Waiting for Rain

We wake this morning

to a gray uncertainty

the mountain that we love,

our devil mountain,

has disappeared

obliterated by ashes falling

from a firestorm

one hundred miles away

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Fallen Rain

What’s the name of that strange awareness

when you come across a new word

and then it appears everywhere?

 

Petrichor

is a word I hadn’t heard before

at least I don’t remember it – yet here it was today

appearing twice within the space of a few pages

 

Petrichor, the earthly scent

when rain falls upon dry ground

 

Petrichor,

from the Greek words petra,

meaning stone, and ichor,

the fluid like blood in the veins of gods

 

Was Trudeau thinking about that, as he stood somber in the rain

Recalling rain that wasn’t rain, but bullets –

Bullets raining down while the blood of the fallen flowed

 

(found poem sourced from ‘Wet Ink’ by Amy Goldwasser and ‘Transubstantiation’ by Susan Firer in New Yorker magazine, November 12, 2018 and Justin Trudeau speaking at World War I commemoration, Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, November 10, 2018.)

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A Bullet for a Stone

He said we shoot at babies hurling rocks

A bullet for a stone

A show of strength, he bellowed

Against a sea of brown

 

I ask you to examine the truth inside the lies

Who are the weak and desperate here?

Who are those lost, unrepentant souls?

 

While he exchanged our shared humanity

for manufactured fear

our voices rose in protest

but we could not stanch the blood

flowing in darkness

 

Today is a new day

We’ve been granted an extra hour

to pray in solidarity and in love

Tuesday we let the light back in

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Museum of Tolerance Reflection: The Morning After

The past two days were filled with amazing connections, insights, and impressions. I’m hyper focused right now on coincidence.

  • Jon borrowed a book off my shelf to read on the plane. A collection of sports stories. Second story in the book was a Holocaust story about Kristallnacht, Hitler, and Max Schmeling – the German boxer defeated by Joe Louis. An hour after we got to the Museum, Jon saw this display:IMG_1043
  • Later, ninety-four year old Holocaust survivor, Renee Firestone, riveted our group with the story of Hitler’s rise to power, her family’s persecution in the concentration camps, and her incredible reunion with her brother after the war when they miraculously ended up in the same place at the same time.IMG_1030
  • On the plane home, our flight attendant, Andy, gave a shout out to all the teachers on the plane. Then as we were coming in for a landing, he personalized it – IMG_1060thanking his favorite teacher ever, Mrs. Ann-Marie Walters. She was his teacher years ago when he was in high school.

Three seemingly coincidental experiences I witnessed over several hours. Maybe inconsequential. But I can’t help thinking there’s a message here. And it may be as simple as this: We are called on to pay attention. To share stories. To bear witness. To acknowledge the invisible threads that connect us all. To be open to the miraculous and the ordinary. To be ever thankful, ever present, ever alive in hope and wonder.

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Walt Whitman Sampler

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Thoughts While Visiting Teddy’s House at Sagamore

From the wrap-around porch we step into the foyer,
paying no heed to
elephant tusks,
Samurai swords,
and heads of beasts on display
Instead
we turn our attention
to his book-lined study, where it’s said he read a volume a day
     This book-lined study from which he led the country,
calling statesmen and learned men to his side
for debate and counsel
where Greek and Latin rolled off the tongue; German and French were second nature, and the English language was revered.
Notice how book-lined shelves fill nearly every room here, hallmarks of a curious mind.
Evenings, he recited poetry at the family table,
his children conversing with the thinkers and dreamers of the day –
Edison and Ford inspired invention and possibility,
hope and wonder.
Now, contrast that with the current resident of the highest office in the land,
who cannot even master his own tongue, who reads nothing of substance or depth,
who gorges on cable tv, who hangs with liars and thieves,
thick with cowardice and greed.
And you ask me why I grieve?
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Lake Luzerne, 1939

IMG_4892

At twelve, he begged his father

to take in a game

just the two of them

lakeside

watching the pitcher warm up

this perfect day unfolding

 

A fast ball

the crack of the bat

ringing in his ears

and someone calling his name

 

His brother

caught in deep water

struggling to stay afloat

called out to him,

his voice carried on the wind

 

Their mother,

aproned behind the kitchen door

daydreaming and

whistling an old song,

heard the screams too late

 

Dark clouds rolled in

as they pulled his brother from the water

lifeless

 

A father gone deaf, a mother grown silent

a house of grief  and blame

If only…

This would be their family story

 

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