It is Nothing Really

hill & hollow

Trying to wrest my mood from the dark side,
I cling to the path
well-worn from years of mindless wandering.
That same heaviness plagues my heart,
rending my chest in two.

It is nothing really.

Just the dance on the edge of that cliff-
the one at times I find myself
teetering and scrabbling,
struggling to find firmer ground.

It is nothing really.

Though at this moment
it seems more like quicksand
or a rabbit hole
or a trap door
or something.

But it is nothing,
really.

the act of sitting and putting pen to paper

I sit thick
and muddled
and not at all winsome and light
like I wanted to be when I woke this morning.
Sitting in the warm beam
of a cold sun,
I put pen to paper
and poetry sprouts-
not prose as I wished for-
but a lithe tendril
spools from the end of the pen,
twirling quietly and slowly,
until a small leaf unfurls,
winsome
and green.

Easy in the Going

She waits
for the word to come down
her train is leaving soon –
ticket purchased
and held tightly
in her beautiful hands.

(parchment pale hands,
thin and strong,
that once held such powerful music.
And in all the keys,
she played our lives
so that we were formed
by the sound of her heart)

She waits for the bells to toll
and for the band to start –
she is easy in the going
and longing
for the gentle rocking of the rails.

(revision)

will not the waters

will not the waters come
and then recede
all manner of grace restored

Christmas Flood 2015

Christmas Flood 2015 2

Christmas Flood 2015 3

We have had record flooding in our area of the Ozarks. I think 10 inches of rain fell in just two days. It was really unbelievable to see so much water rushing past the house.

We are thankfully on high ground, though we do have water in the basement. But that is so minor considering what others in the area experienced. Houses were lifted off foundations, homes floated away or were torn apart by the waters.

The pictures are taken from our bedroom window. The lake has come up into the meadow and onto the road we walk Theo each day. The boat docks are tied to the trees to keep them floating away.

We keep those affected by all these Christmas storms in our prayers.

the angel of Christmas Eve gift!, sequin studded stockings, and chalk figurines of wise men and stately camels

Believe Angels

My sister in law called from Florida this morning
asking where the tradition of Christmas Eve gift comes from
and after consultation with Mom, decided it was the Allen side
that started it.
Now in our family, the tradition is whoever yells ‘Christmas Eve gift’ first
receives a present. So you lie in wait for people– I answer the phone
‘Christmas Eve gift’ all day, just in case. It can be a little disconcerting
for phone solicitors and people of short acquaintance
that don’t really know how odd we are.

And I explained to a friend about our traditional fruitcake
baked each year by my grandmother, then my mother
and now me. Not really the traditional fruitcake,
more pound cake with nuts and dates, with syrupy
sweet orange juice poured over the top.

And I make Christmas stockings for every newcomer in the family.
A tradition begun when we were children, our socks created
by my Dad’s first cousin and now continued for a third generation,
each hung by the chimney with care, with hopes of St Nicholas
and his eight tiny reindeer.

And our most cherished tradition is bringing out the family manger scene
of which I have custody. It is created from dime store chalk figures,
some still with the price tags from T.G.& Y. or Woolworths
and a cardboard stable with a little paper scene
glued on the back. There are the three wise men
one with a busted nose and their stately camel. The shepherds
with their two little sheep. A donkey or two to rest beside the manger.
An angel in pink, perched on the roof top that’s still covered in bits
of glued on straw. Kneeling Mary, dressed in blue, and stalwart Joseph
with his staff to stand watch over the tiny Baby looking up from the manger.

The Baby.

‘For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ Luke 2:11-14

All our traditions begin with Him.

*** Twelve Days of Angels, Day Eleven

the angel of transubstantiation and fruitcake recipes

Angels of Childhood

(The amygdala and hippocampus
receive the information
from the olfactory bulb
before routing it to the thalamus,
already conjuring memories
before awareness of the scent
is formed in the conscious mind.)

Four eggs perch in my grandmother’s bowl
among the fragrant tangerines,
waiting to take a crack into the citrus-y batter
where the luscious dates await.
The air is scented with oranges
and roasting pecans,
the fragrance of a kitchen
that no longer exists.

*** Twelve Days of Angels, Day Ten

the angel of circumstantial changes and subsequent emotional recalibration

Twelve Days of Angels Day Two

The years ending is tangled in bindweed-
its filamental arms reaching from summer into winter.
Bound by tangles
of bittersweet and honeysuckle-
I feel it deep in my chest,
the bitter and the sweet,
such days of bliss and anger,
frustration and harmony.
I wish I could remove the bad
and leave the good
but it is all too tangled-
the vines interlaced in my ribs,
rising up my throat
to be released each time I open my mouth-
its tangled in thought
and desire
and responsibility
all too nimble
all too green
all too restricting –

I sharpen my machete.

*** Twelve Days of Angels, Day Nine