Monday, February 29, 2016

Day 20. Lent

kehila kedosha

sit down, stretch
inhale the fragrance
of a place, listen
to the silence
does it sing
or hang, an
albatross in space,
decipher the unspoken
words, look at the faces
ask a question
seek an answer
do they invite you 
to walk along
do they open a door
and ask God
to enter,
this is a holy community
take off your shoes
and stay

kehila kedosha


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Day 19. Lent

To Be a Christian

        To be a Christian means to forgive
        the inexcusable because God has
        forgiven the inexcusable in you.
               C.S. Lewis

I'm amazed,
in awe,
of those who forgive
the inexcusable.
Until I stand
in that place
where words
won't help,
where belief and faith
become more
than phrases
I won't know
if I can forgive
the inexcusable
Is this the crucible
of my faith?

Day 19- Lent

             I missed Parshat Tetzaveh-- so I'm catching up.

Where Are the Mothers, Wives, Sisters?

There shall be twelve stones
with names corresponding to
the names of the sons of Israel.
   Exodus 28: 21

don't forget
each son's name
but what of the daughters
were we not part of the tribe of
Perhaps of Simeon,
Or maybe of Judah,
If not then of Zebulun or Issachar,
Or was it of  Dan or Gad,
Or Asher, Naphtali, Ephraim
Or Manasseh and Benjamin
Were we not the wives, mothers,sisters

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Day 18--Lent


Lord, I caught the current
and rode it until I tired,
then it dropped me back on shore
I walked along the edge
looking for the sea's detritus
I found shards of shells
good for stringing into necklaces,
 driftwood amulets filled with salt water,
 sea glass needing the swell of ocean
to smooth rough edges
Does the shard recall the shell,
the driftwood remember the tree,
the sea glass recall its form?
Does what is broken ever forget?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Day 17 Lent

A Forgiveness List

I forgive the woman who pushed in front of me at Starbucks. She probably suffered from  caffeine withdrawal and needed replenishment.

I forgive the cafe that charges the same price for an egg sandwich with or without meat. When queried on this practice they simply reply, " It's the same price."

I forgive the painter who forgot to put a final coat on the baseboard in the bathroom. The final coat was applied-- but he had long since disappeared.

I forgive the people who put up signage on our highways. They seem to think that decoding is a skill most motorists own.

I forgive the mailman who squeezed a box into our mailbox necessitating extreme measures to secure its release.

And a thanks to the barista at Starbucks who knows my order and makes me feel as if my tall decaf, no sweetener, no space, light on the ice, is as important as a huge sweetened double expresso with flavoring and whipped cream.

And thanks for a perfectly done egg sandwich on a bakery baked English muffin toasted just right.

And thanks to the painter who selected a perfect wall color.

And thanks for  the signs even if on occasion they require deciphering.

And thanks to the mailman who delivers my mail on the most inclement days and even climbs over snow.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Day 16. Lent


   Before we can forgive one another,
      we have to understand one another.
               ― Emma Goldman

step inside her shoes
put on his clothes
listen to their words,
become a shadow--
 until you get a grasp
on who is beneath the outer layer

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Day 15. Lent


            There is no condition for forgiveness.
             --Paul Tillich

cross out the ifs
erase the when's
checkboxes are out
ignore the stockpiled chits
bury excuses
open your hands
go bare footed

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Day 14th of Lent

      A healed memory is not a deleted memory.
          --Lewis Smedes

It isn't forgotten,
hangs around
ready to spring
unbidden, out into
the light --toting
two arm loads
of baggage

Monday, February 22, 2016

Day 13--Lent

No Room

          As long as you don't forgive, who and whatever it is
          will occupy a rent-free space in your mind
                   - Isabelle Holland

All those wounds
just banging around
inside your head
taking up space
When you try and move
away you bump into another
stack of grievances, each
one carries a story--
the detritus of unforgiveness

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Parashat Ki Tisa

Moses Asks and God Agreed

...for you have found favor
in my sight, and I know your name."
-- Exodus 33: 17

doesn't God know all our names
the threads to our past
the way we shape the day
our failings and our triumphs
the times we turn away, the times
we need someone to ask forgiveness
for us when we can't

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Day 11. Lent -/Political Forgiveness

I'm having trouble forgiving some Republican contenders who desire to be their party's nominee for president. The three top contenders frighten me because their views represent a narrow outlook. They go at each other with hammers-- trading barbs and half-truths. Their rhetoric  threatens me personally.

Perhaps I should pray that they soften their words, respect one another, and cease to demonize those whose opinions and views differ from their hardline.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Day 10 Lent


we wait for spring
for buds, for new growth
for change, for rebirth
and while we wait
we seek to find
a way to
hasten the time
all people will
share the peace
of spring

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Day Nine. Lent

Putting Away the Playing Pieces

           Always forgive your enemies-
          nothing annoys them so much.
                          -- Oscar Wilde

what can you do when
someone forgives you
and you want to hold
tight to your anger, your
outrage-- why can't we just
be locked in battle
forever going back and forth
knowing each part in the play
you upset the chess game
when you offer forgiveness

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Day 8 Lent

New Stories

Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.
-/(Luke 8:8 NIV)

Careful of what you hear
some words stick to you
and play over and over--
with discordant notes, shrill
exclamations, and tales
you've heard before
But other stories are told--
of a banquet of renewed life,
forgiveness and grace

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Day 7 Lent

Thy Name is Mercy

        When mercy seasons justice: therefore, Jew,
        Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
        That in the course of justice, none of us
        Should see salvation:..
                   -- Merchant of Venice.  Shakespeare

