“Even the juniper trees
rejoice over you…”
“Even the juniper trees
“Even the juniper trees
rejoice over you…”
I’ll ask bleakly what time it is—
This ticking is grinding on,
A breath in the unsubmerged gill,
The moment gets closer still
To some ever approaching horror
The Cold War grew hotter on the hill
Is there some inevitable Doomsday
Some arsenic pill?
I watched them accidentally passing
Russian Roulette guns
Dancing & firing, flirting along to mass pounding
Of beat-bounding, skin-War drums
Their voices bouncing both soft & loud
In blood curdling trickles & gasping hums
How lovely, analyzing all the massive sums—
Money & bodies piled high,
Piled high, so high, beneath the blood-red sky
How deep & rosy red
The Earth spun upon the soaked death bed
I hear the ticking of that fateful clock
As they all go marching,
Guns, lock, barrel & stock
Locked & loaded
Stoked & toted
Heavy in the reddening night
Finding a way to block the light
A simple boot-stomp
& out it goes, the rasping gasping of
The greater knows, that all is crumbling
& down it fell
the pitch into the readied well
Down it went
With all its might
The masses filled with death & blight
Along with the ticking clock
All was gone,
‘cept for the flock
nestled soft upon the grass
as night, long & peaceful,
settled in after that last, evening gasp.
How can I become something changing & sweet & new & becoming, yet be the same. Always the same.
I spill forth like life, not death.
That washing light of sunrise; the closing scene of dusk; the cleansing tide, wave upon wave. Flowers that have bloomed fresh, fifty springs, yet it’s never one too many. The awe of yet another moment, never paling the last—awe & a breath & a gasp.
How lovely & how rare.
Redundancy of hope,
despite this long despair.
All the greens muddied & all the pinks lost their pop. All the blues murkied & the sky grew thick & slow like the North Saskatchewan.
Smoke & parched grass & thirsting trees yearning for a last glimpse of summer rains—but they were lost, both rain & desperates, perhaps along the foothills, perhaps along the Great Divide, perhaps somewhere high & howling, where the air is even thinner than here, & where the forests & meadows & mountain flowers are burning.
So often now, the summer is a haze & a wall of flames, with everything birthed in spring, weakened & blazing. Sputum & air condensing & spilling out in huffing gasps of breathlessness.
What is the sun, & where does it live now? Surely not in the horror of Harvey? There is no sun found there. Not in India, Bangladesh or Nepal where it seems all the water of the earth is to fall.
So while we weep in the dryness & burn & burn, they weep in the water & drown & drown. I fear seeing their soft, swollen bodies pillowed up—where is the escape from flood or fire or death. Death is hungrily mawing at us all.
How far can you run & what refuge will you find?
Life takes one more step closer, & the tiredness steps into the weary foot. Wake me when the rains come. Wake me when the rain stops. But wake me. Good God, wake me.
Originally, my idea was to get out tons in the memorial invitation campaign, and then, Firecracker got scheduled for her surgery.
Three years ago in a fitness class she had her kneecap dislocate. Since then it’s been a series of braces, physio, and several minor dislocations until, the worst one of all in in early January in which we had to call an ambulance. After consulting yet again with the Orthopedic Specialist the decision was made to just go ahead and try to resolve the issue permanently. Firecracker has the genetic perfect storm for issues with both knees it turns out, so the injury three years ago wasn’t expected to resolve without help, and it’s probably a matter of time before the other knee has the exact same issue.
So the past couple months we’ve just hoped she wouldn’t dislocate it again and then they did the surgery. So they tack the ligament into the bone to (hopefully) prevent the kneecap from slipping out as easily. I’m not sure if they did the repair as well where they use a graft of your hamstring, but a week in, this is what her leg looks like.
Before all this we’d had tickets for The Lumineers & Kaleo concert, and so thankfully she got to borrow a wheelchair from the venue & they put her and her friend in accessible seating which turned out to be better seats than she’d originally purchase. Despite the wheelchair, she was super swollen Saturday. Maybe she over did it.
Any ways, last night she did manage her first steps without brace or crutches, so it does seem to be healing nicely. Her main worry besides missing work, was being able to look nice for the Special Convention in July. Originally we thought the surgery would be another couple months down the road, but it got scheduled so much earlier that I’m sure all there will be is a scar, but that bruising will be long gone.
As for seeing the new arena & convention site for this year & the concert—first off, the concert was great, and I’m certainly a bigger fan of The Lumineers now. The venue is so much larger than the previous arena, and I am so looking forward to having our regional convention there! I think this will be the largest convention I’ve been to since the international at Montreal ’85. I can’t recall exactly how big the ones I attended in Ontario were when I was a kid tho. But the tie-ins across Canada are going to be so amazing to experience too. I think the whole of our brothers & sisters countrywide are really excited. If you include the attendance to all the conventions tied-in, of course it will be the largest attendance we’ve all ever been to. So exciting.
Even before this special convention was announced both the older girls had set the summer as their goal for baptism. Kawaii is in the ministry Tuesdays & Thursdays every week & poor Firecracker who had intended to be focusing on finishing up school at home and the ministry this semester, has been off that leg so much so far this year, she hasn’t been able to do much service. Certainly not as much as she had planned. But, give it a few more weeks and she’ll be at it again. I can’t see why they wouldn’t qualify for baptism and, frankly, I’m so thankful they are older and coming to this decision. It’s been a long road through many difficulties to get them to the point where they are and I never wanted them to feel pushed or pressured into being a Witness just because I am.
