Just Pay Attention

irisrain

irisglorious

It doesn’t have to be 
the blue iris,
it could be 
weeds
in a vacant lot,
or a few
 small stones;
just 
pay attention, then patch


a few words together
and don’t try
 to make them elaborate.
This isn’t
 a contest but the doorway


into thanks, and a silence
in which 
another voice may speak.
~Mary Oliver

 

The past few years I notice things
I walked by before.
The fleeting moments become more precious,
time pours through my fingers.
It doesn’t have to be the blue iris,
but today it is.
I fall headlong into their depths,
grateful.
Oh so grateful.

rainyiris4

irissunset

Roots of Grace

irisrain

irisbug

 

I have a small grain of hope–
one small crystal that gleams
clear colors out of transparency.

I need more.

I break off a fragment
to send you.

Please take
this grain of a grain of hope
so that mine won’t shrink.

Please share your fragment
so that yours will grow.

Only so, by division,
will hope increase,

like a clump of irises, which will cease to flower
unless you distribute
the clustered roots, unlikely source–
clumsy and earth-covered–
of grace.
~Denise Levertov “For the New Year, 1981”

For the New Year, 2015:

Several years ago my sister-in-law brought us three paper bags full of iris roots resting dormant in clumps of dirt – dry misshaped feet and crippled fingers pregnant with potential. We were late getting them into the ground in the fall but their grace was forgiving. They took hold and transformed our little courtyard into a Van Gogh landscape. They will continue to gladden our hearts as we divide them someday to pass on their gift of beauty to another garden. This act– “by division, will hope increase”–feels radical.  Yet that is exactly what God did in sending His Son to become dust-bound and earth-covered.

God broke off part of Himself to put down roots, grow, thrive and thereby be divided, over and over and over again to increase beauty and grace for those of us made of and limited to this soil.

Our garden will continue to bloom next spring so all can see and know: hope lives here —  in the few hours left to this year, and transitioning into the next.

irisinnard

blueirisr

bugged


Van Gogh “Irises”

Fair Among the Fairest

irisrain2
what a hail and rainstorm doesn’t crush, it causes to glisten…

from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure seawater.
~Louise Gluck from “Wild Iris”

irisrain4Love should grow up like a wild iris in the fields,
unexpected, after a terrible storm, opening a purple
mouth to the rain, with not a thought to the future
~Susan Griffin from “Love”

irisrain
my heart panics not to be, as I long to be,
the empty, waiting, pure, speechless receptacle.
~Mary Oliver from “Blue Iris”

Thou art the Iris, fair among the fairest,
   Who, armed with golden rod
And winged with the celestial azure, bearest
   The message of some God.~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow from Flower-de-Luce

irisrain3May your blooms be floriferous and in good form,
Distinctive, with good substance, flare, and airborne,
With standards and falls that endure, never torn.
May you display many buds and blooms sublime,
In graceful proportion on strong stalks each day,
Gently floating above the fans and the fray.
May you too reach toward the moon and stars,
Bloom after bloom, many seasons in the sun,
Enjoying your life, health, and each loved one,
Until your ‘living days are artfully done.
~Georgia Gudykunst  “Iris Blessing”