Your Monday Blessing

Your Monday Blessing: when god was pregnant (5/11/2015)

when god was pregnant

when god was pregnant
her belly swelled up like song
’til she was rounder than the seasons of the world.
her legs grew larger than the questions
raised by wondering boys,
her breasts filled the emptiness
of one moment’s yearning for another.

when god was pregnant the angels
fetched cold towels and practiced breathing,
learning anticipation: an artifice born of desperation,
a waiting room trick, muttering
love into the dark places.

when god was pregnant she ached. she cried.
she howled at her own power to ruin
a comfortable past. her heaves were not just
the time and tides, but divulged
the naked risk of life itself. her sovereign choice
was to become strong enough
to tear apart all plans, to break open the careful hold,
to lose control and therefore gain the loss.

small wonder we carry a little of her madness, and tend
to give our hearts away to make us whole.


Your Monday Blessing (5/4/15 – a repeat)

May the shining sun be itself,
the river otter be itself,
the saguaro cactus be itself,
the pebble be itself,
the red ant be itself,
the furthest relative rock in the universe be itself,
the unfolding lily be itself,
the honest tear be itself,
the breath be itself,
the flying squirrel be itself,
and you be yourself.


Your Monday Blessing (4/27/15)

Our world is constantly evolving,
changing all the time,
and it happens so gradually and so mysteriously,
that we mortals can but wonder at the way
that rocks may become life,
and dinosaurs may become birds,
and we become…who knows.

We are constantly evolving,
changing all the time,
and it happens so gradually and so mysteriously,
that we can but wonder at the way
that despair might soak up a ray of hope,
that sorrow can turn into wisdom
or even joy.

We cast our lives in awareness
that yet more changes will surely come,
and the only thing we can be certain of,
other than change,
is that we have already been so fortunate
to inherit the many blessings of being alive
on this beautiful earth:
the blessings of wonder, the blessings of
connectedness with our neighbor,
of being a part of it all,
the blessings of gratitude.
It’s a beautiful day,
it’s a beautiful earth,
and we are glad to be here.


Your Monday Blessing: The Man in the Ice Cream Truck (4/20/15)

The extra verses of your life
Are written in a foreign hand
And possess an uncertain beauty –
The cadences are all ungainly,
Or else far too cutesy.
You almost fear they’re written mainly
To impress, an order forced upon the finished world,
A trespass on the full mystery of less.
But who are you, now, to countermand?

The extra verses of your life
Carry truths half-told
And deeds half done.
They write that you have won.
When the facts are much more messy,
The will left on the table,
The house that’s bought and sold.
Your dinner, once at least, grew cold.
But is the preacher telling fables
To admit that you were blessed
Into the realm where pain is turned to stone,
And stone to breach, and breach to life,
And life to marble, glass, and bone?

The extra verses of your life,
After you give up your pen,
Will turn life back around again
To the word, in whom we reside.
So trust, in this accepted time,
That all you leave outside the Temple
Will work its way to the Beautiful Gate,
Which is to say, you won’t be late
And all that you are not is ample
To raise the only mostly dead.
And in your stead, we the living
Will not be false in giving hope.
For we know, in our blundering, lumpish wise,
That all choirs live to reprise,
And all life lives to be heard, and said,
Long, long after the final lines are read.


Your Monday blessing: The extra verses of your life

The extra verses of your life
Are written in a foreign hand
And possess an uncertain beauty –
The cadences are all ungainly,
Or else far too cutesy.
You almost fear they’re written mainly
To impress, an order forced upon the finished world,
A trespass on the full mystery of less.
But who are you, now, to countermand?

The extra verses of your life
Carry truths half-told
And deeds half done.
They write that you have won.
When the facts are much more messy,
The will left on the table,
The house that’s bought and sold.
Your dinner, once at least, grew cold.
But is the preacher telling fables
To admit that you were blessed
Into the realm where pain is turned to stone,
And stone to breach, and breach to life,
And life to marble, glass, and bone?

The extra verses of your life,
After you give up your pen,
Will turn life back around again
To the word, in whom we reside.
So trust, in this accepted time,
That all you leave outside the Temple
Will work its way to the Beautiful Gate,
Which is to say, you won’t be late
And all that you are not is ample
To raise the only mostly dead.
And in your stead, we the living
Will not be false in giving hope.
For we know, in our blundering, lumpish wise,
That all choirs live to reprise,
And all life lives to be heard, and said,
Long, long after the final lines are read.


