So often in my life I’ve felt lost, alone, at the mercy of huge and powerful forces. The universe was hostile, dangerous, vast and complex. I frequently felt helpless, depressed, fragile, and ultimately out of control.One night I was camping out, lying on the grass in total darkness in a remote mountain area. The stars were out with no city lights blotting their brilliance. My friend showed me how to use his binoculars to see the Andromeda Galaxy. Even with the powerful magnification, the cluster looked small, but it had the distinct and recognizable shape of a spiral galaxy. Everywhere I looked millions of stars scattered across the sky, and they seemed to go on forever. I was overcome by an acute awareness of just how vast and magnificent is our universe, peering out at a fraction, realizing how small I am.At age 44 I was introduced to spirituality and began to slowly embrace a genuine relationship with a power greater than myself. Since then I have grown to rely on this power to help me in every aspect of my life. I no longer feel so small and alone.Now, at age 62, I am present this book of poetry and art with -- I believe -- God’s help. This collection of poems touches on my feelings of being on a puny planet, endlessly orbiting a rather average-sized star. I am not alone and will not be at the mercy of hostile forces that torture and destroy. There is reason to have faith in the spiritual essence of the universe - call it God or whatever power you perceive. We are here for a purpose, which is the beautiful and terrifying divine mystery of life. May I live it well and may these poems strike resonant chords in your own life.IN THIS VAST SEA OF STARSWe are visitors here in our bodiesLittle boats living in this vast sea of starsPeering out into a tiny fraction of the wholeBillions and trillions of brightly glowing sunsEach so distant they appear as small white lightsCoalescing in countless galaxies spinning on theirEndless unfathomable journeysWe circling one bright yellow star in our Milky WayOn a little blue, green, and white worldSome say we are the only intelligent lifeI am certain we are as common as grains of sandIn the waters of the broad oceans of earthThe universe - bigger and more awesomethan any of us can ever imagineIt offers me solaceTo be one infinitesimal part of the whole,Reaching out to the Creator of this vast sea of starsWhy?picture the instability of a galaxy spinningwith millions of star systems pushing and pulling inall directionstake the shortcut home right before dawnafter driving all nightpull over and look at the starsclose my eyes and relaxsometimes 5 minutes of sleep saves livesask yourself “why am I alive?”“in this body”“on this planet””in this galaxy”“at this time”“Why me?”and open your eyesimagine allthepossibilitiesTo CleaveSo much touch. It hurts.Bending in. Stars surrounded by black space.The soul I had, once abandoned, nowalive again, straining to be heard. To feel avalued part of something larger. Seeking to let God in.The flesh with its concerns. The friend of hersdying. The cancer, slowed, sped up, an operationto cut it out, followed by a massive stroke. He hoverson the edge of his abyss. She cries. I am alertto it. The world ends now.My disease communicates within. Hatingitself for what it is, living inside as long as I go on.Surviving though I do not feed it what it says it needs.Even this part of me suffers when it gets what itwants of me.I cannot win.You will lose even me. It is the nature ofthings to come.Good and bad in you. And me. It is not whatwe touch so much as how we cleave. Do we feel whatit is I see? And what of Arthur’s death? Pending. Thenature of the beast.