Taking Walks

When once I chose to ruminate

today I will stroll,

a will to know

to see to wonder.

In winter and in summer

we might spring forward with a passion

rather than

fall upon our sword.

There is a certain beauty in that,

to know suddenly the benefit of

a spatial fascination.

Might be the wood?

Perhaps a city street

teeming with populace

while you and I share observation

hands held, our world alive.


©️Thom Amundsen 3/2021

Last Night In Shadows

I waited outside criss crossed windows

anticipating her,

our lives together

like always, we were meant to be here.

She rounded the banister, bedtime linens flowing in the darkness

a light behind would shine her soul

such is the beauty of a woman in love in a twilight.

Her smile lit up the night,

this anticipation I watched her hands open locks

she would hold a key that meant,

yes, you do sweet reckoning my heart will stir.

I thought to myself in this quiet night

have I ever been, could I, is it possible,

this delightful moment is the first time I have experienced love.

I felt unsorted, like in a dream

all the significant moments of mystery might blend

until waking would I see her with me, next to me,

our hearts will intermingle now,

and as I do watch you rest so peacefully by my side,

I know in the immediacy,

I am your caregiver for life.

For while the world around us may continue to confuse,

we can in each other’s eyes know our truths leave others blind.


© Thom Amundsen 3/2021

This Thing We Call Love

I remember a long time ago, I wrote a little piece about John Lennon, the day he was killed and the newspaper printed it. I was 20 at the time, and it was simple, ‘Guns don’t kill people, people do’ and I couldn’t really take credit for something the world was repeating to itself over and over in the mass confusion of such a loss. I remember his second album was coming out – he was talking about 40 being his next life, just published ‘Double Fantasy’ and it spoke of saving relationships with one common denominator – that was love.

My mother saw my letter to the editor and cut it out and put it on the refrigerator. To me that was an honor and I felt loved by her actions. To me that has always been what love is, not something expected but just what happens in our lives. I think in my family my children and I would say to each other and their mother, ‘I love you’ to finish conversations on the telephone. I remember one time recalling we did it so often it would glaring if one day we did not, and so I maintained the tradition, we all did, until later on in life it became a question in our minds. Suddenly name value didn’t have as much impact.

One day when I was 20 years old, I worked in an intake office and took phone calls and directed them to the psych units I worked with, and the phone rang, I answered and the voice on the other end said ‘I love you’ and hung up. I remember being so touched it gave me a tear. I had really never felt that kind of love before and here was a young woman whom I was falling in love with just chose the moment, hung up and probably smiled as much as I did the rest of that day.

So how do we define love today? I suppose it doesn’t have to be ritual as much as it needs a genuine appeal. I recently came across something about a friend that caused me some judgment, a place I don’t often like to go because it makes me feel shallow. The truth is though, I wanted to know and the only way I could is if I asked her directly, and then my greatest fear would be her rejection. So how do we define love? We don’t.

We simply allow love to happen in our lives, and then smiles and light in our eyes become real.


© Thom Amundsen 12/5/2020

Friends Will Reach

I have had a few tough days. It is funny how quickly I can sometimes fall into what my mother would often call a low when her diabetes was out of balance. My lows aren’t the result of diabetes, not by any stretch. But I do have them, and I sometimes wish they didn’t exist at all. Of late, I’ve written about these moments directly rather than dancing around with a solemn poem, or a telling sonnet, or some way of making life seem more tenable with selective word choice.

Tonight I got a call from a friend. She said she’d read my stuff lately and she felt like she might want to check in on me. She’s pretty sharp, she knows patterns, she knows me very well. I was grateful on a number of accounts. One I was in a state of mind to take her call. We talked for some time, shared our stories of isolation with Covid, and the need to recognize that everyone is dealing with a similar energy, though as well, everyone handles it differently.

There are people I miss in my life. Dear friends I am no longer in touch with for a variety of reasons, none of which I can even explain to myself. That said, I have to understand that I need to look at these moments as an opportunity rather than a reason for tragedy. I worry about things far more than I would wish to admit.

Recently, my cousin’s husband was in a near death accident. He didn’t want to place himself in that position when he woke that morning. It just happened, and God let him live. I think about that sometimes, how we have a choice, and yet we don’t have a choice. I think the latter is far more healthy to live by rather than believing we are in control of our own destiny. I think as long as we continue to understand how certain truths work in our lives, life can become easier.

People we care about are getting sick and testing positive with Covid. We have questions about whether the increased testing is causing the alarming numbers to rise, but then at the same time, the illness that occurs with those afflicted is real and not overstated. So many circumstances in life today are filled with confusion, and there is only one thing we can do about it, act upon every measure we can to maintain our safety and that of all of those around us.

A friend showed me an act of kindness tonight that really did mean the world to me. My life is good, I cannot argue that – the last ten months have been filled with so much change and so much need for growth, I can’t help be grateful for the people I do know that without seeing directly still carry the same compassionate energy we all do when we are next to each other rather than spaced by social distancing. We can still be kind. We can still love no matter the distance in our hearts, in our world.

