You never can imagine
The secrets I have hidden.
The little quirks and nasty habits,
I’ll tell you, I’m not kiddin’.
So! You think you really know me?
Its been left for you to ponder.
Listen to the deeds I’ve done,
You won’t be left to wonder.
You know how after heavy rains
Earthworms crawl onto the sidewalks?
Well, I have been known to pick
Them up and throw them back into the grass
So they won’t get squashed or dry up in the sun.
I once had an entire family
Of daddy long-legs (parachute spiders to me)
Living over my kitchen sink,
A mother and about a trillion babies.
The last time I killed a spider
It was a black widow spider…
Even then I felt guilty.
When I was nine years old
I wanted to be Barbra Streisand.
Now I want to sing like Bette
And strut like Tina.
Ants really drive me crazy.
When I’m working in the garden
And it looks like the whole ground is moving
But it’s really a herd of ants…
I go get my can of raid.
There was an old man
Passed out, or asleep, in an alley.
It was freezing outside.
He had nothing to keep him warm
Except for an old, worn coat.
He wasn’t even wearing socks.
I left him a blanket,
A knit camp and five dollars.
When I walked by hours later,
He was still there passed out, or asleep,
Using the blanket as a pillow.
If there is such a thing as reincarnation,
I’d like to come back as a duck.
I am a card-carrying member
Of the Cousteau Society, Sierra Club,
Nature Conservancy, and ASPCA,.
Friend to every plant and animal
And recipient of enough address labels
To last a lifetime.
Whenever I find dead birds in my yard
I perform a burial – ritualistically
This ceremony is enacted:
I dig a hole and fill it with
All kinds of flower petals and fern leaves.
The bird is placed on the floral bed,
Then covered with more of the same.
I apologize if I know
That one of my felines is to blame.
I always cry.
Sometimes I yell at my cats
If they are really bugging me.
My neighbors had four children
To whom I became the birthday,
Christmas, Valentine’s Day fairy.
In the middle of the night,
I would leave anonymous gifts
At their front door.
I had a great time!
Even though they knew it was me,
I never admitted it.
Most mornings, as soon as I get up,
I kneel toward the East
And repeat this Buddhist chant,
The ultimate teaching of Buddhism
That leads to enlightenment through
The law and cause and effect:
“Nam – Myoho – Renge – Kyo”
World peace begins with you (me).
Don’t want to overwhelm you,
With all these dreadful deeds.
To hear them all would be too much,
“Please stop!” you’re sure to plead.
Lacking a superior forum,
Face-to-face, by phone or letter,
I wrote this poem ‘cause
You barely knew me,
But now you know me better.
Barbara L. Steinberg
March 22-23, 1991