Gratitude

Strike the match, inhale the scent of fire and live eternally in the moment of incineration.  Settle softly, become mesmerized by the soft flame imprison by its source of power. 

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The silence of this house settles forgivingly and the tension along my neck and shoulders eases.  I touch the wicks of the candles upon the altar of my memories and ponder living forever.

Strike the match, inhale the scent of fire and live eternally in the moment of incineration.  Become mesmerized by the soft flame imprisoned by its source of power.

Upon the altar of the church where I kneel and pray the candles burn steady and are placed there by faith.  Faith defeats fear.

Who has formed you?  Who has made you so that I may lift my right hand and place is directly over your heart without thought but in need?

The palm of my hand upon your steady beat.  I touch tenderly your skin in days of trouble, touch that cannot last forever but does.

We are centuries apart for I live deep in the past.  I am falling further away, into cold stone towers and mullioned windows and baptized kings.

I read the words by candlelight and think of you and push you away.  I may never finish what I have begun but I have begun what must be finished.

Love in the strangest sense.  I dream of washing your feet in the warm saltwater that lulls you to sleep with the lifting of burden and awakens you in the morning with passion.

Have you ever waited for the inevitable pain of heartache?  The sureness of its weight before it tumbles down upon your heart?

Then light a candle for me watch the flame flicker and hold upon the impossible tip and dream of the warmth of wave upon wave surrounding us in dark, safe eternity.

Passion is certain in any of us yet it is the open mind that soothes the soul.  I light the candle and wash your feet, spelling out words that you arrange for me.

So who has made you, who has placed your heart within my reach, who has formed the clay that forms the walls that contain me?

 

Photo by Pascal Müller on Unsplash

 

Never Mind

What do I tell my children?  What do I tell my aging parents, honest in that they
Do not envy me.

How can I convey to you the heaviness of my heart?

I’m sure you’ve felt it, experienced the physical weight of sadness.

That sudden drop which suspends inside.

Lead within the quasi-weightlessness of water.

Water, wrapped in flesh, encased in a mind that cannot lift the eyes to see the horizon.

Just take the moment of temporary lightness, the mire of reality is unfair.

No one can help me, so I look to the earth for inspiration

I look to words for hope

I look to art for some sign of sympathy.

Never mind.

The earth has become paved over with concrete without thought to next week.

The words are glossed over by Freudian overtones that mankind craves.

Art has become not the object but the person who renders nothing but style.

What do I tell my children?  What do I tell my aging parents, honest in that they do not envy me?

How do I keep from mourning the family given and then taken?

The lessons have stopped and I am now atop the tiny dynasty learning faith.

And even that the world insists gets in the way.

Never mind.

Good

She didn’t realize until she was older that she was mistaken. I’ll cut to the chase, I won’t beat around the bush here but in the summation of her misconception is the story. She realized that the all-encompassing way of life her parents taught her to embrace; the idea of being a decent human being, to accept people and circumstances the way they are, to not pass judgment unless it was a civic duty and to never swerve the car she was driving to deliberately hit a ground hog were, in short, diabolical.

She didn’t realize until she was older that she was mistaken.  I’ll cut to the chase, I won’t beat around the bush here but in the summation of her misconception is the story.  She realized that the all-encompassing way of life her parents taught her to embrace; the idea of being a decent human being, to accept people and circumstances the way they are, to not pass judgment unless it was a civic duty and to never swerve the car she was driving to deliberately hit a ground hog were, in short, diabolical.  The ideas mentioned were diabolical because on the surface they can be summed up as “good,” but to accomplish them left life just that thin as finding a surface with nothing beneath it.

Her soul, her psyche, her intuition screamed out against her very strong mind.  Her soul, her psyche her intuition were parts of her that knew better but were refused voice by her mind.  Her mind was so sharpened by her parents as to be on guard against insidious attacks made by those parts of her she was told to distrust.

Are there those who grow old and die and say during that process that their parents may be wrong but never waver from the path they were set upon?

