Monday, March 31, 2014

Wintry Mix Up

Wintry Mix Up

Living in New England
I should have known better
than hope that crocus teeth
cutting through dead leaves
and melting snow
meant an end of winter.

As baseball begins again
I should have remembered
sitting in the grandstand
wrapped in blankets
or a long ago April blizzard
that brought down branches.

A week and a half
past the vernal equinox
fat flakes turn to clicking sleet
then to rain
and back again.
Yes, now I remember.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


If beauty is truth,
what can be said
of the the blue morpho
who closes its brilliance
into camouflage
as  it stops to gather nectar?

Or what of the green malachite
seen only in peripheral vision
as it flies fast
over concertina wire
taking its glory
out into the black night?

Or the absent orange monarch
once plentiful in the hydrangea?

If truth is beauty
what am I to learn from these?
that beauty is a transitory thing?
that the truth cannot be held?
that there is honesty in butterflies?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lingering Music

"...our anxiety is less the mind shielding itself from death than the spirit's need to be. It is as if each of us were always hearing some strange, complicated music in the background of our lives, music that, so long as it remains in the background, is not simply distracting but manifestly unpleasant, because it demands the attention we are giving to other things. It is not hard to hear this music, but it is very difficult to hear it as music."
Christian Wiman My Bright Abyss

I am never sure I understand exactly what Wiman is talking about, but what I do get is rich and feeds me for a long time. That may be why it's taking me months to read this book. Every phrase, every sentence makes me stop, read it again, and then ponder it. Very rich and very good!

This particular quotation struck a chord (excuse the pun) with me when he talks about all the things that clutter up life, preventing us from hearing that "strange, complicated music." Returning from Nicaragua, most of our team have said that we return with many questions. What we saw and experienced is like a strange and complicated symphony--full of lovely melodies and disturbing discords.

Now we are back to work, to school, to the regular patterns of our life--patterns that can seem to drown out that other music. But not quite. The roosters are still crowing in Las Mercedes. The school children are still shuffling into their seats at NITCA. The iron gates are still clanking closed at Hansae,

And we are here in the last days of winter, looking forward to spring, but the strange music of Nicaragua still rings in our ears. Let us hope that we keep hearing those notes of beauty and oppression and that someday we hear more clearly the healing harmonies.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Remembering my Father on his Birthday


My father bought me stars,
a small constellation
splayed across wax paper,
picked from a wooden bin
between clothesline and fuses
at Carpenter and Webber’s Hardware.

One by one
he pasted them
on the ceiling above my bed.
“Leave the shades up today,
then when it’s nighttime,
the stars will come out.”

At 7:30 the Lone Ranger
began his fight for law and order
on the white Crosley
next to my bed,
where I lay safe

beneath my very own galaxy.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Bit of Purple Hope

A friend told me last night that she saw a crocus popping up. God, I love those beauties. They are so defiant. They will not let this winter, any winter, keep them down.

Right now it's 10 degrees out, and my yard has snow banks three feet high, and it's March 5 already! I can pound my mittened fists and say it's time for spring, but being a true New Englander, I know springtime is a variable concept.

But those crocuses don't care. They shoot up through the snow and give us a glimmer of hope, just enough to get us through another frigid day.