May I?

May I never lose my way
to getting lost,
may I never resist the urge
to leave it all, 
may I never shelter my face
from the storm, 
may I never let my arms fall
in the downpour,
may I never fully wash off
the grit of the sand, 
and may I never be restrained 
by clock or human hand.

May I never negotiate with my soul: 
may I never let anyone close the window. 

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Wind and Wings

I will bend to please,
for I put first others’ needs;
overempathy makes me weak.

Forceful winds,
whether intended or not,
push with invisible pressure 
until my insides knot. 

In opposite direction
of secret desires,
the flight I am put on
with unpurchased ticket
takes me higher

but farther
on false wings
to where I wished to be;
nonetheless, I relentlessly
look for the positives 
in my surroundings. 

Rock, boulder, 
my anchor,
my center,
is never stationary.
I move the mountains
with the strength
of your arms 
and my unshakable faith
in the Almighty. 

Bent tree. 
Flight path. 
Criss-crossing trajectories.
I will bend back.
I will disembark. 
And wherever that leaves me, 
I will find where 
the wildflowers are. 
And if you pluck them all, 
I will water the seeds
in my heart. 

I will persevere as me,
no matter how many rounds
I smartly, politely, or wearily
concede. 
Each of those fertilize 
bloom potentiality. 

I will grow my own
wildflower fields
until they rise
out of me. 

Hope Is A Red Balloon (With Audio)

Hope is a red balloon. 
To dream is to release,
To let the heart again believe:
Benediction granted wings.

Hope is a red balloon. 
To fear is to release. 
Self-shackling to the ribbon needed
For freedom to be achieved.

Hope is a red balloon.
But with passenger and knapsack attached,
It becomes the passageway
Between spirit-death and life hatched. 

Hope is a red balloon
That may burst at any moment
Over deep, dark uncharted waters 
With drowning a likely occurrence. 

Hope is a red balloon.
Faith is to ride it into the winds
Knowing the trajectory
Is calculated and adjusted
by Him,

Delivering to safety,
Granting the dream.
Because you held fast
To Hope’s string. 

Poem and image and recitation ©LauraDenise

Resilient Hearts

I am NOT a gardener.
Though a gardener I’ve never tried to be…
Every natural wonder I’ve ever encountered
has been there before me, 
remnants from previous tenants’ tastes
and sculptures wild and free
lovingly planted in my path
by the Creator Almighty
and meant at the time of discovery
to be the personal messages needed. 

And so it is with my hibiscus pinks, 
cut down to the ground by the men
so they could build a fence more easily. 
Flowers dear to me for the way they so faithfully
after such meaningful moments took turns blooming
to mark the milestones in my healing,
to commemorate the special blessings,
to symbolize with such humble beauty
the changing seasons within me. 

In the soft, golden morning rising sun, 
they lift themselves again to greet me. 
Not defiantly. Just filled with inspiration. 
An example. A reunion. A smiling. 
I approach and spend some moments 
I do not have according to clock and duty. 
The buds seem from an extra-long green
hibernation to be defrosting, thawing.  
I know what lies inside. The knowing
denies mystery but does not anticipation-impede.

My heart does indeed too beat again,
my dear friends. 
They can never cut short
our aspiring stories. 

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Always Surmountable

©LauraDenise

We are never trapped,
just fated to faulty perspective,
succumb to specious perception;
it’s all relevant, related –

one more rock-move away
from the light 
on the other side
of the avalanche,

one more “wrong” turn
lost in the forest
before hearing
the anabranch…

much is necessarily experienced:

near suffocation sometimes the only way
to motivate a life-saving change,

the legs of the journey
in the humanless woods
lead to the reflection
and feeling of wounds,

and all paths probably have purpose
among the universe’s higher powers.

Without the lonely, looping trails,
we could not emerge anew
with our truest selves

and others we met along the way
not-so-coincidentally placed.

