Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Puppy love

That's the thing,
with puppies --
it's not always easy to know
which end is up,
especially when they're fluffy:
you might reach out to pet
what you thought was a furry head
and get a furry rump instead.
Which doesn't mean we love them
any less or any more;
we just walk them, and scratch them,
toss their balls and feed them,
and rejoice
in their undiscriminating

* * *

Monday, August 30, 2010

The fragrance of delight

when we were young
and small
and the simple pleasure
of a day in the garden,
a shell from the beach,
a run through the sprinkler,
was all that we needed
to bring forth a smile?
Perhaps it is time
to run through the garden,
take a walk on the beach,
listen to the ocean,
delight in the fragrance
of wet grass, or seaweed,
of flowers
or pine trees...
where can we go
that will look, and feel
and smell and sound
like home?

* * *

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Color in the Dark and Ordinary

There is always color
in the dark
and in the ordinary,
in the familiar
and mundane,
in the serviceable textures
that surround and keep us safe,
the things we take for granted
and the nuts and bolts of living;
you only need
to take the time to look.
And if you can remember that,
what --
or whom --
will you see differently today?

* * *

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Don't go there

There's something about
our woundedness --
the way those old hurts have
of gushing forth
when we take time to look --
that's just so...
unappealing?  earthy?
kind of ... you know,
"too much information,
don't need to see that right now."
And yet, there's so much there
to work with,
so much possibility to explore.
Still --
I just really didn't want to go there...
not today, anyway.

* * *

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shadows on the path

The truth lies here
beneath our feet,
and still we fail to see
until the blues come along
and throw it into relief:
there will be pain
and sorrow,
and crosses we must bear;
shadows will fall
upon the ground
where each of us must walk.
But on a sunny
summer afternoon,
I only saw the colors,
patterns in the paint;
it took a cloudy day
to see the light.
And yet --
rejoice, I hear, rejoice
and again I hear

* * *

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The dark side of benevolence

How benevolent
we long to be!
This wish --
that I could smile upon
the people in my life
and wave some sort of magic wand
to make each wish
come true;
to find them jobs,
or pay their bills --
may not be solely motivated
by compassion,
or generosity,
but may have a darker side;
a longing to rise above,
to be perceived as kind,
or fair
or maybe
as God?

* * *

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Truth is not a wound

I'd always suspected
that under that impenetrable surface
I might find vulnerability,
or even complexity.
And you, you just assume
I crept down in the night
with my tin-cutters
to break through to your brokenness and shame,
but no: it was only words that cut away the mask:
exposing, not a wound,
but simply -- truth.

* * *

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Where we're meant to be

Two paths emerged for me that day,
one on a wall,
one on the ferry floor,
but at the time
I couldn't see
the larger implications,
the gentle clues
placed here to lead me
from where I am
to where I'm meant to go.
How often, I wonder,
are we so caught up
in where we think we're headed
that we fail to see
that we're exactly
where we're meant to be?

* * *

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hidden in the flow

Take time to look;
who knows what light you'll see,
what blessings dance
beneath your toes,
what offerings there might be
drifting in the tide of days,
waiting for an attentive eye,
a questing heart,
a longing soul
whose hunger ignites
potential yet unseen.
Take time to look,
and breathe,
and know
the glory that is hidden
in the flow.

* * *

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Differing perspectives

Watch it, kids!
We ARE watching!
Watch that you don't fall in!
We're watching that fish!
That's a shark, not a fish: Be careful!
We ARE being careful!
Don't stand so close to the edge!
I'm not standing, I'm squatting!

What I see, and what you see:
two very different perspectives.
Both are right
But only one is open to adventure.
How can we regain that faith,
that youthful attitude
of joy, and curiosity?

* * *

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dissolving boundaries

It's very clear
that I'm not welcome here,
and yet,
if I turn back,
will anyone accept
the evidence I bring
of rising tides
and continental shifts,
that the living water they crave
is close at hand?
This narrow edge between
what is theirs and what is yours
grows daily more uncomfortable;
how can we dissolve the boundaries,
declare all of this landscape

* * *

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sun, flowering

As day draws to a close,
the sun decides
she's had enough
of nurturing all those other flowers
and in a burst of energy --
just before she drops
below the hills --
she tries on
a few petals of her own.
I think I'll be a rose today,
or perhaps a yellow primrose,
she says,
and tucks her rays into soft folds
like a golden cloak
to ward off the impending chill
of evening.

