The Backside

 

 

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The Backside

A hundred stories blew right by
Unseen by the naked eye, a hundred and one
If you count the one so wind-soaked, water-logged and beat down
There is nothing left to tell
Shreds of truth washed out to sea
Particles of memory swept up in the counter-current backside of the beast

A hundred years from now

Someone will dredge it up, tell it to a crowd of hungry men, women and children
Hovered on the edge of their seats to know about the day the wind raged
Again
History, a fan of repeating herself

At the hair salon
She said the waiting was the hardest part of all
Tell me your story
I’m beginning to try to listen again

Forgetting doesn’t help remembering
Warnings came from somewhere down the coast, farther south
Watch out for the backside,
The tail end
Every cliche, metaphor
You’ve heard them all
Listen up, for once, to talk of eyes and calm

While we wept for Haiti
I wept over Vascular Dementia, ALS and Cholera, hunger and disease
And Haiti some more
The Shirley May, The Mary Margaret and God’s Grace
They made it through, tethered to a wide and weary oak
Simple solutions mock me

Anticipating, we know too much of what we do not know
Wringing our hands over unknown outcomes
And then the shaming began
For the stayers and the ride-it-outers
Who know the nuances of wind and tide
But are certain of not one thing

The quiet dark of the blind preparation
Is a quiet we never knew

Run a bunch of models
Focus on the European One
Fine lines  wear the well-honed edge of a butcher’s knife
Lord have mercy plays on rewind and repeat
In sharp contrast
The Weather Channel, bless its heart
I thought I’d die if I heard one more warning of how bleak my future looked

When the wind blows
Echoes from my childhood
We are slowly prepared by  nursery rhymes
For what’s ahead

When the wind blew
At hurricane force
I sat on my backside

Resting up
No one named the raging storm in my mother’s brain
After one of the gospel writers

There is still a storm that’s raging
Though not at sea
For me
Waiting is the hardest part

 

 

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Why I Am Dreaming Small and Under The Oaks

(Thank you.  Yes, you. Dear readers here, you  who are uncertain of poetry. I too,  am uncertain of poetry. But you are still here reading. Or maybe you have left, because of poetry. So  I’ve  decided I  am going to make a little space for more prose. To offer both, together, for a season. Each time I post I will publish prose and poetry. Thank you for journeying with me as I pen this life, look for beauty, reflect my faith, and place words, some shaky, some brave, into this community. Let’s see how a vision of prose and poetry will look, here. And now that the comments are open again,  I would love to hear your thoughts on two writing forms, together. Here, in this little corner of the inter-webs. Wising you grace, elizabeth)

thank you peach

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morning light on flowers hydrangae

Under The Oaks

I spot threes
Write sounds in threes
See the world in
Triplicates
Focus a lens on multiples
Trios

So fitting, that  on a street named Venning
The street with three n’s
There are three souls, new
To me
Three new friends have I
I spy beauty

Grace and elegance

Grand dames
I could have come and gone
Perish the thought
I’d never known the life behind the smiles
Life lines on their faces
Telling

Me
New one on the street with the winding sounds
Learning of life
I make my way
Up and down the tree lined street

Life learned
From a trio of grace
From the Ladies of Venning

Quiet now, they are living large
Speaking softly, they live and breath
A writer, a gardner, a traveller
Lover of film and land
Living their stories

Wonder and awe
It is well to
Listen

To the three
Ladies of  well-lived
Lives,  it appears
From where I sit and stare

And  wait to earn a place
Of friendship
Among the three
Who barely know me
And  yet, have shown

Friendship
Grace

So I study the lines
My eyes trace their living
Laugh lines, crows feet
Fragile lines around the eyes
And mouth

Of these three
Ladies, each

Under the oaks
With me.

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Spencer and the dolphin

Why I Am Dreaming Small

And so it seems everyone is dreaming big. Anyone  that dreams at all has big dreams.  Thrown up and out into the sea of living. Brave and big. Bold and large. The bigger the better. Super-sized.  These dreams of man.

Words crisscross my screen every day  about these dreams, the ones that I see  looming large. But I think I am dreaming small.  Not because of fear. But I , like everyone have my share of fear.  Not because of lack of faith, for mine is at least the size of a mustard seed.

Because I hear a  clear crisp call to small. One that  whispers in my ear of dreams scaled down, sized in miniature. But lovely nonetheless.

Small dreams now from a grand and glorious God who is the one that’s large.

How beautiful and whimsical, are my little hopeful dreams.  The ones I  have dancing in my mind, by day and keeping me awake at night.  They lack nothing in the winnowing. The paring back and whittling down.

