Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday in Holy Week

My beloved has agreed to drive me to the brain doctor, at the new location. Hooray.

It is Tuesday
In Holy Week.
The office
Of the brain doctor
Has moved.
In addition to preparing
My confession
About the yoga seizure
In October,
I must drive to a new location
On the odd address side
Of a busy street,
A place I have never seen before.
Suite B.
B is for brain.
I think about all of us
Brain challenged folk
Finding a new location
Preparing our confessions

Monday, March 30, 2015

She says

Wisdom emerges from where it wills.

She says:
Somewhere else in the world,
Is in exactly your same spot.
Shares the exact same trials.

She says:
Because you are in the same place
Your prayers
For him
For her
Are more exact
Are more fitting
No matter you don’t know
His name
Her name.

She says:
We pray for one another
Simply because
We know how and why and wherefore.
We know
They know too.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

In the midst of life

Today brought a gift of a sermon to my email box. 


A gift for my sixtieth birthday. Lovely.

In the midst of life,
We are in death.
In the midst of death

Palms strewn
Donkeys ridden
Crowds cheering
On the way
To the upper room
To the Garden
To beyond.
But that is for later.

In the midst of life,
I am in death.
In the midst of death,
Today my birthday
Holds hands
With both,
One on either side.
We intertwine our fingers.
All is as it must be.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The song

Odd. What is that song? Perhaps I am not meant to remember. It was rather pleasant to have the crowd making up the words. Perhaps my next vocation is as a song leader.

The dream has me
On a small stage,
Filling in for another singer.
I strum my guitar
But don’t remember the words
To the song.
The crowd makes up words,
Sings along.
The song never comes to mind.
I wake up
To words
What have they done to the rain?
That was not the song
I was trying to remember
But maybe it will do.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Up for grabs

Turning 60 on Palm Sunday. I think it will be better than turning 33 on Good Friday when my marriage was collapsing. I am definitely in a better place these days. The fifties were good, all in all. The sixties are up for grabs.

What is it about entering
A new decade?
This life
Lived in the tens?
If we lived in Base 12
I would still be a few years off
From 60.
In the last ten years
I made more changes
Than in the fifty years prior.
I became a proponent
Of the fifties
An advocate for life
The sixties?
The sixties
Are up for grabs.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Slow morning

I am almost 60 years old.I still must learn the price of taking things too fast, of adding too much into the day. I still must learn pacing. Today I am practicing again.

Slow morning.
I hear the voices
They say
One more thing
One more thing
Why do you move
So slowly?
There is more to be done.

Slow morning.
I remove another thing
From the list
So I may do the needful
This afternoon.

Slow morning.
So I may offer attention
Later on,
I center myself in the slow
Right now.              

Slow morning.
I move like the sloth moves.
He is my cousin.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Holy Week 2015

This is scrambling time for clergy of high liturgical bent everywhere. I am released from these particular details, being a counselor these days. I well remember the Easter Sunday we went out to brunch and I literally fell asleep in my plate. There is no BCP liturgy for the Easter Egg Hunt. And by this time, I figure, even if there was such a thing, the details would be lost well before Easter Brunch.

There is no week
More full of special liturgies
With all their component parts.
This is what all that training
Was for.
This is what all the planning
Is for.
This is Holy Week.
Every congregation
Has his
Has her
Has its
Own way of doing things.
It will all end up
On Easter Sunday
With the liturgy
Of the Easter Egg hunt,
Three to five eggs
Per child.
By this time
In this week
With all its component parts,
Who’s counting?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I want people to learn

It's still amazing to me how often clients come in for my help with something I often struggle with myself. I hope it remains amazing.

I want people to learn
What I myself often
Cannot do
Cannot see
Cannot hear.
I want people to learn these things
So I myself
Begin again
To learn the same.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Unscheduled snow

I'm glad we made it to the store yesterday before this weather change. This same store did not carry pussy willows before the vernal equinox... except for their display pussy willows which were not for sale...only there as indication that spring might be coming. Yesterday we bought pussy willows AND forsythia. Good thing.

With the unscheduled snow
I am grateful for forsythia
And pussy willows
On the front table
And the six crows huddled in the ash tree
And the scarlet cardinal,
Now an accent
To the snow.
With this unscheduled snow
I am keeping an eye
On spring.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


In honor of Charles Greaves. He now waits with Jesus and all those who have gone before for the world to finish its act of being made new. He was a gift to me.

At the end of the morning routine:
The coffee
The writing
The consideration of spring
Finally arriving,
The robin,
The ducks out back,
The red male cardinal,
Contrasting now
With emerging green,
At noon
I learned Charlie died.
The funeral was at two.
So we went to the service.

At the beginning
Of my venture into counseling
Charlie told me
He could see it
Sitting with people one on one:
The one who brought him
Into my office,
Shut the door,
Told him he could not behave
The way he was behaving.
He listened.
I left soon after
So I never knew if he really stopped
Or maybe sort of stopped.

