poem: a husband/caregiver’s lament

poem: a husband/caregiver’s lament

speaking honestly now,
crying out into the silence,
seeking to project
understanding, hope, and healing
into the challenge of
giving care to a beloved

having no time
for platitudes,
sentimental claptrap,
and well-meaning advice,
these self serving idols
of comfort, security, positive-thinkers

do not tell me
about long goodbyes
and cruel diseases;
the stigmas of Alzheimer’s, and
its resulting isolation and lack of support,
are contemptible in our competitive society

and so we two, together here and now,
presently in our deathless love,
falling upward into this simple, sweet life,
sharing warm hugs, a deep mutual attentive
presence, and loving-kindness for all beings
in deep gratitude

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
September 12, 2022

photo by author ‘Resting’ and “Here and Now”

Author note: I have labored to write this
piece for weeks in an effort to bring a balance
in the tension between living in a society
that does not value the aging resulting
in trite sentimentality, the isolation of individuals and caregivers,
and the lack of compassionate support and care, vis-a-vis
the reality of caregiver spouses and their
beloved with Alzheimer’s living and loving
with presence and attention together
here and now. Their is a great need for
everyone to better understand those living
with this disease and for more compassionate and accessible
support and care. Let us love one another!

 

poem: a harsh season

poem: a harsh season

this late summer’s day
sitting among the blooms
of garlic and petunias 

admiring their beauty
during a brief respite from
the season’s searing heat 

she nearby with a wry smile,
resting on her cane, eyes closed,
lost in a reverie 

the past 12 months
of our life’s second half
its own harsh season

 

mindful that earthly forms
wither and fade
yet souls hold their beauty 

grateful for the radical
acceptance and love
of mutual belonging 

aware that our most
high Spirit resurrects
in Cosmic harmony of All 

yes, in the late summer
of our harsh year, seeing
the Beauty now and to come 

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
August 6, 2022 

photos by author 

Author’s note: The past twelve
months have seen a string of acute
illnesses, chronic health concerns,
and injuries for my beloved. We
weather the harsh season together,
and discover the Beauty that survives
and endures now and to come.

poem: invitational presence

poem: invitational presence

like the lodestar
in the dark of night
calling us to safe harbor

the host setting
an extra place at the table
for the unexpected guest

the healer connecting
deeply with others
through their own wounds

the creative soul
offering its expression
as a gift to the universe

the True Self animating
our life together
in communities of belonging

the spirit uplifting
the life and dignity
of all oppressed beings

the dear friend who
senses our need
and reaches out in support

being the invitational presence
subtly communicating to all
one’s radical acceptance and inclusion

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
July 22, 2022

self photo “Opening the Heart Chakra’

Author’s note: Each of us can cultivate
an invitational presence which is key
to fostering healthy beings, relationships,
and communities of authentic belonging.
An excellent resource on invitational
presence and belonging is Toko-Pa Turner’s book,
‘Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home.”
This is an area I must continually work on due to
a temperament for solitude.

poem: a gently healing path back to holistic health (embraced by mother Earth)

poem: a gently healing path
back to holistic health
(embraced by mother Earth)

a tapestry of green
with mixed colors dance
before our eyes absorbing us
into the bright sunlight
outside our door

a cool breeze wraps
our neck with the shade
of the large trees
swaying to and fro
engulfing us

for the first time
in too many days
light lunch al fresco
and a short walk to the
koi meditation pool

gently setting us on the
healing path from our
collective dis-ease and
its isolating malaise to
our shared holistic Earth Home

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
July 11, 2022

photos by author

Author’s note: upon my beloved
and I slowly recovering from
being infected with COVID.

serial poem: the caregiver and the beloved “3:00 A.M. humor at the porta-potty”

serial poem: the caregiver and the beloved

“3:00 A.M. humor at the porta-potty”

her hair stabbing wildly
this way and that
brushing it out of her eyes
and softly smoothing it
around her face

very seriously she asks,
in a bright, clear voice,
“do you like my hairdo?”
to which I answer, “well Yes,
I have always liked a French buffont”

silly laughter ensues,
she has always loved my jokes

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
July 20, 2022

photo of my beloved circa 1963

serial poem: the caregiver and the beloved ‘keeping safe’

serial poem: the caregiver and the beloved

‘keeping safe’

there are dangerous places
in a home where the risk are high:
the bathtub, poorly lit spaces,
slippery floors, and the
dreaded stairs

listening for her to roll over
or feet hitting the floor,
ever alert, I write downstairs
in the early morning
before she rises

suddenly appearing before me,
without a sound, as if teleported
down the stairs, her visage startles me:
no cane, no glasses, no shoes,
jumping up to make sure she is whole

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
June 25, 2022

Photo by author

‘Checking on My Beloved’

for our beloved Cat, daughter, sister,
wife, mom, grandmom, sister-in-law,
aunt, dear friend to so many

poem: somewhere between solitude and loneliness

 

poem: somewhere between solitude and loneliness

being here now in solitary existence
somewhere between solitude and loneliness
reflecting on recent events and experiences:
aging, disease, injury, separation, siloing,
the world and its totalizing systems

struggling, striving, sitting with challenges,
reconciling the grace of our being,
the preciousness of our life together,
and the amazing beauty of our Earth Home
with tender heart and teary eyes

busy, tired, and weary at times,
continuing at my task knowing
that we can bear it together
through connecting, belonging, and sharing,
grateful for authentic relationships and community

sitting quietly, listening,studying, reflecting, creating,
and connecting continue in this busy season of the suffering
arriving as an unexpected guest at my door,
each invited in and treated with truth and respect

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
June 21, 2022
art by Andrew Wyeth, ‘Christina Olsen, Triton’
Author’s note: I have struggled to write this, or anything else down, for over a
week. Knowing that sharing one’s suffering is very unfashionable in our
contemporary culture and society of everyone for themselves, I hesitate. I do not
share my poem from the perspective of being a victim, or a denier, or a masochist,
or from a place of apathy. Rather, I share from the perspective of witnessing,
better understanding, gifting, connecting, authentic belonging, and healing in the
tension of our suffering and our joie de vivre! The last three lines of stanza four
are after Rumi’s poem ‘The Guest House.”

haiku: broken ankles and dreams

haiku: broken ankles and dreams

toe nails painted pink
a pedicure on her feet
she dreams of dancing

Herb Stone
here&now working poetry
May 14, 2022

photos by author

Author’s note: The physical therapist
working with Cathey is the best. Very
professional, highly skilled, and a
great motivator, with excellent rapport
with the patient. We are so grateful for
his presence. Oh, and yes, I did the
pedicure and nail polish.