Life is more than feathers

My eight-year-old granddaughter, Elizabeth, and I were kicking back in her room and riding the drafts of imagination wherever they might fly. As this particular story unfolded, we were sitting next to her small desk and cutting up downy feathers from a craft variety pack of “stuff”. I, regrettably, was big-time antsy, a sciatic nerve challenging me to find a comfortable spot on an uncomfortable, child-sized chair. Nonetheless, I was enjoying the easy banter and the sudden twists and turns that often come when Elizabeth has taken the lead. We were cutting the feathers up into small bits, as I recall, to create a soft garment for the imaginary store we were “hired” to supply.

Well, the bag of feathers was large, and after a while, I thought that maybe we had cut enough for the purpose at hand, but she informed me that wasn’t the case, and so we continued our tedious task. A little later, again I raised the same possibility, plus maybe her room was getting a little messy, fluffy down, by then, flying everywhere I looked. I further threw in the thought that perhaps her parents would be unhappy if we cut up each and every feather she had. Not even bothering to look up at me, Elizabeth continued to cut. Finally, as we just about reached the bottom of the bag, and I had thrown out my last obsessive gambit, the philosopher in Elizabeth announced with thoughtful aplomb, “You know, Papa, life is more than feathers.” Amen, Elizabeth! Amen!

© 2014 Dennis Ference

The Dentist

(A whimsical look at the search
for the true Self with a playful nod
to Walt Whitman’s “O Captain!
My Captain!”)

O Dentist! My Dentist!
what do you see?
Tongue, teeth alone
or the very soul of me?

Peering down
that warm, dark shaft,
your mindless chatter
creates a draft.

If a captive’s cry
you hear within,
lower some floss
and rescue him.

For how he longs
to be set free
by anyone, including
the likes of thee.

© 2006 Dennis Ference

To Writers Everywhere

Do not withhold
your words from the world
out of pride or anxiety
or concern for success;
rather entrust them
to the winds of the universe
that the wings of the Spirit
may receive and enfold them
and carry them to those hearts
and minds that secretly wait for them
with unspoken need.

© 2015 Dennis Ference

Building Houses

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As far back
as anyone could remember,
the people of the town
built houses for each other,
sheds, truth be told, crafted
with the hammer of judgement
and the nails of assumed
superiority; houses too small
for a full breath, too cold
for the precociousness of hope,
secured with heavy bolts
of dark warning and fear.

Yet in this town, as in
countless towns everywhere,
lives continue to be lived,
families formed, futures built,
histories made and recorded.

Yes, but wait, you may say.
What about love?
What about compassion?
Do not lose heart, my friend,
for love, in all its guises,
gratefully knows forever,
the trick to pick our locks
and let herself in.

© 2014 Dennis Ference

The Giggles of Children

It is a sound most
sublime, rivaling
the song of angels,
the hallelujahs of temple
and church, brandishing
a power to bring
darkness to its knees,
and reminding us that
love and hope forever
flow like streams of light
through the recesses
of the heart.

© 2014 Dennis Ference

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Little Pink Sock

Little pink sock on the basement stair,
Her mother dropped you unaware
You’d remain forever split from your mate,
Kept secretly by Grandma in this captive state.

Little pink sock for her little pink toes,
Only a grandmother can really know
That this is why here you must stay:
To work your magic on those dark, lonely days.

© 2007 Dennis H. Ference (First posted on 7/31/14)

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With a Nod to Star Wars

video-game-1017856_1280~Ride together imagination’s golden rocket
and the universe can be your playground.~

Battle for the Universe

Like two frenzied birds winging
madly from wire to bush,
bush to tree, tree to window ledge,
never lighting long enough
to celebrate the sun or be blessed
by the rain—time too short, mission
too demanding: a rescue needed here,
an insurrection to quell there,
a flight to the neighboring galaxy
to stem the forces of darkness
closing in on all sides.

Each incurs wounds lethal
for the ordinary man, but these
are warriors of indomitable will;
these are heroes of mythic proportion;
this is a battle for the universe.

In the end, no final victory this day,
only a mother’s insistent dinner call,
a boy’s reluctant capitulation,
and a grandfather’s solemn
commitment to their noble cause.

© 2010 Dennis H.Ference