Poem: Gaksan (…take a hike with me!)


a poem from the book With Open Arms: Poetry for Big Love and Real Life

In town, my life is all manmade

GS-25, kimbap shops, and power lines

Waiting, rushing, looking both ways

Concrete, asphalt and flashing signs


But then there’s you

You are the backdrop of my days

Beckoning me, reminding me of something bigger

From here, at this distance you too

Look a bit grey

Like me and my town


But I know you now

I know that up close

You are a stunner

I walk past the bakeries and the HomePlus

And across the bridge, and the trash-strewn river

It’s here that I doubt myself

And want to turn back

But I know you now

You are worth it

I cross the busy street

And walk the steep road to your base

Now, from here, I see only you


Thank you for being here

My human friends aren’t around today

Chingu eopsseoyo! 🙁

But you are. Chingu isseoyo! 🙂

And, you… are magnificent

Your brownery and greenery

Your paths and your scenery


Like a faithful lover

I fall in sync with you

And am still surprised by you

Though, I know you now


Ah yes, at the breast of this curve

The view opens to the pines and sky above

And here, I catch a glimpse of the sea


And from here, the town looks like what it is

The playthings of humanity


And now I’m at the yaksuteo

I don’t need to carry water, you deliver it to me

Right when I need it, mid-mountain, sparkling

I scoop a red ladleful and drink it, resting my mind


And on up, walking in peace

With every step, you heal me, soothe me,

Take away my rough edges and smooth me


At the top, I stand arms wide open

The better to feel you and thank you,

Gaksan! Chingu isseoyo!



Read more about how you can use “Nature as Healer” in my book Tuning In to Inner Peace: The Surprisingly Fun Way to Transform Your Life

Poem: Only Your Words Were Untrue

Only Your Words Were Untrue

Everything you did was honest


Out in the open

Plain for us to see

Only your words were untrue

You told me

The same lies

You told you


I told them

To me too

Even though we both knew

You were Being 100% honest

Only your words were untrue

Poetry is calling! Download the free ebook Feb 1-4, and read it on your phone or computer!

Today and through February 4 (Pacific Standard Time), you can download my new poetry book for free! I hope you will try it, then let me know how it goes! Technically and what did you think of the 39 poems and 15-page commentary section. This selection is designed to delight you and heal you! (More details below)

With Open Arms: Poetry for Big Love and Real Life

Available on Kindle and paperback at Amazon

Poetry is healing power!!! Laughing, crying, puzzling, wondering, understanding!

For four days, the ebook version of my new poetry book ‘With Open Arms’ is available for FREE! The book includes 39 poems, plus a 15-page commentary section with ideas and musings about my life and life in general. 

How to get it
The Kindle version of the book is free from February 1 – 4, Pacific Standard Time.
Download the Kindle book and read it on your iPhone, iPod, Windows or Android phone, PC or Mac computer.

Just click on the link to get started. You’ll need to set up a username and install a free app. It’s fairly quick and easy though, so I hope you will try it!

Please feel free to share this link with your friends too!
What do you think?
I’d love to hear your experience! If you download it or try, how did it go? Did it work well on your phone?
What did you think of the book? Write a review on Amazon or Goodreads, or leave me a comment on Facebook.com/JoanGregerson or @JoanGreegerson on Twitter.
About the book
With Open Arms: Poetry for Big Love and Real Life
(January 2013)
This little book of poetry is bursting with inspiration for Big Love and humorous compassion for Real Life.The 66-page collection is designed to delight you and inspire you with 39 poems about love, happiness, change, recovery and letting go. The poems are spiced with insights and imagery from Joan’s travels in Ghana, South Korea and beyond. The book also includes a 15-page commentary section with insights about the poems by the poet.

Poems grab your heart with the Big Love of “One Love”, “Perfect Love”, “Nowhere to Go”, and “Open Arms”. While other poems are about the challenges we face in Real Life: how to accept, change, recover and thrive. And Joan’s father is a gentle force in poems throughout the book, including “Dark Alleys Don’t Scare Me” and “Thank you, Goodbye”.

