Presents or Presence? Listen to the Wind… (An Alternative to Black Friday Horrors) By Kerri McCaffrey

The holidays are upon us–yuck, how cliché!  Recently, I read of  a man in a “Black Friday”  crowd who had a heart attack and shoppers simply stepped over him in order to get to their much desired merchandise.  Then there was the story of a retail store in California on “Black Friday” where a woman pepper sprayed other customers in order to get them away from the item she wanted.  Hmm.  It makes me wonder if all of this shopping is really worth it.  How many of these shoppers left their dinner tables and loved ones in order to wait in long overnight lines to buy an item.  I’ve never done that and I am glad I didn’t do it this year.  I’m not judging or anything, it’s just not for me.

I try to impress upon my two boys what I believe the holidays are all about– presence not presents.  In the world we live in–fast paced, pressure filled, and demanding–are we setting priorities?  And how do we know we have our priorities correctly ordered?  I think we need to listen–listen to something that is good, and right, and greater than ourselves.  Sometimes, I need time alone so that I can know what the right thing to do is–and inevitably, the “right thing” is not about buying something as a present, but about spending time with others–by sharing and lending presence.

This poem was written at the top of a tall ridge above the Ken Lockwood Gorge (in Califon, NJ),  while on a fishing trip there with my brother-in-law, Pete.  So many answers–and so much good–seem to come from simply listening…

Are you giving yourself the chance to listen?  Give yourself the chance to get composed!

“Written in the Wind”

 ©, 2011 by Kerri McCaffrey

The last thing I saw

before my ascent

was an autumn sycamore,

stretched over the river—

and bent like a bow.

And at the ridge’s crest

the woods across the gorge

opened like a box of crayons

placed on pale blue paper—

the yellow one tracing west.

This is where poets go—

a composer’s peak,

the river rolling like applause.

Wooden instruments, fragile strings—

music–written in the wind.

The Ken Lockwood Gorge in Autumn

 Photo–Credit to…

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My First Yawp–“Tangerines or Toast?” by Kerri McCaffrey, Mendham Teacher

Hi! My name is Kerri McCaffrey!

I live in a quaint cottage in the woods of Chester, NJ. It is magical here–at night, the moon coats the spruce with blue light.  Coyotes howl and yap (or do they yawp?). Here is what they sounded  just recently from out in the clearing (turn up your volume).


I am a parent, a 5th grade teacher  and a poet. May my writings taste like sweet tangerines when the rest of the world seems like toast.

Look up, hope high–and welcome to ThePoetsEyes!


A Poem for you–from me!

“November Skies”

(c) 2007, Kerri McCaffrey, Use by Permission Only

November skies are gray and wide—

Callous winds rip apart the forest line

and invade the peace of sheltering pine.

Why, just last month there was ripened juice!

But now, a cup of mead—dirty brown— and not so sweet.

It’s late, late fall…

The clouds are ghostly—a thick and heavy pall.

The last leaves cling like a fallen hiker’s desperate fingers.

The air is no longer crisp but biting and cuts one’s cheek.

Deadened now are some trees, standing naked—exposed and meek—

Huddling silhouettes of shame, they have lost their leafy fame.

November is an albino coyote howling in the stark stillness, lame.

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