“Fool” by Christina Knowles

Barren path“Fool”

I wander through a garden

Tall and green and dripping with the dew

The twisting path, the hidden

The way I thought I knew

Petals, velvetly imbue

A facile façade of innocence

But the thorny branch is true

The Judas kiss equivalence

The truth I never knew

The Pathos of pretense

I was fooled through and through

Mired in the dense

Brush, I construe

The twisted path is lost

I fight to make it through

The symbols I have crossed

The signs were always there

The realization overdue

A switchback won’t repair

A road I never knew

I reconnect and reassess

The lies and the true

The despair that I suppress

Is the path I make anew

Through a barren garden

Trimmed a bit too low

I walk along disheartened

For the beauty I forego

–Christina Knowles

Photo: Barren Path | by H. Evan Miller

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“Those Eyes” by Christina Knowles

Scan 36 (2)She loved me with those eyes

Large and brown staring up at me

The wisdom of the ages implied

Whether to apologize

Or merely out of curiosity

It was always with love in those eyes

Her soft gaze intensified

Watching over me carefully

The wisdom of the ages implied

Always she sympathized

Laying her head on my knee

Loving me with those eyes

Patiently she sighed

Waiting on me dutifully

The wisdom of the ages implied

Short are the days love multiplies

She spent them on loyalty, joyfully

Loving me with those eyes

The wisdom of the ages implied

—Christina Knowles

“Old Dogs” by Christina Knowles

Old Dog
Photo: petbucket.com

Old dogs

Gray around the temples and chin

Walk with a limp

A stiff gait

But still try to chase squirrels up gnarled oaks

Old dogs

Still enjoy slow strolls down friendly streets

Sniffing everyone they meet

Greeting neighbors and young pups

Even though they don’t smell much anymore

Old dogs

Reminisce about their youth

Days when you threw the ball in the park

And they could run like the wind and you tired long before them

Old dogs

Are more interested in tummy rubs and loving scratches behind the ears

Than in begging for treats

Or playing tug-of-war with an old rope

But they’ll still gather the energy to play

If it will make you happy

Old dogs

Embarrass easily

When the mailman sneaks up on them unnoticed

They look around to make sure you didn’t see them

Letting down their guard

Old dogs

Try hard to do their duties

Even if you tell them that it’s time

Time for them to be cared for now

Old dogs

Will muster up excitement when you come in the door

After a long hard day

They won’t let you think for a moment

That you weren’t missed

Old dogs

Fall asleep next to you and don’t wake up when you leave the room

When they do wake, they struggle to their feet

Joints stiff, and go searching for you

Old dogs

Are wiser than young dogs

They know the value of a life-long friendship

They don’t care about slippers anymore

Just companionship and loyalty

Old dogs

Can’t hear or see very well

Except with their hearts

They are selfless souls

Growing more pure with each passing year

Old dogs

Feel shame if they can’t keep up with you

Until they see their own heart shining back at them

And then they know

They’ve taught you what you needed to learn

Their work is done

Because when old dogs

Take a piece of your heart

With them when they go

You’re still better off for having known them

Because with an old dog

Your heart grows larger through each and every

Old dog you’ve ever loved.

Mulder old
Mulder Pitman Knowles (1993-2008)

—Christina Knowles

 

Books, Wine, and Friendship by Christina Knowles

Snagged from writers win.com
Snagged from writers win.com

Last night was my monthly book club meeting. And by meeting, I mean getting together with great friends, sampling delicious cheeses and different kinds of wine, sitting down to a beautiful meal, catching up on our personal lives, teasing, laughing, participating in a deep philosophical conversation, and oh yeah, discussing the book we read. I love my book club. We meet once a month and sometimes in between club meetings to go to a movie, attend a lecture, go out for tea, or even spend a day at the hot springs or a weekend in a mountain resort. I have come to love my book club ladies. I look forward to seeing them, and I never miss a meeting, even if I didn’t finish the book. We are all teachers, or former teachers. My book club ladies are very intellectual and wise, and I have gained a lot of insight about life from them, but most of all, they have become the best kind of friends anyone could have. We all fit together so well even though we are quite diverse in many ways. We range from various denominations of Christian to Atheist to New-Ager, and we encompass all the political parties, including Socialist. I’ve often wondered why we work so well as friends, and I figured out we share some very important qualities besides a love of books. Here’s what I came up with:

