Saturday, November 27, 2010


My Melancholic Dejection
is Not a Woe
of Despair,
is it a Deep
Pit of Black.

It is
the Sorrow
of Invisibility
and Unpolished Marble.

This Teacher
for the Collective Soul-State:
a Penetrating
Grief of the Unseen.
“I consider a human soul without education like marble in the quarry, which shows none of its inherent beauties until the skill of the polisher sketches out the colors, makes the surface shine and discovers every ornamental cloud, spot, and vein that runs through it.”   -- Joseph Addison


From boyhood and beyond,
You pounded away
To build
Your castle in the sand.

With bucket and tools in hand,
You leaped
Over the railroad track
To construct your fortress.

With sweat and perseverance,
You shoveled, bricked,
Sawed, nailed,
 and hammered away.

Floors-softly carpeted
Over a sturdy hardwood base.
Walls- firmly intact, non-budging.
Doors- securely locked,
With a plethora of keys to give away.

You squarely
Placed your family
In the Shelter
Of what you lovingly built.

Your labor was not for vanity.
The only vanity you possessed
Was the one you placed
In the bathroom
 For Mother to set her soap.

Read aloud at Pop's Funeral


I stand alone
at the top of the dune
looking out at the bay-
And there you are,
part of the gentle surf.
I watch as a wave
forms from the water-
It breaks…
Yet it still remains water.
And like the wave-
There is no beginning
or end to you.
Cape May  After Pop’s Death


In this Leap of Faith
I am Free Falling through the Unknown
Trusting to Land
On Solid Ground
Right where I Need To Be.
The Process is my Wings in this Sate of Weightlessness.

Giving 60 Days Notice from my teaching position


Driving to Shippensburg one evening in the midst of a blizzard provided me with the perfect analogy to describe what it is like to be an adult with ADHD:
My hands were white and rigid, grasping the steering wheel tightly.  I could feel the tension accumulating in the base of my neck.  It took every iota of effort to steer on course as I strained to keep the van placed between the white boundary lines on Route 81.  As I focused on the lines in front of me, they would momentarily disappear, obstructed by the large free-falling snowflakes bombarding the windshield.
As I struggled to keep the van in the center lane and to maintain my eye on the painted boundary markers on the road in front of me, I was captivated by the gracefulness of the large dropping crystals: They were bright and beautiful, a plethora of geometric shapes, each uniquely constructed.  
I remembered very philosophically thinking:
“I am the only human present to experience the ephemeral joy of the singular snowflakes that are tumbling in front of me.  When the snow-crystals melt, they will be gone, but I will remember their beauty.  It is not possible for me to experience all the snowflakes that are within my vision, but I’m seeing some of the individual snowflakes within the encircling storm.  If I crash and die tonight, wouldn’t my experience of life be much like the snowflakes?  Not many would have known me, but to my loved ones my life would be remembered by a fragment of grace that has melted on their hearts.”
                  As I ‘m pondering this thought about life, I am viewing the individual snowflakes within the showering barrage of the blizzard, while struggling to keep the van on the road and my focus on the white boundary markers.      
     All this thinking and feeling; concentration and distraction; experiencing everything at once yet perceiving the detail; being bombarded and frantically fighting to stay on track, the intensity of everything: this is what it is like to be an adult with ADHD.          


Fingers long and thin,
Just a simple
Gold wedding band.
Nails tough, yet tenderly maintained:
These were my mother’s hands.

These were the hands
That rocked me with her strength,
Dressed me within her protective care,
Fed me from her sustenance,
 And kneaded my imagination.

Her hands soothed and scolded,
Guided and provided,
Only to be pushed away
By my hands
And the assertion:
“I can do it by myself.”

When my hands held
My firstborn child,
I could better understand,
How the hands that hold,
Can find it hard to let go.

In time, her wrinkled hands
 Pushed mine away.
I’d reach for her arm and elbow,
As she walked unsteadily,
Only to meet her resistance:
“I can do it by myself.”

Eventually, we both grasped
The firm comfort of our hands
In rhythm together:
My right hand in her left,
As my left hand supported her left elbow:
And in stride we would walk.

Until swollen and plump,
With mounds of skin swallowing
Her wedding band,
Wired and taped,
Steroided and sedated,
With tender blue, purple bruises-
Her hands lay quiet to the beat of the Ventilator.

So, her hands I held,
And I let her go.
And as she breathed
Her very last breath,
Her spirit took flight
At her physical death.

Yes, I fully understand
How the hands that hold
Can find it so terribly hard
 to let go.

-Patricia T. Steely
Written:  May 12, 2005
Revised:  May30, 2005
Read at Mom’s funeral


“Look at that paper!”
She yelled with a sigh;
“That sloppy handwriting
Is straining my eyes!”

“You are so lazy,”
Teacher accused with a huff;
“I’ve had it young man,
I’ve taken enough!”

Yes teacher, you are
Correct when you say,
That you have “taken enough”
Of this young boy away:
He used to be wide-eyed and eager to learn,
Full of questions and answers that continually burned.
The ideas in his head
Would ignite with speed,
Taking him anywhere
That his mind would lead.

When he entered that boundary
Commonly called “school,”
His thoughts were unwelcome-
There were too many rules.

He didn’t pay attention,
He never sat still;
His papers were messy-
Teacher, you had your fill.

You took his sparkle,
His music, his prance;
And to your tune
He had to dance.

He smothered his wonder,
His awe, his joy;
Just so he could be
A good little boy.

Teacher, from his seat,
He heard your sigh;
His ambition froze,
But the spark didn’t die:
It smoldered, it steamed,
And sometimes consumed:
The bad boy grew up
And composed his own tune.

Autobiographical Poem Regarding My Early Childhood Years in School