Sunday, January 30, 2011


respectable outfits

friendly handshakes

budget considerations

maintenance projects

guest speakers

solid lessons

light humour

sober reminders

responsive readings

monthly ordinances

soft accompaniment

firm guidelines

unspoken questions

correct answers

untold stories

weary walkers

saved by table-talks, baby photos, bare toes and neck-kisses

i know my Redeemer lives

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

on a tuesday

the table stands cool and clean
in the basement-dark,
chairs all around.

they are empty,
the kitchen is empty,
the pastor's study is empty.

yesterday, it was all filled and warm --
jo-ann, doug, jim, rod, dan, bethany,
louie, and the other louie --

except for the pastor's study
(he's rod, the guy in the middle).
and we were the Church.

jim plows parking lots all over town.
louie's wife is afraid to fall in the snow.
doug believes in the impossible.

we slurped coffee and soup
from a silver platter,
spilled cookie crumbs and dreams

across the table,
beneath the open doors
and a welcome sign.

we're a family,
and we were the Church
on a tuesday.

emily's got a table full. stop by!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

time, in deed

vision blurry,
body slumped and
thoughts a-flurry

i need fresh air,
i need sleep --
need to try and
work to keep
up this soul which
slumbers deep

oft' times:
clouded sight-lines,
dreams forgot or
stabbed in fork tines

think i'll paint or
think i'll read --
know and show
that i've been freed
and this is borrowed
time, indeed

Thursday, January 20, 2011

bringing a shine

this afternoon,
you begged for icicles
from the school roof.
(single-storey. snowbank nearby. worth a try.)

so i leapt,
fell, laughed,
made children shuffle
and parents say, "come on, let's go."

you took those broken icicles home,
played with them,
and shone all evening long.
(i posted this so i'd remember)

bringing this to my friend Emily's place.
thanking Daniel Jay for inspiring me to change bits to second-person.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

apple trees

we saw your car in the parking lot,
walked into the manor,
found you handing out songbooks

i asked you to check my hair
because you know how it should look.
you said i was beautiful

you were there to sit and sing and listen.
without looking, i knew your face:
placid, taking it all in

just like every morning,
in a comfy chair
with your Bible

tossing your heart to the sky,
catching the good grain
and letting the chaff float away

i've thrown my heart to your floor
so many times -- so many tirades,
sermons i needed to preach at someone

when i inhale, look up into blue eyes,
i see that you've known all along.
however did you keep it quiet?

i wish i were more like you --
beyond the narrow hips, the shape of brow --
down to the heart.

i'm like a tree -- a great, weeping willow,
groaning and swaying and wailing,
"the wind! oh, the wind! everybody fly!!"

you're apples with peanut butter:
nothing fancy. just sweet, sustaining, and real.
my favourite.

(dedicated wholly to my mom.
and in part, to peter, for whom i wrote "face", which is his favourite word.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

the sparkling Mother

what is it that makes a Mother?

it's waking up earlier than you want to wake up. every. single. morning. sometimes you get a cuddle in bed, but it never looks like the commercials -- all smiles and shiny hair and white duvets and eye-gazing talk (think about it... kids get morning breath, too). it's more likely a knee-to-bladder, elbow-to-eye-socket, boogers-on-twisted-sheets knot that ends with mom exploding out of bed, gasping for air and a bathroom.

it's finding poop before breakfast, egg-yolk hair during breakfast, and stuck-on breakfast after breakfast.

it's spending one hour in the grocery store finding ingredients for baked goods, one hour baking, one hour cleaning up from baking, ten minutes adding baked goods to lunch sacks in the morning, one minute removing uneaten baked goods from lunch sacks in the evening, and one hour in the gym working off the calories from those baked goods no one else would eat.

it's learning about anatomy in the most startling, unflattering ways. beginning with your own (you are spared details about the "P" word here -- ask your sister-in-law about her Pregnancy, if you must), right on down to the Circumcision question. high school biology had nothing on motherhood.

it's wrecking your back securing boots and mitts, wrecking your back skidding across icy driveways chasing airborne boots and mitts, and wrecking your back re-securing boots and mitts. and that's only winter. the rest of the year, there are umbrellas and yard toys to trip over, and mud slicks to -- you know, slick through.

it's after Bath Time, Laundry Time, Dishes Time -- finding there's no hot water left at Me Time.

it's waving good-bye to half of your social life as friends realize it's no fun having you and your kids to their place, and almost wishing you could wave good-bye to the other half, which entails keeping your kids from wrecking the places of friends who still have you over.

finally, it's receiving carnations every Mother's Day. i don't know why this happens. carnations require nurturing. we dig out the old vase, prepare a sugar solution, snip off the stem ends and arrange our carnations. we place them on the table and protect them from table-knocks and petal-pluckers. we do this until the carnations wilt, knowing that somewhere, another mother is more adept at keeping cut flowers fresh and has a newer, funkier vase that doesn't tip over to table-knocks. maybe a gift that doesn't require nurturing would be more appropriate for a mother. like aromatherapy socks. or a new vase.

for all this, and more, you will be rewarded with the sparkling title, "Mother". you will never know, until you own it, how much pressure it takes to create this kind of diamond.

but oh, it shines.

offering this roughly-hewn gem to Imperfect Prose for a chuckle and a nod.