Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday, not yet two

I left parish ministry in 2007.  Now, six years later, I have finally landed in a different place.  Finally I worship  during Holy Week not thinking about how I might do things, but rather how the liturgies speak to where I  stand this year.  A different  place entirely.  Even with an office directly underneath the crossing in front of the sanctuary.

It is Easter Sunday
Not yet two.
We have celebrated,
Even shopped
For the week.
Our daughter Easters
South of Paris
This year.
I have let go
Of Holy Week.
Indeed it seems
I have let go
Of things being done
In particular ways:
All the special services
Tweaked and twirled,
Even danced to different music.
Today we stood
In the church,
Second pew from the back
Stage right,
Listened to the hum of children
Underneath the liturgy.
Easter Sunday
Not yet two.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

On this Holy Saturday

Yep.  We settled it.  Worms burrow.  As sure as Jesus harrows Hell today, He will rise tomorrow.  This has been a Holy Week like no other.

On this
The Holy Saturday
Before Jesus is slated
To rise,
The backyard is filled with animals.
Ducks scout out
Good nest areas.
Robins stake out
Worm possibilities
With their feet.
Breakfast conversation
Considers the proper verb
For earthworm movement.
What is it
Robins cock their heads
To hear
We settle on it:
Worms burrow.
On this
The Holy Saturday
Before Jesus is slated
To rise,
He is busy underground,
Busy somewhere,
They say.
He empties Hell,
They say,
Next to burrowing worms.
The robins listen from above.
We watch and listen from afar.
Jesus is slated to rise

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

This is not the first time my birthday has fallen during Holy Week or Easter.  It is the fate of all of us with late March or early April birthdays.  My office is at the church.  The nave is overhead.  Last night I heard the altar stripping from below, in the company of my client.  Tonight I have been told of the pouring out of wine after the Good Friday service, under the full moon.  This night will not be like other nights.

Today is Good Friday.
Today is my birthday.
Today is absolutely blue and gorgeous.
I slept in late.
Last night
After the Agape meal,
I met with a client
During the footwashing,
Altar stripping.
I missed the leaving in silence.
On the way out of the building
I waved to Jesus
In the Garden of Gethsemane
Set up in the chapel.
Tonight I am told
After the service
The women of the altar guild
Pour the remaining wine
On the ground
In the outside columbarium
Under the full moon.
I do not know
If the women dance,
Good Friday quiet of course.
I wonder if they dance.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Last night the moon rose perfect

Last night the moon rose perfect and the sky was crystal clear, cloudless.  The Triduum begins tonight, with the footwashing and Last Supper and stripping of the altar.   We will watch and wait in the Garden.  I was hoping for forsythia or forsythia buds.  But the perfect moon may have to suffice.

Last night
The moon rose perfect:
Full, round, bright.
If spring would only
Come with it.
Still no forsythia.
The rhubarb hints promise.
The birds gather,
Sing these final days in.
The duck lady now wears white
To her neighbor*s turquoise.
The ducks have convened
Last night the moon rose perfect.
It must be a sign
Of something.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I know someone who attended the funeral of a friend*s parent and was confronted with the presence of unconditional love.  So much love she had to leave the church early.  She has never gone back.  She will drive distances to sit with people behind bars for life,  but love set completely free?  No.  I hope to sit with her and face the love... head on.

They fled the tomb
When it was empty.
They knew
It was something so large
So incomprehensible
They had to run away
To safer places.
To upper rooms.
To Emmaus.
To Timbuktoo.
To the moon
Or beyond.
Safer places.
As if.
As if.
It is not Easter yet.
It comes.
It comes so soon.
It is here already.
He comes and nothing
Will ever be safe
Nothing really.
Sit with me.
We will face it together.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In or out or in-between

I attended a clergy quiet day today.  Somehow it fit me.  I am not in the group, nor am I out of it.  Of course, as always, some might disagree.  It is Holy Week and I am not preaching, exactly, except here.  My congregation is in the world, at DCC or in my office.  I am hopeful of the job possibility which I will find out about soon.  It seems as though I am kin to the duck lady across the way.  We spread corn or words or possibilities with the sunrise.  Both of us stand on the edges.

