The Royal We

trio in nature

The Royal We

We held a meeting
Called a quorum
Banged the gavel

Called to order
Read the minutes
Decided that we

Would try to do some
Things a little different
Around here

Thoreau was right
You know
Those words of his

On vanity and writing
Sitting down before you

Stand up and do some living
And we decided more than that
Life has had its share of fear

And when you meet it, stare it square
Fear  is  lost
A mystery not lost on us

We banged the gavel rung the bell
And called it short
This meeting of the minds

Released us, we dive into life
The three, we conquers now of fear
That while the meek may inherit the earth

Joy comes in the morning
And in the afternoon
Right after you stand up

To fear
Tell  it to take a hike
And took a stand

To do your living standing up
Before you vainly
Sat to write

Of all the weight of glory
We felt bearing down
Upon the three of us

The business of a life well lived
He knows

And now
So do we
The brave and  royal we.

The Glider and The One In Which We Grieve While Living

the glider

The Glider

Calls her out
Into the night

Anchors the seating
For souls
To search

Stars with wings
The lightening bugs
Of all the things we recall
Are insects in a Mason Jar
Holes punched through to last the night

In the crosshairs
We open Pooh and cry at the news
Of loss, our Mia

We go back
And forth
Counting on a change
Then see it was made
After all

The wall art reminds
We live forward
But understand in looking back
Truth proclaimed in pottery
Words lined up and down
In the cross

No idle living
On the porch
If metal spoke
It would tell
Of healing there
Black metal harbinger of hope

A forty dollar yard sale
Be with you
Found and tossed
Find a seat
Huddle anew

The glider
Out under the waxing

She waxes poetic

Remembering her friend
The one who died too soon

Claimed another

Come glide with me
The days are numbered
The phone has rung
And doctors tell of cancer
And the fighting man
Who loves to rock and hold a glass
Always more than half way full
Of hope, spins it good and glorious

Sit and rock
Roll back the rock of death
It lost its sting
And tell me all

We’ll knit one pearl two
And make the days

Don’t drop a stitch
In time
The stitches one by one
Will make a perfect

And glide
You must not move
Mother may I

Gather on your
Under our moon
With you

Death has lost its sting
Forty dollars
Buys a lot of living



In Which We Grieve While Living

Death both stops you in your tracks and thrusts you onward. Propels you forward, harder, faster, fighting mad that it came at all. Births a new desire to grasp the days like a starving man, deprived of food and all that is good. To savor, taste and see that it is good, so good. The all He makes and made. We  ride the waves of grief, nestle in the glory goodness that it wakes us up to see.

Life is revealed in death. We float in seas of salty remembering. Hold on to each other harder, stronger, longer and buoy a grievous soul in love. Linking arms and planning how to rip the wrapping off the day. Crazy to unwrap the gift.

Awake anew to the mystery of the world. The unknowing of the numbered days. Shot out of a canon,  we declare we will press on in living with our grief and sacred remembering of the lives that end. Ended. Continue on in heavenly glory. Bless and pray and thank and grieve. But live. In a holy place of remembering.

We  weep at life without our loves. People, those who have marked our lives, the lives of a child, importantly. Who have invested, sacrificed and loved us well. Smiled when aching, loved when hurting, played while pushing back their own sorrows. They teach us love while living life. Show us mercy upon mercy. Currents of grace whirl round their brilliant countenances.

And we are changed forever and ever, amen.

And it is then we pull out Pooh. Because it is an anchor with its words on living and mysteries, child-like exploration into unknown forests and chasing after demons disguised as hephalumps. We gather the musty pages which smell of childhood and life. That smell of laughter. And yellow smells wise and knowing. Turn the mustard colored pages where a child has added to  with scribbles of their own. Crayons colored green and red have left their waxy mark of random scribbly scrabbly child’s play.

In my home, Pooh anchors with belly laughs. And memories of the best times. Of silly sayings and pages which read a hundred and leventy leven times ninety sound new and as fresh as a the morning’s first drips from a French Press. The world wakes us up. Turns in circles and cycles seem comforting. As life is supposed to be.

Cycles of life, cycles of death, cycles of grief. And Pooh.

My mother read it to my grandmother in her eighty’s. In the home. And in Latin. And they laughed tears, tracking down aging cheeks in salty rivulets.

And on the morning of more news of death, we pull out Milne and let him take us back to happy youth. Where rabbits and owls and kangaroos talk and donkeys struggle with depression and angsty life views. Where a small pig can be a best friend. Where loss and grief loose a little of their sting in the imaginations of an Englishman, a poet a writer a giver of hope.  Years upon years after his birth and death.

His words, a healing gift.

So we press on a little  more gaily into our day. Looking for honey in the sour sorrow of loss. My mother reads Pooh aloud and the pain diminishes a small amount. Our family gathers around grief.

And around story. Childhood joys. We will pray tonight. And lift up the grieving ones to God. We will bow and lift and whisper and cry.

But for now its words of poetry and children’s lit. At times like this, it is always  words. Of prayer.

And a bear.


photo of A.A. Milne –

photo of glide – Elizabeth W. Marshall, poetry and prose through a lens of grace

Joining Jennifer at Jennifer Dukes Lee dot com

In community with Emily at Emily Wierenga dot com

Slice of Life – Living In The Rain

tomatoe slice

Yesterday and the day before  revealed new mysteries of timing. And showed how life will unveil  tenderness and joy in the most unexpected moments. How the pulsing of a  day like any other, a breathing in and out day, can move from a cacophony of disharmonious clanging cymbals and banging drums to a sweet whispered lullaby of perfect harmony.

