“For Lent, 1966”

It is my Lent to break my Lent,
To eat when I would fast,
To know when slender strength is spent,
Take shelter from the blast
When I would run with wind and rain,
To sleep when I would watch.
It is my Lent to smile at pain
But not ignore its touch.
It is my Lent to listen well
When I would be alone,
To talk when I would rather dwell
In silence, turn from none
Who call on me, to try to see
That what is truly meant
Is not my choice. If Christ’s I’d be
It’s thus I’ll keep my Lent.

Madeleine L’Engle

You reading this, be ready


Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life –

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

How to be a teacher (nota bene)


Gratia plena for the gifts

to show, to share.

You must observe you are

the learner, the listener,

over and over

more than you are they who enter

a world – sharing people,

discomforted and

yearning. Listen to them,

hear their call, the voice

of all our selves.    


Be – with awareness of being

present in the here and now

allow eyes to join.

Listen and keep listening.

Welcome words of the wise;

guard against the self.

Guard against the pretension

that uplifts itself to inspire.

There are no know-it-all teachers

only hesitant beginners

growing in life, the teacher.


Welcome the begin agains.

Receive the moment’s surprise.

From the others the message;

not your own voice, slow and endless

learning to the one who teaches

be a teacher that grasped

always the begin again.

                                                                                                      ~ sonja s

~ an imitation of a poem by Wendell Berry

a trilogy of poems

a reflection on Edward Hirsch’s I am going to start living like a mystic


Poem the first

I am going to start living like a monk

Today I am wearing a tunic, a cowl, stockings and shoes
and walking to the church of this world’s flock.

The benches wait like emptied wooden arms about to brace
each body’s always we begin again –  solid, welcoming.

Stained fragments of gospels lighting the timeless presence
are the greeters of the veiled, the entering streets.

I will look at my neighbours as longing for answers
and search in mask worn faces, mirrors of mine.

Some will light in the way of thousands before a candle
and beat upon their breasts beyond the pain for mercy.

The light shall search the souls for cracks
as if the brokenness were consecrated by the cries.

I will unfold the cloak with my tunic bare,
a worker of the field, adorn with the apron of jugum Christi.

Poem the second

I am going to start living like an artist

Today I am coming out of the hiding place
and gluing down the harsh fullness of this moment.

The memories grab like gnarled fingers across the years
each a slant of the past – wild, judging.

Sombre shards of shadows blocking out the glow
are the crossing of a border, an invitation.

I will rummage the hoard as searching for a reason
and unfurl the layers, savings for a perfect day

I breathe will  into hands with eyes watching outward
and pencil onto a blank page questions among desires.

Not daring to think  I shall make the way by walking
as if my whole being is this one moment.

I will go to bed with curtains wide open,
a beholder of light, in plain view of the dark.

Poem the third

I am going to start living like a child

Today I am removing the grown-up lady mask
and wearing the white skirt with ribbons braided through my toes.

The mask left like fifty two and a half scars of harrowed stains
each a deep pierce of a thing – tightly, clinging.

Animals of clouds playing with the grass-tickled body
are the hungers for a life, yet secret.

I will watch the clouds as dreams in the day
and weep the nightmares, wounded hurts of summer.

I will bow on grazed knees with split heels
and finger the earth for the life of the ant.

I shall again look up lolling in light
as if yesterday and the morn were scrubbed by it.

I will whirl the white skirt with hands wide free
a child of light, un scarred by the other self.

To be of use

a poem by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

half a world on a trencher


Out of lemon flowers
on the moonlight, love’s
lashed and insatiable
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow
the lemons
move down
from the tree’s planetarium

Delicate merchandise!
The harbors are big with it-
for the light and the
barbarous gold.
We open
the halves
of a miracle,
and a clotting of acids
into the starry
original juices,
irreducible, changeless,
so the freshness lives on
in a lemon,
in the sweet-smelling house of the rind,
the proportions, arcane and acerb.

Cutting the lemon
the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
aromatic facades.

So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world
on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
to your touch:
a cup yellow
with miracles,
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet.

~ Pablo Neruda

Without this fruit my kitchen feels empty.

And you, dear reader, have you a special fruit of creation that wells to your touch and perfumes your kitchen?