Executor

Executor,

someone you love has just died

but there is no time for tears.

You ought to be eating ice cream on the kitchen floor,

surrounded by crunched up Kleenex,

but you’re swimming in a sea of papers instead.

Executor,

someone you love has just died—

now call strangers, the government, charities

and tell them so.

Accept scores of condolences

from people with calm voices.

Thank them politely

and get on with business.

Executor,

someone you love has just died.

Pay the bills,

plan the funeral

plan the burial

plan the epitaph.

Capture in two lines

the life of someone you love

who has just died.

Executor,

where are your tears?

Just When

Just when the weight

became crushing

and I no longer knew what to do

to make anything better at all,

and the pain was becoming too much

for you to bear

and me to see,

it lifted.

Just when words failed me

and I was running out of songs to sing you

while I massaged your aching back

or gently washed your face,

a comforter came

who spoke such words of consolation

that he drew from your own aching heart

words of hope.

Just when I cried out that I could not carry on,

could no longer bear

these birth pangs of your transition

into a new and deeper life,

the pain ceased—

a gentle day came

and you slipped out of this world

sweetly, like a baby in sleep.

Just when I felt so inadequate

to bring you any closer to peace,

everyone’s prayers kicked in

and suddenly lifted you,

as I’d promised,

straight up to Heaven

in a hot air balloon

filled with love.

Axe

Sometimes in the busyness of the day

I forget for a few minutes

and don’t feel the ache,

but when I first wake up

from the dream of sleep

to the nightmare of real life,

it is there

—the axe in my chest—

the cleaving pain

of remembering

my beloved father is dying

and all I can do is sing to him,

mother him,

tenderly stroke his head,

pray and cry,

and hold his sweet hands

still warm.

Molasses Bear

Evening has fallen.

The once brightly coloured stained glass windows

of the chapel are now dark as molasses.

They are so dark they almost look sticky and sweet.

What if they are, and this is actually a giant gingerbread house?

I ponder breaking off a piece to taste it,

the sugarcane windowpane…

but then the cold night air would come rushing in,

smelling of starlight and snow

and possibly followed by the large nose of a black bear,

snuffling about and eager to lick the molasses windows

with his long, wet tongue.

Even if we all rushed off to bed,

the bear could eat his way in,

then wander about the place,

leaving a trail of muddy paw prints

and crushed leaves and little bits of cedar

and a scent like the memory of late summer blackberries

coming from this large furry living thing

prowling about indoors,

who is not normally meant to be there…

On second thought,

I suppose I won’t try tasting the windows, after all.

(PS Thanks for the great bear pic, Four States News!)

Cloudscapes

I am a cloud

lying exhausted on the mountain’s shoulders

heavy with tears

I am a cloud

leaving behind a faint trail of snow

an imprint of my embrace

I am a cloud

my misty fingers clinging to the treetops

as I drift along

longing for their steadfast patience

I am a cloud

floating about

moved by wind and water

a constant living painting

unfolding across the sky

By various miracles, including a generous friend who gave me her spot, and a generous husband who agreed to work from home while watching our 7 kids, I’ve been able to go on a much desired silent retreat this weekend. It is amazing to have this restful time to myself to ponder such things as the quiet movement of clouds across the sky, in between naps and beautiful meditations in the chapel. Praying for you all as I recharge my batteries and fill up my bucket with beauty.

Sudden Bloodhound

I am normally a bit oblivious

to many things;

if it doesn’t stink or scream

don’t expect me to notice it

(and even then, it’s got to stink pretty badly

to catch my attention).

But now I find myself

a sudden and unwilling bloodhound—

able to pick up on the tiniest scent

as I walk past the garbage can

or the kitchen sink.

The waft of the compost as I open the lid

hits me like colour—

a slime green wave riding the air

up into my nose.

Smells have become like warning signs

flashing across my vision,

sending me scuttling away in the opposite direction—

a sudden and unwilling bloodhound

lacking all desire to follow the scent

and solve the gruesome mystery

of its origins.

It’s a dog’s life,

early pregnancy,

so you’ll forgive me

if now and then

I throw back my head

and howl!

Early

Early in the morning,

in the delicious quiet

before anyone else is awake,

I leave aside my troubled dreams

and get up to feed the birds.

It’s a windy morning.

The kids’ toys in my yard are all tumbled about

and the crows feathers are ruffled

as the await their breakfast

on the telephone wires.

I open the window to throw them bread crusts.

The cool morning air

greets me like a brisk breeze from a boat,

fresh and hopeful

as if the day itself

was dreaming of adventure.