Sunday Morning Struggle

I can’t go to Jerusalem today –
Coated as I am in failure and shame.
Doesn’t Satan chortle, if chortle he is able,
Leading royal children to the hired hands’ table.
Get your pincers off me, Satan, you’re lying!
My King waits for me, open-armed and smiling.

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Sometimes On A Sunday

Looking up at the arched window above
The pulpit, singing ‘Rising, He justified,
Freely forever,’  I am pierced; I don’t
Live like I believe what I sing.
Freely? Nothing is abundant.
Things. Run. Out.
But sometimes on a Sunday, in that
Set apart hour, amongst the beams
And pews, beside family,
I believe. Freely! Such a long list
Of what is free to me. Such an impossible
List for me to want or to receive, a
Not-of-this-world list – soul’s rest,
Everything that enables me to believe the
Promise so unreservedly that I come
Boldly! Freely and boldly. What kind of
King gives free and welcomes bold?
What kind of love?
What overflow!


Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church

Clogging Adventure: Day One

Fontana Clogging Jamboree; Fontana Village, North Carolina.

Here I am in the September Smokies. The leaves are just starting to get their affairs in order and update their wills because time is short. To get here from there, you have to drive the Tail Of The Dragon, 11 miles of barf even for the driver. Occasionally you might think, ‘Hey, this is pretty!’ but nausea is a narcissist, and demands fealty.  It can be deposited at the gate though and reclaimed at departure. So that’s good.

The dancers in the main hall fill the long room. Its wood floor is the instrument, and a thousand buck-tapped shoes play it in powerful stomping rhythm. The music guides, but the power is in the feet and taps united. And, oh, the variety of feet!

Eight year olds line the front row. Stick-skinny, knowing every step, they dance for hours.

Men who I would erroneously have pegged as football players or at least stadium rats Cotton-Eyed Joe with the best of them. One has on a military t-shirt and I think it’s legit.

A lean twenty-something with broody dark hair and glasses, looking like a blogger or start-up non-profit recycler makes every move look liquid and fantastic.  Appropriately, his t- shirt says simply, ‘Clog.’ He, too, dances for hours.

Women, women, women of all shapes and sizes, all! They know the steps to three hours of ‘fun dance’ in the evening session – not to be confused with six hours of instruction dance all day. Each new song brings a whoop and the new dance starts. They are all lovely whatever their shape or size because the body moving happily is lovely.

A four-year-old boy joins his dad for the men’s dance. He has his own little six inch long tapped shoes and he listens and follows the caller’s instructions. And so I decide that humanity, for all its frailties, will at least survive the lifespan of that child.

And then, best of all, the seniors. There are many! My favorite lady is wearing yellow and her ankles and feet move neatly, adding their nuance to the bigger loud stomping song. Her stamina is far, far deeper than mine. My favorite man has American flag shoes whose soles light up as he dances a little stiffly and upright but following all the mental moves perfectly. He knows the steps.

So, today is Day Two. I’ll be dancing in the Easy Hall today because I have learned that I am a Beginning Beginner. I’ll keep you posted.

When Angels Smile On Bennett Avenue

I talked with God this morning,
About a certain street, said, Lord,
Spread your wings, Lord,
Send your angels too, to bear us up and
Bless the souls on Bennett Avenue.

I talked with James next door
In the quiet of this morn. He said
A devil last night rode him hard,
But today is new; another day,
He’s looking up, On Bennett Avenue.

I talked to Gayle this morning,
And she shushed
Her two dogs sharp so I could hear
Her say it’s true, they had
Each other’s back on Bennett Avenue.

I talked to four sweet girls last night,
Working lovelies, heart and mind;
Their laughter rang out late and loud;
And strong their faith, too. Deep their thought
For this old world on Bennett Avenue.

I talked to a man and woman last night,
He is dark and she is light,
And their hands held and my heart
Sang true a parent’s song of peace
And tomorrow on Bennett Avenue.

I helped along a child of mine;
Smoothed the quilt, folded clothes,
Swept the fine dark hardwood floor,
And left the love of candled meal
To shine on Bennett Avenue.

And this is not a scholar’s take
On all the knots that need unknotting.
It is a woman-mother saying,
It’s sweet and fine, for this old world,
On Bennett Avenue.

Hints Of Fall

Hummingbird sups warily at the
Red-prismed glass feeder. He has been here all day
Defending his patch.
Occasionally he is strafed by a rival,
Or bombarded by the squirrels higher in the
Pecan tree. The squirrels are in full fall gorge-mode,
Gnawing a fraction of the million pecans into sharp
Shells and shavings all over the walkway,
And dropping pecans heavy as padlocks
From the nethermost branches,
Onto the tin roof in shocking
Explosions.  All day. On their smoke break,
They chase each other round and round tree
Trunks, claw-skittering up the bark, using touching
Limbs as a high way in the air. Their tails swish-
Dancing for balance, they hop the power lines,
Mouth full of fat pecan, and steal off secretly to
Stow their victuals against a coming bleak day.

            

          

Walk Beside Me

The rhetoric of
Outrage
Burns itself out
In meme wars,
And cancels the
Righteousness on all sides.
Then the aching soul is left
With a clearer view,
That there are indeed
Two sides.
Sheep and Goat sides.
The only left and right
Are His left and His right,
The everlasting day of His presence
Or outer darkness.
And I, I simply
Marvel that He would welcome
Me and the one who walks beside me,
My brother, my sister, my friend in the skin,
Into the Day.

 

St. Elmo In The Morning

Hush and lull of quiet time in my
Daughter’s apartment as she
Prepares for a later-starting workday.
Extra time allows for the little nothing
Tasks like unknotting a shoelace,
Soaping out yesterday’s Thermos.
~
The oval mirror above the fern
Reflects the wall behind me.
Prints of birds – finches? –
And a South of France travel
 poster.
Books stacked and angled,
Bubbling fish bowl – home of Joel.

Ten foot ceilings widen narrow rooms,
And there’s curry, somewhere.
Yes, I am just rearranging prose on the page,

But the street window is open, and
St. Elmo is wet through from last night’s
Storm, and dazzling in the morning sun,
Vital and delicate both.
Baby green leaves peek out of wet, black limbs.
Wet tires slur rubbery down Tennessee Avenue
Because a time clock beckons. And the bluff face
Looks down from behind moving clouds,
Sun and shadow tagging over its rocks and redbuds.
I can trace the curved road only by glints
Of wet cars climbing through the greeny, misty
Trees, up, up, up. I wonder where they are going and
Why they need to get to the top of the mountain.

Eliza arrives with three coffees and we
Puzzle out her route through nursing school,
As the building pops in the morning damp,
And Joel recovers his nerves
After last night’s storm.


Eliza and Adrienne; March 28, 2017,Tennessee Avenue, St. Elmo
For the record, Eliza looks pained because she didn’t want her picture taken.