Imagining

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Imagining

She curled up in his lap
Buried her face in her hands
And ran
Imagined world without end amen
The lost were found
All fear removed
Like coring an apple
Making it safe
Fear extricated
The seeds no longer there
To choke or spoil.

She lay down on a bed with Hope
After praying real and loud and hard
Knelling  worn-out knees on a wooden floor
Wrote her modern Psalms,
Asking, no begging
For life void of fear, recalling
Floods of faithfulness
Hearing whispers
Harbingers
Forecasting peace
At last, peace at last.

She looked out at the silver moon
Imagined her torso cloaked in borrowed armor of  brave
Stepping on shadows then into the light
Pondering what to wear
Battles need armor
Customized
Just her size
Fit matters, it must be precise
No borrowing armor
Like worry

No ill-fitting suit of another
Bare skin for battle

Choose wise she heard
In the still of the night
To wear bold
And brave
By day
And by night
Imagine
Look left and look right

Imagine
All fear’s been
Removed from this place

I love you, I heard you
Go, run your race
Imagine the wings  I’ve
Sewn to your back
Fly
Unencumbered, fly fast, fly free
At last
Sweet dreams as
She lay curled up in his lap.

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Joining my dear friend Sandra Heska King at Sandra Heska King dot com 

Vulnerability Looks Like Grace

Vulnerability

I checked the pot
Truly
Over and over again
And they weren’t ready
The nouns, the verbs, the words
They needed salt and light
Heat
And time, grace to grow
Space to separate then blend
Oh friend,
Patiently I stirred with an old wooden spoon
Swirling clockwise and counter
Checking
Re-checking
You know in the folds of your soul, when they are ready
To share
And
Release

These took longer,they required
Time, it stood still
The hallmark of the moment
Generosity of minutes moved, yet frozen
The gentle branding of the transaction
Between two
Women sharing sips of soul-filled words
Vulnerable, the two

I asked if I could spill over
About the woman with the spirit of generosity
Of heart
Of honesty and humility and second chances
And when we are our most human
Our most vulnerable
You with me and I with you
A sacred thread runs through
The space and time
We are dusted by the holy
Threaded artists we

I tell you my ache, my pain
And question deep the need to rest

You tell me of your winsome brave wild and wonderful
Dream
You know we can do better than we have
I tell you I want to write a song
You tell me that I can
And we are in a ping pong match of words
Vulnerability fuels that flame

And you re-tell
A second chance
For me, the first
A chance meeting, one on one
Eyeball to eyeball, soul to soul
We speak encouragement

And I am marked forever
By the chance
Or was it God-ordained

I hope I stirred it long enough
And let it simmer, taste and see that
He is good

You are a joy
And I,  a grateful saint

Who learned what
Generosity, sensitivity
And brave can taste like
Poured out from the lips of one kindred
Spirit, Flesh, and Bone

Vulnerability looks like grace
With a soulful artist’s heart

Doors with cut out crosses

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This poem is dedicated to Joy Thigpen at Joy Thigpen dot com who taught me much about the making of art– and rivers and margins and more at Allume 2013.

The Narrowing

dolphin duo show offsWe discuss the newlyweds in Spain. Their picture has just popped up on Instagram. I confess now this is something I could really long for. I might even really want to do this, go there. They are sitting under a shade tree, white linen table spread like a banquet with olives and wine and cheese and the cured meats. And they are smiling relaxed newly married bliss-filled smiles.

We are riding down the salty creek in our little boat when we stop to visit with friends sitting up on the top deck of their house boat. They are breathing in salt and watching the old lady dolphin swim, rising up above the surface now and then, she smiles at them. And they exhale the stress of their long work week in a thriving restaurant business. Owners never seem to sleep. I tell her “I hope you have a wonderful sunset tonight”. And her response is Elizabeth, you know, I really don’t care. Her cup is full with all that is there. There is nothing lacking in her dusk date with her husband.

And they tell us they are celebrating ten years of being in business with a really big trip. They are going to Scotland for three weeks. I exhale, ah Scotland.  And remember my two trips there. Lovely, they were. Good memories I have. And it creeps up again, this hazy desirous emotion and longing. Should I stay or should I go. In my inner parts, into my day dreams. Into my internal wish list.

There is a well-aged and well-tended friendship in my life. I believe I tell her everything. She has the enormous responsibility of listening to me spill it out, beat it to death, and wallow in it. My stuff. I confess, I complain, I confess some more. I doubt. I dream. And I drop off all my innermost parts at her feet. I am safe with her.

