps torn off
I placed my hand upon the soldier

Jesus, bring him home, whole

laid my hand upon the infant

O Lord, please have him grow up
safe and strong
in a land free of terror…

At work, later that morning
a co-worker approached my counter
softly singing a hymn

How lovely to hear singing
in times like these, I remarked

My son left Tuesday, she said


Our eyes locked
mother to mother

I'd like to adopt your son, I told her
I'll pray for him every day
until he comes home

He is a Marine, she said
serving in the air delivery platoon
Cpl. R. J. Roberts
He'll be on the ground
distributing supplies in Iraq

I know he'll return

Our pastor prophesied
a few years ago
that R. J. will become a preacher

He's not a preacher yet…
though I suppose
there's a very good chance
he may be preaching right now

When I got home
I fastened a yellow ribbon
to my front porch railing

Maude Carolan

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Communion at Home

Photo by Maude
Enhanced by Maria Esteves
CELEBRATING COMMUNION AS WE SHELTER-IN-PLACE

We’re still sheltering-in-place
during the Covid-19 pandemic
and missing, among other things
our church family
in spite of live-stream services

Our pastor announced
we’d celebrate Communion
during a prayer meeting
to be held over a conference call
on Tuesday morning
We’d need to have unleavened bread
and the fruit of the vine
to fully participate

I didn’t have any matzoh in the house
and don’t go into stores these days
so I simply mixed a little flour, water and
olive oil, kneaded it a bit
and rolled it out as thin as I could
I pricked it all over with a fork
and lifted it onto a baking sheet

The oven temperature was so hot
it caused the fire alarm to blare
so I opened windows
and turned on the fan
The flatbread quickly
browned and blistered
I flipped it over
to brown on the other side
In a few moments it was finished

I thought of the Hebrew women
who’d been sheltering-in-place
during another difficult time in history
Thought of them packing up
their unleavened dough
and kneading bowls
preparing for a journey
as their husbands
applied lamb’s blood to the lintels
of their homes, and they waited
for the Angel of Death
to pass over them

I placed a few broken pieces of matzoh
on a special plate depicting a mosaic
of the miracle of the loaves and fishes
and took two tiny olive wood cups
out of the china cabinet, souvenirs
from a Communion service
held at the Garden Tomb
during our pilgrimage there in 2006

Our pastor began the blessing
over the bread

Baruch atah Adonai
Elohainu Melech ha Olam…

We partook of the bread
and the fruit of the vine

in a Communion connecting us
with God and His protection
over His people
spanning millenniums
and millenniums

Maude Carolan Pych
5/14/2020



Saturday, May 9, 2020

My Mom is in Heaven...


In Memory of My Dear Mother,
Frances Longo Walsh...

Frances Longo Walsh

Mother Wasn't Fancy, But...
she’d sit at the kitchen table
in her bib-front apron
and cut slits into the radish tops
making them look like
little red roses
and present the tiny beauties
on a plate on the dinner table

Mother wasn’t fancy, but
she’d peel a cucumber
then take a fork
and score the length
all the way around
then slice it into discs
that looked like edible flowers
and toss them into the salad

Mother didn’t fuss with baking, either
but she’d stir some chocolate pudding
in a pot on the stove
layer it alternately
with graham crackers
in a square pan
put it in the refrigerator to set
and call it icebox cake

On Saturday evenings
we’d all be in the parlor
huddled on the sofa
or curled up in the overstuffed chairs
watching television
She’d disappear into the kitchen
and assemble toasted English muffins
with a dollop of tomato sauce
a slice of mozzarella
and perhaps slivers of pepperoni
put it under the broiler
for a few minutes
then present us with a tantalizing platter
of English muffin pizzas

or she’d take store-bought shortcakes
fill them with a scoop of ice cream
top them with strawberries
and maybe a squirt of whipped cream
and voila…

Nothing fancy—
Mother wasn’t a bit fancy
but she certainly had a fancy
for simple family love

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Let Us Pray...

Now, More Than Ever...Let Us Pray!
Image credit: english.stackexchange.com



WILL I LOVE ENOUGH TO PRAY?

Someone told me you’ve been ailing,
that the medication’s failing
to bring the healing that you seek.
You are scared and you’ve been crying,
you’re afraid that you are dying
and the faith you have is so weak.
I can tell you I sympathize,
even attempt to be quite wise,
cajole you and go on my way,
but the question of the hour
is will I turn my heel and cower
or will I love enough to pray?

