Saturday, January 31, 2015

In the public domain

Be prepared for reflections on the prolific author Anon and the equally prolific Ibid.  My beloved was sure for years, having encountered Ibid in the footnotes of a book on pirates, that Ibid knew more than anyone else about pirates. This morning he reminds me of Op Cit, the equally prolific partner of Ibid.  At least those things In the public domain roam free.

It seems to mean
No one will rise from the dead,
Haunt the perpetrator,
The one who dares to print
These words,
This poem.
This written thing
Could be scrawled in the sand
On the beach
Of a desert island
For planes flying overhead.
This could be spoken
In a speech to thousands.
There will be no one
To claim the words,
Only people
To listen,
Only people
To read.
These words in the public domain
Have found their freedom
To appear
Wherever they wish.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The way home

Ostensibly this is about leaving the creche on the front table for now. It's tempting to think that if the wise folk stay there, worshiping, nothing will change. Well, it doesn't work that way. Even when they take the same way home...even home is different.

The wise folk
Still gather at the manger.
Maybe they will never go home
By another way.
I contemplate leaving them
By the manger.
Everyone must grow up.
Everyone must grow out.
Everyone must grow in.
Everyone must consider
Other ways home.
The walk home
By a different path
Means home
Won’t be the same
Even taking the same way home
Won’t be the same

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesday afternoon

Still working with limits. The office holds nap space for me as well, which in turn allows space for more to happen here. I never really know what's next.

The children are gone.
My head has cleared
For the next client.
The bent pine out my window,
Framed by glass,
Holds the snow.
My office holds the echo
Of children
Gone home.
Today holds someone new
She will arrive through the snow
To add to the mosaic
The office is building.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

More limits

I thought I could work out today. I tried. No. I am learning to listen to the noes, no matter when they come. Sometimes I hear it in the middle of something. It takes more gumption to admit the no in the middle. I am learning.

Sometimes they are found
In the midst of trying
To stay on schedule
Then saying
I guess not
Here I am
Watching the world pass by
Maybe tomorrow
It will be different;
Then again
Maybe not.

Monday, January 26, 2015


This is kind of, sort of, a haiku. It contains the idea of one anyway. Limits are meant to be paid attention to, but maybe not religiously followed. Yesterday I moderated the adult forum on forgiveness, then considered the 10:30 service. I heard it from a distance, talking with a friend in the library. Then I considered the annual meeting. This weekend was not a time for large groups of people. I drove home in the snow, happy I had done what I needed to do, happy I had considered the rest, happy to be home.

We all have them.
The question is
How do we live
Within them?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Labels in Ecuador

Delightful company for lunch.  New things to think about.  I like new things.

Today at lunch
I learned new labels.
Apparently in Ecuador
People are divided into three groups.
While US citizens
Are red or blue
Las personas de Ecuador
Coast people
Mountain people
Jungle people.
So many divisions.
I imagine living in Ecuador,
Wonder if I might prefer
The ocean
The high places
Or even
The jungles.
I understand
It makes a difference.

Friday, January 23, 2015

So much more

Rich day yesterday... all around.

So much more of the world
Comes more clear
When I sit
In that small room
With its window to the outside world,
Its door
To the inside.
I hear the voices
On all sides,
Even from above.
I wonder
What I could possibly hear

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mr. Rogers

Today it seems I am channeling Mr. Rogers. My beloved tells me his sweater was yellow. Mine is red. Never mind, I say. We all do things our own way.

Sometimes sleeping in
And a warm shower
Make interesting things combine
As the day begins.
The bathroom mirror
Reflects back a woman
Dressed for her professional day
The red cotton cardigan sweater,
A favorite,
Reminds her of Mr. Rogers.
She starts the song
Walking down the stairs
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
This will be an interesting day.
She knows some of those
She will encounter
But perhaps
Just perhaps
Almost certainly
There will be others.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

For a friend

I am thinking here of more than one friend. Somehow as the reflection moved on, more faces came to mind. I like it when this happens. Time to add coffee dates to the calendar. Time for an abundance of reconnection and perhaps, astonishment.

