Softening

IMG_2566 (2)

raw macaroni

 

bitter, unforgiving hearts

 

warm until tender

Advertisements

I Met a Yogi While Walking

calico cat - shutterstock

The calico cat

sat, motionless, guru-like

inscrutable sage

Total Commitment

 

Photo by Felice R. Bond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like a tiny dive bomber,

the hummingbird 

plunges her whole self

into the heart of a trumpet vine flower,

drinking deeply the sweet.

 

Can I, like she,

immerse myself,

regardless of hazards

and the shortness of the season,

in the prospects of the day?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embroidery of Hope

peacockWhat was it I hoped for–
a sixteen year old
who was usually more interested
in volleyball than sewing–

when I French-knotted
salmon flowers and
stitched royal blue and lime
into a flowing peacock’s tail?

Was I thinking of a handsome husband
and happily ever after,
of a houseful of giggling girls
and Gerber baby boys?

I’m sure I didn’t imagine
sleepless nights with a critically ill baby
or what we would do
when my husband lost his job.

I also never envisioned
the thrill of twin grandchildren
jumping up and down by the window,
shouting, “Grandma’s here!”

I had a vague idea of my
hoped-for love and life,
but not an inkling of the
down-and-dirty daily press.

Now, the regal peacock reminds me
that my forever is still in the making,
and thanks to sacred covenants,
I should continue embroidering hope.

De-clawed

vanilla-the-cat

From her cover

behind the euonymus,

deadly talons

lashed out.

Dogs cowered

and even people

paid homage.

Behind a screen

of grape vines,

she crept, inching,

black ninja silent,

tail beating a slow,

metronomic trance,

eyes, burning coals,

then, bam!

a small bird lay dead.

 

Now,

the deadly

killer skulks

inside the garage;

snowy tufts of hair

fall out in clumps;

mice no longer

skirt the yard;

the graveyard

of feathers

is gone.

Today,

she mews

in her refuge,

a shadow

of her former

assassin-self.

 

 

My mother-in-law,

no less vital

than the cat,

used to wield

a wooden spoon

like a wand,

conjuring up gravy

and mashed potatoes

that caused people

to moan and swoon,

bringing down the

brawny defenses

of hulking

farm workers

with rhubarb pies

and whipping cream.

 

 

Now, ancient,

like the cat,

her world is

a room

peopled with

recurring memories,

memories

of days gone by

where truth

and fiction

intermingle,

of a time

when her spatula

was a spear,

her frying pan

fortress.

No Access

 

 

Twenty-two thousand days,

and only a few of them

as clearly outlined

as morning clouds silhouetted

in shimmering scarlet

and apricot

with the sun sneaking

up behind them.

 

Faded, half-forgotten images

flicker across my mind:

trotting along the ditch bank

beside my dad,

standing tippy toe on the fence

to peep at newborn piglets,

watching out the window

as four little blondies bounced

on the trampoline–

 

but whole days and weeks,

even months, have vanished.

Where are they?

I’m sure my parents

cuddled me and

cooed me,

but my memory

of those first three years

is marked “no access.”

 

What about the days

I read books to my children,

kissed their owwies,

threw fly balls to them,

read scriptures at breakfast,

drove them to games,

coaxed and caressed them,

admonished and scolded them?

 

Again, I have glimpses,

glimmers of then.

But what purpose those days

if they pale and grow dim?

I can number the hours

as they each disappear

along with my old self

silently slipping away.

Place of Deep Healing

 

?????????????????????

Mist-drenched,

she peers through falls—

aboriginal woman

saluting creation.

 

Cell phones and Facebook

recede, insignificant,

as riotous, rushing water

explodes over the rim.

 

Flaming arrows pierce façade–

bullets from the sun,

ricocheting diamonds

on the dripping canyon wall.

 

Cynicism evaporates,

floats out with the spray,

leaving vulnerability in this

small spot of greenness,

 

the place of “deep healing

[from which] we venture forth.”1

 

1 Ling-yun, Hsieh. “Climbing Green-Cliff Mountain in Yung-chia,” trans. David Hinton. Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China (New York: New Directions, 2002) 23.

Provident Living

squirrel with seed

On the first frigid day of fall

two squirrels scavenge

for nuts and seeds in the

lightly falling snow.

 

Why don’t they cozy up

in their squirrel hole

as soon as the weather

turns frosty?

 

How do they know

they should glean

before they dip

into their winter supply?

 

Do squirrel mothers

teach their children

the difference between

convenience and necessity?

Resurrection

orange butterfly
How will flesh and spirit reunite?
Will it be like marshaling the troops?
Will the spirit give a signal and
all the body cells come rushing back?
Or will it be like assembling a jigsaw puzzle,
a slower, more deliberate putting together?
Perhaps it is a purely scientific process:
take sixteen strands of autosomal DNA
and link to 32 strands of mitochondrial . . .
Maybe it is like those toys that grow when you add water:
put the bones in a basin with a quart of grow solution,
leave for 24 hours until body is full-sized, then re-inhabit.
Perchance God will give us brand new bodies
that look like the old ones, minus irritating imperfections.
Or it might be a sacramental ritual of faith and prayer
or a spontaneous springing forth,
like so many crocuses responding to the sun.
Or maybe we will majestically arise in our fully perfect form
as one by one we are called forth from the grave.

 

Craters of the Moon

IMG_5908

As we exclaim over a perfect breadcrust bomb

and walk past lava balloons and rock popcorn,

skirt cinder cones and blocks rafted

into place by boiling lava,

as we marvel at blue dragon lava

glinting in the autumn sun

and carefully pick our way

across thin-crusted shelly pahoehoe (1),

we wonder why God created a wasteland

where fire and brimstone belched from the earth,

where verdant landscapes became vast tracks

of ropy, twisted, brittle rock,

where people come to gawk but not to live,

where kipukas (2) bespeak God’s promise of

“beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning”(3).


  1. pahoehoe: smooth, ropy, or billowy lava
  2. kipuka: islands of vegetation
  3. Isaiah 61:3