Memories Remain, Tumbling and Polished by Time

Memories Remain

Back in the days when I was young,

Winters were long and summers

Never seemed long enough to dwell in

Contemplation of the lightening bugs

Captured in Bell jars, holes in the lids

So they could breath. I hated that they died

By morning light, translucence turned to lead.

 

Some winters there were drifts that covered

Bedroom windows, blocking light morning, noon,

Even cold stars at night. In such frigid temperatures,

How could Jesus find me, covered as I was in

Blankets on the bed, knees askew and close to head?

Yes, I’m sure they had it worse in Saskatchewan,

Though once the paper said it was as cold

As surface on Mars, considering wind chill.

 

Thank God there were no dust storms; no plagues of locusts.

We managed population of frogs on

My grandfather’s farm ponds, feeding a

Childish imagination that eating frog legs

Would permit you to jump higher

Than those who only ate chicken. Back then,

Chickens ranged free, as all chickens should,

Until necks were rung and prepared to fry.

 

In Boy Scouts, I learned to march in time

Down in the basement of the church— left, right,

Left, right as we made a trip around the room.

Camping out on the edge of the lake, we collected

Mosquito bites like merit badges, learned history

On a fifty-mile trek that followed old wagon trails.

I remember unfolding a wrinkled canvas tent,

Finding a scrap of paper hidden inside folds

With “I love you” printed in pencil.

I never found who wrote that note

But wondered for years

Why a Boy Scout would be up to no good.

 

Clear water to fish; flat stones to skip on the ponds.

Mowing grass, riding horses out on the farm.

Memories remain, tumbling and polished by time.

In dreams, I’m still a boy and the small town

Has never changed. Before morning, I know

My grandmother still lives, back in the years

Before cancer destroyed hope that love would last.

 

Then the edges splinter. The dinner bell rings,

Calling me inside for dinner, after which

There’s one last hour for lightening bugs,

Communicating in some silent commentary.

Then as bugs and stars are wearing down,

I say my prayers to Jesus, and the air is sweet,

Dreamy embers of the starry sky and sleep.

 

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Feel the Breath of Silent Wind

I know you as Love

This afternoon, clouds drifted
Across horizon of distant hills,
Moved not only across field of vision
But seemed to enter into my life.

They did not carry rain.
These clouds did not bring storms
But lingered over water into evening,
Adding color that signaled coming night.

It made me think the word of God
Might sometimes be quite small—
Perhaps as wide and vast as clouds
Or as small as a kiss or song…

If you shed tears when clouds appear,
Then new shadows and effervescent shapes
Haunt your hours of afternoon and enter dreams,
Bring heaviness to waves and dancing water.

Blink once, then twice to wash away all tears,
Feel breath of cool and silent wind
Whispering eternal questions echoing deep into heart
As world embraces, makes love to all of life—

Past the dimness of the dusk,
Toward birth of stars that perhaps
Hold the only answer to the storms,
Brings a breeze that hovers, then gently rustles leaves.

I Want So Much More

 burning tree

                                                                      For Claire

It’s a baffling work to know what to do,
Even know what you now see in the world—
Objects that are stone cold sober and real
Yet deeply burn with love and mercy for an entire cosmos,
Most of which I neither see or feel.
I am blind. No wonder I want to see….

What is out there I only glimpse
With eyes of an animal, for I can merely
Take a child and teach her to gaze
Not upon a world that is wondrously wild
But measured and still unknown.
I want to do more. God knows I want so much more….

Who sees a garden without looking for flowers?
Who sees the magical space which holds flowers
That endlessly open and offer
Fragrance freely given with such amazing grace?
Sometimes I awake and I am there, always alone…
When I am there, I have no voice,
Cannot find words even as I feel the wind.

Speak to me. I want to hear.
I’ve sensed your whisper touch me,
But always I want more.
Speak to me. I will be here, listening.
Let me find the meeting in the hidden place,
Learn the mystic wisdom imparted in silence,
Always within that holy space….