Monday, December 21, 2009

RAIN GODS


RAIN GODS


I CAME UPON AN INDIAN
SCRATCHING LINES IN THE SAND
HE FINISHED
AND STARED AT IT FOR A WHILE
THEN WITH HIS BOOT ERASED IT

RUNNING CLOUD I SAID
WHY DID YOU RUIN IT

IT WAS FOR THE RAIN GODS
THAT THEY MIGHT BRING WATER
TO THIS LAND
AND MAKE THE DESERT BLOOM

BUT WHY DID YOU RUIN IT
ESPECIALLY
WHEN WE’RE SO DRY

BECAUSE NO ONE BELIEVES
IN THE OLD GODS
THEY WILL NOT COME UNWELCOME

BUT CHRIST CAME
UNWANTED
UNLOVED
IN FAIR WEATHER
OR FOUL
ACCEPTED
OR REJECTED

LIKE A JILTED LOVER
WHO WON’T GO AWAY
HE LINGERS ON THE PERIPHERY
HE WON’T GO AWAY

EVEN THOUGH
WE ONLY THINK OF HIM IN DRY WEATHER


HE’S HAPPY
WITH THAT ATTENTION
HE HOPES THAT WE WILL
SCRATCH A PICTURE ON OUR HEARTS

COME LORD JESUS
COME AGAIN
COME LORD JESUS
BRING THE RAIN

FRANK A VOLLMER

Sunday, December 20, 2009

THE INNOCENT


THE INNOCENT

WHETHER THE STORY
OF THE SLAUGHTER
OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS
IN BETHLEHEM
IS TRUE
OR MISGUIDED
HAGIOGRAPHY
IS UNSURE

IT’S CERTAIN
THAT HEROD COULD ORDER IT

BUT WE ALWAYS TRY TO MAKE
GOD’S STORY
GREATER
THAN IT IS
IT STARTS OFF BEING GREATER
WE HAVE NO NEED TO AUGMENT IT

BUT THE PAIN
THE STORY
REPRESENTS
IS TRUE

WHETHER
IT’S INFANTICIDE
DEATH BY SICKNESS
OR ACCIDENT
OR KILLED BY WAR
RACHAEL CRIES FOR HER YOUNG
AND WILL NOT BE COMFORTED

SO MANY PEOPLE
WE HAVE KILLED IN GOD’S NAME
SO MANY BY HUNGER
POVERTY
CLIMATE

SO MANY BY THE THOUGHT
THAT IF THEY WERE BETTER
GOOD TIMES WOULD HAPPEN

THAT GOD SMILES ON THE RICH
BUT NOT THE POOR
AND THAT BEING POOR
REFLECTS
THE MORALITY
OF THE POOR

I DO NOT THINK
THAT GOD CAME
WITH SHEPHERDS
WISE MEN
ANGELS
IN THE SKY
THAT THERE WAS NO STABLE
OR FILLED UP INN

BUT WITH RELATIVES
AND THERE
LIKE A RECURRING REFRAIN

A CHILD IS BORN
WRAPPED IN BIRTHING CLOTHES
NURSING AT HIS MOTHER’S BREAST

GOD IS BORN
TO BE ONE WITH US
WE DO NOT NEED TO GLORIFY IT MORE

BUT TO REMEMBER RACHAEL’S LAMENT
AND GOD WEEPING WITH HER

FRANK A VOLLMER

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ERIC


ERIC

MY CHILDREN ARE SCATTERED
FROM ASSHOLE TO TEACUP
AS ME SAINTED MOTHER USED TO SAY
BUT I KNOW WHERE THEY ARE
I’M PROUD OF WHAT THEY HAVE BECOME
THEY EXIST IN MY HEART
LIKE LIGHTED CANDLES
ONE OF THE CANDLES HAS GONE OUT
 THERE IS LESS GLOW
IN MY HEART
THESE CANDLES ARE SUPPOSED
TO LAST
UNTIL YOUR DEATH
 WHEN THEY DON’T
THERE IS LONELINESS
AT THE END
BUT PERHAPS I SHOULD CELEBRATE
THE CHILD HE WAS
IS
 SHALL MEET AGAIN
WHERE CHILDREN NEVER DIE
WHERE PARENTS LIVE FOREVER


FRANK A VOLLMER

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

SHEMA




HEAR OH ISRAEL
THE LORD YOUR GOD
IS ONE

SH'MA YIS'RA'EIL ADONAI ELOHEINU ADONAI ECHAD

HEAR OH ISRAEL
THE LORD YOUR GOD
IS ONE

A SHOUT OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS
A CRY THAT THERE IS NO GOD
BUT GOD

THE PRAYER IS CALLED
THE SHEMA
WHICH MEANS
LISTEN
HARKEN
ACT ON IT

THE WORD ECHAD
MEANS ONE
AS IN ENGLISH
THE WORD ONE HAS MANY MEANINGS
FIRST IN A SERIES
OR ONE OF MANY
AS A QUESTION
ANYONE HERE
AS AN INDICATOR
IS THAT THE ONE

BUT WHEN ALL THE DIFFERENT MEANINGS
HAVE BEEN EXPLORED
THE ONE THAT BEST SPEAKS
TO CREATOR/CREATURE
IS TO USE ONE
AS IN THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE
WHERE EACH PARTNER SAYS
YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE FOR ME

AND THIS IS THE ULTIMATE MEANING
OF SHEMA

SH'MA YIS'RA'EIL ADONAI ELOHEINU ADONAI ECHAD

HEAR OH ISRAEL
THE LORD YOUR GOD
IS ONE
FRANK A VOLLMER

Friday, December 4, 2009

EULOGY


EULOGY



SO MAYBE
YOU COULD WRITE A EULOGY
FOR US
WHILE WE’RE STILL LIVING
SO WE COULD ENJOY IT
WHILE WE’RE STILL ALIVE

WHAT COULD IT HURT
AND IT WILL SAVE TIME LATER

SO HERE GOES

THEY ARE WOMEN
FOR WHOM
FAMILY
IS FIRST

THEY BOTH LOST HUSBANDS
AFTER SEEING THEM THOUGH SICKNESS

THEIR CHILDREN LOVE THEM
IF ONLY
AFTER
THE PAIN OF ADOLESCENCE

THEIR HOUSES
HAVE ALWAYS
BEEN HOMES OF WELCOME

THEY LOVE THEIR BROTHER
IN SPITE OF THE FACT
HE WAS MOM’S FAVORITE

THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL
LIKE A VIGIL LIGHT
CASTING
A GLOW
AND A COLOR
ON ALL THEY MEET

THEY ARE MY SISTERS
AND MY FRIEND
AND I AM LUCKY
TO HAVE THEM
IN MY LIFE


FRANK A VOLLMER

EPITAPH FOR A WOMAN I NEVER KNEW


EPITAPH FOR A WOMAN I NEVER KNEW (ELSIE LINDBLOM)

I DON'T HAVE ANY IDEA HOW TO DIE I'VE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE

AND YET AND YET

UNLESS THE SEED DIES
IT WILL NOT PRODUCE
UNLESS IT DIES
THERE WILL BE NO WHEAT TO FEED THE MANY

DID SHE NOT DIE THOSE MANY DEATHS
WHEN OTHERS WERE PUT AHEAD OF SELF
THAT THE WHEAT MIGHT GROW

AND DID SHE NOT LABOR LONG IN THE FIELD
LONG AFTER SUNSET'S SHADOW
AND DID SHE NOT LONG FOR THE DAWN
TO START AGAIN

I DON'T HAVE ANY IDEA HOW TO DIE I'VE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE

AND YET AND YET

FAREWELL





f .a.vollmer

EL SHADDAI


EFFORTLESS

I WISH MY HEAD WAS FILLED WITH STARS
WITH ORACLES, MYSTERY AND MAGIC
WITH VISIONS OF A GOOD GOD
WALKING WITH ME IN THE EVENING COOL
WATCHING BIRDS
GLIDE DOWN THE SKY
IN THE FADING LIGHT
EFFORTLESS
AS I WISH MY LOVE FOR GOD
MY FRIEND GOD
WAS EFFORTLESS

HOW CAN I CALL HIM FRIEND
WHEN I TREAT HIM SO SHABBILY
BUT HE CALLED ME FRIEND FIRST
AND HIS LOVE FOR ME
IS AS EFFORTLESS
AS THAT BIRD THERE
FLOATING ON THE AIR
NO WING FLAPPING

OH THAT MY HEAD COULD BE FILLED WITH STARS
BUT I AM COMMITTED TO THE EARTH
BUT MY FRIEND GOD WALKS WITH ME
ENCOURAGING ME TO FLY

FRANK A VOLLMER

EFFORTLESS


EFFORTLESS

I WISH MY HEAD WAS FILLED WITH STARS
WITH ORACLES, MYSTERY AND MAGIC
WITH VISIONS OF A GOOD GOD
WALKING WITH ME IN THE EVENING COOL
WATCHING BIRDS
GLIDE DOWN THE SKY
IN THE FADING LIGHT
EFFORTLESS
AS I WISH MY LOVE FOR GOD
MY FRIEND GOD
WAS EFFORTLESS

