Monday, October 31, 2011

The Blight

Farewell summer.
but not a blithe kiss from fingertips, 
speaking mercy within mercy.
a pinch instead, 
the bite of frost,
'good-bye' belies itself. 

The blight
ruins, wrecks, rots.
Final fruits of goodwill 
left on black stems
to fall instead of ripen.

will we meet again
next year, the ground 
restored by that same fall
to bear new fruit?

or the blight grow
into the marrow of the soil
a garden no more
but a barren patch, a scar,
an ugly memorial.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sea change

See change?
It's like the wind
You only see where it has been.

Sea change.
Remember, then,
it was not love, but abandonment.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy all the time

Two ways to be happy
Have everything you want
Want everything you have

I have what I need.
I love what I have.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Cue the metaphor
Like water into wine

Like water into coffee, more like,
heat and pressure,
stressful transubstantiation.

Pressed down
shaken together
Cup running over.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Good Faith, part 2

To these I have a debt of love, continual:
the ones before me,
and the love is not mine, that small love,
easily overwhelmed, panicked, and sticky
with my messy fingerprints.
The perfect giving; out of love, more love. 
comes only from the river unending,
the only good giving is not my own gift.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Good Faith

To these I have a debt of love; continual
As the rhythm of wave on rocky shore.
Those who begin with ebb and flow, who try, who remember,
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love
drives out fear,” and sigh, relax the shoulders
and pitch away the fear, the mistrust, the terror
of obligation far, entering with good faith
to share loving work and joy in small things.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Business of Celebration

We are sold on celebration
It's Fall! It's Spring! It's Halloween!
The seasons march by, unaffected, and yet
unpromised, which is why we welcome them, I think,
with ritual, with Pumpkin Spice, with Easter Dress, with ice cream,
We consecrate the slow return of old friends we were not certain to see again.

We are bold with celebration
Bridal showers, baby showers, luncheons, old friends in town,
Birthday parties, extravagant foods and uncounted calories.
I tire sometimes of the wild expectations of serving up such luxuries,
But I cannot quell that voice that says no celebration is void.
How boring it would be to reject these rejoicings;
how glad it is to celebrate friends.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I'm busy this week with a fundraising event I help to coordinate every fall and spring. Taking a break from regular work even if it's not a real vacation always helps center me and remind me why I do what I do. 

The events--chaotic as they are because they involve youth and food--have built into a sort of liturgical calendar year of stress and success, a practice of giving up me for chaotic, messy, busy, joyful days that are all about service. 

I teach teens to make and serve espresso drinks and food. I help them learn to watch for empty containers, messy tables, old ladies with trays too heavy. I make it a practice to walk around the building and see if any vendors look especially tired or down and bring them a free cup of coffee. I delegate students to do this every now and then, too, and they look at me, surprised, and then smile as they get it, that success isn't only about sales.

I get annoyed at the student who made up the sinks wrong or forgets to wear gloves or over-rings the cash register by double-digits, too.

This world is small, but I know the students walk away feeling good about what they have gained, and most of the people we serve walk away with a good meal at a good price.* My three-day world of hands-on service. It does me good. 

And I'm leaving this here as a reminder so that on Saturday evening, feet aching, I'll come and remind myself of that very fact.

*one of the most valuable things I have learned by doing this is that it's really true that you can't please everybody. Someone WILL complain about the salad dressing or coffee. Last spring I had one woman insist that our coffee brewer wasn't drip coffee, could not be drip coffee, we had given her something strange and bitter. I brewed a new pot and she pointed at it as it was dripping through the filter. "see there? that is not reg'lar old coffee." she insisted. She wanted no money back. She wanted no replacement. She wanted plain old reg'lar coffee. At my wits end, I walked back to the breakroom in the building where the event planners left a percolator of lukewarm coffee going for the workers and poured a cup and brought it out to her. She still insisted that I was somehow purposely giving her something different from reg'lar coffee. I never did find out what she wanted.   For some people, you never will.


Share a cup with me
sweet heirlooms, onions, 
basil leaves, garlic and sage,
A drizzle of vinegar, the drop of bitter
only sweetens this cup of thanks, a health to
summer and sun and green 
growing things giving 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Awake Now

Make me awake;
Opportunities to bless
often look like impositions, obligations,
and impossibilities.

Make me awake;
A chance to delight
A day to put off laundry and
put on a party.

Make me awake now
to do the laundry after all
have left; now with a smile
return to my burdens.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Love Will Best Judge

By plan and deed and word and time
I tell you “I love”, I LOVE! 
The word echoes, trembles, grows,
And lives and carries on
Returning kinder, greater and more infinite love,
Abundance of the loaves and fishes.
I have seen it, that joy-driven response
Not diseased obligation, but
Fair, redolent of all thanksgiving.

Deed follows heart; mouth echoes mind, so
the heart and mind of fear withdraws, silent.
But Love will best judge how I have been loved
By my people, by my God.
Still must I love and begin the song
Let me love my friends,
Love in deed, love with time, 
love in word, love to ring the echoed joy,
And all manner of things shall be well.

The Open Door

Appetizers, thank you cards,
hostess tips and recipes,
napkin rings, water glasses, 
salad forks and centerpieces

All the alphabets we've built
to break down welcome's meaning,
turning Hospitality into rules, warnings
that Gratefulness must be constrained.

For Hospitality is only a gratefulness 
for what I have been given,overflowing; 
and what could I do, but welcome close
the people I love to catch the spill?