Thursday, May 31, 2012


Staff meeting a couple days ago included a discussion on whether the Church was pregnant or merely constipated.  Women may be more biologically attuned to know the difference.  I don*t think it was women who named this day The Feast of the Visitation.  I like to think we might have been a bit more creative.

It*s all in the words.
It*s all in how we seek
To name it.
There is power
In our words.
Today Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth.
Elizabeth*s baby
Leaps for joy
In her womb.
The Feast of the Visitation
Might be the Feast of Recognition.
It might be The Feast of Shared Holy Pregnancy:
Expectant women reach out,
Hold hands.
Their babies do leaps and backflips and somersaults,
A very early playdate,
A sign of things to come.
The Feast of Recognition?
The Feast of Expectant Women?
A mere visit?
I hardly think so.
There is power
In how we name things.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sofa cushions

I am surprised at how much we can find buried in the sofa.  One of my clients talked this week about losing her cell phone and finding it after much searching, along with two remotes, under the sofa cushions.  It*s amazing what can be buried and found under the sofa cushions.

Good things
Hide under the sofa cushions.
That is to say
You never know
What you may have lost there
Since you last looked.
Sometimes it*s something
You hadn*t even missed
There it is!
You know it is a puzzle piece,
A part of the sky
You*d lost track of,
A cloud perhaps,
Even a dark one with lightning,
Forking in jagged streaks.
There it is:
The piece of sky which connects
Two other pieces of sky.
It*s been so long
Since you worked on that puzzle
You didn*t even know the piece
Was missing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fan mail from some flounder?

It is often curious to me what arrives in my in-box, or in the blog stats, and from whom.  Just as there are people I feel called to pay attention to, it seems there are people who are called to pay attention to me.  It always comes as a surprise.

On occasion something appears
In my in-box
From someone whose name
I do not know.
I am reminded
Of Rocky and Bullwinkle:
Fan mail from some flounder?
While I believe
Beyond any doubt
There are people
I am called to notice
Out loud,
I regularly forget there are people
Who are called
To notice me.
It is always a surprise.
For some reason Rocket J. Squirrel
And Bullwinkle the Moose
Appear from my childhood,
The bottle with a message inside
Pops up
Onto the ocean surface.
One or the other,
Moose or Squirrel,
I forget which one,
(Maybe it*s the announcer)
Fan mail from some flounder?
I see the bottles bob
On the ocean waves,
Waiting to be read.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Purple heart (for Dad)

I drove by the local cemetery this morning.  It was filled with uniforms, both military and boy scout.  There I saw flag upon flag, many women with hats.  Dad died fifteen years ago at the same age that his father died (73).  Grandpa served in WWI, Dad in WWII.  Neither ever said much about their experiences.  Perhaps we didn*t ask enough.  Perhaps I was too young to even comprehend.

He always said his purple heart
Was for
Falling off a truck
In Europe.
Every month the disability check came,
A teeny tiny amount
For an injury
I never saw.
I remember we never made it
To World War II
In American History.
Instead we had endless lessons
On the Industrial Revolution.
Then the end of the school year came.
We almost entirely
Skipped the 20th Century.
Here it is the 21st.

All grown up
I learned the purple heart
Was not just awarded
When he fell off a truck
In Europe.
The truck was bombed.
It blew up.
He was the only one who survived.
My father always had a gift
For understatement.
My father always was a gift
In understated ways.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pentecost surprise

This major day in the church year falls on Memorial Day weekend this year.  The gathering at 9:15 in church this morning was small.  I*m sure 10:30 was bigger, with four baptisms scheduled.  As a priest in so many parishes, I remember the ways we used to make the day stand out...people encouraged to wear red, the famous dove on the end of a long flexible pole leading the procession, red streamers, red and orange helium balloons, reading the Gospel in many languages, sometimes even a birthday cake for the Church.  