HOW CAN I CALL HIM FRIEND
WHEN I TREAT HIM SO SHABBILY
BUT HE CALLED ME FRIEND FIRST
AND HIS LOVE FOR ME
IS AS EFFORTLESS
AS THAT BIRD THERE
FLOATING ON THE AIR
NO WING FLAPPING

OH THAT MY HEAD COULD BE FILLED WITH STARS
BUT I AM COMMITTED TO THE EARTH
BUT MY FRIEND GOD WALKS WITH ME
ENCOURAGING ME TO FLY

FRANK A VOLLMER

EDEN


EDEN






HE'D OFTEN REMEMBER

WITH SUDDEN SHAME

HOW HE TRIED TO BLAME HER

HE COULDN'T REMEMBER

THE SENSE OF LOSS AND ANGER THAT HE FELT

THE YEARS HAD DIMMED THAT MEMORY TO FORGETTING

THE EMPTINESS WAS FILLED WITH BUSY-NESS

WITH CHILDREN

WITH CONSUMING CARE AND DRAINING FEARS

WITH PEAKS AND VALLEYS OF JOY AND SADNESS JOY

WITH EACH OTHER

WITH LIFE

BUT ADAM COULDN'T REMEMBER LOSS

FOR WHERE EVE WAS

WAS EDEN


FRANK A VOLLMER

ECLIPSE


FROM: HE CAME AS A MAN

EASTER

SHYLY
LIKE A BASHFUL LOVER HE ROSE
NO TRUMPET BLAST OR EARTHQUAKE SHOCK
QUIET
A WISP OF A MORNING BREEZE
A SCENT OF FLOWERS
MORNING DEW AND BIRDCALLS
A SUDDEN SENSE OF WARMTH
A QUIET COMING
ONE THAT DOES NOT SAY YOU WILL
BUT WILL YOU
HOW GODLIKE IN AN UNGODLIKE WAY
FOR HIM TO TAKE THE MORNING AIR
GOING TO MEET HIS MOTHER

F. A. VOLLMER

EASTER


FROM: HE CAME AS A MAN

EASTER

SHYLY
LIKE A BASHFUL LOVER HE ROSE
NO TRUMPET BLAST OR EARTHQUAKE SHOCK
QUIET
A WISP OF A MORNING BREEZE
A SCENT OF FLOWERS
MORNING DEW AND BIRDCALLS
A SUDDEN SENSE OF WARMTH
A QUIET COMING
ONE THAT DOES NOT SAY YOU WILL
BUT WILL YOU
HOW GODLIKE IN AN UNGODLIKE WAY
FOR HIM TO TAKE THE MORNING AIR
GOING TO MEET HIS MOTHER

F. A. VOLLMER

Thursday, December 3, 2009

DUST


DUST - ASH WEDNESDAY

DOES THE WIND KNOW
THE VALUE OF THE DUST
IT WHIRLS INTO A COLUMN
IS IT TRYING TO MAKE A MAN
IF IT SUCCEEDED
WOULD IT BLOW ITS CREATION AWAY
ON A WHIM
WOULD IT LOVE ITS CREATION
WOULD IT DIE FOR HIM
WOULD IT HOVER OVER HIM
LIKE A MOTHER HEN
FUSSING FORGIVING
TIME AND AGAIN
FOLDING HIM TO HER BOSOM
OR WOULD IT
AS SO MANY GODS BUT ONE
FADE FALTER
AND GO AWAY

f. a. vollmer

DOVES FOR SALE



DOVES FOR SALE


HE WOULDN’T HURT THE DOVES
HE TOLD THEIR SELLERS
TO TAKE THEM FROM THE TEMPLE
THE BEASTS
USED TO ROUGH TREATMENT
HE DROVE FROM THE TEMPLE
ALONG WITH THEIR SELLERS
AND THE MONEY CHANGERS
BUT HE WOULDN’T HURT THE BIRDS

YOU HAVE MADE MY FATHER’S HOUSE
A SLAUGHTER HOUSE
A PLACE TO EXTORT THE POOR
KEEPING THE PRICE OF SACRIFICE HIGH
NO ALLOWANCE FOR THE WIDOW
OR THE WIDOWS MITE

BUT I AM TIRED OF YOUR BURNT OFFERINGS
THE SMOKE OF WHICH
NO LONGER PLEASES ME
IT’S JUST RITUAL
WITHOUT SUBSTANCE
BUYING GOD WITH A BURNING COW

I HAVE COME TO END SACRIFICES
WITH ONE GREAT SACRIFICE
MINE

TEAR DOWN THIS TEMPLE
AND I WILL REBUILD IT
IN THREE DAYS
WITH FLESH AND BLOOD

TEAR DOWN THIS TEMPLE
AND OLD WAYS CEASE

THE LAW IS LIFELESS AND COLD
BUT GOD’S LOVE IS WARM


FRANK A VOLLMER

DIVISIONS


RAMPLINGS AT MIDNIGHT

(UT UNUM SINT)

THE FARTHER YOU GO IN SPACE
EARTH DIVISIONS CEASE
UNTIL IT BECOMES
A BEAUTIFUL
ROUND BLUE BALL

THE FURTHER WE GO INTO GOD
ALL DIVISIONS CEASE
UNTIL
LIKE THE HYMN SAYS

IN CHRIST THERE IS NO EAST OR WEST,IN HIM NO SOUTH OR NORTH;BUT ONE GREAT FELLOWSHIP OF LOVETHROUGHOUT THE WHOLE WIDE EARTH.

OR AS PAUL SAYS
THERE IS NEITHER JEW
NOR GREEK,
SLAVE NOR FREE,
MALE NOR FEMALE,
FOR YOU ARE ALL ONE
IN CHRIST JESUS

I KNOW THAT JESUS SAYS
UNLESS YOU BELIEVE IN ME

BUT DOES NOT THE DEVOUT JEW
HINDU
BUDDHIST
MUSLIM
OR ANY OF MAN’S
HUNDRED WAYS OF WORSHIP

SEEK THE SAME BENEVOLENT GOD
THAT JESUS REPRESENTS

WHO DID NOT COME INTO THE WORLD
TO CONDEMN IT

AND HAVE WE CHRISTIANS
SET SUCH A GOOD EXAMPLE
THAT MEN ARE DRAWN
TO BECOME ONE

WE HAVE A TELEPHONE BOOK
OF CHRISTIAN BELIEFS
ALL QUOTING
FROM THE SAME BOOK




BUT CHRIST SAYS

I HAVE GIVEN THEM THE GLORY
THAT YOU GAVE ME,
THAT THEY MAY BE ONE
AS WE ARE ONE:

LET STRIFE AMONG US BE UNKNOWN
LET ALL CONTENTION CEASE.
BE HIS THE GLORY
THAT WE SEEK
BE OURS HIS HOLY PEACE.


FRANK A VOLLMER

DID HE KNOW


DID HE KNOW


DID HE KNOW
WHEN HE CAME WITH HIS BAND OF TWELVE
TO OVERLOAD THE WEDDING PARTY
DID HE KNOW
THEY WOULD RUN OUT OF WINE
DID HE KNOW
THAT HIS MOTHER
WITH THE ASSURANCE
THAT MOTHERS AND OTHER LOVERS HAVE
THAT WHEN SHE REQUESTED HELP
HE WOULD TAKE CARE OF IT
DID HE KNOW
THAT HE WOULD NOT CONTAIN
THE PLAYFULNESS OF LOVE
AND TEASE HER
WHAT IS THAT TO ME
BUT SHE, SURE IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS LOVE
SAID TO THE SERVANTS
DO WHAT HE TELLS YOU
FILL THE JUGS WITH FRESH WATER
FILL THE JUGS USED FOR WASHING FEET
WITH FRESH WATER
TAKE THEM TO THE STEWARD OF THE FEAST
TWICE IN HIS LIFE HE WOULD DO THAT
BEFORE AN IMPORTANT ACTION
DO SOMETHING WITH WASHING OF FEET
A SERVANT'S JOB
MORE LIKELY A SLAVE
WHAT DID HE TRY TO TELL US IN THIS STORY
THAT LOVE AND THE IMPULSES OF LOVE
SHOULD PERMEATE DOWN TO THE LOWEST
MOST BASIC LEVELS OF NEEDS
SO THAT ONE'S WHOLE BEING
SHOULD CRY LOVE
FROM NECESSITY TO ECSTASY
THAT LOVE CHANGES US
THAT WATER TOUCHED BY HIS LOVE
BECOMES WINE
IN THE WAY THE FACES OF LOVERS ARE SUFFUSED WITH COLOR
THE WATER RESPONDED TO LOVE
AND BECAME WINE
COLOR OF BLOOD
COLOR OF BLUSHING
COLOR OF PASSION
COLOR OF CHANGE
I AM NO LONGER WATER
I AM WINE

