History of Inaugural Poems

I was so very heartened by yesterday’s ceremonies. I thought Lady Gaga nailed the “Star-Spangled Banner”. but Amanda Gorman was a highlight of the Biden/Harris inauguration for me.

JFK, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and now Joe Biden are the four presidents who invited inaugural poets to share the majesty of words. It makes me happy to have a president who appreciates poetry in office once again.

I found this on an email from BookStore 1, Sarasota.* You can listen to each of the inaugural poets:


*I urge all lovers of books to support local, independent bookstores where ever you may find them.



. . . this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

(from “Praying” Mary Oliver’s book of poems, Thirst)

The Doorway Effect – PsychLiverpool


I stand here open yet
unable to move. I can only
be here — never in, never out.
I stand here but the way
is yours

to take or not.
I invite you to step
over the threshold.
to be brave.

I tell you my purpose.
Now tell me yours.


Who Matters

I saw something on a Facebook post that resonated to me. The post was addressed to those who respond to Black Lives Matter with a defensive attitude and a demand to say ALL lives matter. The author cited a Biblical reference, Luke 15, parable of the lost sheep, in a loose retelling:

One hundred sheep are safely watched over in a meadow, but one manages to wonder off into the woods. The shepherd leaves to find that one sheep. Ninety-nine sheep cry out, “Hey! What about us? Don’t we matter here?”

“Of course you all matter, but 99 of you are safe here while the one is in danger and is the one that needs my attention and my help right now.”

Sheep - Wikipedia

SO, yes, each life matters. One life mattering does not take away from the worth of another. One life being marginalized or denied dignity diminishes the value of all our loves.

That is what I believe.


I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. Susan B. Anthony


No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means. George Bernard Shaw


If people want to believe what they want to believe, I guess there really is little I can do about it.

However, if they are thinking they need to share what they believe God whispers in their ear with the notion that that is supposed to show me the way of my own journey . . . yeah, I’m going to be distrustful and out and out annoyed.

A thought:

Sometimes I have to force myself to come up with a positive thought.

I am not sure that I entirely agree with this one though. It seems to me that telling myself that not getting exactly what I thought I wanted is a good reason to keep waiting for something better to come along might just blind me to seeing that what I actually need is already right there in front of me.

Natural Medicine

There is a strange fog rolling over the land. Miasma.

The poison may not be rotten air circling in the dark.

But droplets and aerosols drift through the air and they can spread the coronavirus.

Perhaps the real danger is a deeply seated fear that happens when we become untethered from our better natures our connection to all that is.

Perhaps the real danger is willful ignorance. That scares me the most. Do you can believe what we don’t bother to count just doesn’t exist.

I am sticking with a faith in nature to heal.

What if . . .

What if you could wake up in the morning and be the person you really were meant to be?

Not the person you think you are or the the person you think you should be?

Not the person others always tell you are are tell you should be?

What if you could wake up in the morning, get up and take a shower that washes away entrances thoughts of what is?

Then go to the closet and pick a new outfit to try on?

What if you could? What would you be TODAY?

Bearing Forth the Light of Christ — Joy In Truth

Let it shine.

the horror seeps in

Is it possible to watch a white man nonchalantly kneel on the neck of a black man, to watch a man with his hand in his pocket ignoring the clear distress of the man he is so clearly oppressing, to watch his partners fail to intervene even while the weight remains full force for minutes after breathe and heart have stopped?

Is it possible to watch that and not feel the pain through your entire body?

Is it possible to watch that and not feel a shame and a sadness for the human condition that cries for acknowledgement and release from the depth of your gut?

Is it possible to watch that yet again and not feel your heart cracking?

Is it possible to watch the tears of loss in another and not feel tears well in your own eyes?

And then . . . is it possible to to watch one who feels none of that march to a church waving an unopened Bible in his hands and vowing to heap further injustice on lifetimes of injustice . . . and not feel angry? yet know that he is badly broken deep in his soul?

Crestfallen, Angel Sculpture by Hartley – Wretched Relics

Surely, the angels are weeping for us all right now.



I am borrowing and adapting this metaphor from one of my meditation teachers.

Stage 1: The news starts to inform us about a new strain of virus, possibly more virulent that the fly. It starts to spread around the world and prediction become more and more dire. Fear, and even panic, starts to set in.

There we are in a waterfall cascading over a high rocky cliff. Everything seems beyond control. There is no apparent way out.

Stage 2: Heroes step forward — Doctors and nurses work around the clock while the unseen thousands keep the infrastructure of the hospitals working. Those who keep the food supply safe and available while risking their own health. Those who keep us protected.

We are asked to shelter in place and curtail business as usual for the common good. As the weeks stretch on coronavirus ennui sets in. We are tired for no clear reason, listlessness sets in.

Having survived the waterfall somehow, we are floating in a stream. Some of us are alone and some of us have company of family. Sometimes we swirl in an eddy or bump into overhanging branches. There are moments of tranquil waters but then another rapid and our bodies scrape over the hidden rocks.

Stage 3: The toll is staggering. Existential crises touch everyone in some way. Losses of all kinds pile up. The ordinary joys and celebrations of life are muted. The pain runs deep. For some the fear pushes into anger.

Still, the stream has emptied into the river, wider and deeper, but somehow we have been given life jackets. There seems to be more light in the sky and for some that offers renewed hope as there is a gradual opening.

Stage 4: It has not happened yet, but eventually the river empties into the ocean. There will be many lifeboats there to take us on the rest of our life journeys.

Some will want to turn back, climbing that steep cliff to get back to the top of the waterfall.

Some will push others out of their way as they clamor to save their own spot on a lifeboat. They will be taken to the large cruise ship that continues to slowly sink from the burden of greed, inequity, suspicion and hatred.

Some will calmly board to be taken to another cruise ship where they can stand on the decks and see the opening of a better world for all creatures of the earth.


It’s not just a matter of time . . . It is a matter of what we do with our time.