Was it all so surprising
When Pentecost fell?
They were told
Not to watch the place
Jesus ascended.
There was nothing particularly notable
About the soles of his feet.
Like Elisha
Who saw Elijah carried off,
The disciples saw Jesus leave
Yet again.
Was it all so surprising to them
When Pentecost fell?
Told to wait
In Jerusalem,
They trudged across the Kedron Valley
And waited.
They prayed
And waited.
Pentecost rained down.
Is it so surprising when Pentecost
Falls again
And again
And again?
Every Sunday Christ is born
And dies,
And rises again.
Every Sunday the Spirit falls
Again and again
And again.
Still every day,
We are surprised.
Like the disciples.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dining table

I find a saving grace in the dining table.

There is something about a dining table,
Even with paper plates,
Walk-about party food.
When you sit down,
There you are.
There is a place to put your drink,
Your plate and fork.
There you are,
A table between you
And the person
Who sits across.
There you are.
It is not too easy to get up,
Move on to the next person,
Balance the plate and fork and drink
For the sake of small or smaller
The table calls you
To stay,
To hear it out,
To figure there is more
To this person,
So you stay and talk,
Sit and eat.
You listen;
Maybe even expand
On why you sat down at this dining table
With party food
In the first place.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Undeclared anchovies

Being the mother of a vegetarian, I read a lot of labels.  I remember when I discovered that good ole Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce contained anchovies.  Whoa.  Today an organic farmer sent me a link to the current FDA recall list.  Imagine my surprise to discover a product recalled for undeclared anchovies.  Thank goodness they found them.

Today I perused the FDA recall list.
I found a product under strict recall:
Not for e. coli;
Not for listeria;
Not for salmonella;
Not even
For hidden peanuts or tree nuts.
This sauce was recalled
For undeclared anchovies.
Is there an anchovy test?
I remember when we found out
Our favorite sauce
Contained anchovies.
It meant that one of the few truly vegetarian dishes
I knew how to prepare
Was in trouble.
I thought for a brief time
To keep the anchovies
A secret,
But the secret came out
At Grandma*s table
In Florida.
No need for the FDA or secret tests,
It was right there on the bottle, fully disclosed.
On return home
I scoured the aisles
Of Whole Foods
For an alternative.
There will be no undeclared anchovies
None I tell you.

New carpet

We all sat in the family room last night, having cleared it of all the tchotchkes and movable furniture.  It was beautifully spare.  We all noticed this.  The rug that will be replaced today even looked significantly better last night.

The family room lives in the living room
For today.
New carpet will soon arrive through the door.
We contemplate slipcovers.
The TV proved too heavy
For the two of us
So two others from The Salvation Army,
Two men in recovery,
Hauled it away.
There is a flat screen
On a tilt panel
On the wall.
Today comes new carpet.
It is a lovely spare space
With all its extras
In the living room.
We will see
What we will return
We will see
What perhaps
We will give away.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bank encounter

It*s been a long time since I did something like this.  Still, I met a lovely gentle man and we exchanged phone numbers.  This is the right and good thing when one backs into someone else, even if there is little damage.  On the way out of the lot, a younger man in a convertible called out to me that I was lucky I did not back into him.  Indeed I was.  Yes, indeed I was.

I met a lovely gentle man today.
Age 92.
I backed into his car
At the bank.
We exchanged names and numbers.
He told me his car
Had many dings and dents,
One more did not matter.
When he wakes up in the morning
He smiles at himself and says
Ah another morning.
He says
This is just a car.
Is just a car.
Both our cars bear the marks
Of the collision.
I see his face
When I close my eyes.

For Lee Mitchell, R.I.P May 23, 2012

Lee was my liturgics professor at Seabury in the early 80*s.  Even though I am doing little in formal liturgy these days, he taught me to see everything with liturgical eyes.  A blessing and gift.  May Lee rest in peace and rise in glory.

You taught us the Eucharist,
Not just bread and wine on the table,
But olives and cheese
As well.
In my toughest assignment,
The one in which I regularly questioned
God*s presence,
One Sunday morning
You suddenly appeared
At early Eucharist,
Sat in the pew
Among the handful of people.
I wondered if my sermon
Made sense,
Stammered through the traditional words
Of the Eucharistic Prayer.
You came forward with open hands.
I did not question
The presence of God
That morning.

