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Bananas Don’t Care

All fruits are expected to be certain things,
To have certain habits, to zap certain zings.
They must be quite juicy, they must pack a punch,
They must fit precisely in brown bags of lunch.
They shouldn’t be mushy or spotted with brown.
They shouldn’t be shaped like a smile or a frown.
They’re most often best when they’re rounded and fat…

But bananas don’t care about that.

A fruit’s duty is to keep fresh in the fridge,
A place on the counter: a rare privilege
That’s granted to those who are soon to be ate,
So proudly displayed in a bowl, on a plate.
Most fruits wouldn’t dare just to sit or to hang
Around like some sort of orangutang.
They know to refrigerate is where it’s at…

But bananas don’t care about that.

All fruits are aware that they can’t last for long:
Prepared for the day when their freshness is gone.
And then, if not eaten, they know what must pass:
They make their way, dignified, into the trash.
They don’t ask the freezer to postpone this dread,
Preserving them ‘till they are baked into bread,
They wouldn’t presume to act like such a brat…

But bananas don’t care about that.

Bananas don’t care,
They’re fruit with a flair!
They’re food full of fun,
Not “phoney” – a pun.
Take one, take a bunch!
They’re yummy to munch!
And if you find spots
Of black and brown rots,
Or bite in to gleen
It’s still much too green,
Or hear yourself squeal
As you slip on the peel,
Remember when down to the ground you go SPLAT…
Bananas don’t care about that.

Long time, no post…

Who knew having two under two would make for a busy life? I think I thought I knew what busy felt like – or would be like – but clearly not.

However, I keep coming back to the resolution to write more, despite feeling like I barely have enough time to cut my fingernails or clean my bathroom… or sleep more than 3 hours at a time.

Here are a couple things I’ve written recently, and let’s see how often I can add more. The first is something I wrote for my son’s dedication a couple Sunday’s ago, and the second is a silly poem about my daughter’s tendency to wear her boots (or Mommy or Daddy’s boots) on her hands and “walk” around the house “stepping” on everything.

 

Bruce’s Dedication

I am drawn to the lighthouse of your smile:
Gazing up and down and down and up and then
Locking on your face – so much like mine, like ours…
Our love has reached its harbour in this child.

You play in streams with wading, waiting steps.
And sip at love from cups filled, overflowing,
But I and he and those who’ve come before
Have soaked ourselves in wilder, lavish depths.

We are drawn to the guiding of this star
That shines with sure and never changing grace.
We are drawn to deep, uncertain waters
And we have felt His longings in our hearts.

Each stroke brings you further on upstream,
Each new thought will widen banks and shores,
And you will sail at last to vastness,
You will glimpse the far horizon’s gleam.

I do not hope or strive to keep you safe from waves,
For love is not a safe and simple game we play
I cannot pray that you will never know of less and loss,
For love is greater than these lives we try to save.

But I would ask for you to swim with open arms,
I would have you drawn to seek this greatest Love,
And revel in the froth and foam and join with us
In our captivation by our Lover’s charms.

This beacon of your smiling draws me in,
And mirrors back our joy, reflecting off the deep
And wide and all surrounding ocean of His love,
And now, the tide, that calls you to begin.

 

 

The Boot-Handed Bandit

Who is this, stomping by,
With a spooky, odd gait,
And a spring in the step
Where no foot puts its weight?

Who is this? Can it be?
Do we meet with our doom?
Do we skitter and scatter
Like bugs ‘round the room?

Yes we do! Here she is!
She won’t stop in her tracks,
And her steps won’t be light,
And her stomps won’t be slack.

She can stand in one spot,
And yet, trample with treads,
She can sit on her seat,
And still dance to our dreads.

It’s the boot-handed bandit,
Who is fiercely afoot,
With her boots where most mittens
Be presumably put.

No, she can’t rob a bank,
And she won’t pick your pocket.
She sure shant snatch your purse,
Or your shiny gold locket.

She won’t pick at your wallet,
Since she can’t pick at all.
Because boots don’t have fingers
As you might now recall…

She’s not grasping at straws,
Because grasping requires
Things that boots do not boast,
Nor could ever acquire.

But she’ll stomp on your footsies,
Your tootsies: your toes.
And she’ll step on your spine,
Scuff your neck, kick your nose.

And before you say “stop!”,
She’ll have finished her sprint,
And there won’t be an inch
Which will not have a print.

For the boot-handed bandit
Is so fiercely afoot.
With her boots where most mittens
Be presumably put.

So, beware, all you crooks
Who wear boots on your feet.
She’s the fiercest and fastest,
Most fearlest, bombastest,
The stompest and rompest,
Undeniably pompest –
The roughest and toughest,
And most off-the-cuffest,
The rootin’-est, tootin’-est,
And certainly bootin’-est
Bandit you ever will meet.