GIVEN FOR YOU
I AM ALL THE GRAPES GROUND DOWN TO WINE
CAN YOU IMITATE ME AND BE GROUND DOWN
NOT GRAPES BUT WINE
CAN YOU GIVE YOURSELF TO THIS PROCESS
CAN YOU BECOME WINE
CAN YOU MAKE THE WATER OF YOUR BEING BLUSH
WITH LOVE AND LONGING FOR THE OTHER
THEN SHALL I COME TO LIVE WITH YOU
AND THE WIND OF YOUR AGE
SHALL BE BETTER THAN ANY BEFORE
AND LOVE WILL SHOW IT ACTION
IN THE KISSING, WASHING OF CLOTHING, OF FEET
AND THE SURETY SHE FELT WHEN SHE SAID
DO WHAT HE TELLS YOU
FEAR NOT
HE HAS SAVED THE GOOD WINE TILL LAST


FRANK A VOLLMER

DIATRIBE


DIATRIBE



I DID NOT WANT TO WRITE THIS DIATRIBE

BUT SOMETIMES THE STENCH OF SELFISHNESS
IS STULTIFYING
SUFFOCATING
SADDENING


A PERVADING SENSE
OF
I’VE GOT MINE
AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS

WITH IT
IS A SENSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
THAT GOD HAS BLESSED THEM
FOR BEING GOOD

HOW DOES THAT SQUARE WITH LEVITICUS
WHICH SAYS



WHEN YOU REAP THE HARVEST OF YOUR LAND
DO NOT REAP TO THE VERY EDGES OF YOUR FIELD
OR GATHER THE GLEANINGS OF YOUR HARVEST
LEAVE THEM FOR THE POOR AND THE ALIEN
I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD


WE ASK TO PUT COMMANDMENTS ON THE WALL

PRAYER IN SCHOOL

GOD IN OUR PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

BUT WHERE IS THE LIVING ACCORDING TO THESE RULES
WHERE IS THE THINKING ACCORDING TO THESE RULES
WHERE IS THE ACTION
TO MATCH
OUR WORDS




THE LORD IS NOT CALLED
THE FATHER OF THE RICH
THE INTELLECTUALS
THE POWERFUL
HE IS CALLED
AND CALLS HIMSELF
FATHER OF THE POOR

WITH ALL OF US QUOTING FROM THE SAME BOOK
WHY ARE THE POOR
POOR
THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN

WHY ARE THE HUNGRY
HUNGRY
THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN

WHY ARE THE SICK
SICK
UNABLE TO AFFORD DECENT TREATMENT

WE GO TO CHURCH
BUT CHRIST IS THE HOMELESS MAN
OUT ON THE CURB

WE ARE LIKE THE RESIDENTS OF SODOM
WHO WOULD NOT TREAT THE STRANGER
IN THEIR MIDST
ACCORDING TO THE RULES OF HOSPITALITY



BUT THIS IS WHAT THE LORD SAYS
DO WHAT IS JUST AND RIGHT
RESCUE FROM THE HAND OF HIS OPPRESSOR
THE ONE WHO HAS BEEN ROBBED
DO NO WRONG OR VIOLENCE TO THE ALIEN
THE FATHERLESS OR THE WIDOW
AND DO NOT SHED INNOCENT BLOOD IN THIS PLACE



WE SHOULD NOT
CLAIM
THE SYMBOLS OF GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY
UNTIL WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO CLAIM THEM


FRANK A VOLLMER

DELAWARE BAY


FROM: SONGS FOR A FRIEND

DELAWARE BAY

IT WAS LOW TIDE WHEN WE GOT THERE
BAYSIDE IN THE MID OF WINTER
AFTER A THAW
STRANDED ON THE SHORE LIKE WHALES
THE PILES OF ICE
OR MOVING OUT TO SEA
MOANING AS THEY RUBBED EACH OTHER
GROANING AS THEY HIT A PIER OR BREAKWATER
BUT IT WAS THE ICE ON SHORE
THAT HELD OUR EYE
MELTING NOW IN THE SUN
SENDING BACK THEIR RICHNESS TO THE SEA
OCCASIONALLY THEIR WEIGHT WOULD BREAK THEM
OR WE WOULD WISHING WINTER AWAY
IT BECAME A GAME WE'D PLAY WISHING WINTER AWAY
BREAKING THE ICE AND CHANTING
OUT YOU GO ICE AND SNOW
A KIND OF FRENZY SEIZED US
BUT THE ICE ENDURED
IT DID NOT RUN BEFORE OUR CHANT
IN THE SPRING WE SHALL RETURN
WONDERING WHERE THE ICE HAS GONE
OR KNOWING RATHER IN THE MIND
THAT SUN AND HEAT HAVE DONE THE TRICK
BUT IN THAT DEEPER DARKER PART OF MIND
TO KNOW THAT CHILL AND COLD ARE NOT JUST WINTER THINGS
THAT TOO OFTEN THERE IS WINTER IN OUR SOUL
AWESOME SHAPES OF ICE THAT OVERWHELM US
COULD WE BUT CHANT THE SPELL AND WISH THEM GONE
BUT COME YOU NOW AND HOLD MY HAND
AND DRIVE FROM ME THE WINTER'S CHILL
I AM AN ICE CHOKED STREAM WANTING TO RUN FREE
I WANT TO BE NOT ICE FROZEN ON THE SHORE
BUT WATER RUNNING WITH THE WIND
COME NOW MY LOVE AND SET ME FREE
COULD WE BUT REMEMBER SPRINGTIME DAYS
WHEN WINTER WINDS PILE ICE UPON OUR SHORE
GIVE ME YOUR HAND
I AM COLD
AND NEED WARMTH

Frank Vollmer

DEBT OF LOVE


DEBT OF LOVE

FRIEND
YOU ASK FOR NOTHING
YET IT IS IN THE NATURE OF LOVE
TO BE GIVING
BUT THEN WHAT TO GIVE
WHAT IN ALL I SAY OR DO
CAN EVER EQUAL OR REPAY
THE DEBT OF LOVE I OWE TO YOU
BUT THIS I GIVE
THAT NOTE WELL SUNG THAT MAKES A SONG
THAT WORD WELL SAID THAT MAKES A PLAY
THAT DEED WELL DONE THAT MAKES A DAY
IN ALL THESE THINGS THAT I SHALL EVER DO
YOU LIVE IN THEM
I SHALL REMEMBER YOU



Frank a vollmer

DEATH OF JESUS


DEATH OF JESUS

HE LIKED TO WATCH THE STARS

THEIR SENSE OF ORDER AND HIS FILIAL PRIDE

BOTH GAVE HIM WARMTH

HE LIKED THE LEGENDS THAT MEN TOLD

ABOUT THESE LANTERNS IN THE SKY

HE LIKED THE WAY THEY LED A SHIP

OR CARAVAN TO FIND A HOME

HE SOMETIMES THOUGHT HE HEARD THE SOUND OF SILVER BELLS

WHEN THE WIND WAS IN THE TREES

AND NIGHT CLOUDS CAME SCUDDING CROSS THE MOON

WHEN WILD DOGS BARKED

AND SHEEP BELLS RANG CLEARLY IN THE NIGHT

HE THOUGHT HE HEARD THE STARS SING

PERHAPS THAT'S WHY HIS FATHER MADE THE SKY GO DARK

BEFORE HE DIED




Frank a vollmer

DEATH


FROM: HE CAME AS A MAN

DEATH

COME SOFTLY TO MY BOSOM NOW
YOUR JOURNEY DONE
YOUR KINGDOM COME
COME SOFTLY TO MY BOSOM NOW
COME REST YOUR HEAD WHERE ONCE YOU LAID IT
FRIGHTENED BY A MIDNIGHT DREAM
COME REST YOUR HEAD AGAIN MY SON

OH LET US BE LET US BE
ALONE IN EACH OTHERS COMPANY
THAT I MIGHT IN PLACE OF BLOODY FACE
REMEMBER MY CHILD OF GRACE
IN PLACE OF PIERCED HANDS LET ME SEE
THOSE THAT FLOWERS PICKED FOR ME
AND FEET THAT A THOUSAND ERRANDS RAN

OH LET US BE
COME SOFTLY TO MY BOSOM SON

f. a. vollmer

DAVID'S DAD


DAVID’S DAD


EVEN IF YOU HAD LIVED TO RIPE OLD AGE
AND DIED PEACEFULLY IN YOUR BED

I COULDN’T HAVE LOVED YOU MORE

THERE WOULD BE MORE MEMORIES

BUT REPEATS OF THE SAME

A FATHER’S LOVE FOR HIS CHILD

WE DO NOT KNOW
HOW LONG THE STRING OF OUR LIVES WILL BE

OR WHEN THE MEASURING ANGEL
SNAPS THAT STRING

SO IN MEMORY
I OFTEN STAND IN FRONT OF YOUR TOMB

AND CRY
LAZARUS COME OUT
KNOWING IT WON’T BE SO

BUT LATER IN MY MIND’S EYE I SEE

FORGETTING THEOLOGY FOR A WHILE

MY MOM AMD DAD REUNITED

AND HIM SAYING TO HER

YOU TOOK A WHILE


FRANK A VOLLMER

CYPRESSES



CYPRESSES

I WILL PAINT YOU A PICTURE ADELINE
OF FRIENDS OUT FOR A WALK
PAST TREES ALIVE AS IF ON FIRE
UNDER CLOUDS THAT ONLY COOL
BUT DO NOT DARKEN
PAST A HOUSE WHERE MEMORY DWELLS
WARM…RELAXED…A FAMILY KITCHEN
THE GOOD…THE SORROW
THE INTERWEAVING THREADS THAT MAKE A HOME
AND THE TREES
OLDER THAN ALL TIME
WILL RUSTLE WITH DELIGHT
AS FRIENDS GO BY
TALKING ABOUT THE WEATHER


