Upon A Second Glance




Upon  A Second Glance

As frequent as blue moons and thousand year flood levels
Highly coveted is the second chance
I cashed in on the leventy leventh

My lab Wendy, English and fourteen
Blind and blonde
Crossed the street, narrow, often void of traffic
Mostly it’s the shrimpers who speed toward the docks
Their boats bear names like Mary Margaret, wait or don’t for their return
They dodge my  girl, she can only smell them coming
Age has racked her sense and sensibilities
Leaving her with but one
She wobbles and plods, our paces are kindred

My beloved has dodged a million near misses
Intrigue lies in smells deposited on other sides
Not too far from home
She is cured of wandering
Wondering cannot be cured

And I have missed a chance or plenty more
To penetrate what lies right here
My eyes can cut the surface, or carve deeper still
Into those pleasant offerings of now
And just
Right here

I am guilty of hoarding them
This is my confession

Here, by the sea I learned to see again

I use the stars on bright nights

measuring stick whittled by grace
Barometer of gracious plenty
Far from a city with its blinding bulbs
I count and count and count

Gazing back and gazing forth
I increase my chances of remembering
In all the double takes, exposures doubled in my
Mind’s eye

We run from dementia by running into joy
Recording Beauty is our defense

The hands that cup the sun
Cup me

On a second glance
Highly coveted is the second chance





If I  bend, stoop and reach
At the sound of the cold North wind
And the rugged and raging sea
Harmonizing with the  creak
Of my wrinkled, old,  boney knees
A symphony of natural beauty
Stirs my soul as I search
For treasure left lying along the shore
For me
For me
For me

If the curve of my back is a bold black cleft
Or more like a twisted ampersand
And my heart beat slows
At the sight of gifts the generous sea has left
I wonder then
And now if

I raise the conch to my ear to hear
WIll the answers pour out
Or just sediment, sand and dirt

Will it whisper the secrets
I have walked here to find
Resting in windswept wet
And dry, brittle sand
Will it answer my questions
One at a time
Simple and clear
Plain for this wanderer
In search
Of clarity, comfort, forgiveness and

Or when the shell
Is pressed cold to my cheek
Will I  hear only hauntingly
Monotone whispers
Familiar yet coded
That sound like the sea
A white noise of shushing and whooshing
Moans from the earth, like a chant from the monks
Worshipping high in the hills

And if that’s all that enters my soul
By way of my cold pink ear
The comfort of a lullaby fresh from the
Mouth of the ocean floor
That is more than enough
For me
For me
For me

It is miracle

And I am now no longer in need
I want nothing, nothing
I have heard peace be with you
From the lips of the Sea.


Joining Jennifer Dukes Lee for #tellhisstory and Emily for #imperfectprose

In The Beginning There Were Questions

Welcome. I just noticed you stopped by. Are you visiting? Did you stumble here? Did you come by way of The Nester’s 31 Day Series Home Page? Are you a subscriber? Maybe you’d like to follow on facebook or twitter. Scroll down to the bottom of the page where I think you will find it easy to do just that. And you  may click on the  Subscribe tab at the top to receive posts daily. Its pure delight to travel this road together. ( Click here to see all the posts in this series beginning with the Introduction posted on September 30.)

In the beginning there were questions. Questions like why 31 days of noticing?. Why follow here when there are thousands of places to choose to read – books, web sites,, blogs,  magazines, and more blogs. 

This is not for every one, this writing series. Here. At Elizabeth W. Marshall, poetry and prose through a lens of grace. But everyone is cordially invited. Maybe you will pick up a word nugget, or slip a piece of fragile phrasing that sings to your heart. And place it in your pocket. Maybe you will be inspired by poetry or prose. Maybe your day will be richer by feasting on a photograph of God-beauty. Or perhaps you will find time to sit for a magical moment, to digest a song.

Or if you are like me, perhaps you yearn for, hunger for, a place to be still and meditative. Every day will be a little different. Some quiet. Some a little spicier and louder. But never too loud. Noticing requires a bit of stillness. Hushed spaces give our souls room to breath.

Thank you for choosing this place for your October. It takes engaging all of our senses to maximize the art of noticing. Deep breaths of God-beauty and His peace.  Let’s begin. There is a bench along the way if you grow weary. Just sit down. I saved one especially for you.

In the beginning there were questions. 31 days button 500x500

Last night I opened the front door. It creaked a tired creak, parroting my own weary frame. I exhaled my day, stepped off the small front stoop and felt Autumn whisper with her cool breath. October is almost here, nighttime blew the words into my soul with her cool dark exhale. I have a gift for you. All you have to do is find the energy to look up. The sky holds a surprise.

