Re-posting a poem I wrote on a dark day back in December.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers–so many caring people in this world.” — Mister Rogers
Look for the helpers.
I cast a line from me to you.
You cast it outward to those you love.
Fill that web, that basket, that nest, that bowl
with our open wounded hearts,
our prayers, our stones,
our candles, our feathers,
the fine white hair of our grandmothers.
Something to hold the children,
the mothers, the fathers,
a bowl that will witness and hold the grief.
We will be the helpers.
1. Breathing in. Breathing out.
2. The way people help. Almost blindly. Just running into the fray. Goodness that goes beyond sense of personal preservation.
3. The wonderful people who help us on Goldfinch Farm. We have such a great crew.
4. Great customers, new and old. I feel so heartened.
5. Mowing the grass. I love to get out on that old riding mower and mow the grass.
May we walk in beauty.
Mockingbird in Maple this afternoon.
Today I have been sorting through some old poems, to see which ones I still want to consider viable and alive, and which ones just deserve to fade away in my computer files. Here is one from the late ’90s, when we lived in Slippery Rock. I still remember the cafe where I wrote it the morning after I dreamed it.
The Birth of Phoenix
This is the story of the woman
Who believed that happiness
lay in the sound of Any-Man-At-All
slipping through her open doorway,
Who grew beyond bounds,
Whose walls dissolved in a grey mist
to let in a garden,
and a small silvery snake,
Who discovered the spiraling staircase
which led to the Aunt in the attic,
Who plied that old woman with indecent questions
and robed herself warmly
in old woman’s laughter,
Who carried the rage of the crone in her pocket
like a sculpted soapstone jackal,
Who suckled that fury–that ravenous infant,
Who knew a canary from plaster pretenders,
Who built her own cottage of clay, thatch, and brambles,
Who walked through the market,
unveiled by the eyebrows
of merchants and gabblers,
Who swam to deep waters
alone like a manta,
Who left the green waves for a road full of daughters,
Who shaved off her hair,
to step naked and newborn
among glowing embers.
1. Mid-day today, Ellis raced through the room (after 36 hours of intermittent up-chucking) and announced, “I feel so good!” And promptly made himself a sandwich and ate it. And kept it down.
2. This image, which stays with me: The bluebirds at my parents’ house know that my dad goes out the glass doors at the back of the house to feed them. On Sunday as we were sitting at the dining room table putting a puzzle together, one of them came and sat on the handle of the glass door, and peered around the door frame through the glass and watched us. Apparently he often sits there to watch his friend drinking coffee or eating or working a puzzle.
3. The release of a good stretch
4. Eager new customers, and long-term customers who have become friends
5. Planning and plotting
May we walk in beauty.