[Reata Dils McDonough (b. 1886) was the maternal grandmother of Dwight Murphey, and he is adding this section to his collected writings website as a way to perpetuate her splendid poetry.  There was no Copyright stated in her book of poems, “Autumn Leaves.”  At the end of her collection, she included three poems by her husband Frank McDonough, Jr, [1885-1964) and they appear here.]

 

Autumn Leaves

 

A collection of poetry by

 

Reata D. McDonough

 

 

ALWAYS TODAY

 

This is today.  All that is, is yours.

 

All other days have passed

 

Into eternity.  This is today.

 

Let its laughter ring

 

Or let its tears flow,

 

Where all the other tears have gone

 

So will the laughter go.  This is today.

 

Dread not its passing, for from

 

The vastness of the great unknown

 

Will come another day of which

 

We can then say, this is today. 

 

NOT ALONE

 

Sweet earthy perfume filled the air

 

And throaty warblers whispered over head.

 

I walked through Springtime gentleness

 

Beholding life arising from the dead.

 

I laughed as sun and shadows soft

 

Danced on and paved my sylvan way.

 

There I seemed to feel you near

 

And heard the words I longed to hear you say.

 

I felt your kiss upon my lips,

 

Upon my cheek, my eyes, my hair.

 

I felt your beating heart next mine

 

And, dearest one, I knew that you were there.

 

The fleeting hour sped all too fast

 

Although my heart bade it remain

 

For there within the wilderness

 

I walked beside you once again. 

 

Then shadows deepened all about,

 

The throaty songs were twilight evening prayer.

 

I turned my weary footsteps home

 

With saddened heart because

 

I left my dream out there.

 

EMPTY SHELLS

 

The sands are strewn with empty shells,

 

Each one of which at some time housed a living thing

 

Which built and dwelt within its own confines, not free

 

Until at last it broke the bonds

 

And drifted out to sea

 

To join the vastness of the deep,

 

The shell cast off, the sand its destiny.

 

 

And so it is with all of life, though it be housed

 

In shell or plant or flesh and bone.

 

It grows and builds and lives therein

 

And then when life, the soul, is freed

 

To wander on its way sublime,

 

It leaves an empty shell cast off, to join

 

With others on the sands of time.

 

THE CHARRED PINE TREE

 

Through countless moons my arms have cradled snow

 

And gold of sunrise and dawn’s bright play,

 

To shelter of my branches bending low

 

From stalking beasts came breathless, fleeing prey.

 

Through long, long years my arms were raised in prayer,

 

Waved cooling breezes over fevered earth.

 

My seeds have scattered, made the world more fair

 

With all the trees which they have given birth.

 

 

But now I wear the blackened shroud of death.

 

The wild things which I harbored turn from me.

 

The birds flee from my hungry, reaching arms

 

For now I stand in gruesome effigy.

 

The acrid burn of smoke sears every breath,

 

White ash conceals the paths where wild things trod.

 

Though dead I speak, my end shall not be death.

 

My shriveled finger points to stars and God.

 

 

GETHSEMENE

 

I walked through dark Gethsemene

 

But did not kneel to pray

 

I saw the Savior kneeling there

 

And silently turned away.

 

‘Oh, let this cup pass from me,’

 

I heard the passioned plea

 

And from His prayer He then walked forth

 

To Face Eternity.

 

He drained the cup and so must I.

 

My heart joined His in prayer

 

For in the Garden as I walked

 

I heard Him praying there.

 

PROOF

 

He gazed in awe upon the lofty crags

 

And glinting snow on spired peaks,

 

On scenes of earth no man had trod.

 

In whispered tones quite like a prayer

 

He spoke as to himself and said

 

And there are those who say

 

There is no God.

 

MOUNTAINS

 

Here God laid His land in tenderness

 

On wondrous beauty He had made;

 

Great mountain heights with crimson crags

 

And hidden tree-rimmed emerald glade;

 

Snow tipped peaks which flame with dawn

 

Mid soundless anthems to the day,

 

Where sunlight bursts like cymbals’ clash

 

As dark of night time steals away.

