Friday, February 28, 2014


 Watching this mega snow-blower thinking; Dear Summer...

Someday you’ll tumble through wide-open windows
Filling our laughter with sparkle and sun
Spilling your pink petal-mirth on the meadows
Where now a sonnet of snowflake is spun

Someday the highway will wind like a ribbon
…ebony shimmer of dreams to the sky
Come, gentle wind, won’t you hearken our bidding?
Lavish the air with a warm lullaby

Someday the front porch will wear kool-aid kisses
Now it is frozen in winter respite
While we dream of things the summer-heart misses
Lost in an ocean of white over white

Someday we’ll fling back these cold, frozen sashes
Thrill to the trill of your long-waited charms
While reveling in golden warmth as it splashes
Over the windowsill into our arms

© Janet Martin

Blue-collar Heroes

 Hydro One Repairs - Ice Storm

Blue-collar brave-hearts
They’ve got no medals
No badges on their
Coat-sleeves or lapels
Working class warrior
Seeking no glory
Fighting life’s battle
And doing it well
Obscure battalion
Work-force deployment
Wielding their armor
Of steering-wheel, cart
Low-dollar hero
Invisible valor
Witnessed by One
As they give from the heart
Courageous convoy
Gallant and glorious
Punching the clock
While nobody applauds
Silently sacrificing
Over and over
Second-mile soldiers because
This is love
Blue-collar brave-hearts
They’ve got no medals
No black-tie gala
Or work-hand trophy
Working class heroes
 The pulse of a nation
Fighting the battles
Of life faithfully

© Janet Martin

This is a modified re-post going out esp. for those on our winter highways and streets; patrols, truck-drivers, bus-drivers, crossing-guards, post and parcel delivery,snow-removal crews,hydro-workers and everyone trying to get to work on time!

Hang in there and Thank-you to our invisible heroes!

This Roller-coaster Rubric

Record highs and record lows
This will be the way of dust
But in spite of ebb and flows
Fear seeks faith; in God we trust

Sequences of rise-and-fall
Roller-coaster rendezvous
Surge-receding madrigal
Hallelujahs rival blues  

Gold and gray perplexing skies
Hearts weep as we hold-let-go
Still we scan our sweep of sighs
Count our blessings, not our woe

Season-rubrics vexes sod
Step by step we test its dust
Clinging to a changeless Rod
As we go; in God we trust

© Janet Martin

This morning the news speaks of record lows in temperatures and record highs coming for gas prices…We look up; in God we trust.
A slow warm-up will not be a bad thing; without it they predict drastic flooding.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thursday Thoughts on Things Unknown

So many things uncertain, unknown
But one thing we know;
‘There’s no place like home’.

(Just had an e-mail letting us know Dad came home tonight. He was picked up this morning, came through an awful storm to find the roads closed to their home so they(mom and dad) went to my brother’s house until this evening. As he was leaving the hospital a nurse smiled at Dad and said he has the ‘breaking free’ smile. I’m sure tonight home is even sweeter though he rested well at Dave and Karen’s house.)


If we dwell on thunder-clouds that might unfold
We miss every joy-drop of mercy we hold


We cannot see beyond the moment slipping through our touch
Treasure, taste and reverence it, then leave the rest to God


Yesterday is over
Tomorrow; a maybe
Today is almost
A memory


Fear is a mountain
Dread is a stone
Faith is our foothold
Into its Unknown


Disappointment is always a present-past thing
Unknown is the hope to which we cling


We all are students
In the school of life
We didn’t know yesterday
What we do tonight


If I knew all I wished I knew
Of things Unknown and hidden
Then I know that what I know
I’d likely wish I didn’t


It is better to work with what we know
Than worry about what we don’t
Some things in time their proof will show
And some…I hope they won’t


If all that was left is what we know
Anticipation would lose its glow


How far the Unknown goes, who knows?
But this we know for sure
One life, one death, then the God we chose
Our soul-place will secure

© Janet Martin

Winter Evening and Other Things...