Laugh and cry. Come for the ride. Tearjerkers and silliness mingle in this accessible, enjoyable poetry collection.

Poetry is a magical, yet effective, way to understand ourselves. shed some tears, then laugh at ourselves, and, finally, free ourselves! I am a humble servant of some I-don’t-know-what Healing Power which begs and nags me to write poetry. And I happily submit! I hope these poems brighten your day or free you in some way! I offer my poems and all my love, with open arms!

Also, you might want to check out my first book, also available on Amazon and Kindle:
Both books are available as paperbacks and ebooks. 
A Few Poems from the book…

I Can’t Make You Happy


I might make you smile

I might make you laugh

I can’t make you happy

But you can


Mama Africa

Granted, I don’t look like your typical one love Rasta

I’m about as white as they come…

I am of ISH descent

Irish, Danish, Swedish

I’m not cool

My graying hair pulled back with bobby pins and rubber bands

But when I went to Ghana

For the first time, I felt home

Home, like ommmmm, home

I felt grounded and centered and loved

In the arms of Mama Africa

I was welcomed to the family

To any family

Every family

Like a daughter

People greeted me

Sat with me

Danced with me

Sang with me

Drummed with me

Painted with me

Talked with me

Dancing healed my aching feet

Singing gave me confidence and joy

Drumming connected me to the beat of the people

The heart of the earth

Beating in my chest and in my hands

Now wherever I am,

I feel beautiful

I feel loved

I feel creative

Because this whitey fears nothing

Forever a daughter in the loving embrace


Mama Africa


I’m holding on to you tightly

I’ve got the same grip

As a toddler who

Latches on to mom’s leg

So, you’re saying

It’s hard to walk

When I do that?

I’m analyzing your every word.

And every syllable

Gives me new ways

To doubt your love

So, you’re saying

It’s hard to talk

When I do that?

I Ain’t No Jesus

I ain’t no Jesus

But, I would like to be


I never wanted to be a nun

Much less a priest

I didn’t want to grow up to be a saint

like my sisters did

I didn’t like going to church when I was young

And going again is not in my plans

And still, I don’t want to read any holy books

Or travel to any holy lands

But I just want to BE Jesus. Or Jesus-ish.

I want to have Jesus eyes

I want to do the Jesus walk

I want to have Jesus hands

And think the Jesus thoughts

But if you ask my friends

They’ll tell you

For sure that

I ain’t no Jesus

But, I want to be

Poem: Crazy Driver

Problems in your life? You are likely recreating a problem you had in your first three years, with someone who didn’t know how to love you well. This issue takes some time to learn and relearn, and outgrow. We need to be awake but gentle with ourselves. That’s what my new poem: Crazy Driver is about…

Crazy Driver

Hey, I thought you were

More careful

More responsible these days

I thought you outgrew those childish ways

Driving too fast on slippery roads

Not paying attention

Not watching where you’re going

How did we end up here again

Move over and give me the keys

Crazy driver

Poem: Start from Scratch (…please disregard our advice!)

2010-09-24 Outing with Student Family UN Memorial Cemetery 031

If you arrive in a world

That is perfect and nice

Then yes please

Follow our advice

Use our systems

Pass down our things

Climb our ladders

Wear our rings

Ask your father

What he recommends

Learn our mottos

The means justifies the ends

But if you arrive in a world

Where poverty and war are commonplace

Where people hurt the ones closest to them

And those they’ve never met

Where people destroy the very environment that sustains them

Where people are disappointed in their lives and themselves

Where people hate in the name of love

If you arrive in such a world

Please disregard

Our advice

Please throw out

The books we wrote

The books we read

The books we quote

It will be better

We might argue a bit

But be firm

We’ll get over it

If we’ve made a mess

If we’ve met our match

Just say, “Game over!”

And start from scratch