While I am no longer
Part of the in-crowd,
I am not exactly out
I continue to stand on the edges
Yet still
Connect to the whole.
My feet are firmly planted
Somewhere recognizable.
When I speak
My voice is heard as one
From a neighboring land.
I am the duck lady
Of the Diocese.
I spread corn
From my backyard
Across the way.
Some people know my name.
Most don*t anymore.
Still I stand
On the edges.
I throw out corn
Every morning.

Monday, March 25, 2013


I met a woman last week who had no vested interest in admiring me.  She did anyway.  And for the things of which I am most proud:  Care and compassion and priorities.  For my focus on peoples* strengths.  There was not a drop of skepticism about her.  Not a drop I tell you.  Not a drop.  Today I am once more reminded of the power in admiration.

There was admiration
In her eyes,
In her words.
None of the same ole
Same ole
Of course you figured out
How it could work
Nothing special there,
None of the same ole
Same ole
Nothing special there
Admiration: pure and simple.
Today I walk
With the knowledge
I have been seen.
Spring is in my step.
I met Admiration last week.
She is a quality
God inhabits.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Cue the nap

I remember Holy Weeks past... most always being the solo priest in charge of liturgies.  This is not my role now.  My beloved reminds me of the time we were dating and I fell sound asleep at Easter brunch in a restaurant.  I still have Sunday afternoon nap triggers, even when I sit in the pew and have nothing to do with liturgy except show up and worship.  Today we didn*t even gather outside to process with the donkey.  I did pet the donkey on the way back from brunch.  I*m not sure that counts.

Palm Sunday inspired
The traditional Sunday afternoon
Good liturgy including
A sermon with a map
Of Jerusalem?
Impromptu lunch
With friends?
Home to a hot cup of tea?
Silent house?
Favorite blue recliner clear
And ready for occupation?
Wind outside the windows
Signaling the weather change?

Cue the nap.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The perfect time to wait

I go into a different space during Holy Week.  This year I also wait for news of a job that would fit into my life in a way which would still allow me to honor the people and commitments I have made.  I sense this job is a part of the mosaic.  Oddly, if it does not come through, I am warmed by the possibility of such a job.  This week I have good company with Jesus.

Holy Week
Is the perfect time
To wait.
It couldn*t be
More perfect,
Ringed around
As it is
With Jesus:
The walk to certain death,
Then finally
Life again.
Always life again
No matter how deep
Death goes.
The perfect time
To wait.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Umbrella revisited

The wonders of wi-fi which allow a young woman to text from Latin class in Paris.  With an umbrella from Roselle in tow.  May the Force be with them.

Apparently the umbrella
Arrived in France.
It flew across the ocean.
Now it sits with an exhausted girl
In an hour and a half
Latin class,
Taught in French.
I hope it slept some
On the plane over.
I hope it opens
In the rain.

Covered in prayer

This happens sometimes.  I have a job interview today, one that seems to fit a piece of what I feel called to offer the world.  Facebook is for me a way to keep tabs on the ones I care about, so I can pray for them.  It is also a way I can ask for prayer.  This happens sometimes.  I awaken with a sense that God has it completely covered.

I awaken
Covered in prayer,
Flannel, quilted prayer.
The warm guy next to me,
The cup of coffee now held
Warm in my hands.
The birds
Have begun
To build nests of prayer
In my backyard.
The ducks waddle prayer
Across the way.
They make significant steps
Toward the corn spread
For them to eat.
For her part
The woman,
Today in blue,
Spreads prayer
Like so much corn
In her wake.
I watch,
Surrounded on all sides
By prayer,
An abundance
A simple abundance,
Like corn,
Spread for the ducks.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Umbrella update

You can send a sixteen-year-old to Paris, but you can not make her take an umbrella.

April in Paris
Is prone to wetness.
Our daughter will return home
April 1.
She may bring the umbrella
Or leave it in her locker.
It seems
Though we may bring an umbrella
To school,
Darned if
It will be brought
To Paris.
Paris in spring
Is most likely wet.
Rain softens the landscape.
The streets are bright
With umbrellas.
My daughter will offer
Different color
To the scenery.

Best parent award

I remember that it*s all about teamwork.  I also remember that everything is not a competition.  I seem to need regular reminders.  I am prone to forget.