Your Monday Blessing – Easter

For your Monday blessing, Easter edition, a gorgeous poem by Rev. Victoria Weinstein, “Being the Resurrection”.


Your Monday Blessing – Palm Sunday

the power to change the world
came into the city,
it arrived, it is said,
riding on a donkey.

The power to change the world –
not merely
to secure the diadem of successive kings,
holding it tightly in the flesh until the bone is revealed,
not just
to push the other fella off the top,
to play king of the spinning ball –
but the power to make a glory
out of the mystery of the world

is even now
being jostled and bruised
by an inelegant and lovely brute,
an ass doing its very best
to carry the load,
a dear old living lump of effort and matter,
grunting with effort,
as sure as the gravel
on which it clatters.

The power that has and can and will,
the power to change the world,
is holding on for dear life,
hugging the mule’s neck with all might and maybe,
while laughing so hard
that the pools of tears shake
as they catch the light.


Your Monday Blessing (3/16/15)

may the love in your heart be exceeded only by
the ever-unfolding, mysterious grandness
of the o so many all and each worth loving


Your Monday Blessing: Happy St. Patrick’s Day! (3/9/15)

May your friendships be richer than gold,
And love more expected than the rain.
May your life be long in kindnesses,
And may your days be God’s way
Of smiling at the world.


Your Monday Blessing: The Bridge in Selma (3/2/15)

The promised land was guarded
By water cannons and dogs of war.
The dreaming people linked arms
And crossed the bridge. Every army
Has carried the rightness of their cause,
But where, throughout history’s endless mausoleums,
Do we find this rightness
Borne as an army’s sole might and force?
We saw on that Sunday
God creating a new thing on the streets of Jericho,
An army that marched with Jesus and not behind him,
An army that assumed the peace that is upon the Prophet.
The hostile world was all but defenceless.
It killed. It maimed. It tore and cut. It lost. We won.

Let not our desire to stand in the light of history
Trespass upon the truth: the bridge is still guarded.
Some nights we keep watch on the walls of Jericho,
Tapping our feet to far-off music
On solid rock. The ownership of dreams
Destroys what it means to defend.
May our call to prayer be loud and brash enough
To melt these hearts of iron,
For every rail Tubman carried is available to us.
We, the people, hear a new song,
Stirring the souls of women, jolting the souls of men:
Onward. Past the walls. Over the bridges.
Into the heavenly city, where we have been waiting
For us to arrive, with open arms.


Your Monday Blessing: Live Long and Prosper (3/2/15)

Two children of Jewish immigrants. A factory worker’s daughter.
A preacher’s kid. A D-Day vet. A boy from the internment camps.
They put their shirts on, walked into the studio, and explored the galaxy together.
The Captain of their crew
Had directed bombing missions in the Pacific theatre, in a Flying Fortress.
Had been a cop. Believed in a better world.
So they put on their shirts, the ship’s insignia on their left breast,
And blasted off, to new planets
Of balsa wood and polystyrene. And the world marvelled.
Not at the aliens, with their foam heads and babbling tongues –
We’ve known aliens since the caves. We have always looked out at the rocks
And seen something fearsome ambling along.
No, we marvelled at the humanity.
Oh, the humanity.
All the people, in a room together – in space – and they find a way
To get along.
All the people, in a room together – in space – arguing and joking,
Compassionate and logical, finding strange new worlds
Of human potential. On the move, and in peace.
A humanity so civilized
It didn’t ride in on another’s backs.
And one of them had pointy ears. And served well. And carried a blessing.
And even the Klingons
Have a past, even the Klingons
Have possibility.

Then the working day ended and the actors
Took off their shirts, with the insignia on their left breast.
Walked out of the studio.
But their old home was not there. The world had moved.


You Monday Blessing: The Fix (2/23/15)

The Fix

I’m on my second glass of New Year’s Eve,
and not as young as I used to be,
but old enough for old friends.

The nymphs course through the living room,
shrieking the wordless songs of ecstasy,
while we, the newly ancient ones,
fixed stars from the last century,
wonder aloud if ten o’ clock is a suitably indecent hour
to call it a night.

