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

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

20180902_110906 (2)

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

Our Lady

hyacinths 2 2014

The scent rises from the damp cool earth,
sweet as my grandmothers perfume.

That smell that still permeates the drawer
of the old vanity
with its foxed mirror.
When I open it,
she appears,
Our Lady of the Hyacinths,
in her pale lilac cloak suffused with perfume
and held high by fat cheeked cherubs,
like the little chalkware angels
that perched on her vanity top
with chipped wings
and bashful eyes.

I gently hold the heady blossoms
as I rake away the last of autumn’s leaves.
Sweetness lingers in my hands,
hands that are shaped like my grandmothers,
square palms with short fingers,
blessed by Our Lady of the Hyacinths.

a thousand moons

Golden moonlight  Jan 2014

reflections of a thousand moons

in the eye of the lake
the window of old snow
the mirror of the wind
the spoon of the cloud

in a bucket
a bird bath
a puddle
a polished sliver of petrified wood

on a crystal
a prism
a crackerjack ring
a brass button from an old coat

within a raindrop
a dewdrop
a clear blue sky

the glass of the frame
where your photo smiles
the door where once you stood
the life you lived
for a thousand moons

delight

with breathless wonder
December is welcomed-
this year with open arms

decorations, long stored away,
reappear under delicate tissue and tinsel,
pristine in their nostalgia

recipes, dusty with ancient flour
and memories, awaken senses
from long ago kitchens

wrapping, ribbon, old bows,
adorn newly polished relics
damasked and sewn

chalk figures purchased with pennies
gaze in adoration at the Baby
in the creased cardboard stable

this is the year of my delight-
Christmas is mine again

Second week of Advent

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.