Oh my soul

Oh my soul
how I savor now
the delicious fruit
of a lifetime of striving
towards my heart's desire
fruit shriveled in my hand
just as the juiciness
reached my lips

I stumble, dazed
toward the less trodden path
not desired or longed for
yet created by the One
who desires me
without compromise:
Demands my pruning
Demands me blossom
In this sweet smelling field
Mounds of freshly cut hay
lay in the brilliant
sun to dry

---Patrice Ficken

Autumn of life

I am in the autumn of life
fighting it with every fiber of my being

I keep thinking, no it cannot be time
too soon for autumn’s arrival
I feel so vibrant, so strong

I resist believing
the long and lazy summer days
are behind me

You know the ones
the lingering loitering days
stretching out their limbs with time for everything
the possibilities reaching toward the wide horizon
the promise of ambitious dreams and aspirations
can still make manifest!

The yes I can!
deludes me backwards toward
the striving, hard-driving days of youth
pushing hard toward perfection

And yet, and yet
not meant to be
past its due date
no matter how hard I try to pry it open
I cannot will it so
even as the desire breaks my heart

No. Oh no.
I see it now
It is not the season of striving anymore
I am in the autumn of my days
the season of living with the life I have
not the life I might wish to be
the harvest time

This is my trunk
these are my roots
I am not in the season of pulling up
I am sending my roots down
deep into the earth
spreading my branches wide
offering shelter for the season of allowing

Autumn days grow shorter
I turn each ray of sun inward
transforming, transmuting
my very essence to light

Reflecting from within
brilliant red, orange and yellow
at street corners and bus stops
bending over busy streets and highways
gracing the idyllic town center
or the city parking lot
strewn with broken glass and beer bottles

Then, in perfect time
I quietly let go
to a breath of wind,
the weight of a raindrop
a sparrow’s gentle swaying on the branch
a free fall of quiet ecstasy
tumbling to the ground

--Patrice Ficken, 11.26.16

White board

Every day she writes
the day, the date
the schedule of events
to help him remember

Every day
she erases the day
watches it pass
with one, maybe two
swift strokes

there it went
another day in their life together

How many more
she wonders
as she erases another
how quickly the days of a lifetime pass

The whiteboard is blank
swept clean
her heart too it seems

Stillness in the blankness
a distant ache
for something
to be written

She stares into the space
with no particular image
or vision

Feeling into Blank
a strange sensation
of nothing in particular
and everything at once

--Patrice Ficken, 3/17/17

Black board

Hear the chalk scraping
on the black board of Life

Tapping out equations,
the universe of all possibilities

Matter and Energy
Thought and Will
exert influence
converging, merging
moving through

See how
this plus that
times this
then subtracts

Start again
more permutations
emerging, evolving

Stand and watch
Tap, tap, tap
writes the chalk
until it too disappears
worn down by time
the Eraser
leaving only film,
a trace of residue
fine chalk dust

Until there is only You
and the blank black board

the Possible
the passing of Time

solid, strong
standing on the Ground

to what is
and has always been

Infinity itself

--Patrice Ficken, March 17, 2017

Removing a Thorn Bush

Let me tell you
about all those twisted thoughts
so tangled up together
hard to tell
where one ends
and the other begins

Removing a thorn bush
I learned
only small cuts work
mid-way between thorns
to make space to grab hold of
without drawing blood

Slice and
pull free with the clippers
be careful

I learned the hard way
trying to make quick work
by grabbing hold with my hands
ouch! prick! red ooze stains my gloves
sharp thorns stuck to my sweatshirt

The struggle got personal
forced me to get real quiet inside
focused, patient
intentional with my clippers

Piece by small piece
I followed every twisted pathway
right down to the root stem

Then I took my shovel
dug it up for good

-- Patrice Ficken, June 25, 2014

Go Home, Wilder than the Road

Go home
wilder than the road
Forge new pathways
bush whack through thick brush
thorns and thistles

Feel the squeeze
the pressure of limitation
press your face
against cold, wet stone

Fall into the dark, dank cave
of misery
beg on your knees for mercy
for a ray of light

Wander alone
into the silent land
crave the slightest stirring
feel lost
for a very long time

A door appears
never where you look for it
at the dead end place
where you had lingered
lost many times before
and found nothing

This door, once a solid wall
will open
inviting you to cross the threshold

As you leave this road behind
take one last look back
to behold the beauty of your journey
the perfection of each and every step

-- Patrice Ficken, December 8, 2015