cronechronicler

Exploring the poetry of everyday life

Love in a Small Package

A little boy, five years old
Part of church on Sunday morning
In the circling of people
Passing peace to one another
Dutifully but unconcerned
He puts up with us

Today like other Sundays
He accompanied his mother
Sitting quietly in a pew
However unlike other Sundays
Prayers were offered for his father
And recovery from a stroke

In the passing of the peace
I offered sympathy and hope
To the mother and her son
He smiled and reached out for my hand
As if to say he always knew
That love was passed with peace

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Redefinition

To make an end is to make a beginning
The end is where we start from

T.S. Eliot

Thanksgiving time three years ago
A sudden meltdown shock occurred
Within my gathered family
Exposing long forgotten faults
We could not comprehend
Or figure how to heal
Youngest son’s deep woundedness

Two years more time passed
Again we were together
As a family at the beach
Stroke affecting wife of eldest son
Diagnosed the week before
Yet still they joined in our midst
Received our help and warm embrace

Tomorrow’s Independence Day
We celebrate as family
Grateful that the youngest son
Will bring kids and his wife
Whose recent cancer surgery
Revealed chemo yet to come
Love will be given and received

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Reverie

The setting was a business meeting
On a hot summer day the AC chilling the air
I must have shivered a bit
In response the gentleman arose
Crossed the room and wordlessly returned
To drape across my shoulders a soft, white shawl.

Quiet courtesy yet so much more to me
When had anyone made me feel so comforted?
Time out of mind when I was young perhaps
And took such things for granted
Now it was a gift beyond compare
To make an Elder Woman feel beloved.

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Wings

Once I flew on shiny wings of steel
Wings that bore me far away
To continents and countries new
To places where my heart was intertwined
With people and a life I learned to treasure dear.

Today I fold those steely wings and rest
My tired body bids farewell to travel days
Gently lifting new wings bear me home
To see beauty in the life that welcomes me
And joy in my beloved family.

Spring came the week I was away
Green leaves and flowers everywhere
Sound of birdsong in the early morn
Mind and my imagining are free to roam
Precious new wings expand my universe.

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Saga of an Odd Mom

Once upon a time, I was born in Houston, Texas. We lived a Saturday Evening Post – Reader’s Digest sort of existence in a residential area of the city. When I was ten years old my dad decided he wanted to be a farmer and moved us to Greenwood, Mississippi where a friend of my mother’s who had been her Matron of Honor in their wedding lived.

The Mississippi Delta was an eye-opening world for me. It was a William Faulkner – Carson McCullers version of the deep South with a hint of Margaret Mitchell thrown in. My female friends and I pulled in our belts to have a seventeen-inch waist like Scarlett O’Hara. I read Gone With the Wind religiously every three years. People prided themselves on being eccentric and worldly-wise. One of my parents’ friends who lived on a cotton plantation in a neighboring county was the only subscriber of the Wall Street Journal in the entire county. My parents found a place for themselves on the fringes of society. My friends were so unusual I felt the only thing outstanding about me was that I was perfectly ordinary. I also made good grades and was declared the “Most Intellectual Girl” my Senior year in high school.

My college years passed and phased into marriage and family. That was the expected order of things. In college I was an English major, continuing my life-long love of reading. I married my childhood sweetheart – though no fireworks lit up the sky. I gave birth to three sons. Being Mom is the center and soul of my life.

Years passed. My sons began to engage life on their terms. I found space to have my own dreams and allow myself to follow them. God had long been an important part of my being. However, I felt something was lacking in the church I belonged to. I embarked on what I called “my conscious spiritual pilgrimage”. A Pastor at the church told me of a retreat center that offered an amazing new way of bible study. It transformed my life. I decided to study at a theological seminary with the intention of becoming an ordained minister. I thanked the excellent student I once was and upon whose shoulders I now stood. I never doubted I would accomplish my goals. I did. I became Rev.Mom.

I celebrated my fiftieth birthday while I was in seminary. My faculty advisor asked what I wanted to do now that I was fifty. I answered “Become an original”. I wanted to quit living up to what I thought was expected of me. I wanted my “no’s” to mean “no” and my “yes’es”, yes. Several years later, after parting from my childhood sweetheart husband I followed my bliss to Chicago to marry another class mate from Greenwood whom I had run into at our 40th High School reunion.