Frank a vollmer

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

CROW'S DEBATE


CROWS' DEBATE


I SAW TWO CROWS DEBATING
THE MERITS OF A PIECE OF BREAD
EACH WOULD PICK IT UP
IMPORTANTLY
AND WALK OFF
LIKE AN OLD MAN
WITH HIS ARMS BEHIND HIS BACK
PUT IT DOWN AND STUDY IT
HEAD COCKED WISELY TO THE SIDE
TILL THE OTHER STOLE IT
TOOK IT AWAY FOR STUDY

I DON'T KNOW WHY IT AMUSED ME
TO WATCH THEM
TWO OLD SCHOLARS
LOOKING FOR TRUTH
EACH ONE CLAIMING IT AS HIS OWN
AS IF TRUTH COULD HAVE SIDES
I SOMEHOW FEEL
THEY WOULD NOT HAVE SHARED THE BREAD
BUT WANTED IT ALL
EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS ENOUGH FOR TWO

I'D LIKE TO HAVE SOME MORAL HERE
BUT WHILE I WATCHED
A SQUIRREL CAME BY AND TOOK THE BREAD
CHATTERED WHILE HE ATE IT
LAUGHING
BUT THE SCHOLARS
LONG NOSE IN THE AIR
ARGUED WHO WAS IN THE WRONG








Frank a vollmer

CIRCUS


CIRCUS


I AM AN ACTOR’S SON
WHOSE PARENTS WERE ACTORS
I’M TO THE MANNER BORN

MY MOTHER
WAS A GENTLE DRUID PRIESTESS
WHO TAUGHT ME TO BELIEVE
IN LITTLE PEOPLE
FOLK MEDICINE
DREAMS
TEA LEAVES
GENTLENESS

MY FATHER
NEVER FORGOT THE STAGE
WITHOUT TRYING
HE’D BE CENTER STAGE
HE’D ACT LIKE A MILLIONAIRE
WITH A HOLE IN HIS SHOE
ACCENTS
DIALOGUE
IMPROVISATION
A MARVEL OF IMAGINATION
AND EGO
NEEDED TO CARRY SUCH A BURDEN

WE WERE DEPRESSION CHILDREN
MY SISTERS AND I
BUT NEVER POOR
THOUGH TIMES WERE TIGHT
AND MONEY NONEXISTENT
BUT WE WERE NEVER POOR

VAUDEVILLE HAD FOLDED
HE’D BECOME
A PARKING GARAGE MANAGER
SERVICING THE BIG HOTELS
ONLY THE BEST
OFTEN HE’D WALK TO WORK
TO SAVE A DIME
BUT HE NEVER FORGOT THE STAGE

MY MOTHER
SEA CAPTAIN’S DAUGHTER
IMMIGRANT
FROM NEWFOUNDLAND
KEEPER OF THE ENGLISH TRADITION
OF GOOD MANNERS
FINDING HER WORLD TOO SMALL
WANTING TO TRY OURS
THE AMERICAN DREAM
AND BRINGING WITH HER
THE SURE KNOWLEDGE
THAT A CUPPA TEA
COULD FIX MOST EVERYTHING

MY FATHER
WOULD GET FREE TICKETS TO THE CIRCUS
FOR PUTTING POSTERS IN THE GARAGE WINDOWS
AND WE’D GO
TO FIND THE TICKET TAKER
WAS ALSO THE AERIALIST
THE USHER WAS ALSO THE CLOWN
THE HAWKER WAS ALSO THE ACROBAT
AND WHO KNEW
HOW MANY JOBS HAD THE LION TAMER

IT WAS A WORLD OF WONDER
GLITZ
LIES AND EXAGGERATION
EVERYTHING
WAS BROUGHT FROM EUROPE
WAS EXCEEDINGLY DANGEROUS
THEIR NAMES KEPT CHANGING
FROM FRENCH
TO POLISH
RUSSIAN
THEY WERE OFTEN NOBILITY
THEY WERE OFTEN THE SAME PERSON
WITH MANY NAMES

AND THEIR CARRIAGE
WAS DONE WITH
ELEGANCE
STRENGTH
BRAVERY

MY PARENTS
WERE JUST AS EXCITED
AS WE WERE
WILLING TO LET OUR IMAGINATIONS FLY
WANTING TO JOIN THE CIRCUS

WHEN IT WAS OVER
WE TOOK THE TROLLEY HOME
EACH PARENT WITH TWO CHILDREN
ASLEEP
AND LEANING AGAINST THEM
THEIR ARMS WRAPPED AROUND THEM
RICH IN WONDER
SAFE IN THEIR ARMS
AS THEY TRIED
TO MAKE A BETTER WORLD FOR US


FRANK A VOLLMER

CHURCH SHOPPING


CHURCH SHOPPING






WE’VE BEEN GOING CHURCH SHOPPING
A PHRASE THAT’S SOMETIMES FROWNED UPON
BUT THAT’S WHAT WE’RE DOING

WE’RE NEW TO THE AREA
FINDING A CHURCH IS IMPORTANT

WE’RE LOOKING FOR A CHURCH HOME
NOT A HOUSE

WE’RE LOOKING FOR
A SPARK
A FLYING DOVE
A VOICE FROM HEAVEN SAYING
HERE

I KNOW THE SCRIPTURES
ARE THE SAME
WHETHER PREACHED
BY DULLARD
OR SCHOLAR

I’M LOOKING FOR √ČLAN
EVEN IF THE PASTOR STUTTERS
A VISION
THAT CALLS US TO TASK
FOR OUR FAILINGS

BUT SEES BEYOND
THE WALLS OF THE CHURCH
AND TALKS OF A WORLD
THAT NEEDS HEALING
BY MORE THAN A PIOUS
I’LL PRAY FOR YOU
BY TAKING AN ACTIVE PART

DOGMA WITHOUT LOVE IS TRASH
DOGMA WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING
IS INSUFFERABLE

A CHURCH
THAT TEACHES
YOU KINGDOM COME
YOUR WILL BE DONE
ON EARTH

IS THE ONE I’LL JOIN


FRANK A VOLLMER

CHRISTMAS REMEMBERED


CHRISTMAS REMEMBERED

THEY WERE TALKING ROUND THE FIRE
BY THEIR BOATS AT NIGHT
SWAPPING LIES AND MEMORIES
THE COMRADESHIP OF MEN
THEY WERE LAUGHING NOW
LAUGHING AT PETER'S MOCK GRUFFNESS WITH JOHN
YOU TELL ONE MORE OF YOUR JOKES
AND I'M THROWING YOU IN THE SEA
FOR JOHN HAD SAID
JOHN THE YOUNGEST ONE
THE MAN TO BOY ROUGH HUMOR
FOR JOHN HAD SAID
YOU KNOW WHEN I WAS BORN I CRIED LIKE A BABY
THEY'D GROANED AND LAUGHED AND GROANED AGAIN
AND CHASED JOHN FROM THE FIRE
WHO FINDING THE NIGHT AIR CHILL
MADE IMPOSSIBLE PROMISES OF SILENCE
TO REGAIN THE FIRE

THEY HAD SETTLED DOWN FOR THE NIGHT
EACH ONE SILENT WITH HIS THOUGHTS
CRIED LIKE A BABY CHUCKLED PETER
WHERE DOES HE GET THEM FROM JESUS
BUT JESUS WAS STRANGELY SILENT
STARING AT THE FIRE
LOOKING AT THE FLAME BUT SEEING HIS MOTHER
AND RELIVING HER MEMORY OF HIS BIRTH

THEREtD BEEN A TRIP
PLEASANT ENOUGH
WITH JOSEPH AND DONKEY
THERE'D BEEN THE HOUSEWIFE'S JOY AT ESCAPE FROM ROUTINE
AND JOSEPH WOULD AMUSE HER
TALKING TO THE DONKEY AS IF TO SOME NEAR DEAF UNCLE
EVEN NOT FINDING A ROOM HAD BEEN A LARK
AT FIRST BEFORE HER LABOR PAINS
THEY SAT UPON THE STRAW AND LAUGHED
MADAM I AM TRULY SORRY FOR THE ACCOMMODATIONS
THINK NOTHING OF IT MY GOOD MAN
THE SERVANTS WILL PUT IT ARIGHT IN A JIFFY
SO THEY'D DRANK WINE
ATE CHEESE AND BREAD
TRIED TO SLEEP
BUT THE BABY CAME
A SHEPHERD'S WIFE
SOMEHOW SUMMONED BY ANGEL'S CHOIR
SHOOED HIM OUT
AND WOMAN GRASPING WOMAN'S HAND
PULLED GOD'S OWN SON INTO THE WORLD

