Rite of Spring

Common Grackles rested

on the naked Maple canopy.

Like aneurysms waiting

to burst into flight

they bent the thinning branches.

 

They had every rite of spring.

Some of them loitered

through the winter

and saw their reflections on ice.

What freedom to stay.

 

Christ stayed on the tree

and burst unto death

and burst into flight.

 

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Cross Stitched

He was sewn in time,

as are we.

Strips of cloth

upon his reception.

Strips of cloth

when he left,

and stripes

in between.

 

Naked he wore

lacerations

tightly to his soul.

Wounds cross stitched .

He was clothed

so we could be

naked without shame.

Cruci-fiction?

Would I touch the open wounds of Jesus

if he were to stand in the lonely places

of my heart?

Would I dare thrust my hand into his

side like a spear?

Would I gently place my fingers

in the palms of his hands?

There are places where crucifixion

wasn’t fiction at all.

The suffering of the cross cascaded

down through history,

it being the pinnacle of paradox.

The place where love and hate intersect.

So now we sometimes use innocent

suffering and death as a crucible

of the non-fiction Christ.

We read history books to numb any

existential wandering in our own

back yard.

There are crucified hearts laying,

one by one, without a beat,

hoping loosely for a resurrecting

touch, look, hug.

Will I look at the whole worlds suffering

and lose their own soul?

I don’t want Your death to be in vain

when there are opportunities to

touch the open wounds of those

near by.

The Maker of the Universe, Lyrics. By Phil Keaggy

The maker of the universe,

as man for man was made a curse.

The claims of law which he had made,

unto the uttermost he had paid.

His holy fingers made the bow

that grew the thorns which crowned his brow.

The nails that pierced his hand were mined

in secret places he designed.

He made the forest whence it sprung

the tree on which his body hung.

He died upon a cross of wood

yet made the hill on which it stood.

The sky that darkened ore his head

by him above the earth was spread.

The sun that hid from him its face

be his decree was poised in space.

The spear which spilled his precious blood

was tempered in the fires of God.

The grave in which his form was laid

was human wrought his hands had made.

The throne on which he now appears

was his from everlasting years,

but a new glory crowns his brow

and every knee to him shall bow.

The maker of the universe

The maker of the universe

The maker of the universe

 

 

From the album Way Back Home by Phil Keaggy.

This is one of my favorite Easter songs.  Youtube it.

“I Picked up Mom Today”

That is all I saw in the message from my sister Marge.  For a millisecond the recent events were suspended above me.  My hypothalamus wrinkled.  Beads of sweat started stringing together in the crease around my neck.  My hormones told each other it was a false alarm before my brain kicked in.  Mom is dead.

The full message read:  “I picked up Mom today at Langeland Funeral Home and she is safely nestled in the living room pending her burial.”  “She is” was what Marge wrote.  Her remains were in an urn nestled in a “living” room.  Had Marge lost it?  Did she forget that mom went bye-bye to the sweet bye and bye?  We all had sent my mother off with respect and honor and tears and mourning.   Did she not know that my mother was not contained in a little box?  Mom was outside of it.  “Margie, get a grip.”

Seriously, not one of my siblings questioned her sanity.  Neither did I.  We all entered in to what appeared to be a delusional conversation.  It was not weird, because we had a grief clause.  Grief is lawless and is no respecter of persons.  So my mother’s ashes were her to us.  If anyone would tell us differently we would pull out our grief clause.  We would either wave it in their face of insensitivity or hand it gently to their sincere concern.   Those who have been under this lawless dominion would never question our break from reality.  Contrary wise, they would enter in with grace and comfort.  They certainly did.

If ashes had DNA, my mom’s were in a box in Marge’s living room, nestled.  What an appropriate word.  Nestled.  It is a transitive and intransitive verb.

Transitive:  comfortable position; to settle into a position that feels comfortable, warm, and safe, or to lay a part of the body in such a position.

Intransitive:  be secluded; be in a sheltered or secluded place.

Thank God her ashes were not in a tray.  Presumably, they were nestled near the sofa.  I wondered how it would go if I had been the one to pick her up and nestle her?  She would not last long.  Buford the bloodhound would knock her clean off the coffee table with his bull whip tail.  The kids might mistake the urn for a fish food container and feed the guppies.  Someone might lift her up to dust underneath and her ashes to ashes would all fall down.

Mom and Marge, I mean neither of you any disrespect.  I beg you in urn-est to forgive my adolescent imagination.  Did I just write that?  Sheesh!

Now I feel terrible.  Terrible because I know one recent morning my sister walked past the living room to make some coffee and stopped short.  She saw my mom sitting there and emotions gushed from her ducts.  She thought she could keep mom in a box.  Mom’s ashes might as well have been rubbed on her forehead on a Wednesday.  Our Lenten grief pasted on her until Easter morning.  Resurrection then is her one hope of reunion.  He is risen.  Marge will rise.