My Poems,  Poetry

Gilt Gift {a #poem}

Sometimes I guilt myself right out

of joy. Like the surprise of an iridescent

butterfly from an unsightly cocoon,

who would expect this shimmering

show in morning sunlight?

Eyes are trained on Northwest firs

framed in blue, frosted feeders,

feathered presents hidden among

the trees.

I’ve held my breath, wondering.

Did my mother ever ponder stilling

herself, take a moment with the

birds in her California garden? Gaze

restful at morning fog carried

in on marine air? Was she ever at ease

in her troubled life, as she parented

us alone?

I will never know.

I cannot ring her up to ask, there

is no email to send, no letter to write.

She is gone, stolen far too soon.

I consider this feigned injustice.

How wildly unfair I should gather

such beauty as surely she never did,

then abandon my thoughts. No.

I will not leave reason to balance the

ledger, steal this away, too. Feathered

hum of heat, filigreed pane, frosty view.

I drink in sleeping green, hear her

whisper over my shoulder,

Breathe in the brilliant morning.

Surrender second guesses and leave

logic to the philosophers.

I startle to the present, welcome with

wonder this gilt gift, nothing to ponder

but my thanks.

–From my new book “Hearts on Pilgrimage-Poems&Prayers” 

****

I share this poem coincidentally on Mothering Sunday, an observance in the U.K. to honor mothers. Mothering Sunday began as an explicitly religious event of the 16th Century, with no connection to mothers at all. The word “mothering” referred to the “mother church”, which is to say the main church or cathedral of the region. It became a tradition that, on the fourth Sunday of Lent, people would return to their mother church for a special service. This pilgrimage was apparently known as “going a-mothering”, and became something of a holiday event, with domestic servants traditionally given the day off to visit their own families as well as their mother church.

If we find ourselves returning to our “mother” church, we may similarly find ourselves returning to Christ, the bringer of joy and restoration in our lives, regardless of our life experience with our own mothers. That was the intent with my poem, to mirror God’s grace to us, His care and love that he so lavishly pours out on us as a parent. Our days are all gift.

Unwrap yours today, friend, and receive it with joy.

-Jody

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3 Comments

  • Jan C Johnson

    I, too, have “no email to send, no letter to write.”
    But I have these gifts and the only response is gratitude.
    Thanks for this lovely reminder, Jody!

  • Jody Lee Collins

    Katie, I am so glad the words in Hearts on Pilgrimage are speaking to you. Thank you for letting me know; I’m honored to be considered along with Tim Keller and Buechner! I’m also honored to have my work shared with your friends–I agree–it’s probably just right for Mother’s Day. Bless you, friend.

  • Katie Brewster

    “Our days are all gift.”
    YES, Jody:)
    I’ve SO been enjoying Hearts on Pilgrimage.
    Have been reading it at the close of my quiet time after the Tim & Kathy Keller devotional on the Psalms, and Frederick Buechner’s Listening to Your Life.
    Am thinking your poetry collection will make just the right gift for a couple of friends for Mother’s Day.
    Gratefully,
    Katie

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