The New Volunteerism Project
Ivan Henry Scheier
Additional Poetry by Ivan Scheier
|Some of my poems are really bad,
And some are good,
If I could tell you why,
I doubt I would.
My second book of poems I gave away,
The first one costs a penny;
Hurry, if you want to pay;
I won’t write many.
I think your starving poets, deserve to;
I would myself, if I had the nerve to.
Once, Volunteering Was for Dreamers (1997)
Once, volunteering was for dreamers…
We were – and some still are –
pioneers in compassionate enterprise.
It was the way we
Got good things done before there were big
Budgets or bureaucracies.
Once, volunteering was a legacy…
It was an inheritance from family, friends, or Faith,
An unself-conscious way of living out basic values.
Volunteering was just the way we were,
A private matter of public consequence.
Once, volunteering was a power.
We didn’t react to trends, we CAUSED them.
We didn’t supplement staff, we CREATED them
Politicians didn’t use us; we USED them.
And we made dreams happen.
Once, volunteering was for dreamers.
May it soon be so again.
Poem in Honor of a New VolunteerIn darkness,
You will be as light:
The diminishing of pain.
Always, in the dry desert of uncaring,
You will be the rain.
As you now come to join
A growing line of light and love,
May your gift be to yourself as well,
A healing fountain
See you on the mountains.
Whatever more men know
It is the fate of art
Without a growing heart
Or universal rhyme
No man may start
Where Shakespeare ends
Though critics order and arrange,
All we have is change.
Till poetry takes time apart.
Once BeforeOnce before,
And once more soon,
I know a meadow
In the snow and moon,
Slanting its face of flowers
In the wind and thunder,
In the wind
And under cold black air,
I will sleep there
Soon and forever
In the phantom places of the highlands
Where moonbeams slide down cold white flanks of stone
Unity they melt and boil blue into rivers
Up where the air’s too clear for the smoke of the mind
And rocks too hard for grinding
Let soft flowers sleep in their forever shadows
Under sometime snow
In the neighborhood of heaven
Hope waits for summer….
StillpointThe place was built
Beside the Great River
In the awe of old;
Earth and Stone
Come through time with it
Till it falls
From mortgage of an honorarium:
Heart put this place where it is;
And truth will live here.
Sometimes there are
Soft and summer smells
And here and there a rose
Contributes to the wind;
And the wind slows,
Smoke grows fresh
By a farmhouse well
When eyes are added to a nose can tell:
The is the greenest part of Hell.
A Not Forgotten SpringIf there is another summer,
Will Someone remember
That the grass needs greening
And which green,
The correct color of flowers
Not seen since September,
And the subtle insinuations of a weed?
Who holds these thoughts
In Winter visions
Which remember Spring?
“You can’t push the river,”
But you can dam it:
Yes you can, dammit.
Also, you can drain it
So low a dead fish can’t explain it.
But you can’t push the river.
SaluteI didn’t care so much for all your hate,
Hypocrisy: I think the word they used was “fate.”
But just before life gives me one last shove,
I thank you for the wine and love,
For things that still grow green and still smell sweet
Against our fumes of gas
And push up through our cold concrete;
In fact, what I am most appreciative of
Are things we have not made
Except for wine, except for love.
Old John, With LoveI watch my neighbor’s every move
And well before an hour is gone,
When Old John’s out and watering at dawn,
My lawn gets wet.
If I detect conspiracy to spray
On dandelions and such,
I find out what he uses
And I sprinkle twice as much.
Should Old John go to the manure,
If get some too, of course,
If possible, from the same horse;
For whatever makes his lawn
Grow green and weed-resistant
Makes my psychiatrist enough more money
To hire another Gardener’s Assistant.
With busted blisters
Swat ye hard the slow mosquito,
And Home Gardeners, Arise!
Time for the killing of the crabgrass,
The reluctant stomping on the baby dandelion,
Ho, for the stealthy trowel
Hoping to sneak down on a tulip sneaking up
And wake the earthworm early,
It is October…. In Australia.
Family ReunionThe shadowed heart can never see
The lights of home
Shine down the years.
What never was can never be.
Explorer II see discovery occurring everywhere about me;
Expeditions leave here every day without me
Bound for night,
And I am left alone with light.
Explorer IIYou think there are no meadows on the moon
Or blood on Mars,
Winds that blow
Out of the stars and into night;
Nothing is ours except our light.
In all black heaven burning,
Nothing except our light
And our own light returning
In the neighborhood of heaven
Found a presence not our own
Much more than seeming;
There was Someone Else dreaming.
And we were the dream…
I left some lights along the way
To mark my path upon the hill.
I leave them burning night and day,
And you to pay the bill.
Blame Somebody Else
Daily desperations were interrupted
By occasions of hope and jog
Mistakes made were learned from.
Risks taken were recovered from.
Times I should have died… I didn’t
Times I should have quit… I couldn’t
My whole life has been
A conspiracy of angels.