I like to think
Of you here,
Whichever here is here:
The exact same words
In the morning
Over coffee;
You watching your birds,
I watching mine;
You perhaps
Sitting In the pew
On Sunday
With your family,
I perhaps
With mine.
I like to think
We are having coffee
We are sitting together
We read
We hear
The exact same words.
Sometimes we meet
And are simply

Monday, January 19, 2015

Safe stop

Watching the birds this morning. The juncos. The sparrows. The pair of cardinals. I also consider a growing practice of clients. Sometimes they know where the seed is spread. Sometimes it takes a lot of pecking. They flock like birds. Sometimes one at a time. Sometimes in pairs. Sometimes more.

They flock
Like juncos
Like sparrows
Even like the pair of cardinals
(can a pair flock?)
Sometimes they know
Where the seed is spread
Sometimes it takes a lot of pecking.
They flock like birds.
I spread the seed,
Pay attention in every way
I can,
Move oh so carefully
So they don’t take flight.
Over time
With care
They become accustomed
To me.
They know I have seeds.
They know this
Is a safe stop
Along the way.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


I open the bulletin and remember this is healing prayer Sunday.  The first time my hands were anointed was when I was ordained a priest.  Today was number two.  I remember again I am a priest and hold, oh so many, in my hands.

He reminded me
Of who I am.  Anointed
My head… and my hands.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Sitting with an answer I asked for. Trying to figure out what to do with it.

Sometimes I ask questions
That I’d rather not really
Know the answer for.

Friday, January 16, 2015


I learned new language when I spent time with evangelical friends and colleagues.  A Word was spoken in capital letters.  It is way more important than mere advice.  A Word is something which comes from deeper places and simply begs to be chewed upon.

May I have a Word?
She asked
At the end of the session.
I knew advice
Was not what she asked for
Like the beef jerky
My daughter and I got
Our beloved for Christmas:
Six months of jerky
One shipment at a time.
May I have a Word?
She asked.
She meant for it
To be chewed upon
Prayed with
Thought through
Perhaps placed
On the refrigerator
For contemplation every time
The door was opened.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Reflected back

I never know what will come back.  I just know something will.  Even from Thailand.

I write,
Then discover things
Reflected back.
I write.
It begins a conversation
More than I could ever
At the beginning.
I write.
It begins something
Somewhere in Thailand
I know not how
Or what
I just know it has begun
Like me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Winter gold

Waiting for the next glimpse of gold.

The trees transform to winter gold
When sunrise strikes them
Just so.
Ten minutes later
Stripped of royalty,
They go back to their disguise
Of black and white and gray.
I wait for gold again
Less momentary
More lasting.
I caught a glimpse of gold
This morning.
Trees transformed once
May surely encounter that change

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Light fluffy occasional flakes against cracks of blue sky.  I could appreciate a winter like this.

These were windshield wiper
Snowflakes. A joy to engage
Inside and out.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Snow hats

This morning it seems everything got the same memo:  Wear your snow hat.  I am reminded of high school:  What are you wearing?  I am even reminded of clergy gatherings: Are you going to wear your collar?  This morning the memo was:  Wear your snow hat.

Before venturing out
I note everything this morning
Wears a snow hat:
The bushes
The sidewalk
The umbrella fountain
Turned planter
In the back yard,
Even the purple dog
Next to the elderberry.
Everything has at least one thing
In common.
This morning
Everything wears
A snow hat.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bird perspective

We often have disagreements on whether to let nature take its course.  I think the question is like asking Where to step in the flowing stream?  Where is it proper to intervene?  Where to watch?  Where do we let the hawk roost? 

The lady in red
Is back feeding the ducks.
It snowed.
The ducks know
She is faithful.
We have a flock of sparrows
A few juncos
A pair of cardinals
Two squirrels.
They find the seed scattered
In our backyard,
In spots reasonably safe
From the hawk.
The hawk has taken
To sitting quietly on the fence.
My beloved shoos him away
He is just being a hawk
I say.
These are our birds
He says.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


She says she would not want to diagnose people.  I tell her people are not their diagnosis, anyway. She is not convinced.  

