Sunday, January 31, 2016


I realize even this needs to be broken down into smaller parts.

The next step
Is exploration
Of transportation:
The orange line
The pink line
The green line
And oh
All the colors.
I was thinking
Four steps ahead.
It is difficult
Not to move faster
Than I’d like.
The lady in red
Across the way
Is my reminder
To take it a step at a time
And also
To keep moving.
I watch her walk carefully
To her garage,
Emerge four minutes later
With two scoops of corn,
One in each hand.
She spreads each scoop
Oh so carefully,
Surveys the ducks
As they arrive.
She walks carefully                                                                 
Up the steps,
Carefully opens the back door,
Shuts it behind her.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


Our journeys take us different places. We all expand... differently.

I remember
In college,
Sitting in the coffee shop
With a Christian fundamentalist friend.
I drew pictures
On a napkin
Of how I believe
God works:
God in the middle
Of everything,
With so many lines
To approach Him
Or Her.
He grew more and more
One Way
He said.
Then he repeated
One Way.
My friend
Had dabbled in the occult,
Had become a Mormon
For awhile.
He found a home
In college,
A Quaker college
(at that).
One Way
He repeated
One Way.
We finished our coffee.
He became
Roman Catholic.
I went to seminary.

Friday, January 29, 2016


Kitten noticing and being noticed.

We all need
To be noticed.
I write this and the kitten
Walks across my keyboard,
Moves on to touch noses
With the grandfather cat,
Lies down in the sun,
Work accomplished
For the morning.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


The haiku is often like a burp. It comes on me suddenly, even if it has been percolating for minutes, hours, days, months, even years. Trust the process I remind myself. Trust the process. It's all process. Write it down. Even if it's short, not fully developed.

I realize
Slowly I realize
It’s time to expand.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snow dust

For whatever reason, I seem to have the blessing of efficacious weather prayers. If we get a huge snowstorm, I have not prayed for it.

The East Coast
Got our usual snow.
They are buried
While we
Have snow dust.
The duck lady in red
Across the way
Must have bags and bags
Of corn
In her garage.
More bent over now
She is ready
Even for snow dust
Even for a hint
Of snow.
She prays for snow.
I almost think
Of snow prayer with her.
Then I don’t.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Pussy willows

Years ago now, I would buy "statement" pussy willows, gigantic pussy willows, six feet tall, they barely fit in the car, for the parish I served. That florist eventually closed. I have not seen "statement" pussy willows since. 

Pussy willows have arrived
At the local
Flower stand.
So many of my friends
And not-so-friends
Are in desperate need
Of pussy willows:
THE sign
Spring always comes.
Place them in water.
Watch them sprout
In February.
I know
This is not soon enough
For some,
Even for many.
I know
It is so hard to wait.
Pussy willows
Have arrived
In January.
There is hope
For February.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pit orchestra

I was in
The pit orchestra
For Man of La Mancha.
My hands remember
The fingering
The rhythm
(Almost flamenco)
For the guitar part.
High school
And college productions.
So long ago.
My hands remember.
When I close my eyes
I remember
The sheet music,
Stored in another part
Of my brain.
I think of Dulcinea,
The street woman
Rescued as a maiden
In distress,
A street woman seen
As a damsel.
She saw possibility
And love
In Quixote’s eyes.
My hands remember
The guitar part for
Little Bird, Little bird,
In the cinnamon tree.
The only time I sat
On stage.
My hands remember.
My heart remembers.
It might have been

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Then there's God. There's always God.

It is a word I have only
Previously applied
To Pharisees.

Has been applied
To me
Twice in this last week,
A compliment
Both times
In very different
It even felt
Like a compliment,
Both times.

Language is an odd thing.
Words can carry
A wealth of meaning.
It depends
On the person speaking,
On the person listening,
On the understanding
Of both.
Then there’s God.
There’s always

Righteous appears to be
In the eye and heart
Of the beholder
And the beholden.
And God.
There’s always

Friday, January 22, 2016

Words not said

Sometimes words not said were those we were hoping to hear.

What is not said
Speaks louder
Than any words.
All too often
Words not said
Have a hollow echo.
They catch on tree branches
Only to fall at one’s feet
At odd times.
They inhabit the night,
Catch us
As we sleep.
These are the words
That lay behind
Oft-spoke praise
Or thank you
When we know
A but
Lurks there.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Funny. Encouragement is all over the place.

Encouragement comes
From unsuspected places.
We need be open.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


It's the small things.

Leaving work
I forgot to wear my boots.
This morning we awoke
To snow blowers,
The plow.
This morning
My beloved
Will shovel the walk
In front of me
As we walk
To the car.
We may notice
A bird or two.
He will drive me
To work.
Some may think
Such things are small.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hell in a handbasket

Reflections on Hell.

I never quite knew the meaning
Of this saying
Now it seems to apply.
I join the company,
The throng,
The whole kit and caboodle.
Come to think of it
I don’t know
Where this comes from
Good words to describe
The indescribable.
Then there’s Hell
That unknown place
Some people may choose
To go
Even though the travel brochure
It may not really exist.
It’s not a place.
It’s Godless space.
It seems the only way to go there
Is in a handbasket
Whatever that is.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Whyever did I think?

For Martin and me and you, heck, all of you.