What mercy
the many condemned
to live in squalor, penned
up in their quarters, asked
to leave the premises, all
named with the same
epithets, accused as one?
 How often justice and mercy
 wear the name tags of those
 who wield the power.
Forgive us. Forgive them.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Day 6 Lent

Too Busy to Notice

        Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly.
        The hard truth is that all of us love poorly.
                    -- Henri Nouwen

  time continues
to move, not waiting
for a place to stop
to say words that
heal, words that offer
love, arms that encircle
Too busy to notice
that what's past
can't be found again
only forgiven

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Way

Parashat Terumah

And have them make me a sanctuary,
so that I may dwell among them.
--- Exodus 25:6

God figured it all out
every curtain, all the fixings,
all the details like threads
God wanted it just so,
comfortable, a place to stay
All they needed to do
was follow the blueprint
God is like that
He writes out lots of blueprints--
just asks us to follow

Day Five-Lent

     To Really See

 There is another kind of seeing
        that involves a letting go.
               --Annie Dillard

It's hard to move beyond the way you want things to end or proceed when you have plans for what will happen after the broken parts are put together, maybe the putting together isn't a healing just a way to stop repeating the same steps, but maybe the ending you want isn't possible and you need to look with new eyes at the other person in this conundrum  because if you truly look you may find that you can't have your ending

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Day 4 Lent

 Just Forgive and Move On

     Forgiveness means giving up
      all hope of a better past.
                 -Landrum Bolling

don't replay
that same refrain
the one you sang
until all worn down
frayed and tired
and still it stayed the same
woman, move on
forgive the song,
it's words and tune
or it will play you
until they lay you out
still humming that refrain

Friday, February 12, 2016

Day 3. Lent


     Hoping against hope, he believed.
             Romans 4:18

Hope is fragile
It may take years,
years when it seems
that nothing moves
Time resists
Perhaps doubt edges
into the hem of belief
Perhaps hope frays
away at belief
Yet to let hope die,
shrivel up and fall away,
is to live without light

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Day Two


There’s no point in burying a hatchet
if you’re going to put up a marker on the site.
                          --Sydney  Harris

She said  and then he said
and then she answered
just as he responded
At last he said, " Let's move on."
She said, " It's such a small thing."
He said, " I can't even recall how
and why we started arguing."
He put her responses in his pocket
She put his responses in her pocket
Someday they would be taken out,
shaken, sprinkled with salt
and used again and again
until all the markers came down
and their pockets emptied

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Day One --Ash Wesnesday

The Walk

You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
-- Mary Oliver "Wild Geese"

if walking on my knees
meant we walked halfway,
straight ahead, no loitering
if walking on my knees
meant that the door
opened more than the crack
we now peer through,
one both distant and polite
if walking on my knees
meant we stood next
to one another and shared
a silence filled with love
i'd walk on my knees

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The Art of Impolite Discourse

So today the people vote--in New Hampshire. What have we learned these past few weeks? Vitriolic verbiage is alive and well. Sarcasm rules the debate. Half told truths are doled out for the choir to hear and the undecided to absorb. We have listened to adults spend their orating skills on sound bites- sound bites that aim barbs at the other candidates. We hear each candidate extoll their virtues while deriding their foes. They act like playground bullies.

Monday, February 08, 2016

A Series of Mysteries

The snow insisted on having its way and the day filled up with white blotting out other colors leaving trees with layers of light snow allowing some bark to show markings that looked like words left unsigned and unfinished waiting to be deciphered by an artist who transforms the ordinary into mystery, the mystery written in scripture, the mystery spoken by shamans, the mystery poured out in sand, the mystery in the silence of prayers, the mystery sung in Gregorian chants, the mystery in chanting, the mystery of beads,the mystery of  the Kabbalah, the mystery of God, the mystery of light snow on bark

Sunday, February 07, 2016

At That Time

Parshat Mishpatim

        All the words that the Lord
        has spoken we will do.
                   Exodus 24:3

they mean to follow
they mean to obey
even words not yet heard
even the hard commands
the ones that ask too much
the ones that test them
in the days that follow
the days they wander

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Mexican Dinner

He peeled two avocados, sliced a tomato,
added onions, and spices to make the
a chunky guacamole. My recipe calls
for a blender and exact measurement.
I follow the written word, tablespoon by
tablespoon, ingredient by ingredient.
Sure mediocrity trumps a possible debacle.

Friday, February 05, 2016

When Did this Happen?

imagine a bulb that lasts for twenty years
imagine that you turned on a light and grew old
imagine that at some point the bulb outlasted you
 imagine that you now leave bulbs in your will
imagine knowing that what wattage was a life decision
imagine when  light bulbs lasted for months not years
 imagine throwing light bulbs away
imagine outliving your light bulbs

Thursday, February 04, 2016

After the Storm

Snow covered
tree limbs
and the sun
added rhinestones

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Two to Forgive

I counted what you did
words you threw my way,
how you slammed the door
I kept a list, wrote down
your hollow silence
Then I found my words,
words that wounded,
doors I closed
Scenarios altered
and I looked in the mirror

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


A spring rain anoints
 and  a pastor dips into holy water
Holy, Holy, Holy

Some waves carve calligraphy on the sand
Some waves bellow and slam into the sand

A  river follows its path
and a woman enters the ritual bath
Kadosh , Kadosh, Kadosh


Monday, February 01, 2016

Iowa Caucus

I'm willing to lick envelopes, call people,
attend rallies, write letters, speak out, if our country turns to someone whose agenda is so restrictive.

I know I'm jumping too quickly. But this is personal. The political is personal. And for many of us we an hear the footsteps.