Category Archives: poetry

Ordinary Transcendence

Sometimes, it’s a good day.

As entrenched as our family is in the business of Not-Dying, we need days like this. Even a moment like this. To remember the point of it all…

To live.

To breathe. To savour. To flow with the grain of the universe.

A few weeks ago I pulled over to the side of a busy road, hiking back to the creek I had crossed a thousand times. I sat on the edge of the bridge and scribbled a poem in an old notebook I’d found in my purse. I was late to my next appointment, but I’m not sorry. I’m beginning to think these small joys are actually the big purpose. The mysterious how-to-be we spend so much time and energy and money chasing.

Click.

Grinding gears slip into place.
Tension unravels,
clouds clear,
calm within the storms.

Spring follows winter.

Sunshine,
dandelion smiles,
cherry blossoms,
the perfect song on the radio.

Caress,
nest of safe and warm,
giggling children,
a dance twitching through my limbs.

This is only a moment.

small

transient

meaningless

meaning everything

Thank You!

tulip

It’s important to see the beauty everywhere. Even here, at the side of the busy road… Maybe especially here.

So here’s me, praying.

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Consumed

Alone
in a crowd of friendly professionals
masking desperate and exhausted
with awkward quips and acts of conspicuous competence.
As if I too
must earn my credentials;
A place at this
examination table.

On the menu,
once again,
is my child.

Her comfort, her privacy, her hair…
Our resources, our energy, our sleep…
Devoured
in five courses of medical necessity.
And for dessert:
sanity.

Bon appetit
Insatiable, uninvited guest.
Take what you want from me.
Just leave her
Alone.

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So here’s us, on the upswing after 2 horrible weeks. Mouth/throat sores are a special kind of hell. She’s now eating through a NG (nose) tube as we brace ourself for 3 more rounds of that particular chemo. 4 months down, 21 to go.


Full of Sound and Fury

A swirl of bright colours and perfect faces;
cheap laughs and predictable drama,
where nobody knows your name.

I’m drawn in,
like a moth to its shiny doom.
Here there are no expectations,
no obligations,
no need to be or do or say the right thing.
Here is an easy void.
And I fall in,
barely noticing.

It’s so easy,
so comfortable to shift mind and body into neutral;
letting time wash over me like a lukewarm shower.
Hours down the drain,
with nothing to show for it.

Click, click, click… sigh.

There’s nothing on.

couch potato

So here’s me, unapologetic TV and film buff,
but the first to admit that it’s 90% useless, pointless crap.

This is my Five Minute Friday contribution on lisajobaker.com for the topic: NOTHING. I must admit, that I went back and reformatted (totally against the rules), but after writing it, I realized it was more poem than prose.

5minutefriday


I Am Me: a poem for World Down Syndrome Day

Hello.
It’s me.

You can call me…
sweetheart
kiddo
sunshine

Call me…
student
equestrian
swimmer

Call me…
artist
dancer
singer

Call me friend.

I am me.

I am…
charming
stubborn
silly

I am…
affectionate
moody
kind

I am…
imaginative
exuberant
bossy

I am sweet.

I am me.

I have…
parents who adore me
sisters who tease me
a little brother who follows me around

I have…
grandparents who dote on me
teachers who are proud of me
friends of all shapes, sizes and colours

I have…
fears and dreams
favourite songs and movies
strong opinions about my own life

I have Down Syndrome.

have
Down Syndrome.
But I am not Down Syndrome.

iammeI am me.

So here’s my homage to the lovely “Lose the Label” campaign (@Lose_the_label). Because we are, all of us, more than our diagnoses and disabilities.

March 21 is World Down Syndrome (aka Trisomy 21) Day. You know, 3/21 for Trisomy 21… get it?

In honour of the unique and wonderful people we know, who happen to have Down Syndrome (especially the one we feed and hug and tuck into bed every night) I am posting a link to this tearjerker. I defy you to watch it and not get choked up:

Dear Future Mom…


Sinking

Hustle, Bustle
Push, Pull
Undertow

Swirling currents
Essential activities
Unrelenting demands

Faster, Faster
Higher, Stronger
Better, Bigger
More

I can’t touch bottom anymore.
I’m not the strong swimmer
I thought I was.

No lifeguard
at this end of the pool.
Play at your own risk.

Drowning
in busy,
in belongings,
in belonging to.

I need
to save myself
for a change.

drown

So here’s me, carving out moments of still and silent for Lent. Because God keeps whispering “Be Still” and it’s time I listened.


Haiku Catchoo Christianity

I’ve been sidelined as a blogger. By winter colds and final school projects and the novel I vowed to write this month, but most of all, by my own overwhelming feeling of so-busy-I-don’t-even-know-where-to-start.

The WordPress Writing Challenge this week is to write a series of 5 Haikus. Of course, I don’t have time to write anything new. But I just happen to have a series of 5 Haikus already written in my journal. Because I’m the kind of person who writes Haikus in her journal… you know… for fun.

I was inspired by Rhoda Janzen’s Haiku about her Mennonite tradition:

“Jesus lived in peace!
Let’s give it a try! It helps
to have hot prune soup.”

