Sweetness

Easy to taste
Lingering long
In the 4 year old’s shout
“Baba, watch me dive!”

In September sunshine
Warming my skin

In quiet meditation
Breathing long quiet breaths

In prayerful gratitude
For many privileges

But sweetness also
Subtle and fleeting

In answering querulous demands
Of my aged mother

In bowing to insistent demands
Of my own aging body

In treading patiently
Through crowded shops

In confused dreams
Of those long dead

Elusive sweetness
Hard as rock candy

Sticky as honey
Stinging as the guardian bee

Bittersweetness
Knowing
That life is not always sweet

Without bitterness
Without effort
Will we recognize sweetness
In eternity?

Memories of Katrina





This storm surges through my thoughts
Drowning all song
Except the mermaid’s dirge

17 years and 1 month ago
New Orleans went black
Drowned
Silenced for months
Streets deserted
Trees toppled
Roofs broken

The well-meaning psychiatrist
Said turn off the TV
Do something else
Think something else
Listen to a different song
While your city
Blackens
Drowns
Beneath the hurricane’s
Fierce cacophony

My mother’s china
My sister’s kitchen
My niece’s wedding presents

The joyous jazz strains of their lives
Drowned to silence
Umbrellas blown inside out
As they second line their way back
After their city went black

Good Grief, Bad Grief

Grief – when it comes to sit next to me
Sits lightly
Holds my hand as I quietly breathe
Thanksgiving for having had – for a time
That which I now grieve.

Queen Elizabeth died
Long live the King
Through ten days
Through pagentry mourning
Grief sits quietly by my side

Good grief!
A dog named grief
Performs obediently
Her latest learned trick
Good grief!

Ah, grief, you are a good kind friend
As your presence presses against me
I see more clearly, listen more closely
Speak more quietly
You are a welcome friend

Until, until, until
You move over to sit on me
Not satisfied with my lap
You move to my chest
You tie down my limbs
Your ungentle paws cover my eyes
Your droning howl fills my hearing

Jealous companion
You would have me ignore
Everything that is not grief
You would bury me
Beneath stones of silence
You would castrate my memory
Removing its life-giving force
You would bind my energy
Trap me in dark silence
Brooding

Bad grief
Bad dog
Down, grief, down
Sit beside me
Lie at my feet
Accept my attention
My caresses
But set me free
Of your iron maiden

A Prayer

To hold love lightly
To bear sorrow softly

To celebrate their youth
To treasure my age

To give help easily
To accept help generously 

To feast on memories of then
To drink deeply of now

To plant contentment
To harvest gratitude

To seek without expectation
To find without grasping

To believe in unseen goodness
To see this world’s divinity

My prayer is just this:
Please, Goddess,
Let this be not too much to ask

Work

What need has the world
For a 74 year old worker
Who has few skills
Beyond the kitchen and computer

Unlike Woody
My 76 year old husband
I have no horticultural skills
Long years with plants
Have failed to turn my thumbs green

Unlike Lorraine
My 98 year old mother 
I have no needlework dexterity
Long years of crochet and knit
Have failed to turn my hands nimble

On my wall hang certificates
 Testimonies to my career

Scattered across the continent
Live my children and grandchildren
Testimonies to my mothering

But those are all past now

I remain caretaker
Bread baker
Divinity seeker
Poem writer

I have been given the grace
Of three quarters of a century
To learn my unmerited worth
To learn to love myself
Divinely
Generously
Deeply
Without measurement

Apparently it has not yet been quite enough.