Archive | February, 2023

Poems of Recovering

24 Feb

Two poems originally written in free verse believable, that transformed into more tightly structured forms.

Poems of Recovery

By Phil Hefner



My search is for grounding

for the deep-down of things

where freshness of living

is to be found

that’s where I can stand

when my world spins

beyond my comfort zone

twists in forms beyond

my understanding

call it really real

where there’s a center

that holds where chaos

is calmed where

everlasting arms

reach to hold me


where is this ground

how will I find those arms

perhaps in heaven above

or a memory of a past love

or best of all in you dear friend

Grounding: a sonnet


My search is for the deep-downness of things,

Where streams of life flow unimpeded, strong

And undergirded by rock-solid earth. I long

For the center that holds when chaos brings 

Fears and shakes me from my comfort zone.

Twisting my world in ways beyond my ken.

I reel and falter, in a state of vertigo. And then

It dawns on me: I seek the really real, the tone

Of the cantus firmus, the melody that grounds

And envelopes me with its resonating sounds—

like the mother-God’s everlasting arms—

Protecting me from all besetting harms .

Where do I find grounding —over the rainbow in skies of blue?

In the memory of past love? Or, dear friend, in you?

I’ve found the ground


I’ve found the ground

that I sought 

but I am not where I was

th ground has shifted 

I jumped into the air

but did not land 

in the same place

The world is still there

but it is a different world

Up is heaven

here below the earth

the people are here

but it’s a different world 

and I need a map

For stable worlds

gazetteers abound

not much help

for a world that’s changed

gazetteers abound

not much help

For a world that’s changed

We wander life’s wilderness without a map


We wander life’s wilderness without a map

We wander. Life’s wilderness without a map,

Affords no straight line route for travel,

There is no short cut, every road may be a trap.

Atlas, compass and gazetteer of no avail.

So, we wander life’s wilderness. Without a map,

it’s a trackless jungle full of dangers and peril.

A desert’s endless dunes—our minds snap,

Our eyes see mirage where there’s only sand aswirl.

We wander life’s wilderness without a map,

But we rely on our own heart’s compass, 

Our own sense of true North—we wrap

Our hopes in humble prayer, because—alas!—

We wander life’s wilderness without a map.

(c) Phil Hefner 2023