 

His hand caressed and blessed these lofty heights,

 

It lingered fondly, lovingly

 

And then it lifted as He said

 

‘Oh earth, my grandest work I give to thee,

 

Here clouds will rest exhausted by the storm

 

And wild things seek for refuge on thy breast,

 

And man will seek the fullness of thy gifts,

 

And in thy solitude his soul will rest.

 

LITTLE THINGS

 

One fleeting smile

 

May lighten a day

 

For one who feels alone,

 

One cheery word sounds like a song

 

That echoes on and on.

 

One helping hand

 

To one needing help

 

May act as the touch of God

 

Making light along a dark way

 

That some weary soul must trod.

 

IT IS GOD

 

A gentle voice speaks to my soul

 

As I in wonder see

 

The jagged lightning rend the sky

 

And wind shake every tree,

 

And small birds’ throats swell full with song

 

And fragile ferns lift heavy clod

 

That voice stills all my questioning

 

And whispers “It is God.”

 

WRITING ON THE WALL

 

The hand of Fate writes on the wall of Time which stands

 

Between this hour and those which are to be.

 

From word to word with steady stroke it writes;

 

Lifts up the veil of mystery revealing lights

 

Of Joy or shadows of Despair,

 

Spelling out each life from cradle to the grave.

 

No rage, no plea, can change or move that hand

 

Or blur the words which it has written

 

For what is there spells Destiny.

 

DESTINY

 

Like rivers searching for the sea

 

Are human lives and destiny.

 

           * * * * * * * * *

 

All rivers wind and bend and turn

 

As tho indifferent to certain place

 

But thru it all the ocean waits

 

To claim its own at last in boundless space.

 

As on a chart which Fate has drawn

 

Where human lives and destinies are lined,

 

Each life there twists and turns and writhes

 

To match the crooked pattern Fate designed.

 

And as the patterns all are lived

 

The unseen hand marks destiny

 

For as all rivers flow to the sea

 

Each life flows toward Eternity.

 

TEARS

 

I waved farewell to my beloved

 

And he waved back to me.

 

I tried, how hard I tried to smile

 

But through my tears I could not see.

 

And then my love returned one day

 

How glad can one heart be!

 

I held him close within my arms

 

But tears were blinding me.

 

WAITING

 

I am waiting and listening

 

To hear your step upon the walk.

 

I am waiting and listening

 

To hear you speak, to hear you talk.

 

I am waiting and listening

 

And I shall till life is done

 

And I hear a gentle whisper

 

Saying softly, “Come.”

 

 

 

BURIAL AT SAN XAVIER

(EMPTY HANDS)

 

The soft sandaled tread of the old Padre fell

 

On death-hushed silence like a funeral knell.

 

The candle flames flickering, dancing like ghost

 

O’er statue of Infant, on Saint and on Host;

 

On angels bedecked in soft cloth, ancients old,

 

And lace made by Nuns and on chalice of gold.

 

Before the carved chancel, there on the dirt floor

 

Was laid a crude box with the black shroud thrown o’er

 

To cover the poverty, all which remained

 

Of a life weary mortal and all he had gained.

 

There in the old mission with cross near his head

 

He was equal of Chieftain, when Chieftain lies dead,

 

With hands clenching nothing was he given birth,

 

With hands clenching nothing he parted from earth;

 

Those hands no more empty than hands of dead kings

 

For death takes away nothing more than life brings.

 

 

 

 

 

JOYOUS FLIGHT

 

The glint of wide-spread wings o’er head,

 

The throaty warblings from on high

 

Mark well the passing of a bird

 

Across the turquoise sky.

 

Capture that sweet freedom

 

And still that song in flight?

 

Better take the sun from the day

 

Or take the stars from the night.

 

Still not that joyous singing

 

To which his heart gives birth

 

And which he shares with mortals.

 

Poor wingless mortals bound to earth.

 

Wish not to take him captive,

 

Rejoice that he is free

 

To wing his way in joyous flight

 

And sing his song of ecstasy.

 

GYPSY HEART

 

Oh gypsy heart of mine, be still.

 

Heed not that wild, sweet calling

 

Of Nature’s splendor on the hill

 

And leaves so gently falling.

 

Heed not bird’s call on frosty air,

 

The crimsoned berry’s shining,

 

The purple sunsets on the peaks,

 

For these, wild heart, cease pining.

