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

Suffering

In these later years I’ve tried
for a transparent relationship
with suffering—
surely I don’t desire it
nor do I yet fully accept it
but for now at least
I make an effort
to ride with it
without passing it on
to all who share my space.

© 2015 Dennis Ference

Self-Awareness

Do not confuse
self-criticism with self-awareness.
They both may dare to engage the shadow,
but the former, if not tempered by love,
may fuel guilt and self-loathing.
The latter, a child of grace,
aids in our enlightenment
and the birth of compassion
for ourselves and others.

© 2015 Dennis Ference

Right Questions

For most of my life
I left no stone unturned
in my quest for right answers.
I wonder now what might have been
had I known from the start
to embrace and passionately
live the right questions.

© 2015 Dennis Ference

Building Houses

cabins-255705_1280

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