A Clematis Love Story

  
For ten years
I had broadcast love
To the purple clematis
Climbing the mailbox
At Ace, the bird dog’s house.

I watched for it to sprout,
To grow, to bloom.
I took pictures of its beauty.

Then I realized
That I could plant my own.

The first plant
Went in the ground
Late in the year
And was overmulched
The next spring.

The second plant
Never got put into the ground
And died in its pot
Over the winter.

And now, finally,
There is a beautiful, purple clematis
In my garden
To which I can broadcast love,
And tend and watch,
Photograph and share.

Clematis mystery,
Clematis beauty,
Clematis love.

Love Came Down at Christmas

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Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the God-head,
Love incarnate, Love divine;
worship we our Jesus,
but wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token;
love be yours and love be mine;
love to God and others,
love for plea and gift and sign.

– Christina Rossetti, 1885

I Am Weeping, But I Don’t Know Why

  
I am weeping, but I don’t know why. 
I am weeping and knitting
And hoping that God hears the prayers of my tears.

I am weeping, but I don’t know why.
I do know why — maybe — but which why is it?
The cruelty of a church I thought I once knew
And once was proud to represent?
Sorrow and gratitude
For a friend and teacher whose life is in decline.
The stories of families
Desparate, dying,
Fleeing wars and fires and death.
This world, so terribly broken
By racism, by fear, hatred, greed.

So much pain,
So much despair, hatred, need.
And so I sit and weep and knit.
I am weeping, but I don’t know why.

Take these tears, God of Hope.
Take these stitches, Great Weaver.
Take these prayers, Gentle Lover of the Universe.
We are yours.

My Heart Lives in the Sky

  
My heart lives in you, sky.
Dome of light, of darkness,
Canvas of clouds and stars,
Of swallows and eagles.

My spirit soars in your vastness,
Exulting in your beauty,
The predawn glow in the east
Or symphony of colors in the west.

The creator slings clouds onto your canvas,
Paints dreams with textures and colors,
Earth dust and meteor granules.
Each new day, a new masterpiece,
A landscape, unique and priceless.

Write my prayers upon the sky.
Let my joys, my fears,
My visions, my gratitude
Paint their way into God’s heart.

Innisfree

 

Today is the 150th anniversary of the poet William Butler Yates, the one who wrote the poem that gave this mountain cabin (and 4 other neighboring cabins) its name–Innisfree. Thank you, Mr. Yates. 

Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now,
And go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there,
Of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there,
A hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there,
For peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning
To where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer,
And noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings

I will arise and go now,
For always night and day
I hear lake water lapping
With low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway
Or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

– W.B. Yeats

Listen to a recording of Yates reading this poem.

Innisfree

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Our family’s vacation spot, Innisfree, is named for the poem written in 1888 by Irish poet William Butler Yeats. We have a roaring river rather than a lake whose waves lap the shore, but the feeling is the same. With gratitude for the beauty, the gift, the stability of this place.

Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
-W.B. Yeats
1865-1939

In Gratitude for Maya Angelou

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When Great Trees Fall
Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

Written by Dr. Maya Angelou on the occasion of James Baldwin’s death.