Well, she was that close.  No, she had no experience other than reading in which to understand that the narrowing down of the flat surface of “good,” or “goodness,” or even that dreaded apparition, “being good,” meant, in reality, a deep pool of cool gloom.  Good alone was simply drowning.

She had read a passage from an author (an old dusty prophet long dead) whom her parents would certainly have thought from the pedantic, judgmental and self-righteous camp and got the idea that if she stopped the flattening out of “good,” she may find something interesting.

But alas where to start?  How could she focus on a point of interest when from her lofty place in life all seemed flat.  Please do not come under the impression that flat is in anyway synonymous to boring.  Her life was not boring.  She was actually quite busy in flattening out the rest of the world and smiling blithely over the serene faces that she left in her wake. Can’t you see them, those relieved of their beliefs, those no longer worried about their convictions because from a distance the bumps, cliffs, peaks, and the deep look flat.

Live and let live.  Wrong could be right for your neighbor.  What harm is there?

There is a power skimming over the water.  Imagine the leathery wings of a dragon or the feathers of a great eagle, extended as far as possible and just inches from the water.  The power of the glide, the mist of cool water and the idea that nothing, absolutely nothing is beneath that inch of calm water.  Where does the eagle grab his prey and where does the dragon plunge to explore the depths of ancient cities and creatures?

Yes, of course, metaphors to her because this world is worth preserving.

 

Cnaejna’s Song

Come with me to the skylines of Chicago, New York, London.

I am rejected by God for good reason but come with me.

 

See the steeple, pierced deep and dimpled down between the

Steel and glass scrapers of the sky that are dark now like me.

 

Take my hand and feel the ice cold sorrow of what life is for me

I’ll allow you to think that you can save me.

 

I’ve seen so many years, so many attempts at power and vindictiveness.

I didn’t relinquish my hope of heaven for any of these.

 

Violence and its shock do not soften by its frequency -not for me.

Is that why you can pity me?

 

My motive was to live.  My motive is to feel.  My desire is now.

Listen to my siren voice if reason cannot defeat fear.

 

She did shine like a star even as a child.  Her green eyes glowed and her

Red hair was brilliant like the sun and the mist could not defeat her.

 

I summoned her like all young girls that had potential to survive the

Long years of life and the idea of hell in the end.

 

But she loved. She loved impossibly and I knew but he did not until

The end.

 

Such girls are wasted on men, wasted on love.  I was her escape to leave

Pain, gain knowledge and learn a wandering, wailing peace.

 

Come with me to the skyline of London, the dark murky shadows and

Man’s pitiful attempts at lighted darkness.

 

Come with me to set her free or to end me.  For she has chosen

Her enemy in me; neither of us beautiful, neither seeking peace.

 

Come with me to feel the vibrations of life’s power on which I feed.

 

The Love of Silence

Take heart for the cold of hatred is brief in fury

Though I would prefer the cold of nature to bury.

Take heart for the cold of hatred is brief in fury

Though I would prefer the cold of nature to bury.

I have heard of such places, the wind wicked cold

The water hard, so hard it cuts.  My sister, my sister,

Who lives there prays by the fire that keeps the winter at bay.

The men of that country, she says, glide upon the water

The water takes all the men away and they sail beyond the sun.

The water, all fresh and cold and haunted keep the men away.

She sits there and talks to God and speaks to Him about me.

My sister, says she to God, will know of me some day.

Our children are of one or the other; for me in their graves

For her never started.  We say little of their missing laughter

We say little of their missing sisters, brothers, and their play,

While in the daytime as she spins the thread that twists and curls

And I weave the nights away.

My sister steps out of her old stone house and listens to the rain

In Spring, while I listen to the sand and heat slide in a secret sacred way.

She thinks of me in the dry seasons and she prays.  I walk beneath

The dome of the universe and sing to the man that once shared

This cape of love with me – and listen to what God says she prayed.

