gypsies and strangers

it was holy week when i met you
coming up from the woods
an eyeblink
and a lifetime ago
you had been planting eggs
— a prosaic occupation —
but the look in your wild eyes
belied any welcome
i might have muttered

how many epochs have we lived since then?
how many roads have your wheels rolled down?
i am beginning to have forgotten

once upon when i was young
a bird carried me through the sky
to a land of ancient newness
and there, unbeknownst to me
my heart planted a part of itself
since then ‘home’ has never
been the same, and i feel
an eternal tug in two directions
even if i run around the world
just to come back again
i am off in spirit the moment after

so i understand (i think)
a splinter of your longing
a fragment of your yearning
to get back to that piece of your heart
and belong again
for once, wholly

but therein lies the problem
(which you know as well as i)
that ‘home,’ here, is never
really anywhere
and, in this part of the story
we are sojourners on the earth
as odd as that sometimes seems

i have lived in my house of bricks
since the earliest limits of memory
and nothing has shaken the citadel
yet still something sometimes whispers
that ‘home’ is beyond the horizon
and i wake a stranger in a strange land

will you find it finally
at the end of the world
hearth-light glowing
bread and wine
gracing the table?
and will you no more go a-roving?

or will we all ways wander
saints with the Son in our eyes
until we cross the borders of time?
for there on the other side
His heart is the only Home
we’ve ever longed to know.

photography, quotes

the view from today | autumn dusk

“october was a beautiful month at green gables, when the birches in the hollow turned as golden as sunshine and the maples behind the orchard were royal crimson and the wild cherry trees along the lane put on the loveliest shades of dark red and bronzy green, while the fields sunned themselves in the aftermaths. anne reveled in the world of color about her…. ‘i’m so glad i live in a world where there are octobers. it would be terrible if we just skipped from september to november, wouldn’t it?…'” — l.m. montgomery, anne of green gables















snapshots of summer


we were away from home that day, somewhere out in the city, and got caught in the rain — the glorious kind of chilly downpour that catches one unexpectedly in the summer. when we returned we changed out of our wet things and gathered in the kitchen, just the three of us, as i recall, for chai and conversation sitting cross-legged on the countertops. i have no idea what we talked about, but i remember the spice, and the warmth, and the comfort of being safe and dry in good company. it was all i-don’t-know-how-long ago, yet that one vivid remembrance has come to mind every summer rain since, and sometimes, when dusk whispers coolly against my arms, i don a cocoon of a sweater and fix myself a mug of spicy tea.


what did i do last summer? apparently there were weddings and races and parties and concerts … and tomatoes. apparently i wrote stories and made shortbread. i remember i learned to love solitary walks around the park and the neighborhood … the feeling of moving along only at the pace allowed by my short legs and unhurried soul. i stared at trees. i played cards with friends and laughed and laughed and laughed. i sat in a coffee shop and wrote in a little black notebook. i spent a lot of time chasing a mood, a certain kind of light, a place thousands of miles away where i had been but definitely wasn’t anymore. i read great books about good women, though they were mostly fiction.


this summer has been parties and weddings and cheesecakes and heartache and joy and being friends with small humans and sobbing and hugging and being strong and weak and stretched and learning how to die so i can live the kind of life worth living. it’s a beautiful-horrible-beautiful world and sometimes it makes me so angry i think i will explode (or implode) … yet then there are those gracious glimpses of the glory to come, and i’m reminded that someone much, much bigger, better and wiser than me is in control of all things and is working all this craziness together toward something beyond my ability to imagine. and that it is good.

then i put my hand on my heart, to keep it from flying out of my chest, and breathe.


persistence of memory

i would like to write something new

trouble is, i don’t have an original

thought in my head

and all i can do

is remember everything

that already happened

well, not everything

there are clips missing

from the highlight reel

that loops through my memory

things i wish i could recall

instead of the million insignificant details

i relive with shocking clarity

there was a summer evening once

in a hundred-year-old house

hard wooden chairs

and worn wooden floors

and talk of color to soften

the white plaster walls

then a voice softly sang a snippet

of casimir pulaski day

that quiet first refrain

about light against a shoulder blade

there the remembrance terminates

and though i try to recall

what comes next, nothing does

except a small shattering of ideas

forging a new

and inconvenient frame of mind

out of all the myriad mundanities

eminently forgettable

why does this one remain?

advent, Christianity, poetry


every bone longs for home

every pore, every cell

every corpuscle bustling

through our veins

every ache reminds

of what should have been

every pang recounts

what should not be

but, for now, is

and into this You were born

You, little serpent slayer

entered the world

in the way of all humans

exiting a woman’s gates

to emerge naked and bloody

did You cry as the shock

of the cold clipped Your skin?

did the weight of wrong

weigh on Your shoulders even then?

advent, Christianity, poetry

weight and age

my house has been creaking and groaning lately

joints stiffened, spine misaligned

old wounds throbbing with the shift in the weather

for the first time i noticed a silver thread

among the cowlick hair shocked upright

by the scar that arcs down my head

it joins the company of others earlier earned

i am still so very young, but, when winter comes

i feel the weight of mortality in my bones.

You were my age, once upon a time

a man with wood-roughened hands

and an appearance not amounting to much

since isaiah told the story true —

yet in You eternal joy and the weight

of earthly woe were entwined

a wedding of ancient and ephemeral

fully in-personed in our frail flesh

six years away from a body broken.

so Who were you then,

Son of God and son of a table-maker?

even there i suppose You knew the words i’d write today

fumbling my way toward a greater glimpse of glory

You who of all were sinless still were subject

to a creation cursed by adam’s fall

You the Light had eyesight limited by darkness

You the Healer experienced exhaustion

every fibre of our feebleness You identified with intimately

sleeping, waking, walking, eating … aging

every moment of my life You’ve experienced

sinless at each of the steps i stumbled down

man was made in the image of God

but God made Himself into a Man

and played the same rules He’d written for us

so You, young as You were

once also felt the weight of the world in Your bones

and You, ageless as You are

still carry it for me