Category Archives: people

John Flynn at Folkstage–part2

August Monarch, Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2007

While searching for my poems that were inspired by singer/songwriter, John Flynn, I found this second one (included in my book, Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine.) It was from a Facebook post on the day of Nelson Mandela’s death. Reading it now reminds me of John urging us at the concert last night: to be more kind, to do something to help lift someone up. Thank you, John, for all of it.

12/8/13

White Woman from Illinois on Mandela

Posted by John Flynn on Facebook:

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint
as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

He might be the first to say
he was ordinary,
a man making choices with great clarity,

understanding consequences
to holding hate and anger close,
how one gets burned
and nothing is accomplished.

To say now he was awe-inspiring,
to raise him so high in sainthood,
select media-glorifying snippets to focus on,
reducing him to an icon on a pedestal

does him and us a disservice
for it assumes we cannot also be better,
do better, make the forgiving choices.
It assumes he was a hero above us, beyond us,

a mythological figure, not flesh and bone.
It says we admire from afar but do not aspire
to be something held so high…
and that is wrong.

We are all capable of better,
more conscious loving acts.
We are all awesome healers
no matter our circumstance.

We do not have to reflexively perpetuate
old patterns that do not serve us.
We can heal within and radiate healing out.

Start now, start somewhere,
some small breach, maybe love yourself
a little or a little more today
as a way of remembering him,
honoring a long life of sacrifice
and ultimate joy—as a choice.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2013

To hear this poem and read more about it

For my first John Flynn-inspired poem: read here

Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine:
Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing

John Flynn at Folkstage

Artist Head, M D Mikus, Copyright 2007

Tonight I was moved by a passionate, heart-opening concert by John Flynn on Folkstage (WFMT). Often we don’t know the effect we have on others, how even a kind word or smile can make a difference. We do it naturally and rarely hear that it made someone’s day, lifted their spirits, or inspired them. Here is my John Flynn story.

I first met John Flynn after the Folk Festival extravaganza hosted by Rich Warren in 2007. I volunteered to work the CD tables, selling for one of the other artists. Afterwards, I talked with singer/songwriter, Greg Greenway (who I knew). I gave him my (then) new CD, Full Blooming: Selections from a Poetic Journal. John was standing right there, wearing a stylishly tilted fedora, and said playfully, where’s my copy? As it happened, I had brought another CD with me and I gave it to him. They both asked me to sign my CD for them, as I asked them to sign theirs for me.

That night I wrote this poem of unexpectedly feeling…belonging—instead of my usual tongue-tied, feeling-on-the-outside, blushing paralysis. Thank you! I still remember and it meant a lot to me.

As you said tonight, John—challenged us all—everyday to do what good we can do in this world. Especially right now. I am telling you, so that you know, you inspired me.

9/11/07

Belonging

For Greg Greenway and John Flynn

(For some reason, or no reason,
to be read in a slight drawl)

So natural like
I was one of the guys
for 10 easy bliss minutes
as if I had always been.

No over-thinking
no shy, red face
just joking as if
this is who I am

that sweet taste
still in mouth and memory
that sweet taste
of belonging.

Not to make too much of
what was just after all
two fine singers talking to me
after a really good show.

But I have to say this
at least just once:
thank you for your songs,
for your smiles in my direction,

thank you for accepting my offering
and treating me…well…
treating me well…as if
I was just one of the guys,

the roving troubadours
who have something to say
and the heart and passion
and drive to do it.

As if…
you saw who I am
right through my skin
deep down, those bleached bones.

So natural like
I was one of the guys
for those 10 easy bliss minutes
as if I had always been.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2007

This is the first of two poems inspired by John Flynn.

Our Future, Still Being Written

6/20/18

Listening to Amelia Curran
After Hours of Reading

If this is all there is
and you have forgotten the rest
and if you cannot keep from
the seduction of despair
I understand
and
hold out a hand.
Rest a while
in the shade of favorite music
or vacation in a favorite book.
No shame in resting,
I understand
and
give permission
as for you
as for me.
And if in the barrage of news
every bit worse than the last
and tears well up and head hangs
still, I would urge you to remember
what is real,
who you are, have always been,
the long perspective.
A marathon requires pacing
replenishment, an eye on the far-off goal
as you put one foot in front of the other
as your heart beats and muscles ache
as you breathe
and breathe
and
remember.
You have trained for this:
Every challenge, hard time, tragedy, trauma
you found strength to heal and endure
and now you are called on for more.
Those faltering for now
are aided by others
who will in turn
need help.
Like geese in a “V”
stronger together, each leader in turn
falls back, resumes.
Yes, this is not what you sought
but this is what was sown,
the past playing out
but not necessarily
our future, still being written.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2018

Note: Amelia Curran is a Canadian singer-songwriter I heard of from Peter Mulvey (an incredible American singer-songwriter). Listening to music and reading is how I have been getting through some personally dark days and high anxiety.

I found this recent poem while looking for something else. Although written this past June, it was as if I had written it to encourage and support myself — and others– right now, the week of the midterm election. A reminder to breathe, to rest when needed, to help each other, to take the long view, to vote. I offer this to you in kindness, as my way of holding out a hand. Hang in there, dear ones.

November Sunset, M D Mikus, Copyright 2017

5 Star Review for Transcending Boundaries

Thank you, Elisabeth Smith!  Here is her review:

It’s like she read my mind…

I have always struggled in finding the words to express what it feels like experiencing the music of Eric Whitacre and the concept of Virtual Choir to someone who has never heard it. Now all I have to do is give them a copy of Transcending Boundaries because Margaret has been able so eloquently articulate it for me. Most of what she has written about, I was either with Margaret in person or listening/singing virtually on line. So I can validate first hand these immense emotions. And also how we who participate in Virtual Choir truly transcend boundaries of space around this world to form a family founded on this love of music. Thank you, Margaret, for allowing us to be a part of this personal journey that so many of us are still on…”

 

 

Photos of the Children

6/10/18

Photos of the Children

from many stories posted on Facebook

I refuse to be sad and helpless
as my only human choice
I refuse to be angry
burning to impotent cinders
when I see the children
lined up in orange rows
stripped of mothers, protectors
young innocents in cages
When I see freight cars
mentioned in titles
clearly to remind
I refuse to be hopeless
Every day, something…
some kindness, some donation
a call, a signature, a conversation
some antidote to poison
even to remember who I am
who we are
I have lived this long
and refuse the comfort of
numbness or amnesia
What is being cruelly done
to dismantle, to diminish,
to disturb, to disrupt
to lead to apocalypse, I refuse
to go along with that narrative
a story whose ending is yet unwritten
I cannot undo what is being done. I am one
I cannot re-weave what is deliberately torn
but we can, everyone
bring to this pot luck what gifts we can
We can keep each other
from cliff’s edge of despair
not soak in hatred and fear
We can transform the energy
we are immersed in into love
that unconditional endless food
undiminished by grasping greed
true power to heal…
yes, even this.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2018

I responded viscerally to the photos of children, some quite young, taken from their parents who were trying to come into this country, many seeking asylum. Some children were in cages or lined up in orange prison garb or held inside a dark building. They had no legal representation, no one to speak for them. I had to write something or explode.