It is not really that I have  a shrunken faith. Or fear to take my dreams and expand them on a larger scale. Truly, not.

It is, rather, that I am seeing beauty in the small things, after all. It comes with age. A grand release. And in my younger days I dreamed so big. And came to value all that is small. I walked to here, a place of growing contentment, in the smallest acts of kindness, moments, and conversations with a friend.

And somewhere in this life, I am  coming to a place. That not all measurements are more wonderful,  the larger they become. So we are looking for a home. Another house to call our own the remainder of our days.  Is this the eighth. I can’t count. But  graciously and gratefully , one that will be new for us. Or maybe held the joy of others for sometime. Another  through the years.

New is not necessary,nor is big.

And I am dreaming of one small and cozy. I dream  on Pinterest and in my mind and with The Patient One. And look for beauty, comfort and a house with just  a little this and a little that. For my children and my children’s children.

I’m finding contentment after all, in you guessed it, things so small.

Last night we found a house we love. It fits my dreams just so.

I am dreaming small. We laughed at the little number  the realtor printed on the sheet; the one that revealed the total space, for living, here. But I know we would have just enough. All we need. Even though we dream of adding a bit to what is there. Because we have a history of piling up and  piling on and living in a cozy space. Just wearing out and down the soul of every house we’ve owned. Even though we have lived large. Between the walls of lots of space and things.

Small now calls my name.

I heard a story of a man, a writer in his graying years. And he had published seven poems. Ever in his life of writing. Only.  Until he wrote a little book. And off it went, big and large. A big success from all accounts.

One never knows where dreams might go. I love friends with dreams so big. And God may grow mine bigger.

But for now they are just so dreams. A little small.

So I will write my little poems. Here for awhile. And maybe one day there. And dream a little dream of one days. That maybe I will find a publisher who says lets go and run, or fly or soar. Or maybe even a home between the covers, nestled in a spine. My little poems will settle down and live up  on a shelf, in a book leather bound.  One that has a name that’s gold embossed, that is my very own.   Or maybe my poems will gather. And compile themselves.  Into  a collection. Walk themselves off to a printer and return to me in published form.

I love my little dreams.  They fit me just right, right now.

And that is why my God sized dreams may look a little small. One never knows where dreams will go when they are grown by God.

Maybe tomorrow they will grow an inch or two. After I grow contented with what I have and where I am.

My portion perfected by his loving hand.

Oh to dream, by day, by night. And watch Him change us in our dreaming. Bless us always with so much more.

Than we ever dreamed, was possible or could be true.

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Joining Jennifer Dukes Lee and Emily for Imperfect Prose

(I am gathering some of my writing to submit to a magazine as examples of my work along with some ideas for editorial content. If you have a prose piece you  have particularly enjoyed  let me know in the comments. Let’s see where this dream goes. You will be some of the first to know.)

A Perfect State Of In Between

provider mcclellanvilleA Perfect State Of In Between

When the door opens on the old white ice box
he peels back the Reynolds
aluminum foil, covering the prize he’s purchased
and reveals the blue guys from the sea.

We’ve been waiting for awhile, well a year
for them
and I see myself.
But don’t tell him, or anyone.

Timing is important.
Well it’s everything in fact.
And seasons come and  go.
It’s their season now.
The soft shells are ready, and I am too.

I see myself in the metal pan under the foil.
In them,  in this  perfect state of in between.
Change made them perfect.
Life stopped for them, perfection frozen
At this time of molting.

I hear the excitement in his voice.
The eyes stare up, the pairs of beady blues
Row on row.
We know this soft shelled state.
We know it well.
And we know the seasons too, the ones of change.
Are there really any other.

And it is where we live most of our days,
In between
The shedding and the growing
The softening and release.
Gone are layers, left to float ashore.

I want to thank them for the gift.
An offering, a delicacy.
For stopping at the perfect time
And showing me the joy
that shedding brings

A perfect state of in between.

Why I Am Weary Of The Cliff Notes & Reader’s Digest Versions

250px-Goodnightmoon

                                                                                             (  Photo Credit- Wikipedia.com)

I was on a web site looking for an online course for a child of mine. And a beautiful question popped up, grabbed my heart, yanked it and got my attention. In a bold and hip font, surrounded by stylized graphics it asked “What’s Your Story?”

And I really wanted to tell them. But who would listen and who would I tell? I had a story. I have a story.

Recently a blogger/writer asked on facebook if we, her readers, would be interested in knowing the backstory to her upcoming book. Well of course, we/I would. Who doesn’t want to hear the story? Who doesn’t long to rest on the words woven around the events, which lead to passion, which feed the dream, which launch a book.

