The Epistle reading today, from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, includes this prayer:
“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all …”
Let your love increase and abound. Love one another. More than loving one another in the group of Christians in Thessalonia, love all—love those inside the group, those outside, all people.
Paul’s admonition brings me back to a poem that came to me through a friend and has stayed with me over the past few months. “A Great Need” was written by the Persian poet Hafez, who lived in the 14th century.
Amazed at morning bird songs,
numerous, varied, and incessant,
I looked up, even knowing most birds perch
out of sight, hidden in a leafy canopy.
One tall bird, large claws curled around the power line,
hooked beak, white chest softly spotted,
full-grown and fearless,
stared back at me.
Captured, though not prey,
I stood and snapped photos of the falcon,
watching until he flew away.
Ever since that morning,
I look up at the power lines above the golf course fence.
Though I have not seen another falcon,
mourning doves delight me daily.
Early summer mornings,
the sun rises copper penny bright
shining in a gray sky
casting no shadows
yellow and fuzzy, blurred
in a hazy white sky
showing soft shadows,
their edges indistinct.
I remember piercing blue July skies.
I see pale blue and white and gray.
and now this new season
I never wanted to see.
An orange and white sawhorse blocks
my sidewalk. Annoying enough, but now
it gives orders, too.
"Cretin Avenue ped detour turn right."
sidewalks torn up, carted away,
dirt topped with gravel, smoothed,
covered in concrete again.
"Cretin Avenue ped detour turn left."
I ignore orders, walk
One morning, the mechanical voice changes,
speaks with a Boston accent:
"It’s a pedestrian detour, Georgie.
Everybody turn right heah!"
I stop, wave at it,
listen as it repeats,
go on with a smile.
Soon sidewalk subversion claims another corner.
A woman's voice proclaims
"Peace on earth! Turn right!"
And then another:
"Burning bright day! Turn left!"
In a few days, Boston changes his message:
"It's a pedestrian detour.
all hard working American taxpayers turn right!"
The streets belong to the people.
“The power to inspire is rare,” Ted Kennedy advised Barack Obama as he sought advice about running for president (69). Obama seized that power, inspiring legions of young (and not so young) supporters to carry him into the White House. That inspiration surfaces in many parts of this first volume of his presidential memoirs, as Obama holds fast to a belief in American ideals, despite a clear-eyed understanding of just how far American reality is from those ideals.
parents seeking safety send six-year-olds, sixteen-year-olds into the river, a Sophie’s choice claiming hope.
In Washington, cherry blossom spring blooms like a female black Asian American daughter of immigrants vice president standing alongside an old white male president and the pastor of Dr. King’s church, now Senator from Georgia and a descendant of Jewish refugees, now Senator from Georgia.
Inevitably, Republicans vow that will never happen again, changing Georgia voting laws because the only way to win is to keep people from voting and by God, we will do that.
Intersectionality looks like an AR-15 dealing death to Asian women at the intersection of race and gender in Atlanta.
Across the country, 10 more random dead in Boulder join the annual parade of homicide and suicide that stretches forty thousand long
(how many blocks is that? how many marching bands? how many mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers? how many tears?)
while a Senator who lives at the intersection of arrogance and ignorance rants that every time this happens, you people you people talk about gun control again.
Just like every other time, he and his kind make sure that talk remains only talk that there will be a next time and a time after that.
Despite spring storms, tornadoes, floods and filibusters, sun returns, green grows, hope endures and so do we.
I’d like to know the why of spring: why some puddles freeze on sidewalks overnight even though the temperature never falls below freezing, why snow here melts gurgles down gutters and there gathers over grass in piles of ice.
I’d like to know when frost rises and how deep it goes and whether it comes out with a rush or slowly, inch by inch.
I prefer to ponder spring and to ignore the why of my aging bones or worse: the why of us, the corporate us, retaliating bomb for bomb lobbed at our soldiers, but daring only diplomatic displeasure at the dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi.
On this sun-warmed day, I watch for cautious green arrows sent by flowers into another uncertain March, and try to believe in the ultimate efficacy of effort against the bitter winter of our failures.