Monday, October 30, 2017


Thinking this morning of Andrew Lloyd Weber (musicals), Malcolm Guite (sonnets), and me (sermons and poems.) and all of us children.

I wonder
What it must be like
To hear,
To see
As a musical
Which must be
Or perhaps to write
In sonnet form.
Or perhaps to preach
As a sermon.
Even perhaps to hold everyone
As a child
To be nurtured
To be held
To be honored.
There they are:

Sunday, October 29, 2017


It is a late fall. Usually by now, the trees have changed color and dropped a lot of their leaves. Stubborn old trees.

Still waiting
For the ginkgo
To change color,
Drop its leaves.
It seems longer this year
Than others.
Will they drop green
Of yellow?
Can they do that?
Sometimes oaks
Hold leaves,
Through the winter.
Stubborn old trees
No matter how much wind
Or snow
They will do
What they want.
I know people
Who declare themselves
No matter what
The winter says.
They hold on,
Wait for spring
Until new leaves
Push out
The old.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

We will stay here

There's a difference between remodeling to sell and remodeling to stay. We are remodeling to stay.

We will stay here,
Remodel the downstairs,
Put up bird feeders
In the backyard,
More perennials,
Treat the ash,
The crab apple.
We will reclaim
This house
As our own.
And now
And now
And now
We will figure again
This all looks like.
We will do it
For ourselves.

Friday, October 27, 2017

We bond

For Danuta, the woman who comes every two weeks and tells me she has stacks of books everywhere, too. Both of us know books and movies are not the same thing.

We bond,
Know books and movies
Are not the same thing.
The stories we tell
In our imagination
Are not
The stories
A screenwriter
They are
The plot and characters
Have some semblance
Of sameness
They are not
The same.
Read the book
Go to the movie
But don’t figure
They are the same.
We bond.
We are readers.
We know books and movies
Must be digested
As separate things.
I say
Or the other.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


This was one of my first "of course I can" experiences. One builds upon another.

Years ago
I worked
For an insurance agency.
Because I had majored
In Greek,
My 81 year old boss
Hired me.
Anyone who
Can learn Greek
Must surely be able
To learn insurance.
I did not
Dissuade him
Of his statement.
I worked there
For three years.
I learned insurance,
Explained new-fangled things
Like mopeds
To the rest
Of the office.
He was right.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Extravagant Wednesdays

This Minnesota girl feels odd claiming a day for herself...but I am. It even feels extravagant. I am practicing extravagance and working to realize it is not a bad thing.

Are for me.
Extravagant Wednesdays.
It feels indulgent
To sit in a chair,
Wait to see
Who comes by,
Who offers a greeting,
Who offers
A presence,
Who says it is good
To see me,
Who walks by
Allows me
To smile a possibility
Of grace.
Extravagant Wednesdays.
A gift
For them
For me.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

New raincoat

The last I saw it was in Scotland. Perhaps someone there is wearing my pink raincoat.

I have begun
The things
I went back to school
Oh so
They go
At their own pace.
I lead
Or trail behind.
It depends
On the day.
Sometimes it rains.
I have lost
My pink raincoat.
Today is a day
I trail behind.
I will need to buy
A new raincoat
Never mind
The color.

Monday, October 23, 2017


It just occurred to me that Callie is right-pawed. This is clearly not a serious reflection, for the lefties in my life.

The young cat
Is right-pawed,
Grooms herself,
With right paw only.
I wonder
Of left-pawed cats
Whether there are
Do they have
The same
Do they catch
The occasional
Do they need
To eat
With opposite
Forks and knives?
Do they need
To be seated
At particular places
At the
Thanksgiving table?

Sunday, October 22, 2017


I have volumes upon volumes, blog post upon blog post of poetry to keep track of the days. I woke this morning to the furniture being rearranged, a signal that something has changed.

I dreamed
The living room
Furniture and paintings
In different places.
I woke to
The rocking chair
In a new location
Than it was
When I went to bed.
My beloved says
He moved it there
That’s not the only thing
That changed

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Found nuts

Obviously I do not write in particular forms or rhyme patterns. On occasion a haiku will drop from the sky or be dug up from the ground. Otherwise,,,no.

I am glad
For all those poems
With form.
I am glad
For the ones
Which do not appear
As sonnet
As villanelle
As haiku
As haibun.
I do not write them,
At least
Not usually.
Dropped down
From the sky.
They eat crumbs
Thrown out
On the patio,
Nuts buried
In the ground
When the blue jays remember
Where they are.

Friday, October 20, 2017

After the fall

Thank you, Polly. I heal from a cracked rib (this time) and it's good to have people in caring positions around me.

