Sunday, April 19, 2009

I require a beautiful life

I require a beautiful life.
Not one without grief or dirt or cold tea or black beatles. But certainly beautiful.
I require a life that surprises all who encounter it. A life that I have created through stout labor and the good help of God.
I require a simple life, true, but rich too. Richly imagined and richly designed that is. And full of rich moments--the ones that will take my breath away.
And taking the joy with the pain and the love with the heartache, I shall live my beautiful life working, and trusting, till I die.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ushering in another October

october falling

when October falls like
orange and yellow from gutter
traps then, then hearts are
full and much possessed by
the water-log of wet from
the sky and from pumpkin spice
lattes and Shakespeare by

who taught your heart to love
October falling when April
has flown with geese
away, south and left, after
summer’s glow has faded, a
wetter, warmer way behind
at your own hearth and

where will it go, this feeling
when October is finished falling
and lies dead on the cold
streets? Will the heart find new
charms of lattes and light and
will the ways of the world
change for the sake of small girls
in love?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

My other life: a love letter

If today should run away like Brigadoon and recede into a mist as
profound as the herald angel’s cry, I
will still remember that we laughed.
If this moment should fade like six month old jeans into a pale
remnant of what we bought, I
will still remember that we told the truth.
I will remember that we ran, measuring each breath with each
stride, comparing sweat and speed. I
will remember how our voices forgot to be unique and
bent themselves to an indiscernible melody together.
I will remember (how could I forget?) how June in Georgia rained
torrents of wet on our soaked, laughing heads, as we screamed,
free at last to do what we never would have dared to do otherwise.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Few Digressions

I might as well say it: I agonized over what to title this great piece of wit and originality. I thought maybe, "A few digressions: an autobiography." Or, "A few digressions, a few daddy long-leg spiders, and a king tossed in for flavor." Or, "An Autobiography: daddy long-legs, a poet, and a king." All of which were charming and very interesting but, much, much too long. So. "A Few Digressions" it is.

Some people write endlessly of themselves like great men who carefully recount their memoirs in meticulous detail for the reading pleasure of all the world and all history. A life in black ink on white paper apparently holds more intrinsic value as each occasion is duly noted and documented, than a simple life, unrecorded, un-remarked upon, and never read, much less written could possibly possess. There is, I must acknowledge, something in the telling of them, that renders each moment more momentous and enchanting than before. A moment lived and a moment expressed are two entirely different experiences that, like port and chocolate, are better had together. Having said as much, I hereby both criticize and utilize the practice of autobiography, assuring myself of the world’s indulgence, un-warranted as it may be and distressing as it may prove. Amen.

When at college and laboring over Latin, Milton wrote this rebellious interjection:

“Hail, Native Language, that by sinews weak,
Didst move my first-endeavoring tongue to speak,
And madest imperfect word, with childish trips,
Half unpronounced, slide through my infant lips,
Driving dumb silence from the portal door,
Where he had mutely sat two years before:
Here I salute thee in my latter task…”

Lest any random, innocent reader should think me a well-read intellectual of sorts, let me confess immediately that I never read Milton till yesterday—when I discovered another book on my shelf, borrowed and unread for nearly a year. The subsequent guilt pangs prompted me to peruse a few pages at least. But I digress.

My intellectual ambition is at best sporadic, and as far as wit is concerned, I am generally know to be somewhat charming at times of rare enlightenment. Enlightenment for me is most generally and quite certainly always accompanied by tea. Not any tea bag tossed in a mug you understand, but real, sensible, sit down and pour-it-from-a-pot tea. Accompanied nicely of course by sweet bread and jam of some kind. There is nothing—absolutely nothing that can produce equal clarity of mind and sensitivity of judgment as a good tea. Except of course the work of the Spirit Himself. But then I have often wondered whether He doesn’t work through tea in the majority of cases. But I digress.

I will spare you the entire quote, and simply get to the point—something I am famed for. Oh, I thought of something else that the Spirit undoubtedly works through: Chopin’s nocturnes. Actually, through Maria Joao Pires who plays them and whose name I will never remember how to pronounce. Although I suppose the argument could be made that the Spirit works through the Bose Wave Radio from which the scintillating music forthwith comes—but that may be, like Mary Poppins in the country, going a bit too far. “Doshus ali expi, listic, fragi cali rupus.” Or something like that. But again, I digress.

Milton and I both feel the need to pay our respects to our native English. Goodness knows we neither of us have had much success with any other language. At least I haven’t. I don’t know what my pal Milt would say, but if he’s an honest bloke I bet he’d tell you he failed Latin. I bet. Why else would he write such a poem write in the middle of a Latin assignment? At least I got a B in Spanish—not much to write home about, but still passing. In Milton’s case, his devotion to English served him well in the end—he is after all rather famous. I have yet to see but a smattering of the success I have asked of my language. Language is fitful I believe. Rather like temperamental Greek deities. And as you know, I am merely a rather ordinary, but hopeful mortal who sometimes tries her clumsy hand at the King’s English. Although, we don’t have a king, and that may have some bearing on the matter. A king to possess a language and press his seal of approval on a language, and give decrees in a language, and order books to be written in a language and torture school children with the learning of a language must of course lend credence and respectability to any common citizen, however lowly who employs said language’s use. There is a queen of course, but I’m not sure if that can have quite the same effect. People don’t say “the Queen’s English” any more than they say “the President’s English” (but then, that is understandable for in our case it would be “the President’s American”). It simply isn’t done. And so the collective writers of the English speaking nations of the world must suffer for it. No king, no respect, no love. Pardon me for a moment, its time for my daily “cry in a dark, dirty corner” session.

