Advent I 2015

“The days are surely coming” says the prophet
as I glance at my news feed
at the worries of this life,

When people will faint from fear
of refugees and neighbors.

The arguments abound online
about if we should show
and to whom.

Which politician, priest,
or demagogue
should lead us?

Will this leader
or that
be the one,
the savior, redeemer

There are wars
and rumors of war.
Will this battle be decisive?
Will this war end all wars?

And what part will we play
in the Christmas pageant
at the barricades
in this casual comedy?

What Sort of World?

My teenage daughter
worked her way
through the mass of humanity
towards the front of the stage
to hear her favorite band.

I sat in the back
checking my messages,
“Terrorist kill
a hundred and nineteen
in Parisian
music hall.”

Paris is over three thousand miles
from Hartford,
but I wondered
would I risk my life
rushing towards the danger
to save my daughter
or would I cower
seeking to save my own life?

Would I have stayed in Aleppo
hoping to outlast
the latest fighting
only to leave
my daughter
an orphan,
a refugee?

Would I have asked Allah
to lead her
to the safety
of a good Muslim family,
or maybe
to the protection of Christians
in the West?

Will I be the sort of person
willing to risk harm
that welcomes a stranger
here in Connecticut
fleeing from danger?

What sort of world
will I leave
for my daughter?

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The Retreat

It had been thirty years
since I last came
to this wooded camp.

I was living in the city then
going to church
with hundreds
of young men and women
artists and businessmen
trying to find themselves
in their crazy twenties
in a crazy city.

I was trying to find something then too,
God, friendship, myself, meaning.

I was awkward.
I was other.
I only fit in,
around the edges.

What would the camp be like
for me
thirty years later?

I came,
a blessing.

At this retreat
we came
to practice
pronouncing blessings.

Blessed are you
o road,
that has carried
so many school buses
and church vans,
so many hopes
and fears
to these
hallowed woods.

You’ve been repaved
so many times
over the past
three decades,
May you continue to be
a path
to those who seek.

Blessed are you,
o acorns.
Your ancestors
were buried
by forgetful squirrels
when I was here last.

May your descendants
continue to fall
the reflections
of other

Blessed are you
o squirrels
running from tree to tree
following ever bending
leaps of faith
we wouldn’t dare.

Your great great grandparents
leapt from tree to tree
the same way
years ago.

May your faith
and playfulness
live in your grandchildren
and continue to inspire
those yet to dome.

Blessed are you,
o buildings,
so many the same,
though renovated,
and some new.
May you continue
to shelter the seeker
and provide memories.

On the deck,
in quiet meditation,
we looked at the trees
the way
I’ve sat
and looked
at paintings
in art museums.

By the lake
I’d often swum
a piece of bark
on the outdoor altar,
it’s probably now been moved
during a Eucharist.
What does this alter
have in store
for me?

I’m finding,
what I was
truly looking for
three decades ago,
not some great insight,
or goal,
but the beauty
of always
and always
being found,
the beauty
of always
and always
being blessed.

#DigiWriMo : The Mist Lifts

Let’s suppose that in some parallel, there is another #digiwrimo blogger equally dazed by dawn, walking on the other side of the valley. Equally somnambulist in reverie.

- Howard Scott in his blog post, On audience, on place #digiwrimo

As I read his blog post, I started composing a comment as a response, oxygen for his blog as he journeys. But I got to the quote above and thought, I am the parallel. I had been writing about the fog where I live, as a comment to a friend’s Facebook post about fog, and in my own short poem

As the mist lifts,
the remaining leaves
now brownish orange
cling to the trees.

Yes, I too, “too think of blogging as creative catharsis and personal archaeology”. Yet my writing is not academic writing. I write as a social media. Although, today, I’ll go speak at a junior high school career day about being a social media manager.

As to adding comments to the stuff I wrote prior to the 1990s, in 1983, after I had been on the Internet for a year, but not sharing my personal writings there, I’ve started putting some of that online. 1983. I haven’t been back to see if people left comments, and the project got put on hold when we packed up my journals and moved.

To an Oversized Stuffed Bear

There was nothing joyful
the oversized
stuffed bear
from the aisle
next to
the children’s pain relievers
at the local drug store.

It brought the mother
and child
brief happiness
being placed
in a memorial
to a child
who died
way too early.

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