During the day, while in the heat I let salt water drip from my eyes,

Once brilliant, clear, in pools white as milk and my husband would gaze at me

Amazed.  My sister has never known such love, such passion.  I have

Never known her days of silent peace.  We pray for one another.

We keep faith with God and wait to know the day we meet.

I will teach her to weave and love, she will teach me the love of silence.

 

I Think He Knew

Very little comes out of being right. My grandmother was right, for the most part, all of her life and was basically despised. Being right and silent or being right with an ‘I-told-you-so,’ attitude is equally damning. People despise other people who are right.

Very little comes out of being right.  My grandmother was right, for the most part, all of her life and was basically despised.  Being right and silent or being right with an ‘I-told-you-so,’ attitude is equally damning.  People despise other people who are right.

In the western culture, there are two groups of despised people.  Grammarians are despised.  Old ladies in church kitchens, who know how to feed large amounts of people are despised.  For grammarians there is no hope, old ladies who fed large crowds will have a few who remember them with love.

My grandmother ruled the church basement kitchen with an iron fist when there were church basement kitchens.  The kitchen in the church basement was cleaned to her expectations, there was a sign-out sheet and a sign in sheet.  China was plain, flatware was kept between blue velvet covers that lined the drawers.  Stock pots were scoured and the floors were swept and mopped shiny.  That woman could feed 20 to 250 people and never run out of food.  She knew the phone numbers of butchers, vegetable markets and she knew how to squeeze out just a little bit extra.

“We have a young girl on a budget and with no church home.  I believe all young girls deserve a decent wedding, what can you do for me?”  Grandma didn’t believe in just catering to the church family.  Everyone was welcomed.  In her defense, most of them stayed.

“There’s a new family in the neighborhood, looks like they have 20 children though I know they only have four, they need some help settling in, what can you do for me?”  A new neighbor around an old neighborhood church was sure to receive a warm meal, it didn’t matter if they walked down to the Roman Catholic church on Sundays.

“We have a funeral on Wednesday, lots of out of town people, what can you do for me?” Funerals were her specialty.

I can still see that heavy telephone up to her ear, the wire all twisted out of shape.  I can see her scrutinizing her checkbook and then calling the Pastor and telling him what she needed.  The silence, while she was on the telephone, was intense.  Then she’d start with a “yes.”  Another,“Yes, I understand.”  More silence.   Then a “mmmm, hmmm.”  That pretty much sealed the fate of the Pastor, the church secretary, the associate pastor or anyone else who happened to pick up the phone before the day and age of caller ID.

“You want me and my volunteers (the word ‘volunteers’ was louder than any other word she spoke) to serve from 100 to 200 people on that budget?  Perhaps the Sunday School could do without donuts for the next several Sundays in honor of Mr. Rickenhour’s funeral.  It was his money that put the roof on the new Sunday School wing when we were over budget.”  She knew all the secrets.  She kept all the budgetary tidbits and the kind acts in her head and used them like A-bombs when she needed to get her way.

Then the big one came.

“Well I’m sorry, but I cannot prepare a decent meal for these grief stricken people on that budget and no I refuse to skimp on the portions.  That church has grown architecturally to the point that the windows are plain and not decent stained glass and the sanctuary looks like some hut.  When I’m dead and gone take me to the old Lutheran Church downtown rather than the post office looking church I have to work with here and now.  But if you want me to get you through this funeral then I need the amount I asked for or call Kentucky Fried Chicken.  I’m sure the Ladies Missionary Society would rather spend their Wednesday evening sewing for children in need. “

I can go to church online now.  There are stage lights and the pulpit has disappeared.  The “staff,” are dressed like bums, the music repetitive, the crowds look thick and their faces appear lit up so I know they are on their phones.  Funeral dinners are unheard of here.

When my grandmother died, I didn’t shed a tear.  Her casket sat in the “hut,” of the sanctuary and the Pastor broke down twice during her eulogy; I think he knew.  I did.