I grow old, I grow old:
probably older than Ryan Seacrest by now,
and old enough to imagine being
Dick Clark.
And yet my friends are older, too.

Been a hard year, in places.
A diagnosis here and there,
dragons penned in the charts of loved ones’ journeys.
Glimpses of the world beyond glimpses.
And the children, the sweet little joys casting long shadows
over the bow.
A good year to end with whisky.

It is there, drifting merry on the river
of forgetfulness (daughter of pain),
that the universe rasps her dirty little secret into my ear:

Not a one of us wins.

Not the rock star waiting on his heroin,
offering his liver to the mountain birds
who feast on those who love too recklessly.
Not the oncologist whose life gets a little larger,
moves into the suburbs, and is done.

Nobody wins. Not a one.

Confederated by failure,
we have only the dreaming tide to pull us wayward,
and cast us each to the island of our reckoning.
What a slapdash old steamer,
what a flimflam manifest!
Evolution’s petty hustlers,
we fell from the trees and began at once
to make up stories above our heads.
How the captains in the drawing room
much shake with laughter,
when we put on airs!

An hematic warmth rises in me –
life, surely, or its reaction,
playing its jig in these dull bones.
It is New Year’s Eve. A new day, a new year,
will break upon all certainties,
absolving the murky depths.
The dragons will be dispatched,
the sirens put away,
as the whole earth gets plastered
with a warm and bubbly fizz.
And so I pray, oh damn-defying mystery,
let the day roll on
over kin and ken,
protect my friends in the hold of love,
and make of this leaky vessel
a cup of kindness.


Your Monday Blessing: Valentine’s (2/16/15)

The miracle is not that God
(or whatever eternal forces
conspire to take the form
of your granddaughter Sophie)
sent you a Valentine’s card.

The miracle is that God,
even now,
trembles on tenterhooks,
awaiting your response.


Your Monday Blessing: you are the salt of the earth (2/9/15)

You are the salt of the earth,
Keeper of life,
Carrier of the earth’s wisdom.
You add the flavor of earth, your mother,
And of sky, your father,
To all the proceedings.

Merely by being present,
You extend the life of mortal things.
Your greatest virtue
Is the ability to be absorbed.
The earth and sky, together!
And yet, with deliberation, or with its lack,
You can be used
To make the field barren.
Caustic devourer of spirit.

Earth-born, sky-born, good news!
This doubtful-seeming compound, your home base,
Is as dependable and sure as the stable.
Be who you are:
This cannot be taken from you,
Any more than the earth and sky be split in two.
Even if you were to be cast out,
Spilled across the ground,
Someone upon the wintry path
Might still praise the good to be found in you.


Your Monday Blessing: The Winter Spirit (2/1/15)
(with apologies to Mr. Dickens, and wishing him and his a happy 203rd birthday)

“Come in and know me better, man,” the winter giant roars,
He’s crammed your hearth with mistletoe while you were filled with snores.
He didn’t die with Boxing Day, or February’s chill,
The spirit drinks the season up, and never gets his fill.
“Come in and know me better, all, come sit beside the fire,
My spectral heft’s more real than many a funeral pyre.
You won’t find me tomorrow, man, I wasn’t here before,
I make the misers merry, then give the proceeds to the poor.
I’m larger than your bank account, more terrible than fear –
For whatever will befall you, it’s bound to happen here.
I am the present moment – ain’t I beautiful and bold?
Come, draw aside the curtain, the fire’s quickly getting cold.
Your virtue’s hidden in the vault – I have an extra key,
Tomorrow gains no interest from your strident misery.
Don’t build a shrine to someday, and store all your good deeds there,
While a child dwindles down to death, for lack of proper care.
In every home I travel to, I freely drop some balm,
The ones who know their need the most oft find my peace and calm.
The ones who know their need the least wrap arms around themselves,
And fight for their last raisin, while there’s turkey on the shelves.
The decent folk, they raise a glass, and speak to your good name:
Those profligate big spenders of compassion and acclaim.
Why revise their faulty figures, when you could just prove them right –
By rising every day, a little grateful for the light.
Come in and know me better, I am waiting for you here,
I’ll share of what I have, and I will keep you in good cheer.

