ThunderBird

I felt a distant thunder
Snaking through night air
I tasted lightening on my tongue
The rain felt heavy in my hair
I closed my eyes
And bid my spirit rise
To fly into the ion-ed sky
Be cleansed of earthly lies
The world is full of powers
passion, anger, pain
Love holds the little death
We seek to hold again
I hear the distant thunder
As I settle in my bed
Restless is my broken heart
Yet peace is in my head

 

Evil Wind

 

Evil has been spreading itself once again

That oozing swamp of fear and arrogance

Its warm mud falsely inviting to despairing souls

Gaseous bright lights lure the unwitting

To its many death filled holes

This swamp revels in itself

It only knows the hunger it has

This kind of evil spreads itself beware

Through those that even think they care

It moves so swiftly, oozes so quietly

Most do not know it is there

It hungers though it’s fed every hour

It hungers for what is rightfully ours

It is gleeful for our madness

It grows fat with our sadness

Ravenous for our pain and fear

It longs for every broken scream

One drop at a time it licks our tears

Evil’s children is a spreading weed

Open your eyes you can see it feed

Ironic then our cup is filled

Of all of nature that man has killed

Yet in the midst of this darkness

Even when it lurks within its lair

We tremble and cry to be spared

So evil now torments us easily

Even by our own hand

Setting child to child, women to man

By greed this feeding frenzy begins

It slimes with shame and ignorance

It’s the rattling saber, the grin of the reaper

Brothers and sisters we grow weary

Of this danger, filth and stench

Still, listen to this secret

Evil yet can lose itself

Today may be its feast day

And yesterday its banquet

Our love within can always wake us

Have we not come for a mother’s kiss?

Or the hand of a beloved so long missed

Somewhere someone longs for us

A child, a dog, a garden needing our touch

The endless words wishing to be sung

Let not bitterness freeze your tongue

Yes, the swamp hungers for all of you

For life itself so beautiful

The Divine dance is full of grace

Let not your choices be full of waste

More violent and cruel evil does become

Sensing our rising consciousness

We can win this battle if we never forget this

Though the whole world it seeks to dismember

Ever we will return until this we remember

The power and love of the Divine is within us

What now

 
Since ancient times to the middle ages to now, leaders of all kinds–be they Chieftains, Kings, Queens or Presidents–made the choices¬†and maneuvers that would get them into power and or to¬†keep them in power. What motivated these leaders and their people¬†was perhaps a¬†need, such as¬†famine, attack or expansion for power and growth and, of course, religious zeal. There were leaders who rose to power mainly from proven worth or by the virtues of being a part of a royal family, and some leaders just took power through cleverness and growing support that rose from those that admire boldness in whatever form.
 
Now here we are. I have been dealing with a busy life¬†while musing on our state of affairs as a nation. Much is being said and many are showing their anger and fear on the streets of our nation with loud cries of how could this have happened while the media is proposing regarding the how’s and whys, Trump has won.¬†Contemplating all this my¬†mind¬†has wandered¬†to another course.
 
Many of us have rolled our eyes at the¬†deep emotions that have and are playing out on our TV sets.¬†Anger, disgust, fear, cynicism, to raving rage. Why¬†was and is this?¬† I think the reasons for this are much more complex then what people realize.¬†We as people are affected and motivated by many things, some of which¬†are oblivious. Yet we are also moved and motivated¬†by deep, even hidden, emotions and desires.¬†Have we not¬†been told and taught all our lives what our nation under God is supposed to stand for. Have we not been taught by all of our faiths to end suffering, to have compassion to aid the oppressed?¬† So, here we are every day watching on the TV¬†and all other media–even our phones!–the mass of human suffering while¬†here we are, in America¬†with our stores of all kinds and our¬†gardens and for the poorest among us on¬†various programs to¬†assist them. It is still not a perfect system, but it’s a far cry from dying in the sea, in the desert while fleeing those that wish one dead because of one’s beliefs or because one is just in the way.¬†Whole countries with their history and people¬†blown and scattered. Whole nations being disrupted. The suffering of people held under siege or huddled in refuge camps or at worse children, kidnapped, raped, tortured and¬†families driven to suicide. Sure, people say, “We cannot have this happen here! Not on my soil! Not¬†to my children!” ¬†Yet underneath this natural reaction there is all that we have been taught since we were¬†small children, that we are a nation of hope, that we aspire to higher values, and that we are obligated by the words of Jesus to help those that have so much less than we have. So what do Americans do, as a general rule? Some get down to business and get their hands dirty, making whatever sacrifice needed to correct the situation and¬†protect our nation. Our reaction to WWII was a good example of this. The other way we have of dealing with this is to throw a lot of money at the problem in order to make it go away–at least¬†hide it away. I think that many Americans are sick of seeing blown up children, starving elderly, tortured people, and certainly people¬†being put to death in unspeakable ways.¬†There was a national knee jerk reaction. We wanted to be the bigger bully who either had or knew where to put the money that will make it all shut up and go away. Trump said that he filled the bill and many believed him.¬†¬†So now what? ¬†We better take some time to think carefully, since going off half cocked at each other¬†won’t solve anything. Having the equivalent of a national saloon bar brawl might seem a like¬†good thing and even feel good in the short run but in the long run it will lead to nothing. Use your head and heart, America! ¬† All is not lost yet!

