Love Is Not from a Distance

tree in sunset

Love is not from a distance;

up close and personal, it comes close enough

to pierce us

like an arrow through the heart, a spear.

Can we get the hook out?

Love is the unexpected baby on its way to a stone-cold world.

How did you get in there, so soon?

I will try to love you, and I will often fail.

I feel you hiding in my secret place, moving

like a white swan’s feathers (or maybe black)

brushing up against me, about to take flight

over waters of a vast lake, splashes of yellow against blue,

ripples in growing circles toward the rising sun

too bright to look at directly, creating, consuming . . .

You are not really mine; I borrow you for a time (too short).

I will hold your small hand tightly, sad to think that

maybe after yours grows big enough to break away

–you will forget me–


Love is not from a distance.

Not black letters on a glass screen, texted from a smartphone:

“I love you.”

Love is up close and personal

–often messy–

a mother’s lips against a child’s hot forehead,

her fingertip–with heal-all Mom Spit–

wiping a scraped knee,

mixing bodily fluids:

blood, sweat, tears, and so on . . .


Love is a child’s grown hand

spotted a little from the sun

–slightly wrinkled–

caressing the cheek of an old mother,


in a white bed stacked with pillows

near a window open to a sunset

orange and green,

velvet royal blue like a cape once worn

to the Renaissance Faire.


Love is kneeling before the Queen

who is guarded by men in tights and ribbons,

holding spikes and discipline and honor.

She sat on her splendent wooden throne,

carved with the two-headed eagle, crest of Spain,

her gold crown encircling red hair, bejeweled, layered

in garments beset with pearls and diamonds–

powerful yet kind, welcoming misfits.


We knelt together–you an elf princess and I a Handmaid

ready to serve, mend, repair, arrange bodices and hair.

Schedules surround the Queen, appointments, visitations,

foreigners bearing gifts like Turkish tea or Russian vodka.

I was her Timekeeper, checking my old pocket watch

–round like a circle

coming back on itself like a red Chinese dragon

eating its tail–

birth, death, and all that lies between

doomed to reset, repeat, re-enter,

yet maybe to replenish–


like the greatest Royal Gesture of love:

God come down from throne indescribable,

gold above a crystal sea and rainbows–

angel, cherubim, creatures with eyes and wings and crowns

which they cast down, singing, worshiping, timeless–

God came down from there–

an omnipotent baby knit together with human genes,

in a secret place inside a woman–

born to pain, walking with us, healing sorrows, lameness, blindness;

hands then spread against a cross of splintery wood,

–nails slicing bloodlines–

and so death passed to resurrection,

breaking the circle or enlarging it forever . . .


Love is not from a distance.  Love is Resurrection,

Yeshua baking fish for his followers

–who were radically surprised one morning–

by the Sea of Galilee.  Love offered

eternal gifts for all the Peters, Arwens, and Galadriels,

Queens and servants–beggars, bards, and soldiers

dying on far-flung fields

as they watched the sunrise,

caressed by a breeze like eternal Spirit touching their sliced-open face,

blending with their last, too-mortal breath,

before they vaulting skyward.

tree with train

If you like my poetry, please check out and review my books.







Shabbat Shalom


For #galgadot, #wonderwoman, who has been banned in many countries for being #israeli–a #poem: My little #silver #star of #david slipped off my silver neckchain. “Am I no longer #jewish?” I wondered as I kneelt to find it. As if more than 3000 years of #history could be erased, God’s ancient #prophesies#yeshua— everlasting #torah, #temple, golden #candle sticks, #jerusalem, #spirit, #blood, and #stone. I have never #stepped a foot in #israel, but it will ALWAYS be my #home. #shabbotshalom.


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Beautiful Fool


I am a beautiful fool

eyes as aquamarine against faded gold

like the ring my daughter gave me

living in my own dream world

Galadriel of the forest

giving to Arwen

pink flowers in moonlight

standing, frail, against the doom of a sorcerer

waiting for a miracle


**This is the poem my daughter Jessica wrote for me when she gave me this ring:

For My Mother
Whose Beauty Shall Forever Illuminate Through
–& Within–
My Heart
As Galadriel,
the Immortal Lighthouse
of All Forests.
My Courageous
Shall Eternally Protect
–& Reign o’er–
My Spritish Soul
with Grace Beyond
(–Perhaps Sprouted from
the Aquamarine
this Elf
Once Gave Her!)

Please buy my books, just $2.99 each, so that my dreamlife may continue in practical, unpoetic, expensive California.  Thank you, this Day after Thanksgiving, Year of our Lord 2017.