“Much they saw, and far they went, and many homes they visited, but always with a happy end. The Spirit stood beside sick beds, and they were cheerful; on foreign lands, and they were close at home; by struggling men, and they were patient in their greater hope; by poverty, and it was rich. In almshouse, hospital, and jail, in misery’s every refuge, where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door and barred the Spirit out, he left his blessing, and taught Scrooge his precepts.” – A Christmas Carol, Chapter 3


Your Monday blessing: snow day! (1/26/15)

May blessings come into your life like snow,
Drawing eyes to wonder,
Melting on various tongues,
Urging warmth and comfort to turn inward, to the heart.
May the drops of heaven connect you to the living and the dead,
Burying the earth in mercy,
Carelessly bringing beauty to the face of the world.
May all normal business be constrained
By the sky’s love for the earth.
May the blessings in your life come freely,
And last for a time,
Enshrining footsteps,
Then abandon you, until the remembering ground sees fit
To give new life to old kisses.


Your Monday blessing: for Martin Luther King Day (1/19/15)

It is easy to see a threat
or a statistic
or a shadow
or a foreigner
or a project
or a failure
or the help
or a demon
we see these things as easily
as breathing
we can see them without seeing
any color in the world whatsoever

but to see a person
to really see a person
as we were seen
as we were known
as we were loved
from the balcony
from the hill
in Jerusalem
and even in Memphis
to see a person
as a person
takes the songs that sing freedom to sheriffs
and the love that carries hate on its back
and the no, the great no-nevers that are plagues
for the bus schedule souls that run this Auschwitz world
to see a person takes thousands of years
it takes the very lives of those who live unto their deaths
it takes a little faith
that would grow in the wounded cracks of our violent heart
it takes a little faith
that is why people find it so hard

just once
seeing a person’s
and their expression
and the size and content
of their life
which is as big as everything
you’ve ever known
and stretches far beyond the corners
of your control
imagine really seeing a person
as a person
and every ounce of their pain

imagine getting to see all that
imagine choosing to see all that

this is why the ages sing
so loud
as we stumble about with the eyes
we were born with


Your Monday Blessing: The Pact (1/12/15)

I’ll make a pact with you:
Today we make the world more beautiful.

Let us compose epics from the diner straws,
And draw breath as our gang sign.
The sky is full of pictures that can teach us Monday afternoon.
Someone has to define the mountains,
Or they will just stand there forever, unsaid.
Let us cast our bodies in any production
That is unfinished, and averse to the past perfect.

Today we take up the work
Of giving away our hearts
While they are still laughing.
The soul is an able farmer
Who would not be spoon-fed aphorisms;
Get up and milk the sacred cows.
Mouths talk tongue-sized truths,
While servant hands reap the harvest.

Let us be a little too kind
To the conmen and the saints
Who linger on Eighth, waiting for a singe.

Today we bake bread
From the flours the soldiers in the square
Have always carried in their secret compartments,
For a moment such as this.

Let us buss our ears with high pronouncements:
You must have passed the exit back there dearie,
Because half-assed was yesterday
And the wars have all gone home for their naps,
And it’s grown-up time now, children,
Time for the wise ones to play.

Let us be willing
To be mid-level managers of everything glorious.
You need to be pulling double shifts
At the assembly line of the numinous,
For it’s not a hobby, it’s a job;
It’s not a job, it’s a calling;
It’s not a calling, it’s the whole world gathering
In the interstellar space of your lungs.

I’ll make a pact with you:
Today we make the world more beautiful.
Today we look each other in the almost eye,
And feel the inward beating,
And say
I’m in.


Your Monday Blessing: The Phoenix 2015, by Cheryl DeDecker (1/5/15)

Your New Year’s Monday blessing comes to you from the pen of a friend and poet, Cheryl DeDecker. Thank you, Cheryl!