* * *

Thursday, August 19, 2010

From here to there

Whenever someone asks,
"How did you get
from here to there;
How is it that you saw
the possibilities?"
it's easiest
to tell the truth --
I honestly don't know:
I sat and stared
and followed my heart;
I did my best
to draw out the colors I liked,
to keep a good balance
of light and dark,
to allow it to become
whatever it was born to be.
Creating art
is a bit like parenting,
except --
you have a bit more control
over the outcome!

* * *

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Throw me in the drink...

There's something about colors,
especially these bright ones,
the ones that are primary,
and pure:
Do they remind us of childhood,
of sunny days and new toys?
Of Nik-L-Nips and Lik-m-Aid?
Or is it just
the richness
of the light,
the joys that seem to overflow,
spilling out across the water
like fish
eager for the spawning
or marbles,
their catseyes glowing
in the afternoon sun?
Do I need to know? Do you?
Or can we just drink it in,
this juicy rich flavor?

* * *

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sailing away

Now the morning sun is rising
And it’s time to sail away.
Though this dock has been most pleasant
We’re calling it a day.
We’ve loved our time here,
Had such fun;
We've danced and played and sung
But as the leaves begin to turn
it's time for moving on.

We’ll raise the jib and ply the oars,
Whatever it will take
To carry us to other shores
Where soon we’ll sleep and wake
Much closer to our families
But far from summer friends .
We’ll hold each other in our hearts
And plan to meet again.

(To be sung to the tune of the Finnish folk song, “The Golden Day is Dying,” which the camp sings every night as they lower the flags before dinner.)

* * *

Monday, August 16, 2010

The lacy curve of blessing

Abundant life,
You promised us;
Abundant life you give
And yet we all too easily
Ignore the gifts
That wash up
on the beaches of our days.
We do not see
the lacy curve of blessing
And crane our eyes instead
for what we do not have.
We ignore the scent of promise
And prefer to wrinkle noses
At the stench of what we’ve lost;
What cannot be.
We can no longer taste the color of the sky
But thirst instead for the intoxicating brew
Of new and different;
Of what our neighbors have.

* * *

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Light like a blessing

When morning comes,
the sun pours in
and all the light
of the previous night
comes flowing in as well;
a surge of memory
ebbs and flows
like the waves that lap the shore
below these cabin walls.
And light,
like a blessing
echoes in my heart,
a gentle blaze
of reverent wonder
that music heals, and with persistence
we can achieve our goals;
that some traditions
continue to awaken hearts;
that love contines
to accept, and forgive
and bless all who enter here.

* * *

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Who calls each one by name

Some friendships never die,
But linger on;
We return to the dock
After a long absence
To find the old friends waiting here,
A graceful invitation,
As if we’d never left.
What gentle hand has tied them here?
Who calls each one by name,
And restores their paint;
Who takes them in
To protect them from the storm,
Then safely guides them to the dock again
To enjoy the calm reflecting seas
and sparkle in the morning sun
Awaiting the paddlers soon to come?

* * *

Friday, August 13, 2010

Becoming art

She’s a table,
A little old,
A little rickety;
Covered with paint splotches
From all the projects
She’s helped kids work on
through the years.
She’s not a work of art –
Or is she?
(and I never really wanted
to believe this)
Assisting others
is enough;
After a while
You no longer need to do art –
You become art.
But wait –
I wanted
To make some of those splashes

* * *

Thursday, August 12, 2010

From rejected to cornerstone

Another foggy morning,
and the styrofoam block
that floated into our lagoon
turns from light to dark,
adding definition
to an otherwise gray world.
Yet another instance
where something we
who are the builders of our world
want to hate
or reject
becomes the cornerstone
of some larger world-view.
But I forget:
You already know
about that sort of thing --

* * *

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An Attitude of Doubt

"Consider the lilies," I heard you say,
in a paragraph that ends
"Oh, ye of little faith,"
and rebelliously I ask, consider what?
Consider its fragile purity,
or the brevity of its life?
What use, this phallic thrust
of pistil and stigma;
that graceful curl of corolla?
What exactly is it I'm to trust,
and how would this delicate beauty --
so quickly dead and gone --
ever serve to reassure me?
When doubt and negativity prevail,
like Hobbes I'm more convinced that life
is "Nasty, brutish, and short."

