September 1st: End of Summer

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Bonfire Night 

Summer night

that brands our minds

with a rivulet of gold

 

like the ruddy flames

that flicker upward

from the last bonfire

glowing at our feet.

 

The sparks singe

and disappear

pinpoints of light

radiating north

 

unlike the memories

of celebrated days

marked by summer’s

sweetness-

 

which instead, nestle

deeper

aflame forever,

heart, soul, mind, memory:

Bonfire Night 2019.

Lenten Hope, Lenten Joy

i

40-day journey to the cross.

I posture my heart.

I posture my soul.

Face down- yet

lifted

(high)

ii

I clasp hands earnestly

and beseech

for joy and hope

at the table gathered

with children.

In the morning.

I pray.

iii

Later.

It is afternoon.

And, I am jolting

forward. stop. forward. stop.

hurtling jaggedly home

two cello players car (in)side with me.

and suddenly...

I am deliciously

captivated by the

word

incandescent-

incandescent... distilled to me from a moment

in a beautiful song. 

(I would never have found but for the son by my side)

iv

We are almost home- and oldest cellist and I study quickly

to gain the full understanding

of this lovely, lovely word:

it speaks to me.

  1. adjective incandescent: 

(of light) produced by incandescence.

glowing or white with heat.

intensely bright; brilliant.

brilliant; masterly; extraordinarily lucid:an incandescent masterpiece; incandescent wit.

aglow with ardor, purpose, etc.:the incandescent vitality of youth.

God, I love this song.

“Magic Mirror”

 

O, profound song. Speaking to me.

 

Inside, I weep.

And-

I joy.

v

Later, (on the road again) I ponder how that word

incandescent

thrilled me to the toes

and how

for a brief

whiff

of time, I felt so joyfully alive.

And, I’m grateful.

I think on… what makes me feel alive.

vi

I find myself stepping

into Target.

Target, of all places,

and… once again-

the joy is

rising.

a glimmer, found for me

among little girl dresses

with unicorns

and spring themed

garments hanging like

hope

in pinks, greens, purples, sky blue

and of course,

(silver and gold)

sparkle

for some reason

I am happy.

 I am happy among the spring themed atmosphere of Target.

I tell my son, and we laugh.

Target can do that to a lot of people, we ruminate.

As we walk out, the smell of coffee fills the air, and I fill my lungs.

With that good smell.

vii

In the car,

I realize

that I prayed,

in the morning

I prayed

for the reality

of joy

and the reality

of hope

and that we would ponder the way to the cross

and 

the joy of resurrection.

 

The truth is-

it has been a rare day that

I have felt the free joy

I found today.

I don’t take it for granted.

I am grateful.

O sun, O spring, O-

thankful for hope

and

feeling

for

goodness, joy, and life.

And knowing it is true.

viii

I am looking for Spring.

I am looking…

I am looking for my Savior,

lifted high.

I am looking

in the faces of the

ones around me-

and I am remembering,

to

pray.

Face down

yet lifted

(high).

 

Mary Oliver

I learned today- as a happenstance-

on social media, no less- 

from another

I consider kindred

that Mary Oliver (renowned poet) died 

yesterday.

This day of mine

-my own-

has been long and full of tumble

yet

I am fighting for this quiet pause

to

acknowledge this beautiful poet

-this soul-

whose prose (A Poetry Handbook) to this day

is in easy reach on my bedside table

and first and still

takes my breath,

distills me in a moment of held time,

makes my

heart to pound with hard, illuminated rhythm,

captivates intellect, soul, -my

self

“Poetry is a life cherishing force. And it requires a vision- a faith, to use an old-fashioned term. Yes, indeed. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes, indeed” (122).

whenever I read her pieces whether

prose or poetry:

a life- giving spark–

lilting hope

even

–the lyric pulse

in me–

quakes to life with a thrumming joyous hum:

and I want to respond to her charge-

so powerfully proffered to her generation and all the world:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild, and precious life?”

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver

 

 

What is it I plan to do?

And you?

O, me!

I want to respond to her charge.

Mary Oliver. Thank you.

 

As way leads on to way (Robert Frost)

Blog of my heart (and dear, welcomed reader), I am here. Committed more than ever to write. O, the quiet moments with hot drink beside and writing my way to peace.

I have a jumble of posts in mind and in drafts… and so much longing to … is it eke out? or unleash? or scribe? or scratch down? I don’t know. So much longing to gather myself to post.

So I begin with some poetry and the way connections can ignite learning. And the gentle way Morning Meeting leads us:

We recently had the wonderful experience of learning new vocabulary words in a vivid and personal way: alms and almoner. (and I thought I knew what these words meant… but it took an inquisitive question from a child to fully unveil meanings)  It all started like this:

We read this poem for October by Longfellow:

Autumn

Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!
Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o’er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!
Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven’s o’erhanging eaves;
Thy steps are by the farmer’s prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!

(And O! we were heralded by the rain! Incessant rain. Unending rain. So much rain, the color came late and felt so sparse.

And the greatest riches found in these delicious words- both the poem above and the poem below. Richness, Color, Life. Gentle, un-pressured reading of the beautiful words is life-giving.)

Then a little while later, through a happy circumstance, I happened upon this:

ALMS IN AUTUMN

Spindle-wood, spindle-wood, will you lend me, pray,
A little flaming lantern to guide me on my way?
The fairies all have vanished from the meadow and the glen,
And I would fain go seeking till I find them once again.
Lend me now a lantern that I may bear a light
To find the hidden pathway in the darkness of the night.

