To order commissioned poems please contact Judith Adams
This poem was etched on a glass front door that reflected on the wall as the sun came through the door.
It is the resting place from impermanence,
asylum for authentic conversation,
for reconstructing heaven,
for unraveling from the world.
Our pots and the art that moves us
are only the archeologist's proof of
existence, of how long the
apprenticeship lasts until we surrender.
The tyranical self tires of the
uncompromising honesty of a true home.
In the end we give away everything
that saps our energy.
At the window the feminine moon is slowing down, and at the sink
we survive our mistakes, our grief,
our joy, with robust
celebration, the door open
the kettle on.
This is a water color of this poem for a wedding done by a Scottish Artist. 2008
You two, who frame the door at last,
coming together for the sake of your lives,
for the sake of that fierce loving that
brings you to this moment.
These are no ordinary vows.
They are the ones that will take you
across your own territory,
through sometimes difficult terrian.
We are all believers in
fairy tales, despite our lack of proof.
Your words, spoken from that resolute
place against all odds is the
constancy the world needs now.
By your lovemaking you feed
the deprived and neglected.
The way you remember to say
goodnight kindly, or welcome
each other after a day's work, is
the reason God loves to
get up in the morning.
November 24th 2008
For your 75th Birthday
“J’aime cet homme incroyable,
elegant e tres soigne ...
I need a greater language,
a more imaginative journalism
for the man I have married,
the soft, vulnerable bass,
the lullaby that settles a
child to sleep with the gods.
I had shut the door on the standard man,
his inability to dance (even metaphorically)
and chose relative quiet until you
caused havoc in heart’s household.
And the grief in you for the loss of your first
long love tender and transparent.
And the best of ourselves forged in the
workshop of time, our two families
coming together rare, and complex,
for Bunko and snowshoeing.
Your found time, my impatience,
to the the thumping jukebox at Cozy’s
and my need for silence.
The grace of your fountain pen
an old-fashioned technology,
its finesse shames the banter
of vacuous e-mails,
Your literary selections diverse,
it is the mystery novel that makes a lecture
palatable from the back of the room.
Your tattered briefcase, a
should be buried with you
for detours to divine cafes
where you feel the pulse of home
and what is true in human lives,
where the authentic expresses itself
no matter what city or village
in this universe.
Even to an ex-nun, aesthetics do matter.
You are easy on the eye,
refined and elegant,
and I am glad that I rise each day
to your faith that has no need for
prophecy or proof.
Your independent and refined heart,
your star-like love of children,
and your silliness a
pure and sacred warmth.
I am blessed and
Some People Should Never Die
For Paul Schell Mayor of Seattle 1998 -2002
Some people should never die,
even though their expertise is
wanted in the place we try to imagine.
Those who rise in the morning
convinced the day has abundance,
and pastures always green
are the spirit’s blue collar workers,
who daily dance for the sake of light;
making things that matter work.
Who find the workshop that
fits the community,
who makes the world more graceful.
What would the planet do
if the Alps or the great Sierra
Nevada suddenly disappeared?
A noble mountain range.
Think of the grief of the flat earth.
What do we do without
your face that has lit the
neighborhood, figured things out
and walked enthusiastically
into problems knowing there
is a remedy.
We must hang on to your legacy,
keep talking outside the city hall,
watching for what makes the town lovely,
supporting those that support
and more than anything
cherishing the partner
we have chosen so that
when we go they have
a warmth that attends them and
holds them in an angel’s embrace.
For the marriage of Nik and Sooni
June 20th 2015
Just as the winds gather in far corners of the world,
over oceans, prairies and mountains,
you two have found each other,
having straddled the globe,
for the sake of beauty and preservation.
In that devotion together
will take you to
new territory where love's
power of tandem
strides towards possibility.
Neither, confined in childhood
to a single culture or future but
in tide pools of the Pacific
and footpaths of England,
in play of infancy, that sows a
longing in the heart, for what lives.
The breathing in and out of seas
And saving of waves to one
perfect tide that swept onto
the sands of South America
a shell in the shape of a ring.
Perfect for proposal and
love has created every
cell in your bodies.
You have heard the sacred sound
of the bells clanging on cobble
in ancient cities, you have seen
wilderness, mountain ranges
fisherman, farmers and how
landscape shapes faces.
You know what it takes as stewards of
all we stand in peril of loosing.
What farsighted angels gathered
at your meeting?
What wisdom creates a brace of lovers
who walk in amazement and
awe deeper into this life?
There is magic in the moon,
by the vow she exists
And by the vows
that you two
Where Joy is Scattered
(For the completion of the final stage of the
Whidbey Island Center for the Arts)
In any good town there is the church,
library, grocery store and post office.
In any tale there is action,
within the Act scenes and people
with their fierce loves, and they
demand a stage, a place for spectacle
and sweep of possibilities
that changes with the change.
the clever clown, the urchin, the professor,
the whining Romeo, the powerhouse of one voice
speaking from the wayward planets of the soul,
and a group of hard-working women
who made it all happen -
the curtain to rise, the show to begin,
mystery, drama, dance, music and visual art
scatter joy in the living room of the heart.
Take a shy man, he becomes macho;
the reluctant singer a bellowing baritone.
