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

Doubts

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We wear our doubts
about our worth
like a heavy back pack
of unsympathetic stones
forcing us to bend body and soul
to balance the burden of its weight
as we press forward to carry on.

So used to this merciless load
do we become that we forget
we were not born with it
and that it’s possible
to undo the bindings
and lay it down
at the sacred altar
of God’s love.

© 2015 Dennis Ference

One Afternoon with Lily

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One afternoon, she
named me “Popsidoodle,”
and I wondered out loud
where that had come from.
But she just giggled and
told me, “Hold still, Popsidoodle,”
’cause she had to put one more
barrette in my hair.

She’s my first grandchild, you know,
and I had long since forgotten
how to say “no” to big,
saucered, four-year-old eyes.

So I crawled under the table
about a dozen times that day and
dutifully whinnied while being
led from the “barn.” I consumed
scores of imaginary tacos,
drove a fleet of fanciful limos,
and surrendered meekly as she
dressed me again and again
in ways that would tickle a clown

And at afternoon’s end,
when I lifted her to my chest,
crooned a smokey version
of “Rubber Ducky”
and danced her to sleep,
I smiled and decided:
there must be a “Popsidoodle”
roosting somewhere
deep inside us all.

© 2006 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

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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