the seagull on the rooftop (a poem)


(because i saw a seagull on a rooftop…)


dead centre there it stood

the seagull on the rooftop

watching the world for all it stood

in a standstill where it chose to stop


did it see the truck was blowing steam

did it know the rain would fall

did it ever, like you and me, dream

did it know the meaning of all


the seagull on the rooftop stood

where it stopped on the centre of the roof

watching the houses as they stood

eyes empty maws shut silent with reproof


was there life within those wooden shells

were the people happy there

what sort of folks did there dream and dwell

of what did they truly care


on the centre of the roof the seagull stopped

like a carving carefully placed

like a weathervane that had rusted stuck

contemplating what it might face


did it know what roof to choose or why

does it care the way we do

does it ever care if it lives or dies

do we stand on rooftops too


© Cindy Lapeña, 2014




























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Life is…


When I was a teen, I used to say that life was one big mistake that couldn’t be erased. I even made a poster for it that my high school guidance counselor hung on her door.

I was right about not being able to erase it. I still don’t know how much of a mistake it is–there are certainly so many mistakes that humanity has made throughout its existence and those certainly can’t be erased.

What I have realized is that while my life could be a mistake, as many others might feel about theirs, I was learning from those mistakes. I know so many mistakes were made around me that affected me in so many negative ways. I know I made so many mistakes that have changed my life also in so many ways. But I know that, all my life, I had been seeing mistakes that would make me swear I would never ever do them.

I know now that ever since I could make decisions about things, I have been responsible for making my life what it is. I have been responsible for learning from the mistakes of others as well as from my mistakes. I know now that my life is what I make it and what I make of it.

Life in all its forms, the world included, is so sensitive that every little action makes its mark. Life reacts  by either succumbing to those actions or by overcoming them. Many times, life ends because it succumbs. Most of the time, life goes on because it overcomes. It adapts. It adjusts.

I have made mistakes, goodness knows how many. But I have overcome them. I have adapted. I have adjusted. I still make mistakes. But I have been learning from my past and the past of others around me. I know there will be some mistakes that I will no longer make.

I am on a new path now and that means I will, in all likelihood, make mistakes. But I know that I need to focus on overcoming rather than wallowing in self-pity every time I fall down , which is the easiest path to succumbing and, in some strange way, comforting. I will not wallow in self-pity because I don’t have all the time to indulge in negativism. I need to overcome that tendency and focus on what is needed, on what has to be done, on living my life to its fullest all the time! If that means sitting back and taking a deep breath once in a while, I will do it. If it means asking for help sometimes, I will do it–even if that is one of the hardest things for me to do. If it means drastically changing the way I do some things, I will do it.

I need to remind myself what I often tell my students — the moment you stop learning, you might as well be dead. I’ve been doing it, I just haven’t been paying attention. It’s what I told everyone when I was homeschooling my son — everything in life is a learning opportunity.

It has and always be my guiding principle. Life is Learning. Always.

Children of the Earth (poem)


children of the earth we are born

in the womb of mother nature we are nurtured

we feed at her bountiful bosom and we grow strong

as children of the earth.

we are born children of the earth

we grow strong feeding from her bounty

and when we are grown we forget how we were born

from the womb of mother nature.

we were nurtured by the rich bounty of our mother earth

we have grown. we have forgotten.

we grow fat taking more than our share.

we grow rich taking more than we need for ourselves.

we grow greedy taking everything from the earth.

we have forgotten how we were born.

we have sold our mother to the highest bidder.

we have sold our lifeline to the earth.

we have sold our mother.

we have sold our earth.

we were born children of the earth

and children of the earth we shall die.

children of the earth we shall hunger for more

and when there is no more, we shall hunger again

for what no longer is. for the barren mother

stripped of her glory

stripped of her bounty

stripped of her beauty

and when she can no longer give

how else shall we live?

as children of the earth we shall die

on the barren grounds stripped of beauty and bounty

in filthy oceans populated by flotsam

on bare mountains that will be bare sand

in the bosom of a dead mother

her children will die.


© Cindy Lapeña, 2013

 Mother Earth

one day at a time (poem)


I’m taking things

one day at a time

I can’t take more

sometimes I’d like to take less

but life keeps on coming at me

one day at a time

I need to see things

one day at a time

anything more

and I don’t see all I can

but I can’t see beyond what’s facing me

any more than

one day at a time


© Cindy Lapeña, 2012


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a jigsaw life (poem)


everyday is a piece in

the puzzle of life

small indecipherable parts

spots of color

innocuous shapes

making sense only

when joined together

irregular edges

each shape different

from the others

small scenes revealing themselves

as pieces come together

the picture never complete

until the last piece

the last day

is in place.


© Cindy Lapeña, 2012


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today my world stopped turning (poem)


today my world stopped turning

and everything was gone

i lost my home

a husband

my son

all familiar things were gone when

today my world stopped turning

and the burden of living bore down

crushing all hope

all dreams

all desire

all i was and all i wanted to be

gone because

today my world stopped turning

and the glacier in me began melting


until everything came


out in torrents that

drove away sleep

and rest

and all


and words

and feelings

washed out

leaving me







on the day

my world stopped turning

life began


© Cindy Lapeña, 2010


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No time for mourning (poem)


There’ll be no time for mourning when the dying is done

no time for mourning when the dying are gone

no time for mourning when the darkness falls

no time for mourning when the darkness calls

no time for mourning with the morning sun

no time for mourning because life goes on.