Wednesday, 1 August 2012

birth unmarked


Born in a bathroom stall,
A boy not built to breathe
As a man, too soon he came
Only mama held his body,
Warmth fading limb by limb.

She waited there alone,
Sanctity of privacy granted
By the nature of the place--
Toilets made for refuse of body
Not the receiving of souls.

She waited there with him,
Absurd idea to give birth there,
Ill timed and out of order--
This stall is taken, use the next--
Gestation interrupted;

Her life pauses to hold the remains
Of what is left, a replica
No more human but a picture of him
Who was drawn to his creator
The boy returns, his body bent to earth.

From dust to dust, says the priest.
So let it be.  And she awaits
The coming of the husbandman,
Tied to the dead man-child's flesh
She carried life in blood and water, mingled.

Ps.  this poem is part 2, of a series.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

05 July 2012

I miscarried today.
In a restaurant an hour from our hotel.
It was a nice hotel,
  a time to be reunited
  celebrate our service together
  let the children dance in their father's arms
  a while, while there was free time,
  remembering a place to be free.
With husband, the kids, and five strangers,
  strangers to me, those with whom he has worked
  these three or so months, a full season
  a season to be known as a lifetime,
  the lifespan of our third child
  who failed to thrive with us.
Met some firemen and paramedics.
Got my first ambulance ride.
Passed out two or three times.
Got to hold the baby in my hands
  for a long time, immeasurable
He was perfect,
  with all his fingers and toes
  intact, man replicated remarkably
  alike in form of every other man.
Got back to the hotel from the hospital.
Going to sleep; it's 5 am,
   to let the thoughts die, let it rest.
We have the baby in the fridge.
At some point we will need to bury him.
But I can't face that right now,
Or even think about it;
  thankful for freedom not to decide,
  for the present needs a wide space
  to be weighed, held, watched
  for what will become of us is not what I feel now.
It's a horrible thing to have to do,
And yet, I am thankful
  for something held and something to bury
  after flushing--not by design or intention
  for I lost a choice, lost something free,
  a body free of measured worth--
  after flushing two babies in the past.
Pray, what I fear to pray, for grace
  sufficient when I get there, to know
  what is sufficient for this time.


Ps. This story is not "mine," the author. It happened to my sister, my friend, a part of our body which hurts if one of it's members is destroyed or in any way injured.  

Friday, 25 February 2011

Thinking on the banks of the Neuse

---Caught in the cluttered current
Of a river called Everyday Life,
I drift, hopeless to fly, too tired to fight,
So I swim frantically, hoping
To master myself and control the drift
And either way a failure I feel,
For the lazy lying and the strenuous strokes
Can neither one change my place--
I am yet in the same river, living.

The living a fact, and forgotten
The truth of the source who Makes
The river and all in it, yet is not the river,
And until I see the life I live is not mine
To drift away and hide, or to control and spend,
By origin this life, my living, is gifted,
No right to be or do was ever less deserved,
For only Bought with a Price aptly describes
My river tour; and my tag reads "sold."

Monday, 14 February 2011


"To see through to God.
  That that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, 
may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place
to the heart-aching beauty beyond.  To Him.  To the God whom we endlessly crave.  
  Maybe so.
  But how? How do we choose to allow the holes to become seeing-through-to-God places?  To more-God places?
  How do I give up resentment for gratitude, gnawing anger for spilling joy?  Self-focus for God-communion."

These have been my questions for a while, now.  Finding another soul who wrestles and writes a story to illustrate is promising, in a quest to discover that which can transform the bitter waters to a living wellspring, full of grace and truth and joy.  Her challenge:  "A dare to an emptier, fuller life."   

One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp, pp 22-23

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

A Timbered Choir

A collection of Sabbath poems by Wendell Berry, worthy of reading first thing in the quiet of the morning, they still the soul to listen. 

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.

~Stanza I of the First Poem. 

Feeding young Elliana oatmeal. Not because she couldn't do it herself; some sort of communion was going on there.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

how can this be?

He has two brothers and sister,
but not one in the same house.
A first mom who's known
by her first name, a picture
to him who knows another,
a wholly unrelated person
as Mama; his daily bread
comes from her hand, from the body
of she who bore him not, but
gives her every day to holding
the baby boy, a little man child.
He knows no home outside of love
a mutual need that brought him here--
he who needed care, and
those who needed to care, and
those he left behind did care enough
to release him, to be loved--
a stranger thing was never known
among men.  He who suffers the way
of the unknown, yields his own
to those plans of God, whose sons
come not by flesh and blood
but by water and word, the vow:
"I love you; you are mine."

Monday, 17 January 2011

the thankfulness Sabbath

On days like this one,
sixty degrees, mare's tail cloud
in a blue sky reflected silver
in the broad expanse of river below,
we sit, the king and I, observing.
The small son crawling behind
our chairs which are minimalist thrones
metal and new plastic, durable
deck furniture placidly waiting
empty until the tourists come.
We, the rulers of a minute kingdom,
watch our offspring on hands and knees
safe between concrete wall and railing,
and he watches us, playing peek-a-boo
and racing away at turtle-speed 
that we might pursue and overtake,
capture him, throw him in the air
reclaim the liberty we offered in joy
of watching, to see what he would do.
We sit, the king and I, under blue sky,
viewing the silver tidal river
on the deck of the new museum,
coffee drained from the white cups,
and we rise from our rest, to walk again.