Falter Fun

(I recently learned that the German for butterfly is falter.)

Fluttering uncertainty
Art on the wing

Dip to a sip
Trip to a drip

Monarch of the sky

From flower to flower
Landing lightly



In any language


Notre Dame de Paris

The first time I saw that spire,
the flying buttresses,
the steps,
the dark and soaring interior
was in 1975.

I was pregnant, just, with my second child.
We walked at the pace of our first-born toddler.
I lit a candle for my Uncle Donald,
Monseigneur Joseph Donald Damiens,
who had recently died.
We sat on the steps
and shared bread and cheese with our son.

The last time was a few years ago
with my friends Wendy and Jennifer.
We walked from our apartment
in le Marais
across the bridge
coming to the grand lady from the side.

We did not go in that time,
really we were just among the many passing by.
But I did take pictures –
who could resist taking a few pictures of a beautiful lady.

En l’annee 1163
Sous le pontificat
Du Pape Alexandre III
Eat le regne du Roi Louis VII
Maurice né à Sully sur Loire
Eveque de Paris (1160-1196)
Entreprit la construction
De cette cathédrale
En l’honneur
De la Bse Vierge Marie
Sous le title de

John 8:58

They were not stupid
Those men of the cloth.

Well, yes, they were
Of course
As men of the cloth
So repeatedly prove themselves to be.

But they were not unlearnéd:
Learning, in fact,
Was their claim to fame,
To community prominence,
To religious authority.

So they were stupid
But learnéd:

Learnéd enough to know
At once
What his juxtaposition of tenses

While we puzzle it out
It hit them hard
Like rocks
Thrown at an adulterous woman

Like nails
In a coffin
Or on a cross.

“Before Abraham was,
I am”
He said,
Handing them the nails.

Staying and Leaving: Catholic Woman’s Version

I have left
And returned
And left again

I have shut the door
And then opened it

I have locked the door
And then unlocked it

I have wept
I have screamed
I have cursed

I have prayed

I have been lauded
For my feminine genius
I have been criticized
For my machismo feminism

I have been told no

But mostly
I have been ignored
I have been silenced
I have been patronized

I stood at their door
And knocked
To no avail

So I walked away
To other doors
Wide open, warm, welcoming

I have left
Except for my heart
Except for my longing
Except for my dreams
Except for my sisters

For those
I have stayed.

Du Temps Perdu

In those days
My phone stayed
On vibrate
Even in meetings

I was
More or less
Always on call
For the two old women

So that day
In that meeting
When it vibrated on the table
And the caller ID showed “Mom”
I excused myself
Stepped out the door
And answered

“Mom, is something wrong?”

The excitement shook her voice
Made her breathless
As she spilled forth:

“Wrong? Nothing’s wrong We have a Pope! and he’s a Jesuit from South America and he took the name Francis first Pope ever to take Francis as his name we have a Pope!

A long time ago
In a galaxy far, far away
I was Catholic
Baptized at 3 weeks old
Schooled at
St. Rose di Lima
St. Leo the Great
St. Joseph Academy
Marquette University

But that was long ago
Far away
Long lost
No, not lost

When that call came
I was Episcopalian
Catholic Light
Teaching Sunday School
Best friends with my priest’s wife

My mother though
In my sister’s words
More Catholic than the Pope

So now she interrupted
My work day
With her excitement
Losing years
Losing estrangement
Expecting me to share
Her excitement

Wondrously, I did.
A Jesuit
An American
A Francis

So I took an interest
I followed as he
Rejected palace living
Chose a small car
Rebuked the Curia

I followed and wondered
And felt a breeze
That carried the strawberry scent
Of Vatican II
Of my hopeful youth

But that was long ago
In a Rome far away
As I listened to his rant
Against those who criticize the Church
Friends and relatives of the devil
He called us

And I see Lord Acton
Standing behind Francis’ left shoulder
Sadly shaking his head.


Sometimes my hatred burns so hot
My peace goes up in flames

Sometimes all I want is to reject it all
Throw it out with the trash

Then I remember

Checking if the front door is locked
Isn’t obsessive compulsive

Feeling sad
Isn’t clinical depression

Feeling worried
Isn’t an anxiety disorder

Getting excited
Isn’t manic

Getting angry
Isn’t aggression

Isn’t attacking

Isn’t faithless

So, please, God,

Grant me doubts
Rather than never thinking

Grant me criticisms
Rather than acquiescence

Grant me anger
Rather than indifference

Grant me excitement
Rather than ennui

Grant me worry
Rather than complacency

Grant me sadness
Rather than numbness

Grant me checking
Rather than carelessness

And above all

Grant me acceptance
Of myself and others

Grant me love