Watch the metaphor

This reflection began (of course) with the first line.  I thought I knew where it was going.  I didn*t.  It seemed to want to be something else.  Who knew?

Metaphors go only so far
Before their limits are reached.
There is hope they may take us further
Than simple explanation,
Plain vanilla words,
No pictures involved.
I prefer the kind
With dark vanilla bean specks,
Rich flavor,
The kind which allows my mind
To wander through the categories,
Re-sort  items
Into new Fiestaware dishes,
All different colors,
Apply the perfect hot fudge topping,
Whipped cream,
A sprinkle of chopped nuts (assorted),
And a definitive
Maraschino cherry
On top.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It didn*t break

Another thing that will not win me parenting awards... but I did connect with the five-year-old....

Of course so many bad things
Might happen.
Still, all too often I want to say
Don*t you see how utterly astonishing
This is?
Don*t you see?
Don*t you see?
Today the small child in the store
Pulled over a glass vase
Twice as tall
As he was.
I heard it fall.
It didn*t break.
His mother quickly
Set it upright,
Sat the boy in the shopping cart.
His older brother and I looked at the vase.
It didn*t break
I said
Look at that!  It didn*t break!
Three more times
I ran into the family.
Each time the older brother
Said to me:
It didn*t break.
Each time I said:
Isn*t that amazing?
He nodded
Each time his mother
Wheeled his brother away
Safe in the shopping cart.

I know I will not get the gold seal
Of mother approval
For this one.
I can picture the older brother
At the dinner table,
Tucked in bed tonight,
It didn*t break.

Elephant ears

There are at least two ways to go with gardens...bigger or smaller.  I*m thinking bigger.

The rhubarb is a patch
Of elephant ears,
African elephant ears,
At one end of
What used to be
The garden bed
Until the boards rotted away.
Now it slides to lawn.
The ears flap
I can hear the elephants
Trumpet a call
For containment.
The boards come twelve feet long
At Home Depot.
I think a garden six by twelve
Might work to contain
The elephant ears,
The elderberry and more.
It might give all of us room
To play.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Sometimes the things we do instead of the usual things are good.  Sometimes both things are good.  Taking a break from fitness center exercise this week may be a good thing for me... unless, of course, it*s not.  :)

The fitness center
Is closed this week.
They are refinishing
All the floors.
Of course I could go elsewhere
To exercise.
Instead I mark the time
Watch the purple clematis
As it begins its bloom
In front.
The purple has wound its way
Up the post,
Around the chain.
It holds
The welcome butterfly.
Yesterday I worked with a client
She cannot get off the dime
To exercise.
Her goal this week
Is to find someone who will take one walk
With her.
Not a bad goal.
Not a bad goal at all.
She will report to me
Next Wednesday.

There is no box for the Happy Dance

I am a strengths-based therapist, priest, spiritual director, you-name-it.  I would like to translate the forms, if I need to fill them out, into strengths-based forms.  OK, I did see two lines at the bottom of the assessment form which asked for strengths.  Maybe they are referred to at the end of things.  I don*t see a particular spot in the progress notes.

As a volunteer I am required
To fill out mountains of paper
On each and every client.
There are boxes upon boxes to check.
They say:
There is no change
Things are worse.
They say:
You are suicidal,
Or not.
Pick the goal and objective
You worked on.
If not:
Fake it.
There is no box to mark
The Happy Dance.
We don*t count that.
I suppose too regular dancing
Would require dismissal,
The filling out
Of the satisfaction survey,
Placed by the client
In an envelope,
Then signed over the flap
By the client and therapist
For privacy.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blue flag iris

I am used to working in older buildings.  After all, I have served as a priest in oh so many settings, buildings that are in their second or third or fourth incarnations.  It is probably fitting that a piece of what I do now is volunteer in a clinic which used to be an old motel.  I just noticed the iris in back on my way in this morning.  It continues to amaze me what flourishes even in fluorescent light.

