Lack of Preparation

How did I grow so old,
I, who was meant to stay sweet and young forever
And studied hard to be an excellent child;
I am sorry that through my lack of vigilance
I have become what I am not prepared to be.

(Note: My parents never tried to keep me a child, but I tried to find my place out in the world by being a good girl—in spite of a rebellious streak.)

A Writers’ Day in Philadelphia

As I walk to my car
I clutch a thermos of caffeine
To quell the sleepless hours;
A robin sings its morning-in-spring melody
In the cool May air,
Clear after yesterday’s clouds;
My friend and I set out for Philadelphia,
Where so much was
And cannot be again.

And yet the city welcomes us;
Driving up Broad Street,
I honor memory’s shrines and sanctuaries,
The scenes and sites
My dearest ones and I well knew
When we were three
And then when we were two.

Now with my lovely friend
We also are a treasured two
Joined for an adventure
Honoring one other,
And the felt but silent cheering
Of those beloved in our hearts.

Jubilee Day

“Glory to God, Glory to God,”
The sisters sing,
And I sing, too,
Putting to music
Words feeling foreign alone.
When I hold my faith,
It is a candle flame
Beneath the blazing star
Of the congregants’ knowing.

I believe in God,
I speak of God
And pray to God:
God is creation,
Is love, is energy,
Is all that is good,
Is part of everyone,
Even when the Godliness
Is charred and buried
In the struggle and dross of living;
I see God’s symbols,
God’s elegance and eloquence;
I pray to my dear ones
Who are with God,
Pray they are with God,
Pray they are themselves,
But who, really, is this God,
And do I truly believe or merely beg
And hope?

And who is Jesus?
Here I have less trouble
For I know him as a man
Who lived the essence
Of his God of goodness within.
But is communion more than reenactment,
A tradition to remind us
Of Christ’s goodness and his sacrifice?
And was the sacrifice He made
More than illustration of his Godly ways?
I do not know
And so have not yet found full faith.

I love to sing the hymns:
They join me with the Universe
And those I love
Who are residing there,
However, wherever
They may live and be.
But even in church and with the congregants,
I am conscious, as so often,
Of my isolation and my oddity;
I would reach out to others
With vigor and self-reliance,
Giving the love I feel or want to feel,
Offering pleasure and courage and strength for their days;
And I do smile and hug and say how I am pleased to see them—
And I am pleased—
But then I curl up inside the awkwardness
Tangling my spirit,
Impeding reaching out
And even reaching in.


I travel a path through the trees,
A golden path of leaf-filtered sunlight—
The clearing lined with beauty and decay—
A trail of hidden destinations,
Lonely when walked alone
Without companions
And seemingly without belonging,
Yet when I feel love, send love,
Into the trees, the clouds, the stars, the universe,
Love shines back on me
Though fear and fatigue
Feel more tangible, more present;
I strain to see where the path is taking me
And forget sometimes where it began,
Has been;
The rain comes;
Flowers bloom and die;
I run ahead
And circle back,
Throw myself on a boulder
To wail my misery,
But when I stand again
And look within,
The light has returned
And my companions are with me
As I am with them,
And even in the moments of lightning
Striking the ground at our feet,
Even as thunder recalls us to misery
Asking concern and kindness,
Our stepping into brambles
To comfort suffering creatures
And one another, strangers and friends,
The Moon bathes us in healing warmth
And the Sun pours out its rays;
So I will continue
Following my path,
Absorbing the steps and scenes,
Including the beasts that threaten,
Along the miraculous way.