Poems from Interweave’s April Writing Circle

April writing circle

Dear Friends,

Come and sit awhile. We have something to share . . .

In April we created space to listen to each other. Spring was announcing its presence after a relentless winter. It was a good time to meet in the heart and visit on the porch. The writings that found their way into the circle are an amazing kaleidoscope of images, experiences and emotions.  

The inspiring poetry which serve as bookends for the April collection, “Why I Wake Early” by Mary Oliver, and “Spring” by Thomas Merton, were brought with love by Eileen Gerety and Susan Maitner. To Eileen, Susan and all who contributed to our April collection – Lisa Brown, Nancy Burgas, Marge Dukes, Mary Livingston, Nicholas Lizza, Janet Maulbeck and Rosalind Seneca – thank you for sharing your treasure maps and meditations.

Life-lessons sit on the porch in the rocking chair next to us and wait patiently for their turn to speak. Endings give way to beginnings. Endless winter is trumped by a bursting spring. Abundant Love is at play …

Keep the faith and have a happy spring. 

Lorri

May 11, 2015

 

“Why I Wake Early” by Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face.

Hello, you who made the morning

and spread it over the fields

and into the faces of the tulips

and the nodding morning glories,

and into the windows of, even, the

miserable and the crotchety –

best preacher that ever was,

dear star, that just happens

to be where you are in the universe

to keep us from ever-darkness,

to ease us with warm touching,

to hold us in the great hands of light –

good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day

in happiness, in kindness.”

(Why I Wake Early – New Poems – April 15, 2004 by Mary Oliver)

 

“Porches” by Mary Livingston

Porches are for wine and cheese,

Swinging and chatting in the summer breeze.

 

Porches are for eating pie with friends,

And staying out until daylight ends.

 

Porches are for growing herbs and hanging flowers,

And reading newspapers for hours.

 

Porches are for gazing at fish and roses and butterflies,

And listening to fountains drip and summer day “sighs”.

 

Porches are for rocking, reuniting and reminiscing,

And watching ocean waves and the shack that is missing!

 

Our porches cry out here on “God’s Square Mile”

To come and sit and stay awhile!

 

See you on the porch!

 

(Note: Mary’s poem and Porch Calendar inspired our April theme.)

 

“Check ins” by Susan Maitner

Together on the Porch

Remembering the Seasons

And the Silence of the City

Celebrating Spring

Making time for Mourning

 

“Come Love With Me” by Eileen Gerety

Come sit with me

And we will see

The pain dissipate

It’s leaving the gate

 

Come be with me

And we WILL be

Filling hearts up

We’ll drink the cup

 

Come embrace with me

Journey on the Sea

At times….. uneven

We’ll look for leaven

 

Come sing with me

And let’s not flee

Our stories, our lives

We’ll strive, then thrive!

 

Come love with me

The sun, the sky, the sea

We’ll be a part

The world’s new start!

 

Come fly with me!

We’ll share the spree

Of Life renewed

A beautiful hue!

 

 

“Losing God” by Rosalind Seneca

I lost God and it was as if my soul had been put out of my body like so much furniture on the sidewalk waiting to be loaded onto a truck. Each beloved chair, the piano, the friendly kitchen table had become so many sticks of wood seen in sepia, all the color leached from them.

The world was flat and meaningless.  I was empty inside and in pain. My back hurt too as it has been hurting for five years and God did not care. You can pray all you want for a cure but what you need is to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe and he was not there either.

No one would accept my loss of faith. “It’s just a period of dryness, aridity”, they said and gave me books to read. What I wanted was a friend to sit with me on the sidewalk and imagine what it was like to be the kitchen table.

I existed and did my bit of railing against God.  I could not go to church. There was no comfort to be found.

Then one day I decided to give up looking for God. I sat on the sofa in the living room where I have all my things scattered about- purse, address book, diary, pencils, computer, phone- and I began to talk to myself. “Look, it’s no good anymore. You can’t demand help from God. You just have to accept the idea of living with pain. You’ve done everything medical to help it- operations, physical therapy, acupuncture, ablations- and nothing has worked.  You must just stop rejecting the pain and accept it as part of your life. This suffering must be borne.”

I got up and walked around the room. The pain was still there but all the furniture was back in place. The room seemed alive. Outside I could see a few daffodils blooming. I felt fullness and joy. Love entered my soul and the grace of God which passeth all understanding came upon me at last.

 

 

She’s Gone by Margaret A. Dukes

 

The mattress on my bed is too hard.

I move to the guest room

Two beds to try

The first has scratchy sheets

The other was my mother’s

-her last before she died.

It’s soft and a comfort.

I sleep in it without

tossing,

stay here nightly now

for 5 months.

My realtor doesn’t understand why

I can spend money to remodel my kitchen

-but don’t buy a new mattress

for my own bed.

I tell her my mattress is only 2 years old

How can I justify a new one?

The real reason –

I miss my Mother.

 

 

“Coming Back…

From Dying?” by Nicholas Leonardo Lizza

Have you ever wondered about loss?

Or, does the enervating uselessness

  that usually envelops the issue

  bless your paralysis overlong?!!!

Stop a moment and consider this…

When the body ceases to be animated

 What changes in you?

When one of the images in the mirror

 no longer seems to be interested

 in acknowledging you,

 don’t stop!

Feel your way through that.