Piano notes clunk, plunk ripple and trill
Earth is refurbished with winter-white chill
Kettle is humming and ready for tea
Tomorrow hovers with its mystery

Dinner is over and daytime is too
Dusk drops its cover in frigid gray-blue
Today tucks memories into its fold
Tomorrow never tells what it will hold

Windows are dappled with icy chagrin
Outside the blackness of night settles in
Media repeats latest news-events
Tomorrow’s secrecy never relents

Retrospect ponders, wind wanders dark wood
Bible reminds us that still God is good
Telephone rings, we put dishes away
Tomorrow waits to become our today

© Janet Martin

We were discussing just now how it is good we don’t know what a day will bring…Who knew dawn-semi-calm would result in an all-day blizzard!?

Winter Warm-up

Put a log upon the hearth
Put a toddy in your mug
Come, let's watch wild winter's mirth
By the firelight on this rug

Put a slow song on the air
Let that blue wind seethe and whine
It is not too cold, my dear
With your whispers touching mine

Put an hour on the clock
Hang your robe where minutes fuss
Winter cannot break the lock
There is no one here...but us

Snow is cold but love is warm
Put a smile upon your lips
Ah, methinks I sense a storm
Not of flakes but fingertips


Simple the Middle of Winter

…to sit upon a sun-beamed hill
And never need to move until
My cup of tea needs a re-fill

…to watch Old Winter’s bully breed
Drip, drip until spring’s sanguine seed
From Mother Earth’s dark womb is freed

…to use forgotten words like ‘spade’
And ‘gardening’ and ‘lemonade’
And ‘30 Celsius in shade’

…to hear the flap of flip-flop feet
To see noon ripple in the heat
Beneath calm, cumulus cloud-fleet

…or, just to sit upon May's hill
And listen to the lauding trill
Of morning-dove and daffodil

© Janet Martin

Ballad of Br-r-r-r

From this...

to this...

...within an hour!

Waist-deep stripped maples are rooted in white
Day-silence broken by stiff, creaking limb
Combing the air for sweet, softer respite
Naught do they find but a gale, grey and grim
Over a landscape of freshly-frothed cold
Dawn draws brief shadows in shivering gold…

We dream of green, not to pocket or spend
But that of carpets rolled out to the sky
When will the snow-dregs their last tiding send?
They spill fresh flurries in frigid reply
Combat is timid save for chimney flute
But the wind scorns its anemic dispute

Jack Frost has show-cased his art over-time
Though once he startled and awed still-life plot  
Now, how we covet the zeal of a rhyme
Dappled with violet and forget-me-not
Sallow sun bleeds through bleak, boreal blue
Before snarling storm snuffs its wick from our view

Where is the ballad of brook-song and bloom?
Where the affections of sun-kissed caress?
Is there a balm for this ice-stricken tomb?
Will gentle zephyr stroke Hope’s budded tress?
But as we reach out with numb finger-tips
Wild Old Man Winter roughly kisses our lips

© Janet Martin

Without a Kiss

How oft you come to me
And ring the morning bell
Then just as oft you slip away
Without a kiss farewell

You reach across the dark
To draw its veil ajar
Then soon it seems, soft you dissolve
Behind the evening star

I never can foretell
What nuances you bear
Or how your Master will design
The colors that you wear

But ever faithfully
Each morning you appear
To satisfy the waking hour
With laughter, song and tear

Then just as faithfully
As overhead the sky
Deepens, soft, soft you disappear
Without a kiss good-bye

© Janet Martin

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

We Love our Boys...

We love our boys.
Their noise,
Their toys,
Their vim,
Their grin,
Mother’s joys

Yes, we love our boys.
Be it
Mischief or
Mirth unfurled
A boy is surely
God’s smile
To the world

We love our boys.
…tomorrow’s men
And as those shoes
They don
I pray within them still
A little bit of boy
Lives on…

© Janet Martin

Matt loves to tease...his sister and his mother;)

(yesterday after school)  Matt; Hey Mom, what was the celery for in my lunch?

Mom; To eat.

Of Knowing and Seeking...

