John 12:24-26

They say He said:
“unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

I ask:
Am I a grain of wheat
that I must fall and die
to yield fruit?
Or am I a woman
who has grown and lived
and borne children?

They say He said:
“whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.”

I ask:
How do I love my neighbor as myself
if I hate my life in this world?
Or can I learn what to love here and now
and so for all eternity?

They say He said:
“The Father will honor whoever serves me.”

I ask:
Am I to seek honor
from a heaven Father?
or should I learn to honor
our Mother Earth?

Matthew 14:18-33

He fed those who came
Though they brought no food

He sent away those who followed him
Though they would have stayed

He went by himself to pray
Though many needs tugged at him

He walked through wind and water
Though the waves were high

He caught Peter, lifted him up
Though his faith was small

He accepted their praise
Though he saw the cross

To follow him:
Feed others
Give others independence
Seek quiet
Walk unafraid
Help someone
Accept praise
Accept defeat

God, help me

A Lady’s Prayer

My mother who is Earth
Hallowed be thy world
Thy kingdom is here
My will is thy survival
Now and for the future
You give me every day
My daily bread
You have forgiven me my trespasses
Even as I have too often ignored you
Please, lead me into greater kindness
Deliver me from selfishness
For thine is my kingdom
In you is my power and future
And glory
For all of my life
Amen

Turnings

I was young and white
In New Orleans
In the middle years
Of the last century
Before the millennium
Turned

Everywhere
Everything
Was signed
“Whites Only”
“Colored”

To turn away
From a colored person
Was expected
Casual cruelty

Colored was dangerous
Colored was dirty
Colored was other

I had to learn
To unlearn
The inbred racism

I had to learn
To share my world
To turn towards

Yesterday
I left a store
As a black woman entered
We met in the doorway
Turned our masked faces
Away from each other
And said a mutual muffled
Thank you

And so
In the twentieth year
Of a new millennium
I learn that turning towards
Can sometimes look like
Turning away

Weariness

Wednesday, family arrives
From Mississippi
What is riskier
Letting them stay
Or refusing?

How safe is the Instant Teller?
The exercise class?

Saturday, Mom’s left leg is swollen
What is riskier for 96?
Weekend walk-in
Or wait until Monday?

Can I safely shop for groceries
Or should I have them delivered?

Tuesday, the toilet clogs
Do we take it apart ourselves
Or call a plumber?

Can we meet friends for dinner
On a restaurant patio?

If I have friends over
To play bridge with Mom
How do I know they really have been
Isolating and distancing?

Children need school
Mom needs friends
I need activities

Or do we?

Be still,
And know that I am God
Was just about OK
In the Bible

But when did a virus
Become God
Demanding stillness?

I grow weary, resentful
And yet, and yet
I know

I know enough
To

Be still
Be patient
Be wise
Be wary

And know we can survive

Welcome Home

Four flowers bloom
Lifting high on slender stalks
Rooted to a burnt dragon’s egg
Soon cooled in a silver sea

Those flowers
Silken and strong
Lift laughter and gladness
Burst into silent song
No less strong
For being unsung

Return to earth
Creaking, groaning, hurting home
Under the strong blooms
Slowing the fall
From disaster to triumph

Men in masks
Worn as casually as pants
Welcome home
Our latest returning
Single combat warriors

Roots of this celestial plant
Flow wide and deep
To Kennedy and Khrushchev
Bloomed first in coldness
Harvested by military
Bloom now in over-heated earth
A tesla harvest

Garden breaths
Gentle, grateful
Watching that dragon seed
Birth space dads