Generosity of nature
blessings abound
in communion

(Tuesdays I borrow from Twitter @Vjknutson.
Image my own)


Mother’s feet scream –
agony of her miserable condition,
underlying disease eating her.
My feet, free of calluses,
paddles slightly bent and fallen,
carry on with forgiving kindness.

Husband’s knees are red-hot pokers
shooting knife-sharp volts
with every rickety step.
Mine are knots in spindly
trunks that bear movement
graciously, allot me flexibility.

Father’s back grew weak
faltering in the end, hunched,
as if he’d born a cumbersome burden.
My back, not without its moaning,
carries me proudly erect –
like the spring sapling, winter endured.

Uncle’s heart beats erratically,
ceasing despite its mechanical support,
his life a testimony to modern science.
My heart flutters with expectancy,
aches with disappointment,
and soars with each new birdsong.

Sister’s tension rises,
the stiffness in her neck suffocating,
headaches blinding her vision.
My neck, slung now like a rooster’s,
puffs around my face like an old friend,
allows me the comfort of perspective.

Brother’s mind has seized,
lost somewhere between today
and yesteryear – never certain of either.
Mine, a constant churning cog,
gathers information, spews ideas
and bends in the face of creativity.

My eyes have seen suffering,
my hands throbbed with desire to help;
yet each bears their cross stoically,
and so I watch with compassion
and gratitude for the life I might have lived,
had my own vessel not been so blessed.

(This is an edited version of an earlier post by the same name.)

A Wedding Blessing

(I penned the following poem on the occasion of my son and daughter-in law’s recent wedding celebration.  To read more about the ceremony, visit :  “Blessing of Interracial Union” )

A son is sweetness and strength and mystery;
here is my son – a gentle soul, kind-hearted
and generous – wasn’t he just a boy, only four
asking his father for work so he could buy me
a pair of earrings: Suns, he said, like you, Mom.

How did that boy, once so caring that he’d save
his treats to share with older sisters, sisters
who would turn around and snub him – he
never seemed to care, accepted it with a shrug
tried again – how is it he is now a man, married?

Always the loyal friend, is he, with an ear for
the downtrodden, offering a hand; I’ve watched
him struggle for independence, study hard,
labour tirelessly, he is a man of vision, a man
with a heart big enough to hold all his dreams.

I want it all, he once told me, eyes focused
on a future only he could see – I read joy
in his countenance, felt pride swelling, knew
this day would come, knew the moment he
first spoke the name Warsan he’d found love.

Warsan, truly good news, precious as the sunrise
her spirit bright, her smile contagious, she is
brilliance, and thoughtfulness, and I could not
have chosen better: a child I can love as my own
a woman our family embraces with open arms

What wisdom can I offer these two, joined
together in love, driven by a commitment
to one another, to family, to shared vision?
Be your best selves, I want to say, approach
anger with tenderness, and pain with warmth

Hold fast to one another in a world that will
challenge you, and know that I will be there
behind you, a rock to your storm, and that
others who have gathered here will do the same
And know, above all, that we celebrate you

Marriage is a vessel, a beginning, an opportunity
It is a bowl in which to place your dreams and hopes
it is a coming together of values, histories, a blending
Let it always be your soft place to land – today
is a new beginning; may this blessing continue.