Will I be the parent
Who wins
The best parent contest?
The thought crosses my mind
As I drive my daughter to school
Her luggage in the back.
She leaves for France
After school           
On a bus
To the airport.
Parents may follow the bus
To the airport
If they so choose.
Oh yes a friend needs to be picked up
On the way to school.
Standing in the driveway
The friend*s father promises
To drop an umbrella off
At 1:30
Before said friend
On the bus.
Did she bring an umbrella?
My beloved asks.
She will need an umbrella.
As I write this a text arrives
For allergy medication.
My beloved unearths
An umbrella
To accompany the antihistamine.
As a team
We may win
The best parent award.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Vernal equinox

I have not had good luck with season change.  Today may be a turning point.  I am hopeful that with awareness and the right medication comes the possibility of remaining upright and conscious.  Even as I watch my head, consider my breath, and elevate my feet.

Light and dark are equal
Spring may even eventually
The weather in my head
Has again
Proven problematic.
It seems I will continue
To watch my head
Consider my breath
Put my feet up
As the seasons turn.
Things could be
Lots worse.
The season has almost turned.
I sit comfortable in the chair.
I write this.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Crap shoot

My beloved bought a spring bouquet over the weekend with three iris.  The bouquet was mostly yellow, gerbera daisies and mums.  He loves yellow, didn*t notice the promise of iris.  I watched the purple begin to show on Sunday.  Today they are fully shown.  Glorious iris.  I know buds are always a crap shoot.  

We never quite know
What will come.
Buds closed tight
Are a crap shoot.
The daffodil
The iris
May decide the water
Is not good enough,
The atmosphere
Not pleasant.
We play music
Conducive to full blossom,
Wait with anticipation
Eyes open to see
The daffodil
The iris
Sprung full in the vase.
We wait
For spring

Monday, March 18, 2013

Prelude to the day

I drove my daughter to school early this morning.  Instead of crawling back into bed, I am sitting and contemplating the day.  It is a clinic day today.  I have a new client.  Much is planned.  I consider how I will fly today.

When much is planned
I dig up more unplanned time
To mulch around it.
I hold the early morning,
A cup of coffee
Warm in my hands.
Light snow
Now heavier
Signals more time
For travel.
I missed the sandhills return
This year
But the Canada geese,
The ones who left in autumn
Now return In perfect vees.
They show the ones left behind
What it means
To fly as God*s intent.
Not the ragged practice vees
They muster
All winter.
When much is planned
There must be
Unplanned time
To hold a warm cup of coffee,
Consider the day.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Love leaps forward

Usually if I keep talking, eventually love leaps forward.

I know
When the first words
Out of my mouth are
I shouldn*t have to…
My best self
Is not the one
Usually the word that follows
After all it*s not my fault
As fault goes
I shouldn*t have to…
Mostly waits
For someone else
To go first.
Even when
I shouldn*t have to…
Jumps out of my mouth
I know my best self
Is not the one
Then I hope and pray
For other words.
I know if I keep speaking
Love leaps forward.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hours not worth counting

Sometimes it comes home to me that something I thought was a good idea at the time... isn*t.  Amazing what it takes to bring it home.  This time it became clear halfway through.

Yesterday I went to hotline training.
I was not worried
About answering calls.
I was introduced
To a complicated
Phone system.
It is slated to become more complicated
Next month.
The paperwork is spread
From drawer to drawer.
The fluorescent lighting
Dimmed and flickered.
I heard about the most recent
Bedbug infestation.
I decided
These are not hours
Worth counting.
Halfway through I knew
These are not hours
Worth counting.

Friday, March 15, 2013

New Guy

Watch and wait and pray, my friends.  Change comes in dribs and drabs, bird by bird by bird.  Even in very large institutions, centuries in the building...

Lo and behold
The New Guy
Is not perfect.
He is the
New Guy
With Definite Possibilities.
Rome was not built
In a day.

Lo and behold
The New Guy
On the throne
Throws bread
To the birds.


Watching the ducks every morning has a way of anchoring me.  They remind me of things I need to pay attention to.  I am grateful when the trainer gives me a choice: squats or lunges?  Are you up to lunges today?  She asks.  Sometimes I am.  I have learned to assess myself.  Perhaps I should say I am still learning to assess myself.  There is always the temptation to say: Of course I am up to lunges.  Of course I am.  Sometimes, truth be told, I*m not.  I can always choose, however, to be purposeful.

The ducks waddle single-file
Up the hill,
Heads held high
Orange feet firmly planted
Every step of the way.
I will move like this today.
I don*t quite waddle
But I am getting older.
When I do lunges at the gym
Grace is not my descriptor.
I aim for
I am grateful
When the day does not call
For lunges.
When it does
I aim for

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I wait for forsythia

There are signs of spring: snow melt, robin return.  The mallard orange feet across the way are brighter.  I wonder if the females are attracted to brighter feet.  I wait for the first yellow spray of forsythia in the back bushes.  Soon.

