where gradual change breaks up the beautiful once again:
to wonder at the throes of dying,
to know the kindness of a glistening dawn
when all before seemed darkness,
when all to come seems ephemeral;
brokenness in a moment
I want to make poems that say right out, plainly,
what I mean, that don’t go looking for the
laces of elaboration, puffed sleeves. I want to
keep close and use often words like
heavy, heart, joy, soon, and to cherish
the question mark and her bold sister
the dash. I want to write with quiet hands. I
want to write while crossing the fields that are
fresh with daisies and everlasting and the
ordinary grass. I want to make poems while thinking of
the bread of heaven and the
cup of astonishment; let them be
songs in which nothing is neglected,
not a hope, not a promise. I want to make poems
that look into the earth and the heavens
and see the unseeable. I want them to honor
both the heart of faith, and the light of the world;
the gladness that says, without any words, everything.
~Mary Oliver “Everything”
Writing and riding with quiet hands –
a wonderful metaphor for moving forward
in gladness and astonishment
without trying to steer unnecessarily.
To feel connected without controlling,
to have faith in the unknowable
yet understand without a doubt, that it is good.
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They know so much more now about
the heart we are told but the world
still seems to come one at a time
one day one year one season and here
it is spring once more with its birds
nesting in the holes in the walls
its morning finding the first time
its light pretending not to move
always beginning as it goes
~W.S.Merwin “To This May”
Each morning is a fresh try at life,
a new chance to get things right
even if all our yesterdays are broken.
So I drink in the golden dawn,
take a deep breath of cool air
and dive in head first
into light and blossoms,
hoping I too just might
stay afloat today.
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the Palm of your Hand,
and Eternity in an Hour.
~William Blake from “Auguries of Innocence”
To fall head long into the depths
of a dandelion puff ball,
captured in its intricacy,
a seeded symmetry
lined with delicate dewdrop drizzle.
To know the cosmos is contained
within the commonplace,
the God of Light and Living Water
no further away
than my back yard
and the palm of my hand.
I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3: 19-23
I wished to wade in the trillium
and be warmed near the white flames.
I imagined the arch of my foot
massaged by the mosses.
This field immersed in gravity
defying growth. Green and glorious.
It let me know that out of the
soil came I, and green I shall be.
Whether an unnamed weed or a
wild strawberry I will join in
~Luci Shaw from “Spring Song, Very Early Morning”
The trillium only thrives where death has been.
The mulch of hundreds of autumns fluffs the bed where trillium bulbs sleep, content through most of the year.
When the frost is giving way to dew, the trillium leaves peek out, curious, testing the air.
A few stray rays of sun filtering through the overgrowth and canopy encourage the shoots to rise, spread and unfurl.
In the middle, a white bud appears in humility, almost embarrassed to be seen at all.
There is pure declaration of triune perfection.
In a matter of days, the petals spread wide and bold so briefly, curl purplish. Wilt and return aground.
Leaves wither and fall unnoticed, becoming dust once again.
Beauty arises from decay.
Death gives way to pure perfection.
During this Lenten season, I will be drawing inspiration from the new devotional collection edited by Sarah Arthur —Between Midnight and Dawn
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,
“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
And this is the word that was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:23-25
As if there were no such cold thing.
Making a chiming of a passing-bell.
As they are meant to do,
the crocuses creep skyward,
the orchard tree buds swell
daffodil bulbs awaken bright from their autumn burial.
Bird song is plentiful again in the gray and frozen mornings
and frogs’ chorus rejoices again in the evenings.
There will be spring again in only a few short weeks,
despite how dark things feel now.
Exhaustion will be replaced by renewal
and fresh air filled with the sweetness of cherry and apple blossoms.
Our fields will grow lush and soft
with the sun warm on our horses’ withers.
It isn’t enough to celebrate the defeat of winter
by blooming where we are planted;
may we be forever past changing
by never withering again.