Yesterday we dodged the rain. It came in sheets, thunderous banging and torrential downpours. So we got into the rhythm of its dance. And moved with nature, less with self. Realized that circumstances and external conditions can change things and shape days, but won’t define us.  We longed for the sun and a day on the water, playing in the salt and sea.

Yesterday teased us with her starts and stops. So we synchronized our living around the rain. 

night on the water

We sought  breaks from the feeling of entrapment staged by  the downpours of rain, in torrents it came. We shifted Sunday paradigms and rhythms and kept holding out for a break in the storm.

So much of our lives is mirrored in these moments of stormy living. Seeking shelter from the down pours. Wondering when the gray will step aside and let the blues pick up their brushes and paint the skies a watercolor canvas of lapis and turquoise, sapphire and indigo.

Some days the passion feels dull and lifeless, the writing doesn’t come, the news is bleak, a wounding comes our way in the form of words, the deal doesn’t go through, the work is hard, relationships are bruised — thunder claps and ominous clouds roll in.

But in the midst of the  grays, I was given a gift. One of meeting my neighbor, an eighty year old poet. She and I chatted, I gave her a pie I had made. And as often happens when kindred spirits meet, we savored the common interests and threads in our lives. And laughed and talked writing and poetry and of gathering together often to just be and write.

I have a new friend.  A poet friend. A writing friend. And she came right in the midst of a storm. And I told her her house is my happy place. That when I look her way from my window, I smile. And know I am beginning  a new friendship with one who lives  her eightieth year of life. I expect we will be friends for life. And I hope it will be a very long friendship indeed.

Finally, there was a break. Yesterday. There always is  potential for hope. It came. Mercifully.  After the rain.

The wet and damp still  permeated our world. But hungry for the sun and a short boat ride, we made a break for it.

We adjusted. We shifted our expectations. Lowered them a bit. A glimpse of sunlight gave us new perspective.  So we launched and set off into the world. The way it was. The way it is. Accepting  imperfect conditions.

Isn’t it beautiful when  we  are surprised by joy. And unexpected  beauty rides in on the black sky, singing a song of hope and new mercy. We met up with friends, laughed at the funny story our neighbor told me of taking her dog to church. He followed her there and  so they sat in the back together. She made an impromptu leash and allowed him to stay. Amos the silly white rescue dog, seeking companionship. And giving an otherwise  rainy day a whimsical and comical twist.

Aren’t we all little Amos’. Don’t we want to be nestled, included, held and loved.

my bike 2013

The storm brought cool new air  as the sky showed off  her  collection of grays. And an odd prevailing moodiness lifted. The tempest in the air brought gusts and wind currents rocked us as we leaned into the windsong of the dusk. We will always remember the night we took this ride which turned Maine cool on the eve of a Southern July day.

On Saturday a chilly word rode in on a telephone line, bringing a storm into my world. And I was met with a memory of how I had hurt another. The clouds moved in quickly and I wrestled with me and with my words and theirs.

What a mystery a well timed word can be.  Because a few hours later healing  came in the form of written  words  delivering  encouragement and hope and signaling a new beginning.

If you stand in the morning, at a certain time, you can catch the most glorious light. It hits the hydranga which have just come in to lighten the mood and spill some beauty on the counter where the soul of the house will always live. The kitchen. Stand and catch the perfect morning light. And see glory come down. There is a mystery to this falling, more like a liquid pouring into a room. Light  changes everything. It reveals, it transforms. Lifting our mood, changing the colors, waking us up.

And so often  spilling in at just the right time.

And aren’t we all like my neighbor  dog Amos, longing for love, perfectly timed words of encouragement and affirmation. For love to shine down and scoop us up. Forgiveness extended and grace revealed no matter how scraggly, lost and limping we appear. And don’t we hunger for  a place to sit in church, one that welcomes and invites, even the rescue dog, sweet Amos.

How beautiful the Holy mysteries of this perfectly imperfect life. In and out of storms. Always seeking the Light.

Thank you Lord for anchoring us through the storms and tethering us to You in the midst of all that rocks our fragile world.

And  help us love an Amos in our world today, with the Love that carries us through the storms. And to  seek  love,  cultivate love, nuture love  even  in the companionship of a wise new friend.

morning light on flowers hydrangae

Joining my friend Laura Boggess at Laura Boggess dot com for her Playdates at The Wellspring


the nets - mcvl at  night the mary margaretGiddy-Up

Yesterday I felt the sad creep up
Mixed with confusion
Draped around my soul
I swallowed my tears, the hurt in my inside
Places, deep and dark
Pushed them down
With all my might

And all the while I wrestled
Joy was creeping up and in
Waiting to soothe me with her balm
It was the words of a sister friend
And news waiting to rock me gentle
Balm on gaping throbbing

And faith restored in me
In eyes that met
In love standing on the dock
Reminding me of love
That overcomes
Screamed the breeze
That brought the joy
That raised me up again

And I recalled the moments giddy
Cheered me up
A flash of scattered happy
At small and wondrous things
And I recall the look of kids at work
Hanging over sides of boats
Beside a mender of the nets

So I raise mine
In hopes of catching giddy joy
Even while I stand graveside today at two
Especially there
Remembering that life will always
Bring me joy
If I raise my net high, in the breeze when it blows hard
When it comes gentle
While I raise my net
Untangling sadness from the threads
Breathing deep of sweet forgiveness

And reminding and remembering
The days of giddy-up
Are here
When I stand beside the grave
At two o’clock today