blessed be

Redbud

blessed be the hours of early morning
when the light seeps slowly across the water

blessed be that light
that fills the windows full open to the morning
breeze and the scent of resurrected green

blessed be that breeze
which scatters the blown petals
of dogwood and redbud trees
carpeting the garden path with bright confetti

blessed be those feet
whose boots track spent pink petals
across the just swept kitchen floor

blessed be that love
that fills this kitchen with heavens color
and sacred morning light

blessed be

striking a match

May morning

is it just the way things are
that anything
transcendent
requires something

dark before

dawn opens over the night’s ridge, golden, glorious,
as birdsong swells with color and light
lilting across dancing water

her death required my small death
a burying of things held
oh so tightly
it was hard to peel my fingers back
to release them

I lean against the dark stone
and wait for the angel
to strike a match

remember

brush canvas close up colors

Photo by 祝 鹤槐 on Pexels.com

the ambiguity of stain
a scarlet thread finds its way
onto a bleached white linen
marring its perfection

maunday, a mandate, a command
over dinner
eat this, drink this

I remember the little saltless pillows of cracker
and the fascination of tiny cups of grape juice
take this and remember
Do This in Remembrance of Me
carved in the wooden altar
where the men in somber suits
brought the bright silver trays
to rest

red wine
on white linen
I reach for your glass

ask

flame

I watch the flames
consume the historic cathedral
and wander thru the sanctuaries
of all those churches in my past,
the color of the walls, the velvet cushions,
worn wooden pews,
the cross or crucifix or
baptism pool behind the Madonna blue curtain.

Jesus walked into the room
and in his fury, turned the tables.

He cursed the fig tree til it withered,
fruitless.

Its fruitless.

The spire falls, its cross held high till
consumed in destruction and purifying flame.

He foresaw the destruction of the temple,
David’s temple, Soloman’s temple,
the jewel of the faith.

A reckoning is coming in this Holy Week
Good Friday looms in the shadow
I don’t know what any of this means.

I just ask for mercy

I just ask for faith

I just ask

bar ditches (Palm Sunday)

spring ridge

Driving along the ridge,
Bright sun in a cold sky,
The bar ditch is filled with the first blush of spring.
Effervescent purple henbit covers the ground,
Weeds of childrens delight,
First bouquets of the season.

When my nieces were babes,
These weeds were their favorite flower until their father
Mowed the yard,
Decimating their wild flower garden and bringing bereft tears.

Did my grandfather tell me the story of why we call the ditches
Along the roadside ‘bar ditches’?
The dirt was borrowed ‘bar-red’
To raise the road, flattened for the wagons then model Ts
To travel above the fields.

Memory sometimes obscures the truth.

I remember that my father died on Palm Sunday,
Though it is not the truth.
But that is the memory I keep.
And it is Palm Sunday once again,
Not the date of his leave taking
But still the day I grieve.

And it is the first day of spring,
The day I remember my nieces’ grief
Over the heaped green weeds across their yard.

On this day, memory, unreliable and exact,
Borrows the joy before the grief…

Its the first of spring and all the birds sing
And little children palm frond process
Waving welcome the King.
Alleluia!
Alleluia!

(revised 2018)

***This is a poem written a few years ago and revised last year. In it are the memories of my grandfathers and my dad. And, on this Palm Sunday, I also remember my Mom and my brother, Frank, the father that mowed the weeds. I miss them all. So very much.

French Street, 1965

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we played in the creosote creek,
run off from the tie plant miles away
black and sticky
our beagle, Missy, would waller in the dark water
and my Dad said she never had a flea or tick,

the smell stayed on our barefeet
even though Mamma washed us clean.

long summer days deep in the back back
where at the bottom of the hill
a small pool formed.
no frogs or turtles ever populated
that little pond.

hills lush green with oaks, deep lobed
leaves and plenty of poison ivy
to keep us itching through August.

we stole pallets and nails and whatever
scrap we could carry from the builders
down the street,
dragging it all to the vacant lot
behind our yard, where we built palaces
and ships and tree fort perches,
where we could all escape with peanut butter
sandwiches and bottles of coke.

and the big kids all scoffed and laughed
at our efforts
but we knew there was no place
like home