Lord, may it never be enough
To know You love me so
But keen my heart to seek You, Lord
In spite of what I know

Oh Lord, make me to hunger
Even as You fill my need
Lest I grow lax and simply feed
To satisfy my greed

My Lord, I know You promise
You will uphold the weak
Oh, do not make me strong enough
That I no longer seek

© Janet Martin

The Way of Life

Honey, we cannot force the road that leads through circumstance
Nor rearrange the love songs written in its bitter gale
The way of life is not a highway flung from fate or chance
But ever runs through fingers of a Hand that will not fail

Who knows what lies beyond the blush of morning’s waking hour?
The paradise of fortune is a fragile house of sand
The way of life will dip and curve through thorny field and flower
Beneath its winding Unknown spreads love’s faithful nail-scarred Hand

How hard would be this journey but for hope beyond the grave
How putrid were life’s prize if at death’s door it fell away
The way of life unfolds and we its offering must brave
But ever still a higher Hand cradles both gold and gray

Uncertainty is Wisdom’s gift that draws our boast to prayer
Honey, we cannot sidestep or desist the miles to come
The way of life is not a footloose free-fall to nowhere
But leads to where we’ll touch the Hands that led us safely Home

© Janet Martin

 Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is; then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls...Jer.6:16

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kindred Souls

To touch you in this way,
To feel you there…somewhere
Beyond my window-pane, we meet
And scale hope’s common stair

The passion of a poem
Is like no other rush
Save for the artist as he spills
Thought-oceans from his brush

There are no walls out here
Let blood and ink collide
We stroll the star-strung atmosphere
And trace its turbid tide

For we are kindred souls
As heart to heart we’re held
Within the motion of a poem
Where ink and music meld

© Janet Martin

Soon Time Forgets

Dusk like a gentle mother
Gathers the day to her breast
Tucking its remnant blue blanket
‘Round little dying day’s nest

Somewhere by firelight flicker
Mothers and children play
Before bedtime stories and lullabies
Whisper frayed fragments away

Soft, like the notes of a ballad
Dripping from ethereal holds
Twilight falls over the planet
Deeper and deeper it folds

Soon time forgets this blue hour
Soon morning ruffles the air
But now, like a gentle mother
Dusk folds its fringes in prayer

© Janet Martin

Bluer and bluer dusk covers the day...

Fresh February Wishes

Ah, fill my cup with summer’s gold
These lips are numb from drinking cold
And let the blue unmingled be
With naught but sun-diamonds on sea

Then let this winter-land delight
To be shaken from robes of white
I yearn to join the eager child
Splashing through green with wonder wild

Glad, unencumbered, let it be
As river-madrigal runs free
Breathe soft into the sleeping dell
Tickle the ice-encased blue-bell

Ah, transform slope to sterling show  
Sweet sunshine, warm away our woe
And if it’s not too much to ask
Please, put some petals in your flask

Unfold upon the cheerless sky
Lilting of lark and butterfly
Stir within earth’s love-laden womb
Every bud waiting there to bloom

…and fill uplifted cups with gold
Long, long we’ve drunk these draughts of cold
Then end our season-suffering
Let every chalice brim with spring

© Janet Martin

I didn’t get any response from the sky so far; only the wind puffing snow-swirls ‘cross the field, so I pour a cup of ‘fresh’ mint tea with leaves we harvested last summer.

If We Must...

Perhaps it would be better not to be a writer, but if you must, then write. If it all feels helpless, if that famous ‘inspiration’ will not come, write. If you are a genius, you’ll make your own rules, but if not—and the odds are against it—go to your desk, no matter what your mood, face the icy challenge of the paper—write.
~ J.B. Priestly

If we must…and yes, it seems we must
Persuade into a pen thought’s scraped from dust
Or siphoned from the air, life’s filigree
Of moment quick-fall sealed in poetry

The care of circumstance cleaves to our skin
Seeking to weigh our hands with living’s din
And yet, it seems we’re driven to a stage
Reserved for suffering with pen and page

We paper rooms with echoes; silence swells
With notes the aching throat and heart regales
But restless is that ever-thirsting yen
Until we fill and spill the poet’s pen