Ash-tree, ash-tree, throw me, if you please,
Throw me down a slender branch of russet-gold keys.
I fear the gates of Fairyland may all be shut so fast
That nothing but your magic keys will ever take me past.
I’ll tie them to my girdle, and as I go along
My heart will find a comfort in the tinkle of their song.

Holly-bush, holly-bush, help me in my task,
A pocketful of berries is all the alms I ask :
A pocketful of berries to thread in golden strands
(I would not go a-visiting with nothing in my hands).
So fine will be the rosy chains, so gay, so glossy bright,
They’ll set the realms of Fairyland all dancing with delight.

ROSE FYLEMAN

 

My young son asked: what is an alm? And so we did a little research and discovered: alms are charity, money, or food given to the needy; gifts given to relieve the poor

and this led to the exploration of almoner: the official chaplain or church officer who distributes the gifts to the poor; also a prince can have an almoner.

And both these poems suddenly came vividly alive to us. And with that wild leap of connection that poetry offers: we are realizing- the wind is our almoner; the alms of autumn are for us:

The wind- scattering the golden leaves to us- the needy ones.

The Alms of Autumn: pocketful of russet berries (and so much more)

(O, how the beauty of Autumn is an alm for the needy heart- and o!the wind as almoner.)

And so– way leads on to way. The poetry way. The most gentle, rich, and textured way to learn poetry is simply to read it every day. I find nuanced meanings become clearer and clearer- writing themselves on mind and heart- until they become a treasure trove of mind and heart… (how we all spout out: O wind a- blowing all day long! O wind who sings so loud a song! on a blustery windy day- just because we spent slow time in those rhythmic words)

Blessings on your school year,

Rebecca

 

 

Weep

I weep.

-wounded in one

sudden, unexpected

piercing

the fragments of a day, a season, a life

the ragged edges endless;

unavoidable.

I am cut down the heart, unguarded

in that moment.

I find the

-liquid black, the make-up smears and

I am utterly

undone.

Undone.

==================================

There is a picture in my heart:

There is a

banner waving high while a white stallion rears.

The boy-man astride, with strength in his thigh and

wind through his hair; his blue eyes glint.

He grins.

With a sudden kick of the heel

he whirls

away with confidence.

I whisper

Ride free, my love.

All the imperfect I have given you,

all the broken places, pieces

yet-

it has still been

all.

I pray the sanctity of my heart’s effort

anoints the forward path.

I have you in my heart.

=======================================

I fumble in the wreckage

of a purse completely tossed asunder.

It’s my purse and it’s my life.

And I can’t find the one card I need

in the one moment I need it, which is now.

And I have to suffer the humiliation

of it

all.

The purse, the life, the pain, the asking, the need-

the constant

-holding my ground and humbling-

humbling myself

I do it for the good. For the good of my people.

and the way life always and forever

always and forever

looks so different, IS so different.

A sob with pain no one can share. It is mine alone

and I must bear it.

===========================================

The music plays

it plays my heart.

he plays my heart

in and out

through all the years.

The piano notes ripple

all around me

filling my

mind.

It’s George Winston. It’s December.

=====================================================

I cry.

I cry the broken

-hearted, unexpected.

I rush on like a train

barreling down the track

but suddenly

I am off

track-

so off track,

I am wrecked.

I wander through the store with downcast eyes.

I am just one word away

from that wild, uncontrollable, inexplicable

weeping

that embarrasses

us all.

But, it doesn’t matter.

I am alone.

====================================

 

 

A Poem for November

A Poem for November

i

Burnished bronze, gold, and

russet-

flame in leaf and

ember

ii

Wind wraps me round,

I shiver

iii

Gone, gone golden October

glory

leaf, luminous, parchment-

iv

mellowed, aging light

spun through

the solemn, stain-glassed

hush

-of November.

v

moody skies shift and change

irascible

skyscape

blue, gray, streaked white,

spits rain-

–sometimes,

there is magic;

the early, gentle

snow.

vi

the cusp of all

family, feasting, holiday

merry-making

joyous reveling.

vii

tables groan and candles glimmer,

mugs steam,

and early,

early comes the darkness

inviting all to hunker in,

light the lamps, start the fire.

Push out cold! It’s warm within!

Come in, come in.

viii

Window lights gleam

amidst the sudden press

of darkness,

wind strips daily

all adornment from

the trees

viiii

who abandon all their beauty-

unresisting, unabashed.

Half-undone, half-unspun,

yet-

a little while longer-

russet, gold, burnished bronze

golden ground; crimson limb-

sunny yellow, velvet purple, creams, and white;

those stalwart, plucky pansies

shine.

x

Still, there’s color. Still, there’s time.

-all the ground is gold-

– November.

-for Courtney

RLB

Crying

So-

I cry

(just like I said, I really do)

this year

this senior year, launch year, goodbye year, hello year, one more year, essay year, test scores year, stretching, reaching, belly aching, hair pulling, memorize your face

year.

Well,

even for me, hold it in, swallow it back, stand up straight, knock it out

tears

seeping, weeping, trailing, leaking

(shhh…sometimes sobbing)

Birthing year, hurting year, hard year, grace year, hug you close, push away, watch

you fly.

Wonder….why?

Oh!

I cry.