Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Class Picture, 1954

by Billy Collins

I am the third one
from the left in the third row.

The girl I have been in love with
since the 5th grade is just behind me
to the right, the one with the bangs.

The boy who pushes me down
in the playground
is the last one on the left in the top row.

And my friend Paul is the second one
in the second row, the one
with his collar sticking out, next to the teacher.

But that's not all—
if you look carefully you can see
our house in the background

with its porch and its brick chimney
and up in the clouds
you can see the faces of my parents,

and over there, off to the side,
Superman is balancing
a green car over his head with one hand.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

To Keep in Mind

So we're driving in the car and she asks me to think of something that is unbreakable.
I try to think of something, but it seems to me everything can break.
Then she smiles and tells me
everything but God, and the Holy Spirit.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Like a gaggle of geese, though less well known;
a murmuration of starlings...
it is also prayer
uttered soundless except for the movement of lips,
breath escaping,

Much for reflection here...

Watch it...BIG...Full screen
(click the title to see the video)

I wonder...
What does this speak to you?

Friday, February 17, 2012

I thank you god for most this amazing day

Husband dashing out a bit late to work and I walk with him,
bathrobe wrapped tight against the cold. 
He drives off and I turn, my back to the sunrise, and see this...

I grab my camera, a quick shot
and just as fast it's little bright white is gone from my sight,
it's light spreading into this...

I close my eyes, turn my face to the heavens
and feel my Father's Light rising behind me, illuminating the world. 
God's presence felt,
as real as if you yourself were standing there behind me...

 i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

- ee cummings

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy St. Valentine's Day

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
  -Shakespeare's sonnet 116

Of course, the feast of St Valentine is a martyr's feast;
but the original meaning of martyr is witness.
Someone whose whole life is a witness to divine love...
And so on this martyr's feast I come across shakespeare
and read the poetry of a life laid down for love.
  -  marriage
and because all poetry is personal
  -  my marriage

I met my husband when my own lips were rosy
and my cheeks blushed at his arrival...
not yet 16, he walked into my life and I was sunk!
He had this deep voice and wore a soft cashmere sweater
green and cozy and I wanted to settle into those arms forever.

He wore thick glasses and had an easy smile.
At first I thought him shy,
but he simply chose his friends slowly and well.
Now I know it is because his friendship is a lasting stand.
I remember walking in the cool of the evening, alone at last
as we wandered along the sidewalk,
my 16th birthday party going on inside.
He gave me his sweater against the cool and I can
feel it as though it was yesterday...thus began our courtship.

He'd walk me to the gate of my house and squeeze my hand goodbye
I still wonder was he terrified for that first kiss,
or was it his same commitment to mean it
that held his restraint firm enough against my girlish longing.

First kiss came, at the county fair,
up in the ferris wheel...
back on the ground our courage is up,
Tommy James and the Shondells are singing
Draggin the Line and I'm feelin fine!

We wed on the hottest day of the year, 1975.
There were no strangers there.
Our friends and family decorated the hall,
provided the music for mass and witnessed our vows,
more friends in the band for dancing after,
took the photos, entertained (long tall Texan).
Everyone we loved was gathered there to celebrate
and it is still the best wedding we’ve ever experienced!

I have enjoyed his strong and kind companionship through decades now.
Seen him again and again lay down his life for love.
He’s done it with a smile, an easy laugh
With pleasure and glad for the chance.
And he’s done it with unrelenting anguish
and great personal sacrifice.
A martyr for the cause as they say
And the cause is steady and clear
To live a life of love.

We’ve had a life of constancy,
faithfulness, friendship.
An easy confidence in our belonging together,
A grateful recognition of how rare a gift we share.
Lucky us, we say again and again.
Simple pleasures of home and family,
Crazy love crowded around the table,
celebrating together the moments as they come.
Easy laughter in the flow of days to years.
Burdens too, weeping days and sleepless nights.
Known to us alone, shared like a blanket
on the sofa; we huddle together
our hopes, our dreams, our faith, our lives.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Mother's Smile

My mom...far left with some of her siblings
Margie, Charlotte, Dickey, Daryl, Robert, Wes, Danny & Charlie

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I wander around the expanse of this new space with it’s open walls,
not sure where to put a picture I have just unpacked and so glad to find.
I hold it here...and there. Other things needing my attention, I lean it
against the kitchen window and forget it there. 
Now it seems it's where it belongs and i love it. 
It’s hues evoke something peaceful and deep, soothing in me.

There's an old calendar print on the back that was used when it was framed.
I’d seen it again in the unpacking, smiling (i love old things), and quickly forgotten.

Yesterday i walked outside and saw it there through the window.
How it caught my eye.

Somehow it touched me with it’s surprise of beauty.
Snowy mountains and blossoming meadows...a clear running stream and pale sky.
Surrounded by stained cardboard, tack nails and a twist of rusty wire.
Unprotected, it shows the wear and tear of time, beauty aged and sharpness softened. 
Some patches have been eaten away or torn; gone missing somehow.

This is not the backside of the print, like the weavings of a tapestry.
This is an entirely different scene, in the same frame, heretofore hidden.

Is it the landscape of things not chosen. 
The things we let take a back seat in our life;
The valley of ‘if only’.
The homeland we never dreamed possible
or if dreamed so, even then, just in bits and pieces.

Is it a glimpse into the high country, what we call the other side of life,
eternity here now (though mostly unseen or neglected),
it’s tattered state not worn through but just coming into view?
[Conor, I think now of you and ‘What Dreams May Come’]

Is it the magnificence of those who have backed me up,
been my mountain of strength, held me secure, let me shine.
Their own self-sacrifice shown in its rough edged paper frame,
which moves me to deep felt gratitude, prompts me to prayer.

Is it my own life, hidden away even to myself,
though not sadly or with regret, but given away
so as to make of my life a home for love.

I’s just a page from an old calendar
in an old frame
of an old print.
like I said
(i love old things)

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:
now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
- 1Corinthians 13:12