A young man has just been sharing
that his wife is overbearing
and he can’t take it anymore.
He said he met a gal somewhere
and they are having an affair,
tossing his vows right out the door!
I may advise him to be strong,
say infidelity is wrong,
bring in a counselor today;
but the question that I ponder
is will I just weep and wonder,
or will I love enough to pray?

A close friend has been criticized
by a neighbor she despises.
Getting even is what she yearns.
She says she hates her in heart,
of forgiveness she’ll have no part.
Oh, how her words of anger burn!
I can attempt to intervene,
may even be the go-between,
tell them there is a better way.
I might speak of sin and leaven,
bellow, "Seventy times seven!"
but will I love enough to pray?

When a situation’s stormy,
I can seek Thee or ignore Thee,
use worldly wisdom come what may...
Though advice may have some merit,
I must look up, not to blur it;
mindful, there is a higher way.
Some will look at me quite oddly,
still, I must try something Godly…
I'll do it…love enough to pray!

Maude Carolan

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Sometimes We Need a Miracle

Today I have a new poem to share, inspired this week by the news of the many afflictions and deaths in New York and New Jersey, amid this worldwide Covid-19 pandemic...and about the miracles we are praying for and the HOPE we can only find in Jesus...

Painting by Jeremy Winborg
truthbook.com


NEEDING A MIRACLE, LIKE JAIRUS

Another one—

My brother called a few minutes ago
to tell me his friend died
of the Coronavirus

This pandemic is unrelenting
Thousands have died here in New Jersey
as many as in a small country—
Too many deaths
even for the funeral homes
to handle

My prayer list is long
and keeps getting longer
I cross off names
and add some

I’ve been reading about Jairus
the synagogue official
who fell at Jesus’ feet
begging Him to come
heal his dying daughter

so Jesus went
and as they walked
crowds pressed against them

In the midst of the commotion
a woman touched the fringe
of Jesus’ cloak
and He felt power
go out from Him
At that moment she knew
she was healed
The woman told Him
she’d been hemorrhaging
for twelve years

They continued on their way
and someone stopped Jairus
to say his daughter had died

Jesus told him not to fear
but believe
so on they went

When they arrived
there was mournful weeping
and bitter wailing
but Jesus told them
the girl was sleeping

They responded
by laughing in His face

Jesus went inside the house
took the little girl’s hand
in His, and said

 Arise!

At His word
her eyes opened
breath returned to her
and she got up and walked

Now I pause to imagine
if Jesus were here today
in the midst of this virus
how multitudes would
seek Him, how they would
flock around Him
and press against Him
wrenching His cloak
tugging at His arms
pulling Him
this way, that way
beseeching and imploring

Come with me, Jesus…
Oh! come with me, Jesus…
Come with me!…me!…
me!…me!…me!

Oh! Sometimes we desperately
need a miracle
…like Jairus

and always, we definitely need
…Jesus

Maude Carolan Pych


Saturday, April 18, 2020

In Memory of Leo F. Carolan

Leo F. Carolan
April 19, 1930 - March 11, 2004


In Memory of Leo F. Carolan
on what would have been his 90th birthday.


THE BREAD MAN


Leo would travel anywhere for good bread
He'd call ahead for four-pound loaves
of Russian rye from Pechter's in Harrison
or drive to Calandra's in Newark
for pannellas, sesame seeded bastones
and golden semolinas
He'd travel to Balthazar's in Englewood
or The Baker's Wife in Tappan, New York
for multi-grains, great marbled masterpieces
or crusty artisan ciabattas
His old Chevy would retain the yeasty aroma for days
He'd share the good bread
with relatives, friends, neighbors, and co-workers
People called him, "The Bread Man"

That was the good bread
Leo also shared the Best Bread

He administered the Best Bread
with well-baked crustiness gleaned
from working twenty-five years
as a probation officer
and the soft interior texture
born of a kneaded spirit
There were those
who tore into it impatiently
and devoured the entire loaf
without condiment, while still warm
Others thoughtfully partook
the nourishment for body and soul

He always left them
with something fresh to chew
and a few seeds for ongoing growth
He always left them
with the lingering fragrance
of the presence of the Lord

Taste and see…
Take and eat…

Maude Carolan