I think the essence of love is truly knowing there is a spiritual basis to how we live our lives. The more we hide behind the demons and the fear of own woe, the less chance we have to appreciate a soft snow that exists outside my window as I finish my words here.

I have Pachelbel playing in the background, and it is soothing to imagine where and when that song came into my life. I was just 20 years old and in a scene from ‘Ordinary People’ Timothy Hutton is humming it as he walks through a cemetery on his way home from school. He is exploring a new life, and has fallen in love. It was a poignant moment that is always with me, a sort of I can overcome this vulnerability if I just listen and think about that which I love.

I personally love when I feel there is a kind word for everyone in our lives.


© Thom Amundsen 11/2020

Finding Streams

Go home and write

a page tonight

Let that page come out of you –

then it will be true                      -Langston Hughes


I ask them all to do it,

my students

wide eyed or sleepy

take these words and let them become yours,

tell us (me) about you,

what are you like?

what makes you tick?

pour out your life into a few lines on a piece of paper,

and then it will be true,

well, it is supposed to be because

that’s what I

the teacher

expect of you.

But is it me,

the teacher,

do I really know what I am asking,

do I get it,

asking her, him, them

to open up their lives

to my eyes on a piece of paper,

to share their soul and what they could believe,

much like the student

did living in Harlem,

going to an all white college

in the fifties,

and yet, that’s what he did,

his life over yours

over my own.

We all do have these lives we live,

no one really understands why,

just go forward,

have the better smile,

means more than the better ride,

well if it is sincere,

oh to be so genuine,

in a society like,

like this one,

we all still struggle to understand.


© Thom Amundsen 9/2020

The Mechanics of Time

A manner of words will carry weight

for the listener

far more likely than that speaker

for whom the end never arrives.

 

There is a wisdom in the quiet –

when will we ever understand difficulty

is far beyond

a matter of chosen explanation.

 

Might we sacrifice peace of mind

too often

rather than finding a way to live

accepting thoughtful compromise.

 

Certainly one cannot fathom

a notion of defense

would overcome the deceit apparent

is fraudulent dialogue.

 

A communication designed around time

and history,

once revered in a clocked day

become weeks of truth.

 

Days begin weeks become months

the years fly by,

and yet words once shared

do now become a travesty of time.

 

We are in the throes of this ‘human condition’

tossed about like pawns by our own volition.

© Thom Amundsen 8/2020

 

 

Misplace Design

We believe we are,

a contemporary to what once seemed

a regularity,

yet we cannot seem to get past

the truth.

 

Do you, we, can everyone

feel it in the moment,

when we least desire to be noticed,

that fear returns,

always knocking on our door.

 

This thing about love,

when least expected,

human beings crossed paths,

in the eyes of hate we fail

no longer knowing how to feel.

 

Pull back and reject that moment,

travel on,

find a newer horizon,

funny thing though,

there might appear on your doorstep.

 

A quiet tear will always remain when unrequited

certain love becomes contained in societal fare.


© Thom Amundsen 5/2020

inspired by Joy Williams – Front Porch – 2019

 

Silence is a Forest

Listen to the birds singing in spring
Hear the cello at home in between

Each memory
Each moment

A song we could create in melody
If only the world not live parody
Such is the mendacity of our time
When still is beauty yet sublime

Each moment
Each memory

If in the midst of a traveled rhyme
We shut out a neighbor is a crime,
Only preserve that moment, oh 9/11
Restoration, is love in sweet Heaven

Each memory
Each moment

Now in wood, in silence find our Zen
A patch of forest heart and soul then
Speaks fond of a once nostalgic liberty
We would may always grasp this reality

Oh to know the sound a certain bird will
Sweet a peace of mind, distant cello still


©️ Thom Amundsen 4/2020

Stepping Away

Many times in my life,

have I stepped away,

taken a breather,

had my hand forced …

yet, when does the time come when we can

honestly say,

the choice is my own

for me to decide

in some sort of even way,

not a hostile arrangement,

by any means,

so out of character,

would be defiance and doom and gloom.

 

Stepping away

would ask for only a settlement

in love, in passion, in pursuance

of those pieces of our lives,

our own peace,

our desire to understand

a world beyond

selfish need.

 

Reality is a dream,

we can see deep along a river path,

the blossoming of spring,

the lush imagination

allows us  to draw

our own own

sweet circumstance

the beauty of a fantasy,

the magic of our mind.

 

So we do step away,

on occasion within ourselves,

in other situations,

we ask for a pardon,

and yet,

the road away does seem to

carry the weight

of our own self-proclaimed tragedy,

with far less burdensome angst,

than

if we stay within the course

of simple travesty.

 

Outside, the sun had begun to shine,

an overbearing competition inside.


© Thom Amundsen 3/2020