The Phoenix 2015

A sense of anticipation
And a dull sense of sadness
Both claiming space in her heart
At the same time
Dancing thoughtfully in the space
Between past and future
Acknowledging loss and joy
Faces–once so familiar
Now fading, like a sweet dream
She would hold on
If she could
If only she could
But now is the time for letting go.
Aches, cold.
Unwanted companions
Dull feathers
All color spent
In pursuit of bright dreams
Cover her
She is ready
Facing that last setting sun
Eyes closed, yet every cell aware
Sensing the light and colors
Red, orange, yellow
Shining upon her and through her
Yet not igniting yet
The spark begins
When she unleashes
And releases the flood
Of fears, insecurities, doubts
Want, Uncertainty, Anger…
With anger, the real flames begin
And burn
With consuming waves
Until the red of anger turns
To all white flame
Flickering with forgiveness now
And the dull feathers fall away
Or float away
Ash in the air
Leaving now the brightest crimson shades
The Phoenix
Beginning anew
She stretches in delight, breathes deeply
Filled with excitement and energy.
Possessing wisdom
Having overcome obstacles
Having been present
Opening her eyes and her heart
To hope,
And possibility.
Happy New Year!
May your heart be renewed and your spirit strengthened!

Cheryl DeDecker


Your Monday Blessing – Where the Old Year Goes (12/29/14)

There is an inn, where the old year goes,
On the far hill, where the crabgrass grows, and the honeysuckle,
Where the stones incline together, a few aurochs painted on their side,
Beneath the thatch of rusted armies and dried out empires.

They welcome him in, with a fireside grin,
And say, speak, old man,
Tell us of the summer you carry in your beard,
And the time the days kissed under the bleachers.
Then they light his pipe with the light of the moon,
And the spark of a young boy’s dreams.

Out in the world, the naked and the new take their customary precedence.
Here at the inn, the old wear tales,
And everything raw is addressed in candlelight,
Every emptiness between the stones kindly remembered.


Your Monday Blessing – A Room in my Heart (12/22/14)

Lord, I have prepared a little room in my heart
for the child who is the light of the world.
Nothing fancy: there’s hay everywhere,
I’m afraid, and beneath the mess,
the stone hasn’t been polished at all.
You know, I had always intended
to make this place more hospitable.
But perhaps, Lord, it will suffice.
I will light a candle tonight,
within my heart,
and await Her coming.
I have hung a sign on my heart
in paper and crayon: open.
There is room here for laughter, I swear.
There is comfort in the food trough.
Meanwhile, by this cradle of darkness
I will carry the wait lightly
and name it as holy.


Your Monday Blessing – star followers (12/15/14)

We, too, have followed a star.
Before Bethlehem, it lit the night in alien worlds,
resplendent, mattering much
to all those with eyes to see.
What ancient astrologers
tracked its course through their heavens,
and saw, in the infinite darkness, a sign
that turned the inside heavens upside down,
and moved old wisdom towards infant wonder?
Their journey is lost to us now.
Radio waves lap upon the rock,
but the scrolls are brittle,
and the bottles are sand.
The heralds of the mystery
have become what they proclaimed,
while the star they saw
shines weakly in humble cells.
Yet in this treasure chest I carry,
I can hear the faint echo of their footsteps,
and with each opening I can taste their sleepless joy,
as they cry yes,
yes, something good
will come of this.


Your Monday Blessing – Advent (12/8/14)

There will always be Herods in this world:
Petty men in large palaces,
Murderers of dreams.
And there will always be a little Herod in us,
Scribbling decrees
On our map of the Heavens.

There will always be Magi in this world:
Followers of the tiny spark,
Those who will go to the ends of the earth for wonder.
And there will always be a little Magi in us,
Wiser in our dreams
Than we know.

There will always be shepherds in this world:
Holy caretakers of little ones,
Whose service is interrupted by song.
And there will always be a little shepherd in us,
Berarers of heart-treasure
For the mother of the world.

There will always be angels:
Vast armies whose only power is praise,
The night’s manifold courage.
And there will always be a little angel in us,
Shining and singing our hearts out
For new life.

And the time will come. And love will be there, too.


Your (belated) Monday Blessing, from poet Mark Strand, who died on Saturday: (12/1/14)

Mark Strand
for Sharon Horvath

From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,
A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room
And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up
From your book, saw it the moment it landed. That’s all
There was to it. No more than a solemn waking
To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly,
A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that
Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm,
Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back, That someone years hence, sitting as you are now, might say:
“It’s time. The air is ready. The sky has an opening.”


