Different

As it turns out,

That 1980’s career test didn’t lie.

It is true that in your hour of crisis

I will be the one to show up and hold your hand.

You may call on me when your soul is stomping

In protest against the Almighty.

I will listen and pray,

Searching the Scriptures with you,

Waiting alongside you for rest and peace.

And in the quiet of night,

All I felt and observed will swirl onto paper

In the form of verse

Or , perhaps, a rambling letter

With an oddly metaphorical slant.

Yes, a poet-pastor wearing the title of  Teacher.

But this girl of mine,

The one who called  twelfth grade English death by poetry,

The one who runs into danger,

Leaving her mother wincing and praying,

Her career test didn’t lie either.

And that is a good thing.

For if you need to be tubed at the scene of an accident,

Or are in need of dramatic measures during your heart attack,

My  listening ear and quiet words will do you little good.

It is my antonym that you will need.

The one who takes it all in

And acts without thought of fear.

The paramedic  who wears the title of Daughter.

,

Summer’s End

In the early morning the boy noted 

That there were just two more days remaining for Norah Jones to sing us Summertime.

And, because it was true,

We laced up our shoes

And ran away to the park.

Just far enough away from the traffic 

That the noise of the city sounded like ocean waves

(when we closed our eyes and thought hard about it),

We forgot about the world’s sad news and the laundry pile.

While the boy turned a tree into a spaceship 

The girl and I talked of the benefits of balconies on bedrooms

And canopy beds.

When it came time to walk home,

We stomped on mushrooms,

Counted flags,

 And picked up a twisted stick to paint like a snake

As soon as we arrived home. 

.

If

If I cannot remain in the sanctuary

Singing a well written hymns

With those who know its meaning,

If it’s impossible to linger around the table

Sharing food and laughter with loved ones,

If there’s no time to enjoy lovely scenery

Or a glass of wine with a dear friend,

Then please, 

In the midst of this unceasing activity, 

Let me recognize the quiet aches of others

And have a little time to sit at my desk

With ready words of comfort

At the end of my pen.

 

Married

Twenty odd years ago,

A fairy-sized bride climbed into a haystack of satin and lace.

And although she had dearly wished to step down the aisle in her Capezios,

Feeling the organ music under her toes and knowing she was fully alive,

The gown was too long.

She had to don heels

And tiptoe toward her beloved

In an unfamiliar Barbie-doll gait,

As if the wedding were some kind of secret affair.

 

Yesterday, a  forty-something mom slipped on a peasant skirt,

Her fairy figure long ago donated to a higher calling.

She sashayed down the hall to comb the unruly hair of a boy.

And listened as her beloved,

Growing gray right along side her,

Complimented all the daughters on their beauty.

She said good bye to a man-son heading out the door to work,

And she felt a flash of ache for the other boy,

Who wasn’t theirs to keep.

 

As she sat in the black box theater that night,

Delighting in artists who soar in their craft,

She looked down the aisle.

A row of humanity,

Spawn from a union of two;

A lover and friend beside her,

After many years of gains and loses.

She felt the music of intermission under her toes;

Fully alive.

Morning

To wake up the children with peaches and hot buttered toast

While Mr. Taylor sings

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning;

It is the best way, the eleven year old said,

And I agree.

 

Filling the first morning thoughts with the sacred suggestion;

The the day is worth singing about,

That it holds beauty.

Our collective souls sigh and know

That this is solid truth.

 

But may we please follow it with our friend James going to Carolina in his mind?

For this isn’t Oklahoma

And our days are gifts, but not in Technicolor.

The probability of those statue-still cattle charging

Sometime before dusk Is high.

 

 

Vacation

I am not at all sure about this business of climbing into a steel tube,

Encapsulated with strangers,

Sitting close,

And breathing up personal space.

 

I am a bit uneasy at the ka-thunk of wheels

on a concrete runway,

Their abrupt disturbance

Closely followed by the “brakes don’t fail me now” moments.

 

But experiencing a place where the power lines are few

And the table is full,

Secures my opinion.

The destination was worth time spent above clouds.

 

 

True Story

In six years of city life

I have become accustomed to the unexpected

Wandering into the space between my kitchen window

And the sidewalk.

 

The little family with a broken down car

Who shared our juice boxes under the tree;

A woman wanting to sell her coffee pot

Or trade it for a gallon of milk;

 

The intoxicated man with the inside out umbrella

Who relieved himself at the curb drain;

The guy who asked for work

So he could go bury his mother.

 

The woman with the cart

Who sat against our telephone pole for the morning;

The boy in the truck

Who smashed into the pole on New Year’s Eve.

 

But this week,

Perhaps the strangest visitor yet.

A tossed away wig,

Long and curly, with a hairnet still stuck inside,

Right beside my mailbox post.

 

 

Letters (Five Minute Friday: Lost)

Some like to shout their life’s events through digital megaphones,

Blaring into the screens of the masses

Who may or may not care.

The hastily gathered circle of Friends

Tangled together in a virtual web.

 

But I still prefer to whisper my life onto an actual page,

Tucked in envelopes for the chosen eyes

Of the select few I’ve carefully collected

And kept

Because I could not bear for connection to be lost.

 

 

Come see what other blogger are writing in 5 minutes! Five Minute Friday

(1999-2011)

Three years ago

I was not expecting to be standing in a line

Having a pastor inquire as to my well being.

I did not know I would only be able to speak of the unfairness of the question,

Or that I would turn the inquiry back on him

To hear him say that  he was wrung out.

 

I did not anticipate that my Hospice nurse friend would be there

And speak to me of  the ways of grieving children,

While her husband, with a fresh-again loss,

Wept before another father.

I did not know the brother would place newborn lyrics in my hand,

A youth given grace to process tragedy long before his elders.

 

I did not guess that I would professionally steel myself as I spoke to the father,

Or that his physician-calm ways would so poorly mask his eyes.

But I was not surprised that as I made my way to the mother

Tears spilled down freely,

When we talked about  sons,

Here and gone.

 

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever… ” ~ Deuteronomy 29:29

Breathing (Five Minute Friday: Release)

The boy,

Once two pounds small and decidedly birdlike,

Slips into a pool of peers.

 

His days began with a faint gasp,

And in a dozen ER rooms the mother has inhaled reality:

She cannot take in air on his behalf.

 

She must make sure she is breathing

Or her fingernails will go blue

And she will be of no help.

 

Today, as he plunges below  the surface,

A wiry fish in Spiderman trunks,

She practices the wait and breathes.

 

He comes up for air with a dripping smile,

Giggling loud

And singing the praises of goggles.

 

 

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