THE SHEPHERDS CAME IN ROUGH WOOL CLOTHES
AND SOFT SHEEP EYES
THE MAGI CAME IN RUSTLING SILK
AND FALCON EYES
BUT THEN THE ANGELS CAME
BE QUICK JOSEPH UP AND AWAY
FOR SOLDIERS ARE COMING FOR CHRIST TODAY
COVER THE HEAD OF THE CHILD WITH A SHAWL
DON'T LET HIM CHUCKLE OR GIGGLE OR BAWL
BUT MOST OF ALL CEASE HIS LAUGHTER
FOR THAT'S THE VERY THING THEY'RE AFTER
SNEAK OUT OF THE CITY SNEAK OUT OF THE TOWN
BY MORNING LIGHT BE EGYPT BOUND

DID YOU SAY SOMETHING JESUS
NO PETER JUST DREAMING
WELL GOODNIGHT THEN
GOODNIGHT PETER
HE LAY ON HIS BACK AND LOOKED AT THE STARS
GOODNIGHT MOTHER
I'M RUNNING STILL





Frank a vollmer

CHRISTMAS PARTY


CHRISTMAS PARTY


IT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE A SAD TIME
AND IT WASN’T
A GATHERING OF THE CLAN
FIVE GENERATIONS

FIVE GENERATIONS
COUNT THEM
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
FIVE
AS IN FIVE FINGERS
ONE SHORT A HALF DOZEN
FOUR MORE THAN ONE
FIVE

BUT I DIGRESS

IT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE A SAD TIME
A GATHERING OF THE CLAN
FOR CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
A CELEBRATION OF FAMILY

I WASN’T FEELING WELL
AN ACCUMULATION
OF ACHES AND PAINS AND AGE

BUT I WANTED TO COME
I HAD TO COME

I WAS WATCHING THE GAME
ALONE ON THE COUCH
THE PARTY HAD MIGRATED
TO THE KITCHEN
THE PLAYROOM
THE COMPUTER ROOM

I
IN A MOMENT
OF MIS-NOMENCLATURE
WAS IN THE LIVING ROOM
SHOULD HAVE BEEN
THE SLEEPING ROOM

BUT I DIGRESS

I WAS TIRED
FROM ARGUING WITH MY GRANDCHILD
YES
MY YOUNGEST GRANDCHILD
I WAS TIRED
FROM ARGUING
THAT THE BOWL
A VERY NICE BOWL
SHE HAD GIVEN ME FOR CHRISTMAS
WAS A HAT
AND I WAS WEARING IT

FINALLY
PROPERLY THANKED
FOR MY BOWL/HAT
SHE LEFT
WONDERING
ABOUT HER GENE POOL

TO BE REPLACED
BY A GREAT GRANDSON
WHO HUGGED ME
AND ASKED TO SIT BESIDE ME
SURE I SAID

SO WE SAT THERE
SNUGGLED TOGETHER
WATCHING THE GAME
TALKING ABOUT SCHOOL
AND PRESENTS
AND HOW HE LIKED LIVING IN THE COUNTRY
AND HOW HE HOPED GRAND POP
WOULD BE FEELING BETTER
FOR THAT MOMENT HE WAS MY FAVORITE
DON’T TELL THE OTHERS

HE NEEDED SOMETHING
I NEEDED SOMETHING
SO WE SAT THERE QUIETLY
NOT WATCHING THE GAME
ENJOYING THE SENSE
OF BELONGING TO EACH OTHER

THOUGH HE PROBABLY
COULD HAVE DONE BETTER
THAN A GREAT GRANDFATHER
WITH A BOWL ON HIS HEAD

FRANK A VOLLMER

CHRISTMAS IN THE TRENCHES (CHRISTMAS TIME)


CHRISTMAS IN THE TRENCHES


WE MET AFTER THE WAR
FRITZ AND I
WE WERE LUCKY
SO MANY DID NOT SURVIVE

WE AGREED
IF LEADERS HAD TO FIGHT
ALONG WITH THE MEN
THERE’D BE LESS WAR

OH WHEN THEY KILLED A FRIEND
WE’D BE ANGRY AT THEM

BUT MOST OF THE TIME
IT WAS TWO GROUPS OF MEN
SHARING THE MUCK

SO ON CHRISTMAS EVE
ONE GROUP STARTED SINGING
THE OTHER RESPONDED
THE WARMTH OF THE SOUND
DREW BOTH SIDES TOGETHER

SOON WE WERE SINGING
AND LAUGHING TOGETHER
EXCHANGING CIGARETTES
AND CHOCOLATE
GIFTS FOR A KING

I HADN’T JOINED THE ARMY TO FIGHT
BUT FOR THREE SQUARE MEALS
AND A ROOF
IT WAS HARD TIMES

OH WE’D YELL GROSS JOKES AT THEM
THEY’D YELL BACK
THE ROUGH HUMOR OF MEN
WITHOUT WOMEN TO CIVILIZE THEM

I LOOKED AT FRITZ
AND WONDERED WHY
WE HAD TRIED TO KILL EACH OTHER

WHAT VANITY
TOLD US
WE MUST SHED BLOOD

WHAT INSANE LOGIC OF OUR LEADERS
TOLD US
WE MUST SHED BLOOD

WHAT PIECE OF LAND
IS SO VALUABLE
WE MUST SHED BLOOD

ALONG WITH CHRIST ON THE CROSS
I YELL OUT
WHY


FRANK A VOLLMER

CHRISTMAS IN THE BARN


CHRISTMAS IN THE BARN


THEIR HALOS WERE CROOKED
THEIR WINGS THEY WERE BENT
THEIR POSTURES MOST UN-ANGELIC

BUT PARENTS
AND FRIENDS
THOUGHT THEY WERE BEAUTIFUL

AS THEY
FROM THE TOP OF BALES OF STRAW
TOLD ONCE MORE THE CHRISTMAS TALE

THE PARENTS WERE CHILDREN AGAIN
TAUGHT BY THEIR CHILDREN
THAT BENEATH ALL THE CHRISTMAS LEGENDS
THE MAGIC OF SANTA
AND HIS ELVES

WAS A VERY SIMPLE STORY

A CHILD WAS BORN

NOW WHETHER THERE WERE SHEPHERDS
AND WISE MEN I DO NOT KNOW

BUT A CHILD WAS BORN

GOD MADE FLESH

GIVING DIGNITY TO ALL PEOPLE
AND A MESSAGE

LOVE OTHERS
AS YOU WOULD LOVE ME

GIVE THE HOMELESS
THE DESTITUTE
THE LONELY SHELTER
AND ASK WHY

FRANK A VOLLMER

CHRISTMAS 2000


CHRISTMAS 2000

IT WAS THE COMING ON OF EVENING
THE SHADOWS GATHERING IN THE CORNERS
SPILLING OUT
FILING THE ROOM WHERE HE SAT
CONTENT
AT EASE
HAPPY TO BE AT HOME
SITTING IN THE DARKNESS
AT EVENING
CONTENT

IT HADN'T ALWAYS BEEN SO
IT WAS AN ACQUIRED HABIT
FOR LONG HE HAD BEEN TOO BUSY
PREOCCUPIED
TO ENJOY THE DAILY TRIVIA
OF ORDINARY LIVING
BUT ONCE HE'D LEFT IT
ONCE HE'D GONE OFF
HE'D MISSED IT

SO THAT HE SAT IN THE DARK
QUIET AT TABLE
CONTENT
WAITING FOR HIS MOTHER
TO COME HOME

SUCH A NORMAL FEELING
WAITING
WARM IN HIS HOME
FOR HIS MOTHER
TO COME HOME

WHERE SHALL I BE BORN THIS YEAR
ON SOME LOST BOAT ON SOME LOST SEA
EXILED FROM MY COUNTRY
AND NO OTHER PLACE
TO CALL HOME

SHALL I BE BORN AT SEA
OR IN A CAMP
SUCKING DRYNESS
FROM MY MOTHER'S
WITHERED BREASTS

WHERE SHALL I BE BORN

OR SHALL I BE BORN
IN AN OLD MAN'S WHIMPER
WHO FINDS HIS INCOME
CANNOT PAY
FOR RENT AND FOOD AND FUEL
AND IN THE TWILIGHT OF HIS YEARS
FINDS HUNGER HIS REWARD FOR SERVICE

WHERE SHALL I BE BORN

BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT
THOSE WHO FIND THERE LIFE DIMINISHED
BY FORCES OUT OF THEIR CONTROL
WHO ALSO FIND NO REASON FOR THEIR PAIN

WHERE SHALL I BE BORN

PERHAPS AGAIN IN A STABLE
REJECTED
NOT ABLE TO JOIN THE PARTY AT THE INN
SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE
A DOWN'S SYNDROME CHILD
OR ONE WITH AIDS

