Palm Sunday. The day God said no to empire.
Happy birthday, babe.
I first posted this a few years ago. The reason I did so then is the same I do so now, to celebrate my wife’s birthday. In the digital age, discovering a person’s age is as easy as a cursor, a mouse, and a nosy desire to know something. But, in the interest of propriety, I say simply, “Happy _____ birthday, babe!”
Babe, you still brighten the road before me…
This pedlar in impatient thoughts
travels light but burrows down, heavily
down, and down and down again;
to the parsonage of promise, wall-papered
in the sweat of dreams.
The days, carefully patented against
her own times, roll out
like dried tobacco leaves, the inhalation of
a promise, made, kept,
broken, and made again.
Pencil sketch clouds smudge
a looming graphite across the vast skin of sky.
The forest, sotta voce, stock still, looks
nowhere but down to the nourishing dirt,
kneels up to the humming heavens.
And, for all this cantabile chorus,
throats out a steely enervation,
where none but she can hear the silent praise.
She grapples in morning still
and shivering, licked up from bowls
of her own gratitude, there
to shimmer hints of the new,
Robert Burns, given his widespread fame (and infamy) to Scottish and English literary crowds in the eighteenth century, one would think him even better known than he is. He is heralded by an annual recognition of his life and work on this very day, January 25th. The great irony of Burns was the praise lavished upon him by both Edinburgh and London poshies despite his very tongue-in-cheek poetic invective against the same. He was after all a product of his era. A fiercely nationalistic Scottish socialist who wrote comical and approachable poetry for everyone.
In honour of dear Mr. Burns, I post here one of his most famous works, “Address to a Haggis.” It is, in essence, a socio-political statement meant to solicit a laugh or two at the expense of those uppity French, and others, whose social delicacies were no match for the beefy Scots.
Enjoy, and happy Robbie…
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Thanks, Laura Jean Truman.
As you have seen, I am a fish on the shore right now, flipping and gasping for words to write. About anything. I’ve learned at these times to read until my eyes fall out. Others are not in this place. They’re producing page-turning material worthy of my consumption and consideration.
One such soul is fellow blogger and faith-er, Laura Jean Truman. In a writer cop-out for which I seek neither escape nor make neither excuse, I share her better words here. Go, read in pride as I did, how Advent is a time uniquely prepared for both the prophet and the artist. For the artist-as-prophet.
They speak the same language. Maybe that’s why so much of the bible is poetry? Yup. I think that’s probably it.
Laura Jean, thank you. My readers will too, I believe.
The soup is better having room to steep
in the deeper time of its own goodness.
Many things unite in one great thing.
We learn hunger.
The ground, now patched and sown together
with summer’s glowing refuse, is somehow brighter –
having taken its time.
We learn beauty.
Her pleasure, no fait accompli,
but in a reverence for slow heights.
Climb slowly this peak.
We learn desire.
Her tiny immensity, a sacred squalor, protrudes
nose first, dark to light, damp and cold –
one last hurrah of anonymity before donning
the first breaths of vulnerability.
We learn awe.
Pulled nose first into the warmth
of kitchen bread, newly plump and rising to greet us
square in tongue and tonsil, teasing
and teaching the crust-browned life.
We learn perfection.
Shoes, worn and well-gravelled, grind away
at the miles. A distance made less with repetition –
repetition of repeated renewals of the long
overcoming of road.
We learn perseverance.
And, in all of it remains the best of all our waiting.
One arrives, caught in the minutiae of the cosmic unseen.
Here to surprise our own expectations.
Come to convince us of lost remembrances.
The one great beauty in our catalogue of fear.
We learn salvation.
Recently published on my innerwoven site…
It is an odd thing, this whole memoirishness.
To read a memoir is to sit in someone’s living room drinking beer and eating Cheetos as someone outlines plans to save the world, or at least make it a little less shitty.
Except for a few cases, their stories are rarely intended for their own self-aggrandizement. Instead, they act as a window, a prism of sorts that divide up a fully lived life into its constituent parts for our amusement and awe. Once we happen upon these parts, it is for us to find ourselves within them.
Although not entirely without a modicum of gravitas, I am embarrassingly unknown. A small-town guy writing for other little guys, but with a tale to tell. What I can offer is a fireside tale told by a friend you just haven’t met yet. A regular guy with a story for other non-luminaries out there.
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