COURAGE

Courage is that tiny seedling
I planted in a dry year
In an unlikely spot,
Where the soil was too scant to raise a crop.

Every morning, in the dark,
I carried water to where it was,
Dogged in my hope
That something good would come.

And there it grew,
Slow and crooked,
No beauty in its form
Save that it was, at all,
And it was years before
It ever became strong,
Or sturdy enough for me to lean against-
Though certainly not in a storm.

Truth be told,
There were seasons when
I forgot that it was even there
And others when I could not find
That sapling, for the brush that grew about.

But something about it
Was more determined than I imagined,
Despite the tender nature of its fiber.
So one spring, when I ventured its direction,
I took note in some surprise
To see that many had taken shelter in its boughs-
There was a nest, that peace had made,
And a den, where justice raised her cubs,
And here and there
Upon that harsh and scanty hill,
I saw seedlings more of courage
Unwavering in their intent to make a forest
Where only the wind had lived before.

George R. Pasley
January 19, 2016
Ketchikan Alaska

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The shepherds were sore afraid
And the Angels said
Don’t be.
And she was not afraid
To touch the hem of his garment
And Jesus praised her faith.
And another was not afraid to keep on asking
Even when Jesus said ‘twould not be fair
And he praised her faith too.
So this is what I think:
Faith is about being brave
Even if you’re scared.
George Pasley
October 22, 2014
Princeton NJ

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

What does it mean
To be a human being?
At the end of the day it means
You’ll gladly remove your shoes
And scamper in the grass, just moist and cool
And tickling at your feet.

It means at any time of day
You’ll offer your pinkie to a baby,
And smile so broad
When the child grabs ahold,
Refusing to let go.

It means you’ll laugh at the sight of fireflies in the night,
And at the call of ravens in the day.
It means you’ll shout EWWW
At the certain-sure smell of skunk
Or the feel of slime that follows slug.

It means you’ll plunk your finger
Against the watermelon, trying to judge it ripe,
And rap your knuckles against your noggin,
Trying to get things right.

It means you grieve,
Sometimes as much for the suffering of a stranger
As for your own.

It means you’ll be frustrated at the weeds in your garden
And the pile of dirty laundry on the couch-
And angry over insult-
And furious over an insult to your child.

It means you will sit down and sit still
For a story told well,
Hanging on every word,
Becoming part and parcel to its plot.

It means you remember
Where you were when you heard the news
Or who you were with the first time you heard that song
Or what you were doing
When the world changed about.

It means you will take a song
Or a line from a movie-
And steal them, because they ring like a bell
In the tower that is your heart-
And you will make them your very own-
And dance to them through life.
If I had a hammer,
Carpe Diem,

It means you will fall in love-
With rhubarb pie
Or ice cold Lutheran beverage
Or a lass with pigtails
Or the place that you call home-
Or all of the above.
It means you will love them
And hope for their redemption
And labor to make it so-
And when their song is sung,
It means you will lift your voice,
Raspy and gruff
Or tiny and shrill-
It means WE will lift them all together
And sing out loud without the slightest qualm
Because we
Are human beings.

George R. Pasley
August 11, 2014
Ketchikan Alaska

GRATITUDE

What do whales do
When the ocean rolls and blows?

They practice being whales !

Therefore every day , be thankful.
If you can’t be thankful for the weather
Then be thankful you needn’t go outdoors
If you can’t be thankful today
Them remember a day you could ,
And be thankful for the memory.

By practicing gratitude
You may endure some trial
And by enduring, prevail
Until practice produces perfection

George Pasley
August 10, 2014
Ketchikan Alaska