Yellow

Here’s a poem I wrote the other day. The sunflower reminded me I should put it up here.

cropped-napaflower.jpg

February begs for
yellow
for the daffodil,
the tulip,
and the rebellion of
the dandelion.

It sings to the
unseen stirring
below ground,
the signal,
the shift
from the dirge
of gray and grayer white

to tempt
the tendrils of warmth
in Spring

Manifesto

(Because Audrey asked for more verse)

I shall eat when hungry
sleep when sleepy
move when weary
seek beauty when weighted down
   by the hugeness of the world

Where do I stand
in the midst of not just darkness
but depravity that hollows us out and leaves
   not even a stench, or a whiff of what once was,
   but soul-less-ness?

How do I bring myself to the front
and hold myself accountable?

How do I wage not war
   but resilience in the face
   of hope-less-ness?

Like those tulips that rose
through this winter that 
   ended finally not in spring
   but in May flurries
   and frost warnings

And still they rose.

High and hope-filled
stamens billowing with curiosity.

And will you
  dear friend
   who lives within my heart
will you
    rise and meet the day

with beauty
with soul
with purpose

These days are small and short
and we are young
and must bear witness
Backs as straight as they can be
while the sun beckons our petals

to open

with strength, grace,
   hope
     beyond, with, and without
         reason

Hope

Because

Hope 
    will
          rise

What I learned this week

Here’s what I learned this week
as I was walking my feet to nubs
back and forth and forth and back:

Stark white walls can be a canvas
inviting to the artist
as they consider
layering color over dreams
if only in their mind’s eye
and not actually on the walls …

Or white walls can be barriers
distancing
distracting
implicit “don’t”
explicit “don’t”

Clean and tidy is welcoming
but perfect is a myth

We are all in this together
except for those who aren’t
who distance themselves
by work
by study
by importance
or by
class

We are all in this together
and still
we walk, wheel, scoot, or crawl alone

What I learned this week as I
moved
in and out of
public and private spaces

is the importance
of a baseline understanding
neat and clean takes work

from everyone

I also learned, as I tried
to throw away cut flowers
who insisted on losing their
petals all over

Shedding them willy nilly
like the clumps of fur that show up on IMG_1529
the floor each morning from
nocturnal cat play

when I am trying to clean them up!

I learned that sometimes
in the process of cleaning up
you make BIG MESSES

Know what else I learned?

(that I wish I knew when my kids were littler
and when I was little to medium-sized?)

Here it is:

Messes are okay

They indicate that people and beloved pets
and even beautiful cut flowers that die
slowly for our pleasure
have been here and
experienced something with us

And that something is     life.

And guess what else I learned this week
as people needed and pulled me
with them to places
I hadn’t been in some time?

I learned that I’d rather live in the smudgy-walled
messiness
of my tidy life

than to have the perfect blank canvas
that holds but does not
reveal
the work of living
with others.

Worry not

IMG_1536Worry not
My identity has been found

lurking in another purse
being held in place
by a clamp and a key

Worry not
now that it is found
and sitting in the light glowing
on my desk
we know other lost things

will appear

pride, hope, purpose, art

They all must be there, too
in the recesses of some other
long-forgotten purse

And all I  need to do is
dust off the fine mist
of candy coatings
and tissue lint

And all the other smudgings
of the life
I have had

Or maybe that is my
art, my life, my pride

My identity …

That which is left alone
and coats itself

with candy dust and tissue lint
to hide the glimmer
and shine

Worry not

We are found
though we believe
we were okay

Being lost
and dusty

too.

Batten down

It is fitting
that a week away
of turbulent and uplifting thought,
of hugs and hunger
of love reaching out

Should be met by a return to those
most loved
and a storm of epic proportions

I wanted to believe
when I rose this morning
that all that wind
and rain
would have washed the world clean

And while it did,
it also left behind
big and little bits.
Flotsam, jetsam,
  detritus …
  sticks, leaves and limbs
     blown akimbo

The world blown untidy
by forces that seem
  determined

DETERMINED

to remind me how little
if anything
I control

I wondered this week
why I work so hard to keep
myself so tightly packaged

And last night I stood
looking out
at the wind powering down and bending
large, awesome trees

And the trees stood up again
and the wind moved on

And, and, and, and

There is no end to and
there is also no start
(at least that’s what the grammarians say)

But I wondered why I
work so hard
at staying contained

When what is wild holds so much

Which is not to say
that too much of anything is,
well, too much

Forgive me as I argue
with myself out loud
but I realize that my right side is yelling out
for the left side to loosen its grip
and let some energy fly
out to the stars
by way of the trees
that may
or may not
fall
under that power

The world is always different
after a storm.