I peruse the possibility of forsythia
In the back bushes,
Wait for that first trace of yellow.
The scarlet cardinal
Flits through.
The male ducks across the way
Are spring bright:
Heads more green,
Feet more orange.
I wait for forsythia
To show itself bright,
Yellow in the sun.
I will clip enough branches
To blossom
In the new red kitchen.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Over the count

It is Lent.  What are you counting these days?  And why?  

I have been carefully counting hours
For almost three years now.
Surely you must be done by now
They say
Aren*t you at least close?
They ask.
When I arrive
At the magic number,
Take and pass the exam
For the final letters
After my name
I know I will be no more successful
Than right now.
I will be eligible
To apply for jobs
I may not want anyway.

I had a client
His assignment was to say No
To two people.
He returned the next week having said No
Three times.
His smile went
From ear to ear.
He went over the count.
I felt like the cheerleader
I never was
In high school
Pom poms in the air.
Three times?  Really?
Now that really counts.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Handful of nuts

I am taking my fish oil every day.  I am figuring out the handful of nuts on occasion.  I can still rationalize with the best of them.

I watch my cholesterol. 
I will see where fish oil gets me
In four months.
The powers that be
Recommend a handful of nuts
On occasion.
I look at my hands,
Then at my watch.
I consider if my hands
Were bigger
Or smaller,
My watch faster or slower.
After all
What does occasional mean?
Occasionally the nuts
Call out to me
From the cupboard.
They don*t.
Sometimes my hands hold more
Than others.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Change comes hard

Yep.  The arrival of Daylight Savings Time.  A little more sun on this end of things would be helpful.  Very helpful.

Going to bed last night
Was easier than leaving
The bed this morning. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I never know who I will end up with... people or ducks.  Yesterday I attended a gathering divided into English speakers and Spanish speakers.  I did not want or need to hear what was being said in the English session.  I found the back way to the Spanish session, but alas, my high school Spanish wasn*t good enough for me to comprehend more than a few words.  Still there was comfort sitting in that place, even not speaking the language.  I am amazed at the mass of humanity.  I am amazed at the mallard ducks across the way.  Somehow we are all connected, whether we understand each other*s language or not.  There is comfort there.

I awake amazed
At the mass of humanity
And ducks.
In pews
On the lawn
Across the way.
I never know
Who will show up
In unfamiliar
Even in familiar
I never know who will mass
With me
In streets
In pews
At the dining table
Even on the lawn
Across the way.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Come Saturday morning

The old refrigerator is gone.  Yeah!  The room still echoes with the laughter of the refrigerator removal guys.  It feels like it should be noon.

We awakened obscenely early
For a Saturday morning.
The refrigerator removal guys
Arrived at 8 AM
Breezy and cheerful
They must have gotten up
At 4.
We struggled out of bed
At 6:15.
It is 9:30 now and it feels like noon.
It seems we are in training
For the hour we will lose
This evening.
We are always in training
For something.
The living room lies strangely empty
Without that extra refrigerator.
The walls echo
With the laughter
From the refrigerator removal guys.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Truth be told I am jealous of those who strive to collect people for their own gain, and are good at it. I have a difficult time selling my wares.  It has nothing to do with feeling I have little to offer.  No.  I have much to offer.  I have just never figured out how to be the first in line for corn across the way, like the ducks.  As I scorned the collector across the table at this week*s meeting, I watched the other man being collected, and was given a glimpse of the Kingdom, a real glimpse of the Kingdom.  The man simply shone with kindness and grace, not an ounce of postural privilege.  I saw Jesus.  I want to be like Jesus.

I watch the world
Jockeying for position
Aiming for the highest place.
Even the ducks across the way
To beat one another out
For corn.
The woman in Domestic Violence training
Collected me at lunch
When I was noticed
By the teacher.
I saw her collect others
As the weeks moved on.
Her wallet was filled
With business cards
By the end.
Across the table
At this week*s meeting
A collector I*ve known for years
Strove to collect the man
Next to him.
I looked on in admiration
For the man next to him
Was gracious and kind,
Kind and gracious,
Not an ounce of postural privilege.
I want to be like him:
Gracious and kind
Kind and gracious.
I want to be like him.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Emptying out my pockets today.  Considering what must be kept, what I can file away for the time being.  Still don*t know what needs to be trashed.

