Monday Morning Mary: For Those Who Don’t Do What We Think They Should

pink tulips

We are so wise
when it comes to others.
We can see clearly
exactly what it is they
should do to fix their problems.
We may even give “advice,”
and when these others
do not follow our or any other advice,
and their lives worsen
or break,
we suffer extra
from our own anger
and frustration.
What if we could see our advice
as false wisdom,
and instead of judgment,
offer compassion?
Compassion for those who don’t do
what they should
to help themselves.
This would also mean
holding up a mirror
to see our own veering
from wise fixes
and healthy practices,
and saying,
Life isn’t easy.
You’re doing just fine.

 


Our Lady of Lourdes at St John Lambertville NJ

Monday Morning Mary: How to Pray Barefoot

sacred trees

How to Pray Barefoot, Early Spring

Go to the grove of trees.
Go to the sacred grove
of the sacred trees.
Those three sturdy beings
near the stream,
or the thin twins
where you buy bread,
or the full wild forest
in your head.
If there is any question
about their sacredness,
ask.

Take off your shoes
and stand with your flesh
touching the earth,
which is surprisingly
soft and unexpectedly
warm.
Remember,
as the sweet virgin grass
awakens your soles,
what is spring
what is eternal.
And without uttering a sound,
simply be
in the ongoing prayer
that exists among those trees,
the earth,
and the small head of grass
rising between your toes.

As you remain still
within this integrating psalm,
something in you
will inevitably heal.
twin trees

Our Lady of Mercy

Monday Morning Mary: Forgiveness

Magnoia - 3

Forgiveness

I’m going to sit
under this tree
and say I love me
a thousand times

Under this tree of a thousand
white blossoms
I say to myself
I love me

I love me
I love me
flowering above me
a crown of white blossoms
to heal me—I love me
and light up—I love me
the night sky—I love me
that joins us together—I love me
I love me
a thousand times
I love me

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Our Lady of Mercy

Who Would I Be If I Hadn’t Gone Shopping?

 

Returns - Shopping

 

Today’s poem for National Poetry Month was inspired by an excerpt from a lecture by John O’Donohue:

“materialism is an epistemology of quantity…the mistaken belief that through an accumulation, you can settle the task of your own identity.”

From The Inner Landscape.

 

Returns

Sometimes I still buy things for a life I no longer have
or maybe even for a life I never had,
but dreamed of.

On the brown chair in the corner,
the bag of things waits,
its logo wailing the Siren song
that I have followed down aisles and aisles and
virtual aisles
craving the sugar that would make me feel
beautiful or smart or at least slightly less
depressed.

Even though they are perfect, or almost so, or not so at all,
I’m returning these things
because I feel worse keeping them.
They remind me of time I wasted
going off course, settling for rocks.

Who could I have been,
I wonder,
if I had chosen something
other than shopping?

 

 

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Life Is a Bowl of Cherries and Kale

Kale and Cherries Bowl
Today’s poem was inspired by a breakfast recipe called Decadent Kale and Pomegranate Breakfast Salad by Maria over at  Plant-Based Slow Motion Miracle. I absolutely love this recipe, which is basically kale, grain, and fruit mixed in a delicious chocolate sauce (made from banana and raw cacao).

I made this recipe for my niece (a whole foods enthusiast) for her bridal shower this past weekend, and I wrote this poem to go with it. I had been wondering about what wisdom I might share with her about marriage. The answer was in my breakfast bowl filled with an odd mix of ingredients that after many mornings still delights me.

Life is a Bowl of Cherries and Kale

Success in marriage:
blending two opposing thoughts
in yummy chocolate

 
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Surrender

indigo crescent moon

My second installment for National Poetry Month…

Surrender

Some days there is no god.
Instead of wrestling with him,
and having to decide who won,
I just surrender.
Not to god, no.
It’s the whole idea of a god
I give up.
In the emptiness I breathe
freely, with relief
until I see at twilight a setting crescent moon
with the ghost of its full circle
luminescent on an indigo screen.
Then I find myself wondering
whom to thank.

 

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ideation

Today marks the end of National Poetry Writing Month. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read my work! I also really appreciated hearing from you through comments, “likes,” or email. Thank you!

I also want to acknowledge my son for pushing me to write this month, especially early in the month. He’d check in every evening and ask where my poem was. If I said, “I got nothin’.” He’d say, “No. You gotta write something.”  “I can’t.” “You can.” You get the idea. His persistence and behind-the-scenes support inspired me, and somehow things flowered.

I’ve written this poem for him, in celebration of his creativity.

 

ideation

you drew this card
from your mother’s deck
then you were born.
you ate its message, your first food.

wild vines sprung from your mind.
ideas the size of watermelons grew
until you cracked each one open.

seeds spilled and more vines grew
and still grow.

this is the way of watermelons.
you are destined to feed the vines
and be fed by them,
extracting for the outer world
the harvest of your inner wildness.

 

 

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A poem a day for April

What Happens When You Teach a Dog to Speak

I wrote this poem not so long ago, and it’s been published in the most recent issue of The Journal of New Jersey Poets, which will be released in May. I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I enjoy my dog.

 

What Happens When You Teach a Dog to Speak

I’m eating lunch outside
on a perfect spring day
when my dog pokes her head under my arm
and says,
       Let’s go to the park and memorize poems.

I tell her I can recite poems just fine
right from where we are.
I start with Nye’s Art of Disappearing,
but the first stanza has already vanished
from my memory.

She jumps onto the chaise lounge,
and in my face with earnest says,
       Pack some books in a bag, and let’s go.

She has my attention so she continues.
       You can read out loud to your favorite trees—
       the cedar and the beech—
       brush up on the poems you’ve forgotten.
       Commit to something new and fresh.

       And in the vast field, I’ll memorize my poems—
       the thousand scents between the blades of grass,
       the flight of the white butterfly,
       the drift of dog bones across the sky.

       When I have it all down pat,
       I’ll lay down beside you on the blanket,
       the striped one you keep
       in the trunk of the car,  just for us.

                     

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A poem a day for April