The Lost Arts

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I dreamed there was a gathering. The lost arts took a seat. Placed a napkin in the lap. And called the meeting to order. Poetry took two seats. The head and the other head. While Simplicity, Civility and Kindness bowed  in deference to each other. The conversation was quite and measured. Polite, with hints of disagreement. No two saw the world the same. I dreamed that in this gathering, the bites were small and conversation big. Joy poured the wine without a wasted drop. Stillness and Rest passed plates in a clockwise fashion, because the collective decision was made. Every one agreed. That no one would go hungry. The gathering agreed among themselves to remain seated. And to keep the tenor and the tone at an audible decibel of  Peace and Quiet. Passing plates of simple fare. All guests, who wore the hat of  hosts as well, agreed. In my dream, the sentences were long, unbroken. No interruptions were made. Daydreaming poured more water into each shiny crystal stemware glass. No one said a word when Manners arrived one minute past the agreed on time, in an effort to be fashionably late. The counter punches never came. Neither did the punches. I awoke at midnight. A table cleared and empty. No signs of a gathering at all. The lost arts, lost again in a world of Imagination. Each gone as if they never were here at all. Hidden, perhaps behind a drawn curtain, dark ebony of this Good Night. Yet one shred of evidence remained. A poem. I dreamed there was a gathering.

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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

 

 

A Gatherer’s Tale

 

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A Gatherer’s Tale

He dropped me off. Left me on a single slice of earth. Drove away in a watery wake. His back spoke a silent goodbye, good luck. I saw no one ahead or behind. Only the Oyster Catcher and the others. I had time. Space in all its facets, wet and dry. Solitude dominated the landscape. The sea, a metronome of well-timed lapping. The wind filled gaps of silence. Held me in his absence. Peace sat on her throne. Ruled the high seas. Reigned over me. While I began my gathering. The shoreline gives more than it takes. And offers more than the tangible. I heard cryptic murmurings to choose this and leave that. Pick this one and pass up that one. My small bag now filled with a story that would be written later. When puzzle piece meets puzzle piece. And the mystery makes more sense.Than not. I rinsed off my treasures with water, not from the raging sea. But from my quietude of fresh desire. To connect the dots of fractured wisdom passed from sea to me. Distanced myself from that slice of where I’d been. And read only what was in front of me. A dot dash dot, Morse code message made from collected things. Every symbol formed a word. Conjoined me to the shore, to tell me more of the world I’d gone in lonely search of knowing. I left parts of the story on the hemline of the world. They would wait for another day. But only if the tide has mercy. And lets them live to tell me more. He picked me up. And let me bring my bag of gathering home. Once heard and told, the stories never let you forget. The lessons they behold.

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Two Tear Types – A Week In The Life of A Mother and Daughter

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The stories of our lives. They are lovely in the living, lovely in the telling. And the re-telling sends them out to those who want to capture hope, redemption, love from the lives of co-travellers. We all walk into these story webs, hold on to some, shake some off, release their glistening parts to others.

Your story gives me hope and gives me pause. I gather fragments of redemption when you tell me where you were and where you are. How you love and how you live.

So when I tell you mine that is my hope unfurled before you. That you would hold a remnant of my life. Place it by your ear as a child cups a shell to hear the sea whisper a haunting call, the mystery of the sea of life, just held. Just hold.

We remember better when we record. There are fragile, tender moments that feel like water in our hands. They evaporate but we extend their living by freezing frames, holding on in a form that remains a little longer, life extension in remembering. And tears they hold and record the tender places, drop by salty drop. As they roll.

We sat in the pew on Friday, upright rigid waiting to mourn in harmony. The shoulders of our rock between us. We the mother daughter bookends. And she simply could not stop the tears from rolling fast and long, slow and steady, changing speeds as the funeral moved through stages of remembering. She wept and we could not catch her tears fast enough, her father and I. The stockpile of kleenex was no match for the arsenal of tears. The tears won today. As they should. This was the day for weeping and mourning. So she did. The cold air marched in as she wept. The winter battling spring can be a good companion for a crying girl. Weather matching moods.

The preacher preached of down here and up there, his words wrapped healing round the little chapel, old, historic holding all the mourning as day turned to dusk. But grief can heal. And people heal. And don’t we come together over loss in a way that only God could orchestrate. That though we break we break together and that begins the glueing back together. Maybe even stronger. A down here mystery. The up there realms are dancing in glory. Only if they like to dance. No forced marches there, after all. But yes, the broken whole and yes, the captives free, and yes the tears are dried.

And only hours later when a momma thinks that all the tears have been harvested in this season there are more. And they are rare as precious diamonds from her eyes, falling, running down her soft young cheek. A man may be of few words, she this girl, a lady of few tears.

So when they flow they are precious in their rarity. Infrequent, they send love notes, clues from her heart.

In the mother daughter mystery that started in the womb of reading clues and cracking codes of emotion sent out by child, morse-code tapping in the tears. I am there to translate.

Saturday’s tears are of a new variety. And each one drips like liquid gold. We nestle around to hear the man tell his Jesus story. Big and burly headed to the NFL. He now lives a different story refined by the tender touch of the Nazarene.

She sends out messages in her tears. Of how her heart is hearing life around her. Each one holds a wet penned-note. Some dry before I can break the seal, read the letters from her soul. But that she lets them roll, communicating in the dripping wet is golden. I’d catch each one if I could.

But up there is a tear catcher. And I trust Him to hold them because I am a leaky broken sieve.

And after all. He has been the parent of the crying chid. The Son of Man and Son of God has cried out from the cross-bars of a wooden cross. So I trust The Catcher of All Tears to catch hers and mine. To hold the ones born of joy and born of pain. Bearing clues to love and life and death. Of what can spring forth from the springs of joy and springs of sadness.

Each caught triumphantly by the Father of The Son of Man. Who captures by Him every tear. Not one is missed, not one slips by.

There are two times twenty types of tears, really or even more. Each wet one a clue to more of you and more of me. And I know well the holders back, the holding on who fight with every fiber not to let one roll. To remain high and dry, but cry heaving heavy deep inside.

Be a catcher of the tears down here with me. And leave the ones that we can’t catch to Him who reigns up there. The Comforter, The Healer, the dryer of all tears.

But mother, daughter, father, brother, look for the tears of joy, tears of sorrow in your day. Rejoice with those rejoicing, grieve with those grieving. And wipe the tears with me of those who remain with us down here.

And I shall weep when I survey the wondrous cross and look to it in times of hurt with gratitude. The Restorer of All Brokenness sacrificed for us.

Catch with me two types of tears.

joining sweet dear Laura.