I like clothes
With enough pockets
For everything.
There must always be a place
To stuff the keys
The cell phone.
I avail myself
Of pockets of information,
Ways to use it,
File it,
Even determine
These are not my pockets
Right now
They are not deep enough
Not useful enough.
They do not add a thing
To the clothesline
Of letters
Which already follow
My name.
I collect information
In pockets.
Sometimes the pockets
Must be cleared
Lined up on the counter
The insides hung out
To dry.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Loaded for bear

No.  I don*t really want to talk about it.  Writing about it is enough.

The last couple weeks
I*ve been loaded for bear,
A quaint expression really.
It describes a state of being.
The bear has made his den
Behind the garage
Just out of sight.
Next to the bushes
Filled with snowy cotton bolls.
The robins have returned
Thinking it is spring.
They are cold and wet and,
Miserable in their robin-ness.
I wait for that one small slight:
The appearance of the bear
From his lair
Behind the garage.
This is hardly Minnesota
Of me
Doncha know
Barely Minnesota.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Personality Disorder, NOS

I am a mental health professional and a priest and a mother and a wife and.... well, a lot of things.  All of us are.  A lot of things.  I am a Person with a capital P.  So are you... and you... and you.  So is every person I sit with in my office, every person I sit next to on the train, every person I pass in the street, simply:  Every Person, Everywhere.  I am a Child of God, as is everyone I encounter, everyone I work with.  I question the helpfulness of Axis 2, most of the time.  Truth be told, we all could be charted on Axis 2, somewhere.  Not Otherwise Specified.

Most of the time
I question Axis 2.
Before learning the DSM structure
In grad school
I had different categories
For people
(Sure I had categories)
But mostly
They were still People
With a capital P.
Children of God.
They still are.
This is a rant.
I know.
Not very poetic
Or even
Most of the time I question
Axis 2.
Truth be told
We all have a number
On Axis 2.
We are all in the book.
These are behavior quirks
Which make us
Not like other people.
We are People
With a capital P,
Children of God.
N  ot
O  therwise
S  pecified.
Thank God.
Praise God.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Creative reasoning

I have competition.  I think I will have share the crown.

I have heard
Three inches
Six inches
Eight inches
May as well make it
A foot of snow
Expected to arrive
From midnight on.
Did not drive to the clinic today
Because snow is expected
It seems I share the crown
For creative reasoning.
It is good to know
I have company.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Real movement

 Moving slow, but still, moving.

I wait for real movement
It seems I move more easily
In the morning
Than the rest of the household.
I am still not one
For early conversation,
For filling my head with new things
Or old.
It is enough to shower
Brew the coffee
Pour the cereal
With the right amount of milk.
Oh yes
And write this
In quiet words
As I watch the ducks
Search for breakfast
Across the way,
As I wait for real movement

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Reasons I left the manual behind

Some accomplishments come with an aftermath.  My creative reasoning is still at work... on a caffeine high.

This was the last day
Of Domestic Violence training.
I left the big green manual
On the table
At the shelter.
I see it in my mind*s eye:
Big and green
Filled with notes.
On the table.
I was giddy
With final day accomplishment.
Perhaps it was the diet coke at lunch,
Maybe the massive
Double espresso
Chocolate chip cookie I consumed
As I listened
To what I should and shouldn*t do
As a volunteer,
Ethics guidelines
On a caffeine high
Following a Mexican lunch.
Dangerous combinations.
It is still Lent
I remain the mistress
Of creative reasoning.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The way of the panda

I*m glad I listen to NPR.  News from the BBC often reminds me of Monty Python.  Pandas all over the world are being observed this month.

Panda research finds the panda
Only interested in reproduction
Once a year.
Now is the time.
This timely report on panda reproduction
is delivered
In the Queen*s English.
It sounds rather like
A Monty Python sketch.
Underneath it all
I hear
Time to bury the cat.
The report offers the fact
Male pandas do handstands
In mating season
To wee on trees
As high up on the tree
As possible.
This fact and others
Are offered
In the finest British accent.
I am glad I am not a panda female
Rating acrobatic males,
Ranking who has nailed the tree
The highest.
Time to bury the cat
I hear
Time to bury the cat.