I wore my collar to the funeral
In honor of Charlie,
Sat in the back row.
A ladybug landed on the bulletin
Walked the entire edge
Top to bottom
Then back to the top.
Perhaps it was Charlie
Showing me he now knew
About boundaries.
I know it was Charlie.
Now he is free.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Holding hope

So many things I might write today. This is what arrived.

The seeds arrived in the mail
A butterfly garden to be sown
When the warm comes.
The robin searches out worms
In the backyard



He will feel that first hint
With his feet,
Hear the whisper
Of worms surfacing.
After all
Light is on the winning side
The worms must not be far behind.
The robin holds hope


The seeds are packaged
On the kitchen counter.
They hold the hope
Of butterflies.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Vernal equinox 2015

My first three seizures came at the winter solstice, the autumnal equinox, and the summer solstice. You better believe I was extremely careful around the next vernal equinox.

Today light and dark
Line up
For the moment.
We play evensies.
I remember
Not so long ago
Holding my breath
Until the equinox passed,
Rather like ducking when driving
Under a bridge,
Or lifting feet driving over
A river
(Of course
Not when I was driving)
Today light and dark line up.
Tomorrow light wins.
Tomorrow I can breathe again.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The rest of the week

Some weeks it's easy to get overwhelmed.

This week has already brought me
Than I could ever do.
I even asked for
A lot of it.
The rest of the week
Is dedicated to:
Never mind.
Never mind.
The rest of the week
Is for sifting,
Is for sieving,
Is for winnowing.
The rest of the week
Is for pouring through
Seeing what is left behind.
The rest of the week
Is to determine
The one next thing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Praying and hoping for new growth after the clearing away.

Today I am noting
All the things I must clear away
To make space
For new things to appear.
I clip back the clematis
For new vines to grow.
That’s an easy one:
I know what it will look like
When it comes full flower,
Full purple flower.
It’s the farewells,
The not knowing what
If anything,
Will appear in their place.
It’s the possibility of ground
Laid fallow
For a season
When I do not have so many seasons
When fallow
Might be all there is.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Sometimes, particularly in the morning, words aren't necessary.

The cardinals are chipping
This morning,
No full-throated song
But morning chipping
Among friends and family.
The morning does not require
Or even speeches.
Sometimes a chip or two
Will do the trick.
Sometimes even that small sound
Isn’t necessary.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

It is enough

Dreams are funny sometimes. In between dreams, I woke up remembering Dayenu "It would have been enough." Dayenu "The Passover Song." Dayenu "Sufficient in the very best, the most grounded sense of the word." Dayenu.

I have rarely been as happy
As today.
There is no point
In comparison
With any other day,
With any other person,
With any other thing.
I am here.
I am placed.
It is today.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I plan

Today is a day to make a list for winter clean-up, maybe even summer possibilities. Today the snow has mostly melted. If my daughter makes it back in time from the dyeing of the Chicago River, we will get our toenails done. If not, we won't.

Today the plan is
To begin to reassemble
The back yard;
To clip back all
I did not clip back
In the fall;
To re-stake the now fallen
Pink flamingos
Next to the crab apple.
I watch the cat
Drowse in the sun.
I drink the remains
Of yesterday’s coffee
In the dinosaur mug.
I order seeds
For a butterfly garden.
I plan
I plan
I plan to make a fresh pot
Of coffee

Friday, March 13, 2015

New chapter, same book

Recently I have rediscovered many friends and connections from the past. I wonder how they got from there to here. With many I have missed a lot of chapters. With some, it seems, they have erased a number of chapters, maybe even think they have started a new book. Still... it's all connected and it all counts. New chapter, same book.

My friends and connections
Have mostly moved
Into new chapters
With subtitles
I never would have thought of,
So many chapters
Written it seems
In new vernacular.
I know
The connecting points
From old to new
Have been there all along.
In this spring of our lives
We unearth new things
Which are not new
At all;
New chapters, perhaps,
But the very same book
We have each been writing
From the beginning.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


My beloved purchased two pink flamingos in different poses last year. We considered putting them in the front yard, but decided they might disappear like the rainbow spinner we lost a couple years ago. We were also not sure if they'd be appreciated by the neighbors in all their pink plastic glory.

The flamingo
Is staked on its metal legs
Next to the crab apple
In the back yard.
It is warmer today.
Most of the snow has melted.
The flamingo
Throws his shadow,
Her shadow,
On the crab apple trunk.
It’s hard to tell
A male from a female
In pink plastic.
The silhouette also says
It might be either one.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wet earth

Finally warm enough to open the window.

Finally I can
Open the window and catch
The scent of wet earth.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Ah, dreaming. I dreamed a church supper with a bishop, a random woman bishop. At my table we opened a lima bean pod, rather like edamame. Each of us got one bean, and it seemed to be enough.

Some mornings I write
So I won’t lose the dream,
Even the snippet of a dream
I had,
That one small piece.
It resonates.
If it happens in the middle of the night
I keep waking
And waking
And waking
Like last night.
Here in the light of day I think
I should have written it down
At 2 AM.
Maybe next time.

