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?

Katrina





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

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.

I Believe

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

Headlines August 15, 2022

‘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.

In The Car

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.

August Day

Early morning
Quiet expectations
Lulled by birdsong
Purple morning glories
And soft light

Mid-morning
Rising heat
Morning glories close
Ever valiant impatiens
Meet the rising heat
With patient persistence

Noon
Now impatiens
Begin to droop
Longing for
Life-giving water
A small garter snake
Submerges itself
In our small pond
Air heavy
The day’s breath stills
Still as unwanted death

Mid-afternoon
Distant thunder
Moves closer
Heavy air
No longer still

Rain
Reviving rain
Thunder and lightning
Life renewed

House lights blink
Once
twice
Thunderous lightning
Thrice
(lovely word that – thrice)
Reliable electricity holds

Rain cascades
Recedes
Leaving behind
Triumphant impatiens

Evening approaches
Heat dissipates
Quiet returns
Weary world now
Anticipates sleep
“perchance to dream”
Beyond
This day
Done
This night
Dark

Mining Gold from Dirty Dishes – A Golden Shovel Poem

“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.