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?
Storm memories surge Drowning all song Except the mermaid’s dirge 17 years ago New Orleans 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 our lives Drowned to silence Umbrellas blown inside out As we second line our way back After our city went black
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
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
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.