I tell her
A diagnosis
Is only the beginning of things,
A place to start,
Certainly not
The place to end.
There is so much road to travel
So much to find and appreciate.
A diagnosis
Identifies a bump in that road
So we can then
Plow through it
Leap over it
Sidle around it.
A diagnosis
Is not the place
To stop.
A diagnosis
Is the place                                            
To begin again.

Friday, January 9, 2015

How do you pray?

It was my turn to lead prayer group this week, so I asked the question I'd like to ask every person of faith I encounter:  How do you pray?  The answers came back even more varied than the group assembled.  The answers still echo.

The simple question
How do you pray?
Brought so many answers
In a small group
Even more answers, it seems,
Than the number of people present.
I hear the echoes even now:
Prayers knit with yarn;
Prayers held
While distractions are carefully noted,
Placed in a boat,
Sent away down the river;
Prayers numbered like the psalms.
Oh so many prayers
Oh so many ways to pray
The answers echo even now
They multiply
Some prayers even
Without words.
My finger runs the rim
Of my favorite mug.
It is momentarily
A singing bowl.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wise men

The daughter put the wise men in the family room.  They finally arrived at the mangers in the living room two days late.  I understand they were really late anyway.  We are just going with the story here.  I figure they will need more time to contemplate the mystery with us.

The wise men have arrived
At our three nativities.
They will stay for now.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Mirror ball

Sometimes watching the light and the cat interact makes the morning.

I get up early enough
To watch the miniature mirror ball
On the Christmas tree
Catch the morning sunlight,
Launch it onto the ceiling
And walls
Dancing spots of light
Better than a flashlight
For the cat.
So many points of light
Keep him occupied
Until the sun moves out of range
And the inevitable nap

Monday, January 5, 2015


We try to find consistency and inevitability in the most interesting places.

Yesterday the internet was out
All day
As if to say
I know the Comcast person
Arrives on Monday
To change our provider.
No one likes change.
No thing likes change.
Still change comes
Yesterday we think we caught
The last mouse,
Released him in the same place
As the other two,
Watched as he climbed a tree
To our face level,
Then scrambled down
To find the other two.
Today all four traps
Were empty.
Perhaps we caught the last mouse.
Perhaps not.
Today the internet works consistently.
The Comcast person is due to arrive
Any minute.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Home in the blue chair

After more than twenty years of the same post-Christmas trip to Florida, it was easier this year.  I got credit for loading the dishwasher when I didn't even load it.  I sat out on particular conversations so I could be truly present in others.  Hmm.  Maybe I'm actually getting the hang of this.

Home in the blue chair
I wonder why Florida
Felt easier
This year.
I got credit
For things
I didn’t even do.
Somehow it was fine
To add this credit
To the family
Bank account.
I sat out the end of meal
Listened to them all
From a distance
And smiled
Under the fan in the bedroom.

Home in the blue chair
I wonder.
I am also content
To add the credit
To the universal human
Bank account
Sit in where I can
Sit out when I must.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Therapy is

So many things count as therapy (I think).  I woke up this morning remembering those "Love is..." cartoons.  Therapy is many things.  It depends upon the one asking and the one giving. It means learning to ask the right questions... like "Do I want help?" instead of only "Do I need help?"  Jesus was good at such questions: "Do you want to be healed?"  Me?  Need healing?  You can't be asking me this, really! How could I possibly need anything?  Me.  Do I want to be healed? I think so. Sometimes I even pay.

Therapy is for
The times we want help (really)
Sometimes we even pay.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Below zero

The Feast of the Holy Name has always been one my favorite Holy Days.  Having it coincide with New Year's Day is a Happy Happenstance or something that Is as it Should Be.

Last night I had to mime
Below zero
In charades.
I failed dramatically.
I wonder how I would mime
The Name above all Names
He who is named
And yet
Still nameless
For no name can claim
The Entirety
Or even his Infinitesimal
Today I wonder
How I would mime
All of who Jesus is.