We sit and talk
Under bare fluorescent light.
I want to take each person
For a walk
In the sun,
Stroll by the blue flag iris
I noticed this morning,
It grows In the back lot
Of what used to be
The old motel,
A clinic.

We sit and talk.
I am amazed at what grows
Under even fluorescent light.
This week
I hear friends
After much hurt and loss,
Growing back together
Slowly, slowly, slowly.
I watch the woman
Who got the ultimatum
Last week,
Grab on for dear life
After breathing,
Hear her life
Held dear.

I want to take each person
For a walk down the garden path,
The one that ends on blacktop,
Stop at the blue flag iris
Behind the old motel
The one that is now
A clinic.

I will sit in a different chair

Sometimes it is possible to get stuck in particular roles.   Sometimes maybe trying something as simple as sitting in a different chair may switch things up enough for a change to occur.

I will sit
In a different chair.
I will see
I am different there.

Will different words arise,
Different lines comprise
Our ordered speech?

I will sit
In a different chair,
See what comes
With a different view
Of me
Of you.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I abide

Michael*s tattoo is finally underway.  The reminder on his wrist, the vines up his arm, they will be there whenever he looks.  He will not have to be reminded to hang on for dear life, he will know life forever grafted to the Vine.  He abides.  You go, Michael.

It is now tattooed
On the inside of his wrist
In Greek:
The vines are underway.
They wind up his left arm.
The vines are a work
In progress,
The way all vines are.
He has meditated
His way
He is a meditation
In progress,
The way
All of us

Water lilies

It is amazing to me how particular images carry such power.  This is part of my childhood memory.  I can picture the speed boat and the water lilies, the vast expanse of Big Trout when we made it through the channel, even the red cooler with ice which held the small bottles of Coca-Cola, a drink we were only allowed to have Up North at the Cabin on the Lake.  There was beauty in the channel, something I am trying to remember now.

We spent part of every summer
On a chain of lakes,
Paddled the speed boat
Through the water lilies
In the channels
Between the lakes.
Sometimes we even walked the boat
So the motor
Wouldn*t get clogged.
Once through the channel
We hit full throttle
Through deeper water,
Found the white sand beach,
Ate white bread sandwiches,
Drank cold Coca-Cola
From small green bottles.
Going home
We reversed the process.

I do not spend summers now
On a chain of lakes.
I still see the channels blocked
With water lilies:
Yellow pond lilies,
White full blossom kind,
Lily pads.
Fish still swim
I still cannot power through them.
Today I walk the boat
Through the lilies,
The lily pads.
Today I would like to come out the other side
Hit deeper water
Make the boat run its paces
Full throttle.
Today I would like to eat white bread sandwiches
Drink ice-cold Coca Cola
In the warm sun.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Apocrypha dream

Apocrypha means hidden things.  The official Apocrypha in my NRSV is stuck between the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament.  Last night I dreamed there were hidden stories in the New Testament that everyone else had read, and somehow I had missed them.  This is akin to all those dreams preachers have of standing in the pulpit having forgotten to prepare a sermon, or the student dreams of forgetting to study for an exam.  In my dream I faked it.  Somehow I wasn*t worried, just curious.  Curious enough to look up the name once I awakened.

Last night I dreamed
I went to a Bible study.
There were questions
About a story contained in a book
I had never heard of,
Much less read.
It seems there were other books
Buried in the New Testament.
Everyone else
Had read them.
I could only nod
And pretend.
It was so real
I looked up the name of the book
When I awoke.
Turns out it is on the list of family names
Of those who died
In the Shoah.
Is there an Apocrypha buried
In the New Testament?
Stories and stories and stories
More than we might ever know?
Could we ever bring them up
In Bible study?
Last night I also dreamed I sold scarves
In a booth
On the furthest edge of a fair,
Next to my favorite falafel shop.
I had one customer.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Soft hands

At the clergy gathering I attended on Wednesday, a colleague shared about teaching her small daughter not to hit.  Soft hands, she said.  We are teaching her to use soft hands.  Here*s to you, Amy and Allison, and to your daughter.  Soft hands are a Very Good Thing.

