Poetry

Poetry

Fair exchange mid April—Maine

Gun metal gray the sky this morning
and along the shore at dead low tide an on-shore wind
blows spume across the wave tops.
Rain before dark, they say, and even some late snow
to dash our dawning dreams of green and blossoming.
Undaunted, a new pair of mallards—
splendid headed male and female—inaugurate
the new-thawed pool beside the dog run
of our ocean-front retirement home.
Silent, they move across, now venturing
among the reeds to break their long migrating fast,
and seek a secure nesting place to lay the future.
Blessing their ancient quest, I call to mind one week ago,
on this same daybreak dog walk, I was surprised,
almost alarmed, by one great, stately snow white egret,
with his mate, also foraging among the weeds,
as the larger of them rose, spread his quite angelic wings,
and wafted a bright unexpected blessing to my aging head,
as he moved on in search of richer waters.

Through a window

I read a poem each Sunday Our pastor calls this Ministry
of Verse I try to find a poem not just she but anyone
will get A short poem if I can for fear someone like Timmy
who isn’t all that into poems to begin with may complain

I try to select some lines that represent what I believe
and more or less what the people there believe I have friends too
outside the church who cannot believe that I in fact believe
say in miracles They ask can you really believe they’re true

exactly Poems cannot be exact I’m thinking how I’ll sound
My vanity lives on I don’t read my poems which grow shorter
as I grow old I once imagined I must go on and on
to get at things I thought I knew but I know more than ever

I know nothing now No my friends I don’t believe exactly
in miracles I believe inexactly I see Mary
Magdalene just for instance in that garden quite unclearly
Still I see her I see Tess as well who’s married to Timmy

and seems confused Well she is confused Dementia has her down
Her husband’s there He holds her hand Timmy holds things together
I’ve thought at times like anybody I couldn’t hold my own
yet I’m alive I hear a bird sing one small massive wonder

If God is mostly paradox

So that things contrary to common sense
Seem suddenly truth revealed
And some unappealing sight
Is clearly Imago Dei, devilishly alight
As though lit within at core
By the very darkness we abhor
And symbols of my soul’s best hope are cast
As models of betrayal, despair and death;
Then, Eve’s fruit tasted and offered to Adam
Becomes Mary’s Gift as First Fruit
Of a new covenant of pardon
And the abandoned Garden
Because of Him
Becomes the New Jerusalem;

So, let that mind be also in me,
The one that takes in my off-stage acts,
You know,
Those walk-the-walk naked facts,
Even my sneaky judas-pacts
And transforms them all
Into something nothing short of new,
Like being born,
Like out of any godforsaken Friday
Easter morn.

Disposal of the body

So Jesus’ wealthy friends did prove useful in the end.
All four narratives seem to agree on this.
Joseph, after all—the one from Arimathea, not his Dad—
Joseph pulled strings with Pilate. Did he have to call in
a few favors earned in questionable ways
so he could claim possession of the corpse?
Old Nicodemus too, Jesus’ night-shift friend from the Sanhedrin,
Nicodemus makes his own fleeting reprise,
carting along a ton—almost—of fragrant spices,
nard and myrrh (again!), for preservation purposes.
Although where he got such pricey stuff,
late on a holiday Friday afternoon, is never quite explained.
And that convenient, fresh-hewn, garden tomb;
even back in the day, sepulchres such as those
did not come ten-a-penny! Add in all the hired help
they must have needed to get stuff from here to there
and, of course, to roll and seal that massive rock . . .
Whole thing makes you wonder—doesn’t it?—
wonder if that narrow needle’s eye got prized wide open—
camel-size, at least—to accommodate these late allies.

Ritual

Holy Week and three buffleheads on the cold river
   practice the rite of baptism. Their preference:
complete immersion. Again and again they duck
and disappear into ice-cold darkness, then emerge, shaking
a zillion stars from their feathers.
                                       As if there is never enough
purification, they plunge down deep and rise and dive
and rise again.
                                      The week winds down, down
down toward Friday. Temple draperies are torn.
Darkness enfolds the earth. The dead in their stone tombs
have begun stirring as if, like the sun in the morning,
they will rise.