Two weeks
After the fall
The trainer suggests
We forgo
The core hold.
It would hurt
Like a mother.
She says,
In that inimitable way
She has.

My core
Thanks her.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ash leaves

Still waiting for the ginkgo down the block to drop all its leaves at once, a regular fall occurrence. Working to hear the ash leaves in back talk with each other.

The ash leaves
In back
Are half green,
Half yellow.
The fall light
Illuminates them
So both show
The same.
They hold the branches,
Promise each other
To let go
At the same time,
Wait for fall wind
Or rain
To join each other,
Cover the grass.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Thank you, Kelly Flanagan, for naming that, for us, for the world, there is significant overlap between the things of this world, even as we go about creating false boundaries.

I admit
I would prefer everything
With clean, clear
Good versus bad
Light versus dark
Life versus death.
Our cat caught a mouse
Last night,
Worried it to death.
We woke to a dead mouse
On the bathroom floor.
It is better
Than a dead mouse
On the pillow.
The cat had done
What she is meant
To do.
We still mourn
The mouse,
Now under
The front bushes.
With cats and mice
There are clean, clear
With us
We mourn
The mouse
The front bushes.

Monday, October 16, 2017


We often, too often, use the word: installation, when a priest begins a new position in a parish. What happens when they leave, or it has been determined that they will leave? Is there a curb while they wait for the man in overalls with the truck with slatted sides? All too often...Yes.

We install appliances,
Plug them in
Let them work
Until they
Or we determine
It’s time
For a newer model.
Then we
Put them on the curb.
They are carried away
By a man
In overalls
And a truck
With slatted sides.
Such an odd term
For people:
Are installed.
People are cherished,
Held with honor,
Prayed for,
On the curb.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Blood in the game

Hard to know what the death toll will finally be. What if we added all of it up? What if we all had skin in whatever game is being played? All of it?

Our flag
Will not be
At half mast
For Mogadishu,
231 or more
They will mourn
For three days.
Their president
Gave blood today
In solidarity.
He has blood
In whatever game
Is being

Saturday, October 14, 2017


Thanks, Bill Bippus and Rick Stevens. I am humming.

A friend named
The future as
A horse
With no name.
The future
Is always
We would like
To name it.
In some ways
The future is itself
Always a desert
With no name.
Never mind
The horse.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The world expands

I tried to explain this over coffee. 
I was not successful. 
I am not always successful. 
Welcome to the world I inhabit

We grow older,
The world expands
Beyond anything
We knew before,
Well beyond
Anything we knew.
We think we knew and lo
We didn’t.
Here comes
That new thing
We were not aware of
Only recognized
We could not have known it
It took all of yesterday
To expand
Into today.
I tried to name this
Over coffee
This morning.
I’m not sure
I was successful
But then again
Success has changed today
From yesterday

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Double rainbow

No rainbow in Wisconsin last weekend.

I missed
The double rainbow
Last weekend.
I am grateful
My son captured it.
I remember
The triple rainbow
Off the coast
Of Iona.
Such things
Must be held
And remembered
And held
And remembered
And held
And remembered,
When they come
In twos
And threes.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


One with the ants

I am 62.
When I fall
Which is still
Way too often,
I am one
With the ants.
We speak
To antenna.
Are fascinating
I look at those
In wheelchairs
On walkers
Using canes.
They are my kin.
As I come
To antenna
With my sisters
The ants
I am one.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My office is not spare

Office space is important. It matters to people...what is safe to say or not say.

My office
Is not spare.
There are
Enough words
Enough things
For people to hold
With their eyes
With their hands
A pillow or two
In case a pause
Is needed between words.
One man knelt
An entire session
On a multi-colored blanket,
Very little.
I guess he needed
The space.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

No matter what

This is one of those tough lessons...Advising, and realizing we are not responsible for the outcome.

No matter
How often
I advise others
What to do,
I know
It’s never
Up to me
To hold them accountable
For my advice.
Of course
This is not the same
As not speaking
At all.
I speak
I wait to see
What happens.

Thursday, October 5, 2017


I have never used a chainsaw. I think I am afraid of what may happen, if I do.

To a person,
Male or female,
I hear
How easy it is
To keep going
Once you start
With a chainsaw.
There is nothing left
And the bushes
The shrubs
The trees
Must begin again
Bare space,
The chainsaw
Put away
For at least
One more season.
You know how it is
With a chainsaw.

Monday, October 2, 2017


As a child I always knew the sun breaking through the cloud was God.

Sometimes it feels
Like violence
I pray
For a different outcome,
That ray of sun
Through a dark cloud.
I always knew
It was God
Shining through,
Though others
Told me
It couldn’t
Possibly be.