Friday, April 25, 2014

Charles Hedrick Birthday and Poetry Month: Ode to the Mundane

Charles and Peggy Hedrick (and me)
"The most effective poems are those in which the poet is sharing an experience in heightened language…objective of poetry is to be understood…the author's meaning, however, does not control the poem once it is published. At that point it belongs to the reader…"
- Charles Hedrick
Charles Hedrick has a PhD in Religious Studies from California's Claremont Graduate School. He's an author, pastor, army chaplain, professor and linguaphile who's appeared on tv, consulted for films, worked archaeological digs and travelled the world where he's "hobb-nobbed with some near celebrities." His resume is so long it's properly called a Curriculum Vitae and gets its own web space. His books and articles cover a variety of thoughtful topics, including God, the Bible, spirits, church, religions and much more. To learn about Charlie and his fifty plus years of doctoral theological linguistic authoring travel and rabble rousing check out his blog and website:
Visit Charlie's blog at
Go to Charlie's website at
This great man is also my dad and April is his Very Important Birthday month. As all Charlie ever wants for his special day are socks and poems and I'm too far away to pony up the argyles - I've posted April's blogs as 80-word poems in his honor. This is the last of four entries. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I've been challenged by it - phew, poems are hard!
Happy birthday Dad!
Doha's Expat Wife Life
Ode to the Mundane**
(Song of an Expat Wife)
Woebegone endeavors,
Deported bureaucrat:
lift weed tote cart walk; here
there's someone to do that.
Thou vanquished commonplace,
Exquisite everyday.
What thy presence giveth,
absence taketh away.
Unbiased taskmaster,
O virtuous mundane.
Parts once winsome mighty,
now jiggle sag complain.
Ordinary petty,
prosaic humdrum life.
Pedestrian plain tasks
elude this expat wife.
Concealed behind this hedge,
no capricious whimsy.
Hiding from helpers who'd
whisk my humdrum from me.
Truant common chores plus
sedentary gnome, in
languorous malfeasance,
carries groceries home.
**I don't speak for all expat wives, many of whom find a way to maintain muscle tone without benefit of the great and glorious everyday mundane. In fact, some expat women don't miss scouring, scrubbing, mowing, weeding, or sticky-papering-the-cabinets at all. Like, for example, those who travel with children or work regular jobs while living abroad. Plus, even if everyday tasks existed here in Doha, once traffic years were factored in even the most ambitious spouse-on-duty wouldn't have time to complete them. (Doha traffic is the real reason that God invented maids and nannies...but that's another blog for another day.)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Charles Hedrick Birthday and Poetry Month: On Niqabs and Tattoos

Charles Hedrick

April is milestone birthday month for my dad, the theologian, author, rabble rouser and poet, Charles Hedrick.
Read Charlie's blog where he waxes scholastically philosophical on all things God, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Bible, spirit, soul, peace, prayer and much more. (
Visit Charlie's website to view presentation videos, pictures, and learn more about Charlie's latest publications. (
As all Charlie ever wants for his birthday is socks and poems, I'm posting this month's blogs in 80 word meter, a number which may be important to Charlie's big celebration (but you didn't hear it from me).
poet, linguist, theologian
April's posts are written for him
(but if there's a royalty
endorse those checks over to me)
Happy Big Birthday Month, Dad.
On Niqabs and Tattoos
Tattoos are haraam, forbidden;
they're permanent, cause pain and change
the body which God created.
Our hostess removed her niqab,
and scarf and answered questions on
covering, Islam and tattoos.
All Muslim women don't cover,
said the Iranian, her scarf
draped loosely over tinted hair.
And, my eighty-seven year old
mother, prayerful Muslim woman,
just got her first tattoo. I thought,
Except for the permanence, scarred
skin, pain and God thing, at eighty-
seven, I might get a tat too.
**It's possible I don't write serious long or deep enough to be a real poet, but, in Charlie's honor I'm sweating rhythm and sometimes rhyme over at the Writer's Digest Poem a Day Challenge. For easy retrieval, those poems are reposted here (

