Jigsaw

I.

I open the lid

and my breath speeds ragged,

seas stormed by discontent. So many

pieces – why so many pieces? – and

why so many shades of blue? No one needs

that much sky, I think as I start to sort.

 

Everyone knows you find the edge pieces first

and build in, first the skin and then the heart,

but I can’t find them all in the tangle

of chaos heaped discordant, their absence loud

in the landscape.

 

II.

The box boasts Italian villas, a Mediterranean

masterpiece of  idyllic days. It hurts, this beauty.  It

scorns the doctors, scorns those tired

eyes which peer over masks to discern who

of the twenty will benefit

most from the single ventilator that can be

spared tonight.

 

The bits of colour on my table

are lost in that steady rush of feet and again I wonder,

why so much sky? My hands tremble

and I lose hope – I cannot make this

make sense.

 

III.

Tears brim and wash images clean.

I blink. Is that

a pattern in the stones, a barely perceptible

shift from dark to light just there, in

the bottom left corner? Pieces find shelter in

limestone.  A new thought forms in

the shadows  –

perhaps this much sky is necessary to breathe

in a world full of rocks.

 

Perhaps my eyes are too small,

too human to see the bigger picture;

I step back and

close them in prayer

and my lungs are filled with blue. I breathe,

in and out, slow and big;  I hear

what the jigsaw has to say in the silence.

 

IV.

The construction of a life

is always messy; a chaos of constant

attention to details that

puzzle and elude. There will always be too many

pieces, and so much awful sky – but the blue

is meant to be inhaled deep in faith,

exhaled in mystical prayer over Italian villas

while eyes remain fixed on the box lid. I need to memorize

the villas in all their glory: they will be beautiful

again after the ventilators forget how to

hum.

 

V.

I am alone in the quiet. I search;

there, a smudge of the right kind of blue – bright,

not muted or mixed with gray or green. I smile

and set the piece into place,

a prayer in itself.  Now I can breathe;

I work steadily from the edge in,

first the skin and then the heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heavy

sunset frost.jpg

Heartbreak hangs, a heavy Thing, unwelcome tribulation;

Frosted fangs shred flesh from bone in weighty proclamation.

Lamentations pierce the night as mourners bear its chill;

Earth’s foundations shift in flight as burdens overfill.

Affliction’s strain borne all alone would kill the bravest heart;

Eager souls and ready hands prepared to do their part

Will hold your heavy heartbreak high and share the bitter load;

So as you struggle with good-bye, we’re with you on this road.

 

*  My local community has been hit hard with the tragic loss of 15 of its loved ones after a horrible accident. It is hard to fathom what these families are enduring right now in their shock and grief. I am so proud of the ways in which people are supporting each other and loving each other through this terrible time of loss. To all the first-responders, medical staff, blood donors, coffee-pourers, blanket-bringers, and prayer warriors – thank you! May God richly bless your efforts! To all of the families and friends suffering through this awful season of hardship – the prayers and thoughts of everyone in Saskatchewan are with you all…  *

In the Middle of the Mud

mud

I spent years at the edge.

I paraded with my picket sign

to demonstrate my disdain for the dregs,

lobbied for others to clean up their act,

slung my share of dirt

in the hopes that none of it would come home to me.

I washed my hands of it.

But you –

you put on your rubber boots

and slogged into the middle of your mess

and made mud pies.

You got up to your elbows in it

and your laughter sang

and your eyes widened at the wonder of it all

and I dared to hope

that maybe here,

in the middle of the mud,

there might be something real.

Something that smelled of soil

and germination,

rain and sunshine woven

into a thing of beauty.

Your laughter is gone, now –

but I bought a new pair of boots

and I’m hungry.

I’m hungry for

mud pies…

Hide and Seek

hide and seek

I quit.

I don’t like this game.

I never win.

I can’t find you anywhere,

but somehow you always find me.

Even when I hide

you find a way to uncover me;

if I bury myself in busyness

or hole up on facebook,

medicate with chocolate

or embalm my memories,

there you are.

Even when I sleep, you find me,

disguised as men with guns who somehow

(despite my dreamland skill)

always know exactly where I am.

And then you leave,

 with only your salty-wet footprints

on my cheeks to mark your exit.

This hide thing

doesn’t work for me.

So

I will change the rules.

I’ll make a hot cup of tea

and sit in my prayer chair

and count to ten

slow

and

I may

just

learn to truly seek.

I will seek you in

the sigh of a child,

peals of laughter,

every act of courage,

every selfless prayer.

I will learn to love well,

listen with my heart,

speak for those with no voice,

champion the weak,

embrace my mess

and

then,

then I will

seek this God

whom you loved with abandon,

with faith that could not be broken

by accident or

miscarriage

or tumours

or physical agony

and then,

there,

(ready or not)

I will

find you…

Released

ladysslipperbabysteps.jpg

Released from the tomb, from the Winter which froze you,

Freed from the Dark, from the fears which enclosed you,

Raised from the earth, from the cells that opposed you,

Green with the gleam of creation;

Vanquish this shell, this mere skin that confined you,

Stretch past the trials that sought to unbind you,

Run to your Saviour, whose heart bled to find you,

Fly toward heaven’s ovation.

My heart aches tonight, but I know that you are in the Presence of perfect Love at last, and that I cannot begrudge you, my sweet friend…

In memory of Marcy Payne