Happy the Unadjusted for Theirs is the Kingdom

December 24th, 2019

The adjusted cannot hear.
Mediocrity, passivity plug their ears.

Hollow people, not feeling
or finding themselves, let
Madison Avenue dream their dreams
decide their diets and deodorants.
Credit cards, computers chart
their course, conformity.

To adjust is to assent to what
should not be accepted.
to stand aside as forces surge
to war, not knowing or feeling
‘till brother lies mutilated.
Mankind, emasculated, cries Mercy.

Alas for the comfortable, the satisfied.
The Beatitudes condemn conformity.
The unadjusted person questions
the complacent, commonplace, corrupt.

Happy those who know who they are
and refuse to submit to uniformity.
They will belong to themselves.

Happy those who do not wear masks,
who let others see them as they are.
They will find Truth.

Happy those who cannot accept
a social order where some are feasting
while others beg for crumbs.
The new order of love is theirs.

Happy those whose lives
are disturbed by cries for mercy.
They will be shown mercy.

Happy those who weep
and do not close their hearts
to the misery of the world.
They will become human.

Happy those who work
for justice, who put their lives
on the line for social change.
They will find fulfillment.

Happy those willing to face
the mob for what is right.
They will become strong

Happy those who help
brother to love brother.
They are children of God.

You will be happy when
you leave the crowd.
ignoring gossip, insinuations.

The prophets before you
stood alone, jeered by the crowd.
They would not submit
to the world of their day.

Rejoice: persons who own themselves
receive the great reward.

meaning is not static

November 9th, 2019

meaning changes over time
like water in a brook
that becomes a raging river
or flows into a lake behind a dam
or trickles into a desert
and disappears into the sand

some things that change perhaps
are love or faith or family
what about community or neighbor
this is not a quiz and this morning
I am not asking myself these questions

actually I am thinking about my garden
full of weeds, the grass has grown so long
it will challenge the lawnmower
the overgrown shrubs, the thirsty plants
look forlornly to the sky for rain

I am looking at the piles of papers
on my desk, unfinished poems,
stories I want to write
time fleeting, what does life mean
when I waste the days
and does it really matter


When I was Twenty-three  

October 31st, 2019

When I was Twenty-three

I wore a watermelon pink, wool dress

that fell just below my knees

it was slim, with a slit at my neckline

I can’t forget my black felt hat

that let me tilt the very wide brim

so, I could peak from under it

in a very seductive way

but only in my mirror

when I think of this now

I am filled with happiness

but looking at a picture

is not the same as remembering

At Grandma Gazilda’s House

May 8th, 2019

Drapes of rough monk’s cloth
were held by heavy rings
on twisted metal rods.
Black daggers at each end
kept  everything from sliding off.
Thin lines like spider webs

on the unbleached fabric
made a dramatic background
for the rusty orange and brown
geometric design. My muslin
curtains also slide back
and forth on black metal.

On a bureau, was a sculpture,
probably pewter, of a knight
in full armor. He and his horse
both gleamed like silver, both
at attention, ready for action,
sword unsheathed.

Gazilda’s carpet was a garden
of flowers with a border that kept
the blossoms where they belonged.
I lay there every afternoon at five
to hear my favorite program
“coming to you from radio station

KTAR, atop the Heard Building
in Phoenix Arizona”.
I was enthralled by the exploits
of Little Orphan Annie, a girl
of courage and imagination. She
and the knight, both seekers of justice.

Looking back I think that Annie
and Don Quixote have been models
for my life. I have no interest
in Miss Muffet, who was easily
scared by a spider. Although
I did, and still do like curds and whey.

© Patricia Grube
May 3, 2010

Althea, Nina and Maude

May 29th, 2018

Three women sit on a bench.
The photographer says, Smile,
now hold it.  Right there.
Say, Cheese! Just a minute.
I need to focus again.
Their chins
tilt up expectantly, their half smiles
wait patiently for this moment
to be recorded. All dressed up

with somewhere to go. Their make-up
has been carefully applied,
their hats have turned up brims.
Wherever they are going,
they know they are ready.
Althea and Nina are cousins,
friends since childhood.
What explains the presence of Maude?
Only funerals or weddings bring
Althea and Maude together.

As for Nina and Maude, her sister-in-law,
there has always been rivalry
between them and some slight tension
when they are together. Flowers bloom
beside the door. Maude is wearing
white gloves. There are no wraps lying
on the bench. It must be late summer.
Perhaps they have met for lunch.

I think of their toughness, their instinct
for survival, for caring, for family.
The fireplace in the background, the wall
and the bench are all of well-worn brick.
Althea, Nina and Maude, gracious
with each other, they have learned
to weather the storms, to let go
of bitterness. They dress with care
when invited to lunch and smile
patiently for the photographer.





Friends Talk in the Afternoon

May 27th, 2018

He said to wait
and so, they sat and talked
of what was past.

“I thought the nets would break.”
“Did you see the look on the boy’s face
when the loaves went around?”

And one still mused
at smell of perfume
spilling on the floor.

Suddenly, there came a breath
of summer wind with fire
that filled them all with infinite desire.



Pick Up the Pen

April 20th, 2018

I will put in a part
about a tree, a bird, a nest,
red yarn, straw and
shining tinsel.

I’ll put in a part about
some angels gathered on a cloud
around the throne of God
who was busy elsewhere.

I like the idea that God
is among the people.
So I will put in that part
and take out the clouds

the angels and the throne.
It’s spring, so I will put in
a part about a plum tree
where the bird is building her nest.


Lessons in Mud

January 29th, 2017

On the right side of the road, at the south east side of the bridge, whenever it rained, a deep puddle formed and soon became full of pollywogs. Walking home from school, I would stop before I crossed the bridge because I wanted to see the first pollywog. tadpolespollywog-picture-id184104661First they grew little legs, then the tail dropped off. At each stage I gathered some in a tin can and took them home to show my brother. We wanted to watch them turn into frogs. We observed, we wondered and I suppose that in truth we tormented them until they hopped away. In the meantime the little pond was drying up; the polliwogs fought for the shrinking space. If they turned into frogs, they were saved; if not, they died in the mud.





Cherry Trees

May 25th, 2016

Remember the “Cherry Rains”
that came in May just when
trees were in full bloom?
This was the Valley of Hearts Delight.

Cherry Trees

One year I cried as I stood in a field
where blossoming trees had been cut.
It seemed like a battlefield.
These were the first to fall

to IBM; then other businesses
took orchards. The hills went
for gravel to build highways
mountain to mountain.

Larry and Sergey came out of their garage
and Silicon Valley was born.
There are few cherry trees now
to bloom when the May rains come.



October 16th, 2015

Corruption crept into my brain.
How that began I do not know.
Surgery was performed.
The Surgeon called for a stronger saw
“This woman has a very hard head.”
She then lifted out the tumor.

At midnight I was welcomed
to the Acute Rehabilitation Unit
by a kind nurse named Tenzen.
I asked her if this was Tibet.
Then I dreamed that people
far away were praying for me.

In the morning a young policeman
came into the ward
and asked for my password.
I replied, “Patricia Grube 8,1, 23”.
He gave me a bag
with my sandals inside.

Then he said he wanted me to know
about his grandfather. “In Holland
during the war, he helped people
to escape. Then he was killed”
He said that he wanted to help people
because he knew about his grandfather.

Perhaps he told me this because I am old
and I know about the war.
In the rehabilitation ward
the helpers had special skills
to teach me to walk again
and to remember my lost words.

This picture was taken one month later (August 8, 2015).
Family: cropped