New Year

I no longer resolve,fatigued by my own failure,all previous years’ zeal turnedto crumbs surrounding my table. Instead I will sweepand, in sweeping, take noteof these archeological layers,the fossils of all these discarded selvesand all I thought I could be: the days I failed myself before sunrise,the anger that burned before the day felt its heat;theContinue reading “New Year”

Advent 5

As a child, it was alwayspure anticipation, the sense of somethingpouring out of a constantlyself-filling source, readying itself solelyfor our delight. Now I keepthe list running in my head of allthat is not yet done, might not be done withoutmy doing. Though gifts still beckon, so toothe slowly nagging sense of somethingthat must be filled,Continue reading “Advent 5”

Waiting 7: Huldah

When the king, garments torn with grief at the broken law,sent messengers to me in hopes of hope,I thought at first, Have you come to me, notJeremiah, looking for a mother insteadof a firebrand? It mattered little.You cannot soothe a fire with lullabies,can only shout loud and clear that the whole town might hear.For sometimestheContinue reading “Waiting 7: Huldah”

Waiting 4: Miriam

Forty decades in the desert and we were worn down, weary from our weakness, despairing of doubt,catching past only in fragments like morning manna: a whiff of Egypt’s garlic, a vague floating thought of dangerslurking like crocodiles in the Nile.Some fragments heavied us with the burdens of their memories: water bursting angrily from rock,rebellions andContinue reading “Waiting 4: Miriam”

Resurrection Bread: A Holy Week Poem

This week, in the lead-up to Easter, my personal thoughts about the Resurrection found themselves expressed in the form of a sourdough starter that I was growing from scratch. Each day I wrote a five-line reflection on the process. While Jesus’ death and resurrection is of a scale far bigger than anything growing in aContinue reading “Resurrection Bread: A Holy Week Poem”

40 Days of Mercy Week 6: Mercy at the Cross

As we move closer to the time of remembering Jesus’ death, this week’s poem comes from Ukrainian-born poet Anna Akhmatova, whose poem sequence “Requiem” explores the grief that she and others witnessed of the height of Stalinist rule. One striking image that Akhmatova returns to continually throughout the sequence is that of a mother mourningContinue reading “40 Days of Mercy Week 6: Mercy at the Cross”

40 Days of Mercy Week 5: Mercy out of dust

I’ve wanted for a long time to write a series of reflections on the poetry of Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Nelly Sachs. That will have to wait for another time, but this week’s poem comes from a sequence of hers called “In the Habitations of Death”, where imagery of death, dust, longing and encounteringContinue reading “40 Days of Mercy Week 5: Mercy out of dust”

Ordinary Wednesday: Waiting for fruit

The gap between Easter and Advent has seemed especially long this year. Perhaps this is because of the discipline I’ve undertaken of writing a weekly reflection throughout all of Ordinary Time, perhaps the slow drag of lockdown. But this year I have felt every week of Ordinary Time as though it should be over andContinue reading “Ordinary Wednesday: Waiting for fruit”

Ordinary Wednesday: I am not a calm blue ocean

Something I have been thinking about a lot this year is how to be what rabbi and psychologist Edwin Friedman called a “non-anxious presence”. Friedman observed that tight-knit communities like families and churches often had such complex networks of relationships and emotional histories that addressing one relational issue was often difficult because of all theContinue reading “Ordinary Wednesday: I am not a calm blue ocean”