 

 

Bid me not dance my wild free dance

 

With tambourine a jingling,

 

And swirling skirts, so full and wide

 

My gypsy blood atingling.

 

 

Oh, gypsy heart, wild gypsy heart,

 

What is the use of trying?

 

The hills keep calling out to me,

 

My soul seems to be dying.

 

I cannot still that soft sweet voice

 

That calls to me from yonder

 

For I must live true to my blood

 

And love and dance and wander.

 

TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN

 

It was a long, long trail

 

To the top of the hill,

 

But how lovely all the way;

 

The flowering of Spring,

 

Sweet life just beginning

 

And ripening fruit of the years,

 

Brought forth by the sunshine and shadows

 

The sunshine of laughter, the shadows of tears.

 

Here on the top of the mountain,

 

Viewing the valley below

 

Frustrations are all forgotten,

 

Memories glimmer and glow.

 

Here on the top of the mountain

 

My loved ones are close in my heart

 

And how well do I know, of my life

 

They were the loveliest part.

 

MY PRAYER

 

Oh, Master Power, of my small fate

 

Guide well these hands for me,

 

That I may carve from stone of life

 

Some beauty all may see.

 

Let not the tools Thou gave to me

 

Grow dull with blank disuse,

 

Compelling me to meet each day

 

With feeble, poor excuse.

 

With strength endow this soul of mine,

 

Compel me to carve deep

 

And from this life bring beauty forth

 

Which otherwise would sleep.

 

 

JUST FOR THE FEELING INSIDE OF ME

 

      I will do unto others

 

As I wish them to do unto me.

 

Perhaps I am grasping and greedy

 

But gladly will I do it free

 

From any thought of gain or merit

 

But just for the feeling inside of me.

 

 

 

 

THE EMPTY GLASS

 

A glass of rare champagne

 

Could be the symbol of our lives;

 

Its effervescence as the fullness of our youth,

 

With eager hands we lift it to our lips

 

And taste its richness,

 

Feel the sparkle and the glow.

 

And when at last the glass is drained,

 

Intoxicated, thirsting still,

 

Our lips cling to the crystal rim.

 

And then as tho to squeeze another drop

 

To quench our thirst for youth anew,

 

We clutch the empty glass,

 

Reluctant still to let it go.

 

Then hopelessly the hand relaxes its hold,

 

The glass lies shattered at our feet

 

And ne’er again shall it be filled.

 

LAUGHING EYES

 

Across the lazy Rio Grande

 

I saw two laughing eyes

 

And dancing feet and swaying grace;

 

Love took me by surprise.

 

I caught a slender hand in mine

 

And brushed it with a kiss.

 

My heart sang out.  I never knew

 

That love could be like this.

 

I watched her for a moment long

 

Then caught her close to me.

 

Here sweetness there within my arms

 

Was all I thought could be.

 

I whispered then, I love you dear

 

And what was my surprise!

 

I found my answer, waiting

 

In those laughing, Spanish eyes.

 

WHY WORRY

 

Little toddler holding to my hand

 

Chattering like a magpie

 

With words I could not understand.

 

Woo-woo, I learned at last, meant ribbon.

 

Umpeta, of all things she said aslant,

 

Was a word that meant her favorite—

 

Her old stuffed elephant.

 

Salliedown I did not fathom

 

Until my darling little clown

 

Dropped down on her hands and knees

 

And laughed, “See?  I salliedown.”

 

Everything she tried to say

 

Seemed to come out wrong

 

But that did not bother her,

 

She said it loud and strong.

 

THANKFULNESS

 

For all the good things which I share

 

I thank my God each hour.

 

For dewy gems that shine at dawn

 

And nestle near the heart of every flower.

 

I love the sound of waterfalls,

 

The lilting songs of birds in joyous flight

 

And Winter’s ermine robes on lofty pines

 

And moon and stars of velvet night.

 

I thank Him for the towering peaks,

 

The canyons deep where wild things wander free,

 

The loves serene from those I love

 

Which they have given me.

 

I love this life although I know

 

For every joy there is a tear,

 

But for them all I thank my God

 

And feel His presence ever near.

 

FROM MY HEART

 

I would pray, dear God, as the Indians pray,

 

Not for myself but for others.

 

Seeking no favor for my own

 

But for my tribe, for my brothers.

