Short Sleeves: A Book for Friends 2007 - H. T. Manogue
For poet H.T. Manogue, 2006 was a year of change—change of thinking about who he was and how he saw the world. In his second collection of poetry, Short Sleeves: A Book for Friends 2007, many of Hal’s poems in this volume vibrate with the possibility that radiates from change.

Themes of forgiveness, unity, love and the cycles of life underscore the pervading theme that all is one, now is eternity, and we are co-creators with the Divine. Whether paying homage to penguins in the poem Flightless (“Dressed in suits of black and white, a touch of orange to show your class”), or swimming in an ocean in self love where “Now I am an island surrounded by myself”, Hal reminds us of the grandeur of the Ground of Being from which all things arise.

Sometimes playful but always wise, Hal’s poems gives us kaleidoscope glasses allowing new perspectives and fresh ways of being in the world. His poem, I Am, reminds me a bit of Shel Silverstein:

I am brown I am green
I am tall I am a wall
I am bark I am an ark
I am roots I am leaves
I am a fort I am a floor
I am the opening for a door
I am you I am me
Connected branches
A Tree

Reminiscent of Rumi, Hal shows that he is in love with God and in love with reality. He writes in I Dance Everyday:

I dance everyday
With spirit
Solo we waltz
To the music of love
And then we twist
With God
On the dance floor
Of Eternity

Filled with over 100 poems, Short Sleeves: A Book for Friends 2007 is a delightful romp with Spirit, reminding us not to take ourselves, or life, so seriously. Yet, Hal’s poems also acknowledges difficult circumstances like war—a mirror reflecting our projected aggression, judgmentalism, and conformity.

One of my favorite poems in this book is Shopping:

Shopping thru the store of life
I found you
My gift to myself
The ultimate present wrapped
In the warmth of the sun
Lit by the glow of the stars
A gold ribbon
Twirled around the moon
Of my thoughts
Waiting patiently to be opened
Resting quietly on the shelf
Of my mortality
My mind peeks I feel your glance
As the veil of forgetfulness drops
I jump into your joy
Kissing my gift
Of remembering

Some other delightful poems in Short Sleeves: A Book for Friends 2007 include:

• A Brighter Version
• By the Pound
• God’s My Name
• I Missed School One Day
• Mention Thinking
• Petal Power
• Seeds from the Sun
• Tennessee Ridge
• The Rock with Ears
• Water Me
• With the Snap of Fingers

I Missed School One Day is an especially poignant poem as Hal describes the soul of one of the Amish children that was gunned down in a schoolhouse. Dedicated to those precious Amish children, Hal writes:

I missed school one day
That day
I taught the world to pray
About forgiveness
The Jesus way
Cleansing veins in hateful hearts
Draining anger arteries
That keep the world on a killing course
That drives us from our loving Source
I had to die to show that I
Will come again
Again and again
To show that love has no death
When we remember
The forgiveness tool that which rules
The school bells chime to love mankind
In all names we are the same
Not children who just blame
And lay in the forgetful
State of judgmental minds

If you enjoy inspirational and metaphysical poetry, Short Sleeves: A Book for Friends 2007 is a heartfelt offering of witty observations, hard-won wisdom and poetic gymnastics. Hal coaxes us to view our world, each other, and ourselves with joy, exuberance and gratitude—remembering Who We Are through contrast and experience.

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All I See Is A Part Of Me - Chara M. Curtis
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Little Squarehead - Peggy O'Neill
Cassandra's Angel - Gina Otto
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