 

Rolling like waves

 

        I am rolling in my own sea
        Up and down, up and down
        I am lifted by wisdom
        Comforted by gentle rain
        And a mischievous sun
 
        Yet, I roll in waves of feeling
        Around and around
        Pulled by my sadness
        And circled by my concern
        Restless,annoyed,amused in turns
 
        Riding the frothy Sea mare
        I reach for my bootstraps
        One at a time I secure myself
        To sing through my fears
        Ride the wave and bless the future

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Mothers Story

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Gisela Malwina Benavidez had a full life which began in Konigsberg, Germany where she was born to Max and Emma Frenzel and became a sister to Helga in 1928. Gisela developed her love of water while taking long walks with her father and mother on the Baltic Sea.

In her early years her family moved to Bad Kreuznach, Germany where she flourished in music, sports and art. Despite being horribly dragged by a motorcycle at the tender age of about three, she survived her severe head injury to become an accomplished pianist by age twelve. This was a love and talent she carried with her throughout her life. During her younger school years, she was known for her gymnastics. Taught by her father, Gisela also became a strong swimmer which lead her becoming a lifeguard in her early teens for pools and rivers. She was so grateful for her strength and training when one day two girls were swimming at her assigned community pool and they began drowning. She immediately jumped in the water and saved both girls to the tune of Glen Miller music blaring over the loud speakers. Till the end of her life, she loved big band music and all the wonderful memories the melodies brought her, including saving the two lives.

During World War II, neighbors often took care of Gisela as her mother worked for the Red Cross. Her sister worked on local farms, and her father served in the German Army. In spite of all the suffering before and after the war, Gisela managed to graduate high school and become accomplished in everything from ping pong, skiing to fencing. She was the only young girl in her city allowed to be taught how to fly a sail plane. Sadly with all her talent in sports, World War II interrupted her training for the Olympics.

As the war progressed, Gisela learned the true meaning of kindness and grace as her friends and neighbors both German, Jewish and others shared food and looked out for each other. In her mid teens, she found refuge from war through playing the piano from classical to Boogie Woogie and dancing swing. She also admired American Cinema, especially musicals, and was touched by the protective kindness that some of the American soldiers demonstrated to her.

Gisela came to ballet relatively late in her teens, her many athletic skills opened the door for her to join a national German ballet troupe that toured throughout Germany. The highlight of her experience came at a time when her troupe joined up with the circus. Because most of the performance theaters had been bombed, her company performed their ballets under the Big Top. Her years in the circus taught her all kinds of dancing, trapeze work, tight roping, and bareback riding.

In her early twenties, she returned home to Bad Kreuznach to craft lenses in a factory that specialized in producing a variety of lenses and also as a model for a local photographer. One of her beautiful poses, showing Gisela dancing in a field, was on display in the photographer’s store window and caught the eye of a young American Army soldier, Gilberto Benavidez. Immediately smitten, his detective journey unfolded by finding where the beautiful dancer worked and lived. Singing Spanish and American love songs under her window,¬†he won her heart and earned the respect of her family,to make her his bride. In 1954 Gisela Benavidez stepped off a military plane on the arm of Gilberto and traveled to their new home in Harlingen, Texas.

