Monday, October 29, 2012

Fragmented Memories

This morning I am supposed to be driving to a city for an appointment, but the weather is bad and snowy and the roads are too. I really want to get going but I'm trying to be wise...and I also should be shovelling the deck at the moment...but I just have something to say, Oh Vast Readership (I appreciate you!!)

It seems my long-term memory is quite terrible. Now this is ok, unless your husband is reminiscing about this crazy and wonderful date you were on, and you are nodding and smiling and trying desperately to access a thread of information back in your concrete brain. Or, if you are reading something and laughing and thinking Wow, this is great! And suddenly realize you read it before and even left a comment. But there is not even a tweak of recognition! I would imagine senility is setting in, except that this has been going on since my late or even mid-20's.

The more relaxed I am, the less stressful state I'm in, the more I seem to remember about my childhood. Or at night there will be a flash of memory about some event that was extremely significant but that I had long thought erased. Lately when I'm talking to friends a memory will suddenly surface and I'll remember in great detail once I start sharing the story.
Like the story of Greg, who lived above me in the house in a certain city across from a church. Was it 269th? 265? 239th street? That detail has escaped.
And so did I, eventually and miraculously from Greg who had just got out of maximum security, solitary confinement for 5 straight years after sexually assaulting and leaving for dead a 19 year old girl. I was 21. Thanks to God's intervention of a good friend who figured out who Greg was, his face wasn't my last memory.
And I'm thankful for that. 


Honestly a lot of the memories that come back are painful or scary :(   
Perhaps my concrete brain is wise, after all.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Metacognition on a Saturday

Thinking about the last post. Reading over the poem in progress about Selfishness ... it's DEPRESSING! Yeah!
Funny thing I've noticed about poetry, writing or reading. It means so much in a certain frame of mind. Writing it expunges whatever violent emotion is clamoring at the gates. Reading the right poem sometimes can help you FEEL, when you're numb. Or give some shape to a nebulous but powerful feeling or idea, like nostalgia or unrequited love.

But today, said selfishness poem means not a great deal, I can't even recover the feeling. I know I need to hack and slash and save the good parts, but not today.  So while I'm waiting to be inspired again, here is something else I wrote. This one is from a long time ago. It's a short one. Length is unnecessary when you've said what you have to say.  



If I looked you straight in the eyes,

their golden light would ignite my insides.

That much electricity

cannot be good for me.

Nations, rockets, have been launched with less fire.

Desire has never cured desire.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Selfishness Poem and...New Version

So... seems I'm writing about sins this year, jealousy et al. A bit strange, and yet a person seizes upon any inspiration and wrings it out. This one is new, recent, like today October 25, 2012.

i've had a picture in my mind. This image of someone in an impressive gallery looking at a painting by a master, expecting perfection and wonder and being shocked by the ugliness and blackness of a noxious mold seeping through and destroying it. It's not clear whether the mold is real or imagined. Is it on the painting, or is it in the mind of the viewer?

Or the mind of the poet, or the reader...I thought it would be interesting to open up the process, as in explaining some of where the idea took root and watching where it branches off to, through a poem like this that is raw and unfinished.

I'm still evaluating everything.
Punctuation, or not. Title, or not.
Placement and selection of words...haven't spent enough time finding just the right word to give the level of suspense and shock I'm after.

And so if you have any thoughts or ideas or comments, please, speak your mind!
What image do you see when you encounter selfishness, in yourself or others?
It's a universal and inescapable problem. Anyone who says anything else is selling something. 


Oozes like creeping black mould on a masterpiece.

You take a step closer to an ancient Renaissance,

a small smile of wonder.

Hues, dabs, streaks, plays of light, all strokes of genius!


Up close and inspecting your smile fades,


a frown gives way to fright –

Grim and dreadful.

And the suspected pestilence grows

Noticeable to your wide and blameless eyes

The darkest spot just shadows

Wasn’t it, now spilling like ink through parchment

Stained through.


A speck of infection renders beauty undone

The love tainted, the honour wasted

Mother hated daughter jaded photos faded


We survive and pretend it doesn’t exist, the picture is perfect

And smile and smile and crumble inside

Our motives are true and our hearts are, too

I don’t see yours, and you don’t see mine

And using each other, all of the time.

                 (THAT was the original. This is the 
              current version. Which do you like better?)




creeping black mould on a masterpiece.

Italian Renaissance,

Oh smile of wonder.

Hues, dabs, plays of light, strokes of genius!


Inspecting – coming closer.

Mouth corners fall,

frown gives way to fright

at the grim real.

A suspect pestilence grows darker

Before the wide and blameless eyes

The blackest spots were shadows,


 spilling like ink through parchment –

Stained through.

A speck of infection renders beauty undone

love tainted, valor wasted

daughter jaded, photos faded.

We survive, we pretend, the picture is perfect,

And smile and smile and crumble inside.