Okay, that’s better. Actually, I don’t really have such a thing as a daily “cry in a dark dirty, daddy long-leg infested corner” session. I just made that up. Just like I just added “daddy long-leg infested” to “dark, dirty corner.” It sounded better. And more dreadful. Daddy long-leg spiders in corners would make me cry. But yet again, I digress. Except this time, I’m not sure I can even remember what I was digressing from. I mean, “I’m not sure I can even remember from what I was digressing.” My apologies your majesty.

Till next time.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


It was strangely cold, strangely mild
Strangely gray, strangely wild.
Such a day it was when the waiter came
To dish out pieces of fame
From pie dishes still warm, steaming.
But the ice cream kept me from believing
On that gray, wild day
What the waiter said in his cold, mild way.
And then he left carrying the bill
Away from we, the patrons who will
Always forget to tip.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sorrow: a phenomenon

What is sorrow but a great need, a need for something imagined or true, accelerated to the point of absolute necessity (whether imagined or true)?

What is sorrow but a great hand squeezing otherwise ordinary people into small children who cower in alley corners, and behind office desks, and under warm quilts and in front of kitchen sinks--alone (or seemingly so). A large alone--conspicuous as an elephant in your lap. And although you may sit and wish the elephant away for long, lonely nights and days, you would answer a cold, flat no if anyone offered to take it away. You would rather sit, smothered, and just wish.

But how can the elephant be led away? Gently and with the sly, coaxings of a respectable zoo-keeper? No amount of zoo-keepers or coaxing can draw out the elephants in our hearts. What is a human soul, but solitary? The ultimate aloneness comes from within, as layers and layers of strong stone walls refuse to fall away and not even Joshua's trumpets can tumble the horrible isolation of each of us. We talk, but even what we call communication cannot possibly facilitate communion between souls. There will always be a language barrier and we will encode and decode every word as they come and go as if across live wires. What can we say of ourselves that anyone else would understand? And who would want to understand anyone else but themselves? We are so alone. We are so pitiful. So we will clutch our elephants tightly to ourselves and scribble soul-baring notes in our journals, trying desperately to trust in the worth and the romance of a voice never heard, of words never spoken, or if spoken never truly understood. We sit in dusty, drafty corners or on the deep leather of chic coffee-house armchairs and imagine the glory of posthumous fame. But this is no consolation, no amount of Greek tragedy and grand speeches can salve the ache of anonymity. No amount of prayer and sacrifice to Greek deities will console an unopened, unbroken heart.

But it was not always thus. Something has gone badly wrong with the human soul since the beginning. We were created to be together, to talk with God in the cool of the day, to know and be known. If this were not so, we would not now feel the sorrow of disconnect. It is an unnatural phenomenon, like physical pain. This sorrow, I would be bold and recognize as the quintessential sorrow of the world, its plague as it were, to be separated from God, has a cure.

"Was there any sorrow like unto His sorrow?"

There is no need for me to continue clutching my particular Dumbo on my long-laden lap. The great ringmaster has led it away, and it shall never come wandering back. I don't have to get sick on ice cream sodas is some obscure drugstore waiting to be discovered, because from everlasting to everlasting He is God and He has known my innermost being from the beginning. Christ has been separated from the Father in my place and has suffered the quintessential sorrow more profoundly than any human ever has in order that we may know and be known.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

To dance in the wilderness

The whirring of ceiling fans hums above the stirring of a large audience. Singers in black to my right and left, behind and before. The organ in the corner groans a beginning through great pipes at my back and then, suddenly a breeze blows through this church and I am whisked away on its wings to a place of sand and wind and sagebrush. Strangely the organ music continues its strains of eloquence. My feet are light and delight fills my stomach with joy. I dance, sand spraying reluctantly as I whirl, twirling in time with the wind and my own heart beat. Perhaps I dance alone, perhaps I have a partner. Perhaps two. Perhaps my beloved and His Father both dance with me. Perhaps all of heaven dances with me, shouting with each sweep of my feet: "Glory!" One thing I know: I could not have danced in the wilderness if blood had not been shed, if tears had not dropped like rain on the desert ground. I could not have danced, so carefree, like a child on the beach if I had not once sat, cold, seemingly alone in the dark of a wilderness night. I could not have danced in this wilderness if I had not been led here in the first place. To dance in the wilderness is a thing seldom done. To dance in the wilderness is a thing saints do. To dance in the wilderness is to trust the Master.