If we must…and yes, it seems we must
Spell out thought’s burning, yearning wanderlust
Oh wretched, blessed bliss to beggars born
To live somewhere twixt pulse and parchment torn

© Janet Martin

Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Resting Place


In greater, gentler hands
Our little life is held
Therefore we need not fear nor fret
As sands and seasons meld

Beyond our craving clutch
The numbering of days
Is cradled in a Father’s touch
And guarded ‘neath His gaze

Ah, blessed resting place
Beneath this turbid clime
Abides in unwavering grace
The hand that measures Time

© Janet Martin

Someone just asked about my dad and I told her he was moved out of ICU yesterday but they are keeping close watch on a blood clot in his lungs (the reason he can’t get the oxygen he needs). I’m glad he is held in Hands much bigger than ours.

On Looking Back...

Heart-pangs of pain and pleasure clash
For feet can never run
To touch once more the gilded sash
Of past that time has spun

How subtle is the silver sweep
Of moments as they flow
Futile the fold of fist to keep
What Time cannot bestow

…but every now and then it seems
We wander down its track
To linger in its lost daydreams
As we stand, looking back

The way of life runs ever to
The setting of the sun
No returning to exchange hues
Of day when it is done

Time’s moment-mercy ruthlessly
Inhales life’s quickened hour
Reminding us mortality
Is brief as grass or flower

The trails of retrospect compete
With echoes fierce and tender
See how the dueling bittersweet
Falls in sun-shadow splendor

Heart pangs of pain and pleasure merge
A surge of want and wonder
Yet even now new moments splurge
To satisfy Time's hunger

© Janet Martin

O memory! Thou midway world
‘Twixt earth and paradise
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise 

Abraham Lincoln…from the poem Memory

February Fantasies...(tweaked re-post from a year ago today)

It would be fine to wander and squander
A dew-drenched, daisy-strewn dazzling new day
And fritter the glitter of freshly-hung moments
Into the nonchalant meadows of May

It would be grand to guilt-freely amble
Through giddy violet-for-get-me-not dell
Heedless of hours wielding a grim gavel
Over the vagrant and fragrant spring swell

It would be splendid to soak in sun-puddles
Teased by a zephyr with sassy-sweet mouth
Splashed with potion wrought by April’s ocean
Dancing with vagabond winds from the south

It would be sweet to languish in bare feet
Appeasing and pleasing fancy’s wanderlust
With treasure of pleasure in middle-May measure
Teasing our traipsing through daydreams of dust

It would be thrilling if mornings were willing
To pause in the spilling of Jack Frosted glow
Then dangle a spangle of spring-ribbon tangles
Or float on the froth of pink apple-bloom snow

Somewhere the splendor of buds, buxom, tender
Startles the drifter on his footloose way
We cannot hurry winter’s fretting flurry
Every February must first have its day
© Janet Martin

Monday, February 24, 2014

Of Lines, Learning and Loving

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Prov 22:6

There is a line we cannot see
Dividing weak from strong
It is a making, breaking thread
That line twixt right and wrong

...and every little boy and girl
Should earnestly be taught
About the line that first unfurls
Somewhere within our thought

Temptation is a wily chain
It dangles easily
Easing our feet across that main
Twixt right and wrong, you see

There is a line ignored by fools
And reverenced by wise
It runs a firm unbending rule
Between God's truth and lies

Pity the child who is not shown
Humble obedience
But must discover all alone
The road to consequence

Love teaches, trains and motivates
With Discipline's kind coach
For right and wrong are more than traits
Earning praise or reproach

The nature we are born with yearns
For pleasant things and fine
Blessed and best is He who learns
The truth about this line

...for this line runs along life's road
Between safety and snare
And life is more than bad or good
Oh traveler; beware

 Janet Martin

A building needs a foundation to stand,
A tree needs roots.
What happens to a child if we take both root and foundation away?


