Friday, May 30, 2014

Non-slip socks

 Home again, home again.  Jiggety jig.  We all have things that are our own particular challenges.  It is tempting to want to trade mine for someone else's.  Now I know, however, that I have a seizure cat.  I knew about dogs, but it never occurred to me that the large gray furry cat had it in him.  I am grateful for him and grateful I am home again.

I knew yesterday
Was not good for going anywhere
So I ended up in Emergency
With the nurse my daughter had
Months ago
And hated.
On the neurology unit
 They gave me
Non-slip socks
Safety first they said
Saftety first.
I am home now with the cat
He is glad for my return.
He could market himself
As a seizure pet
Waiting for the next shoe or sock
To drop.
He could market himself
That way
Unless he goes sound asleep in the sun
Like now.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Uncaged (for Maya)(and for me)

For Maya Angelou.  May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

Against the odds
You made them into
Then rewrote
The rules again
Then rose
And rose again
Always singing
And now,
Whatever cage held you
(we all have cages)
Whatever cages held you
Those cage doors
Have been flung open
And you
You are completely free
To sing
To fly
To rise and rise again.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Therapist dream

It's amazing who shows up in dreams.  What's perhaps even more amazing is how the anti-depressant works, even when three unscheduled clients show up at once, and the Bishop walks through.

Last night
Three clients appeared
At once.
Oh, my bad
I said
Even though I had only one client
In my appointment book
And that one
Was none of the three
Who showed.
My bad
I said
Even though
I never use that expression.
Let’s reschedule
I said
With all three grouped
In my office
But not the one I knew
Might arrive
Any minute.
Then the Bishop arrived
To make himself a cup of coffee.
I could tell
He wanted me to introduce him
To the three assembled.
I didn’t.
There are,
After all,
Rules of confidentiality.

Monday, May 26, 2014


My beloved and I are hanging out in the Dells in order to be available, just in case.  We drove around the area last night and discovered a lot of land for sale, beautiful land for sale.  We also discovered that we are staying relatively close to the International Crane Foundation, a place we will revisit this trip.  Maybe Baraboo will even have a fruit plate for me to eat.

We are in the Dells
For Memorial Day
Amidst the winding overgrowth
Of accommodations
Carnival food
Even an outlet mall.
We are In the Dells
We scan the maps
For things to do
Until tomorrow morning.
I seek a fruit plate.
Three hundred acres,
A mile of river front
Is available for sale
Just outside town.
We will visit the cranes
This afternoon.
We are in the Dells
Just in case.
We are surrounded
By carnival food
And waterparks.
I seek a fruit plate.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


This got me thinking.  We are all recovering from something, or some things.

He described himself
As a Recovering Quaker,
An amazing thing,
It seems to me,
From which
To recover.
I guess it depends
On perspective.
I guess anything
Can be named
Even the Spirit.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Upfront and personal

Today is a splendid day, sunny and the exact perfect temperature.  I awaken knowing the job I interviewed for yesterday is not for me.  The temptation is to wait until either I have to turn them down, or they turn me down.  Upfront and personal, I am a chickadee, plain and simple.  Today I write the letter.

I rejoice in this day.
The chickadees pretend
To be phoebes
In distant trees.
When they show
Up front and personal
Their act dissolves
Back Into reality.
I rejoice in this day.
This is the day
Of my daughter’s prom.
She does not pretend to be
Anything different
Than herself.
I wish I had learned this
I rejoice in this day.
At fifty-nine
I am who I am
Upfront and personal.
I rejoice.

Friday, May 23, 2014

True North

Job interview this afternoon for a position which means I do not have to translate or offer apologetics for being a priest, first and foremost.  I am looking forward to the interview to find out if it is a possible match to who I am and what I have to offer.

Sometime in the last month
Maybe two
I reoriented
Like a compass
Pointed west northwest
Back to more true
This feels
More right
More true.
I am excited to see
What true north

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Longer beginning

Some days require a longer beginning.  I skipped the workout this morning because it would have meant too many morning transitions.  God willing I will work out later, after my morning meetings.  Now I write, drink coffee, contemplate the cat.

I stayed home to write,
Claimed a longer beginning
To the day.
Later this morning
I have three meetings scheduled
In a row.
All need me
So I am here at home.
I do one thing at a time
From my chair.
Now it involves
Coffee and writing.
This is my longer beginning
No sudden transitions.
We consider the day
The cat and I.
I write.
He slits his eyes,
The morning nap.
I slowly move on
To cereal with fruit.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

White fragrance

I was the Wednesday celebrant this noon.  I rarely do this.  Today was John Eliot, a provisional bracketed saint.  We're trying him out.  I believe his final vote for inclusion in the calendar is at the upcoming General Convention.  We'll see.   Then... home to find a clematis I'd given up for dead with at least six blossoms, fragrant as all get out.  A scan around the yard finds three more clematis I'd given up on, leafing out to beat the band.  It must be the year of the clematis.  Who knew?