 

Asking to hear and to understand

 

Your voice in the winds, in the gales,

 

Giving full thanks for the harvest of the fields

 

And for the wild things of wilderness trails.

 

Let me pray to Thee, God, as the Indians pray

 

Not with voice but with whispering heart,

 

Seeing Thy handwork and feeling Thee near,

 

Not far away, not a heaven apart.

 

Let me pray as the Indians pray

 

Not with my lips, but my heart.

 

CORONADO’S CHILDREN

 

Crude stone walls enclose this acre,

 

Rust locked hinges seal the gate,

 

Sunken graves are marked by crosses

 

Where these dead lie still and wait.

 

Here lie Coronado’s Children 

 

Who left loves in quest of gold,

 

Lured from homes to ’dobe wastelands

 

By the stories wanderers told.

 

 

Here they found the gold of sunlight

 

Found the turquoise of the sky,

 

These they saw not, seeking earth gold

 

In this land where they must die.

 

Here lie Padres’ bones and vestments,

 

Crucifix in clutching hands;

 

Troubled hearts no longer troubled

 

By the ways of these strange lands.

 

Here lie Indian youths and maidens

 

Who trod paths their fathers trod;

 

Fearing white men, they were Christians

 

But their God to them was God.

 

 

Sacred acre closed in silence,

 

Place where pain and trouble cease,

 

God here breathes a benediction

 

That their souls shall rest in peace.

 

DISPROVED LEGEND

 

Oh, Phoenix bird, arise, arise

 

Or can you not repeat the act

 

Which legend tells of you?  But try.

 

Oh, try to spread your wings and soar

 

Above this ash of once a burning love.

 

Oh, Phoenix bird, but try!

 

You stir not.  Is there then no hope

 

Of pinions spread again in heaven-borne

 

Flight?  No song from out your heart

 

To mark the ending of a night?

 

The legend then is false

 

And never true could be

 

For proof would be if I

 

Could feel the stirring of your wings

 

Within the heart of me.

 

AUTUMN GOLD

 

Summer days are past; October days have come.

 

The world is lighted bright with golden fires

 

From stubbled fields where harvests grew

 

To lofty aspens’ quivering spires.

 

The mountain slopes are shimmering

 

With scrub oak’s golden tint

 

And snowy peaks, like frozen flames

 

Reflect the sunlight’s golden glint.

 

October days are golden days

 

When God bids Nature rest

 

For she has given of herself

 

And fed the world from her breast.

 

And now, as with a Midas touch,

 

Gold glitters thru the air

 

And life suspends ’mid splendor bright

 

For Autumn gold is everywhere.

 

INDIAN PUEBLO

 

Ancient dwelling of the Redman,

 

Pyramiding skyward, golden tiers,

 

Mellowed by the sun and starlight,

 

Standing thru uncounted years.

 

Dobe taken from the hillside

 

Forming shelter for each clan

 

To enclose the pains and gladness

 

And all emotions known to man.

 

Here the gurgled sighs of dying

 

And newborn infants’ cries,

 

And tears and laughter mingle;

 

As in ancient times, they still arise.

 

Here are held the aged traditions

 

Used and cherished as of old

 

Long before the whiteman conquered

 

With his cross and quest for gold.

 

Those whose fathers builded

 

Still dwell within your golden heart.

 

Unseen barriers have held them

 

World within a world apart.

 

MOUNT OF THE HOLY CROSS

 

Thy summit reaching for the stars

 

Bathed pure in silvery mountain mist

 

Lifts high a cross o’er man’s dark world

 

Defying doubt of atheist.

 

A rosary, like emeralds

 

Adorns your lower pine-clad slope

 

Rewarding thee for wearing high

 

The emblem of eternal hope.

 

The Great Creator’s hand has carved

 

Thy towering granite slope with might

 

And filled the place where He carved

 

With snow of gleaming white.

 

Perhaps an eagle soaring near

 

Did see Him at His holy task,

 

But mortal man would never dare

 

Such favor of the Maker ask,

 

But bow his head in wonderment

 

And breathe an awed and fervent prayer

 

For worthiness to look upon

 

The snow-white cross which He placed there.

