Friday, December 29, 2017

what this is not

This is not just surprise and pleasure.
This is not just beauty sometimes
  too hot to touch.
This is not a blessing with a beginning and an end.
This is not just a wild summer.
This is not conditional.

... discovered in Mary Oliver's book of poems Felicity

We marked 26 years together yesterday

a day that has bent with the weight of
joys and sorrows for others in our lives

a day that has thickened with years of
walking and
remembering and
gathering and
blizzards and
travelling and

a day that has shimmered with colors of
our children and their wonderful life partners
and grandchildren
and friendships

we are grateful.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

holiness in the rearview mirror

of course there are some times
when you know you are standing on holy ground

when a bush burns without burning up
or a voice compels you to take off your shoes

or you lift your eyes to the heavens
stunned at what you hear in a night sky

echoing forward through all of your days

but there are times
when it only shimmers when you look backwards

like the road trip through Jasper
when Mount Robson
slipped in through the rearview mirror

and you wonder how mountains
play hide and seek

or you play marbles with a two year old
trying to find the logic in
the ways the marbles are moved

listening to the precise words
a running sound track of the game

and you wonder how a child with no sin
navigated through two

what did holiness look like in Mary's house
how did he navigate his discovery of color
and depth and taste

and sounds of words
word of life
learning to speak

creator of the universe
shaped clay into life and breath
little hands picking up little stones

Thursday, December 7, 2017

lists of names - ways we remember

Many summers ago, gathered with friends in an apartment on a Sunday morning,
I followed a rabbit trail of questions and ended up in St Matthew's genealogy of Jesus. 
It was the first time that I had seen anyone lean forward in interest when I started reading a list of names
... was the father of ... was the father of ...with the occasional whose mother was ...
The boys took their hoods off, and began to ask questions about the "begats", and whose grandfather David was, and how that story connected with another one that they had heard.

I discovered the author Debrah Ellis through a book
on McNally Robinson's 'once banned books' table
Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak  
It begins with names.  pages of names.
Palestinian and Israeli children who have been killed in the crossfire.

Ottawa's peace tower dominates the river bank
inside the memorial chamber, the names
of Canadian soldiers who have died in our wars
open books facing in all directions
names written with intricate calligraphy

each morning at 11:00 someone goes into the tower 
opens the glass
turns a page in each book
closes the glass

NYC's ground zero
marking the footprints of towers fallen
names of the people fallen etched deeply into the parapet
no mark on the horizon
waterfalls constantly rushing downward

a new tower standing defiantly by 
over constant crowds of people
tracing the letters
the names etched deeply into the parapet

Sunday, December 3, 2017

amtrack sunset

as the sun sets she calls
all color to herself
leaving the forests black
against a blazing sky

fading till all that is left
are faint glimmering
lights in the crescent moon's wake