oh! how full of love
is the world-
our minds sometimes won’t let it just be
quiet and rested
in that knowledge.
But oh yes! that love-
even in the disquiet of our times
even in the anger and hate
and disloyalty, even
in the sadness and grief-
that that Love is there.
and if you can be very still
for just a moment
you can sense it
and hold it in your trembling hands.
hold it, even tear soaked and weak,
hold it there in
your trembling hands.
I don’t believe in ghosts
though sometimes I wish I did-
to see her face and maybe sit for a while together.
Yes, I would be willing to believe
just to hold her hand again
and laugh through my tears.
Grief leaves stains-
a little like sweet tea
on an old linen cloth-
its hardly noticeable.
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.
I answer the phone and
their memories spill out of the ether.
Its not enough to grieve but to remember together
what she was like or
what he said or
how forgiveness is as hard as the long dark night.
It has all changed us at a molecular level,
all those things we did,
How did we know to place our hands to that work,
how did we summon the courage to lift
and carry that burden-
the weight was great but not unwelcomed.
We rose each morning and put our hearts to the test-
until, weeping with the stars,
we lay just for a moment before we were called
again and again and again.
Love sustains and
Will exceeds what we know
and that which we cannot comprehend.
Those things that we were called to do
changed our DNA
until suffering is no longer feared
and death seems somehow diminished
in the light of an autumn afternoon.
the symbol of grace
an empty bowl
a broken heart
wretched and worn
I fall praying only
and the reconciliation
of autumn rain
deep throated thunder
distant as grief
present as oncoming gray
I reconcile my fear and anger
with oncoming winter
and my fall from grace
From across the dark water,
The sound of music-
Oh, to live on sugar mountain
Above, in the starry black sky,
The crescent moon descends,
Her cheshire cat smile disappearing
Behind the western ridge.
With the barkers and the colored balloons
Small drakes with their drab little hens bob
Together on the dark deep water
As the moon’s reflection ripples past.
I grab the night’s music and
the sky’s sinking moon
Stuffing them deep into my chest,
You can’t be twenty on sugar mountain
Hoping to fill the empty space you left there
With the sound of music
And the light of the pale waning moon.
Though you’re thinking that
you’re leaving there too soon,
You’re leaving there too soon.
*** the lines in italics are lyrics from Neil Young’s song Sugar Mountain, one of my favorite artists and songs.
How is it that the kinship of words and emotions leads us
to birdsong and moonlight.
If I write
what do you hear?
If you read the words
‘The cold light of the moon shone on her skin’
Is it not the same moon?
I heard you were once a small child in a garden filled with flowers.
Were you there
Or only words in a verse?
The sadness overwhelms me and I long to drift away.
But is that poetry
Or just wishful thinking?
The abstraction of poetry only reveals itself in the emotional response of the reader.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
And the dawn refuses to break
As my heart has broken
And that is not abstract