Reflections for

All Saints Day, Nov 01, 2018

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9 or Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-6a; John 11:32-44


Day of the Dead

November 1st, the veil thinner, and we remember
those who’ve gone to the other side. Don’t worry,
I say, I’ll be there soon. But for now, I mark the presence
of their absence, an ache in the throat, a finger
on memory’s pulse. Light candles to keep out the dark,
to mark a path, should they wish to return. The floating world
shimmers and ebbs. I’d like to cross over, just for one hour,
see my mother, hold my baby, talk to Clare. Perched on our shoulders,
the dead ride with us, teetering like pyramids of water skiers, forming
enormous wings. Their words, though, remain inaudible. Cold syllables.
They scratch maps in frost on dark windows, but no one can read them.

Cross the threshold. This night is ancient and long. Whisper in my ear,
tell me what the new year will bring. Look at how the candle uses up
its wax. See how the smoke rises in the hearth.


In the beginning

Everything in the world begins with a yes.
Clarice Lispecter

For Bishop Tom

In the beginning there is only Yes,
infinitesimal, infinite, invisible
seed sprouting in the swirling dark,
the slow integration, expanding,
extending, the sudden explosion
into light—baby, blossom, universe,
all beginnings are the same—and Yes
to a world begun before words where
nothing separates this from that, and
Yes to the senses alive before language,
bird song, leaf shadow, skin touching
skin, and Yes to Tom whose injured
brain erases speaking, reading, names,
but through hands cupped upon bent
heads, his unimpeded heart pours forth
with nothing to restrict the flow of Yes
in beginning and Yes in the end.

This is an updated version of the poem that appears in the print edition.


Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 the Consultation on Common Texts. Used by permission.