In every hour, minute, second of each day
Bad things happen; what forces in play?
Every manner of mayhem among friend or foe
Heartbreaking incidents full of woe

How…..or why, was I allowed to escape
This cruel and fickle landscape?

From the start my birth was fraught
When it was time in the bitter cold night
My poor folks shivered in vain for a ride
When out of nowhere a stranger arrived
He drove them to the maternity ward
Except for a name, left without a word

Dad was then told that he had to choose
Mother or baby he was going to lose
He cried ‘No! Do whatever you have to’
So mother’s stomach was carved in two
I was plucked out through her moans
Named for the kind stranger: Simone

I recall from ages five to maybe nine
Two near deaths come to mind
One time I was playing Red Rider, a game
And we ran across when called out by name
To break the hand-holds of two other kids
I hated games of force but did as they bid
‘Red Rider, Red Rider send Simone on over!’
So with fear and doubt I ran with no power
Still I hit the taut hands hard and fell back
Smacked my head on concrete and saw black
I came to with a head aching all day
Yet I lived…many stories end the other way

The second time I was at lovely Belle Isle
Family and friends picnicked there for awhile
Blankets spread out, hot dogs to munch
A Black American tableau, a happy bunch
We kids were promised a swim on ‘the beach’
But from a Detroit River pier I leaped
Thought ‘what a lark!’, but could not swim
Saw all kinds of trash in waters brackish and dim
While floating down like in a horrid dream
Aware the precious air above I could not redeem
Then at my side someone familiar was near
Grabbed me in one arm and swam up to the pier
A scolding I got for being so sly
With both relief and fear in all eyes
Only decades later did I surmise
How close I came to my demise

At age 21, there was just no excuse
Because ‘the pill’ I simply refused to use
So I became pregnant, a senior in school
I was duly ashamed and felt such a fool
Only one year left to earn my B.A.
Only one or two months to wash ‘it’ away
My lover gave me meds sure to miscarry
There was no chance that he I would marry
Then on a citizen crusade with my brother
We drove to the state capital with others
Coming back our driver took a curve too fast
I alone had an injury that would last
A broken back, a month I lay immobile
Fretting over my condition ignoble
Was sure the strong meds would succeed
In discharging my misconceived deed
When finally I was released at last
Doctors prescribed three months in a cast!
It could be removed at night for sleep
But I had a treacherous appointment to keep
Against my better sense and non-recuperation
I dressed one morning for a dire operation
A morning that began with a whisper of flakes
By the time I was ready had become a snow lake
It wouldn’t stop, it was three feet deep or so
All streets were clogged, no cars or buses could go
By then I knew: it was a third sign
That no pill or plan of my design
Would go against what was to be
This baby would be born, now I could see

Looking back, another point comes to view
In killing my child, two things I knew
It would have been a mortal sin against life
And how slimy was that abortionist’s knife
Odds are not only my child would’ve died
But in that filthy kitchen, so would have I
I thank God that perfect girl was born
My entire life she has adorned

Quick story this one but something I ponder
‘What was I thinking?’ I sometimes wonder
When a young mom about age twenty six
Apparently my stupidity wasn’t fixed
A broken washer to repair so myself I elected
A two forty volt cord had to be connected
In one hand the end to attach to the machine
In the other to plug into the electric wall thing
FIRST into the outlet one end of it I plunged
And felt in that arm and my body a lunge
Startled, I dropped the ‘live’ other end of it
Fearing the force of power surging within it
It fell on the floor near the toes of one foot
In which I had on a one inch rubber boot
And so the strong current was grounded
Looking back, might I’d been fatally wounded?

The last account I need to disclose and tell
So miraculously played out I am just compelled
It started with a diagnosis of colon cancer
And ended, again, with a God-given answer
This one is not about the disease and its pains
The chemo treatment went smooth, in the main
My body seemed to sustain the toxins well
Til that ended and one day in the kitchen I fell
Sweating profusely, I had passed out cold
In the midst of a frying pan on my gas stove
When my eyes opened I was looking at fire
Every second I lay there it soared ever higher
I rose hurriedly, my tailbone was hurting
Now my fear that the whole house was burning
I grabbed the fry pan to douse in the sink
But burned my arm nearly down to the pink
‘Oh Lord, what more could go wrong?’ I cried
As I assessed what all had happened besides
So then my doctor implied a heart condition
But tests proved I suffered no such affliction
And there was that ugly burn to the 2nd degree
Which a doctor friend’s salve healed completely
Looking back…the cancer, the meds, the fall, the fire
I concluded, then, my faith in a Higher Power

These are but six times that I can attest
Only the angels around me know the rest
But on looking back, they are profound
In a world where escalating tragedies abound
For some of us, one has to believe
Due to the uncanny blessings received
Tho’ trite, yes, God has for us a higher purpose
That will at some point in our life surface
For me it’s proved to be mostly written word
Not in sculpture or oil painting on a board
For which I’d loved and trained as a youth
And thought I’d pursue in retirement, for truth
Instead, I’ve opened my heart to expression
In writings to Jah, my odes, my obsession
All to laud and to glorify our Creator
Who has provided spectacular theater!
Enough fodder to write about forever
For those of us wise, devout and (we think)clever

(Then there’s this, a late afterthought
Here I am nine months later about
I recall back when computing was new
Learning ‘Basic’ seemed the thing to do
My college fee included a D.I.Y video
I’d said to my son ‘Here you go, kiddio’
And he took to it like a duck to water
He began to build computers to order
He’s good at Info-tech and self-taught
I didn’t realize the expertise I’d bought
For this website my Odes appear in
Has my son as the brainy Admin!) 8/7/15

I’m compelled now to recite the Psalmist-
Verses one and two chapter 146:
“Praise Jah! Let my whole being praise Jehovah.
I will praise Jehovah all my life.
I will sing praises to my God as long as I live.”*

November 18, 2014
* Revised New World Translation

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