Sunday, November 30, 2008
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
please note: poem gleefully stolen from Blissful Bohemian. Thanks Annie.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Trees are being lighted and the preparations begin.
"In goes my hand into that wool-white-bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.
It was on the afternoon of the day of Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero's garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes."
please note: A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas
Friday, November 28, 2008
"One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six. All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands into the snow and bring out whatever I can find."
please note: photo by Estonia Tallinn, A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
by Jane Hirshfield
More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs--all this resinous, unretractable earth.
I'm about ready to swab the inside of a turkey with orange rinds and coat the rest with butter before turning on the oven to 360 degrees, waiting for the smells of Thanksgiving to fill the air of the kitchen down the steps to the front hallway.
CollegeGrrrl will be home this evening. HoneyHaired Grrrl is off school and Hubby is working a four hour shift this morning. Someone will root through the attic and dust off one board game or another--Clue, Battleship, Barbie Dating Game for a little rough and tumble before we eat. The boxer already sprawls unmoveable on the floor in front of the stove not willing to miss the chance of a dropped bit of goodness into his baggy jowls. I am filled to the brim with happiness for the chance to have all my little birds home. Many blessings to you and yours.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
If Hiliary becomes the next Secretary of State will we be seeing a lot more of this slice of mancake?? Good times are here again.
by Ann Patchett
"...a spectacular autumn book: moody and thoughtful, gentle in its handling of weighty topics, and quietly suspenseful."--Holly Silva, The St Louis Post-Dispatch
Quintessential Sentence: "Anger and sadness and a sense of injustice that was bigger than any one thing that had happened stoked an enormous fire in her chest and that fire kept her heart vibrant and hot and alive, a beautiful, infallible machine."
Favorite word: Enneacanthus obesus
Full Disclosure: Ann Patchett could write out a grocery list and I would love it.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Runways Café II
by Marilyn Hacker
For once, I hardly noticed what I ate
(salmon and broccoli and Saint-Véran).
My elbow twitched like jumping beans; sweat ran
into my shirtsleeves. Could I concentrate
on anything but your leg against mine
under the table? It was difficult,
but I impersonated an adult
looking at you, and knocking back the wine.
Now that we both want to know what we want,
now that we both want to know what we know,
it still behooves us to know what to do:
be circumspect, be generous, be brave,
be honest, be together, and behave.
At least I didn't get white sauce down my front.
please note: art by Johann Gotthardt
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Survival by Sri Chinmoy
I am not dreaming
Of a hope-victory-life.
I am just dreaming
Of a hope-survival-life.
One of our patients returned to our unit today to say hello, unrecognizable in her own clothes and walking without assistance. Her father could not stop smiling. She looked a little befuddled at all the fuss. She remembers nothing of her 8 day stay and that's just fine. She may be able to go back to school in the spring. She may need to stay out the year. Either way, she has a future waiting for her and we could not be happier as we send her towards it.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Okay, enough already...the first snow has fallen, to be followed by more flurries. Christmas music jangles from the radio. I get it. Summer is really over and the holidays are pouring out of their cars and scampering up the front steps.
So..are you sending Christmas cards this year?
You wanna send one to the address below?
From the front lines to the home front, the American Red Cross provides our military men and women with the care and assistance they need. This holiday season the Red Cross is partnering with Pitney Bowes for the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign.
For the second year, holiday cards are being collected to distribute to American service members, veterans and service families in the United States and those deployed around the world. Pitney Bowes is generously donating technology, resources and postage to make this holiday card program possible.
The goal is to collect and distribute one million holiday cards to spread the spirit of the season--that would be Holiday Cheer, you Scrooges-- and give thanks a million brave individuals and families.
Please send cards to this address, guidelines available in the Red Cross website highlighted below:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456
For more information and important guidelines, check out:
Holiday Mail for Heroes-
(borrowed from ConcordPastor--thanks for the heads up)
Monday, November 17, 2008
Waking from a nap,
we stand at the window
watching dark clouds crawl
across the sky, whip
down and out and up.
Lights come on early,
and people below
on the street scurry
and bumble about
My arm around you, you say—
Let it rain, let it pour.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Tonight I wonder where the man is
who used to stand just inside the doors
of the Lexington Avenue entrance to Grand Central Station.
The full moon is rising. Around the earth, meteors move
through space. Every day for over a year
I walked by him early in the morning
and at the end of the day he still
stood in the same position, arms down
his sides, looking straight ahead
at thousands of people walking
without colliding in all directions at once,
everybody trying to get to a different place.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I have left my wife at the airport,
flying out to help our daughter
whose baby will not eat.
And I am driving on to Kent
to hear some poets read tonight.
I don't know what to do with myself
when she leaves me like this.
An old friend has decided to
end our friendship. Another
is breaking it off with his wife.
I don't know what to say
to any of this-Life's hard.
And I say it aloud to myself,
Living is hard, and drive further
into the darkness, my headlights
only going so far.
I sense my own tense breath, this fear
we call stress, making it something else,
hiding from all that is real.
As I glide past Twin Lakes,
flat bodies of water under stars,
I hold the wheel gently, slowing my
body to the road, and know again that
this is just living, not a trauma
nor dying, but a lingering pain
reminding us that we are alive.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I have learned
that life goes on,
That days are measured out
in tiny increments
as a woman in a kitchen
of cinnamon, vanilla,
or half a cup of sugar
into a bowl.
I have learned
that moments are as precious as nutmeg,
and it has occurred to me
that busy interruptions
are like tiny grain moths,
They nibble, pee, and poop,
or make their little worms and webs
until you have to throw out the good stuff
with the bad.
It took two deaths
and coming close myself
for me to learn
that there is not an infinite supply
of good things in the pantry.
Monday, November 10, 2008
"...a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."
In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, the world rejoiced and celebrated the triumph of ending the old world order. After four years of bitter and devastating war, a peace treaty was signed and hope for diplomatic resolutions reigned.
The "war to end all wars" was now over.
Except for the ones that soon followed.
This is a deeply heartfelt thanks for the many peaces that have been fought for and a prayer for those still slightly out of reach.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
(to remind myself)
Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your work,
doubt their judgment.
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.
please note: photo by wicked nox
Friday, November 7, 2008
It was a beautiful fall day in River City, the kind of day when the sky darkens to a pewter grey showing off the yellows and oranges of the trees along the neighborhood streets, when the temperature's dropped just enough to feel comfortable in a sweatshirt, when it's not surprising to see a murder of crows land in the graveyard behind the house. The kind of day when it doesn't feel odd at all to sit here with my best friend with a couple of cups of coffee and discuss all the reasons why we think someone killed our neighbor.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
by Sheenagh Pugh
Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; crops don't fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.
A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
OVER SO SOON??
The Election Carnivale is almost at its close and already I'm starting to miss the players strutting and fretting their way across my television screen.
I shall miss the strategery and the mavericking.
As the world holds its breath and waits, we here in the states will know by Wednesday if
is right around the corner
or if there's four more years of material for Tina Fey.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
by Susan Mitchell
At night the dead come down to the river to drink.
They unburden themselves of their fears,
their worries for us. They take out the old photographs.
They pat the lines in our hands and tell our futures,
which are cracked and yellow.
Some dead find their way to our houses.
They go up to the attics.
They read the letters they sent us, insatiable
for signs of their love.
They tell each other stories.
They make so much noise
they wake us
as they did when we were children and they stayed up
drinking all night in the kitchen.
Kyrie from the Requiem Mass by Tomas Luis de Victoria and performed by the Tallis Scholars(reallocated from the ConcordPastor--thank you!)