Mr.and Mrs. Wine seller practice their lines in bed;
the telephone man lives in dread of knotting his!
A spotlight on the diva,
librarian, janitor, retired and unemployed,
and for the hero call the whistling Handyman.
He can recite any speech with reasoning
as he fixes your leaking sink.
If your doctor has a vague look, he is Faustus;
get out as quickly as you can.
A village is made up of biographies,
stories that make good theatre.
If you have written a tragedy,
suck up to the manager,
in one of her sweeter moods.
Whatever you do, whatever part you play,
whatever set you build or light switch from
which you start your day,
learn to wait in the wings for the
Commit to speaking from the heart,
one that is not yours but
one you have uncovered;
how HE feels,
how SHE moves.
Weep as if you, too
were in love or dying or
‘Looking Back in Anger.’
How can a man
practice being a woman
or a woman dance
as if chosen by God?
How can the townsfolk
flourish without a stage?
Jo and Jim
for your 50th Wedding Anniversary
Marriage arrives without warranty,
model number, serial number,
or installation instructions, and
no guarantee of constancy.
An epic or a brief haiku -
all manner of myths shape
its ambiguity, its forays into
language impossibly complex.
In this case it begins with a dose of V8 juice,
antidote for a reckless last night
And the bride sighed
in madrigal love for a smile
that sealed her heart with
his coat of arms.
And now, since they are married,
we must get more personal.
A half century is a formidable jaunt.
In the beginning the proposal subtle.
After all, you have to get your foot in the door.
And Jim did it (in a roundabout way)
above the Golden Gate Bridge.
“Do you believe the theory that
absence makes the heart grow fonder?”
and Jo’s response....
“ Well, yes, but out of sight out of mind,
and if you want me,
I have stuff to pick up on the way,
two children and my own wild disposition!”
Jim, trying to figure out the
economics of it, in outright ecstasy,
included them all.
And here’s a tip for the unwed in the room:
ask permission to hold her hand
(Romeo would be impressed).
Groping is unattractive,
and you would not believe
that manners can woo
a blond bombshell and
even Eros herself!
If you want more details on the groom,
go to the job site, the engine room, fuse panel,
the roof of The Commons in dead of winter,
the quiet staking of a neighbor’s falling tree.
There is seduction in a man’s
hips moving with the weight of
hammers and other mysterious tools
and his complete acceptance of
yet another UPS delivery--
plants for an over-populated garden!
For news of the bride,
bring your party shoes. An old tutu is fine.
Don’t worry, she’ll get you going ,
and don’t pussyfoot around.
That irritates the gods.
You have to dance with your whole body,
with what’s burning inside you.
After fifty years
few arrive in tandem
with a workable
or survive abandonment
and few have the final EMT
of indefatigable humor.
A twosome is not always seaworthy.
There are doubtful,
arguments at the helm, and years
clinging to various wreckages.
But under the same moon and stars,
love for each other and for
each other’s becoming.
With steady navigation,
and a clear moral compass,
you both arrive unscathed
to this place among friends,
your rare dignity like a
beacon in the uncertain
prophecy of time.
For Jane on Her 60th Birthday
Get Jane in room and
no one comes out alive!
Every nuance, every obscure
blemish and feet of clay
seized upon in rapture of humor;
the nerdish atrophy,
exaggeration of grimace,
no one escapes her
bull’s eye of perception.
Jane, the revealer of the ridiculous
to the clan’s uncensored
laughter and lack of composure.
Pomposity and particularities
Seinfeld would be intimidated by her
turns in comedic adventure.
Who locks themselves out of a hotel room
in underpants at midnight with
instant recovery and casual
saunter downstairs to the front desk.
And who can outrageously
consume clumps of whipped cream
in holy handfuls and send nephews and
nieces home spouting locker room expletives
or have pumpkin carving seminars like
historical summit events and
survive a bossy B@B with
goose stepping around
the house issuing
orders in Kraut vernacular.
Have any of us come across
a golf fanatic who paralyzes
the putting green with a
new passion for birdwatching.
Who has the rare ability
to conjure with ease
elegance within frugality,
to find the simple line,
the single voice in the dross of life?
There are few in this world
who can navigate the downturns
with instinctive intelligence,
waltz into work late to the
gaping mouths of youth
defiant head flip, not
one word of justification!
Jane, you are capable of giving the
gods a night out on the town and
cheering angels up from religious purpose.
In any family each fight for
distinguishing markings in the litter,
but yours are vivid beautiful
(For Retirement of Langley Methodist Music Director)
We do not let you go easily,
We want to riot in the town square,
close the banks and the
Post office and wrestle
you to the ground,
if we could only keep you.
We are loosing the town's fortune.
A mystic with music in his bones.
The universe makes few sonorous tenors
Whose voices turns us into saints.
In sorrow and celebration
You have taught us to fling
ourselves into the river of sound
That a melody can hold you ransom
among Angels. How many cities have
a wild, waistcoated conductor
Who listens to the
pulse of the neighborhood,
The philosophy of the wind,
The moon's silver path on the sea.
An epic whose podium
expands with expression,
combines all manner of
talent into glorious offerings.
One who cannot be contained
in a single story but a
fusion that interests
an ordinary day.
If God measures
one heart by the
size of a church,
yours is a cathedral.