My colleague speaks of teaching
Her child not to hit others.
Soft hands,
She says,
We are teaching her to use
Soft hands.
I am struck in turn
By the image
Of soft hands,
Hands that stroke and caress
Hands that love.
We are teaching her to use
Soft hands,
And if she is not ready
For soft hands,
She can hold her own hands
I imagine a world of soft hands
If we*re not quite ready yet,
A world of holding our own hands
Until we are ready to use
Soft hands.

Role shift

I am getting better with the shift key, praise God.  Sometimes it doesn*t take more than a pinkie finger.

I have been stuck in the middle
Of a role shift.
Again I practice sitting long enough
To figure where the shift key
Yesterday I watched the twisted gnarled tree
Out my office window,
Heard all about the butterfly garden
Planted on the corner
Of the church lot
Where the dead trees
Was removed this year.
I imagine the garden.
It is enough to clear my head.
I was stuck until I realized
My role
Has been in major flux.
Now there are different decisions
To make.
Some only require the pinkie
On either hand
To find the shift key,
Make the capital at the new beginning
Of the line,
Or even a Capital in the middle,
If required.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I don*t expect to live here forever

The last two weeks have been flow-y.  It*s hard to describe.  When something gets cancelled, it somehow is clear what I need to do in its place.  When I am to make a presentation or speak or meet with someone, the words are there.  Often it*s clear that I am not to speak, but instead listen.  I don*t expect to live here forever.  But for now, it*s enough.

I don*t expect to live here forever.
For now
It*s enough.
For the last two weeks
One day has flowed
Into the next
Into the next.
I don*t expect to live here forever.
It*s enough
For now.
Today I have done everything
I need to do
Until the next thing comes.
I don*t expect to live here forever.
I have watched the weeks
Subtract and add,
Divide and multiply.
I know this is
No simple arithmetic
Though I think I knew this
Early on.
I don*t expect to live here forever.
I wouldn*t mind
If I did.
For now
It*s enough.


The columbine bloomed early this year and has already gone to seed.  My husband and I have wondered whether we missed the hummingbirds because of the warmer spring.  He thinks they are primarily light-dependent for migration, so we are still waiting for them to come through, maybe hang out a bit.  I still wonder whether I missed them.

I must have been thinking
Of hummingbirds
Before I went to sleep.
Last night I saw a hummingbird
In the desert.
It drank from a flower
In the shadow of a rock ledge.
When I tried to show you,
It was gone.
Hummingbirds are not
The lingering sort,
Even in dreams.
You will have to believe me:
I saw it.
In the desert;
In my dream;
It counts.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


She is sixteen on the sixteenth.  Her golden birthday.  Her father and I now snooze downstairs.  We wait for her to get up for school.  None of us are really morning people.   I am watching the balloons.  I think single digit birthday balloons are a lot clearer, or perhaps double digit same number ones...

or sixty-one?
The gold mylar balloons out front
Can*t make up their numbered minds.
They are tethered
To the only sign we could find
In the party store
That made sense:
It*s a Girl!
That*s a certainty.
If only the gold balloons
Would make up
Their numbered minds
In the morning breeze.
I imagine they will switch back and forth
All day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Funny how I get used to adapting to things and the adaptation feels normal.  Now that my shoulders are back in place, I am trying to pay attention to the newer normal.

I almost cancelled this afternoon.
Everything seemed
In good working order.
I did not realize
My shoulders were up
Around my ears.
After all
It feels normal that way.
Now I sit with my shoulders
I try to notice the difference
So I will know
For next time.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Despicable aunt

Sometimes there is absolutely nothing we can do to change someone*s perception of us...even when all seems right and good and well.  I am disappointed, of course, but amazed that he knew he was seeing me with a despicable aunt overlay, and further amazed that he told me so.

