Monthly Archives: January 2018

Violet

For Vicky McCreary

Gentle lavender petals
lifted in praise by
soft, verdant sprigs up
through the dark soil, she is
a living ray of light and color
Sprung from under the
decaying buff-grey fallen leaves
mangled from the Winter snows
following Autumn’s dark
undressing of the world.

In the Spring, the violet
remembers what is
good and green; she
calls to mind what is
warm and peaceful
as the bright sun casts life
back into the branches
of the white oak and the walnut
after the harsh cold of the icy Winter.

Her beauty is her tenderness, her
willingness to bloom on the forest floor.
Susceptible to her surroundings,
she bears her tears and scars with grace,
sharing her velvet fragrance,
undaunted. Her life, perennial
though it is, remains a gift
to be shared—all the more precious
for its brevity. She is a
blessing of fresh hope: a cold stream
burbling over smooth stones in
a dry place.

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Canine ontology

With brown eyes transfixed on
The stick in my hand, his feet
Spread to grip the soft earth,
His legs set like a catapult waiting
To spring—eagerly frozen—
Anticipating the movement
Of my shoulders, he gazes with such
Intensity it would seem that nothing
In the world could be as important
As this moment—this stick.

At once I see every muscle ready,
Every part of him set, and I think
He is entirely present, mind
And body entirely here,
Living entirely in this moment.

Jealous of the pureness of his joy,
I join him—lurching back on my foot
I hurl the stick as hard as I can and
Feel my own muscles pull and my own
Lungs gasp. As the damp bark of the stick
Rubs past my fingers, I listen
To the turf tear under his claws as
He launches, eyes still glued to the prize,
Running recklessly, all-out, without abandon.
Taking a lesson, I try to feel
Satisfaction in the length of my throw:
To enjoy, as he seems to, the
Simplicity of using my body. The throw
Isn’t bad—but not long enough for him.
In a second he shoots past
The place where it lands and
Nearly trips over himself as,
Mid-run, his mouth lunges to grab it.

The stick gripped loosely in his teeth,
He trots back to me with head held high.
And I notice that he does not covet. He
Does not wish to be other than he is.
He is not a dualist.
His pleasure (as his gift) is himself,
His flesh and bones,
His teeth and ears,
His feet and tail:
His body.
And he lives to enjoy it:
To run and play, to taste,
To see and hear and
To smell—catching the scent and
Finding out what left it and where it next went.
He lives to explore his place.

He is an eminently physical thing,
A being living each moment as a
Celebration of his location in space and time.
In this, I think, he lives as we are meant to:
Not looking for the “next thing,” or
Pining for the non-corporeal bliss
Of a disembodied heaven, But being
In this place…in this time…in himself,
Enjoying what he is where he is.
And I think, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus,
Incarnate God, and
Restore all bodies
and this world.”

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