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.
For long years I believed in God Old, white, male, Christian god Once I believed in the supernatural Angels, devils, heaven, hell, the eternal supernatural Back then I believed in God’s forgiving grace Thorns, whips, nails, cross earning our grace Now, I know no god, but sometimes see a Goddess Maiden, mother, crone, Gaia goddess Now, I know only the here and now natural (Supernatural being but the unusual natural) Earth, sky, love, hate, the world natural Now, I believe in creation as divine grace Love being but another word for grace
‘What is truth?’ said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.Francis Bacon
CNN: American recession fears collide with reality NPR: A year on, the Taliban savor victory New York Times: Six Weeks of “Hell”: Inside Russia’s Brutal Ukraine Detentions Wall Street Journal: Record Oil Profit Boosts Saudi Coffers Fox News: Trump says he ‘will do whatever’ he can to ‘help the country’ after FBI raid USA Today: Chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal continues to haunt Biden presidency AP News: Iran denies involvement but justifies Salmon Rushdie attack Twitter feed @POTUS: Since the start of my presidency, my economic plan has helped create 9.5 million jobs, reach a 50-year record low unemployment rate, and achieve zero percent inflation in July. ————— My dear Socrates, The unexamined life may not be worth living, (although I prefer making bread) but the wider world may not be worth examining. At least not too closely. Having gained no wisdom of my own I am left with little but what passes for wisdom from another revered dead white man: “Since sorrow never comes too late, And happiness too swiftly flies. …ignorance is bliss, 'Tis folly to be wise.” Or, at least, Since clarity never rules such lists And the world oft leaves me alarmed Then, indeed, ignorance is bliss And ‘tis folly to be informed.
Baba, can you swim with me for twenty-six nine twelve minutes?
I can swim with you for twenty-six nine thousand twelve minutes.
Baba, is that longer than yesterday?
Yes it is.
Baba, is that longer than tomorrow?
I don’t know.
Baba, how old is Mawsy?
Mawsy is almost 100 years old.
Baba, is that very old?
Yes, for a human that is very old.
Baba, is that even older than you?
Yes, that is even older than me.
Baba, is that older than Boppy?
Yes, that is older than Boppy.
Baba, will Mawsy die?
Yes, Mawsy will die.
Baba, will Mawsy die soon?
I don’t know.
Baba, will you die soon?
I don’t think so.
Baba, will Boppy die soon?
I hope not.
Baba, will Mama die soon?
No, your Mama will not die soon.
Baba, where is heaven?
Heaven is inside a mystery.
Baba, what is that?
I don’t know, no one knows.
Baba, but where is heaven?
No one knows for sure.
Baba, when Mawsy dies will she go to heaven?
Yes, Mawsy will go to heaven, we will all go to heaven.
Baba, will we see Mawsy go to heaven?
No, because Mawsy’s body will go back to the earth.
Baba, why, Baba?
To make new life for the earth.
Baba, when I die, will I go back to the earth?
Yes, we will all go back to the earth to make new life.
Baba, will the earth grow a new me?
No, that is not the way it works, but the earth will grow new plants and trees.
Baba, but then what goes to heaven, Baba?
Our love goes to heaven, and our thoughts
Baba, will I be happy in heaven?
Yes, we will all be happy in heaven.
Baba, will there be food in heaven?
No, we will not need food in heaven.
Baba, then I will not be happy; I will be yelling for a hamburger.
I bet you will and you know I will want cheetos.
Oh, look, Milo, we are home.
Let’s go swimming.
Lulled by birdsong
Purple morning glories
And soft light
Morning glories close
Ever valiant impatiens
Meet the rising heat
With patient persistence
Begin to droop
A small garter snake
In our small pond
The day’s breath stills
Still as unwanted death
No longer still
Thunder and lightning
House lights blink
(lovely word that – thrice)
Reliable electricity holds
Weary world now
“perchance to dream”
“Now everything is easy ‘cause of you and our house”Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Now comes the wet warm soapy cleaning Everything that was dirty – dishes, pots, pans, cutlery Is soon clean – not ad sparkling clean but Easy to call clean, easy to feel pleasure ‘Cause what once was unusable dirty is now, as happens so Often, clean and usable, a source and promise of pleasure like You yourself, your presence, your love And your willingness to make your home Our very own together House.