  • We are open-minded. We not only listen, but we consider each other’s opinions and value our differences. We respect each other’s thoughts.
  • We share ourselves. We don’t just share the flattering things that most people would want others to know about themselves, but we really let each other see our true personalities—our quirks, our insecurities, our flaws, our confusion. We really know who each one of us is. I can tell my friends anything, and I do.
  • Quotation-Oliver-Goldsmith-love-friends-manners-wine-Meetville-Quotes-58480We like each other anyway. The more I know about my friends, the more I respect them and care about them. Knowing their problems, insecurities, their frustrations, and the mistakes they make, allows me to see things through their eyes and not get upset at them when we have disagreements or don’t see eye to eye—and we don’t. As I said, we have varying political, religious, and philosophical ideologies, but we completely accept each other anyway.DinnerBookClub
  • We can trust each other. This is a rare gift. We have been through a lot together and have been friends for many years. We’ve shared secrets, and our confidences have never been betrayed. Our friendship has been tested and passed with flying colors.
  • We listen to each other. Not only do we share ourselves, we are interested in what’s going on in the lives of each one of us. We take turns talking and make sure we all get a chance to tell about what is going on in our lives. We may offer advice, but we don’t judge. I always leave book club feeling completely accepted and listened to. In the past, I’ve had many friends who only want to talk and never listen. Even if I am having a serious problem, they turn it around and make it about them. Not these ladies. My book club friends are sensitive to knowing when someone needs a friendly ear.
  • We can count on each other. I know if I had a problem, they are only a phone call away—a ride to the airport, help moving, a place to stay; we aren’t fair-weather friends.
  • We are honest. We tell each other how it is and call each other out when necessary. I think I have been told, to my face, that I am full of shit by these ladies more than by any other people I have ever known. But that’s okay because we can say that to each other without getting angry, and then go on having a lovely evening. But we take each other seriously as well, so if one of us says we are full of shit, we take the time to consider whether or not they are right.
  • We challenge each other. Like I said, we are very different people. We have different views, different ways of looking at things, and different ways of doing things. We give advice and kick each other in the butt when necessary.
  • We encourage each other. Even though we call each other out when necessary, we are the first to offer words of encouragement, truthful compliments, and uplifting advice right along with our criticisms. Besides my husband, I feel like they are my most enthusiastic cheerleaders.BookSigning
  • We inspire each other. I have often heard horror stories of women who constantly fight, are jealous, or in competition with each other. I am lucky to never have experienced this in my friendships (I’ve had many wonderful girl-friends throughout my life and am still friends with them today), and it couldn’t be further from the truth with these ladies. We support each other in every endeavor, share ideas, and help each other succeed. When I published my book, they were right there to share in my joy. They read it, helped me with editing, came to my book signing, and helped me promote it. Two of the women in my book club are writers as well. We read each other’s writing and do whatever we can to promote the success of all of us, whether it is a new job, a new relationship, or a writing project. We share genuinely in the joy of each other’s success.
  • We don’t have to be perfect for each other. We welcome each other into our homes even when they aren’t clean or we haven’t showered. We walk in without knocking. We are the kind of friends who have keys or garage codes to each other’s houses in case we show up before the owner arrives. We’ve stripped naked to change or take a dip in the hot springs without worrying about cellulite or being judged. We are comfortable with each other, and that is nice.
  • BookClubWe don’t have to feel bad when we don’t see each other for a while. Many of my book club friends travel frequently. We may go a couple of months without seeing each other certain times of the year, but nothing changes. Whenever we get back together, it’s like we never left. We pick up right where we left off. We are not needy or demanding with each other. If we can make it to something, we do. If we can’t, we understand. No pressure.
  • But we are thoughtful. We bring each other thoughtful gifts for no reason sometimes. The other day, one of my friends brought me a vegan cookbook because she knows I am interested in changing my diet along those lines. When one of us goes on vacation, we often bring back a souvenir for the rest of us. We may show up at each other’s house with a bottle of wine or a homemade loaf of bread just because.
  • MichelleandMeWe make each other laugh. We always have the best time when we’re together, often giggling uncontrollably. Once two of us went to the movies and had no idea what we were seeing. It turned out to be a very stupid and vulgar teenage boy-type thing. Being teachers, we slid down in our seats, unable to control our laughter while trying desperately not to be seen by any of our students. We’ve laughed at each other and with each other, but I would feel equally comfortable crying with them. In fact we have while attending too many funerals of former students who died way too soon.

I am a little bit of an introvert. I’m somewhat of an intellectual, I’m a bookworm, and I’m way too serious. But this group of friends brings me out in a way for which I am so grateful. We never need to make meaningless small talk, which I despise. For an introvert, it is highly important to feel comfortable and accepted in order for me to be my natural self. I think this is why I never miss an opportunity to hang out with them if possible, while I turn down other social engagements all the time. The best kinds of friends are the kind that let you be completely you without worrying about it. And more than just putting up with you, they actually enjoy being with you. We should all have friends that make us more of who we really are instead of less, and I am so grateful for mine. And the books and wine are bonuses.—Christina KnowlesBookClub

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