Sunday, April 18, 2021

Being Wise Eleven

                         Garden peas a few years ago in my garden.

Being Wise Eleven April 18, 2021

Green, green, green! The iris

are blooming, white and purple.

I planted them too close together,

but they bloomed anyway, defying

horticulture laws and behavior.

The grass, too, is that brilliant

green, that open rebellion. Don’t

tell me it’s not spring. My cells

know. Who says there aren’t

miracles. It’s April, isn’t it?

Green time.The flowers, the

birds, every leaf, every blade

of grass. The bees foretell it:

pollen and honey have arrived. 

You can’t go back now. Even

your old loves have resurrected

themselves, and the new ones

grown bolder. Green is here 

and there and everywhere.


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Being Wise Ten

 Being Wise Ten April 11, 2021

For Marie Hammond

In Memory of Sam Hammond, August 22, 1947–February 25, 2021

Oh, Sam! I miss you! You gave yourself 

so freely. You egged me on to do a book

with my grandmother’s diary, and then

you helped. You made sure I had omitted

no lines of possible research on what their

life was like in the China of 1910, and who

exactly they all were, these people they

mention. You even found some answers

for me. Five different families learned

about Grace, A China Diary: 1910-1916

and wrote to me of their relatives, friends

of Grace and Harvey. Grace had bipolar

disease, not understood well in 1910, but

the missionary doctors were wiser than

those in Oklahoma when they returned

home. I came to understand Grace better

–my goal for doing the book. I remember

how you and Marie celebrated with me.

Other times you were there when we

shared dinner. I loved to make you

laugh. It was so easy. I saved up

outrageous stories out of my own life.

Once you joined a small writing class

I was teaching. I had a young black

student, new to writing. I could tell

you approved of how I worked with

him. I always believed my students

could write well and better. And they

did. You left us in February. But for

me, you’re still here, part of my life

and thought. A model of a loving man 

in an increasingly distraught world.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Being Wise Nine

The cover of my new Baba Summer Book Two, painting image by Nikolai Smirnov, Kostroma, Russia "The First Snow"

Being Wise Nine Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021

Resurrection! In a cold house.

Resurrection ferns by the Haw River.

I am almost eighty-four and still

alive. The frost killed the hydrangea’s

new leaves, but the daylily leaves

are erect as usual. Did the peach

blossoms survive? I can’t tell through

the kitchen window. The hens are

hunkered down, their feathers

fluffed for warmth. A cold sun

brightens behind the curtains.

The poem begins before I’m fully

awake. I put on my jacket and

spread a blanket over my legs

and feet. Easter morning. I

celebrate with a new poem

while the Earth’s resurrection

continues unabated. Two lamps

in a dark house. One human

being awake and alive. No

telling how much longer I

have to inhabit this body, be

this person, bundle myself up

in wool and my favorite

blanket, drink hot tea, and be

grateful for another day of

life and love.