My second husband and I traveled – a lot. We were in Denver at the Naropa Institute when I heard the poet David Whyte read some lines of his poetry. “Sometimes everything has to be enscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you.” The “small, bright and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart.” The original of me!

Again I moved on from marriage and moved back to Cleveland where I had lived with my first husband. Two of our three sons live here with their families. I did not want to get to the end of my life without living close to my grandchildren. I chose not to end life as a bitter old woman.

Five years ago one of my sons suggested I start a blog. My first theme was the David Whyte quote and a major category was Becoming an Original. I was still on that path. And then a light bulb blazed.

Last Sunday I invited my sons and their families to join me for a local production of Godspell held in my church’s basement and then pizza at my apartment afterwards. In conversation around the table the question of the dates of their dad’s and my birthdays arose. One is on the eighth of February and the other the ninth of December. They had just missed their dad’s because of the confusion. My oldest son Bob said he had a way to remember – his dad’s is the even date 8 because he is sort of square. Mine is the odd date 9 because I am odd. I pondered his meaning for two days and then asked him in what way am I odd. He replied that he knew his mom was odd a long time ago. Other mothers didn’t go to a mountain retreat center that the Appalachian Trail runs through and certainly not to Chicago to attend seminary once a quarter for five years. And then I got it. Odd in his eyes is not a bad thing. There is nothing like your child’s “getting” you. I am on top of the world. It’s like finding the bluebird of happiness in my own backyard. I am even forgiving myself for not being a typical grandmother. As I consider how my sons’ lives unspool I realize that I passed on some of my oddness to them, and even to my grandchildren.

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Haiku: Fare Forward

Year draws to a close
Peer ahead into unknown
Dreams for the asking

Love, peace, forgiveness
Beyond our imagining
Free flowing justice

Harvest of riches
Strive for the impossible
Believe, be surprised

In Response to the Daily Prompt: Extravagant

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Haiku: Mixed Blessings

My friend died last week
Departure unexpected
Legacy breathes on

Glory and heartbreak
Alike make new beginnings
Odd gifts to embrace

Daily Prompt – Expect

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Saying Goodbye

Belle died at noon on Saturday
She left in peace with family around
Her ninety-seven years a testament
To life well lived and loved.
A friend to us who knew her well
She left a vacancy not soon filled

This morning the swimming pool is blue
Sun and fair skies foretell a lovely day.
Belle loved the pool in Summer
And sunning on the patio in Autumn
When falling leaves transformed the color scheme
Before Winter sent Belle back inside.

We played our Scrabble-like word game Royalty
By the pool or in the Party Room upstairs
Belle was the queen who beat us all
At forming words some of her own creation
She seemed to pull letters out of nowhere
To fashion words sometimes bizarre.

Belle is gone and yet I see her everywhere
Dressed in her Thriftique classy clothes
Speaking out to bring justice to the world
Celebrating Seder with generations of her family
Including us as her adopted relatives
Teaching us the ropes to vote absentee

Belle has been freed from suffering.
It was a grief to see her bowed so low
My heart rises remembering the wonder
Of the very special person that Belle was
Now living on in vibrant memories.
I did not know loss could produce such gain.

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Legacies Passed Upward

Once upon a time I was mother of three sons
Fathers now who between them have four more
And two young daughters.
I never gave a thought to reaping
After youthful sowing bore its fruits.
Grandmothers receive gifts
Bounty never dreamed of.

One son recently shared the story
How heĀ  taught his son to shave.
Another son passed on the news
Son’s camp counselor summer job
Included learning leadership
Sharp skills to serve him well
In the wider world one day.

Two younger sons, cousins
Surprise us all with expertise
Creative eyes see like engineers.
Another son, the one who shaves
Is showing signs as a musician
Following his father’s dreams.
The little girls still lovely mysteries.

Mothers blessed become grandmothers.
A further generation bearing treasures
Returns its priceless gifts to me.
I watch my sons now fathers
Shape their children lovingly
Guiding them into a future
Unrevealed but which offers hope.

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Haiku: Respite in Time of Strife

Living in the now
Time of mind and memory
Not how clock tells time

Moment sweet to breathe
Feel the heartbeat of the earth
Sense deep wells within

This is nature’s gift
Peace, tranquility abide
Feathered hope also.

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