He would build us kites

Feb morning sky

He would build us kites
from the newspapers funny pages-
dull colored newsprint,
a bit of wood and a roll of string,
the kite would soar into the wind
and we knew
he was magic.

***

He would let us hold the spool,
the string tied to the kite
already out of sight
in the odd half light
of a west Texas spring late afternoon.
I would feel the tug,
urgent and insistent,
as if I could be pulled from the earth
to rise
swiftly away.

I woke this morning
feeling that pull
that urgent, insistent pull,
from almost sixty years ago,
to rise,
into the spring light,
to rise
swiftly away.

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)

bar ditches

Feb morning sky

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 tale 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 preserve in my life’s mythology.

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 into Jerusalem.
Alleluia!
Alleluia!

(revised)

sing on

Fall Road

Snatches of lullabies from a distant long ago room
Strains of the old rugged cross from dusty hymnals
Or maybe loud mellencamp from a car radio
Thumping across dirt roads
I never know if its real
Or made up
The sound of tires on the singing asphalt
Or the growl of gravel
Humming harmonies rising in clouds of dust
They’re the songs of wandering angels
Sing on
Sing on
Sing on

Sixteen miles from the Arkansas line

Golden moonlight  Jan 2014

Sixteen miles from the Arkansas line,
Following the roads through hills and hollows
In the Missouri moonshine,
We are riding tonight on our dreams
And the sound of rivers rushing,
Wind rushing,
Thru the thick Ozark night.

The stars dance in their own constellations-
Brightwater and Big Sugar Creek
Spin with the Seven Sisters
And Orion as he makes his tracks
Across the thick starry Ozark night.

Mists rise from the deep hollows
Mixing with melody and woodsmoke
As the miles harmonize
Across spring creeks and ancient stone,
We sing of the thick Ozark night
Under the misty Missouri moonshine.

Sixteen miles more, we are flying low and fast.
Ridge running high and bright,
Down to deep hollows low and dark,
Chasing our dreams across the thick Ozark night
Under the rising Missouri moonshine.

a stone is made smooth

A stone is made smooth
with the least bit of pressure,
a constant and maybe thoughtless rubbing
between thumb and forefinger.
As tarnish from a piece of old silver,
maybe your grandmother’s knife made bright,
Or the wind’s insistence against snowcapped mountains
Or water-made canyons
Of deep hollows, fern filled and green,
Hiding the shy deer and red fox den.

I keep that pressure steady-
Rubbing the memories deep into my skin.
Tattooing the years tears on the lines of my face
Until I see your eyes
Look into mine
From the bathroom mirror
Rubbed clean.

the angel of small, forgotten things

Twelve Days of Angels Day One

I found that thing which had been lost.
Though to be honest,
I hadn’t realized it was lost.
In fact,
I had not thought of it in the least
for …
I have no idea how long.
But there it was-
in all its glory.
The thing that had been lost
or misplaced
or forgotten
was here.
In my hand.
It was now remembered.
A memory attached.
To always be that thing
that had been lost,
now found.