Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Poem for Father's Day

With Father’s Day coming up I wrote a poem based on a special memory I have of arriving late one foggy night at the train station in Salisbury NC.  I was eight years old and my father had moved up to North Carolina six months ahead of Mom and I coming from our home in Mississippi.  He came to take a new job and to “prepare a place for us.”  When we arrived I stood at the steps of the train looking into the fog only to see the shadowy figure of a person standing beneath a lamp post.  The poem tells the story of what happened next.

Waiting Arms
(a poem for Father’s Day)

I looked into the fog
of unknowing
My mother’s hand holding
mine to keep
my heart from
leading me

In the dark there was
but one light
radiant but limited
in its vision
of the figure

Was it him, the one who
went before us
to prepare a place
But then it could be
some stranger
filled with harm
not care

Breaking away from her
grasp of me
I ran toward the
filled with both
fear and hope

Pleas came from my frightened
mother bidding me
to stop my
foolish journey
And I did
and an empty pause
left me alone

Then I looked toward
the shadowy light
And a distant figure
spread his arms
awaiting a child
of the night

I ran toward those
open arms
to be held with love
no longer distant
Waiting arms told
me this
was no stranger
I was in the embrace
of my father

Jody Seymour

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Tender Love: A poem for Mother's Day

Tender Love
(A poem in memory of my mother and in honor of all mothers)

That day you held me
wet with my tears
I begged you to not take
me to some stranger
So with needle and thread
you stitched my
bleeding knee

Now the scar so beautiful
and old reminds me
of tender love
so often given

You sang of bluebirds
flying through gardens
And tiny spiders that
climbed spouts
only to be washed away
by words and rain

You struggled with a body
that would not aide
your spirit that longed
to love and give
But the limitations of flesh
could not hold back
that tender love

One evening after yet another
feast from your table
you sat in that chair where
so many songs were sung
And while reading some book
that would never
be finished
You slipped away to another world
where bluebirds and spiders
play forever

You are missed dear mother
But O you are not
For your tender love
resides in me
and those
I love

Jody Seymour
Mother’s Day 20`8

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Poem I wrote last year for Mother's Day

Through the Pain
(a poem of reflection on Mother’s Day)
It began with pain, that
beginning you gave
From you came that first
breath granting
new life to a
wonder filled bundle
of flesh
Tiny fingers soon reached
your way, seeking
Not knowing the pain
that sill surrounded
the moment of your
granting of life
to a child
Ahead would be days of teaching
and days of forgetting
For those of us who received
your gift
of creation
had life to live
and plans to make
and so we did
But on this day we pause
to remember your gift
You were our source made
from love and hope
and yes from pain
So thank you
as we whisper
the word,
Jody Seymour

Monday, April 23, 2018

A New Virus

A New Virus

            According to the latest research there is a spreading virus running rampant in our country.  It is called “loneliness.”  It seems that this virus causes more damage to the human body than smoking, drinking too much, or even heart disease. (Study by Dr. Brian Primack –featured on the Today Show April 23, 2018)
            Wow, I knew that loneliness was a sad state but had no idea that it was spreading and was so harmful.  Another surprising finding is that the spread of social media actually increases the spread of the “disease.”  It seems that viewing social media makes lonely people feel that other people “have a life,” but they do not.
            Okay, we all know that all those “friends” we have on Facebook are not real friends.  O, some of them might be, but we probably need to drop the nomenclature and call those folks who view our grandchildren’s pictures and accounts of our latest new adventure, “Facebook viewers.”  Do we not water down the concept of what a friend really is by claiming we have 1,136 “friends?”
            So what is the cure for the spreading loneliness?  According to the news story I saw on TV, the beginning of the cure is to be creative and to reach out and risk being in some kind or a relationship that has some depth to it. 
            From my vast experience and knowledge (sigh) this is easier for some to do than others.  With all my public life over 47 years of being a minister most people in my congregations probably assumed that I was an extrovert for sure.  Fact is that I am quite the introvert type but learned early that being so would not work.  So I became a functioning extrovert but it was not always easy.
            Needing to “be there” for people helped bring me out.  So to all of you who might read this out there and who may be suffering quietly from the spreading loneliness virus, I say do not suffer alone.  Take a chance on reaching out and making a connection especially by helping out someone else who you might suspect to be experiencing symptoms of this social malady.
            I remember one of Don McLean’s songs that contained these lyrics:

Step off the platform and onto the train
Look out your window and into the rain
Watch all the buildings that pass as you ride
And count all the stories that go on inside
And then ask yourself if it must be this way
Should walls and doors and plaster ceilings
Separate us from each others' feelings? (From “Three Flights Up”)

            There are many kinds of “walls and plaster ceilings.”  Not all of them are made of wood or other kinds of building material.  Many of them are emotional and spiritual.  Their foundations were laid over the years from fear and small failures. 
            So if you are reading this and you are suffering from this “new found” but old virus I hope you will reach out and take a chance.  Or if you are for now very healthy and not in need of a cure then look around for someone who seems to be symptomatic.  We are all in this together or at least we should be.
            The other virus that is spreading is rampant individualism whose major symptom is a spiritual rash of the soul that claims, “It’s all about me.”  We can do better and if we do, we all will be healthier.