Your Monday Blessing (11/24/14)

Food was growing before I ever knew hunger,
The world spun a thousand beats before my heart’s first gasp,
Friends wish me well, even when I’m sleeping,
And justice is a million years away, and happening now.


You Monday Blessing (11/17/14)

not the destination
or even the journey
but the day’s worth of road
with the mountains behind you
and the sun up there somewhere and
a grand, wondering maybe whistling through your bones
Your Monday Blessing (11/10/14)


May the night’s peace find its way into the day’s chaos,
Just as the day’s light glimmers on the night’s mystery.


Your Monday Blessing: all Souls Day (11/3/14)

& the letters not written
& the words that didn’t find mouths
& the kindnesses not enacted
& the reconciliations not achieved
& the embraces not extended
& the drawings left unfinished on the counter
& the apologies not made
& the apologies not conceived
& the dreams not built into the rock
& the gardens gone to seed
& the collective sacrament of justice

And the gratitude that shined forth eagerly
And the hope that carried many days on its back
And the compassion that housed a stranger
And the spark that knew only one name

There is one who cuts into every dance.
Let it be us, the living,
who complete the lives of the dead.


Your Monday Blessing: for Halloween (10/27/14)

Halloween blessing

There may come a time in life’s journey when thine own self
rings as hollow and false as an old fool in an usurper’s court.
Fear not.
Well, OK, fear a little, but wonder, too.
Pick up your plastic pumpkin and travel out past the cemetery,
(where all is mud, sweethearts and emperors alike),
out from the false gods to the dark forest
untroubled by hope.

You may well find, as the fearsome shapes
materialize before you into roots and branches,
that the infernal circles and poisoned swords you worry about
are as much your destiny as a dream,
a mere plaything for the mid-life mind.

And then, at last, you can be true
to who you are not, like the child
growing past herself into the world,
trying on outfits two sizes too large,
giggling at the soul’s vast power
to knock on the doors of absolute strangers, and become
whatever it takes
to taste of life’s sweetness.

There, beyond the wood,
by a strange light,
you find yourself recognized
for who you are not yet,
affirmed in your spells and transmutations,
and the sound of providence
will greet your beggars bowl,
as you turn around to see the stars again.


Your Monday Blessing: ‘Tis the Season (10/20/14)

Autumn’s ancient days are freshly here –
The fall of man’s ambition, bringing grace.
Angelic ghosts and costumed babes endear
The infant twinklings ‘neath the moon’s new face.
Delicious dark, your mystery unbound
Brings freedom to the sinner and the witch;
The chalice cup is filled, and bells resound,
For all who come with open hands are rich.
Night’s calm ceremony breaks the mourning fast,
Gives memory place of honor, next to joy:
A simple table set on a bloody past,
The generations kneel to play with toys.
The dreaming time has come – was always here –
The heavens tilt their lids, and she appears.


Your Monday Blessing (on Indigenous Peoples Day, 10/13/14)

The difference between
and forgotten
is justice.

Tombstones crumble,
but the pain that is etched in the blood of our family
sings, and sings, until the final hearing.


Your Monday Blessing (after Yom Kippur, 10/6/14)

To all those who I’ve wronged in the past year,
I would like to offer a surrender, and a truce.

First and foremost, the surrender: I give up
Trying to guard against your pain with my justifications.
One is flesh, the other iron; only one set of arms
Will ever truly grow, or heal.
I accept your reality, and mine, as sovereign
Over my concepts and ideals.

After a surrender, a truce is not mine to ask,
But the logic of mercy is not the rules of war.
Therefore, I would like to invite you and I to join forces
And take sides against my arrogance, ignorance,
Cowardice and sin. I’ll lead the charge,
If you’ll lend your fire to the forge.


Your Monday Blessing (9/29/14)

May your sorrows,
your regrets,
your mistakes,
your lost loves,
your false hopes,
the emotions that still cling to you,
the sadnesses of this world,
all change color into something beautiful
before they fall off the tree.


Your Monday Blessing (9/22/14)

May you live on the earth.

May the trees give you breath,
the rain give you movement,
the goods of the ground feed you
and fire keep you warm.

May you have a family of beings
that caused your coming,
and the coming of your family.

May you have another day amidst
this family of beings,
both living and dead.

May you live on the earth.
May you walk humbly, and know
where your heart belongs.


