Monthly Archives: April 2014

every common bush afire. 3

From “Aurora Leigh” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning Earth’s crammed with heaven And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes, The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries

what I learned by giving up meat for lent. 2

I rarely talk in detail about my Lenten disciplines because they feel private and revealing, but this year I decided to give up meat because that’s a very common thing to give up and I had never done it before. And for once, I didn’t mind talking about it because I felt so connected to […]

emerging from the night and heart of me. 0

Hard Night by Christian Wiman What words or harder gift does the light require of me carving from the dark this difficult tree? What place or farther peace do I almost see emerging from the night and heart of me? The sky whitens, goes on and on. Fields wrinkle into rows of cotton, go on […]

how weightless words are when nothing will do. 2

“Gospel” by Philip Levine The new grass rising in the hills, the cows loitering in the morning chill, a dozen or more old browns hidden in the shadows of the cottonwoods beside the streambed. I go higher to where the road gives up and there’s only a faint path strewn with lupine between the mountain […]

it might have been otherwise. 5

“Otherwise” by Jane Kenyon I got out of bed on two strong legs. It might have been otherwise. I ate cereal, sweet milk, ripe, flawless peach. It might have been otherwise. I took the dog uphill to the birch wood. All morning I did the work I love. At noon I lay down with my […]

a blessing for wedding. 0

We are going to a wedding today! “A Blessing for Wedding” by Jane Hirschfield Today when persimmons ripen Today when fox-kits come out of their den into snow Today when the spotted egg releases its wren song Today when the maple sets down its red leaves Today when windows keep their promise to open Today […]

on turning ten. 0

This is the poem Mike carried yesterday. He teaches ten-year-olds. He said it might have depressed them a little bit. “On Turning Ten” by Billy Collins The whole idea of it makes me feel like I’m coming down with something, something worse than any stomach ache or the headaches I get from reading in bad […]

poem in your pocket day 2014. 1

A few weeks ago, when I wrote about her book, Carolyn Arends left a nice comment. After I picked myself up off the floor, I of course emailed her back. I tried not to fangirl all over the place but I may or may not have succeeded. But the best part was that she also […]

possible answers to prayer. 2

“Possible Answers to Prayer” by Scott Cairns Your petitions—though they continue to bear just the one signature—have been duly recorded. Your anxieties—despite their constant, relatively narrow scope and inadvertent entertainment value—nonetheless serve to bring your person vividly to mind. Your repentance—all but obscured beneath a burgeoning, yellow fog of frankly more conspicuous resentment—is sufficient. Your […]

of the surface of things. 4

“Of the Surface of Things” by Wallace Stevens I In my room, the world is beyond my understanding; But when I walk I see that it consists of three or four hills and a cloud. II From my balcony, I survey the yellow air, Reading where I have written, “The spring is like a belle […]

what I have been reading (spring break edition). 0

A Trust Betrayed: The The Untold Story of Camp Lejeune and the Poisoning of Generations of Marines and Their Families by Mike Magner (via NetGalley) I picked up this book because my mom did her student teaching at Camp Lejeune in the 70s and was diagnosed with cancer just two years later (in her early […]

practice resurrection. 0

This poem is probably the reason I love poetry and try to make others love it too. This is all I want to say on Easter. “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” by Wendell Berry Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your […]

holy saturday. 0

This morning, Atticus woke up in Florida. When we told him we were flying home later in the day, he started wailing. He does not comprehend time or understand that when good things end there are still good things ahead. All he sees is the sadness, and we let him cry because his sadness was […]

descending theology: the crucifixion. 1

“Descending Theology: The Crucifixion” by Mary Karr To be crucified is first to lie down on a shaved tree, and then to have oafs stretch you out on a crossbar as if for flight, then thick spikes fix you into place. Once the cross pops up and the pole stob sinks vertically in an earth […]

what the living do. 2

“What the Living Do” by Marie Howe Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there. And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of. It’s winter again: […]

the journey. 0

“The Journey” by Mary Oliver One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice — though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You […]

hope is the thing with feathers (meditations on emily dickinson for holy week). 3

This is a poem where people know the first line but not the whole thing. Be sure to read to the end. “Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson “Hope” is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops […]

mission accomplished. 2

Hey, how are you? I’m good, thanks for asking. Well, yeah, I am a little sore because I ran a half marathon today. I would like to dedicate this running to Mike, who made it possible for me to do so much training, and to Beyonce, who gives me wings. Here are some words from […]

(half) marathon. 0

“Marathon” by E. Ethelbert Miller it’s a strange time which finds me jogging in early morning the deadness of sleep alive in this world the empty parks filled with unloved strangers buildings grey with solitude now near the end of another decade i am witness to the loss of my twenties a promise invisible i […]

chekhov’s gun by matt rasmussen. 1

“Chekhov’s Gun” by Matt Rasmussen Nothing ever absolutely has to happen. The gun doesn’t have to be fired. When our hero sits on the edge of his bed contemplating the pistol on his nightstand, you have to believe he might not use it. Then the theatre is sunk in blackness. The audience is a log […]