Monday, March 9, 2015


I am getting better at taking things as they come, one thing at a time. It seems there are things to learn like this too.

For a time
I had two Monday clients.
Now Monday is clear.
The sun shines
Through the two front windows.
The cat tries both spots of sun,
Determines to sleep instead
Under the rocking chair,
On the edge
Of a sunny spot.
It appears I am meant
To mind-meld
With the cat,
Eyes slit shut,
On my edge
Of a sunny spot.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Jesus and the moneychangers

I never know what will happen at church. This is mostly because I do not have my finger on the plans. I arrive expecting one thing, and encounter another. I am not in charge any longer. I most probably never was in charge. Surprise! No moneychangers! Surprise! A conga line of teens.

Because we are reading
The entire New Testament
For Lent,
Today we forwent
Jesus and the moneychangers
In the temple
In favor of
And all of Mark.
I went to church prepared to hear
About tables being overturned,
Doves being released,
The Temple being rebuilt
In three days.
We had Hebrews
And Mark.
Then a conga line of teens
We are marching in the Light of God.
Some other year
We will hear about
Jesus and the moneychangers.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Next encounter

I sit with people bringing with me what I have been able to acknowledge, and hearing what they have been able to acknowledge. Sometimes the juxtaposition feels utterly magical.

It occurs to me
That writing every day
Brings me to this next encounter.
All I have recognized
All I have written down
All that has poured through me
All that has come through
And out the other side;
All that sits in front of me,
All the holds my hand
Brings me to this next encounter.
Here we are
Here we are
Both of us together.
The next encounter.

Friday, March 6, 2015

What brought you here today?

In praise of open-ended questions. In praise of the Society of Friends. In praise of any faith community which makes no assumptions about why a person is there.

A friend attended a Quaker meeting
Last Sunday.
She was asked
What brought you here today?
It allowed
Any answer she wished.
It allowed
For conversation.
It allowed
For her to share
At any level
That seemed appropriate
To her.
She could say
I came by bus.
She could say
I am exploring churches.
She could say
God told me to come here today.
She could say
Absolutely anything
At all.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I do my best

Maybe spring will come.

I do my best
To focus on the blue sky
The cloudless blue sky
Oh yes
And the sun.
I do my best
To remember the arrival
Of daylight savings time.
This weekend.
We lose the hour we gained
Last fall.
It will seem lighter
Or morning won’t lighten
As quickly.
I do my best
To focus on the sun
To appreciate it
Exactly the way the cat does
Simple and full
And now it’s time
For a nap.
He does not care
What the clock says,
Only that the sun
Is there.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Still the door must first be opened

This means what you need it to mean. We all have doors, and we all must determine who we will open them to, much more who we will invite in for tea. 

They come up the front walk,
Wonder whether they will be welcomed
At the door,
Or even
Invited in.
Momentary visitors,
They occasion a tentative knock.
Perhaps the door will open,
This time.
Perhaps a cup of tea
Might be offered,
This time.
So many steps
So many knocks
But still
The door must first
Be opened.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Extra things

Today I would like to sit on the park bench and talk with Emily Dickinson. We would talk about writing. We would talk about what a very few words can do. Maybe we wouldn't say much at all. She would understand the very clutteredness of Lent. She would understand the irony, the almost sigh of relief whe
n Easter comes.
Everyone it seems
Produces extra things
For Lent:
More words and poems
Fill the mailbox
Fill my head
Fill my heart
Connections become
Somehow imperative
In these forty days,
In this wilderness,
In this damned March snow.
It is as if
This is the only time
Anyone really pays attention
It’s Lent
Easter is coming.
Then it will be
Too late.

Monday, March 2, 2015


There is a post running around Facebook re: If you could sit on this park bench with anyone in the world, past or present, who would it be? I am never good at these exercises. The answer is always: It depends. Who is your hero? It depends. I can never choose. I read everyone else's answers. Hmm. This morning I sit in my blue chair, sun streaming through the window. I sit with the world at hand and I am surprised at the company I am given.

I am awake earlier 
Than usual.

My vision is clearer
Than it often is.

I have a full
Unplanned day
Ahead of me
(Perhaps I will do laundry)

The sun angles through the window
Just so,
Signals possible eventual spring.

So many things yet to see
So many people
Yet to meet

Who knew such a day
Might exist?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A reflection on Yes

I often find myself, standing outside in the parking lot, perhaps, counseling others to say no to invitations that they don't feel called to accept. Yeses are important. But so is the no which leaves room for the full-throated yes.

While I believe
In the importance
Of saying yes:
To my beloved 
To my children
To my cat
To the bunch of pussy-willows
When they finally appear
In the spring;
While I believe
In the importance
Of yes,
I know some yeses
Leave no space
For the yes
Which must be explored,
Must be considered,
Must be heard,
A call sometimes
Out of the wild:
It requires an answering assent,
A joining in the pack
Baying at the moon
A full-throated yes.
It simply drowns out
The others.