Tag Archive | poetry

The Tease

DSCN2203

I can still feel it if I close my eyes and turn my heart just so

toward the light

that forever moment when I shed my Winter robe

and walked outside the door and was drenched in Gentle

I can still feel the dunking of satin

smoothing, changing, encircling each cell in another layer of silk

not hot and not even cool

just the slipping of every pore into a shimmering pool of liquid air

the Tease of eternity sidling up outside my balcony door

calling out like an old familiar friend, “Wear your tank top. Ditch the shoes. Bring a willing heart… let’s go explore! “

How mighty, this playful hint of Spring.

DSCN2222

Joining with a host of writers: Five Minute Fridays, Thought-provoking Thursdays, Just Write, Playdates with God, Imperfect Prose, Tell His Story

Advertisements

Nighttime Visitor

Night-Train1

It’s late at night that she visits  – the dreamer

the one whose voice I know, tugging gently my heart, she whispers —

“Wake up! Come away with me. Come, you’re still young. Come, let’s play like before. Let’s go, let’s eat the fruit, let’s run!”

I can hear her trying to disguise the desperateness in her voice, and I’m tempted to hold her, to help her, to hold her through the ink black night…

But then I hear the train’s lonely cry as it echoes in the night, tugging at all things real, and the dreamer hears it too — the restlessness of a heart prone to wander– it’s her song

Slipping quietly away

she’s gone

off to chase illusions

off to ride the rails

Oh my sweet nighttime visitor, I remember you as I call after her, “Go. Run. Spread your wings, little one. Search for peace…you’ll find your way back here one day.” And I sit back, in this starlit brightened night, wrapped in the arms of the One who led me home

and I smile

at the here and now

Joining with Lisa at Five Minute Fridays,

and Jennifer at Tell His Story

 

You are mine

joining up again with LIsa Jo and Laura … 5 minute writing with the freedom to simply breathe in the process

Image

Encourage —

to infuse courage

to wrap it around warm and soft like a fresh fuzzy blanket, warm from the dryer

encourage–

to give someone a hand, a lifeline that says

there is hope, there is light, there is joy

there is life beyond this place where your soul has wandered

a life meant for you, designed for you

you – a daughter of the most high God, his little princess

the one he loves

the apple of his eye

the one that puffs up his chest, and waters his eyes

and fills his world

with

a

reason

to save, to rescue, to protect

to teach, to share, to give his son

to lavish all his fullness on the one he’s called his own

You are mine, little one

Take my courage

Take it.

From my hands, reaching out, reaching down

Take it.

It’s free.

Open it, smell it, run your fingers through its softness

breathe deep its truth

open wide its hope

embrace its strength like the spring flower

that pushes up against the weight of Life’s dirt

the lifeless tomb that has held it for the winter

and helped it wait for the time when waiting is no more

Take my courage, little one

past your darkness

past your winter’s night

Burst out from past the weight, one dirt clod at a time

Fill full, fill sweet, fill beautiful with all things Spring

Be the courage, my sweet princess

Take it. Wear it. Enjoy it.

Breathe it deep…

Then give it away.

You were made to give away.

Everyday Promises

 P1010481

Last year, something remarkable occurred:

I actually kept my New Year’s resolution.

Seriously.

… the whole year!

I don’t think I’ve ever achieved such a feat intentionally. Sure, I’ve renewed good intentions and yes, I’ve restarted some wavering beginnings… but an honest to goodness New Year’s commitment? Nope. This was a first.

It started simply as a New Year’s project with me and my fourth grade students discussing the tradition of making resolutions– nothing special really.  But every now and then these kinds of conversations can become magical moments.

…And Magic happened that day.

We talked of why promises are important, even those — and maybe especially those — to ourselves. We shared ideas of new beginnings and second chances, and discussed the value of making resolutions that were real and serious and worth keeping.

We touched on the usual New Year’s intentions of better health and mind and spirit. But most importantly, we talked of pledging ourselves to changes that would make a difference in the world around us, and in those people’s lives we touch everyday.

Bam! That’s when it hit me: I needed to hug Dad everyday.

It seemed, at first, like such a small, silly thing. Then, it stung with accusation: “Jane! People need hugs; they need touch everyday. You know that! You and Chris have each other… how could you have forgotten Dad for so long?” I was discouraged and dismayed all at once. Yet, from somewhere in the crossfire, I knew that this was a problem worth resolving. A promise worth keeping.

… At first hugging Dad was a little awkward. At first it felt contrived and stilted. And yes, at first, it did feel like a small and silly ritual designed to ease my guilty heart.

But this is what I can tell you now, one year later:

Everyday, as I reach to hug Dad and he reaches back from his sofa perch, I still see his eyes brighten and the twinkle return, and I see each yellow tooth flash in excited joy.

Everyday, I watch him sit taller and reach out further, and when he holds me I hear his gentle Eastern Colorado croon,”Ohhhh, I was just wonderin’ about you, Lady.” Pat, pat, pat. “Have a good day, didya?”

And everyday, with that simple squeeze, I always realize I am more blessed than he.

Yep.

Magic happens.

New. Every. Day.

But that’s the wonder of New, isn’t it? … whether or not that “Something New” begins as a promise on January 1st,  or on the next day, or on a lifetimes of Next Days after that.

