Posts Tagged ‘grace’


listen as your days unfold
Challenge what your future holds

            —Patti Austin, “You Gotta Be”



And if I could

I’d scatter all the seeds

of grace, release

them from their old dry pods

and let them fall

in tired places—

like your heart,

my heart.

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Though the world is dented and dinged

and scuffed and scorned,

we trim the beans and peel the potatoes,

and the kitchen is warm and full

of laughter. We hum as we work

and break into scraps of song.

All day our hands are joyful

as they prepare the meal to come.

There are wars and battles even now,

not all of them fought with guns,

some waged intimately in our thoughts,

our scraped up hearts. And still,

this scent of apple pie, sweetening

as it bakes, this inner insistence

that love is not only possible,

it is every bit as real as our fear.

Whether the host has brought

out his best wine and his best crystal glasses

or water in chipped clay cups,

there is every reason

to be generous, to serve not only

our family, our friends, ourselves,

but also those we don’t yet know how to love

and those parts of ourselves we

have tried to keep separate.

Tonight the host has hidden bait

in the dinner—we all are caught.

Scent of sage, scent of mushrooms

and cream. The bite of cranberry.

Never mind the potatoes cooked too long.

Blessings seep into all the imperfect places,

even if you can’t name the blessings—

consider them secret ingredients.

The point is not to understand the feast,

but to eat, to eat it together.



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One Self Portrait




the house on fire

and me still trying

to get all the beds made




One Grace


what is the next step—

letting myself not know

until I am stepping





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In the manger of my heart




there in the muddle

where I do my best

to keep it swept

but it gets messed up

every day anyway,

there amidst

the drafts

and the animal chorus

something new

and beautiful

is being born—

not because

I prayed for it,

not because

I am worthy,

only because

that is how

miracles work—


by grace

we peek through

the cracks in the walls

and see just

how light

even the messiest


can be.

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Two Unsuspectings

setting a trap

with honey, catching



this song

of relentless yesses

a set up for grace

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photo taken by Karen James

photo taken by Karen James

Calypso bulbosa

A tiny orchid lifts its small cup
to the world. It is only by luck

that we find it, absorbed as we are
in talk of anger and shame, rushing

along the path like sycophants of time.
But grace has a way of finding us

when we need it the most, inviting us
to linger, to stop, to sip beauty, to marvel.

Light sifts through the forest canopy
like a golden shuttle on a miraculous loom

in which we are two threads in the one
great cloth. It seems likely we will leave

this enchanted hour, but for now
this bright cup, this radiant pause,

this intoxication that makes us forget
there is any other world but this.

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Anything else
I can help you find
says the man
in the pharmacy.
I say,
I could use
some grace.
Any for sale?
He looks
at me
with uncertainty.
No, he says
at last.
I say,
the band aids,
the rows
of antibiotic
I don’t
even bother
to ask

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Spring comes to the sidewalk
in the longer days of March.

The sun warms the slab, and beneath
it the seeds of old weeds start to stir.

They are tiny. And who knows how,
but in the dark, they begin to grow

and put down roots and,
though it seems unlikely,

begin to push through the concrete itself.
First a hairline crack. This fissure is somehow

sufficient to provide light and water enough.
Soon there are tendrils, then whole leaves,

then the yellow blooms of new weeds.
What is it in us that knows to push?

I, too, have wintered in a dark, thick cast, one
of my own making. Cramped and dormant,

I had stopped believing in hope.
But it was not hope that cracked the shell.

Nor was it anything that I did.
It was life’s longing for itself.

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Video Poem: In Unlikely Places

I am such a fan of this blog, Journey of the Heart, and today they’ve posted another of my video poems, this one about the grace that sometimes comes out of what looks like a big big bummer … 

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The day after I die,
I wake up a little late.
The sun is already
thick in the air—see it
glitter, all that dust I didn’t dust
before I died. I do not
dust it this day, either.
Nor do I worry
that I have not dusted.
I notice I have hands.
They are heavy
on my belly, my chest.
I rise. There is no
special exuberance
in the rising, though
it is a miracle. All day
I marvel. It is very quiet,
this grace. I saw myself
leaving these rooms,
this place. Yet death
came and went and
there is breakfast
to make and a job
to do and a hum
to be hummed by and later
this night when
my daughter comes
to me in her silky
pink Dora pajamas and
lifts up her arms,
she says into my neck,
I wish that my room
was farther away
because I like it when
you carry me and I
can pretend I
am asleep in your arms.
She pretends she is
asleep all the short way
to her bed, but when
I lay her there, she begins
to laugh and kick. Is this
what I have been doing
all my life, pretending
I am asleep? I lay with her
a long time, held by
invisible forces I could
perhaps explain but
do not understand.
All day, no one noticed
I had died. It’s not
that I was trying to hide
it. It must have been
all that life still falling
out of my pockets,
not that I was saving
it on purpose, just
that it was there
for the living.

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