 

FULFILLMENT

 

Though I no more the sun should see

 

Or roses blooming by the way

 

I shall have had enough of life

 

For I have had today.

 

 

If myriad stars should cease to shine

 

Or silver moons to give their light,

 

My love, my life would be complete

 

For I have had tonight.

 

GAIN OR LOSE

 

Of the blessings God gave to others

 

He gave to me the same.

 

If I neglect, or fail to use them

 

Mine alone is the blame.

 

SUNSET

 

With beauty gleaned throughout the day

 

And flushed with shining, golden light,

 

The radiant sun sinks into rest

 

And yields her scepter to the night.

 

While quivering pines on ridges high

 

Against the sky are filigree

 

And color fades from out the West

 

The day joins with Eternity.

 

Soon night in sable garments wrapped

 

Treads softly o’er the shadowed earth,

 

And dreams of morrows’ new bright day

 

In darkened hours are given birth.

 

A PLEDGE

 

Life a dream?  Oh, let that not be true

 

For then if I should wake

 

I might not be with you.

 

I’ll love you through all life and death,

 

The fleeting days of life are few,

 

And when they close me in the tomb

 

My soul will come to you.

 

GYPSY TRAILS

 

My gypsy heart is crying

 

And calling you to me

 

As Spring lights every hillside

 

And life is full and free,

 

To climb the heights through stardust,

 

Through winding woodland vales

 

To where our hearts shall lead us

 

Along sweet gypsy trails.

 

SPIRIT OF THE NIGHT

 

Night falls gently, quietly

 

Over old adobe walls;

 

Stars swing low beneath the sky,

 

From nearby hills a night bird calls.

 

Breezes whisper in the willows

 

And wake each sleeping bird

 

To listen to the chanting

 

That ages past have heard

 

Voiced from long ago into this day,

 

And the long tomorrows coming

 

Will hear them in the ancient way.

 

Spirits of the long dead Redmen

 

Make nightly visits to their clans,

 

Leaving ghostly footprints in their coming

 

On the wind blown sands.

 

Ancient customs never changing,

 

Dance and legends still the same,

 

Bind the past close to the present

 

In this land of sunset flame.

 

JOURNEY’S END

 

When I come to my journey’s end,

 

No sweeter gift could death bestow

 

Than that I lie beneath the pines

 

Where wild things wander, come and go.

 

Where fields of flowers dance in the sun

 

And birds sing joyously,

 

And night, like velvet wraps the world

 

In silence and tranquility.

 

Where winter winds shall later bring

 

My shroud of glistening snow

 

And sounding in the branches there

 

A heavenly oratorio.

 

WAKE ME NOT

 

Eternal God, if God there be,

 

Bid me not live eternally,

 

Commit my soul to wakeless sleep

 

Lest when I wake I wake and weep;

 

Oh let there be but dreamless sleep

 

For when I dream, I dream and weep.

 

NEW DAY

 

Birds cease their dreamy twitter,

 

Sky and stars turn pale before

 

The coming light – spent is the night,

 

The dark is lighted.  A flame like blazing

 

Molten gold bursts suddenly across the sky.

 

Great, glorious, awesome comes the sun

 

Beyond all words to say, This is

 

The dawning of another day.

 

DRIFTING

 

Like a winter blast, like a cold hand

 

Gripping, tearing at my heart

 

Comes, now and then, the realization

 

That forever we’re apart.

 

No more the feel of your dear presence

 

Or security there by your side,

 

No more the quiet understanding

 

These things are gone, all gone

 

Alone, I am drifting with the tide.

 

TOMB OF MEMORIES

 

Cloaked in the tatters of ruthless years

 

The old house stands abandoned to the elements.

 

Vengeful time with clawing hand of sun and storm

 

Destroyed, and still destroys, till naught of loveliness

 

Remains.  No humans walk across the creaking floor,

 

Or break the silence of the lonely rooms.

 

The emptiness is crowded with the lives it’s known

 

Like perfume lingering o’er a rose. 

 

The restless winds which wander thru the corridors

 

Resound the laughter and the joys of youth,

 

The startled wail of newborn life,

 

The long drawn sigh which broke the bond

 

And freed a soul to journey to the Great Beyond.

 

This was a place of fulfilled dreams and sweet content

 

But with the passing of long years

 

So passed the ones who built and loved it so,

 

Leaving it to mourn their parting all alone.

