Soul Sibling

for Audrey Assad

The only thing I knew of you—a song—
told of your restlessness to rest in Him,
the Lord for whom melodically you long,
through lovely singing, as of seraphim.
Then I discovered that you wrote and shared
about an ailment that I’ve had as well,
of scrupulosity—of living scared
things I think can doom me to a hell.
Then I felt that you’re a kindred soul,
afflicted with this ailment, as I am,
of thoughts that don’t submit to our control,
but I feel that our Father will not damn:
soul sibling, you may think you’re just a sinner,
but He has made you more—a lovely singer.

Mario A. Pita

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Color Festival

My role had been observer and reporter,
photographer who from afar would shoot,
to capture in what seemed to be disorder
a beautiful design, for love, not loot.
The people and the things that I observed
provided me with beauty that I sought
as I remained within myself reserved,
not in a world of life but one of thought,
but at an Indian festival of hues,
the joy was overflowing, drenching me,
so I who went for pictures I could use,
became participant and happily,
I shed my usual observer’s role:
to join and not just watch restores the soul.

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The festival of colors started out
an afternoon of rain and too much gray,
and soaking gusts of wind made people doubt
the music tent would not be blown away.
My photographs had been in black and white
in years before that cloudy April day,
and though their color palette now was wide,
the overcast was standing in their way.
The rain departed and the sun returned,
and colors muted finally could shout
as leaden gray shades gradually turned
to vibrant hues that day was all about.
For all of us, it only takes a ray
to make a wealth of colors out of gray.

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Some see the world in shades of black and white,
like Dorothy did before she went to Oz
and think that only their slim view is right,
though thinking this be often some war’s cause.
But at a color festival we wore
white shirts to which the colors would be hurled
in playful fights, delightful, unlike war,
the kind of fights that make a better world.
How wonderful that we of many hues
throw colors at each other, having fun,
in play wars which, to win, we need to lose,
to turn as colorful as everyone.
How wonderful, it doesn’t take a wizard,
for colors to swirl around us like a blizzard.

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For I who’ve lived where temperatures turn cold
and people often imitate the weather,
aloofly intellectual, not bold,
at warming life through playfulness together,
a color festival was welcome air,
for its unbridled plenitude of fun,
for celebrating which, for us, is rare,
so focused on the work we must get done.
We’ve had to live for green that we can earn,
as if like drones designed to be restrained,
but at a festival I got to learn,
indoctrinated minds can be retrained:
we needn’t be like climates that turn icy:
we’ll make our bland lives colorful and spicy.

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Mario A. Pita

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Oblivious

The bright red bird against the deep blue sky,
a stunning contrast of the youthful spring,
grabbed my attention as I sauntered by
the budding tree where he began to sing.
I wished to share the beauty that I saw
with anyone I could who was around,
believing they would also fill with awe
on witnessing the lovely sight and sound.
But there was only someone unaware
of his surroundings, staring at the ground,
with cell phone earbuds, so I couldn’t share
the early springtime gorgeousness I found.
Though beauty be dramatic and enthralling,
distractions often make us miss its calling.

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Mario A. Pita

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The Boss

For Paul

When both your legs were numb, and bolts of pain
shot sometimes through you unexpectedly,
and normal, daily tasks had made you strain,
I felt that you should go immediately
to see a doctor who could figure out
what caused sensations as of something wrong
and could remove your worry and your doubt
and help to make you well again and strong.
But you insisted that you were too busy
and pressured with the job you had to do,
and even if you felt more weak and dizzy
your job would still remain the boss for you.
In this I felt the world has gone berserk:
our hearts may stop, but we must do our work.

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Mario A. Pita

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Marathon

For Laura B.

Before a marathon, we sadly spoke
about the human race that’s heading fast
to ending in apocalyptic smoke,
accelerating from a simple past.
And we bemoaned that all of us now face
what no one faced in centuries before:
a button push could end the human race;
a lunatic could launch that final war.
But we’re aware it does no good to whine
about what seems to be impending doom
and hope to help to move that finish line
so future generations will have room.
We help turn harm to harmony. Our pace
is slow but vital for the human race.

Painting: “The Marathon – No Wall, Only Intention” – 2009, by Philip Noyed 

Mario A. Pita

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Corners

  For Laura B.

You hate the world for being so corrupt,
so full of malice and of selfishness,
for all the bloody conflicts that erupt,
for lives condemned to woe and senselessness.
You keep on going for your family,
your kids and grandkids, giving love and fun,
yet otherwise the rottenness you see
makes you declare of life that you are done.
But I see you make Earth a better place,
like many other people do as well,
so I know humans aren’t a hopeless case:
some make Earth more like heaven, less like hell.
The dream of a perfect world is very far,
but you can brighten the corner where you are.

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April Flakes

According to the calendar, it’s spring,
but it looks like the sky has not been told,
because it’s dropping snow on everything,
and air—that’s also uninformed—is cold.
Yet as I see the flakes descend, I know
this snow may be the winter’s last, or mine,
as I may not last long enough for snow
next winter brings while summer-lovers whine.
I think then as the flakes of snow descend
each one is like a punctuation mark,
a period for a life that’s reached its end,
yet life seen as a sentence isn’t stark:
observing lovely falling snow, I felt
it’s beautiful to live—to fall—to melt.

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Mario A. Pita

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