And in her wisdom she reminds me that no matter what we do or where we go we always have fun, in the simple. She reminds me of this truth. We have discovered the journey into extracting maximum joy from some of life’s most simple activities. We are four. We are two couples who though we have had our passports stamped a time or two, are happiest now in the execution of a simple plan. One of discovering that life explodes with God beauty in the trips down the African Creek, the one right here in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. And life is beautiful when we pack a sandwich, even bologna, or especially bologna, and kayak out to the wooden cross on the shore of the Waterway.

He came up to me yesterday with the heart of a child. Laid out all of the shells he was collecting on the kitchen table. They were all so shiny. There is a scientific term for the shimmer and sheen, the particular sparkle and shine. But the child in him just saw the shiny. And he pulled out a light and shined it on the splendor and everything glistened in this moment of ordinary.

And then he brings me his two special ones. He is not a mid-Fifties adult, he is a child, wide-eyed discoverer of beauty.

These he says, these are my special ones. Please don’t move them. He has found extraordinary beauty in these two found objects. Because they are imperfect. They are perfect. Barnacles and a  combination of shells have been molded together by the sea  to make a hybrid of beauty. And this is all we will ever need.  This sacred simple.For we are learning to go into the land of discovery of the God simple. The natural wonder of the unexplored. Exploring what is under our sandy toes and sun-burned noses.

We cut the motor on our favorite part of the creek and it seems that all we can see is green lush marshgrass, oystershells and sky. There is so much sky. Have I forgotten how large that canopy of unending sky is.  How could I forget the shades of blues so life-giving even on a cloudy day. And water. We are surrounded by water, sky, and wonder. And then the pod of frisky dolphin show up and we are all children. Each one of us in our human pod of four, is a child filled with a spirit of  fresh discovery.

And we are narrowing. And we are traveling. And we are home.

Oswald Chambers writes:

“If you ask for things from life instead of from God, ‘you ask amiss’; that is, you ask out of your desire for self-fulfillment. The more you fulfill yourself the less you will seek God.”…seek, and you will find…” Get to work-narrow your focus and interests to this one thing.”

Our conversation, the one with my friend Harriet,  turns to Him and any desire we have to “go and do”. It is our term for living. Unless He plans the trip, we decide we don’t really want to go after all. Because traveling on the outskirts of His will, is less than each time. And isn’t seeking Him as children the better way. And isn’t seeing His world as children, with the impressionable spirit of a discovering child the most tender way.

Our conversation, the one with my husband, turns to an older couple who are no longer walking out this earthly life. He reminds me of their routine. He says do you remember how they would get into their boat every night and ride out to see the dolphin play in the surf.  And they died not long after that.

I wrap my mind around age and living simply and death and heaven on earth, the glory in the sacred daily wonders.

And realize that there is beauty in the narrowing, in the simplifying.

We are soaking in the wonders of our Sunday, a day that we marked as family day and prayed would be the beginning of the best summer of our lives. This house we are renting to “test drive” this new town, to see if it likes us and  if the feeling is mutual, has a wonderfully small kitchen. We are bumping into each other preparing our summer supper. And my husband yells, Look, Come See This is Classic.  When he calls out wonder and beauty I have learned to listen, to stop and look. He means business when he sees moments of grandeur.

I walk to the glass front door and see the neighbor’s chickens are out running around  her neighbor’s yard. And we laugh at the sight of chickens out of place. And the variety of the brood, there seems to be one of each. The silkies might be my favorite. And we laugh some more and find surprise in the spontaneous wonder of chickens running around the green lush lawn of a neighbor who carefully maintains a beautiful yard. She just happens to be out of town this night.

And who needs wine and cheese in Spain after this. This most perfect day.

Of ordinary. Of extraordinary.

The vision is wide in the narrowing.

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Joining Laura at The Wellspring for her Playdates  and Jen for SDG and Emily and Jennifer

The Blackbird, Checking Through The Pane

red winged blackbird

                                                                                                   (photo credit:wikipedia/wikicommons)

If there were a list of rules for who can visit,
A book of names to let some enter into
Communion on the ledge

By virtue of his title
He’d be turned away.

But when it’s quiet
And thought has pulled me deep,
Where worry debates with faith and reason
Yanking tiresome
Pulling piece by ragged piece,
In the dusty corners where the deep grooved tracks from a  childhood
Play.
He comes alone, staring deep within my soul
Feathers meet a feeble friend.
I’ve begun to wait for him.

He sings a shrill of flats or is it sharps.
Tilts his head
I don’t know which, or what he says.
Peers through glass at me then folds a caring nod
As if the feathered feeder friend

Sings his song for me.
Alone.
There is no space for other songbirds when he comes.
His birdsong gurgles, sucks up all the space and time
With a melody of winsome caring,
checking through the pane.

Ebony and streaks of red ask
“Have you found at last your peace on matters on your mind.”