WHERE SHALL I BE BORN

GOOD EVENING MOM

HAVE YOU BEEN HERE LONG

I DON'T KNOW
I DON'T THINK SO
BESIDES IT'S NICE JUST SITTING HERE
QUIET IN OUR HOME WAITING
ON THE DAY THAT I WAS BORN




Frank a vollmer

CHILDREN EVER YOUNG


CHILDREN EVER YOUNG

WE ARE PRIVILEGED TO MINISTER TO THOSE CHILDREN
WHO WALK TO THE SOUND OF A DIFFERENT DRUMMER
WHOSE VISIONS DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES
WE ONLY DIMLY PERCEIVE
CHILDREN WHO ARE FOREVER YOUNG
CHILDREN WHO SEE THE WORLD WITH STARTLING CLARITY
WHO EVER TELL THE KING HE WEARS NO CLOTHES
CHILDREN WHO SHALL PROBABLY NEVER SIN
AND WHAT WE TRY TO DO
IS TO CRAM INTO THEIR LIVES
ALL THE JOY AND LAUGHTER WE CAN
TO GIVE THE CHILD A SENSE OF GOD'S PRESENCE AND AFFECTION
SO THAT ON THE DAY HE STANDS BEFORE HIS MAKER
HE MAY RECOGNIZE GOD FOR WHAT HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN TO HIM
A FRIEND




Frank a vollmer

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CHEMO


CHEMO

THE INTRAVENOUS BOTTLE
HOLDING THE WITCH’S BREW
OF HEALING BROTH
DRIPS SLOWLY INTO THE VIAL
THEN THROUGH THE TUBING
TO A NEEDLE
STUCK IN MY CHEST

THE SUNLIGHT
CATCHES THE DROPS
AND MAKES THEM GLOW

A DESIGNER DRUG
TO KILL THE CANCER
AND LET THE GOOD CELLS ALONE

LIKE GRACE SLIDING INTO A SOUL
ERASING THE SIN
BUT LEAVING THE SINNER WHOLE

THE DOCTOR SAYS
A GOOD ATTITUDE
ACCOUNTS
FOR FIFTY PERCENT
OF THE MEDICINE’S EFFECTS

A REPENTANT HEART
OH GOD
YOU WILL NOT DESPISE

CURE ME GOD
OF THAT WHICH IS CURABLE
AND FOR THE REST
PUT A NEW
AND RIGHT SPIRIT
WITHIN ME


FRANK A VOLLMER

CHANGING MOODS




CHANGING MOODS

WHO TAUGHT THE LAKE ITS MANY MOODS
YESTERDAY THERE WERE WHITECAPS
FOAM FLYING
WATER BEATING AGAINST THE SHORE
TEARING IT DOWN
REARRANGING THE SHORELINE
TODAY IT IS CALM
ITS SURFACE A MANY-FACETED JEWEL OF SUN
IT IS CONTENT WITH THE SHORE
IT LEAVES IT ALONE
SOON AGAIN IT WILL BE LAZILY MOVING
SOON AGAIN THE LAKE WILL FREEZE
LIFE WILL HUNKER IN ITS LOWER DEPTHS
TO SURVIVE
HOW MANY MOODS HAS THE LAKE

THERE ARE PROBABLY MORALS HERE
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
BUT FOR TODAY I AM CONTENT
TO LET THE LAKE
BECOME PART OF ME
TO GO WHERE WORDS ARE NOT NEEDED
TO BECOME PART OF EVERYTHING
THAT IS
TO FIND QUIET IN MY CENTER
TO BECOME PART OF EVERYTHING
TO BE LOVED
FOR THAT IS ALL THAT GIVES MEANING
TO ALL THE MOTIONS OF MY BEING
DOWN WHERE I REALLY LIVE
WHERE I AM DROWNED IN A LAKE
OF THE MYSTERY THE WONDER AND THE AWE
THE PASSION AND THE POWER OF YOU


Frank a vollmer

CATASTROPHES


CATASTROPHES



I NEVER THOUGHT THE CAT
WOULD DO THAT
STICKING HIS NOSE
IN YOUR BUSINESS
WHAT A BRAT
O ANTNY IS A SPIRIT FREE
ANTNY IS THE CAT FOR ME
BUT WHEN YOU SAT DOWN TO PEE
IT WAS ALMOST A CATASTROPHE
CHECK FIRST THE CHAIR BEFORE YOU SIT
CHECK FOR GAS BEFORE A MATCH IS LIT
AND MAIDEN, MAIDEN HEAR MY PRAYER
CHECK THE THRONE BEFORE YOU •••

WASH YOU HAIR
DO THE DISHES
PAY THE RENT
DO YOUR NAILS
OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT WILL FIT
O CATS BE NIMBLE, CATS BE QUICK
CATS JUMP OVER THE CANDLESTICK
CATS GO ANYWHERE THEY WILL
BUT AVOID THE JOHN AT LAKE WATCHIC


FRANK A VOLLMER

CALUMET - SUMMER'S END


CALUMET - SUMMER'S END

IT IS THE TIME FOR GOING AWAY
THOUGH SOME WILL STAY
THE KEEPERS OF THE NEST
ENSURING THAT THE SANCTUARY
WILL BE HERE WHEN NEEDED
THOUGH MOST WILL SCATTER
IT IS THE TIMES FOR LEAVES
AND LEAVING
IT IS THE TIME
FOR SENDING OUT THE MESSAGE
THAT GOD LIVES
AND THAT HIS STORY IS WORTH RETELLING
AS EACH ONE GOES
LIKE CANDLES FLOATING ON THE WATER
TAKING THE MESSAGE
TO ALL DARK PLACES
GOD IS
HE LOVES
HE CARES
THEY GO AS AUTUMN LEAVES
AND THEIR FLIGHT IS BEAUTIFUL
THEY GO
CARRYING OUR LOVE
AND SENDING IT BACK
SO THAT WHEN WINTER STILLNESS COMES
AND WITH IT COLD
OUR HEARTS WILL BE WARMED BY ITS MEMORY





FRANK A VOLLMER

BUSY-NESS


BUSY-NESS

I SUPPOSE IT WILL ALWAYS BE SO
FROM
I KNOW NOT MAN
TO THE BABY LEAPED WITHIN MY WOMB
MY SOUL REJOICES
ALL SHALL CALL ME BLESSED
FROM PINNACLE
TO
I CANNOT MARRY YOU
YOU HAVE BEEN UNFAITHFUL
TO THE DREAM
TO THE WEDDING
TO THE TRIP TO BETHLEHEM
TO NO ROOM AT THE INN
AND THE BABY
TO A MOMENT OF GLORY
AND THE FLIGHT TO EGYPT

NO TIME TO HAVE A BABY
BUT BABIES WILL COME
AS GOD WILL COME
WHEN WE ARE UNPREPARED
FOR HE IS A GOD WHO WILL FILL
ALL OUR LONELY
ALL OUR EMPTY MOMENTS
WHO WILL TAKE WHATEVER WE CAN GIVE
AT THE MOMENT
AND LET IT BE SOIL
FOR SEED TO GROW

THERE WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH TIME
TO PREPARE FOR GOD
ALL HE ASKS
IS THAT
IN ALL OUR BUSYNESS
WE TAKE A MOMENT TO SAY
I'M GLAD YOU'RE HERE
Frank A Vollmer

BUFFALO VERSUS STEERS


BUFFALO VERSUS STEERS



THEY SAY A BUFFALO
WILL FACE INTO A STORM
AND WALK OUT OF IT

A STEER ON THE OTHER HAND
SHOWS ITS RUMP TO THE STORM
AND WALKS WITH IT
SOMETIMES LEADING TO ITS OWN DESTRUCTION

I SUPPOSE THERE IS A LIFE LESSON THERE
I KNOW THERE IS A LIFE LESSON THERE

I SEE IT IN THE CANCER TREATMENT ROOMS
SOME COME IN TO FIGHT
OTHERS RUN

I’D LIKE TO THINK THAT I’M A FIGHTER
BATTLE SCARRED CERTAINLY
DEFEATED SOMETIMES
OVERWHELMED SOMETIMES
BUT LIKE A COMPASS
ALWAYS SEEKING NORTH
ALWAYS TURNING TO FACE THE STORM
THOUGH THERE ARE MOMENTS OF WILD GYRATING

AM I BETTER THAN THE STEERS
CERTAINLY NOT
HOLIER
CERTAINLY NOT
WISER
CERTAINLY NOT
BLESSED
CERTAINLY

DO I FEEL THAT I AM GOD’S CHILD
CERTAINLY
THEN WHY CANCER





I PRAY DAILY
YOUR WILL BE DONE

NOT WHEN IT PLEASES ME
OR MAKES ME FEEL GOOD
YOUR WILL BE DONE

I THINK IT’S THE ACCEPTANCE OF HIS WILL
OFTEN UNGRACEFULLY
THAT HELPS ME FACE THE STORM
AND PRAY MY FELLOW CANCER MATES
WILL DO THE SAME