Animals at the Holistic Healing Retreat CenterThe hummingbird keeps trying to pollinate our Christmas lights;
To be fair, only the red ones,
And only because they’re still up in July
Confident spiders crouch the corners of the Meditation Cottage
Knowing a Buddhist will never bite back
And even an accidental stomp
Will be the best wishes for better luck next life.
Our cat fell in love with a startled dog
Neglecting her duties as Resident Predator to the Field Mice
Who therefore multiplied into homelessness
Until one jumped out of a stovetop pot
Closely followed by the asparagus.
Our Roadrunner does not run on the road;
He sleeps on the windowsill
Just West of the Geraniums.
The mysterious inscriptions on the Community Art Studio floor.
Are bat droppings, best read upside down.
The Meditation Pond is alive with orange fish, occasional toads, and careless lizards,
On its banks, a confusion of land plants and water plants run into each other
Trying to trade places.
The computer made a sound like a rattlesnake
Because that’s what was behind it.
Rattled, I killed the snake instead of the computer
And more ants than I could ever apologize to.
Our dog meditates
The more I see of frisky whales,
The less I’d like to be one;
But I can tell you right off now,
Don’t ever try to tree one!
(Gelett Burgess doesn’t deserve an apology)
On Watering the Cactus After A RainSome of my best friends love cats,
And I love some of my best friends
But that’s not why
I’d rather watch a bird than a cat watching a bird
Or worse, about to kill a bird,
Though I appreciate Momma Cat who yawned;
The bird flew out of her mouth and never came back.
Let’s hear it for sleepy hunters!
Suppose you love a cat who wants to eat the bird you love.
Overfeeding a cat is impossible and no solution.
Over feeding a bird just makes it slower and more nutritious.
A bell around your cat’s neck will frighten trees
And must be balanced by a bell around the neck of every bird,
That is every bird you can catch\
And a cat if fast enough.
When you think about it
And please don’t
Mercy is a relatively recent human invention,
And we haven’t got the bugs out….
For Gloria and Heinz, my friends, on the occasion of their marriage by a small river in 4-mile Canyon, Colorado long ago, in June (1970).
I have been asked to say a few words on behalf of the hills
And blue air as it sings in arms of pine.
For the green and growing,
A word from quick flowers
In the summer of mountains
To this meeting,
I have been asked to say
Lovesong - IWhile vultures circle one last dove,
This world is
Not without love.
I wonder sometimes
How we’d survive if there were more.
I only know this world has
Just enough love,
It needs no more to be a shining thing.
Lovesong – IIAlas, there is no lovesong left
You haven’t heard a thousand times.
It looks like love’s exhausted.
Every tune, word and rhyme,
Or so I thought until today
At last I heard a new song,
The miracle of one song more:
We are the ones love waited for.
Listen for never,
In the ending of each eternal instant
I will love you
Longer than forever.
Greeting Cards – Birthday Section
For My Friend Martin on His Fortieth Birthday
To Katie, On Her Seventeenth BirthdayUntil you’re eighty,
Never turn eighteen, Katie.
Say you’ve rounded seven and ten,
Just don’t “say when,”
Not even when I pour the wine
For you at eighty,
Me at thirty-nine
Birthday CardSeeking their sum,
The last days of a twelvemonth come;
Another year ends cold on a point of price,
In snow, remembering what summer tried
When, seeing winter come,
The sun itself is worn…
Just now, a child is born.
Next to extreme halitosis
The thing to encourage neurosis
Is a nose, is a nose,
Is a nose, is a nose,
Is the size the shape of proboscis.
Identification"What’s in a name?” a name alone,
Was asked by Shakespeare
Not by Cohn
(Who knows, to the letter;
A Rose by any other name –
Happily, some younger Folks may not even guess what’s supposed to be funny about this. That’s because it’s become quite rare for Jews to try to hide their Jewishness by changing their last name.)
NovemberI have a confused crocus
Growing in my garden,
Early for spring, or late for fall,
Or with no thought at all
Taking snow for showers;
We don’t deserve December flowers.
Rationale for a Tired HomeownerEvery lawn should have a little clover,
A few dandelions left over,
To show it’s only held in fief
For Someone Who finds weeds relief!
The (nothing) PeopleThey do not lie;
They just neglect to tell the truth.
They do not take;
They simply cannot bring themselves to give.
They do not steal;
They just never return things.
They will not rock the boat,
But did you ever see them pull an oar?
They’ll never pull you down;
They’ll only make your pull them up
And let that pull you down.
They do not hurt you;
They merely will not help you.
They do not havt you;
They merely cannot love you.
They will not burn you;
They’ll only fiddle while you burn.
They are the nothing people,
The deadweight freeloaders,
The sin-of-omission kids,
Because the good, at least, keep busy trying
And the bad try even harder.
Both have that character
That comes from caring, action, and conviction.
So, give me every time a straight-out sinner
Or, carefully, a saint,
My expectations of a nothing person,
To the Memory of Philip Stanley
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