Weather Forecast (a poem)

IMG_6787

this will be remembered
as the Christmas of sixty degrees
when we went walking in shorts
and wore flip-flops as we sat
on the patio in the fading light
of day

the trees adorned with flashing
wings; morning drips from gray
branches; the meadow covered
in white mist

I have two sets of eyes, two sets
of ears; my skin holds the memory
of life hoped for, taken, healed

I am a sponge, filled with the water
of dreams, your voice strong
inside me, like the north wind,
all my worth measured by
the light in your eyes

beauty is a wild thing I stalk,
gathering fog by the armfuls and
heaping it onto yesterday

the lights on the Christmas tree
glisten, winking in reflection on
naked branches outside the window

the weatherman calls for rain.

holy ground: a poem

IMG_6744

the blinds were drawn
when I came upon them,
lying head to toe, in his
hospital bed, his arms
wrapped around her legs

faint light of midday
eeking through slats,
steady drip of faucet
slowing down time, her
face puffy with sleep,
over fifty years of
being at his side
molding them into one.

they told me stories
about their dog, and I
showed pictures of mine;
when she told me about
her broken heart—about
the death of their son,

a flock of birds took
flight from the tree
outside the window. I
watched their silhouettes
against the closed blind,

as bird after
bird after bird lifted
itself up into
the sky.

::

*Don’t forget, friends, we’re taking a break from the playdates linkup for the remainder of December. I’ll meet you back here in January! Praying your Advent season is sweet thus far.

Satyagraha: a poem

IMG_5644

Art is the act of nonaggression. We have to live this art in our daily lives … Carry the poem away from the desk and into the kitchen. That is how we will survive as writers, no matter how little money we make in the American economy and how little acceptance we get in the magazines. We are not writing for money and acceptance, although that would be nice. Our deepest secret in our heart of hearts is that we are writing because we love the world … ~Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

Last Friday I rose from sleep and piddled as the sun lifted from a foggy bed. Morning chores, walk the dog, sit in study for a time. I didn’t open the paper or turn on the news. I didn’t lift the gaping white screen to check the email.

After a time of study, I picked up my journal. As is my practice, I penned the date at the top of the page.

9/11/15 …

My fingers froze above the page and I was unable to write anything more. My heart has been sitting shiva ever since. It is day seven and the pen is moving once again, but my heart stills each time I remember.

::

we wandered into
an unkind forest
they left their gods
on the sidewalk with
shards of glass and metal,
ashen skin. the earth
shifts when I say
your name.

you walk among the stars now
but I remember
a boy who rollerbladed between
the stacks—books
on every side

that night
you danced until
your skin glistened…
your dreams are the
rich soil of tomorrow
I carry the poem with me

we finish our days
with a sigh,
pick our way through
the underbrush by
the light of the moon

on the trees. moss grows
thick on stones and the fine
filigree of new grass is
soft on the ball of a foot.
your comet leaves a long
tail and I awaken
with this word on my lips:

satyagraha. satyagraha

Word Ablution

IMG_7393

The ablution of words continues. On my days off I sit with a stack of books and immerse. It’s a lovely way to avoid the laundry and thoughts of sending Teddy off to school in the fall. Would you like to know what’s in the stack right now? I’ve shared a bit in other posts, but here is what I’m currently baptizing my mind with:

  1. I’ve shared about how my thoughts are running wild as I re-read my old favorite Women Who Run With the Wolves. I’ve been stuck on the fifth task of Vasalisa the Wise this week. Perhaps I’ll write more about that later.
  2. The writing book I’m working through has inspired me to listen better. I’ve started Writing Down the Bones several times, but this time around I’m committed to finishing. I think, before, my faith was too narrow to appreciate Natalie’s Buddhist perspectives. But now, I love when Natalie talks about her Zen teachers/masters. I let these lessons speak to my Christian roots and am finding the shared soilbed encourages them to tendril deeper. Often, I get a little weepy with the desire that our Christian mindset would be so tender, so generous toward the earth and ourselves.
  3. While my running life is slowed, I’ve been enjoying walking some with Jeff. A timely read recommended by a friend, A Philosophy of Walking, has added to the enjoyment.
  4. Nothing makes me happier than a new children’s book to feed my hungry eyes. I found a lovely one while researching a children’s message to go with my sermon last week. Sidewalk Flowers is so beautiful, and tells the story of noticing life without any words at all. I like to sit with it and study the thoughtful images. I haven’t grown tired of the tender story yet. I adore it. I can’t wait to share it with the kindergarteners I will read aloud to next year.

IMG_5903

5.  A few years ago I purchased Stevens: Collected Poetry and Prose after stumbling into one of Wallace Stevens’ poems that shook me up a bit. Ever the student, I ordered a reader’s guide by Eleanor Cook to go along with the weighty volume. But after a friend and poet I deeply respect commented that she has a “visceral reaction” (not in a good way) every time she sees the black cover of this book, I quietly shelved it, second-guessing my judgement, and went back to reading Wendell and Mary for a while. Here’s a word for beginning poetry readers: follow your heart where it leads you. I am learning so much about poetry from this duo.

For example, I kept coming across the word “trope” in the reader’s guide. Having never studied poetry, I didn’t know what this term meant. Eleanor Cook generously tells me, “A trope is a figure of speech in which meaning is turned or changed.” A metaphor is a type of trope. And Eleanor tells me, “It means ‘transport’ etymologically. Literally in modern Greece … you may actually ride on a bus called metaphora.” From Eleanor, I learned that in my favorite stanza of Stevens’ Le Monocle de Mon Oncle (The Monocle of My Uncle), stanza II, “wind” and “wet” and “wing” are “all common types of trope for song or poetry.” Isn’t that cool?

Eleanor says that “reading figures of speech by distinguishing tropes and schemes” is like “distinguishing birdsongs and birdcalls.” Well, anyone who knows me knows learning the language of the birds is something I rather enjoy. So this may be one reason I am drawn to the poetry of Wallace Stevens. He and Eleanor Cook are teaching me to pay closer attention to words.

  1. I always end my reading by praying the Psalms, reading once from my Bible and then again from Praying the Psalms, an old favorite that invites my heart to step onto the wide path of the Psalmist’s words.

There are more books and more lessons, but these I am dipping into every day. What are you reading?

 

Playdates with God: Nightsong, a poem

thirds-011

the silver underpinnings of the maple leaves shimmer
in the fading light of evening
I touch the grasses of the meadow with my mind and
walk through the myth that I am separate from all this

the sky opens it’s many eyes one-by-one, dropping light
like moist breath onto my dry bones
I remember how Kate looked the other night, so young
with no makeup on, so vulnerable and tired

Jeff says this is when she is most beautiful, no mask
I remember how her mother carried her on one hip
the thought of her in white lace feels like Eden; the river
forks again

we had too much to drink, laughing in the grass as
music played. I felt the bass drum echo through my ribs,
his hand in mine an anchor. the beads on the abacus of
time no longer make that sharp clicking sound as they meet

we sit together as night begins to sing.

::

Every Monday I share one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find God and know joy. Click on the button below to add your link. I try to visit a few of your stories every week, so if you are a new visitor, be sure to let me know in the comments so I can welcome you. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us.

Laura Boggess