Just not always

Mary-Oliver-Quotes-1To everyone who thinks that this is some dark, brooding, portent of a post – I can promise you that it is anything but. I found this snippet from Mary Oliver and it clicked. What was I looking for? I was looking for something about gratitude – from Mary Oliver.

Remember that sometimes the very richest and most meaningful gifts come wrapped in the most terrible paper at the most awful time. Of course when we are in the midst of anger, terror, sorrow, fear, and pain, it is not possible to remember this. At least not consciously.

May your Thanksgiving – or your ordinary Thursday for those of you not in the US – be full of good things. And if it is not, cling always to hope and know that gratitude and good will come.

We try to be grateful, we feel grateful – just not always.

*Here is a an interesting review of the book that contains this poem. 

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Poetry day

indexIt is a poetry day. I’m home under the weather. Two poems crossed my path today, so I share them with you as I have no words of my own today.

What We Need

The Emperor,
his bullies
and henchmen
terrorize the world
every day,

which is why
every day

we need

a little poem
of kindness,

a small song
of peace

a brief moment
of joy.
David Budbill

If You Could

I know, I know
If you could go back you
would walk with Jesus
You would march with King
Maybe assassinate Hitler
At least hide Jews in your basement
It would all be clear to you
But people then, just like you
were baffled, had bills
to pay and children they didn’t
understand and they too
were so desperate for normalcy
they made anything normal
Even turning everything inside out
Even killing, and killing, and it’s easy
for turning the other cheek
to be looking the other way, for walking
to be talking, and they hid
in their houses
and watched it on television, when they had television,
and wrung their hands
or didn’t, and your hands
are just like theirs. Lined, permeable,
small, and you
would follow Caesar, and quote McCarthy, and Hoover, and you would want
to make Germany great again
Because you are afraid, and your
parents are sick, and your
job pays shit and where’s your
dignity? Just a little dignity and those kids sitting down in the highway,
and chaining themselves to
buildings, what’s their fucking problem? And that kid
That’s King. And this is Selma. And Berlin. And Jerusalem. And now
is when they need you to be brave.
Now
is when we need you to go back
and forget everything you know
and give up the things you’re chained to
and make it look so easy in your
grandkids’ history books (they should still have them, kinehora)
Now
is when it will all be clear to them.
Danny Bryk

We Have Nothing

I was reading Claire’s blog this morning and she quoted Jessica Powers. Powers was a Carmelite nun and poet; you can read more about her at this link.

Reading Powers’ words suddenly drew me back to another chapter of my life; one early in my return to Church. A then-priest then-friend of mine gave me a book of Jessica Powers’ poetry and this helped me to find my way when I felt lost.

Then I went looking around and found this gem.

If You Have Nothing
The gesture of a gift is adequate.
If you have nothing: laurel leaf or bay
no flower, no seed, no apple gathered late,
do not in desperation lay
the beauty of your tears upon the clay.
No gift is proper to a Deity;
no fruit is worthy for such power to bless.
If you have nothing, gather back your sigh,
and with your hands held high, your heart held high,
lift up your emptiness!
Jessica Powers, OCD

We have nothing, that is for certain. All is gift, all is from God. And no gift is proper for such a generous God.

So today, I will simply do as Powers’ suggests; I will gather my sigh, hold my hands and my heart up and reveal that great emptiness to this great God that brings us from nothing to everything.

Thanks be to God.