Our motives are true and our hearts are, too

I don’t see yours, and you don’t see mine

But using each other, all of the time.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Poem "Jealousy"

December 2011




Jealousy my evil friend, I hear you in the tone of voice, the twist of smile

the glint of anger smothered rapidly 

I think your poison potion distills in silence and regret

Becomes powerful in dark places around the corners of a mind

Snarling as a rabid beast on the end of his chain

A leviathan bursting out of placid waters

All deadly and horrible in its wake

You kill the one that holds you

And the one that stumbles upon you

in the dimness of a perfectly presentable conversation

Green and writhing in the undergrowth

And joy and hope, the mangled birds
Lie still beneath your cold, malevolent eye.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Poetry by Me (in progress)

hopeful  (August 28, 2011)


I have a tiny white flower

in a plastic glass on the windowsill.

It blinks at me when I walk away.

When it falls over,

the empty cup beside the drowned thing,

I don’t want to see it.

I would pick up the flower and

try to put it back in water,

to resurrect the wilted stalk,

a reedy thread between thumb and finger.

It was dead before it hit the floor.

But right now, it looks pretty and delicate -

reflecting soft rays of the sun and

feeling a breeze blow softly moving the curtains

September 30, 2011


A Walk in September


Yellow-brown leaves lie gently on the hardening ground

and wet grass

A mouldering fence reclines, at ease

amid the poplar stands


Tall white queens through sun-yellow crowns

filter cerulean sky

Regal and silent the owl swoops low

gray-black on a cinder snag


Berries in red translucent glory

glisten unbitten

Hidden in damp sprigs shedding the embroidered

early morning frost

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Marble Tables and Silk Curtains

Morning Devotions

Psalm 86                                                                   

This Psalm I find amazing because it has such humility in it. It starts with a statement of David being poor and needy.  Ok, well that makes sense, right, until you consider the author for a second. That’s KING David, who ruled Israel in the glory days, who had palaces and kingdoms and servants and wives and armies, King David wearing a crown and royal robes, who could have anything he wished. Perhaps he was sitting at his marble table, arms resting on a golden chair, staring at the view through his velvet and silk-curtained window, and his soul cried out to God. “Hear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.” 
Ahhh. We all relate to this feeling of being inadequate. Before the God of the universe, each of us is in a state of poverty and need. Apart from the Giver of Life, we have nothing. We are beggars in the street. David asks for protection, for mercy, for joy…. Joy? Yes, one of the deepest life lessons you can know is that there is no joy apart from God. Anyone who has tried to be happy realizes this on some level, Christian or not. As a believer in Jesus Christ, one has friendship with God! Our sin has been paid for, the sin that divides us from God, and we have free access to the throne of grace. So, believer, do you have joy? Follow David’s example. Ask God for joy. Lift up your soul to Him, and let Him fill you with the sweetness of His life and presence.

    “Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.” Vs 4

It is so essential to take a moment each day and lift up your soul to the Lord. Why do we chase happiness all day, hoping something good happens, waiting for peace, when He is right there – as close as a breath. And when life isn’t going so well…
 “In the day of my trouble I will call to You, for You will answer me.” Vs 7

King David’s humble attitude is showing again, and also his steady trust. He KNOWS God will answer him. He plans to tell God about his trouble, when it comes. It is coming, some trouble, some stressful event or relationship problem, and God will be there to hear and answer. Wow, what peace we can know when we walk close with God. Let’s take a page out of King David’s book and be devoted to God, trusting, humble…..knowing our soul’s poverty. The Friend of sinners will hear us and answer with joy, mercy, peace -- the answers to whatever our need.

                PRAY. Thanks God, that You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to You.” I am so glad to walk close to You. Help me to lift up my empty soul to you each day and be filled, not filling up on the cheap ‘junk food’ that I find in the world around me. My heart clamours for attention and for purpose. Thank you for King David’s example, and thank you for always being there. Amen.


