Sunday, November 13, 2011

Christmas is for kids

Didn’t you know that?

The sheer thrill as the big day
Gets closer and closer.
That last sleepless night of wonder.

All prefaced by music
And lights, multi-colored lights,
Thousands of lights.

And stories, endless stories,
Told again and again,
Always the same, yet always different.

And then that morning, that Oh, so special morning.
With presents under tree, And, if lucky,
Snow on the ground, like icing on a cake.
And opening the gifts with ribbons and paper,
strewn everywhere.

Not so for adults.
The past becomes present.
Not "a" present, but present as in now.
The memories, the pain, the losses
All neatly wrapped – beneath the tree
Waiting to be re-opened, year after year after year.

A mother’s warm smile,
Never to be seen again.
A lover’s embrace,
Never to be felt again.

A time, an experience, an emotion,
Never to be known again.
All gone, committed to that dark place,
In our soul.

How, then do we continue?
What makes us even want - - To open our eyes;
To get up, Each December twenty-fifth?
I guess - - - I imagine it’s the kids,
To see their joy, to hear their voices,
To live again, with them and through them,
in their Christmas.

Christmas IS for kids.
It's their day – It's their time,
It's the beginning of their memories,
It's their Maiden Voyage.

And, Yes, It's blatantly Unfair
And Yes, I'm really sorry about that.
But would you really have it,
Any Other Way???

Bill Schatzabel - November 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Shadows And Fear

No more shadows,
No more fear.
In a world of somber hue,
I choose the Rainbow
A riot of color.

Darkness holds no sway.
The pit holds no terror.
In a world of hidden places,
I choose the sun.
The light leads me on.

Where once I hid from prying eyes;
Where once I lied to live a lie,
Truth becomes my shield
No more shadows,
No more fear.

Bill Schatzabel March 29, 2011

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sadness And Joy

Can one exist
Without the other?
Can one be experienced
Without the other?
Each, the other’s reflection

I remember my friend.
I remember her leaving
Gut wrenching sobs
Uncontrolled, unstoppable

And yet later, the memories
Fluttering back like so many
Moths to the flame
Leading to laughter
Leading to new joy

Could that sadness
Have been possible
Without the joys
Of A remembered life
To contrast the loss

Could that Joy
Have been possible
Without the Sadness
Of recent heartbreak
To contrast her life.

The ultimate horror
Is not death
but never having lived
Never having loved
Never having lost

Never having to
Stifle a laugh
Never having to
Hold back a sob
Never having been.

Bill Schatzabel – August 1st, 2010

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Seasons

Would that I were like the seasons
Never looking back
Always moving
Always changing
Renewing all that was

Seasons have no regrets
Each period has purpose
Each necessary for what follows,
What is to come, what is next
But never the need to look back.

The lesser of God’s creatures
Live in that moment of creation – called now
Tasting life to the fullest
While we, who presume to be masters of all.
Cower in our mortality

Bill Schatzabel – Sept. 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I Seem To Remember

Memories adrift on a dark sea,
They invade my conscious mind,
Like snapshots, vignettes of a time, of a life, a past life,
Neither particularly wanted nor needed
But there all the same - And, like the tips of icebergs,
More below the surface than above.

They have a peculiar ability
To extract laughs and tears, and , pain;
Yes, the pain is there too,
It's always there – You know -
Waiting like some crouching beast.

Harmless memories:
Cleaning a desk at the end of 1st grade
With lemons brought from home.
Watching as the ink from a thousand missspellled words - is pulled,
Pulled from the fabric of the wood.

Almost Funny memories:
Of singing a tisket a tasket,
In a dreary school basement, on a rainy afternoon.
Of walking into a wall and the blinding light of pain:
And, as I lay dazed on the floor, the Nun hovering above,
Like some vast Gothic specter in black and white.

Most Everyday memories:
Walking to and from our little Catholic school,
Day in, Day out, regardless of the weather,
We walked: down the hill and up the hill,
Carrying books and lunch - And contraband.
There was always contraband.

Painful Memories:
Of a visit from our father on one of those rare occasions.
Of being told to hug him – And wondering, Why?
Of his smacking my brother - for saying - a word,
That sounded like a curse - but wasn't a curse –
Which he would have known, had he been there
More than rarely.

Exciting Memories:
Of moving to a new neighborhood.
To be on our own – away from him.
Just me and John,
And Carol and Mom
Friends to make, alley's to explore.
A new school, A new life, A new beginning.

Elusive Memories:
As, if you were to ask me,
What was it like, As a kid, back there, in that dim, dim past.
I would stare blankly – I wouldn't know what to say.
The memories fail when they are bidden.
They seem to have a life and a will of their own.
They cannot be coerced. They cannot be forced.
They come as they will, and All I am permitted to do,
Is record their passing.

Bill Schatzabel - June 14, 2009

Black & White

I remember the first grade
Drawings of block letters
Around the room, above the blackboard
Small letters – a,b,c,d and
Big letters – E,F,G,H
Learned by rote from women
In black and white.

We’d draw them over and over again
With stubby pencils
Or erase them until there
Were holes in the paper
Until they were perfect
Images on ruled paper
In black and white

We learned how to go from place to place
Two by two, hand in hand, smallest to largest
No talking on the stairs
No pushing, no shoving.
Everything was good or bad, right or wrong
All the lessons learned ,
Were In black and white.

And now things are not so simple
The maybes and what ifs pull at the mind
The grays and hues cloud our thoughts
Where once we acted decisively
Now we grind to a halt, and think, and ponder,
And yearn for the days when everything was -
In Black and white.

Bill S. 1/2007

Friday, March 27, 2009

Utopia Achieved

It never seems to change
We never seem to learn.
Old men argue - Young men die.
Ignorant of history – fooled by bravado

Now we begin again
Whipped up in a frenzy
Of righteous rhetoric
We grant the power to destroy,
We loose the dogs of war.

We believe our leaders to be intelligent,
Far seeing, as they lead us to war.
Only the ignorant and near sighted,
Would lead us to peace

And it has to happen, of course. Time after time.
Consider the cyclical nature of war.
If we are overly long at peace, Away from the killing
It starts again. We seem powerless to stop it. This, our legacy.

But now we have made war safe for the middle class.
Kids go off to college, in Polo shirts and Dockers.
We no longer fear the draft board. The armies
are now filled with the children of under-achievers.
They are poorly educated, unwanted in business, expendable.

No longer do we fear losing our best and brightest to war.
The machines do all the work, Terrors of technology.
The uneducated, just drive them, a useful occupation, if they survive.
The machines do all the killing, Marvels of science and efficiency.
Our expendable children just point them and the human losses are acceptable..

Utopia achieved.

Bill Schatzabel – Nov 2002