Let their “change,”

Be your reminder

 to let your attention

 journey more widely and deeply

 than what has most surely become

 one of your many precious “habits.”

 

Let your heart off the leash

Just for a bit …

When you love:

even a stamp or a coin

can seem to love you back enough

to give your life meaning,

to be a source of joy

that unleashes your heart

just a bit.

Just enough!?!

 

Yes… They are important.

And now, they’re no longer speaking

in the language you’ve become accustomed to hearing.

 

But what about you?

Maybe now,

it’s time to continue past old habits,

on to something new,

something more,

something already full,

and still becoming more;

            to something

both listening and speaking.

            YES!

Take your heart off its leash . . .

Let it show you a new language

A new way of talking;

So that song and dance

replace the many habits you’ve instilled,

that only coach you to hold

your comfortable seat on the sidelines…

and instead, become your way of being

Opening to ever increasing circles

            of communion

and the infinite language of beauty

and the touch of love!!!

She hasn’t gone anywhere!

But is only showing you

The tiny spot you call your life,

            Your loving,

Is really the secret beginning

Of the great journey

            Of learning,

                        Of being alive,

                                    Of being    Love!

 

 

 

“Days and Nights” by Janet Maulbeck

 

Days and nights

 give way to months and years

 

I am always running

into my limitations

 

So many people places and things

So little me

 

Yet my walk in the world continues

Day by day

Month by month

Year-by-year

 

Night has not yet fallen and closed the door that opens to everything

 

Always choices decisions multiple paths

On this one particular morning –

Prayer enlightenment or poetry?

 

Who could make such a choice!

Why can't I go everywhere –

be everything?

 

But I cannot

 

Here is enlightenment riding on the wings of prayer and poetry

 

I have only these two hands

and these 2 feet

 

But next week when my friend goes to Jerusalem –

some part of me goes with her

 

And this morning even though I can't be there –

some part of me is in the circle

 

Wherever I am facing there is Mecca

The road is limited

 The Holy land is everywhere!

 

 

 

“I Know” by Lisa Brown

Sit here

and let me take your pain in,

let me breathe the sorrow from you,

let me drink your grief

so that you can relax, breathe, and taste

a bit of joy

knowing I am here to help in any way I can.

 

 

 

“Warm Eyes” by Lisa Brown

Come sit a while

find the softest chairs and call a friend

not someone who spews advise

but one who will not judge

and will not tell your secrets

but who will listen and hear

who will warm you with their eyes

and in return

you open your heart to them

so they too can share in the warmth

  of your eyes

and they will come again.

 

 

 

“St. Francis in The Meditation Garden:

Two Years Later” by Lorri Lizza

 

Hello old bench

Sun-weathered splinters, white on gray

I came here to write

When the circle was new

 

Still the sunlight

Warms the slate garden that separates Church and Parish House

– Indifferent to all the hours

A lesson in Patience

 

Still something happens here

Deep time occupies the space, keeping company with the sun

            – Indecipherable yet true

A lesson in Mystery

 

Still the stone fountain faithfully pours out the Blessed Water

As St. Francis tenderly performs his ministry of love

            – No heart abandoned or grief unmet

A lesson in Faith

 

 

 

“Come and Sit Awhile” by Nancy Burgas

Do come and sit awhile

Isn’t it lovely here?

Would you like a cup of tea?

Yes, the pot is very beautiful

My friend Peggy gave it to me

It was crafted in Morristown

And the tea?

It’s Constant Comment

I know a man named Doug

who grew up in Connecticut

many years ago

His family knew the Bigelows

and Mrs. Bigelow told him

the origin of the name  

But, can you guess?

 

009These trees are a treat for the eyes

and the nose

Japanese plum!

Inhale and you could be sitting beside

 a temple in Kyoto

An acquaintance I knew,

Don was his name,

met his wife in Japan

You see he was stationed there

after the war

He had a vision of a lovely Japanese woman

painting before a Shinto shrine in Kyoto

On his next leave he spent a Saturday

seeking that shrine

and sure enough there she was

a vision of loveliness

Well, he had no choice

but to make her acquaintance

marry her and bring her back to New Jersey

They had two children

And she taught ikebana in Clinton

 

004Isn’t the crabapple gorgeous?

The varying shades of pink

from pale to almost purple

And see that branch

against the bright blue sky

Breathtaking!

I love the dappled shade it provides

Doesn’t the sun feel warm

on our winter-white skin?

 

If you sit very still

The cat will join us

Ah, I see she has chosen you

She will make herself at home on your lap

Yes, she has a loud purr

A regular little soothing machine

 

Now what was it

you needed to talk about?

 

“SPRING” by Thomas Merton

Heavy snowflakes fall, flying in all directions.  But when there is no wind they descend so slowly that they seem determined not to land on the ground.   When in fact they do touch the ground they vanish completely.  Then the pale sun comes out for a moment, shines uncertainly on the grass, the wheel, the pale pine logs, the rusty field, the fence, the valley.  It is St. Benedict’s, the first day of spring.

 

Real Spring weather—these are the precise days when everything changes.  All the trees are fast beginning to be in leaf and the first green freshness of a new summer is all over the hills.  Irreplaceable purity of these few days chosen by God as His sign!

 

Today was the prophetic day, the first of the real shining spring…the day of the year when spring became truly credible.

 

~Thomas Merton: When the Trees Say Nothing, Edited by Kathleen Deignan © 2003, Sorin Books.