Lives are changed.
People weep.

Batten down, my friends.

Batten down.

The Soul Will Sing

The soul will sing

Seeking goodness
generosity
kindness

People who die with regrets
kissing their lips
don’t realize
their soul has sung

Regrets of things withheld
it is that moment
of knowing what matters
that the soul has longed for
all along

The soul will win
and survive
and bring you to your truth

That all the meanness, anger and greed
were wasted energy
fed by drowning the soul
who whispers still and alone

Until …

The mean grip is loosened
even slightly

And you hear the song
you didn’t even know you
were aching to hear

Oh, this is not fact
this is poetic license
and bad theology

And I don’t know this

Except

I do

Waking up

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by gratitude.
It takes me over
Not washing over like a shower,
like a warm glow,
but like a searing pain that comes from

nowhere.

Sometimes gratitude slips in unknown
like those helicopter seeds that whirl
around the air and fall
unnoticed
until they are small trees
that have rooted
in my heart.

Sometimes I have no earthly reason
to feel that prick of joy
at least not
on the surface.

If my gratitude were a tree you could see
today
you might wonder where it comes from
and why

But today I wear it quietly.
it is the seed that has taken root
but not yet grown tall enough for you to notice

Today it is not searing me,
doubling me over with wonder.
Quietly, it grows, grounding
my loneliness in something larger,
something lovelier,
something more powerful
than I have a right to know.

And yet, I do.

Which brings me
full circle.

Again.

Bring It

Since so many of you gave me prayers the last few days, I’m sending one out to you.  It is the prayer I read as part of Sunday’s sermon.  Thank you, once again, to all.

Bring it
Bring your joy/ bring your sorrow
Bring your anger/ bring your understanding
Bring your sweetness / bring your bitterness

Bring it
Bring it all to the place where we lay it out and down
And wonder what we brought it all for
in the first place.

Bring it
Bring love / bring indifference
Bring the snark and the snipe and the request for apologies later
Bring the loneliness that haunts your dark night,
The doubt that whispers around your heart
The failings you can’t help but see.

Bring it
Bring the quiet / bring the noise
Bring your unfettered joy and your dancing shoes.

Bring yourself to this place, once more
And let yourself feel loved
And leave, loving in return.

But first

There is work to do, and lots of it. But first, there is my favorite coffee, in my favorite mug, sitting in my favorite chair, facing east, while the sun rises in the place where there are no windows, but casting a rosy golden glow that creeps up toward the bluing sky in a corner of the place where there IS a window.

There is so much work to do.  So many things that can only be done by me, or so it seems.  But first, there is a cat who mews quietly at my feet, to whom attention shall be paid.  For her sake and for mine.

My head spins, considering all that this day will bring. But first, first I shall sit here in the early morning silence, girding my spirit, my will, and my resiliance here, with this cup of coffee, cup of sunshine, and cup of silence.

My heart aches as I find myself letting too much in, unable to process it all and turn it back out into the world in a way that makes sense, even if only to me. It aches because this is what I think I am able to do best: gather, sort, present. But every attempt lately has been thwarted by too many others wishing to do my work as I do it.  Sometimes, I do not play well with others.

But first, there is this: the gathering and sorting and presenting of my own heartaches and desires, my own conflicts with the work I have signed up to do as it conflicts and deflects me from the work I’m certain I’m called to.

There are deadlines to meet, that should have been met yesterday, but first, there is reflection and thanksgiving for the lovely day given me by my husband and my children in honor of my birth–compressed into just a few short hours, but done with such kindness that despite the squabble over the cake cutting (there was cake–and I didn’t make it!), I felt loved, honored, treasured in a way my whole being needed  despite my forgetting how very much it did.

There are tears to shed over this incredibly stressful time in my work life.  But first, there are tears to shed over the things I am missing here, in my family life.

But first, there is much work to be done.