FRANK A VOLLMER

Sunday, November 29, 2009

BIG TOE


BIG TOE



MY BIG TOE IS BROKE
IT’S NOT A JOKE
IT’S BROKE

I DON’T MEAN TO BE ARCH
OR CALLOUS OR CORNY
BUT IT HURTS
AND IT’S BROKE
AND I FEEL KIND OF MOURNY

I HOPE IT WILL HEEL
BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO FEEL
LIKE I’LL ALWAYS WALK THIS WAY

I DON’T WANT TO RANKLE
MY ANKLE
BY WALKING FUNNY

I CAN’T NAIL IT DOWN
WHEN I BANGED MY BIG TOE

I SAID TO THE DOCTOR I FEEL FUNNY
HE SAID JOIN THE CIRCUS
A TOE LIKE THAT YOU’D MAKE MILLIONS

EIGHT YEARS OF COLLEGE
AND THAT’S THE BEST HE CAN DO
FOR SUCH A DIAGNOSIS
I HAVE TO FOOT THE BILL

MY NOSE IS RUNNING
MY FEET ARE SMELLING
ON TOP OF ALL THAT
MY TOE HURTS
AND EVERYONE THINKS IT FUNNY


FRANK A VOLLMER

BELIEF


BELIEF


BACK WHEN THE WORLD WAS SMALLER

ISRAEL WAS THOUGHT
TO BE A GREAT NATION
A FAVORITE OF GOD

IT WAS EASY TO SAY
THOSE WHO DIDN’T BELIEVE
WERE CONDEMNED

WHEN HE WAS WRESTLING WITH SCRIBES
WITH PHARISEES
WITH SADDUCEES

WHO WOULDN’T BELIEVE
FOR MANY REASONS

AMONG WHICH WAS LOSS OF POWER

BUT SOME IN CONSCIENCE
DID NOT BELIEVE
WERE THEY CONDEMNED
I THINK NOT

A LOVING GOD
RESPECTS A MAN’S CONSCIENCE
WHEN HE RESPONDS
TO THE WORD OF GOD
WRITTEN IN HIS HEART

NO MATTER WHAT NAME HE GIVES GOD

A RELIGION
THAT DEPENDS ON LITERACY
WHEN SO MUCH OF THE WORLD IS ILLITERATE
IS A CONTRADICTION





A RELIGION THAT FAILS
TO LIVE UP TO ITS OWN PRINCIPALS
IS A CONTRADICTION

A RELIGION THAT KILLS
TO PROMOTE ITS CAUSE
IS A CONTRADICTION

MEN HAVE SOUGHT LIGHT
AND ENLIGHTENMENT
IN MANY FORMS

THEY HAVE SOUGHT GOOD
AND THE BETTERMENT
OF THEIR SOCIETY

CAN A GOD THAT SAYS
I WILL OFFER MY SON
AS A RANSOM
BECAUSE I LOVE THE WORLD

CAN SUCH A GOD CONDEMN

WHEN THERE IS NO FAULT TO BE FOUND
EXCEPT IGNORANCE

FRANK A VOLLMER

BEATITUDES FOR THE OLD


BEATITUDES FOR THE OLD

BLESSED THEY WHO KNOW MY WALK'S UNSTEADY
AND MY HANDS SHAKE
BLESSED THEY WHO SPEAK A LITTLE LOUDER
BLESSED THEY WHO KNOW THE WORLD IS MISTY
IN MY SIGHT AND IN MY MIND
BLESSED THEY WHO DO NOT GRUMBLE WHEN I SPILL THE SALT
BLESSED THEY WHO SMILE AT ME AND STOP TO TALK
AND LISTEN TO MY STORIES THREE TIMES TOLD
BLESSED ARE THE LISTENERS TO THE TALES OF MY YOUTH
WHO LOVE ME AND TREAT ME WITH RESPECT
BLESSED THEY WHO GIVE ME WARMTH AS COLD CREEPS IN
BLESSED THEY WHO MAKE GOD SEEM MORE FRIENDLY
AND WHEN ETERNITY WRAPS ITSELF ABOUT ME
I SHALL REMEMBER THEM TO GOD



from the french by arbelet

BARBARA AND PRISCILLA

BARBARA AND PRISCILLA


BARBARA MEANS FOREIGN OR EXOTIC
PRISCILLA MEANS OLD
AS IN A PRAYER FOR LONG LIFE
BOTH MEAN KIND AND CARING

WHATSOEVER YOU DO TO THE LEAST OF MY BRETHREN
THAT YOU DO UNTO ME

IF YOU LISTEN CLOSELY
YOU CAN HEAR THE SLAP
OF SANDALED FEET
THE SWISH OF TOGA
AND A VOICE SAYING
WELL DONE


FRANK A VOLLMER

AT THE END


AT THE END
WE PRAYED FOR DEATH
WE WATCHED HIM LABOR
MOST OF THE DAY
EVENING
AND EARLY MORNING
HE’D TALK OUTLOUD
WORDS
DISJOINTED SENTENCES
AS IF HE WAS SETTLING
HIS AFFAIRS
THEN THE ELDEST DAUGHTER SAID
IT’S OK TO GO
YOUR WIFE IS SAFE
AND THE FAMILY IS HERE
THEN HE RESTED
WAS AT PEACE
THEN HE DIED

MAY YOUR FAMILY DIE
IN THE NATURAL ORDER
A BIT IF JEWISH WISDOM

I FEEL LIKE A SHEPHERD
THAT LOST A SHEEP
TRULY LOST
AND FEEL EMPTY
BY THE LOSS

I KNOW THAT SOME OF MY EMOTIONS
ARE UNREAL
AND MANUFACTURD

BUT THEY WALK WITH ME
A SHADOW COMPANION

TO PRAY FOR DEATH
NO MATTER
HOW DESIREABLE
STILL LEAVES A PARENT
SEEKING
LIFE
DEATH
PEACE

FRANK A VOLLMER

ARIRANG


ARIRANG

ARIRANG
ARIRANG

A MOUNTAIN
IN THE MIST

ARIRANG
ARIRANG

MY LOVER FADING SLOWLY
IN THE MIST

THE MIST IS LIFTING
HE IS GONE

MAY HIS FEET HURT
BEFORE HE GOES A MILE

ARIRANG
ARIRANG

MAY EVERY BONE IN HIS FEET HURT
AS MY HEART HURTS

THE PAINS IN MY HEART
ARE AS NUMEROUS
AS THE STARS

WHAT DID WE ARGUE OVER
I DO NOT KNOW
SOME LOVER’S FANTASY
SOME WOUNDED PRIDE

ARIRANG
ARIRANG

I WANT HIM BACK
HIS FEET BOTHERED
BY SOME PEBBLE IN HIS SHOE
QUICKLY REMOVED

BUT WAIT
IN STARLIGHT
DO I SEE
MY LOVER COMING BACK
TO ME
NOT HOBBLING
BUT ON NIMBLE FEET

FRANK A VOLLMER

ANNIVERSARY


ANNIVERSARY

THE THOUGHT OF ANNIVERSARY
IS THE RECALLING
OF SOMETHING
THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN FORGOTTEN

BUT I CAN SAY
THAT SINCE I FIRST LOVED YOU
FIRST FROM AFAR
THEN UP CLOSE
TILL FINALLY AS ONE

MY LOVE FOR YOU
HAS NEVER NEEDED REMINDING

ANNIVERSARIES ARE NUMBERS
AND HAVE ENDINGS

MY LOVE IS FOREVER
AND WILL NEVER END

THERE IS NO REMEMBERING SOMETHING
THAT HAS NEVER BEEN FORGOTTEN

FRANK A VOLLMER

AN EASTER SONG


AN EASTER SONG



THERE WAS THE SOUND OF SOMEONE SOFTLY SINGING
IT SPOKE OF CHILDREN’S SILVER LAUGHTER
THE BELL TONES OF A RUNNING BROOK
OF CROCUS BUDS AND SPRINGTIME GREEN
OF SUN AND WARMTH AND YOUNG LOVE'S FIRE
IT SPOKE OF PEACE
AS SHE HURRIED TO THE TOMB
WONDERING WHO WOULD ROLL THE STONE AWAY

WONDERING AND WORRIED
YET SOMEHOW CONSOLED BY THE SOUND
UNTIL THERE WAS THE TOMB AND THE STONE ROLLED AWAY
AND A YOUNG MAN SITTING
AND SWINGING HIS LEGS

SINGING
SING MY SOUL HAPPY BE
THE LORD HAS SET HIS PEOPLE FREE

SHE COULD NOT COMPREHEND AT FIRST
THE HAPPY SINGING MAN

BUT SLOWLY
LIKE A CLOUD GIVING BIRTH TO THE SUN
SHE UNDERSTOOD

A FLOCK OF STARLINGS IN A NEARBY TREE
CHATTERED NOISILY
SWALLOWS TURNED CRAZY CARTWHEELS IN THE SKY
FISH PLAYED LEAPFROG IN THE LAKE
HAPPY TEARS ROLLED DOWN THE WOMAN'S FACE

THERE WAS THE SOUND OF SOMEONE SOFTLY SINGING
Frank A. Vollmer

AL


AL


STAY WITH ME LORD
FOR THE DAY IS ENDING
AND THE NIGHT IS COMING NIGH

LIKE A TIDE THAT WILL NOT EBB
FILLING UP ALL THE LOW PLACES OF MY LIFE
SO THAT ALL I SEE
ARE THE MOUNTAIN TOPS OF THOSE
WHO LOVE ME

