• Hearts on Pilgrimage

    How to Be a Poem

    God with us in the broken place. E manu el, Yahweh whose hand steadies and steers us while we lift our face. Prayers rise. We cannot transform a heart but we can tend and feed the bodies housing hope, care for roses, prune and weed, wash and fold, clothe the people who inhabit our petitions. Wholly Spirit, He is wholly with us within, animates our limbs to write His work in the world through bread and clothes, flower and song. Be a maker. Be a prayer. Be a poem. ***** It has been said we are God’s handiwork, his ‘poem,’ a word from the Greek word poiema meaning a made thing.…

  • My Poems

    How to Measure Time {a #poem}

    I swerved around a swallowtail today, its goldblackblue mosaic translated across the glass and gone. Street’s curbed outline caught the corner of my eye as the colorburst startled me to noticing, awakened me to a sight just past the neighbors. A sudden glimpse of canines at their master’s feet—heads anon, ears aperk—then they rose and trotted on. ***** What if darting visions, experience, growth were not an arrow whizzing by in time but instead layers that land over our lives like a blanket? What might we make of it, the mundane atop daysweeksmonths of richness? Years folding slowly, one event or view at a time—like the memory of a butterfly’s…

  • My Poems

    Cocoon-{a #poem}

    I slip on this chosen shelter, hide within silken walls and wonder— How long will these layers hold? Fragile pearlescence surrounds me- who’s to say? My shattered self is still, waiting. Gauzy quiet and singular, barren days envelop me by the hour. I take pains with my words, listen more, defy the urgency of unnecessary things. Spinning a private insulation preserves me heart and mind, a soundless cushion while my soul heals. —– No one can chart a butterfly’s birth. Not really. Skin is shed, the surprise of color shocks as wings unfurl, breathing life into deep- down cells. Chrysalis—gold. All that remains when death is past and days have…

  • 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…

  • Book Reviews

    Poetry Interview-Susan Cowger

    Susan Cowger confesses she was the ‘black sheep’ in the family, not quite fitting into the mold of family vocations–nurses, pharmacists, sensible people. Instead, her first language was art, a calling that led to a BA in Fine Art (1977) from Montana State University and subsequent MFA in Poetry with a secondary emphasis in Art from Eastern Washington University in 1997. Susan is a sculptor, visual artist (oils and watercolor) and a writer. What made her take the leap from two dimensional and three-dimensional work to words? “Art is often abstract. I wanted to help people enter into the art, so I started writing little poems. It seemed to help,”…

  • The Church Year

    Seven Books for the Seasons

    Did you know that woodchucks (aka the groundhog) and Jesus’ birthday have something in common? On the church calendar, February 2nd is Candlemas, the last Feast Day in the Christian year dated in reference to Christmas. This celebration of Candlemas marks the presentation of Jesus in the Temple 40 days after his birth (as Jewish custom required), and the purification ceremony of the Virgin Mary at the same time. (Luke 2:29-32). The word ‘Candlemas’ (or Candlemass) refers to the custom of blessing and distributing candles and carrying them in procession before the Mass celebrated in churches in many parts of the globe. The lighting of the candles is symbolic of…

  • My Poems

    Begin Again {a #poem}

    September’s singular day arrives with the turning of many pages, paper or otherwise. Limbs of another rich and growing year branch upward, leading to vistas bright and unknown. An imaginary climb, I’m grateful for handholds, eyes on the open, azure sky. Did Eden’s first morning in that tree-filled glade startle the couple awake, their eyes on a new dawn? Burst with the gift of hope, that unknown need of a fresh start? I say yes. This new day, like that one, rich with possibilities awaits as we journey. Now at a walk (or sometimes fly) and fall, sure of a steady Hand to right us. Our steps re-turned to the…

  • On Reading

    March, April & May in Books #ReadUpstream

    n keeping with the inauguration of the #ReadUpstream movement, I’m going to speak a little about what I’ve been reading and maybe entice you to do your own reading ‘upstream’; i.e. choosing classics and good books that speak to your heart, even if no one else is reading them. More about the origin of #ReadUpstream is here. ~*~*~*~* When it comes to those things that bring me joy, I’m not sure whether I fancy birds or books more. Perhaps equally. I have books with ‘birds’ in the title melding those two—a love of reading and a fascination with my avian friends. There is much I learn from both—life lessons from…