Arts

The Arts section of Orient Lodge

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Ascension Day

The fragrant pastel flowers
of the trees in bloom
seemed muted
by the endless grey sky.

The frequently dreary
daily news
seemed bleaker than usual
and no one
except the old Italian
grandmother
seemed to know
it was Ascension Day.

The traffic was slow and heavy
on account of the rain
and the drivers
who looked up
at the billboards
urging them to buy
something
they didn’t really need
couldn’t see
the risen Lord.

Even those who did pause
knew they had to wait
for Pentacost.

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Ceiling Two Hundred Feet Overcast

The dark grey clouds
just a few hundred feet
above the parkway
were moving too quickly
to spill their rain.

They evoked memories
of mountain hikes
to where the clouds formed
or brisk walks
beside the roiled sea
at least for those
who were not on
autopilot
on their way to work.

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A Great Country

I see people with baseball caps
that say
“Let’s make America great again.”
and others’ that say
“America already is great”
and I think to myself
it is going to be
a long hot summer
with lots of shouting
and little listening.

What is this greatness they speak of?
Is it the greatness of the city on a hill
in which white European men
pursue their manifest destiny
across the country
at the expense of natives,
slaves,
women,
and the environment?

Is the greatness
in the resources of this land,
the beauty of the landscape,
and in compassion
for those in need,
no matter what they think,
where they’re from,
or what look like?

What should I write
during the coming months?
“Yes it is! … No it’s not!”?
Somehow that doesn’t seem very productive.
Show, don’t tell.

Perhaps
by writing about a flower budding,
a river flowing,
or an unexpected smile
on a summer afternoon
I can do my part
for the greatness of this country.

Compline

It was foggy this morning
as I drove to work
thinking of the fire
that destroyed
a historic church
on Easter afternoon.

The kidney stone hasn’t moved.
The teeth requiring root canals
haven’t ached.
The poison ivy
isn’t itching.
Right now.

With the tasks of the day
mostly done
without enough accomplished
I read compline.

“Grant us a peaceful night”

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