The Berry Bush

Stoic, she relinquishes her treasures.

Fingers swish, palms purple with the richness

of the gift. She whispers soft

but I am occupied; berries bounce in a plastic

pail to the rhythm of songbirds.

 

The old-timers say

that the harvest is only heavy every

seven years. This is the one in seven-

fat orbs dazzle the eye

and my pail overflows quick,

tongue stained and smug.

 

I strip the branches easiest to reach, careful to

pry into intimate places, seek

her secrets with greedy grasp. I slow. Here, not all are

perfectly ripe. My fingers must pull with

respect, leave the immature for a later picking.

 

The pails are piling purple. Content, I

step back, prepare to sail home

with cargo hold brimming. I stretch,

look up. More. And more, and more hang. I hear it

indistinct, this lesson. On tiptoe, the blessings are harder to

harvest, require more of my complacency.

 

Patience prickles. Fingers falter, accidental purple showers

to the earth. Joints creak, muscles strain,

and here is the true miracle,  saved for last. Fullness scrapes the dirt

plump and glad. The  equation comes

clear, and I laugh aloud with the unexpected joy of it –

 

for when do blessings not hang in clusters,

ripe and ready to pick? And how is great glory not

gained with a stretch of stained hands toward heaven?

Which good and surprising delights

were not made the sweeter by bowing of the head

and bending of the knee?

 

I hear her now.

Her syllables ring loud in the silence.

And I, who teach for a living,

am schooled by the berry bush.

 

As Poppies Sway

 

crinkled poppy.jpg

Descended from an ancient breed, she stands on guard with all her friends;

The sun and soil and rain she needs, she gathers as she gently bends

To rhythms only she can hear – the subtle throb of memories

As November days draw near; with every raw and lonesome breeze

She mourns anew in Flanders Fields. Hers the task to mark the place

Where courage bled; the past revealed that hatred has an ugly face;

Here she blooms beneath the sky, and dreams as stars bestow their rays,

That Peace will last for you and I, and Love take root as poppies sway.

The Earth Gives Thanks

 

tamarack cattails.jpg

Thankful, grasses swish in breezes,

Ponds give thanks ere water freezes,

Tamaracks sigh benedictions,

Cattails pray with deep convictions.

Clouds that sail and geese that float

On autumn air trace thank you notes

As earth and sky and beasts conclude

That living well is Gratitude.

Thanksgiving Hymn

looking glass.jpg

For sun above and earth below,

For flowers’ blooms, and rivers’ flow,

For springtime after pristine snow,

Lord, we give you thanks.

For sunshine after timely rains,

For mountain peaks and golden plains,

For air in lungs and blood in veins,

 Lord, we give you thanks.

For tables laid with pumpkin pies,

For elders’ lore, and newborns’ sighs,

For secret looks in lover’s eyes,

Lord, we give you thanks.

For day to work, and night to rest,

For Heaven’s Love on earth expressed,

For all the ways that we are blessed,

Lord, we give you thanks.