 

The tall rooms sigh with every passing breeze,

 

The great house cries with every passing gale.

 

The empty windows stare like sightless eyes

 

Searching from this tomb of memories

 

For those long lost yesterdays.

 

IT IS SAID

 

 It is said

 

Laugh and the world will laugh with you.

 

How easily is that proven true;

 

Just laugh and laugh and really mean it

 

And the world will join in with you.

 

And it is said

 

When you weep that you weep alone.

 

Nothing could be more untrue

 

For when sorrows and troubles confront you

 

Neighbors and friends take your hand

 

And help in leading you through.

 

LIFE IS A TRADER

 

Life is a trader, this I know

 

Of all the things I have learned,

 

She never lets you have a thing

 

Until it is fully earned;

 

A Shylock asking pound for pound

 

Without a Portia’s plea,

 

I know, for when at last she gave me truth

 

She took my youth from me.

 

 

 

JUST WAVE ADIEU

 

Dear, it is hard to let you go

 

With just a mere adieu.

 

I long to hold you in my arms

 

And know the feel of you;

 

To feel your heart beat close to mine,

 

Your breath upon my cheek,

 

To see the love within your eyes

 

And hear it when you speak.

 

But if I should once hold you close

 

This much I fully know,

 

I could not find it in my heart

 

To ever let you go.

 

So say farewell and wave adieu

 

And blow a kiss to me

 

That I may cherish in my heart

 

And keep in memory.

 

TRIBUTE OF LOVE

 

Like robins by an empty nest

 

We’re sitting here alone.

 

We are not sad, we laugh and talk

 

Of all the happy times we’ve known;

 

The stockings and the Christmas trees,

 

The dolls, the drums, the laughter gay.

 

The years have softly rolled like tides

 

And taken all these things away

 

But memory holds them close and dear

 

And will till life shall fade.

 

We thank you for the joys you gave,

 

The happiness you’ve made.

 

No matter where your lives shall lead,

 

To distant lands or near

 

As long as you are happy there

 

We’ll be happy here. 

 

ALL FREE

 

Living has so much to give

 

And all is ours to share

 

Just for the taking without a price.

 

The treasures are everywhere;

 

The wonder of rain and clouds overhead,

 

Star-reaching peaks a-glitter with snow,

 

Sunsets of gold and sunrise of red,

 

The light of day and dark of night,

 

Stars sparkling brightly on blue velvet sky

 

With millions and millions all scattered about

 

Paling a bit as the moon passes by.

 

There is perfume of grass and of flowers,

 

Wild things, from eagles, to panther, to dove.

 

But best of all these precious things

 

Is someone to really love.

 

WINTER ASPEN

 

Swift gales sweep from the mountain tops

 

And winds swirl up from the plains below

 

To spring-fed dells of canyons deep

 

Where white-trunked aspens bend and blow.

 

Each leaf lifts up its shining face

 

As green is changed to shimmering gold.

 

Then soon they dance away with courting winds

 

And leave the trees with hearts turned cold.

 

Soon with the weight of winter’s snow

 

The barren branches bow and bend

 

And for a season let life go.

 

Most, when snow burdens are released

 

Slip quietly back to stately forms

 

And lift their arms in life anew,

 

Forgetful of the winter storms.

 

Others bow in memory

 

Of burdens which they lately bore.

 

Heeding not the call of Spring

 

And fail to rise and live once more.

 

THESE ARE MINE

 

I love this, my land,

 

The hills, the plains, the sea,

 

And yet, above it all, I love

 

The freedom it has given me.

 

WHAT THEN?

 

When the curtain goes down

 

At the end of act three of

 

The play on the stage of life

 

The question arises

 

What next is to be.

 

 

Will the stage remain dark,

 

Will the curtain not rise?

 

 

Surely three acts are not all the play

 

The story is still incomplete.

 

The grand finale is still to come.

 

We wait and with every heartbeat

 

The question arises

 

What next is to be.

 

LOVE GROWS BRIGHTER

or

LOVE CAN DIE

 

Love grows brighter

 

The more it is used

 

But it can die slowly

 

From hurt or abuse.