Whyever did I think
There would come a time
When the participation in,
The organization of,
Prayer vigils
Would come to an end?
It remains
In the same category
As the final obtaining
Of some sort of licensure
From some body of people
So I could prove to them
Every two or three years
I was still worthy
To pile letters
After my name.
Whyever did I think
I would see this time,
This halcyon
Dreamed about,
Prayed about
This time when the lion
Would lie down
With the lamb;
When the licensed
Might see the unlicensed
As having something of worth
To offer?
Whyever did I think
I might pray such limits
We might walk
We might skip together
In newly mown fields
Like children,
Look up at the sun
And know,
Simply know,
All of us know
It is good.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

We form new churches

I know this may not be a popular thought. Still... I believe it is true. Everywhere... is holy ground.

We form new churches
With all in whom we see God,
With each new blessing.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Haiku day

The sun shines yet I find few words. I won't push it.

The sun is shining.
Still... this is a haiku day.
A day of few words.

Friday, January 15, 2016

I will pray

There is so much to be done. I will pray.

Today is the day
The Christmas tree
Comes down.
So much more happens
In the world around me.
I will pray
As I pack away ornaments,
Disassemble the tree.
I will pray
As the birds eat the seed
Spread on the back lawn;
As the Cooper’s hawk
Comes and goes
From the red bud
In front of the house.
I will pray
As the kitten sleeps
Beside me.
I will pray.
Friday is a day
For prayer
In the midst of everything.
My dreams have been filled
With comings and goings,
Amazing dreams,
Sound and fury
Signifying I am not in charge.
I will pray
As the tree comes down,
As the tree is packed away
For next year.

I will pray.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Hawaiian shorts

This was not meant to be an experiment, but I guess it was, sort of. I noticed the man in the Hawaiian shorts.

I did not forget my pills,
Nor did I take my pills twice.
It is possible to make mistakes
In both directions.
Both offer similar
Today I noticed
The man in the Hawaiian shorts
At the gym.
It brightened the day.
I did not forget my pills.
I did not take my pills twice.
It is possible
To make mistakes
In both directions.
I noticed the man
In the Hawaiian shorts.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


The I-phone is dead.
Perhaps it’s the battery.
Long live the I-phone.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Furnace guy

Thankful for the furnace guy. Showing up is what counts.

The furnace is out.
The cats chase each other
To stay warm.
I sit in the sun.
Now the furnace guy
Is here.
He speaks
In monosyllables.
We don’t care.
He shows up.
We don’t call him
For his personality.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Prairie path

Mine is to stand on the edges, offer refuge, if only for a time. Up or down the prairie path the Crusades continue. May peace be found, however it grows. True peace. That which grows, even in cold and ice.

I work up the prairie path
Or is it down
From what feels
Like the Crusades?

I work to keep
My own house in order.

May others walk up
Or down the path,
Reach whatever refuge
I might offer;
Find whatever peace
Is elsewhere.

May they return
Holding the peace
That passes all understanding
In open hands.

May they return,
Let peace trickle
Through their fingers.

May that peace root,
Maybe even sprout
In the snow.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

While we were gone

More to be thankful for. Thank you, Jan Birchler!

While we were gone
A neighbor shoveled our walk,
Took wonderful care
Of cat and kitten and turtle;
In fact
Loved them
As we do,
Maybe better,
Way more than we could ask
Or expect.
When we walked through the door
At 10 PM
They were happy to see us
But not
Neglected happy.
There is no more
We could ask for,
There is so much
To be thankful for.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The less I carry

Off to Florida today to see my beloved and the rest of his family. Back on the weekend. Traveling light.

I will go to Florida,
Not take the computer.
The less I carry
The better off I am.
I will take
One carefully chosen book.
The less I carry
The better off I am.
This was even true
Before all the head stuff.
The less I carry
The more seems possible.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Generosity, one step at a time. Leave it to a Girl Scout to make it to our door on an icy sidewalk to remind us of our generosity.

We didn’t
Get the sidewalk clear
Of ice,
Yet still
The Girl Scout
Made it to our door.
She knew
We would buy.
We buy every year.
This is a generous neighborhood,
Her mother said
People always buy here.
In keeping
With the neighborhood’s
I now work
On the icy sidewalk.
I add to the bags`
For Goodwill.
I allow the kitten
To play with the ornaments
On the bottom
Of the tree.

Monday, January 4, 2016

There's always tomorrow

Continued life with kitten.

We both woke up with headaches,
Unlike the kitten,
She thought headache-y people
Meant more people
To play with.
Even the grandfather cat
Until she woke him up.
The turtle
Is in winter hibernation mode.
The kitten
Has not figured out
How to disturb
A sleeping turtle.
Maybe tomorrow.
There’s always

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Covered with camels

We anticipated Epiphany in church today. Every year I laugh about the Isaiah reading and being covered in camels, the three gifts brought by wise men... Were there really three? Were they kings? What does a baby do with those gifts?

People covered with camels,
Wise folk with strange gifts

Saturday, January 2, 2016

All of this

We don't get to decide what counts as treasure.

All of this
Has nothing to do
With how many binders
In the closet,
How much grain
In the storehouse,
How much money
We leave behind.

All of this
Is not about
How much,
How many,
Who we know
Or don’t know.

All of this
Is simply
All the possibility
Its realization.

All of this
Our treading
Our dancing
Our writing
Our seeing
Our hearing
Our caring about
Our loving
That one thing
Which no one else
May even notice.

All of this
Is treasure.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Create your own binders

Sometimes things are best heard in threes.

Your own binders.
Open them up.
Let the pages fly.
Let the words loose
Into the world.
They are your voice.
They are your hands.
Open them.
They are not meant
To be contained
Keep practicing.
Drive (if you can).
Walk (if you can).
Write (if you can).
Create your own binders
No matter what.
Open them.
Open them.
Open them.
Let them go.
Let them go.
Let them go.
Do not leave them behind.
Leave them forward.
Sometimes things are best heard
In threes.