Friday, April 11, 2014

Charles Hedrick Birthday and Poetry Month: Expat Kid

Charles Hedrick examines a 4th Century Coptic manuscript
Coptic Museum, Cairo, Egypt
c. 1974
Today marks a Very Important Birthday for renown Bible scholar, theologian, author, teacher, celebrated rabble rouser and poet, Charles Hedrick. In honor of this great event, I offer 4 blog posts as 80-word poems (I'm not saying which, but one of these numbers is significant to Charles's birthday).
To learn more about this great man I get to call Dad:
Hedrick family
Cairo, Egypt
c. 1974
Expat Kid
the top of Egypt's
pyramid is flat
strewn with large stones and
ancient graffiti
below, minarets
dome topped mosques the Nile
a green stripe carved through
endless miles of sand
where expat kids took
saddled horses to
Sahara City
without permission
trouble with Dad but
for life lessons like
don't be stupid plan
live wonder grow get
the degree study
language culture seize
pray risk dream praise God
climb pyramids, and
leave a note before
long desert journeys
Expat kid meets Henry Kissinger (sort of)
Coptic Museum, Old Cairo
On Growing Up Overseas
They're army brats like my mother, the lawyer, Peggy Hedrick (visit her popular website about all things law here: They're children of ambassadors, oil execs, teachers, contractors, doctors, missionaries and scholarly PhD's working on the translation and conservation of ancient documents found in remotest regions of the Arabian desert.
Expat kids come in all nationalities, colors, shapes and sizes and are found in interesting places across the planet, including Doha, Grand Rapids, Los Angeles, Taipei and more. They play soccer in Paris on Tuesday and debate in London on Thursday. They speak English, Arabic, French and German before breakfast and ride streetcars to school.
It's a charmed life with an edge, as a Scottish-American-Doha-expat-married-to-a-Texan-raised-in-England-with-three-children-born-in-three-different-countries-looking-at-colleges-in-Holland-Switzerland-Colorado-Texas reminded me: expat kids experience the world, but miss out on family stuff other kids take for granted. Like stopping by Grandma's after school for a hug and snack, weekend overnights with cousins and tough talking Harley riding across the street neighbors named Shane who will scare off the bad guys and may or may not have changed your diaper.
To some expat kids, ice cream with Grandma is right up there with the weekend safari and China's Great Wall.
Expat kids are as different as grains of sand in the desert. But whether the overseas period lasts a year like mine, my sister's and brother's or an entire childhood - there are two things the expat kids I know seem to have in common: tales of crazy what-were-you-thinking life altering adventure; and an understated appreciation for the uniqueness of the opportunity until it's long past.
Because when you're a kid, whether living abroad or at home, it doesn't matter if you're waterskiing Table Rock Lake, Missouri or Doha Bay, Qatar. As long as you're loved, scaling Giza's pyramids and learning to milk a dairy cow in the U.S. landlocked Midwest are, well, just - part of life.
Happy Birthday Dad! Sorry (again) about the horseback-riding-Sahara-City thing. And the Beatlemania thing in London. And lots of other things. You're pretty awesome for a rabble rousing 4 or 80 year old. Thanks for loving me no matter where we are in the world.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Charles Hedrick Birthday and Poetry Month: Shoes

Charles Hedrick  is a renown Bible scholar, theologian, author, teacher and celebrated rabble rouser. But in his hidden, most meditative regions, where truths are laid bare, he's a deep thinking, contemplative poet.
He's also my dad.
April is Charles Hedrick's birthday month. It's also National Poetry Month in the U.S.
Since all he ever wants for his birthday are socks and poems, I offer the next four blogs as 80-word poems (one of these numbers is significant to Charles's birthday; I'm not saying which lest it be considered "telling").
In honor of this great man I get to call DAD, I'm also participating in the Writer's Digest Poem a Day Challenge. My entries are reposted here.
Happy Birthday Dad. This is for you.


plastic shoes
scattered about steps
for the prayerful


wash face, forearms, head
cleanse feet, like this:

begin on the right

right hand scrubs right foot
and ankle,
everything wet
right hand pinkie finger
between toes
repeat three times

left hand scrubs left foot
and ankle,
everything wet
left hand pinkie finger
between toes
repeat three times

scatter plastic shoes
about steps

since feet,
like souls,
are bare