Your Monday Blessing (in advance of the International Day of Peace this Saturday, 9/15/14):

The Prayers of the Reluctant Lawn Mower

The prayers of the reluctant lawn mower
are answered by the rain. Another day
for reading books inside, to live in peace,
excuses falling from the sky as grace.
I ask forgiveness from the summer hands
who clasp at straws, and want for work today.
Though not so green to think my idle hopes
affect the water in our common bowl,
I guard against a desiccated heart
with tears for all who live under the sky.

A few unwhittled hours are gathered here,
a quiet grove where I can lay my head.
I may do nothing and call it worship.
I’m not as sharp as I once used to be –
more fit for children, a happy plaything,
a ragged form made gentle by much love.
Before too long my summer will be spent.
The harvest waits, the scythe that feeds the world.
I would be still, grow calm within these bones,
and someday yield the balance of my time.


Your Monday Blessing (on the occasion of the poet’s birthday, 9/8/14)

May wrinkles find their way into your face,
and may your hair turn white.
May your gait become a tottering challenge,
and may the noises of the world
retreat further and further from comprehension.
May words fail you.
May you know odd pains
in places you had forgotten existed,
May the cold creep a little closer
to your bones,
may you turn susceptible
to every idiotic malady under the sun.

This is no curse.

These little gifts for the lucky,
crescending notes in beauty’s urgent love song
for what is changing, and won’t last,
are candles that light the way
from a dark room
to another gorgeous, gorgeous, impeccable day.


Your Monday Blessing (Labor Day, 9/1/14)

Blessed be the work of your hands.
Whether you hold a welding torch, tap a touch screen,
tend to an elder, or clean a restaurant,
may the work of your hands be a blessing
to the world, and to you.
May your hands find connection
to the world’s need, helping one being
live a little better, and another.
May your hands be put
to meaningful use, treated well, and content
with the work.

Blessed be the work of your mind.
Whether you are creating, analyzing, observing,
learning, playing, loving, or grieving,
or just whiling away the tedious working hours,
may the work of your mind be a blessing
to the world, and to you.
May the seeds of your innermost mind
plant fruit trees in the world,
making life sweeter for one being, and another.
May your mind be challenged at times, rested at times,
engaged with the work of the world,
and free to whistle its own tune.

Blessed be the work of your time.
May the collected moments of your life
be a blessing to the world, and to you.
Your presence is a great gift, may it be recognized as such.
May your time be valued by others and by yourself,
and may your time give shelter
to one being, and another.
May the the healing, growing, saving, affirming, creating, changing
work of the world be accomplished through your time.
May you have rest time, too,
time to throw away liberally, conserving only love.
May your time be a house
raising many moments of joy and generosity,
and a dear home to you.



Won the lottery

Well, we won the lottery today, my friend.
Our eyes opened and the world woke up, the blood
of generations runs in rivers over our bones.
Above the waters, a wind.
One more pirouette belongs to us,
in the contracted dance.

Did you step outside your door,
and see how the stars have burned to warm your little treehouse?
And the outer wind
calls your secret name.

Today and tomorrow, and then we’ll be dead. So what?
Nobody brags about getting lucky twice.
This earthly round trip ticket will suffice
to spend the gold, until it’s time for bed.



My friend, I wish you:

warm clothes on your back,
clean water in your well,
a spark in your eyes,
money in your pocket,
something lovely in your hands, or at least useful,
not too much wax in your ears,
sharp and sturdy tools in your shed,
hope in your calendar,
a well-tended fire in your belly,
and the love of the world in your heart.



May pleasures fill your life as the rain of a storm fills hungry soil,
And your sorrows be a slight drizzle between rainbows.



Dedicated to you, beloved reader, and in honor of our 31st Musikfest music festival here in Bethlehem, PA.

May you know peace.
May the air above your town know music, not sirens.
May the streets of your city know dancing, not bombs.
May the work of your heart be the rhythms of peace.

And next year in Bethlehem – and in every town
made sacred by children’s prayers for peace –
may the call of peace ring out again:

“Smile on your brother,
everybody get together,
try to love one another
right now.”



May the wind reach your spirit,
today’s food reach your always joy,
the people in your life be the presence of the holy,
and the day be a welcome home.

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