 

Happy (belated) Father’s Day to all the great fathers and grandfathers in our family, including the newest member, the father of my own dearest little girl. 🙂  Some of you have more (and worse) jokes than others 🙂 …some of you are no longer here to make us smile in person…but you’re all very very loved.

 

Dad Jokes

You can’t pick your dad, but you can pick your friends,
But you can’t pick their noses, as the Dad oft contends.
You can scratch your head wondering why he’s so strange…
“Einstein’s theory of relatives,” the Dad oft explains.

You can roll your eyes, sighing, as you wait to dig in,
And the Dad’s “Let us spray!” sets him giggling again.
You can hope that your pancakes are safe from his wit…
No such luck – “maple syrple” sets him off in a fit.

You can raise your arms high, but you’d better be sure…
You can count on the powers of the liniment cure.
You can watch all the birdies you want in the sky,
But watch out for the cows if they learn how to fly.

You can know all the words to the song of the night,
But you can’t know just when your own name might sound right.
You can think that the lyrics don’t quite make a rhyme…
But the Dad will insist that they’re “fine, fine, fine, fine!”

You can start with a “hey”, but you’ll end with a “straw”.
With the help of a hammer, you can say that you “saw”.
You can ask to see cards, but instead get a wave.
You can ask “How’s the water?” if you feel extra brave.

You can learn to speak French, though not quite this obscure:
“Silver plate”, “mercy buckets”… and of course, “poops du jour!”
You can learn of computers…the “Interweb” too…
But you’ll still ask for help when the screen turns to blue.

You can go hug a bear, but it still won’t compete,
With the guy wearing sandals and socks on his feet.
He is Daddy, the Dad Guy, and old Father Dearest.
He is Grandpa (or Grumpa?), and to me, it is clearest:

If you could pick your dad, like he picks out a joke,
Like he’ll pick up your spirits when your heart’s feeling broke.
Then, despite all the jesting, I hope each Dad knows:
That we’d pick you for sure! (But we won’t pick your nose.)

Hey everybody…What is YOUR favourite variation on the Roses are Red classic? Please comment and share some smiles on this feels-like-it’s-summer-already day. 🙂

Here’s one I just made up:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue:
Short and sweet statements
Of two floral hues.

And another:

Roses are red,
Violets are small.
Why aren’t the daisies
Mentioned at all?

Here is my dad’s all time favourite:

Roses are red,
Violets are purple,
Sugar is sweet,
And so is maple syrple.

Gotta love the dad jokes. 😉

 

 

Mother May I

Mother may I
Tell you a story?
This is a story
All about grace.

Mothers wonder
How to explain it –
How does the cradle
Become sacred space?

Fuzzy mobiles,
Fluffy white blankets –
Framing, as halos,
A small sleeping face.

Baby may I
Sing you a story?
This is the story
You bring to this place.

Lips go searching,
Eyes find their focus,
Wrapped in a larger,
And more loving face.

Deepest comfort,
Complete dependence –
This is a story
All about grace.

Mother may I
Tell of this glory:
This is the glory
Of taking your place…

Beside cradles:
Likeness of heaven –
Creator’s larger and
Loving embrace.

Mother can you
See your reflection?
Love mirrors love when
We come face to face.

Heaven’s likeness
Come by my cradle:
This is a story
All about grace.

 

To our mothers, fathers, grandparents, and children (both born and unborn). I give thanks every day for the ones who loved me and my husband into an understanding of God’s grace, so that we are now able to do the same for our own little miracles. To quote from Les Mis: “To truly love another is to see the face of God.” Amen.

 

This is the way the summer smells:
Of grass and green and rain warmed over,
Of garden gnomes collecting clover
About their feet like cockle shells.

This is the way the south wind tells
The lungs to take in deeper breaths,
The air to plunge to greater depths,
And cast its scented spells.

If you could bottle chapel bells
And blend them in with sandy beaches,
Rose-bush buds and juicy peaches,
Then that would be how summer smells.

Lazy Labels

I started writing this a while ago and just came back to it today. I feel like it finished itself sooner than I intended, but oh well…

 

The idleness of priests
Is to savour the smell of the offerings,
To delight in anticipation
Of a holy family barbecue.

And they lift the lid,
Watching the flesh turn to dinner,
And accept the serenity
Of waiting for things to come.

The contemplation of scholars
Is to favour us with their theories,
To assist in our stipulations
Of what we boast is truth.

And they lift the cover,
Watching the words turn to sentences,
And accept the necessity
Of long hours spent in thought.

But the stillness of mourners
Or the apathy of widows…

The silence of the ones He called
“the poor in spirit”

Are the mockery of the saints.
To shame the deliberation
Of despair that offends their God.