Selah Cover

Special Photo Challenge: Inspiration


My uncle Vic was a professional photographer in New York City.  My cousin Larry traveled the world, taking sportsmen photos.  Since I was a child, I held a camera in my hands, looked through a lens at the most amazing places, and snapped pictures in color and light.


I love the colors green and blue, found in natural, earthly scenes.  My inspiration comes from trees and leaves; sunlight slanting through a mountain forest; poetry; God’s great, redemptive love.


My inspiration comes from my children, my hands on their shoulders, sun on our faces, ice in dark coffee, transcient eternity like the Word made flesh to live among us–Christmas, reunion in the touch of fingertips.

You can read about what inspires me:

Weekly Writing Challenge: Metaphor and Simile

I think the best way to use metaphor is in poetry.  Shakespeare did this in his sonnets and even made his tragic plays poetic.  I wrote this little poem while a graduate student at San Diego State University and later put it into my Master’s thesis.  It tells of a moment with my older daughter Kristen, when she was a little girl in my back yard.  Now she is grown, with her own family.  I wonder if she remembers.


I thought it was a blossom,

red against the gray branch.

I saw it move; the warbling

no louder than the voice of wind

became a tune.  It sang;

its beak like needles parting,

its face a scarlet mask–

a Chinese actor’s, horned

and dragon-like against the scales

of its green breast.  My daughter came

as I was watching; silent,

her head tipped upward,

eyes like blue cups

for filling.  We stood, my hand

upon her hair, and listened

to the high-pitched call

of the hummingbird

in the first bare boughs of spring.


Life is transient–as a child stays young, as a hummingbird hovers for a moment on a flower or an open hand.  A metaphor makes one thing become another.  A simile makes one thing like another.

You can read more of my poems on my website:



Sonnet: “The Beating Wings”

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Solitary (Close)

Here is a close-up of the same white egret which stood in the waters of Milford Sound, New Zealand. My daughter Jessica, who paused at the water’s edge and watched the scene with me, loves birds. She lives in California now, while I teach English in Turkey.  She just turned 20 and studies languages such as Arabic and Spanish. I miss her and am writing my way back for a visit!  Turkey is half a world away from California, about as far away as New Zealand . . .

Here’s a poem I wrote about a girl, dying of cancer, who also loved birds:

“The Beating Wings”

(for Kristen

who died of leukemia

at age 12)

She sat, a scarecrow in a slit-back gown:

Trans lucent skin, her fingers stretched like nails.

She reached to me beside the silver rails.

And when she turned, her head bobbed up and down;

The blood shone on her teeth, like web spun ’round.

The thread, that pain, it wrapped her eyes–once pale–

And pupils swallowed blue in one dark veil.

I watched–she seemed to speak–there was no sound.

Kristen, I remember when we saw the birds

In cases, stuffed, their eyes unblinking glass;

An egret, its wings like crystal, seemed to rise.

You spoke its name, I leaned to catch the word;

It was yourself you called–Oh, you flew past–

I saw the beating wings behind your eyes.


From my true cancer survival book, Crossing the Chemo Room.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Style

“The Bard and I”

Shakespeare influenced my writing the most.  In graduate school, I stood in front of my poetry class and spoke Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” speech and wished I, as a woman, looked more like the Danish prince.  The next summer, I went to Cambridge University in England to study Shakespeare’s comic and tragic plays (I always liked the tragedies better).  I’ll never forget watching a local live production of “Othello” at a manor house that had stood when Shakespeare walked in England.  I hope the Bard’s amazing use of meter and rhyme found its way into the poetry of my Master’s thesis.  I know it found its way into my prose.  I love to mix poetry into my novels.  Here is an example from my new book “Fire and Ice”:


My daughter Jessica dressed as an English princess

I fell in love with England.  I fell in love with the people who took themselves so seriously and loved to wear uniforms.  I let a policeman (bobby) kiss me; he wore a domed black hat with silver badge and a jacket tailored like Sherlock Holmes’.  I met him in a pub by the river, when my English hostess babysat my children so I could have a night out.  He carried a billy club upon his belt but had no handgun.  He held me in his arms beside the river, and I felt sheltered for a moment, far from home, a woman who had not been embraced for months.  I felt the rough texture of his jacket’s tweed, the bristle of his beard.  I smelled the ale upon his breath, heard the call of a night bird across the water, tasted my own salty tears . . .  He wanted to do more than kiss me, but I said no, I had gone too far already while my pilot husband risked his life somewhere in the vast Pacific.