As I gave my dogs a short last romp in the grass, the moon lassoed me. Between the tree tops I felt her take my chin and point it skyward. Wooing me to see a moon the shape, width and breadth of a clipped baby fingernail. Lit up and pinned against ebony. Surrounded by twinkling almost-October stars, spread out and winking, blinking. Shining  like a child’s art project. I smelled the Elmer’s glue holding the glitter in place. Creativity had just birthed a masterpiece in the night sky. A creation worthy of placing on my refrigerator. Under a magnet.  A study on the solar system, black construction paper and all the embellishments any craft box holds.. It seemed  created , especially for me.

My night would begin its end with a heavenly art project. My face slapped by cool wind. My heart quickened by Autumn smells. A gallery of glory. A private viewing in my very own front yard.

I have to remind myself. I need wide margins. That noticing comes from slowing down. Saving time and making room. So many years of my life were spent running. I spun like an animated Warner Brother’s character. My legs, Wylie Coyote. Roadrunner dusty blur. Blink and you miss. Blink and I missed.  I a whirling dervish. Like a hummingbird I lit hurriedly from place to place.

Life has taught me well to build wide margins in my living. And noticing with every fiber of me, it happens best when I make my margins school-girl wide. Set them fat and chunky. Build them in with wise intent. Design my day to save time for soaking in this very  season of my soul.

And the fuel that fed me was adrenaline. Dipping my beak into the flowers that kept my engines roaring fast, I flitted. I flew, my wings roaring with the sound of hurry.

I know me now. I know my soul needs space to notice. Little pieces of my insides feel less alive when I put my noticing on the top shelf in an old Uggs boot box. Something starts to stink. My noticing skills need to be excercised out in the open. To breath. Maybe yours do too.

Ready, set, go notice. 

(In the slowing down, feel free to record something from your  very own noticing in the comment box. I would love to hear your story of noticing).

The Turning: In Which Around Every Corner Is A Discovery

shrimp boats on at night

Often they are small. And then other times they are wonderful and large, looming truths about life. They hover like ebony rain-packed  summer clouds in the afternoon. Or they float by like seeds blown from a spent dandelion. They are coming and going. A constant force to be reckoned with. They are hatchlings and seedlings and fledglings of this life.

Birthed in unexpected places and moments, they appear. And I am called to be vigilant and at peace. A combination of human emotion that allows tender and tough to co-exist. Tender enough to capture the magnificence. And tough enough to know that in the netting, there will be objects that must be released. It is not all glory and it is not all beauty. But seeking the lovely, the grace-filled and the glorious requires casting the net into the life seas.

In a state of watchful child-like wonder I can live this season of my life in a state of re-born newness. Like a bivalve cracks open and lets the water flow in and out, receiving and releasing. Keeping the nutrients, releasing the sediments. I am called to continually take in the discoveries of my life. I would starve on a diet of bland, if I never crack open the door to wonder. I would miss the shades of blue on the hydranga that go to purple, lavender and aqua. And  the hidden greens waiting to decide which color to be.

We would never know the way rain feels, dropping from a summer storm on warm tanned flesh if we remain cocooned in dry places. One more day reveals one more smell or taste, never before experienced.

And words of an eighteen year old child who want to tell their story get tangled in my net. I can choose.  I choose to  listen and realize there is more than the words unfurling from the man/child lips. There is a heart of curiosity and trust. There is his own discovery needing a place to land and light.

In a moment or two, a child will awake from her warm quilted bed in an air-conditioned room and tell me of her ten day mission trip. She has gone away and seen poverty and a world outside of her own. She and her passport are back. And there are stories to gently receive.

A parent lives a layered life of discovery. Because she holds the key to seeing through a child’s glistening eyes. Her own, the ones who look to her and call her momma. And it magnifies the wonder. For at once she is receiving discovery  through her own glassy portals  and stooping down to see through the eyes of those she is raising.

If I see with open wonder and a seeking heart, will I show my children how even in my fifty-fourth year of life, the beauty never ends. The unveiling never stops. And his Kingdom is filled with marvelous intricate designs. That art is living, breathing, waiting, hoping, pulsing all around.

And I am in this middle place. I see through the eyes of my aging mother too. The joys rebounding in her life. The strange and child-like discovery that is hers as she moves through her days. She forgets and then she remembers. And if I can learn to refine a listening heart,  I will hear the most intricate details of a woman, a mother and another poet’s life.

Around every corner is a discovery.  I will raise my net.

And bend into a low and listening stance, ever vigilant, ever watchful. Filled with the ready knowing that something is waiting. And that something is beautiful.

I will round the corner at a slow and steady gait. One that expects to not miss a single fleck floating in the sun-soaked or moon-drenched air.


Joining Jennifer and Emily