We are never trapped. 
We are never lost. 
At least not for very long. 

No change was ever ignited 
without the spark.
So many opportunities
missed, passed up, though
after being gifted matchsticks
but still refusing to start
the fire. 

Sea Dance

Barefoot atop the deep waters,
white dress and wild tresses flowing,
sunken-ship cemetery of the past beneath,
I twirl in this present moment. 

The sea is mine
as my dance floor,
and I skim across 
to my pick of shores;
I explore, I vacation, 
not searching, just jubilation
of losing
worries and fears,
exaltation of the lightness
of the lifting of those stormy years,
each moment an eternity
to get to the next,
each stepping stone
sinking with each vine grasped,
no beanstalk discovered
to bring me to the clouds,
only faith each day
for decades
of a better tomorrow.

That tomorrow is today,

hence the head-raised dance
in the sun and in the rain,
embracing with wide-opened arms
the achievement of having started
upon this horizon
I only viewed from the beach.

The stepping stones still sink.
I just realized the only missing factor
was to fully 

believe.

They were never needed. 
Self-love was the only key.

I was always worth it. 
Eventually, I fought
for me
and this
dream.

Poem and image ©LauraDenise

The Tiller

Trust in the shadows;
they are benevolent too,
dimming the wrong ways
so the beacon may shine through.

Listen for the truth;
it whispers faithfully through the gale.
Turn your back to the blustery lies;
the bitterest of winds best fill the sails.

You don’t need a map
for an evacuation route;
just follow the signs
He’s already laid out.

He knows all,
including what’s up ahead.
Listen for The Light;
drown out the ghost voices
haunting your head.

You took the steps.
You left that land.
These turbulent waters
will lead to the end

of that decades-long storm
that shredded every kite you raised
that lightning struck
on its way down
to reiterate
that you will never
be freed from this fate.

But fate was a falsity
and now you will know
that destiny
is all within
your control,

and He wants you to have
all your heart desires.
He will lead you there
through these uncharted waters,

but He wants your hands
on the tiller
to feel
the power you have
that He instills.

He calls upon the winds
and every fin in the sea
to escort you on your voyage to
your chosen dreams.

Poems and photos ©LauraDenise

One Blank Page

If I had but one blank page to fill,
what would my message be?

What dance would my fingers perform
across the finite-lettered keys?

How could I paint in black-font
a picture of beauty and hope

that would reach and pierce with light
the souls who need it most?

If I were confined to the cage of a page,
how could I choose the right combination of words

that could break free from the paper or screen
and inspirationally rebirth?

How powerful words can be,
how powerful the choices,

how powerful this lesson when applied
to our spoken and inner

voices,

how powerful the silence
when writer’s block takes hold,

and we fail to say what should be said
when it matters most.

Poem and image ©Laura Denise

Sunrise Chasing

It has been way too long since I’ve gone to the ocean. And it’s across the street! Shame on me! That was my thought (again) yesterday after work, after another week that emotionally and mentally and therefore physically drained me to the max. 

This morning, the call was way too strong to ignore. My soul needed it. Desperately. And I felt a loved one also nudging me. 

I hear the sea calling to me to return,
and your voice, love, imploring me
to let my soul have what it yearns…

On the way to the bridge and on the way over it, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” came on the radio just as the sky was bursting with morning glory. Windows down, music up, singing along, I felt my soul begin again to mend itself. Sometimes, I need the most beautiful ballads, and other times, carrying the same “burdens,” I simply need to lift my voice in songs of praise to my higher power. When I witness the absolute miracles of nature, how can I not?