I am disappointed
But it seems,
Despite a good and productive meeting,
With next steps uncovered, even shining,
I remind him of a despised aunt.
We will most likely not meet again.
I have no way to know
What exactly it is
About me.
It may be
An eyebrow,
A laugh,
A particular turn of phrase,
Even an overall Gestalt.
I am disappointed
There it is.
Despite that gem of a meeting,
We will most likely not meet again.
I wish I could meet
The aunt.

More on the water tower

There is always something to watch, here in the western suburbs of Chicago.  This spring the re-painting of the Roselle water tower is part of the show.  

The water tower continues
To offer its slow strip tease
in the center of town.
We live nearby
so we see it
Up close and personal.
Sometimes it seems we must simply
Avert our eyes.
In the morning
The sun shines through
The plastic negligee.
It outlines the bare, stick-straight body
We never know exactly how we will find her
During the day.
The stages of undress are
Maybe it depends on the availability of workers,
Maybe the kind of paint.
Perhaps the weather determines
The dress
Just like I have to figure before I leave the house
Every morning.
Rain or no rain.
Warm, warmer
Perhaps windy.
I can never tell
In advance.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sweet William

Spring lore in these parts says that plants are safe from frost if planted after Mother*s Day.  No one told the Sweet William.

It is Mother*s Day,
Finally safe to plant flowering things.
The Sweet William overwintered here.
It is already in fuller blossom
Than it achieved last year.
My husband wanted to know
When I had time to plant.
I didn*t.
The pots are full of Sweet William.
I don*t remember such a range
Of color
Last year.
I must have bought the variety pack,
Or perhaps they thought to try on
Different colors
This year.
No one told the Sweet William
It wasn*t safe yet,
So they flowered anyway.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Book, continued

As I read this book, it reminds me of things I already know.  There is healing and health to be found.  I pursue it for myself, for my parishioners, for my clients.  I prepare a discussion for adult education tomorrow on how God comes to each of us in our own particular way.  Of course it will not be like other adult forums at church, because it will involve all of us present.  It is completely unpredictable: who will be there, what will be said, even what part of my notes will be presented.  I am glad for this.  And a little scared.  Still... there is a theme.

Now that it has leaped
Off the shelf,
I know the people.
She tells their stories,
And hers,
And mine.
They all walk through my dreams,
Sit in my office,
Invite me for coffee
With cream.
I read snippets to my husband.
I sense a theme,
He says.
Of course he does.
There is a theme:
Healing and health underlies
When we lay our expectations
In the sun,
When we find what is actually present,
When we locate that perfect archetypal rose
At the core of our being,
We find health.
Sometimes it takes years.
We have to look.
I sense a theme.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Sometimes we all get stuck in our own particular understanding of things.  I know I do.  This is why it may take several different iterations on the part of the one who is hurt to reach a common understanding.  I know this is the way of it.  I still wish it were different.  And I still rejoice when common understanding is the result.

I remember the wrong done to me
from years ago
Like it was yesterday.
I thought what he had done
Was so obviously wrong,
I pitched rocks in the back yard.
He did not see (of course).

I called him.
He did not understand.

I wrote letters and emails.
He did not understand.

Finally I made an appointment.
I told him this was so important
It needed an hour, face to face.
I told him I would sit there,
Explain, perhaps weep,
Until he understood.
He got it.

Somehow I knew I had it in me
To do this.
I knew he had it in him
To understand.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Book

What makes us read a book we have meant to read for years?  I guess things line up the way they*re meant to.  I am curled up in my blue chair, having just read and been blown away by the introduction.  I*m almost afraid to read the book.

A book I have meant to read
For years now,
Launched into position
A special tenth anniversary edition.
Things line up
As they are meant to.
I was never a
Close your eyes,
Open the Bible, and find
What God says
To You
Perhaps I was afraid
Of the begats,
Maybe obtuse bits,
Or even
Jesus wept.
But yesterday that book
It was not the Bible.
It has been on the shelf
For years.
Words written in the introduction
Over six years ago
Are for me to read
To mark
To learn
To inwardly digest.
They are words
To claim.
I swear
It leapt off the shelf.

Don*t we all?

