Thursday, August 25, 2005

It Could Be Worse

August 24, 2005
10:55 AM

The first day of (pre)school
always brings excitement to
my little boy.

So many things have not been
what they ought to have been for him,
even at the tender age of not-quite-five.

Yet at this stage, he is largely unaware,
at least consciously,
and so he grins and laughs
and asks me when the bus will come.

I wonder if he thinks of daddy this morning.
So many things have not been
what they ought to have been for him.

It could be worse.
As it is,
he'll talk to daddy tonight before bed.

But right now, he's more concerned
with Bus number Thirty-Two,
and as he runs to board, he trips
on his baseball shoes-
the ones he was so excited to wear
on this first day of school.

Tender little palms meet pavement;
tender little eyes begin to weep
and panic over blood that isn't even flowing
because this morning simply isn't going
the way it ought to have gone for him.

But it could be worse.
Luckily, this sweet little boy's mom
understands that tears will flow
for many reasons all at once,
and though it could be worse,
it's bad enough for him
right now.

So we skip the bus,
go back home and read
his favorite book,
then walk to school
hand in hand.

And I show him the secret passage
leading to many a magical place,
and not least of all
to his first day of school
which might still unfold
the way it ought to unfold for him.

I ask for a hug and a kiss;
he barely turns, smiling,
hesitates, and says no,
then runs to his class,
whole and wholly delighted
(and delightful),
bruises and scraped palms forgotten...

I'm late for work,
but it could be worse.

And sometimes I think
it couldn't possibly be better,
as I walk home alone,

Autumn Falls

August 24, 2005
9:50 AM

Here in Kentucky,
Autumn falls like an axe,
sundering the Summer's sultry hold;
merciful in its brutality
as I step out the door and realize
I just might need a sweater,
if only for the morning.

Just last week, I drove to work
bare shouldered, and glad of it,
for the air was so thick,
even an axe would've had a
rough go of it.

Yet today I opened the door
to watch for the bus as my son
chattered excitedly about his
first day of preschool (this year);
about his indignation at
having to wait until the end of August
(I never specified what day of the month
school would start)
until he could ride the bus again.

I opened the door and was
taken aback;
once more the fingertips of Autumn
broke the waters of a thick,
Kentucky Summer,

and I smiled to see my old friend
returning once again.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


August 21, 2005
5:08 PM

"Handle with care-- everything-- even the predators."

Even the predators have vulnerabilities.
It may be more accurate to say
they emerge from those who are
most victimized.

Their crime is their voice;
they have no other.

And so the wounds they once received
become the injustice they perform.
The misuse once made of them
becomes a sort of inheritance
passed, it seems, eternally hence.

They create only what they are:
Victims or violators;
predators or prey.

It is a grievous cycle,
broken only by compassion,
not cruelty and inhumanity.

For who would set out to
quench a fire with kindling?

Quote taken from Katherine Paterson's _Bridge to Terebithia_.


August 21, 2005
4:20 PM

Alone at the reservoir.

I'm waiting for my hair to grow.

And I wish it would snow.
The likelihood is grandly slim,
as I lay here drenched in summer's heat,
bare as convention allows a woman.

I ought not wish to hasten time.
("Death is in the cost...")
All I or any have ever had is

And we miss it.
Damn if we miss it every day.
We miss that days and nights
are little more than sun and moon,
birds and stars,
dark and light taking turns
in the sky.

This day is the same as the one before,
eternally hence,
and so it also is with night.
There is only one darkness;
only one light;
only one sky, one moon,
one sun or absence of the same.

It is we who are ever turning,
ever changing,
ever running round in circles
to accomplish what we call "today"
before what we call "tomorrow",
what we never see,

There is only Now;
only who we are, which entails
every yesterday we've ever invented;
every tomorrow we've never seen,
nor ever will.

There is only Now;
only today,
and when we fail to see it,

we fail to live.

"Death is in the cost..." taken from Wendell Berry, _Sabbaths_.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Work of Heaven

August 8, 2005

It’s in the little
moments of faithfulness:
Folding laundry, sweeping porches,
washing dishes,

when another soul who lives in hell
might happen upon the
window above my sink;
portal to my corner of the world…

The westering sun painted
puffs of clouds orange
against a rosy haze;
evening drew near in twilight’s wake.

Carrying the garbage
to the dumpster,
I looked up to the sky
and smiled.

I realized I live in Paradise…

And she may not now have eyes to see,
but if I am faithful in these little things,
perhaps someday she will see
that everyday living can be
the work of Heaven.


August 8, 2005
7:30 PM

Just live.

That is my asceticism.

Absolutely fascinating,
that I must learn
what so many others take for granted.

Life does not come naturally to me.
I cannot comprehend how
daily to perpetuate the functions
necessary for sustenance of life.

I have begun the lesson…
Already I am weary, frustrated
beyond my capacity to cope.

This gift which heals my wounds
also serves to keep me
paralyzed in scars if I fail
to eat, sleep, maintain my home;
my vital relationships.

I cannot live by words alone.

I desire a greater legacy than
survival alone, so I close my notebook,
put down my pen,
though it feels like death to do so…

I know this death-
a path that leads to life
if I let it.

George MacDonald

"Home is ever so far away in the palm of your hand, and how to get there it is of no use to tell you. But you will get there; you must get there; you have to get there. Everybody who is not at home, has to go home."

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