One of my most favourite things of late, was getting to see what they wrote in their Russian campaign letters. We all wrote separately, in our own spaces. We reviewed the information, the video, discussed it days before, and I encouraged the kids to pray about what they should write everyday, until we sat down to write our letters. When I read each of the older kids letters my heart nearly broke with love for their words. All three of the older kids had such amazing things to say. I loved that I got to read from their own thoughts & hearts their hopes for the freedoms of their spiritual family in Russia. It was really beautiful and honestly, surprising. I couldn’t help but get teary-eyed. I can only imagine how Jehovah must feel at knowing what each of his servants feels regarding this matter. Logically, we all know it’s unlikely our letter will be picked out and read, because seriously, that’s a lot of letters, but, Jehovah uses the ‘unlettered & ordinary’ (see what I did there, Acts 4:13) to teach and reach hearts. The warm principled love is just a joy to express on behalf of those we’ve not even met. It was a unique way to serve in the ministry from young to old, and an honour.
Also topping the out of the ordinary on the spring break list, thankfully the kids were on spring break since someone was murdered at the schoolyard a week ago. Honestly, I’ve become a little too calloused. I wasn’t even surprised. It’s only the second murder that I’ve known of in the nine years we’ve been in this neighbourhood, and I suppose some people live in neighbourhoods where there’s never been a murder, but, things continue to decline worldwide. I no longer feel shocked by so many things that even just a handful of years ago would have shook me. This, a murder by the school on a Saturday night, nope, didn’t seem to rattle me.
We are all tainted by the needed numbing to survive. Once upon a time, I would have cried at this news even tho I didn’t know the young man. Today, I saw the flowers where he’d been shot down, and simply looked away and hoped that if there had been blood, the melting snow and wet rain has washed it from the grass so the kids won’t see. What a terrible world. How thankful I am for the hope of Jehovah restoring the earth to paradise conditions and this old disgusting way being expunged from my mind. It can be overwhelming if you let it in too deeply. It’s a fine balance to remain sensitive but not too sensitive. What a terrible and necessary thing, to intentionally stop-up the emotions just so as to not be torn apart by them.
And her poetry, like rain Can soothe while she screams in pain
And every echo has a ring
Every truth, a hallowed sting.
Singing the dust-songs of Death
She grasped to Life
Till her last poetic breath
And when her lips could sing no more
The Grave sealed shut its broken door
Knowing not it’s lock was stuck
The Grave licked its lips
Thinking, “ah this stroke of luck”
To catch her as she whispered sweet
A lovely morsel, a delicate treat
Captive now, within his clutch—But Death always did boast too much
When all had settled—
The dust, the pitch,
God undid the broken hitch
Out she came
Soft, fair, and light
The songs she held,
Warm & bright
The light, touching that thin hem
Of breast-bone & breath
This rarity of she, God’s precious gem
Released from this unruly Death
the roughness of gentility—
this art of breaking bones
with a most intense kindness
I do dream, in close, tired shades of hope—yes even hope gets tired, swallowed & silent, as again, we are overwhelmed & slightly broken on the rigours of life. If I scream, but a little louder, will it rouse, like a bird nestled quietly, upon its winter bough, to heave, loud & squawking to flight—chasing the light. Chasing the light.
that embittered dog—tugging
the leash loosed
my mind’s vacancy stumbled along
tugged & a little bloody kneed
this is the blundering agony
running wild running
open tonguing imagining itself free
headlong into every avenue
of suffering, the racing rabbit,
a carrot—strange green
the pit of my stomach has
that hollow hunger even after eating
i grabbed hold the leash,
tongue hanging, a twisted choke—
my fingers wrenched & lungs ragged
we stuggle to breathe—
a moment is skinned in panic
the rabbits all running wildly
•patience• is a long lesson
it has a particular uneasy twitch
that must be suffered through
•joy• learning to let go of the tears as i cry
•mildness• despite angers full bite, the satisfying bite denied
•self control• a fragrant smoke rising off its warmth, my skin scorched
•peace• having chewed my knuckles raw, i watch the blood drip from me
•goodness• the bile of my mind is disintigrating the last hard bits
•faith• all those rabbits running by—i sit, quiet, alert, eyes to the sky
•meekness• tongue bit between my teeth until the taste of tin is sweet
•love• i set my soul in an unmarked grave
the dog at my feet, flinches,
chasing a rabbit
in its dreams
i’m forging joy, comfort,
where despair once lived—
& it’s a heavy work
the sorrows come calling
there’s so much for them to
feast on, they’re screaming, cooing, hungering,
sickly & sucking,
every thing, every thing
i submerge their angry groan
i listen to their high pitched hiss
i’m forging joy, comfort,
where in those human moments
there was none
i’ve known more agonies
than sweet whisperings
as we all do, we are not alone
i cast my soul, what a burden,
on your shoulders,
& can you lift me? God,
do you want to?
—with a warm hand
clutched tight around
the anguish of my heart
the heaviness rising
have i ever known this
strange word ‘comfort’
in any other arms?
the comfort cools down
the night wind rising
i forge this
in the fires of
humanity’s hell—a graveyard
where every loved thing
& the agony only gets
more agonizing, yet
here i am, comforted,
in the long dark of night
despite my fears, failures,
fractures, i see the
comfort of your light