True North

Either way, I’m on the wrong side of the glass.
Looking out at the frenzy of wrens at the feeder
feathered slaves to instinct
Coffee cup warming my hands
the mammal in me stirs
A brief moment of limbic contentment
before the neocortex overthinks the day

Sipping and exhaling
my hot breath clouds the glass
I trace my initials and suddenly I’m through!
Aflutter, perched on a branch
singing my surprise at being a flock
at feeling the pulse of magnetic lines
Not yet but soon we’ll fly them south
in search of longer light

Within and without, the True North
of enlightenment beckons
The way mapped in DNA and yearning
Either way, we’re on the right side of the glass.

Copyright Deborah A. McGlauflin, September 25, 2017. All rights reserved.


Newspaper ink dyes my fingers
Good news and bad stain alike
Black and pungent insistence
Truth at my fingertips
The rub that resists removal:
Every situation has a right to be

Harder to see are the stains I leave
Good news and bad bear my prints
How I’ve aided, fought, ignored or condoned
Mother to it all, front page to back,
Every headline whispers complicity
Mirrors my whorl on the world

Copyright Deborah McGlauflin, May 15, 2017

I’ve launched a CrowdRise campaign so folks can join me (easily and inexpensively) in sharing copies of Good in the End with patients at Hospice of the Chesapeake, where I work and vigil volunteer. A $10 tax-deductible donation gifts a book to someone who’ll really appreciate it. Thank you!

The Crossing

Legions crowd the shore
With legions more
Frothed and gasping in the rapids
Scrambling up the far bank
Stretching to the horizon

Ever on the move
Flowing forward
Here and there
Now and then
This and that

The news only covers
The midstream flailing and the cries
The real story is too obvious
Too simple and too close
Proclaim it now:

We will cross the river
We are crossing the river
We have crossed the river
We are the river and the shores
We are the crossing

We are.

–Copyright Deborah A. McGlauflin, February 11, 2017.  All Rights Reserved.

Two osprey chicks hatch and grow
connected to millions by webcam
webcam and the archetype of motherhood

One cloudless day in plain view
a hungry eagle swooped and grabbed
twice, leaving an empty nest

We sat dazed at our computers
betrayed by the intimate view
faced with our virtual helplessness

A keening flood of poignant posts
some angry, some philosophical
some calling it all out of proportion

Worldwide grief for two chicks
for two chicks and for the loss of every child
taken from its parents too sudden and too soon

Copyright Deborah McGlauflin, July 2015. All rights reserved.

Final Exchange

All that remains now is your ragged breath
harbinger of fast approaching death
I breathe with you having made my peace
sending love and the gift of release
taking in your lingering hurts and strife
ease now the last knots of this life

Breath by breath
Birth and death
Countless alphas and omegas
Inhale others’ pain
Exhale one’s own gain
The breath of life connects us

Your benediction a wordless communing
breathing my pain for your kind consuming
breathing me glimpses of your transcendent views
our entwined hearts ascend and fuse
consumed in a blaze of awed beatitude
leaving undying embers of gratitude

Breath by breath
Birth and death
Countless alphas and omegas
Inhale others’ pain
Exhale one’s own gain
The breath of life connects us

Not just for us this final exchange
we include multitudes as far we range
all welcomed in our expanding embrace
across infinities of time and space
sending love to fulfill every need
blessed and blessing beyond lightspeed
Copyright Deborah A. McGlauflin, July 4, 2015. All rights reserved.

Losing My Minding

At first I minded
we minded together
the daily assault of mounting losses
the thief who kept returning to steal more of you

Then I minded alone —
minding too that you no longer did
apart from flashes of recall and regret —
left to sort solo through the plunder of our life

In the anguish of uncoupling
I wrestle with the riddle of our connection
a wounded wolf howling in caves of despair
Then, thundering grace in my darkest moment

The finding is in the losing
when the delusion of separateness dies
One soaring heart beyond all woes and throes
beyond mind and minding


Copyright Deborah A. McGlauflin, July 3, 2015. All rights reserved.

Tilting water world
One red leaf falls to the pond
Startled geese take flight

Osprey over pond
Sharp-eyed, wings fold and plummet
Death served with a splash

Fluffy baby swans
Only two left of seven
Snapping turtles’ lunch

After a flood tide
Stranded fish gasp on the sand
Mouthing alien air

Cherished family dog
Releasing its final breath
Suddenly a corpse

Copyright Deborah McGlauflin, April 2011. All rights reserved.

Good in the End

Bearing witness to your labored last breaths
Loved ones keen and the hospice nurse comforts
A mourning dove lights on the windowsill
Plumps its breast and coos its haunting five-note song
Your eyelids flutter and we all exchange glances
It’s time, and it’s the time of knowing it’s time

Words fail, and in the gap a gift of insight
Each life’s end like a wave spilling on certain shore
Losing its swell and sliding back into the ocean
Adding a measure of pinnacled experience to the deeps
How it caressed the canopy of space-blued sky
How it reflected the roving sun, moon and stars

A prayer then for good in the end
As we approach the beach may we each be
Sweetly open, unbiased, and uncomplicated
So that the rest may simply take care of itself
So that we may all know the grace in dying
The joy in rejoining the depths of our sea

Copyright Deborah A. McGlauflin, May 17, 2015. All rights reserved.

Escape Velocity

Some few slip free of gravity
into orbit thundering heavily
there they ghost above the oblivious
and witness the sacred obvious
Finitude beholding the Infinite

Some when dying attain liberation
from the gravity of their situation
they float us free in a loving wake
clear eyes reflecting a bottomless lake
Finitude beholding the Infinite

Copyright Deborah A. McGlauflin, May 12, 2015. All rights reserved.

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