And I  wonder why and how we arrived at a place where everyone is clamoring for the “Reader’s Digest” version of events. And what value or beauty is held in stripping something down to such an elemental level that it is now called “the Cliff Notes Version”.  And who is Cliff anyway.

Bare and barely told, the story stands stripped of its beautiful. Stripped of rich detail.

In “The Three Little Pigs” children’s tale we learn specifics about the pigs’ homes. The author chooses to delve into enough detail to tell us the building materials of their homes. Was it straw, wood and bricks? The story hinges on these details. There is no story here without them.

And Margaret Wise Brown’s “Goodnight Moon” is resplendant in glorious detail. We know so many of the elements and contents of the mesmerizing story that takes place in one single, richly described room.

But even now, many of you reading are skimming and scanning and wondering when I will get to the “punch line” of this prose. And you are looking for a shortcut and a way out. You want to jump ahead or exit out. You want me to “cut to the chase”. But what good is it? Who cares about the chase without first knowing the characters involved in the chase. And where they live, how they’re dressed, what lead up to the chase in the first place.

Is this where poets go? Off to the place of elaborate detail. They will tell you every detail of the spider’s web. And stay there with you for a long while as you linger.

But somewhere along the way we became too busy for the details of  story. We know someone cried, but do we know or better yet, do we care that they cried for three hours, the saline drops ran down the cheek like  raindrops on a foggy window pane. One chasing the other, racing down the face. And that the eyes were swollen shut and a headache had crept in to the crying weary soul. And that she felt so alone.

Somewhere along the way we became too darn busy to crawl into the story and sit with the writer, the poet, the friend. To hear the lines that tell of the rich detail of color, texture, emotion, song, and the surrounding scene. We don’t ask “tell me about” and then wait expectantly, patiently for the rich description of the fabric, the flowers, music and the musicians at the  June wedding. And surely we don’t want to know how the light shone through at a certain slant, pouring through the stained glass windows hovering over the bride and groom like a halo. And the bells tolled exactly at noon.

What beauty we are missing when we run rough-shod over the nuances and the fine points of the unfurling of an event. The birth of a conversation. The heavy breathing of the winded teller. And the way in which she punctuated each paragraph with fear and a trembling spirit.

Do we really know the story if we don’t read the entire story in all its glory? Give it a chance to release slowly, beautifully unfurling detail on detail.

In our deep soul places don’t we care, truly about the red balloon, the picture of the cow jumping over the moon and the green room? Because without them, its just another good night story in black and white. Dull, boring and forgettable. And we were made for lively detail. We were created to savor and delight our senses. God is in the detail and He is a God of detail. In everything. Always.

When we water down, dilute and dilate we minimize the beauty, the richness. There is no musical soundtrack bound to be a best seller on itunes. It is just a short silent film. Grainy and dark.

I know a girl named Lilly and I decided to ask her about her chickens. Because for three weeks I had watched  them from my kitchen window. As they  pecked and scratched. And the rooster crowed, these weeks in the cold of March. While in “the Village” and away from home, I starred at them daily. And I longed to know more. To know the story. Theirs and Lilly’s.

lilly and her chickens

When I asked, Lilly opened up. Out gushed wonderful detail of Lilly and her chickens. I listened as she pointed and told me each of their names. Each one unique. She and I both loved the one with the furry feet. He looked as if he wore shoes on his claws, made of fur. And there was the little one from Australia. And the ones from Tractor Supply. Lilly has one rooster but she had five. All are gone but one. They fought a lot. And I asked her how many eggs they lay a week. And I know now that her favorite candy bar is Snickers. She savored one, bite by bite as she spoke, chocolate in her cheek, chickens staring at her waiting to be fed.

The chickens and the kids

Do you have time for a Lilly in your life? Do you know one chicken is named Chick-Fila and do you know where they go when it gets cold?

Do you have time for poetry? For a rich description of both the spider and his intricate web. To linger on the details. Of this wondrous life.

Would you wait for a story to be told? Would you slow down with me to hear. To listen. And to wallow around the rich moments of this life. I never really found The Reader’s Digest that enthralling. And I always associated it with the doctor’s office.

But the green room and the red balloon. Well I could read it a thousand times and it would never grow old. One room. So much rich detail. So much vivid beauty.

Oh, you stayed till the end with me. How grateful am I? Well let me see…..how can I describe my gratitude?

Joining Laura, Jennifer and Heather today in their welcoming community of writers.

the chicken at MCVL