Of Soles and Souls

Spring brings daffodils
-	And crocuses, hyacinth, forsythia and nodding hellebores
-	Oh, look, my rosemary died, 
-       but here is that invincible curly parsley 
-	peeking up again
But it is the daffodils
In drifts and choirs throughout our property
That sing to my eyes

The grass grows tall
The first spring mowing yet to come
So, as I walk beside our gardens
Admiring daffodils
I fail to heed the smell
Until I feel the squish
Of that brown gift
Hidden by one of the dogs
In the growing greening grass
That gift that means
I will be scraping and washing
The soles of my shoes

Grateful even then
For the garden springing
In the soul of my senses


Music is permanent,
only listening is intermittent.
from Bury your money by Jean Valentine

Poetry is permanent,
only the internet is intermittent 

Love is permanent,
only like is intermittent 

Beauty is permanent,
only pretty is intermittent 

Creativity is permanent,
only cleverness is intermittent 

Learning is permanent,
only knowing is intermittent 

Truth is permanent,
only believing is intermittent 

Life is permanent,
only living is intermittent 

God is permanent,
only faith is intermittent

Poetry, love, beauty, creativity
learning, truth, life, God
and me myself I
inhabit eternity


One Fall
Seven years ago
Woody planted
One hundred daffodil bulbs

Most bloomed that spring

Each year since then
More than most 
Bloom each spring
More and more than most
Until Woody dug some up
Divided and replanted them

The next spring
Yellow and white faces
On green legs
Nodded and smiled at me
From unexpected places

Just so
My grandfather returns
In a saluting man in uniform
My grandmother in a woman
In a fancy hat
My father in a wave that
Tickles my toes
My grandchildren, Madeleine and Lorien,
In a double stroller
Gordon in every prayer
And so I live among
Ever more
Golden daffodils


Suppose you were me
Would you figure out a better way
Of being me

Suppose you were a murderer
Waiting through appeals
On death row

Suppose you were always happy
Laughing while others cried
Grinning while other mourned

Suppose you were always sad
Crying while other laughed
Mourning while other grinned

Suppose you were careless
And let life slip away
While you were making lists

Suppose you were careful
Filled with care for life
Consumed by love’s eternal flame

Suppose you were just you
Not particularly great or memorable
But also not just one thing or another

Suppose you, like Walt, 
contain multitudes
And are wonderfully made
Just as you are

Kneading Love

I sink down
Breathing in
This dark salty water

Beneath the waves
Beneath the storms
Beneath the fishes
Beneath the foam

Beneath arousal

I sink down
Breathing in
This ocean of tears

Tender tears
Joy and love
Sorrow and loss
Life whispers

I sink down
Breathing in
This eternal sea


On the bedrock of your love

As I listen
Thoughtless -
That is
Deeper than thought

As I breathe
Careless -
That is
Quieter than care

I make love to you with my hands
Kneading your stiff shoulders

My nose breathes in
The analgesic
As my mind breathes in
The dark quiet
Waters of divinity

I breathe in NOW
Just now
I breathe out love
Always love

I knead love into your shoulders
With the analgesic

Beyond orgasm
Lies the learning
How to make love
In the deep unknowing


Wednesday was
A very not special day
But I did get out of bed
Before noon

(Ah, the luxury of retirement where 9:00 counts as early, 10:00 as usual, 11:00 as sometimes – and then there are the days when the morning passes with me still abed. Like a poet in some Victorian romance. I read, I write, I play logic games on the computer, I pray, I listen to podcasts and watch YouTube videos about whatever has most recently caught my attention. Ah, retirement)

So there I was
Awake and dressed
Bed made
Before noon

I finished loading the dishwasher
And turned it on
I washed some pots and plastic ware
My hands luxuriating in the warm soapy water
While I gazed out the kitchen window
On daffodils and Lenten roses
Carolina jasmine
And buds just visible
On our newest Japanese maple

I ran some errands
I organized some paperwork
Woody and I watched 
An episode of Vera
I joined two friends for dinner
Two good friends
One is 30-something
One is 50-something
I am 70-more-than-something

Our dinner stretched
Stretched like our friendship
Strong and elastic
And oh so comfortable

Perhaps we three are
Perhaps we are, each one, all three
Perhaps we are just good friends

Then I came home
At midnight
To Woody and bed

It was good to be alive 
on such an ordinary
extraordinay day


Not often but sometimes
I feel each breath
As creation

One day
Perhaps not very distant now
I will breathe in
And not breathe out again

Or perhaps I will breathe out
And then not in again

And some part of this created me
Will die
Some part of this once me
Will no longer be me

Some parts may
A fuzzy dandelion
With once me nodding in the grass
Or a fat worm
Taking once me into the dark rich earth
Or a speck of cosmic dust
Swirling what was once me through the infinite universe

I trust that I
Will always
Be created and recreated
In divine love

Making Space for the Divine

I am doing a six session online class on “Centering Prayer as Divine Therapy” led by Jana Rentzel at CloserThan Breath. ( https://closerthanbreath.com/ )

Monday, during the third class, Jana led us in a Lectio Divina practice, using a verse of our choosing from the Lord’s Prayer. I chose “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

After the Lectio Divina time, Jana spoke of kenosis “self-emptying” – and at first I thought an immediate NO – I want to be myself, not empty myself. But then Jana spoke of our “self-talk” and I realized how very often my self talk is negative: wants, needs, inadequacies, irritations or disappointments that I can’t let go off, ever lengthening to do lists.

Jana quoted Cynthia Bourgeault, “…love made full in the act of giving itself away.”

And like the traditional light bulb at an AHA moment, I realized the paradox of kenosis: Only by emptying myself of my own self-talk can I make space for the self-fulling love of God; the divine love that allows me to forgive those who have wounded me (including myself) and to experience the love made full in the act of giving itself away.

And so I was brought back to my verse from the Lectio Divina practice, with new appreciation for the depth and promise and sweetness of “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

The First Shall Be Last

If the first 
Shall be last
And the last, first

Then let me drown out
The world’s noise 
With my silence

Let me answer
The world’s questions
With my ignorance

Let me seek
The divine
In the mundane

Let me share 
From my poverty

Let me believe
A crucified criminal
Is God’s anointed

Let me pour new wine
Into old wine skins
And rejoice at the bursting

If the first
Shall be last
And the last, first

Then let this imagined me die
That the unimaginable true I 
May live eternally and divinely

With You
My Love