A Hard Time: July 2011

Dylan has been sick on and off for years with IBS. This year has been up and down like many, but with the added kidney stones (was it a kidney stone? still don't know) strange and horrid pains in the abdomen, and now what appeared to be a heart attack was something else.
Right outside the Miette restaurant at the cabins, the pretty red cabins with black trim, the varnished pine picnic tables and rustic benches. I called 911 from the pay phone, thankfully we were close to a working phone, and they kept me on the line while park medics rushed up and put Dylan on oxygen. "Do you know where you are?" "What is your name?" "Can you tell me approximately what time of day it is?" and then taking his pulse, weak and very rapid, at intervals. The blond man in his late 40's looked like a former surfer, and the younger woman was sweet and capable, with brown hair and caring eyes. They were a good team and they took good care of Dylan. God bless em. The Miette owners were great, bringing blankets and giving me a free apple juice because some passing aged Doctor told us it looked like his blood sugar was low. The apple juice didn't do much. I was holding his head on my knees at this point, sitting on the low bench outside the restaurant, as the male medic had to change places with me... they had left their car in the turnaround which was causing traffic havoc. I gave Dylan sips of juice, but he couldn't concentrate on it and didn't want any, said it wasn't helping. He was pale and sweating, and breathing fast, holding his chest. When he said his hands and arms felt numb and tingly, I thought, okay, this is it, this really could be a heart attack. I might lose him right here. Oh God, not like this, not in front of his children. I'll always remember the anguished, shocked look in their little faces, eyes wide and blinking, trying not to cry, trying not to be in the way, silent with trauma. I held Keegan's little boy hand and squeezed it, and put my arm around Lauren. I tried to keep them close to me, but I was watching Dylan and the medics were talking to me and asking questions, and people were walking by and trying to get in the door, and Keegan was often right in front of them, oblivious.
   After about half an hour of this, cold and shivering with the recent mountain rain that came out of nowhere, Dylan seemed to be breathing a bit easier. His eyes looked less frantic and glazed - he was focussing and talking a bit. I knew he would be okay. I wasn't so scared, and I could take better care of the kids. The ambulance came, and they put him on the stretcher and loaded him up. Two fairly young but obviously experienced women. I wondered how the drive had been for them, fighting switchbacks and foreign drivers and bear sightings all the way.... We huddled on the bench outside the restaurant and waited for them to do what they needed to do. I was freezing in a t-shirt. Thankfully the kids had sweaters. We sat frozen in place while people walked by with ice creams, licking and looking at us and at the ambulance, jabbering in their mother tongues, the more polite looking at us sideways and then walking away, the more bold staring and waiting for something exciting like blood or tears - but none came and they left. A few people gave me a sympathetic look and asked with their eyes or their mouths if we needed anything; I shook my head. It was going to be alright, I was pretty sure now. We followed them down to the Hinton hospital and by the time we got in there, he was sitting up and strapped to various medical equipment monitoring his heart and other things. I could tell by his eyes that there was more spark, that he was feeling stronger. Two sets of blood tests and many hours later, interrupted by a swim in the hotel pool (just the kids. There was a waterslide. It distracted them and gave me a moment to think and make a phone call) we left the hospital.
Dylan was restless in the hotel, couldn't lie down, but he fell asleep sitting up and in the morning was grumpy but more relaxed. On the drive home I began to feel panicky about a million things that I couldn't talk about, and my shoulders tightened and hunched, I'm sure. Can still feel the tension in them. The last few days have been tests, appointments, reviewing what happened, working hard in the sun cutting grass and pulling weeds, waiting and wondering and feeling strange and helpless. Health, and certainty, are two amazing things that I can never take for granted. I can't wait until this hard time is over. I've never felt more lost.

Eagles and Cedars

Morning Devotions


Read Ezekiel 17

I love the rich language and imagery of the Word of God. The book of Ezekiel is rife with it! It is sometimes easier to shy away from books like this (Revelation comes to mind) with difficult to comprehend word pictures. But that is like forfeiting treasure! Ever been on an Easter egg hunt? Did you notice that often the best and biggest chocolate egg was hidden in a harder to reach place? So reach up high and look carefully….God’s word is full of glowing, wonderful treasure for your mind, heart and soul.

Which takes us back to Ezekiel 17. He describes “a great eagle with powerful wings, long feathers and full plumage of varied colors”. The great eagle broke off the top shoot of one of the renowned cedars of Lebanon and planted it in fertile soil, with abundant water, “so it became a vine and produced branches and put out leafy boughs”. This is a picture of blessing. The cedar grew strong, given everything it needed in full supply. But what did the cedar do? Well you’ve heard the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side”. It began putting out its roots to search for water elsewhere, and stretching out branches in another direction. God is describing the rebelliousness of Israel and a political situation of the time, but there is truth for us here also. In spite of being planted in the best possible soil with water flowing to its roots, the cedar tree was not content. And unfortunately this is also a picture of the human heart, turning away to lesser things for fulfillment, rejecting what God has lovingly provided. Can you relate?

            “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Will it thrive? Will it not be uprooted and stripped of its fruit so that it withers? All its new growth will wither. It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it up by the roots.”  Vs 9

Ah. The painful uprooting, the dead branches, rotten roots. I can see it in my mind’s eye, and I have seen it in my own life. Why did I not enjoy the blessing around me? Why did I look to other things, other people, other places, lifting my face to a different sun for warmth and life? And having learned these lessons in the past, why do I STILL do this? Time to give your branches a shake, tall cedar. Look around at what you have been given, see the lush soil, the clean water, and bear fruit that will remain. The prophet Jeremiah describes the human heart as deceitful and impossible to know; “it is beyond cure…who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 The longer you live, the more you realize what a fitting description this is! What does a person do with such a heart? There is an answer. If you read on to the end of chapter 18 you will find it.

 God himself states, “Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit.”

We need a new heart. A heart that beats for God’s glory and not our own, a heart that is content to bask in the joy and blessing He has given. God knows we will only be satisfied in Him, in His will and plan for our lives. When we look elsewhere, He finds a way to bring us back. Look for the blessing around you. Can you see it? If not, maybe it’s time for a new heart, and a new spirit.

PRAY.  Sovereign Lord, You love us. Thank-you for providing all we need and could ever ask for. Help us to see it, Lord, give us your eyes. Help us to grow strong and bear fruit, walking in your will. Amen.