The Baby Spider and the Cup Sleeve

baby spider pressed against my windshield
as I drive down country roads
with a 50 mph speed limit
and soon I will be on the freeway
where the speed limit is 70

I pull over and look around in my car
for something I can use to lift the baby
off my windshield
I find an old cardboard cup sleeve
and push it under the little spider
until he climbs on
then I take him to the side of the road
and dangle him over a dandelion leaf
I watch as he lowers himself onto the leaf
with his spider string
and then I get back in my car
and head for the freeway

sometimes it’s handy to have a car
littered with cardboard cup sleeves

-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Ode to the Debt Ceiling

(A friend suggested this be read in Gene Wilder’s voice as Willy Wonka.)

And so we have the debt ceiling
and I have a sinking feeling
that when politicians are dealing
with our economy keeling
they aren’t concerned with healing
or egos humbly kneeling
or layers of corruption peeling
or deal-sealing
or politically yielding
to stop our economy from reeling

In fact, “they” don’t seem to be concerned with “us”
at all

-Karen Molenaar Terrell

A No Car Day

Here’s a link to the podcast.

I had a no car day today. I walked the loop past the cemetery, biked to the post office, and mowed the neighbor’s lawn. I watered things and vacuumed up grass clumps and cat hair. I watched a couple episodes of “Monk” and a Katherine Hepburn documentary and the Mariners game. I finished the last of the peppermint chocolate bar from Christmas and made myself some avocado toast. I’m now giving myself an assignment: write a poem about my day.

I had a no car day today
moving through the green of May
on my bike and my feet
breathing in air that’s sweet
with the smell of spring blossoms

And I sat in my comfy chair
and watched Hepburn, Monk, and the Mariners
and Hepburn lost her brother
and Monk lost his wife
and the Mariners lost their game

I had peppermint chocolate
and avocado toast
mowed the neighbor’s lawn
and rode my bike to the post

And now I’m watching game shows
and watching people win
and here’s a commercial with people
driving across a long bridge, clapping,
no hands on the wheel –
and I find this kind of disturbing

I had a no car day today
moving through the green of May
on my bike and my feet
breathing in air that’s sweet
with the smell of spring blossoms
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

A Mother’s Prayer

May our children know kindness
May our children know peace
May their planet be healthy
May their wisdom increase

May they know that they matter
May they know they are loved
May they live life with courage
May they live life above
pettiness and imitation
bullying and limitation

May our children know kindness
May they know they are loved

Karen Molenaar Terrell

Here’s a link to the podcast.

Scott and the sons at Lincoln City, OR.

An Evening Walk Around the Block

I step out of the door for a walk
around the block
and am instantly surrounded in the magic
of a spring evening in the ‘hood –
immersed in birsong and frogsong
and the fragrance of spring flowers
as the cool air embraces them
and in the sky a star twinkles at me
connecting me to the divine –
to a cosmos bigger than my problems,
enveloping me in Its peace and joy

I am a part of something amazing
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Blue Cosmos (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

Be a Tree

The son and I talked about the tree
on the drive home.
850 years it had lived on this planet!
It had been seeded in the late 1100’s –
around the time of Genghis Khan
and England’s King John,
before Mansua Musa or Marco Polo,
da Vinci or Michelangelo.
Before Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Shakespeare,
Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. or Mooji.
It rooted into the soil as a tender seedling
and grew during the Black Plague; grew
while the ash from Krakatoa blocked the sun;
and while factories sprouted up across
the northern hemisphere. It grew while
soldiers fought to end slavery; while
World War I and World War II raged
across Europe; while our planet warmed;
and while division and despair
made humans sometimes wonder
if our planet was beyond repair.
It grew.
Quietly, without fanfare or medals
or approval or star ratings –
it lived, created oxygen, and grew –
because that is what trees do.
And maybe when it was older and sturdy,
indigenous children played in its bends
and called it “friend.”
I like to think that’s true.

Yesterday I visited my wise friend, Charles.
He could tell I was scared about our world.
“Just be present,” he said. “Be a tree.”
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

(From *Looking Forward: More Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist*.)

Wrestling with Fears

“DOVE. A symbol of divine Science; purity and peace; hope and faith.”
-Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health

Wrestling with fears in a fierce battle of clutches and holds –
all twisted up in knots, throwing Bible verses and Eddy quotes
into the battle in a quick succession of stretches and locks
tangled up my own ruminations – I stop mid-thought.

And I surrender. Give up. Let go.

It’s right and natural to be fear-free, I know.
It shouldn’t feel like a battle to let fears go.
Hanging on to the fears takes a lot of energy
that I could better spend in happy reverie –
filling my thoughts with Truth, Life, and Love –
with the good things that come on the wings of a dove.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Beloved Christian Scientists, keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them. It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness. Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited.”
-Mary Baker Eddy, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 210

“Fear never stopped being or its action.”
-Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee…”
-Isaiah 41:10

Everything Good Is Nearer than Near

even the cats are asleep
when I come downstairs
to see what I might reap
from the middle of the night

this is the hidden hour
safely tucked away in the dark
a time of quiet power,
alone in the tower
of my thoughts

but connected to the cosmos
with rainbow threads of Love
from star to star and coast to coast
extending beyond now and here
and beyond all fear

everything Good is nearer than near
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Blue Cosmos (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

A Dime for Four Minutes

Here’s the podcast link.

I put a dime in the traffic meter
and bought myself four minutes.
And I thought what could I do
with my four minutes?
If I could pay a dime
for four minutes in past time –
what four minutes would I bring
back for myself?
Four minutes with Mom and Dad?
Four minutes with the sons?
Maybe everyone together
around the Thanksgiving table
for four minutes more?

I put a dime in the traffic meter
and bought myself four minutes.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Trying to Look Perfect

How freeing it is
to be able to see
my own pettiness,
insecurities, vanity –
helping me forgive
others their egos
in uncovering my own,
helping me let go
of the burden
of trying to look perfect.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Here’s the link to the podcast.