What you see
is not me
a mere illusion
of light and dark.
Pretty and polished
my best deception
to the world.
Pull it away
and you will see–
My eyes speak truth
but who looks into eyes
I wonder if this mask
for my comfort
by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 10/7-8/15
by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/2015
The forest yawns
The crickets sing their last serenade
All quiets to the autumn lullaby
The goldenrod and asters nod sleepily
The leaves blush
The birds hush
Summer whispers goodbye
September takes her final bow
October makes his welcome howl!
by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/27/15
I do not fear death–
I shall go to the place
where those who have gone before have went
I go to the place
where every creature and being who has ever lived has gone,
And if that place is someplace
and we are all reunited,
That will be lovely
For there will be joy and peace.
And if that place is noplace
and we are all together, but no reunion,
That will still be lovely
for there will be joy in peace.
Who Am I
by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/23/15
Who am I–
not daughter to a mother
not sister to a brother
Who am I
without people to label me
without people made from me
Who am I without you to see me.
The labels fall away
more and more every year
like weeping leaves
from autumn trees
who will I be
when no one remembers me.
~Monica R. Ashbaugh, 8/21/15
I have walked far deeply into the darkened wood
I have sat painfully alone in the echoing, black well
I have wrestled endlessly with the shadows of demon and self
I have looked–unflinchingly–into the eyes of Death
I have survived the hell of grief and suffering
I am a warrior of Life
I bear the scars of living
like medals of valor
I am Victory
I have conquered my darkest
and won myself
I now can finally rejoice in the Light
Ego sum pacem. I am Peace.
by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 6/17/15
Be kind in thought
Be kind in word
Be kind in deed
Be kind in speaking
Be kind in writing
Be kind in listening
Be kind in observation
Be kind in interpretation
Be kind in action
Be kind in inaction
Be kind in nuance
Be kind in blatancy
Be kind in the face of kindness,
And more importantly,
Be kind in the face of unkindness
Be kind because you can
Be kind because you are
Be kind because you want to be
Be kind because you are human
Anything less is inhumanity.
I Am and Not
by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 5/31/15
I am no saint;
If you are looking for one, look elsewhere.
I am no guru;
I have no more wisdom than you.
I am a sinner;
I dance in my depravity.
I am a seeker;
I explore myself.
I am the journey and the destination.
I am weary and my shoes are full of wear.
I am flawed.
I am perfect in my imperfection.
I am me;
I am you
We walk in each other’s footprints;
We are teachers and students–
If you want more of me
the well is dry and the tears overflowing.
For I am all I can be
and I made no judgement of me,
nor require forgiveness from you.
Ode to Gaia
by Monica R. Ashbaugh (2011-15)
It is Spring.
We rejoice in the blossoming of the Earth Mother.
Her abundance fills our lives and hearts.
Gaia, Life-giver, Creatrix, Protectress, Nurturer, Mother of All, Eldest of all Beings,
We thank you for all you have bestowed upon us
And for the beauty and blessings of our Earth.
You lovingly provide us with all that is necessary in life.
We are reminded to live simply,
‘For the Earth can satisfy all of our needs, but not our greed.’* (*Gandhi)
We are born here, we grow here, we live here, we die here.
Gaia, you bring us full circle.
We are all part of the Great Web of Life,
Let us live compassionately.
Let us walk lightly on the Earth.
Accept our love and gratitude.
(This was a piece of liturgy I wrote years ago for an Earth Day Celebration.)
The Beagle Queen
By Monica R. Ashbaugh, 4/18/15
I look into soft brown eyes,
Limpid pools of dreamy love,
Licorice gumdrop nose,
And sable velvet ears—
All loveliness that is beagle.
What mysteries can she smell on the wind
What secrets of the Universe can she discover
In aroma and fragrance and stench–
Keyed into every happening
Squared-eared, alert stance,
Stiff, white-tipped tail
Like it had been dipped in a cream jug.
And if you don’t show appropriate homage
To her Queenship,
That hound baying escapes her lips
To chastise you for your insolence.
Kneel before her Highness,
Offering the best back scratches
On her black saddle
And gentle ear rubs.
Show her the humility of your humanness
And you shall have her loyalty
All her life.
by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 3/26/15
I’ve been thinking the last few days about life and people.
We choose who we want to be.
It may not always be conscious choices,
but we are, nonetheless, making them.
What we surround ourselves with, we become.
What we read, we become.
Who we interact with regularly, we become.
What we watch, we become.
The words we choose, we become.
The thoughts we have, we become.
Even what we eat and drink, we become.
Our focus is what we become.
Our choices sculpt who we are.
It bodes well to immerse ourselves in
positive pursuits and people,
situations and thoughts. Surround yourself with
and beautiful flowers!
By Monica R. Ashbaugh, 2/9/15
Death is a very different thing than birth
In birth we are with our mother
Perhaps our father and loved ones
Sometimes hospital staff
It is a celebration of exploding into the light
The beginning of all things
A time of pure joy.
A time of being and becoming.
For some they want to face death
surrounded by loved ones,
by family and children,
Supported and comforted.
But I think I should like to die alone
Death is one of the few events in life that is purely solitary
We can only face Death alone.
The people around our bedside must stay behind
Mere witnesses to our dying,
Not participants. We die alone.
I should like to die like a little animal.
Animals crawl off alone to find a quiet place to die
They lie down in the soft grass
On the bosom of Mother Earth.
I wish to be surrounded by my nature
Listening to the last birdsong
Spying the last twinkle of light
And slip away into the darkness
A time of peace.
I don’t think I would mourn myself in my dying
Nor be afraid at what is next, if there is a next.
So many have went before me.
Everything that has ever lived
Has also died.
Death is a biological imperative.
Death is natural.
Death is pure.
Death is a birthing into unknowingness.
It is a beginning of nonexistence.
The ouroboros of being and nonbeing.
There is a season for everything—
A time of birth and a time of death.
A time for joy and a time for peace.
A time of sunrise and a time of sunset.
A time for knowing and a time for unknowing.
A time of beginnings and a time of endings.
A time to be and a time to not.
The Coming Light
by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 2/2/15
There is a sacredness to the early morning
In the quiet before the world awakes
In the darkness where a bird is waiting to sing.
It is a liminal time
An ethereal boundary
Between shadow and light
Between silence and song
Between dream and reality
Between moon and sun
Between setting and rising
Between stillness and dance.
It is a time to breathe
A time to reflect
That we survived another night
Having escaped the trance of death
And rescued life from the lethean forgetfulness of sleep
At least for one more day
To be blessed with a new dawn
Full of promise and hope
And the work of love and peace
For us to begin again
Author’s note: I had never enjoyed the very early morning hours before dawn. I had always felt it was a sad and lonely time until a friend told me of his experience in war, how the coming light vanquished the fear that lie in the darkness and meant he survived the night to live another day. That story made a profound perspective shift in me to try to appreciate this time of day.
by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 1/22/15
When the day winds down
and the sun’s shadows cast long,
there is quiet time
to catch one’s breath.
Let your mind wander
to the secret recesses
in your heart,
and feel the sacred stillness
gently wash over your soul.
Lift a prayer to the hope
that is tomorrow,
which will wander in
on a beam of fading moonlight
and sleepy, blinking stars,
genuflecting to the new morning’s dawn,
cradling tender promises of today.