It is now spring in Kansas City, a season that provides a lot more opportunities for what this poem is about. If, that is, we’re willing to let go of winter.

the wave

i felt a cool morning breeze
as i walked along the road

soon i passed a neighbor
with his dogs

another perfect day
he said
to which i couldn’t but agree

with little traffic on the road
it was the kind of walk 
on which you didn’t carry
any load

across the road
i saw a woman
setting out her trash

i watched her as i walked

having crossed her lawn
she reached her porch
stepped through her doorway
and turned back toward the street

i saw her door begin to close

at first she didn’t notice
and i almost looked away
for the moment
quickly fading
had no plans to stay

she did it

she had waved

her gesture gave me brief delight
after all
a further push
and she’d have simply disappeared from sight

i know it’s just a wave 
of which i shouldn’t make too much
and i know it will not take away
our burdens pains and such 
yet as i ruminate
i cannot help but think 
that as we walk through life
we still can wave 
across the roads that separate

From Random Lore © 2019 Charles Schlee

We often think of freedom from a political perspective, in terms of activities in which we believe government should not interfere.  Here are some thoughts about freedom from a different perspective. 

a monk’s freedom[1]

he was kneeling in his room
pondering the life he’d chosen
and the many lives he’d given up
he realized
how often
he’d said no

to wealth
to fame
to pleasure
to the kind of joy
that comes from feeling
others care

and somehow
he got stuck 
on all
the times
and ways
his life had flowed from

without that no
how different he’d have been
not sitting now
a recluse
in his room
with his god
but lost
in matters of the world

disciplined and humble
still he couldn’t help but smile
as he pondered
his relentless no
how much he’d chosen
not to do
or say
or feel

he’d framed a way of life
built on a simple 

and now
for him
the world around him
in a sense
only as 
what he had mastered
with a no

and yet 
since he’d not made it come to be
it was a world
given its immenseness
surely must have been created
by his god

a god
who could have made it
any way he pleased

and then the monk
reflected on
the nature of his god

on what his god must be 
to have created 
all the things that one can see

to be so free

the monk acknowledged
that he didn’t know
what god began with
maybe remnants of a former world
or maybe 
when he started
there was nothing there at all

and then there crossed the mind
of this reclusive monk
a thought 
he’d never wrestled with

what if the world had flowed
from an idea
in god’s mind 

if so
what other thoughts
what other worlds
might there have been
to which god had said

kneeling in his room
before a cross
and feeling closer now
than ever
to his god
the monk felt heartened
by this sudden revelation

as he brought his meditation
to a close
he thanked his god
for helping him to see
a deeper manner
in which he is free

and how
so very like his god
is he

From Life’s Ballet © 2020 Charles Schlee

[1] This poem was inspired by “La liberté cartésienne.”  In Jean-Paul Sartre, Situations philosophiques (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1990), pp. 61-79.   

In recognition of Native American Heritage Month (November), here is a poem about something integral to Native America that is often missing from the hurried, competitive, acquisitive lifestyles of so many of the rest of us: living in harmony with nature.

the cradle

in his early months
he lived 
much like a turtle
in its shell 

though his was made of oak and cloth
with playthings dangling
here and there
that he could touch and move

he spent much time in nature
up against a tree
suspended from a branch
or on his mother’s back
observing all the colors
and the shapes
and listening 
to the novel sounds
around him

sometimes he was visited by birds
exploring a new cooing sound

but mostly he just sat
and watched the drama 
that took place around him
and the animals 
that never seemed to mind
his movements
or his sounds
and always answered 
with their own
as if to say
we too can play

now sitting motionless
now in a gentle breeze 
that tossed his cradle to and fro
he would converse
with birds 
and dogs
and squirrels
groundhogs too

in the poetry of life

From Into the Wind © 2021 Charles Schlee

For more information about Native America, visit .

Here is a poem that, I think, captures the spirit of autumn in Kansas City.  I hope this poem helps us stay in touch with the autumns of our lives.   

the leaf

it had budded
and had grown

like many of its peers
it never had left home

symmetrical and green
the handsome little leaf
had felt secure
those many months
when swaying
in the wind

but then the air got colder 
and the little leaf turned red

the day arrived
when it no longer could hold on

and off it fell

it was a graceful falling
as it floated through the air
until it came to rest 
upon the ground

its odyssey not done
the little leaf
was quickly greeted
with a gust of wind

it pirouetted
till it lost its balance

yet no sooner had it come to rest
once more
upon the ground
than it was jostled 
by another gust of wind
that blew it even further
from its home

the leaf 
compliant in its poses
lay motionless
upon the ground

was this the journey of a lifetime
for this little leaf

or did its wandering 
live only in the memory of
a nearby leaf 
saw it go

and wondered
as it sensed its own branch swaying in the wind
and its own reddish hue

if stronger winds were yet to blow

From Into the Wind © 2021 Charles Schlee

Here’s a poem about something we desperately need yet seem to have too little of in today’s world.

the dialogue

in the darkness
suddenly i saw it

it went up
and then back down

it briefly paused
then up it went again

i tried to make it out
but couldn’t seem to

there i stood 
not knowing what to do

for me
this kind of dialogue
after all
quite new

not done
it then went back
where it had been

and stayed there
for a while

and as it looked at me
it almost seemed to smile

without warning
up it went again

then hovered for a while
till off it flew

and there i stood
with nothing but the shape
that in my heart
it drew
From Life’s Ballet © 2020 Charles Schlee