WHAT A GIFT TO BE LOVED
ESPECIALLY IN THIS LONELY HOUR
WHAT A GIFT TO BE LOVED

I WOULD LIKE TO GO OUT SINGING
BUT I KEEP FORGETTING THE WORDS

STAY WITH ME LORD
I HAVE MANY REGRETS
BUT LEAVING HER WHOM I DEEPLY LOVE
WHAT IS THE ANSWER TO THAT

FAREWELL TO DREAMS
TO HOPES
BUT NOT TO LOVE

IT WILL BE IN THE GATHERING DARKNESS
A BEACON TO SHOW ME HOME
HER LOVE
A LANTERN TO MY FEET
A FAREWELL GENEROUSLY GIVEN

THERE IS AT THE END RESIGNATION
AND REGRET
AND BELIEF IN YOUR LOVE
UPON WHICH MY LOVE FOR HER IS BASED
WHICH GIVES US BOTH OUR JOY
AND SADNESS IN THIS HOUR

THERE IS IN THAT BELIEF
THE THOUGHT
THAT WHEN I GO
THAT I SHALL LEAVE BEHIND

MY HEART
IN HER HEART
SINGING MY LOVE FOR HER
FOREVER


FRANK A VOLLMER

ADVENT SONG


ADVENT SONG

COME LEVELER OF MOUNTAINS COME
COME STRAIGHTENER OF CROOKED WAYS
COME LION TAMER LAMB CARRIER COME
COME RISING SUN TO WARM OUR DAYS

COME CONVERTER OF WEAPONS TO FARMWARE
COME BRINGER OF THE WINE AND THE WHEAT
COME FLOURISHING TREE OF JESSE
COME MAKE YOUR CREATION COMPLETE

COME GIVE A SIGN OH SILENT GOD
COME GIVE A SIGN WE TEMPT YOU STILL
SO SILENT GOD WE THOUGHT YOU DEAD
COME MARY'S CHILD WE LOVE YOU STILL

COME SILENT GOD WITH THUNDER VOICE
EARTH'S VALLEYS AND THE DESERT FILL
SPEAK GOD FOR IN YOUR SILENCE LONG
WE FEEL THAT WE ARE ORPHANS STILL

COME MARY'S CHILD LONG COMING COME
COME SMASHER OF THE YOKE AND ROD
COME CHILD AND LEAD US IN THE DANCE
COME FRIEND AND SPEAK...BE NOT SILENT GOD

COME LORD JESUS COME AGAIN
BRING THE WHEAT AND GENTLE RAIN
COME AGAIN


FRANK A VOLLMER

ADVENT


ADVENT


IN THE TIME OF THE SHORTENING OF THE SUN
WHEN LIFE SEEMS TO FLEE FROM THE EARTH
WHEN THE IMPERMANENCE OF OUR LIVES
IS BROUGHT HOME TO US

WHEN WINTER WINDS TAKE OUR BODY HEAT
WHEN WINTER CALLS US TO SLEEP,
DREAMS UNFULFILLED

IN THIS TIME OF COMING DARKNESS
WE STRIKE A MATCH AND SING
O COME EMMANUEL,
COME DAY STAR, COME
COME GIVE US PROMISE
OF RETURNING SUN
OF RIVERS UNFROZEN
OF SPRING ONCE MORE
OF DREAMS TO BE


O COME,
AND IN THIS WINTER THAT WE FACE
LIVE WITH US AS COMPANY



FRANK A VOLLMER

ACT OF CONTRITION




ACT OF CONTRITION - CHURCH CLOSED IN POOR NEIGHBORHOOD

FATHER FORGIVE US FOR BEING POOR
FOR BEING GHETTO TRAPPED BY BIRTH OR RACE OR AGE
OR FEAR OF COMPETITION
FOR WHICH WE ARE ILL PREPARED
FORGIVE US FOR OUR ANGER
FOR LASHING OUT AT INNUMERABLE GNATS OF IRRITATION
THE ACID OF OUR DAILY LIVES
FORGIVE US FOR BELIEVING YOUR WORDS
THAT THE POOR WOULD HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM
FORGIVE US FOR NOT MAKING MONEY
LIKE OTHER MISSIONS IN AFRICA INDIA LATIN AMERICA DO
FOR PENANCE TAKE OUR CHURCH
AND WITH THE GAIN
ERECT A MONUMENT TO PRIDE
IN A MORE PROFITABLE PLACE
FATHER FORGIVE US FOR BEING POOR

ACORNS


ACORNS

IN THE BEGINNING
THERE HAD BEEN MANY SEEDS
STREWN FROM THE TREE BY AUTUMN WIND
OR SQUIRREL RAID
AND EACH ONE EQUALLY HAD LAIN UPON THE GROUND
THRU WINTER SNOW AND APRIL RAIN
BUT ONLY ONE STRUCK ROOT AND GREW
ONE
WHO'D PUT ITS BACK AGAINST A ROCK
AND STOOD ITS GROUND
AND GREW
BUT OF THE OTHERS NONE WAS WASTED
SOME WERE FOOD DIRECTLY EATEN
OTHERS GAVE THEIR RICHNESS TO THE SOIL
IN SLOW DECAY
BUT ONLY ONE CARRIED ON THE MESSAGE
ONLY ONE TOOK THE DARE
AND GREW






FRANK A VOLLMER

ABSALOM DAVID'S SON



ABSALOM DAVID'S SON



HE COULD REMEMBER HIS SWINGING ON TREES
WATCHING HIM NOW
HANGING FROM THE TREE BY HIS HAIR

HE WISHED HIS FACE WAS LESS CONTORTED
HIS FACE LINES LAUGHTER CAUSED

WHEN THEY TOLD HIM HOW HE DIED
HOW HE SWUNG FROM THE TREE BY HIS HAIR
PIERCED BY SOLDIERS SPEARS
HE ONLY ASKED
DID HE CALL MY NAME

I WOULD NOT WANT HIM DEAD IN ANGER
THIS CHILD OF MINE
WHO TREE CLIMBED OFTEN IN HIS YOUTH
WHO TREE CLIMBED OFTEN AND WOULD CALL
FIND ME IF YOU CAN

WHAT HAPPENED AS HE GREW THAT I LOST MY CHILD
WHAT HAPPENED AS WE GREW THAT I LOST MY CHILD
WHEN DID HE CLIMB DOWN UNHEEDED
AND WENT HIS WAY

DID HE TIRE OF HIDE AND SEEK
WHEN I WOULD NOT PLAY
WHERE DID I LOSE MY SON
WHEN DID THE SILENCE GO TO ANGER
AND THE NEED TO HURT

SO MANY CALLS UPON ME
SO MANY PLACES TO BE

OH ABSALOM ABSALOM TREE CLIMBER MY CHILD
STRANGE FRUIT ON THE TREE
STIFF IN DEATH AS YOU WERE IN LIFE
I KISS YOUR STILL UNFEELING LIPS
WOULD TO GOD I HAD DIED
WOULD TO GOD I HAD DIED
THAN BE HERE TO WATCH THE SUN GO DOWN
ON YOUR ANGER
AND YOUR DEATH

Frank A. Vollmer

ABERFAN


ABERFAN

FOR MARGARET WHO REMEMBERED


WHEN GROWNUPS DIE

IT'S NOT SO BAD

ONE THINKS OF FLOWERS

READY TO BE PICKED

BUT CHILDREN

CHILDREN ARE ANOTHER THING

TO SEE THEIR TOMBSTONES

INA ROW

ON COMMON GRAVE

ALL STRUCK DOWN

SAME HOUR AND SAME PLACE

IN ABERFAN

SOME SO TOTALLY GONE

THERE IS NO ONE LEFT TO GRIEVE

BUT THE DISMAL AUTUMN RAIN

PALLING PROM OCTOBER SKY

ON THE LIFELESS HEAPS OP SLAG

HOW QUICKLY HAS THE GRASS CLAIMED THE GRAVE

AND AUTUMN LEAVES COME CLINGING TO THE STONES

UNTIL THE WIND BLOWS THEM AWAY

AS IF THEY WANTED TO KISS THE CHILD IN PASSING

HOW MANY POEMS UNBEGUN ARE BURIED HERE

HOW MUCH LAUGHTER, TEARS AND JOY

ROW MUCH SORROW IS ENTOMBED


THE CHILDREN COMING HOME FROM SCHOOL

SPLASHING THROUGH EACH PUDDLE FOUND

THE PARENTS BUNDLED AGAINST THE STORM

MAKE QUICK THE TRIP FROM WORK TO HOME

AND NO ONE REALLY SEEMS TO CARE

EXCEPT THE DISMAL AUTUMN RAIN

FALLING FROM OCTOBER SKY

ON THE LIFELESS HEAPS OF SLAG

FRANK A VOLLMER

ABERFAN
OCTOBER 1966
144 DEAD
SLAG HEAP FELL ON VILLAGE
HITTING SCHOOL AND HOMES