I have begun my work with the free clinic (for free, of course).  This will also be an exercise in more than counseling.  Way more than counseling.

Of course she has self-esteem issues:
Don*t we all?
She also did a different homework assignment
Than the one I assigned her.
She did her own version of the one
I had done for her.
We did double-duty,
She and me.
She is feisty,
This one.
She will do as she pleases.
Don*t we all?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I have made the office spare

The week has been overly full.  Sometimes I sit in my office, my blissfully spare office, and simply breathe.  I aim to make it a breathing place for my clients as well.  

I have made the office spare:
Walls of warm beige,
Decoration minimal,
Striped rug for color
On the floor.
There is room here
For many stories
To come and go,
Re-captured week by week.
Here hope might be reclaimed
Like so many lost coins
Under the sofa cushions,
From the plaid chair
Or more directly
From Above.
I wish I could meet everyone here
But I am not in charge
Of every space I occupy.
I am barely in charge
Of this one.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My wild things (for Maurice, may he rest in peace)

R.I.P. Maurice Sendak.

My wild things no longer inhabit
An island available only
By boat
At night.
Now they gather for milk and cookies.
Now they share meals in the warmth
Of the house.
My wild things
Play card games and board games
And Scrabble and completely
Made-up games,
When they are not eating,
in air-conditioned coolth
At the sun-bared height
Of summer.
My wild things skip and slide
down the hall,
Leave their shoes in piles,
Or forget and track in mud
On the white tile floor
After the rain.
My wild things
Make life
More interesting.
They are not available only at night
By boat.

Almost audible

Today is Julian*s day.  It seems fitting it would be a morning for quiet.  

This is a morning for quiet;
For the still small voice
To sound almost audible,
In the background sounds of bird
And train,
The movement of the hands
On the clock,
The vines
Growing on the front columns:
Almost audible.
This is the morning for quiet,
For the still small voice.
This is a morning for quiet,
The still small voice,
Almost audible,
Not production
Of new thoughts
Or language,
Not concern for the place
I occupy
In the world.
Not anything
But stillness
Knowledge there is always the voice
Almost audible.

Monday, May 7, 2012


I just saw the picture of the underwater sculpture off the coast of Grenada, West Indies, in Honor of the African Ancestors at the Bottom of the Atlantic.  Stunning.  So much is woven into our world, and we are such a tiny piece of it all.

We are all woven
Into the fabric.
It dresses the world
In tapestry
In damask,
Sky caught in our hair
Earth squished between our toes
Oceans and rivers
Pumped through our veins.
We notice from one tiny dot
At the edge of the universe
From behind,
So many knots and weaves,
A splendid blend of knots and weaves
Sky hair
Earth toes
Oceans and rivers and minnows
Swim in our veins.
Hints of the picture
God sees
A millionth billionth
Of the hint of the picture
God sees.


Yesterday we unwound a ball of yarn and passed it around as the sermon.  We talked about messy vines (indeed it got tangled up), and each person held it differently.  At the end we didn*t have a plan for getting it all back together.  As the Table was being prepared for Communion, one woman began winding it all back up again.  We waited until she was done, and then we continued.  I never would have planned it that way.  Today I am re-winding, so I can continue with the next thing.

Today the clients arrive back to back.
This morning early I gather myself back together,
Like the woman who re-wound the ball of yarn
Before Communion yesterday
She walked among the women
Carefully wound it back to wholeness,
Placed it on the altar
With the bread and wine
In full sight of the gathered women.
I never could have planned
Such a metaphor.
This morning I pull it all
Back together.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Vine sermon

The sermon this morning requires unrolling a ball of yarn and everyone grabbing on.  I am glad for this opportunity to preach, and to remember Jesus in this way.

This morning in church
We will pass around a ball of yarn
Until we are all connected
On the string.
More yarn will still remain.
This is the way it is with Jesus.
There is always more possibility left
After everyone takes her part.
Women have knit and crocheted their way
Through the weekend.
Yarn is a fitting way
For such as us
To remember the Vine this morning.
Yarn is a fitting way
To remember
We are all connected.