Thursday, November 10, 2011

Once I was...

Once I was the smallest child
Once I was forever under foot
Once I was truly a handful
Now I am grown

Once I was the potato peeler
Once I was the dish washer
Once I was the laundry helper
Now I am a mother

Once I was the baby rocker
Once I was the story reader
Once I was the boo-boo mender
Now I am a grandmother

Once I lived near the sea
Once I lived near my relatives
Once I planned to always remain close
Now I am so far away )-:

Brenda 2011

Where I'm From

I am from sea-washed sandy soil, from Corn Flakes and fresh, sweet raspberries.

I am from a tiny, crowded, but happy, run down cottage.

I am from the humble yet fragrant mayflowers that grow under the dry leaves along dirt roads in second growth woods, a mix of crow pine and red oak.

I am from Sunday dinners followed by a family drive in the car, and generosity, from Clan Hunter, Clan Anderson, Bearse and Buck and Frost and people who didn’t feel the need for last names.

I am from the old school recyclers who lived in a world of make-do and those who never held back when someone needed something.

From grandparent’s loving teachings, ripe with metaphors and hand-me-down traditions, from those who wove amazing stories out of thin air.

I am from meek Unitarian Universalists, from parishioners of the Church of Scotland, and before them from those who worshiped in a church whose members were of all nations of beings: winged and four-legged, those that swim, and those who crawl, those with roots that hold them still, and the elder stones who have watched since the beginning of time.

I'm from Cape Cod, fresh caught fish, thick and creamy clam chowdah, and homemade oatmeal bread.

From the Wampanoag Tribe that stood on the wintry shore watching the foreign ships approach, and the tired Pilgrims who left everything familiar and ventured forth with hope for a second chance.

I am from the newer end of the branches of the family tree with leaf sets of my own who have their own tiny buds. I am from stories told and stories woven, from names in archives of towns settled, carved on weather worn slate headstones on hills overlooking the cold Atlantic, names included in genealogies of poets and presidents, among those names were sachems, spiritual leaders, those falsely accused of witchcraft, craftspeople, sea captains, warriors, fishermen, scrimshanders, carpenters, strong women, farmers, and those destined to wander.

Our common histories are woven in a richly colored shawl of tradition that is mine to continue weaving and then pass down, a strand at a time in stories to eager ears caught up in the magic of our seaside heritage.

Brenda 2011

I Asked

I Asked

I asked the sunrise why it was so golden
And it sang and sang its good morning song
I asked the sky why it was so blue
And it sighed some gentle clouds, puffy and white
I asked the elder maple tree why it whispered
And it shook its leaves in the wind as a response
I asked the breezes where they were going
And they played with my hair and made me laugh
I asked the gurgling creek to talk with me
And its unspoken words flowed directly into my spirit
I asked the afternoon shadows why they hurried the day along
And they just reached and grabbed up more sunlight
I pondered a while, what was the lesson?
And the earth said look around
As the rosy sun slipped into cool, starlit twilight
And the harvest moon rose above the darkening tree line
I quietly observed…
Everything was as it should be... perfect.

Brenda 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dry Spell

Corn stretching its leaves,
Praying to the sky for rain.
Sun bakes the cracked soil.

As goes the land, so go we.
My tears do not bring relief.

* I began writing poetry in the Japanese Tonka style last winter (5-7-5, 7-7) which is similar to haiku (5-7-5). The first 3 lines are about nature and the last two are personal reflection. My goal is to write a complete Tonka collection which consists of 100 poems: 20 each in five collections -- winter, spring, summer, fall, and one on love. It is a challenge to write within such structure, but the discipline and simplicity feels good.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blessings on your journey Ricky

Sixteen hundred miles away from the hilltop behind my home, my cousin Ricky's body was laid to rest today near the sea and he began his journey into the spirit world. Unable to be with family at this time, my daughter and I chose to hold a simple ceremony for him here on this perfect summer day. Facing East, the direction of our homeland, I offered sage, cedar, and prayers for his journey. I also offered prayers of comfort for those he left behind, that they may feel Creator's healing touch and know that Rick is in good hands.

Ricky and I had a good relationship, though in the years since I have been living in Nebraska we have not seen each other much. We kind of found our own paths in life, but were still good with each other. I remember a time growing up when he came to live with us and was like a little brother to me. Sometimes mischievous, but always generous with his great sense of humor, he was good company.

It is at times like these that I am reminded that life is sacred, that the blessings bestowed upon us should be shared and not squandered for no one knows when it will be our time to depart. To feel the could have/would have/should have when someone passes on is a lesson for us, that we should not be blinded by regret but inspired to find remedy in change. I should have visited Rick more, been better about keeping in touch. He knew I loved him, though, as those were the last words we shared when we hugged each other in his driveway years ago. The lesson given, however, is to keep in touch... to go and spend time in the company of those we love. To linger and enjoy each other in a good way.

We live in a time when people are scattered hither and yon, not like when I was growing up and everyone lived nearby. A person was considered to live far away if they lived two towns over. This is part of my lesson that I must come to terms with. I was not able to go and sit with Rick when it would have been good for us to talk about old times.

As I stood on the hilltop, green land stretched out as far as the eye can see below azure skies laced with summer clouds, I was with you, Rick, in spirit. The scent of cedar and sage hung in the air and we had a few moments to share while I prayed for a good journey for you. You were a good little brother, loved and admired. I will hold you in my heart forever.