I come home
From celebrating a bracketed saint
He has one more vote to go
Before he makes
The semi-official list.
I come home
Find the fragrant white clematis
Clings to the burning bush.
I gave it up for dead
Last year.
Two leaves
Then nothing.
It is finally time
For garden twine,
Time to trim back
The burning bush,
Give white fragrance
Free reign.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

La Brea Tar Pits

I have long been fascinated by the La Brea Tar Pits, all the animals preserved in the asphalt, long ago dead, but perfectly preserved.  I think we all carry some version of a tar pit, memories, things unsaid, things which can't be considered until they rise to the surface.

I probably
Have many things to say.
They have gone unsaid.
They allow me to think
If you only knew
This one thing
You could not possibly
Care for me
The way you do.
These things
They rise to the surface
One at a time
Beg to be said out loud.
I never really quite know
What is down there
Until they rise
Like centuries-old animals
Preserved in asphalt
From my own
La Brea Tar Pits.
I have many things encased
Down there
Centuries-old creatures.
They rise from the goo.

Monday, May 19, 2014


I continue to wonder at the way God works to place the exact right people in my path.  I would never have been able to plan it this way.  In fact, I had no idea these were the people I needed to see.

Another day
Experience aligns
To place the exact right people
In my path
Oh good
Says one
I wondered where you were
Says another
Oh there you are
Says yet one more.
A new client appears
At the wrong door,
Is retrieved by the person
Running an errand
I often wonder
How these things work.
This is yet another day
Experience aligns,
Places the exact right people
In my path.
Oh there you are
I say
There you are.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Trinity (sort of)

A friend read me his Trinity sermon.  It got me thinking in new directions.  Good sermons... do that.

We began the weekend
Of the daughter’s 18th birthday
The age of majority
Rates at least three days
If not an octave
Perhaps a novena.
A friend wrote his Trinity sermon
It named the importance
Of naming at least three options
For everything.
Yesterday was the birthday
With friends
Today is the birthday
With family
Tomorrow has yet
To be named.

Friday, May 16, 2014

For what it's worth

I have gradually figured out that I was trying to change vocations, when the vocation as priest has been central all along.  The letters after my name do not matter.  I will keep the CADC because it allows me to maintain liability insurance and signals my interest in assisting those struggling with a range of addictions.  Even though the addictions field has more letters than any other.  I mean: IAODAPCA  (really).  I even know what each letter stands for :).  For what it's worth.  And this is worth a lot. 

For what it’s worth
And it seems worth
A lot
I find myself
And subtracting
Letters after my name
So the letter politicians
Cannot claim me,
Decide my place
In the system of mental health.
I have reclaimed the Church
As my primary home
Its letters and substrates
Its seeming silly ways
To rename basements
And vestibules
Its way of determining
Every single person
A Child of God
No matter what diagnosis
The letter politicians claim,
No matter what.
For what it’s worth
And it is worth more
Than I could ever ask
Or imagine.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The woman on my wall

I have written about her before... the Inuit print of the Woman Who Went to the Moon.  I often see her when I meet with clients, there on the wall above the gray sofa.  She stands on the moon with her arms outstretched.  She looks like she is celebrating Eucharist.   Today I think she is.

The woman on my wall
Holds her arms in wait
For the world.
She stands there
In the silence of outer space
Stands on the moon
Waits to see
If anything changes
Holds her arms outstretched
As if to embrace the world
She sees.
From the world I see the moon.
Sometimes it seems
I can hold it
In the palm of my hand
Sometimes I think I see
The woman pictured on my wall

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I began writing this for my friend, Matt Gunter, now bishop of Fond du Lac.  I was saddened when he left St. Barnabas because he was one of a very few colleagues who understood my call to be a mediator in this beloved Church of ours.  Now he has been released to be a bishop to the North and beyond.  And me?  I have been released to stay here.  

My friend has been released
To a wider audience.
It seems I have been released
As well,
Released to hear more
One thing at a time
An almost cloistered life
In this blooming burgeoning world
Not hidden quite.
I am a goldfinch
Among the dandelions
I pay attention to each
Yellow bloom
Move on to the next
I am released into life
A cloistered life
But still not hidden
Rather released
As much as my friend.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Assessment always seems to include extra variables.  This time it's allergy season.