Gloria in excelsis Deo,
Glory to the highest in God.
Lord, I see and feel your presence,
and my praise and thanks, I offer up…

In the past couple of years, I have been in the best place I’ve ever gotten to so far in this life despite (perhaps in spite of) 2020, seemingly so far from the shadows of a difficult past, basking in the warm light of love of late. Yet, I did feel the tickle of that demonic tentacle recently, even took a personal day because I felt like I simply couldn’t make it through the week. The next day, I cried at work from a fresh heart-infliction. Teaching in 2020 has challenged us as educators and stretched us all to our near-breaking points. But we are family at my school, so we gather (6 feet apart) at lunch each afternoon and do our best to laugh it all off. Laughter, I feel, is truly still the oldest and best medicine. 

Thank you, Lord, for laughter;
may that sound find its way
to the ones in these times who most need it.
Let it be channeled again through me 
to make someone’s day
for mirth mask-muffled is still healing.

My other top natural remedies have always been faith and nature. And now the added goodness of the man who fully loves me as me. And all of these were present in me as I sat in the silky sand before the lively ocean, the 70 degrees and plenty of sea breeze also infiltrating my body, mind, and spirit. 

It’s so easy to get pulled down, isn’t it? Down has always been seen as the negative direction. Higher powers in higher elevations, clouds and sky… The weight of perceived burdens and mental inflictions and the things we voluntarily shackle to our ankles is so heavy. The soul is weightless. The wings of humans, invisible. The altar barer than ever. If only we would lay more down. Offer more up. Let Him take more of it, all of it, from us. Why do we cling to it? Why is it so easy to forget that He is always beside us, always with open arms? Why is it so easy to forget how to swim, how to fly?… We simply need not sink or be prisoners of gravity. We can let it get washed away. We can uncage our souls. We can lean on others, even let them carry us for a while. We can open our hearts to love and to receive love. We are never alone. I think we simply choose it sometimes. 

So much inside me rose up this week. To attempt to defeat me. From places of my past maybe. From my own former voice to myself maybe. It’s hard to repel that gray when the cloud rolls in to consume you. It’s trying to take us all though. So shouldn’t we now, more than ever, unmask our hearts and join in spirit to lift each other? 

I plead for the sea breeze to vigorously whisk away my negativities.
I allow the ocean waves to wash away all the rest that is heavy. 
I lift my voice in song and cheerfully praise His glory. 

I raise my hands and pray to be free from this melancholy. 

Words and images from this morning ©LauraDenise

Gray Plague

Gray Plague

Part choice, part determination
it seems to be
to avoid the extermination
while still living
caused by the loss
of feeling
when we fall
into that state
of complacency,
the dangerous hibernation
of our dreams,
the steps we take
turning our back
on the way
it could be,
should be…

It’s not easy
to keep the gray
from taking
our colors.
We fade,
part victim,
part converter;
we don’t sell
our souls,
we give them
now away
in exchange
for tickets
to nowhere
but in that gray
for longer,
forever,
to remain.

I feel the pull
of the evolution
of the devil,
the camouflaged
minions, the demons
no longer with arms
now casting spells.

I feel the brush,
the tickle of tentacle;
to kick it off
takes more than will.
Too many sleepers
not getting taken
but tricked into nonthinking
by the sweet song of sirens.

I climb the mountain
and expectedly find
the gray shadow
spreading like
turpentine.

I wrap my limbs
protectively
around my colors
and flee to find
my favorite
awake other.

Together, we embrace,
not in fear
but as survivors
thankful for
our non-superpowers.

We will not
succumb
to the non-fate
of the others
who gave freely away
one by one
each of their
colors.

We will keep painting
on life’s canvas
to preserve
hope and beauty
with each
brush of our breath,

not with fire,
but signaling
with bright hues
to the others
who may be out there still
imbued.

Ultimately, this poem originated from reading a dear WP friend’s poem and listening to a song he posted (which I shared above). (If you are not connected with Ivor Steven, then your life is not as bright as it could be because the light of his soul shines like none other.) Ivor’s poem captures, despite the melancholy mood from the song, a wonderful moment––a pastry, a poem reading, a friendly unmasked smile. Simple. Yet everything really.