There is a clarity that comes when distilling a complex concept into 17 syllables. It’s a good exercise. And fun… really!

I’ve grown up in a handful of faith traditions. Each of these churches have left their mark on me, and I’m grateful for their unique approaches, even if I no longer practice Christianity in the same way.

The Brethren

Wear hats to Meeting.
Breaking bread on Narrow Roads,
holding nothing back.brethren

The Chapel

Teaching feeds the soul,
so handle the Word with care.
Holiness matters.bethany

The Community Church

Grace is in serving.
We’re family more than creed.
There’s no ‘I’ in church.community church

The Baptist

Repent, we tell them
for the Bible tells us so.
Now, it’s time to eat.baptist

The Emergent

God, bigger than us
so join the conversation.
Seek love, not answers.emergent

So here’s me, a devout, Jesus-following, Bible-reading, socialist, feminist, pacifist, environmentalist, sometimes-wrong, often-confused, but always-grateful-for-where-I-come-from woman.

Part of the Haiku Catchoo Challenge:  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/challenge-haiku/


The Unbearable Imposition of Beginning

Beginnings are tough.

Before the beginning,
that’s the good stuff.

Flush with inspiration,
Basking in the brilliance of idea,
Success a mere breath away…

The blank page is full of promise,
destined for greatness.

blank

Then the time comes
to force fantasy to reality.

Pen to paper,
Foot to pavement,
Rubber to road…

Instead I loiter on Facebook,
Reorganize my desk,
Clean the house,
Clip my toenails,
Answer old emails,
Print vacation photos,
Teach my daughter to sew,
Write a stupid poem.

The blank page is mocking me,
glaring with failure.

Gah!

Beginnings are tough.


I Am From

I am from snow pants and toboggans, from stacks of library books and homemade mac ‘n cheese.

I am from the big house on the corner, filled to the brim with friends and strangers and children always underfoot. I am from crab apple trees and lilac bushes. I am from a red metal swing set and forts in the basement. I am the brave hero and beautiful princess and brilliant police dog from thousands of adventures. I am from Anne Shirley, and Laura Ingalls, and Caddie Woodlawn.

I am from camping trips and bike rides, from going for a drive, with no particular destination in mind. I am from Bill and Barb and the Robson girls. I am from eating ice cream year round and reading into the night. I am from “life isn’t fair” and “God is in charge” and “The Old Rugged Cross.” I am from napping in a slip between morning church and evening service.

I am from eating the crusts after the Breaking of Bread and stealing sugar cubes in the foyer. I am from Pioneer Girls and Awana and Youth Group. I’m from The Meeting, from the Chapel, from full-time ministry, from questions and wrestling and finding my own way to love Jesus.

I am from Calgary and Scotland, roast beef and apple pie. From the old country, from a farm on the prairies, from stories of William Wallace. I am from Los Angeles, from avocado and orange trees, from cousins down the street. I am from family friends and Three Day Meetings, from a man who fell in love with his friend’s little sister, from a 19-year-old woman who moved across the continent for him.

I am from slide shows of family trips, from playing in the attic, from progressive Christmas dinners. I am from the blue Porsche in the garage, built before I was born. I am from walks around the reservoir and climbing the big “H”, from Stampede breakfasts and cowboy hats.

I am from biting my tongue and being the better person. I am from laughing and eating and endless small talk. I am from people who always have room for more, who always have more to give.

So here’s me.

Taking part of the I Am From synchro-blog at She Loves Magazine. You don’t have to be a writer, just follow the template and write your own version of George Ella Lyon’s poem. It’s worth doing.


You Are Here

You are here
says the map.
So I find my bearing.
A plan to hold.
Destination nearing,
I’m feeling bold.

493343628

You are here
says the map.
I squint my eyes and peer
at ruts below.
No finish line, not here.
Miles left to go.

You are here
says the map.
And though I’ve come so far,
not much has changed.
Where you go, there you are,
the ‘you’ remains.

You are here
says the map.
Not where I was before.
Or where I’ll be.
Here. Now. No less. No more.
Ever, always, entirely me.

Life is for living,
Not doing or going or getting or having,

Simply

Being.

Me.

Here.

Now.

I am here.
Today
That’s enough.

So here’s me, remembering my One Word for the year. Today.


The Crazy Days

There are times
When my heart explodes in a supernova of adoration
When I am overwhelmed with fierce protective instinct
When I drown in the bliss of your presence.
It is Too Much and Not Enough all at once.

There are times
When I explode in a flash storm of frustration
When I am overwhelmed by the urge to hide, to escape
When I drown in the demands.
I am Too Much and Not Enough all at once.

There are times
When feelings overlap and I can scarcely find my footing
When I wonder if I’ll ever get my life back
When I wonder if I’ll be entirely lost when I do.
You are Too Much and Not Enough all at once.

These times
Overtake
Overwhelm
Over too soon
Too Much and Not Enough all at once.
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So here’s me, in the crazy days, when the best answer to “How-are-you?” is “It’s complicated.”

I am wonderful. I am terrible. Sometimes both at the same time. So I’ll just say… “I’m fine.”

Because you are SO worth it!


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