Every new moment we’re given is opportunity for simple choices, secret challenges and sweet second chances to reflect, repent, revise, re-form, rebuild, restore, renew, revive, re-create and re-solve again. Everyday we can re-solve all the problems of our daily madness with simple resolutions of Love — resolutions that reach into lives beyond our own, and yet somehow rebound their miracles right back to us. Amazing.

So this year, I won’t be looking for any big, hyped-up, self-improving promises. Nope.

This year I’m going straight for those new and fresh ones … those “small and silly” ones. This year I’m going to practice starting fresh. I’m going to make daily promises that are real and serious and worth keeping.

This year I’m counting on seeing Magic happen everyday, in all the lives I touch along the way.

How ’bout you?

Here’s wishing you a new year, filled with new moments that are packed to the top with daily and exponentially amazing miracles.

Dad

Instructions Not Included

 

P1010481

I don’t know what I expected when you first arrived. A catatonic version of your old self? A distant stranger?

Would that sweet twinkle now be missing from your eyes?

After one long month of uncertainties, you and Chris were finally coming home. Chris: wearied, burdened, but calmly resolute. You: lost, confused, with the dreaded “A” word newly branded across your brain. Everything within me screamed from the depth of my gut: “Warning! Danger! Alzheimer’s Patient: Proceed at your own risk.”

… all I knew was fear.

Chris’ voice had sounded tired. Stressed. “We’re just arrived. We’ll be at the curb.” I had driven one hundred miles to take you home. Your new home. Your into-forever home. A new beginning for us all.

Would you even know what was happening? Would you even know who I was?

I could see you in the distance, as I waited in traffic to pull up to the curb. You steadied yourself against the post, staring at the ground just beyond your feet. Chris hovered nearby, furrowed brow; I could see his already weighted shoulders.

Oh sweet Jesus, can we do this?

Slowly traffic inched ahead.

Can we be who he needs us to be?
Stop. Go. Clutch out, clutch in. Wait. Breathe.

Is there a way not to lose ourselves when witnessing so much loss?
Closer now, inch by inch. The traffic so mercifully slow.

How can we still live, Lord, while his mind slowly dies?
How can we still love, Lord, while we watch all loveliness Fly. Away. Gone.
Jesus?… Can we really do this?


And through my own gridlocked brain, I sensed his answer:
Inch by inch, Jane.
Stop. Go. Wait, Jane.
Breathe, Jane.

Such simple words, but I felt their gentle Truth.

Drawing a slow, deep breath, I pulled up to the curb, and caught Chris’ eye.

And Jane?
Yes, Lord?
It’s really not a whole lot different than taking your first child home.

A smile smacked across my face.  I wasn’t expecting that. I chuckled.

I remembered taking Trevor home. I remember Chris and I wondering why he hadn’t come with instructions. And I smiled remembering, now, that first wonderful, daunting, holding-our-breath night

… a first night like this one.
Okay, Jesus, thanks. I needed that … but the first poopy diaper, I’m outta here.

Smile.

We were going to be just fine.

 

(Postscript, eight years later…)

And we were.

And he was.

And even in the grips of a horrific disease there still rained down a sweet, sweet mercy:

He would never know his journey back to infancy.

Back to the One who loved him first.

 

You’re free now, Dad. Fly away home.

P1010391

Carroll Lloyd Williams ~  July 20, 1926  – June 28, 2016

 

The Dance

My father-in-law died from Alzheimers this week. He died peacefully in the hands of a facility full of life and hope and angels dressed in flesh. And though, unmistakably, Alzheimer’s is a hideous and heart-wrenching disease. To those of you living out this life with your loved ones, my heart goes out to you. Yet, I am thankful that this disease is mercifully forgetful, for the one living in its tangled grip. And for the ones watching it play out, dare I say, in struggling past the initial shock and grief, there can sometimes be found – even just briefly – beauty in the ashes. I pray you have moments of beauty, albeit different and stark and always sad, but beauty nonetheless.

In the early years my husband and I cared for Dad at home, until we couldn’t anymore… This poem is the dance we danced. 

 

astaire (1)

We dance this dance
you and I
between magic
and tragedy
and the innocence of life
reduced to a Saturday picture show
whose cutting room floor we waltz gently upon
strewn with
images and scripts
and tangled nests of
stories…

those reel too real stories
that circle tirelessly
and feed endlessly
onto Silver Screens of nickel talkies
and kerosene-lit rooms
spliced with fiddle-played tunes
and a dad who hunts badgers on sunlit prairies
with his 10-year-old son
softshoeing closely beside

On this dance floor we dip
and in dipping we slide
into The Great War
of a 17-year-old sailor
fueled by honor
and duty
and a dream of life at sea                                                                                                                 haunted by Japanese boys with eyes too big and wanting

to forget

Swinging to a different song
we twirl through manhood
past marriage, and fatherhood, and too many years
sliced and forgotten
on Sundowner’s cutting room floor                                                                                                      buried
too far beyond reach to protect

so we glide and sachet and tap past all the madness

… and we gently circle back

 

to Saturday’s picture show and its nickel talkies
and this waltz                                                                                                                                       between magic
and tragedy
and the innocence
of a mind
brought back to simpler memories

 

of Life that keeps dancing on

astaire (1)                                                                                      Dance free now, Dad. Dance free.