Ordinary Time

Meanwhile, pluck tomatoes
ripe from the garden.
Watch the quinces shed their fur,
turn late-summer-yellow,
and burst with promise while
cockatoos eye them off.
Check the peaches.
See the opening flowers on the lemon tree.
Cut the roses, deck the table.
Water, plant and wait.
Number days and count the joys
and trust that tears shall cease.

Bloom

Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
(Psalm 126:5)

You’ll be glad to hear your tree is sprouting leaves
and in the midst of blossom, tiny fruit.
Your little brother’s learning all the names
for almond, flowering gum and bottlebrush;
yet you by now will know far more than this.
The grass is thriving; this week we had it mown
and all about’s the fragrance of fresh lawn.
All this you’ve never seen: the buzzing stuff
of life, but life for us waiting like
an almond tree, a hopeful Jesse-shoot.
The bursting things of spring have nothing on
the harvest feast that sings where you now dwell.
We never knew your smile, yet this we’ve known:
for every tear we’ve shed, a seed is sown.

Advent 4: The Fruit

Climb the rugged beam to see
the scurry of life around the tree:
lion and baby, adder and lamb,
sheltered in this outstretched hand.
Thick with promise, the leaves gather birds
and the birds whisper secrets in long-forgotten words.
Turn your ear from self to sky
to hear the heavens in reply:
There’s hope for cut-down trees, the song
echoes in the on-and-on.
Lift your anxious stumpy fists
and open fingers out to grip
the hope that bursts, the life that beats.
Barren soul, the first fruit’s here.
A little child leads.

Week of the Figs and Peaches

image

First the long wait:
trees stubborn in their stasis,
only buds, only
promises unyielding to the squeeze.
Then –
overnight almost!
an abundance attracting the birds,
the sun.
Come to their trees and find them burst open,
drinking in the light,
or the semi-spoiled meal of toddlers pecking on passing by.
Neglect for a minute and ripeness turns to rotting;
at the right time, they will drop
at your fingers’ lightest touch.
Too much; preserve what you can,
before the thieves of beak and day render worthless
on your watch.

Catechism 50

image

What does Christ’s resurrection mean for us?
Christ triumphed over sin and death by being physically resurrected, so that all who trust in him are raised to new life in this world and to everlasting life in the world to come. Just as we will one day be resurrected, so this world will one day be restored. But those who do not trust in Christ will be raised to everlasting death.
(New City Catechism)

And so, like the first fruits, He shows us what will be,
like the early fig I saw when winter had ravaged the tree:
hopeful, I return every day, expectant of the taste.
So it is for the spirit.

Sometimes its workings are invisible
yet it is firm, this life which grabs you, arrests you.
Step out and see. Today is not like that first garden.
That day we clutched onto life that was not ours
This will not end. Though it linger, wait.

First you ate the fruit of death; now life’s fruit is on the tree.
You sow each day; tomorrow, reap
what life or death may bring.

Mark 11

No doubt
if food was all that He required
He could have made it bear for Him
but leaves had presaged early fruit
and nothing showed there yet.

Not the season
for figs, and yet
He who made the fig tree sprout
could change the seasons with His will.
If curses worked, then why not blessings?
Why leave it languishing?

Inside His house,
perhaps the answer: His tree,
His orchard, refusing fruit.
The the clay says to the potter, Why?
O God, we ask, and yet we trust
for daily signs of fruit on us.

We cannot grow alone.

Lent 8: Wednesday of First Week

Bali_045_-_Ubud_-_tree_roots

 

Roots grow deep in rich or sickened soil;

Trees bear fruit to turn their insides out.

 

Many come with leaves which win, beguile:

Look again when fruit’s season arrives…

 

Plant yourself in soil, rich and deep;

Watch the good fruit burst forth from your stems.

 

Do not let gloss or sheen of leaves deceive:

Only roots which draw from Him will live.