pictured words

a simple pairing of pictures and poetry

PLEASE, NO MORE AFTERS

Photo by Mathias Reding on Pexels.com

A Ukrainian student,
who speaks nearly no English,
brings a map and photos
to class. 

The map shows her home,
and its proximity to Russia.
Her quivering finger moves across it
showing us her escape route.
Border-to-border, across Ukraine.
Romania.
Germany.
The U.S.A.

She moves from photo to photo.
“Our central park.”
Before,
and after.

“Capitol building.”
Before,
and after. 

Her house,
out of photo’s view by centimeters,
“here,” her finger rests. 
The building in view,
demolished. 


Her house? 
Likely an “after.” 

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

#apictureisworthathousandwords
#prayforUkraine


PONDERINGS

Photo credit: Keith R. Good

Smacks of death, say some.
But I smell Mom’s pies. Hear Dad’s
marching band pre-games.

Feel crisp air against
my sometimes still-a-bit-tanned-
from-summertime skin.

Marvel at the sky’s
puffy white and charcoal clouds
in deep blue setting.

Relish the jewel-tones
gradually gracing trees,
begging wonderment.

Enjoy leaves crunching
beneath the tires of my bike,
or cute-boot-dressed feet.

Experience leaves
raked in a pile over my
head, then jumping in.

Savor the taste of
a hardy stew with biscuits,
or bowl of chili.

Memories bring smiles,
like the Robbins Avenue
Pizza (a rare treat),

enjoyed on our porch
after walking home from a
nighttime football game.

Smacks of death, say some.
But my senses are filled with
what I’ve fallen for.

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

ON EDGE

Photo by Singkham on Pexels.com
A young mom stands.
The four-year-old boy at her feet
sits in his unseen labels:
Autistic.
Nonverbal.
Sensory-impaired.
She holds one end of a leash.
The other is attached to a cute backpack
he wears, as he fidgets in a small spot of dirt
in an otherwise flawless lawn of the public library that is, 
today, being used as a venue for celebrating diversity.  

The morning is perfection.  
People of different cultures and languages together,
sharing their talents and being offered a public voice.
This mom does not move from her spot
for hours.
The darling boy pays no attention to the speakers
the music
the dancers
other children.
His focus is only on his patch of dirt.
He sits in it.  Lays in it.  Plays in it 
with his hands and feet.
Feels it with his cheeks.
He pulls a bit of the grass around it,
increasing his speck of space.
A woman with a long dress gets close.
He reaches out to touch the fabric.  It is the only thing
I see him pay attention to, besides the small patch
that grounds him.  
His momma tells him
don’t touch the dress.  

When I am leaving, I approach her. 
She stiffens. 
I smile.
“A sort of sandbox, I see,” I say.  
She tells me nothing soothes him quite like
a patch of cool dirt. 
She tells me his labels.  
I place my hand on her shoulder briefly,
and assure her she is a strong, good momma.
She says the only other woman
to approach her this day sternly told her, 
“I pay taxes for this grass.”

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

WHAT THE JAMES WEBB TELESCOPE CAN’T SEE

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Exposure to the vastness of our world
reveals the limitations of my brain.
As gleaming glows of galaxies unfurled
have come to light, I cannot even feign

to grasp a tiny bit of what exists,
or visualize what else may be out there.
For as the search continues to persist,
we’ll surely find more great unknowns elsewhere.

Here’s me, my feet fixed firmly to the ground;
my tiny world spills full with those I love.
My eyes and heart lift up to God, spellbound
at what He made that I can scarce dream of.

This God who spoke unending realms to be,
sees fit to whisper words of love to me.  

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place: What is mankind that you are mindful of them? Human beings that you care for them?”
~ Psalm 8:3-4

Ears to Hear

Photo credit: Keith R. Good
She sits in silence,
listening for God to speak.
But she hears no one.

She sits in darkness,
watching for God’s appearance.
But she sees nothing.

She grasps at the air,
trying to feel God’s presence.
But she feels nothing.

She raises her voice.
“Abba! Father! Where are You?”
He, soundlessly, speaks.

She closes her eyes,
absorbing His attention,
knowing who He is. 

Her heart hears His voice
in both silence and sound. He
gives her ears to hear.

She opens her eyes
sees Him everywhere, in
all He created.

The air wraps her up,
blankets her in His shelter,
fills her lungs with Him.

She knows she is His.
She sees and hears and feels Him.
She knows what she knows.

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

High School Years, Snippets with Mom and Dad (Naples Beach, 1970s)

“Naples Pier in Naples, Florida on a clear sunny day.” IStock photos
I pick up sea glass,
rub it between my fingers,
this heart-shaped God gift.

My dad finds twin shells,
quietly pockets them, then
makes earrings for me.

Sunset walk with Mom.
She tells me, “You’ll soon prefer
a romantic walk.”

Walking home from Pier,
something stings me on my foot.
Dad carries me home. 

The sun dips itself
into the Gulf.  We give a
standing ovation.  

An early-sunrise-
beach-all-to-myself morning.
A short bike ride home.

Just curious how
many dads would carry their
teenage daughter home.

Turned out Mom was right.
And part of me holds regret
for lost walks with her.  

Wonder if the next
to find the heart-shaped sea glass
saw it as God’s gift. 

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

COME HOME (Sonnet to Immigrants and Refugees)

Photo by Elu012bna Aru0101ja on Pexels.com
So, at what point does one decide to flee
the land where fruit and spice speak Grandma’s tongue?
Where generations of their family 
breathe music, art, and song as through shared lung?

This land (their land) where memories are made:
The land that births their children’s love of life,
where laughter laughs, and prayers-in-sync are prayed,
with rooted norms for husband and for wife.

At what point does their home feel foreign-born,
so much so that they have no choice but leave?
How long ‘til all their colors wilt war-torn?
How long until their soul does naught but grieve?

At what point can one let go of what was,
to feel at home in land of unlike flaws?

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

TOO LATE (a waltmarie)

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com
I ignored your advances. I made you beg my
pardon,
while you strained to gain my affection …
but I 
couldn’t encourage candor. No, not when you
meant to
lead me to altars and vows, and expected to hear me 
say I 
do, while my panic clearly cried I don’t
love you.

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

Inner poem reads:

pardon,
but I
meant to
say I 
love you

(Disclaimer:  While most of my poems are based on my life and thoughts, this one is completely fabricated.)

LIFE

Photo by Keith R. Good

Sometimes we don’t see
past the beauty in focus.
Sometimes life holds life.


#seventeenintwentytwo

17 syllables written on freedom

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Never “not now,” I
curl into the lap of the
One who answers prayer.

#seventeenintwentytwo

For me, this is the hands-down greatest freedom of all.