 

Just so long can it suffer

 

With wounds deep inside,

 

Patiently, secretly hurting

 

Concealing with pride

 

Lest others should know.

 

Eventually comes the one hurt too many

 

And love lies dead

 

Freed from subversive tyranny.

 

MY GARDEN

 

He who walks in my garden at dawning,

 

When grasses are dewy and wet,

 

May behold the choice handwork of God

 

In such beauty he ne’er can forget;

 

All the wonders of petals unfolding,

 

To hummingbirds paused in their flight

 

As bright dancing beams of the sunrise

 

Awaken each bud from the night.

 

It is here in my garden at dawning

 

One sees mysteries no man can explain,

 

And yet with each golden dawned morning

 

They happen again and again.

 

I KNOW

 

You ask me if I think there is a God.

 

I do not think, I know.

 

Have I not seen a tiny seed

 

Fall to the ground and grow

 

With stem and leaf and flower?

 

Have I not seen the great sun rise

 

And arc my world then disappear,

 

And nights with stars hung far in space?

 

These things I’ve seen from year to year.

 

Without a God to guide its flight

 

How could a hummingbird spread tiny wings

 

And find its way o’er land and sea

 

And for a time remain, then come

 

Homing once again to me?

 

Can man make a petal of a rose

 

Or thrust one blade of grass

 

Through earth’s hard crust

 

Or check the ocean’s mighty force

 

Along a sandy shore?

 

I cannot doubt; believe I must.

 

You ask me if I think there is a God

 

I do not think, I know.

 

PUPPY LOVE

 

Say heart, behave --  don’t act that way

 

It’s hard enough to wait

 

Without you pounding ’till it hurts

 

Because we heard the gate

 

And heavy footsteps drawing near.

 

O, hark, I hear his voice!

 

That’s the sweetest sound of all

 

It makes us both rejoice.

 

We wouldn’t trade him, would we, heart,

 

For games or juicy bone?

 

No wonder you are pounding so,

 

We’re glad that he is home.

 

LIGHT THE WAY

 

As I walk along the shaded path of life

 

If I can, with but a smile,

 

Light a smouldering spark of hope

 

In some poor heart;

 

If with some word of kindness

 

Help someone to bear his cross

 

And if my laughter can be joined

 

With other laughter rising high

 

To join with songs of birds,

 

When I have reached the sunset of life’s trail,

 

Full well I then shall feel

 

I have not lived in vain.

 

I WANT TO LIVE

 

I want to see another Spring

 

With purple lilacs bending low,

 

With stately tulips growing tall

 

And bending when soft breezes blow.

 

I want to live and see once more

 

Another rose burst into bloom

 

And apple blossoms, pink as dawn;

 

Oh, Life, you must not leave too soon.

 

I want to live a little while

 

It need not be so very long;

 

I want to see another Spring

 

And hear again the finche’s song.

 

Dear God, if I may have my wish

 

I will not ask for one day more,

 

Not even sight of painted hills

 

Of Autumn days which I adore.

 

WHEN MAN CAN…

 

When man can hold one leaf upon the bough

 

When once it starts to fall,

 

Or make a tiny humming bird,

 

Or hush the night bird’s call;

 

When he can hold a mighty wind in check

 

Or still the smallest breeze;

 

When he can stay the tide’s onrush

 

Or tint the sky cerise;

 

When he can force the great red sun to rise

 

Or flowers to break the sod,

 

’Tis then, and only then that I might say

 

Perhaps there is no God.

 

TOUCH OF A HAND

 

Let me hold the hand of a friend

 

Whose heart is honest and true

 

And I will feel a giant’s strength

 

To fight my battle through.

 

But empty words

 

From the lips, not the heart

 

Are words merely spoken

 

Leaving me cold and weak and alone

 

With the hurt of my sorrow unbroken.

 

Let me hold the hand of a friend

 

Whose friendship and love I have known

 

Then I can go on and fight to the end

 

Though I fight my battle alone.

 

GOD’S PROMISE

 

Tho’ the world be lashed by tempest

 

And the surging billows roar,

 

God gave His promise to the world

 

That floods should come no more.

 

And painted is that promise

 

At the end of rainy hours,

 

In the colors that He gathered

 

From the trees, the grass, the flowers,

 

Let us prove that we are worthy

 

Of the pledge against the sky,

 

Knowing He will keep us

 

And our souls will never die.