I fell in love with that English language, so different from the American version I had learned, laced with music in the lilting tones and words like porridge and dandelion.  I watched Othello performed by a local troupe, outside a manor house that stood when Shakespeare lived.  The tragic tale of love so strong it killed, spoken in poetry that I had flown far to hear, echoed in the last words of the innocent wife he strangled out of jealousy:

“That death’s unnatural that kills for loving. 

Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip? 

Some bloody passion shakes your very frame: 

These are portents; but yet I hope, I hope, 

They do not point on me.”

And then, after Othello strangled Desdemona and realized she had never been unfaithful to him, just before he stabbed himself with his own sword, he lamented:

“ . . . then must you speak 

Of one that loved not wisely but too well; 

Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought 

Perplex’d in the extreme; of one whose hand, 

Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away 

Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes, 

Albeit unused to the melting mood, 

Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees 

Their medicinal gum . . .”

Oh, I did not realize at the time how much my life would parallel Othello’s.  I only smiled at lovely words, their tragedy escaping me as I gathered the hands of my children and whisked them away on the train to Yorkshire.


Read the rest of my story here:


“Woman on a Cliff” (poem)

“Woman on a Cliff”

I am a woman standing on a cliff.

Wind rises from below,

from the dark and far crevasse.

Upon my face and hair it sings

blowing out my scarf like wings.

I cannot see the bottom of the cliff.

Rocks and slopes and trees

reach down in shades of gray and green.

And if they form a bridge

they stay unseen.

But I’m not frightened now

to stand here at this dizzy height.

I look up to the Summit where

the clouds half cover crystal peaks

and sunrise turns the snow to light.

I am a woman standing on a cliff.

At any time my feet could slip

and pull me fast

upon the razor tip.

But, oh, the view!

The view is worth the coldest risk.


A poem I wrote after surviving non-hodgkins lymphoma, stage 4, when my son was just a baby.  He is now 17.

From “I Saw You in the Moon” (Survival Stories, Book 2):


“The Beating Wings” (poem)

“The Beating Wings”

(for Kristen

who died of leukemia

at age 12)

She sat, a scarecrow in a slit-back gown:

Trans lucent skin, her fingers stretched like nails.

She reached to me beside the silver rails.

And when she turned, her head bobbed up and down;

The blood shone on her teeth, like web spun ’round.

The thread, that pain, it wrapped her eyes–once pale–

And pupils swallowed blue in one dark veil.

I watched–she seemed to speak–there was no sound.

Kristen, I remember when we saw the birds

In cases, stuffed, their eyes unblinking glass;

An egret, its wings like crystal, seemed to rise.

You spoke its name, I leaned to catch the word;

It was yourself you called–Oh, you flew past–

I saw the beating wings behind your eyes.


From my Master’s thesis and my true cancer survival book, “Crossing the Chemo Room.”


Let Freedom Ring! Short Quotes (aka poetry)

In some countries, under the veil of censorship, black market books abound. People must be free to pick their books!

Censorship exists where truth is feared.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” And then He invited people to follow him, fully respecting their right to choose.

One door shuts, another opens–such a better view than the first!

I didn’t know what freedom was until I lived in a place where there wasn’t really freedom.

Freedom clearly calls, “You have a choice!!” Oppression gives people free refrigerators and iPads while slowly taking away their choices.

Some dictators shoot their people in the streets. Others shut their people in prisons, hoping the world does not notice.

The worst kind of evil is that which pretends to be good, tolerant, unprejudiced–while secretly destroying those who disagree with it.

Truth does not need to be defended. A lie, always insecure, will force itself upon people.

So many journalists risk their lives to tell the truth!

Let Freedom Ring!  One clear sound, a silver bell struck once—not blaring all day long on a loudspeaker.

Truth is often silent, speaking to the heart.

Censorship is alive and well in Turkey.  When will they come and silent me?  I am applying for Alaskan jobs!

I am close to the Middle East.  People all around me are crying out for freedom.  They are tired of religious and political oppression.

History proves that dictators, dynasties, empires—do not stand forever.  The proud do not see their coming doom.

Even the stately building will someday fall, stone upon stone of castle wall.

We all seek a revelation, lighthouse blazing down on our dark path.

I seek a cottage at the end of my dark-wood way:  windows lit, fireplace blazing by a cup of tea, and a friend to whom I tell my journey.

I wished for a golden ring upon my path, but I found flowers.  Which is more valuable?

God’s Good News is simple, so a child could understand, yet men have written volumes of books about it.