In the midst
Of profound allergies
How can I tell
Whether this particular dose
Of antidepressant
Is the right one?
In between sneezes
I assess my mood
Try on difficult conversations.
I watch the birds
In the backyard,
Take in
The pink of the crab apple,
The purple of the redbud,
The trees full leaf already,
Changed from spring
To summer green.
I watch the dandelions,
Remember the surprise goldfinch
Hiding there.
I consider ordering
A floral dress
From the J. Peterman catalog.
Is this dose enough or perhaps
Too much?

Sunday, May 11, 2014


My beloved got me a card with a picture of a deserted atoll in the South Pacific.   My daughter got a card which said we looked alike (except of course we don't, she said).  Life in this family is full in ways I can't quite describe.  I don't believe it could be more full than this.  I am content.

Today is full of
Just right things
Perfect crepes for brunch
With my daughter
And beloved,
After a worship service
With bigs and smalls,
Young and old.
No Mother's Day speeches
And now naps
All the way around.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Wonderful surprise among the dandelions.

Making morning coffee
I slide open the back doors
See the dandelions move
Bright yellow
No breeze.
A bird emerges
Goldfinch the exact same color
Of dandelion.
Does he know he matches
The flowers?
Does he know dandelions
Are his ideal camouflage?
Does he know he is the first goldfinch
Of my spring?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Oh so fine

Lunch this week with friends.  They asked questions I could not answer.  I am aware that I am in the midst of reclamation of things I had put aside for some time, and subtraction of things somehow extraneous.  Perhaps I have always been doing this.  Perhaps this is a piece of what it means to be human.  I rather like that thought.  Perhaps I have been doing what I was called to do all along.

Doors and windows wide open
The world intrudes
The occasional airplane
Distant cars from the Elgin-O’Hare:
It originates
In neither place.
Doors and windows open
The breeze blows through
Slightly chilly but oh
So fine.
I claim back
What I must,
Continue subtraction of all
With no internal sense
Or sensibility
Until what remains is clear
Clearer still.
It blows through
Slightly chilly, yes,
But oh
So fine.

Blooming greening world

Rather amazing. It feels as though this happened overnight.

The blooming greening world
Decided yesterday
To believe the temperature
The humidity
The rain wandering through
The blooming greening world
Appeared today
In almost full leaf
It was waiting
For exactly the right time.
This seems to be it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


I love the spring migrations.  TruGreen shows up at our door every year offering to kill off all the things which we love about our yard... the dandelions and clover, the patch of some purple weed in back.  We are the neighborhood haven for bees and butterflies and migrating birds.  We are a safe spot for the migrating birds to rest.

The back yard is full
Of white crowned sparrows,
A visitation
Of sparrows.
My beloved says
They winter here
But these must be
From the South,
Migrating through.
We listen for accents
To help us know
Where they are from.
Maybe they have a song
They learned in the South.
We admire this visitation,
Wait and hope
To see the next one.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Different and the same

Conversation with a close friend.  She says she is always three steps ahead of any therapist she has seen.  She says of course I am different.  I don't think so.  I really don't think so.

She says
No therapist
Has ever been able
To outthink her.
What’s the point of that?
I say
Why would you pay
For a therapist
To practice
Skirting around
Him or her?
She says of course
I’m different.
Of course
I’m different.
I have heard this before.
I will hear it again.
Of course
Every therapist is different
And the same,
Just like every client
Is different
And the same.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Awakened at six

Truth be told... we were waiting for a reason to sleep in.  Our daughter was called to rescue friends in Indiana at six AM.  So of course we needed to sleep in and wait for her to get home.  So we did.

Awakened at six
It seemed the better part of
Valor to sleep in.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


I am almost ready to plant annuals.  Almost, but not quite.  First I pay attention to what the perennials are doing.
The clematis
It begins
To vine its way
Up the porch pillars.
The rhubarb accomplishes
Its first spring growth.
The elderberry is leggy
With leaf buds.
Perhaps it’s time to fill
The planters in front,
The planter in back.
I will give them
A few more days.
The weather carries hope
For planting.
I have had such hope
A few more days
Of clematis and rhubarb
I may be ready for pansies
In front
In back
I may be ready
For pansies.

Friday, May 2, 2014


As I ponder the fact that I am thawing, the news story of the nine blue whales who died when they were trapped in the ice off of Newfoundland hits.  I wonder what is under my ice.  I hope for smaller things than blue whales.

TROUT RIVER, Newfoundland (AP) — The 60-ton carcass of a blue whale is rotting on the shore on Canada's east coast, stinking up a town and triggering fears that it could burst.

I am thawing.
I suspect
I hope
It will be gradual.
I suspect
I hope
No one will die
In the process.
God willing
There are no blue whales
Trapped in my ice.
No dead blue whales
To land on the shore
Of tourist towns,
Spoil the season
With methane bloat.
I am thawing.
No whales please
I pray.
No dead whales.