* * *

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We'll wait together

I've just pulled off the ferry,
on my way to something else,
and I see you standing there,
patient, waiting to play --
for me?
for some passing traveler?
or just for you?
Which is it?
But right now
your fingers are interlaced,
your feet crossed,
and I feel you saying
the opportunity
to sing the song
you were born to sing
has not quite yet arrived.
Ah, I think: I understand...
We'll know it when we see it,
when we feel it.
And until then, we'll wait.

* * *

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Saying yes to the stars

You and I see things
from quite different perspectives --
sometimes you look this way,
sometimes I look that way;
sometimes I'm a blue state,
sometimes you're a red --
but we both love the rocks
and we both love the seaweed
and we both need the water
and the plants to survive.
So let's cherish our differences,
say yes to possibilities
and maybe -- just maybe --
all our kids will be stars --
and bright purple to boot!

* * *

The face of trust

Her mother bought this,
after she left home,
and installed it in her garden,
by the kitchen door.
She never understood --
it didn't look like anything
she'd ever known about her mom --
but staring at it now,
lit by the waning moon,
I  see it is the face of trust:
a willingness to be, to shine,
and allow the lines of life --
the snakes, and roots,
and wrinkles carved by time
to inscribe themselves upon us
and not be touched
by fall, or fail, or fear.

* * *

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Not the center of the universe

Though occasionally
for quite brief moments
it might appear otherwise,
I am not
the center of the universe,
and neither are you.
Each of us travels
her own road
to her own destination;
it would be foolish for me -- or you --
to turn here
and follow the light
into the shallows
only to crash upon the shores
wouldn't it?
And if we ships
pass in the night,
isn't it better just to wave
than to change course;
to stay on track
and dream of resting in the light?

* * *

Friday, August 6, 2010

The roots of our anguish

these are the roots of our anguish:
the trust that was betrayed,
the hearts that we betrayed;
the ones who failed to love
and the ones we failed to love;
the time they could not spend with us,
and the time we did not choose to spend
with those we could not love enough.
And though we try to stay above, removed --
dancing like leaves in the treetops --
some part of us knows
that these are the roots --
these roots of our anguish --
that these are the roots that feed us,
and feed our souls.

* * *
(For Gloria and Mike, with gratitude)

* * *

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Just pause -- and breathe

Could you hold my hand?
It takes all my courage
and some of yours as well
to pace myself
as I move from darkness into light.
Help to stay present,
not to lean forward
and rush into the future;
help me not to miss
the sounds and sights and scents
that greet me here in this dark place.
Perhaps, if we were really brave
we could pause here together
on the edge of light
and breathe
just pause -- and breathe.

* * *

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hidden depths

What cross-currents tug at me,
that ride below the waves
and pull my fragile ship
from shore to shore
and back again;
what hidden depths
are fueling
this calm journey;
what deeper resonances pull
in ways I fail to understand
and lead me
through the shoals and dark
to this bright anchored buoy...
I'll tie my line to You
and ride these heaving seas
exultant, safe.

* * *

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tickled by the daisies

She's happy here,
at home,
and I, in seeing her,
can feel the same:
for this brief time
we stand so close,
so near to clouds
and snowy mountains --
our eyes and toes
tickled by grass and clover,
freckled daisies, indian paintbrush,
and queen anne's lace --
breathing the same chilled air
we are one
as You and I
are one.

* * *

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A whisper of imagery

in the still waters of soul
below incessant patterns of thought
the images whisper;
their scent drifts briefly into clarity
then fades or floats
to the periphery of knowing.
Their fluttering
ignites our dreams
and trips the heart
with faint rememberings
How can we capture,
focus in,
come to know and understand,
place them briefly
in a clear glass jar
and then release
before they lose
our aspirations?
In their ephemeral transcendence
our transformation lies...

* * *