Reverence for Beauty

Photo: Blissful NothingnessThe whole of nature has its ways of reflecting perfection, when we take that momentary pause in which we can step back to appreciate such things. Even, as I posted yesterday, in death there is room for new life; out of captivity, freedom. In silence, I come to better appreciate the small and unobtrusive ways, not just the large, noticeable ones, in which sound enriches my world: water burbling down a ditch, breeze-stirred grasses, bees that sing soft love songs to their golden pollen treasures. In stillness, I relish each breath and every tentative movement as the wind kicks up a little and sets the empty park swings in motion again. Out of wintry darkness and overcast days, I more consciously embrace a bright afternoon and its combed, silky clouds.

In a moment of quiet reverence, I, too, can reflect such perfection better and am made more whole and beautiful.Photo: A Brilliant Day

To My Mother on Her Birthday

Photo: Under the Willow Tree 1Under the Willow Tree

Under the willow tree, her shade my calm,

I see so bent by storms her trunk, how far

The winds have twisted every limb, each scar

Where lightning struck; yet there’s a quiet psalm

Of gratitude that whispers in her leaves

Each time another rainfall comes to spend

Its quenching kindness on her and to send

New hope down deep—for anyone who grieves

Or wonders how to pass through life’s travail

Finds shelter in her shadow—knows the limbs

That seem to weep are only singing hymns,

Embracing in their gentle sway the frail.

                    So one fine sapling, tended with such care,

                    Becomes the home for all who shelter there.

And now her roots are deep, her branches wide

Enough to draw more birds to them to nest,

Assured, secure and loved, and full at rest,

No matter what the world is like outside—

Just as I am, beneath the willow’s arm

Of graceful comfort, grateful for her wise,

Kind lesson to look upward to the skies

For blessed rain, and sun to keep us warm,

For sweet reminders of the Gardener

Who made the willow grow, and gave her strength

To nurture others in her shade, at length,

Upon the graces planted there in her:

                    So one fine sapling, tended with such care,

                    Becomes the home for all who shelter there.

Photo: Under the Willow Tree 2Thank you, Mom, for the nurturing, the love, and the will to live as an example of bending but not breaking in the storms. Happy 80th Birthday!

For Love of Singing

Digital illustration from photos:  I Sing for JoyI Sing for Love

I sing for love of singing, For music, sweet and strong

That carries me from joy to joy, Amending every wrong—

To hear clear voices ringing Across the dawn of day

Makes purest gold, without alloy, My every waking way—

As day approaches evening, A lullaby, at last,

Gives night delight, believing As I do that in the vast—

Infinite—constellation Of voices in the night,

I will find deep communion With the song that sets me right—

I sing for love of singing, For in the choir’s heart

Is all the song of blessing That I longed for from the start.

If My Song could Last Forever

Photo: Well Seasoned 1Hours into Seasons

There’s a sweetness in the morning when the sun has yet to rise

And the blooms lie, still unopened, under sleeping butterflies;

When the stars still wink and glimmer, while the frogs yet softly sing—

There’s a sweetness in the morning that is like the breath of Spring.Photo: Well Seasoned 2

There’s a graciousness at midday when, amid the racing streams,

All arise and put in motion yesterday’s profoundest dreams;

When the past its chains has loosened on the race of all alive,

That in joyful forward motion we, like Summer, grow and thrive.Photo: Well Seasoned 3

There’s a calm amid the evening when the birds come to the trees’

Respite from the day of flying, echoed by our evening ease;

When the cares of noon have lessened as the dusk swept into place—

There’s a calm amid the evening, peaceful as the Autumn’s grace.Photo: Well Seasoned 4

There’s a beauty to the nighttime, glorious and peaceful bliss,

Treasured for the kind renewal of the souls that rest in this

Cradling darkness and this languor, in this place of mending rest

That, like Winter’s dormant healing, lets us wake refreshed and blessed.Photo: Well Seasoned 5

I would take these hours’ presents as my guide through seasons long,

Through a lifelong path that’s pleasant as a choir’s finest song;

I would be a seasoned traveler, happy above everything,

If my song could last forever,

Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring.Photo: Well Seasoned 6

Stained Glass Windows

 

photo montageUnexpected Illumination
Whenever day’s grown dark and grim
And life, obscured behind a scrim,
Surprisingly, the welcome light
Through colored windows seems less dim–
Though blue and red may look less bright
By day, and screen the moon by night,
What rays come through and lumens pass
These panes set inner bleakness right–
No sorrow ends its storms, alas,
Merely because the beams amass,
But something blest descends on him
Whose heart is lit by colored glass.

Night’s Benison

 

photoNight into Day
In the sinking stillness of the evening,
After birds have ceased to flit and call,
Silence comes to rest as day is leaving
And dark draws down the shade where night will fall;
The smallest breath of wind stirs from its sleeping,
For after dusk another world takes flight,
A world with gleaming secrets in its keeping
That give the constellations dazzling light,
Fill up the moon with shining opalescence,
Fill up the heart with dreaming of the day
And how its powers overcome senescence
When sun returns to chase the night away.photo

Tending the Garden of Love

photo montageIt’s my parents’ wedding anniversary. When they got married 57 years ago, I can only assume that they hadn’t the remotest idea of where they would be in their lives today, let alone all of what would have transpired between then and now. For the most part, I think it’s a tremendous blessing that we don’t know what lies ahead, because the bad parts would probably terrify any sane person out of moving forward, and the good ones would lose some of their savor for having been predictable. But however innocently ignorant my parents may have been in youth, they had the good sense to marry for love.

photo montageThe real kind, of course, not just that thrilling inner swell that is romantic infatuation. That stuff is fantastic and helps fuel and sustain the deeper sort, but without the kind of love that abides when life’s realities are too hard at the moment, when we’re too tired or busy or distracted or cranky to skip through shimmering meadows of happiness with kindness in our souls and sugar cookies in our lunch boxes, infatuation is instantly deflated. I’m pretty certain that my parents had an inkling of this from very early, but it’s something I saw them cultivate and tend like flowerbeds throughout the years. Their modus operandi has generally been one of keeping the mechanics of the operation to themselves, not being the sort to air their disagreements in front of others or to be so publicly rampant in their amours that their companions would fall into diabetic comas in their company, but the depth and intensity of commitment and actual friendship have always been in evidence. The passing anniversaries merely mark further milestones that demonstrate how those gifts have continued to nurture real love. Trials and tribulations and happier adventures all along the way inevitably change the shape and character of such love and its multifarious accoutrements, but the signposts stand firm and the blooms of beauty and kindness never fade, no matter how the path meanders in the garden and no matter where the beds need to relocate or be retrenched from time to time.

photo montageYou won’t be surprised, then, that I think they deserve bouquets of fond recognition on this day, even if they’re only virtual bouquets; they’re all from my garden, which I learned from my parents to tend, and that I hope when I grow up I can be as constant in my love and affection as Mom and Dad are. Let love continue to bloom.