 

Let us serve Him and our brothers

 

And this nation rich and free

 

With fidelity unfaltering

 

Which He gave to you and me.

 

His hand rests, oh so gently

 

On all things He has made,

 

And the bright hues of the rainbow

 

Say we should not be afraid.

 

THE CYCLE

 

For a time you nestled close beneath

 

My young and happy heart,

 

A gift from God through one I held most dear,

 

Taking life from my life,

 

Sharing of my soul.

 

A joyous miracle within me

 

Mingled with an unnamed fear.

 

 

Came the hour of your first cry

 

And life was yours to live apart from me…

 

But no, that could not be!

 

My eager arms reached forth,

 

In them you belonged,

 

You were a part of me.

 

 

How quickly passed those happy times.

 

E’er long uncertain little feet

 

Were toddling by my side

 

Trying out first steps into the years,

 

Holding tight my finger,

 

Asking me to guide.

 

 

From then to now seems never to have been.

 

The babe of long ago now leads the way

 

And guides me through my now uncertain years,

 

Imparting courage when I need it most

 

And giving love and laughter

 

Where there might be tears.

 

TO MY GREAT GRANDDAUGHTER VICKIE, WITH LOVE

 

God made sunshine, birds and flowers

 

But something nice was still missing,

 

And He knew His work was not through.

 

So he searched through His wee little angels

 

And right in their midst he found you.

 

Then in all of His goodness and kindness

 

He gave you to us to cherish and love

 

And this we will always do.

 

Dearheart, life is a big jigsaw puzzle

 

Each piece has its very own place.

 

Some will be pieces for sunshine

 

Some for shadows, too.

 

Pieces for laughter and good things

 

With now and then a few for tears to show through,

 

We hope only just a few.

 

When the pieces are all fit together

 

It will be of your very own life

 

A thing of beauty for all to see;

 

Your very own masterpiece,

 

How very proud you will be.

 

 

THE LITTLE ROADS

by Frank McDonough, Jr.

 

Where do the little side roads lead

 

That we pass on our journeys afar?

 

What secrets lie at the end of those trails

 

Which are guided by some hidden star?

 

 

This shady one enters a cypress swamp

 

And hanging moss hides it from view,

 

But it winds and wanders to a clearing home

 

Where the love light burns steady and true.

 

 

The sunny one wanders through graying sage

 

Over limitless plains and hills

 

Into distant yonders to valleys green

 

Where peace dwells and turmoil stills.

 

 

The trail which leads up a mountain gulch

 

And climbs to the end of the stream,

 

Comes to a rotted windlass and shaft,

 

The end of some wanderer’s dream.

 

 

At last one comes which is the one I take

 

Into the canyon with spruce and pine,

 

Around a curving hill to a garden green

 

And this one I know is mine.

 

I DO NOT UNDERSTAND

by Frank McDonough, Jr.

 

I love the gently rippling stream

 

That flows between the soft and rolling hills

 

And to its destiny of nurtured fields

 

Its part in Nature’s scheme fulfills.

 

Until one day the clouds descend

 

And pour their wrath upon the peaceful land,

 

In devastation and destruction bound,

 

’Tis this I do not understand.

 

 

I love the peace of rolling waves

 

As out to sea the blue fades into mist,

 

The white foamed breakers come ashore

 

And meet the sands to keep their tryst.

 

And then the peace is broken by the storm,

 

The angry waves destroy the beauty of the strand

 

And spread an ugly litter over all;

 

And this I do not understand.

 

 

I love awakening beauty of the Spring,

 

The greening things and spreading warmth each hour,

 

The gentle swaying of the spruce and pines

 

And dead things coming into flower.

 

And then one day when life should be a-bloom

 

The deep snows come and biting winds command

 

Return of Winter’s ice and chills,

 

Destruction which I do not understand.

 

FOREVER

by Frank McDonough, Jr.

 

Not even death can take you from me.

 

Love has blended your soul into mine.

 

Though my heart should beat no more, dear,

 

It would sing and live again in thine.

 

Through life and through all time, dear,

 

Our two souls shall be as one.

 

We can no more be parted

 

Than the daylight from the rising sun.