In her new community, Gisela learned Spanish as well, since this was other main language spoken in the Rio Grande Valley. In Harlingen, she gained new cooking skills which included a variety of Mexican dishes. In turn, Gisela shared with her new family and neighbors her wonderful German baked goods. While living in Texas, she became a nurse’s aide, sharpened her piano playing, enjoyed creative drawing, which she shared with the children in the iron lung machines at the hospital.¬†She also¬†gave birth to her eldest daughter, Cornelia.

Eventually better job opportunities drew the Benavidez family to Michigan. Gisela fell in love with the Great Lakes, the lush trees, and wildlife of the state. Work in factories for her husband brought her to Albion. In  the surrounding area, she loved swimming and/or boating in Duck Lake and Swains Lake. In Albion, she loved watching and feeding the ducks in Reiger park and strolling through Victory Park enjoying the rose garden that was there at the time.

At this point, Gisela and Gilberto (Benny) had their second child, Sylvia. Walking through the pine forests of Michigan brought her sweet memories of Germany and inspired her to share the folk stories and fairy tales of her original country with her children.

Even¬†with two children to raise, Gisela kept stretching her abilities. Her past modeling experience served well, as she was offered a few guest appearances on the Martha Dixon show, a popular local TV show in the early 60’s. Fostering her children’s love of theater in the 70’s, she tirelessly drove them back and forth to rehearsal and helped them learn their lines as well as design and sew their costumes.¬† Yet, Gisela still found time to write her own classic piano compositions.¬†Beginning in the early 80’s she participated in producing her husband’s radio ministry broadcast in and around Albion.

As her children grew up, she helped make ends meet by doing everything from working with a carpenter to design and build the family garage to driving the limo for Floyd Starr. Gisela also studied for and attained a manicurist license when her kids left for college.

The Benavidez family attended St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Albion. Over her 60 years there, Gisela made sure her children saw her faith in action. She was a trusted friend, loving mother and wife. Some of her quiet ways of service to the church included helping to drive Albion residents to kidney dialysis, organizing regular fellowship meetings, and supplying beautifully decorated cakes for various church functions.

Gisela Benavidez, 87, of Albion and Marshall, Michigan passed away with her loving family by her side on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Left to cherish Gisela’s memory are her husband, Gilberto Benavidez of Albion and Marshall, daughter Cornelia and (John) Benavidez Doyle of McMinnville, OR, daughter Sylvia Benavidez of Albion MI, and Gisela’s nephew Diedrich (Renate) Cornelius of Germany. ¬†She was preceded in death by her father and mother Max and Emma Frenzel, and her sister Helga Cornelius.

Gisela’s family honored her at a private graveside service at Fort Custer in Battle Creek on Tuesday, October 4, 2016. A memorial service will be held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 100 Luther Blvd., Albion, Michigan on Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 2PM.

Memorial contributions may be made in honor of Gisela’s love of Albion to the Local History Room of the Albion District Library, Citizens to Beautify Albion, or the American Stroke Association.

Four Sons of the Mother

Four Sons of the Mother

 

Who wishes to go a-seeking berries?

Asked the kind young man

Three boys’ heads turned

Fast as owl heads.

Jumping up as one,

“Where shall we go?” they cried.

Happy hands gathered pails

Running feet over meadows sailed

To forest and field this Lammas tide

As the sun made for its rest

Triumphant boys returned well spent

We picked blackberries and late cherries!

Mouths, hands and faces warrior painted

There is so much and more to come!

We will take a bunch home to Mom!

Oh the blessings of Lughnasadh

Corn and grain the fruits of love

Ripe and full in warm air you hovered

Then plucked and joyous gathered

By these four sons of the Mother

A blessing for the table

A blessing on the wood and field

A blessing on their household

A blessing I have seen

I am not the Windmill

    I have been assailed and
    I have been poked by a lighting mage
    Of guilt, self pity and universal rage
    Clawed by winds of mood misunderstood
    I am not the windmill
    I have been left in the eye of the storm
    The cold hail leaves me bruised and alone
    I beg the rain to wash away my sorrow
    That I might be free and warm tomorrow
    I am not the windmill
    When will you be free of that old horse
    That dark rusty chain-mail
    And that sword of stone
    I know you can your dreams for-fill
    I am not the Windmill
    I am not the Windmill
Cornelia Benavidez   2016