And they lift their noses,
Watching for shame to yield repentance
And acceptance of the sinfulness
Of long hours spent in bed.

 

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

 

You know all those movies you’ve watched or books you’ve read, when the happy ending seemed impossible, but still happened anyways…somehow…?

You know all those times you’ve walked outside and been smacked in the face by the sunlight…sunlight you’d nearly forgotten after a really long and grey winter…?

You know those people who say that true love never happens like it does in love stories…? Well, they were wrong. And all these feelings…the really really good feelings…well, they just serve to remind us of our world’s own story of redemption…and how the good and the right and the beautiful aren’t just the stuff of fantasies.

This is the best story…the best TRUE story ever told: LOVE WINS!

 

Take that sadness.

Take that pain.

Take that angry hurting and bitter despair.

You may win some of the battles, but you have lost the ultimate war!

 

He is risen!!!!!!!!!!

He is risen indeed!!!!!!!!

 

The Darkest Hour

This is the darkest hour,
When you can’t hear my heartbeat: you’re breathing too loudly…
When you don’t know what warmth is; your shivering’s subconscious,
And you’re waving your hand to yourself in your face…
It’s too dark, you can’t see it, you can’t taste the morning,
Not even that lingering, dry, rancid aftertaste,
Not even a hint of the light on your pallet.

This is the darkest hour,
When you can’t hear my heartbeat: you know it’s stopped beating,
When you know it is true, but you won’t yet believe it.
And you’re hugging your knees, and you’re rocking in silence,
It’s too dark to be sure, but I think you’ve stopped crying…
Yes, your tears got too tired to keep fighting the madness
That creeps through your mind like a wild cat gone prowling.

This is the darkest hour,
When I give up my Spirit to take on this atonement,
When I give up the light of my own Father’s face.
And when hell in its fullness rises up now to meet me,
Like the wind of an oven that’s been opened too quickly,
It’s too dark, I can’t see much…but lost hungry faces,
And three days yet to pass before light guides us home.

This may have been more appropriate yesterday, but I felt like I had to write it out now. The light is coming soon… Thank you, Jesus.

Pete and Repeat

I know that I have finished a meaningful piece of poetry when I begin to hear it inside myself, looping through my mind with an infinite repeating cadence, like a song you’ve known since childhood that gets stuck in your head. But it doesn’t just happen with my own poetry, of course. Lately, whenever I start to feel an urge to write something, or begin to think about something even remotely inspirational, I hear the refrain of T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men begin its beautiful rhythm…

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

Why does that happen? It’s like we are programmed to recognize and repeat beautiful or meaningful rhythms. If someone was to play for me on a keyboard or any other instrument the three simple notes that composed the closing door sound of the TTC subway doors…I would immediately be mindful of the many hours I spent on those subways going to and from work or family outings downtown…or reaching even further back, of our missions trips to TO when we were teenagers. But I wouldn’t make that connection if it wasn’t for the specific rhythm of the tones.

One

Two

Threeee…

Or something to that effect… The rhythm is what draws my mind to those places, not just the melody. And I believe that this is why poetry is capable of touching me on such a deep level. A beautiful piece of prose you remember mostly for the meaning of the words used. I’ll always think that prose should have a bit of rhythm too, but that is where poetry shines and why I love it so much. I love to write prose to communicate something profound or to have more freedom of description…but how much more beautiful and meaningful is a poem that communicates and describes the same thing. How much more work to write it, is really the issue…but it truly is a work of art in the end at that point, and not just a blog entry…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love novels…and they are most definitely artful. But they contain many many more words (normally) than poetry, and hence their ability to communicate themes and develop characters is something that just can’t be memorized and recited. What poetry does is take a multitude of words and strip them down to their bare bones through the use of rhythm. And what you’re left with, if it’s done correctly, is a piece of art that becomes a background rhythm to your life…a reminder of beauty in the other day to day rhythms we experience.

I’ll be walking down the sidewalk. Right foot, left, right, left. This is the way the world ends… Right, left, right, left. This is the way the world ends…

And of course, many people have discovered the Psalms or other scripture to be meaningful in this way. Sometimes the simplest way to “pray without ceasing” is to find a piece of spiritual poetry that you can go back to over and over again throughout your day. My favourites over the years have been Psalm 23, 121, and even parts of Revelation or the gospels at certain times.

The Spirit and the Bride say “Come.”
And let the one who hears say “Come.”
And let the one who is thirsty come…

What rhythms are marching through your brain space today? Take a second to notice them and make sure they are helpful, beautiful truths that can get you through this crazy world with a sense of wonder and thankfulness. This is what helps keep me sane, anyways… 🙂