Someday, not very far away
As we recall the hours
We’ll smile as happily we say,
‘Today I planted flowers’

© Janet Martin

Mercy's Perpetual Providence

‘If I could turn back time’, she said
‘I’d return to that place’
But moments do not reimburse
Or barter with their grace

Mercy’s perpetual providence
Moments; brief yet benign
And only in our looking back
Do we see their design

How miniscule the offering seems
In tick-tock allotment
How easily Time spills its reams
Without acknowledgement

But oh, the tempo of that tide
When gathered in the past
Returns oft to remind us how
Moments slip by so fast

‘If I could turn back time’, she said
‘I’d return to that place’
Oh, treasure carefully the Now
Ere new moments give chase

© Janet Martin

My daughter lost a friend she knew briefly and oh, so dearly! They counseled together at camp for 3 weeks and kept in touch through letters. Yesterday this girl’s life of up-hill moments ended tragically and far too soon!
In her Facebook tribute to Jess, Melissa used the words, ‘if I could turn back Time and return to that place’…

This poem spoke to me today...

May Riley Smith (1842?–1927)
SOMETIME, when all life’s lessons have been learned,
  And sun and stars forevermore have set,
The things which our weak judgments here have spurned,
  The things o’er which we grieved with lashes wet,
Will flash before us, out of life’s dark night,       
  As stars shine most in deeper tints of blue;
And we shall see how all God’s plans are right,
  And how what seems reproof was love most true.

And we shall see how, while we frown and sigh,
  God’s plans go on as best for you and me;       
How, when we called, he heeded not our cry,
  Because his wisdom to the end could see.
And e’en as prudent parents disallow
  Too much of sweet to craving babyhood,
So God, perhaps, is keeping from us now       
  Life’s sweetest things, because it seemeth good.

And if sometimes, commingled with life’s wine,
  We find the wormwood, and rebel and shrink,
Be sure a wiser hand than yours or mine
  Pours out this potion for our lips to drink.       
And if some friend we love is lying low,
  Where human kisses cannot reach his face,
Oh, do not blame the loving Father so,
  But wear your sorrow with obedient grace!

And you shall shortly know that lengthened breath       
  Is not the sweetest gift God sends his friend,
And that, sometimes, the sable pall of death
  Conceals the fairest bloom his love can send.
If we could push ajar the gates of life,
  And stand within, and all God’s workings see,       
We could interpret all this doubt and strife,
  And for each mystery could find a key.

But not to-day. Then be content, poor heart!
  God’s plans like lilies pure and white unfold.
We must not tear the close-shut leaves apart,       
  Time will reveal the calyxes of gold.
And if, through patient toil, we reach the land
  Where tired feet, with sandals loosed, may rest,
When we shall clearly know and understand,
  I think that we will say, “God knew the best!”

Air-brushed Perfection

 After the potpourri of weather we had at the end of last week one can ski for literally miles on works of unframed art!

How fondly He must move the sky
To know what thus ensues
As wind and rain and snow and sun
Earth’s dormant dell imbues

This canvas blooms with raw design
Original and rare
Where elements and God align
His brush, nothing but air

He startles slopes with naught but thought
Should I remove my shoes?
To tread these master-pieces wrought
Of silvers, whites and blues?

We cannot dream such works as this…
Free-falling filigree
In swirling, twirling twist of mist
Earth touts His majesty

…and we like daily strangers come
To marvel at His thought
Where handiwork of season-song
Spills to man’s plebeian plot

Our labor, clad with common care
Dons a divine purport
We serve the One who moves the air
In grand, un-fathomed art

© Janet Martin

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mercy's Door

Above our heads sky-glory spreads
And we can never comprehend
The height and depth and breadth of it
Like God’s great love which has no end

Cradle of moon and stars and sun
Canvas of morning, noon and night
We imitate but cannot paint
The fullness of its dark and light

Above its fathoms hangs a door
From it a loving Savior knocks
Upon our heart; His voice implores
Lest we wait past the tick of clocks

Above our heads His goodness weeps
In grace unmeasured and unbound
Oh, how He longs that we should seek
While grace and pardon may be found

Heaven’s free offering, an ark
Beckoning from Time’s transient shore
Ah, pity he who pounds the dark
After God closes Mercy’s Door

© Janet Martin

Time is like a gracious ark
God's mercy is its door
Heed the invitation 'come'
...soon time will be no more!