Thursday, January 17, 2019

In Memoriam

Walt, William, Edna, Christina, Emily, Pablo, Gabriela, Wislawa, William Butler, Anne, Rainer, Jessica, May, Thomas Stearns, Alfred, Gerard Manley, Denise…

There is another among your numbers today… Though, I don’t imagine she’s made her way front and centre.  More likely, Mary’s on a wander through the heavens, bounding with her dogs and penciling observations of all beheld with reverence and awe.  Not hard to imagine that the spirit who could draw her back to your fold would be Molly.  Artist calling to artist, love to love, once more.

Mary Oliver…poet of unencumbered observation and description… For 30,415 sunrises you saw into the life of things (Thank you, Wordsworth, for that expression.) and for over twenty volumes of poetry, you shared what became part of you with the rest of us who read your words, memorized them, cupped them with reverence as they lifted from the sanctuary of the page.  And now we can say, Yes, yes!  We are the lucky ones.  (from "I Know Someone" in Felicity). We feasted with you on nature’s offerings of wonder and grace and the deeper truths and questions.  

I can’t help but think that tomorrow, there’s going to be a ray of morning light that will go looking for you and sigh for a moment when it realizes that you are now with the stars.

Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prize winning poet, 10 October, 1935 - 17 January, 2019 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Soup Pot Poetics

Sometimes, a certain sort of beautiful day happens... and the good music in the heart makes it both into the pot and onto page.  Today was a day like that.

Soup pot Poetics

Improv your choreography, soup pot glory…
let loose your steam of dance-together grace.

There’s a little bit of waltz and long slide of jazz,
then the butternut jitterbugs with ginger and shallot;
Next, a touch of flamenco when curry stomps her heel
to the syncopated clap of garlic and heat.
Smooth are the steps of the sweet potato root
as she swings her hips and clears herself room
on the translucent mosaic made of onion and shine.
Carrot waits on the side till her date arrives and then,
oh my, how she and the coco milk groove.

By the poetry of her taste and the rhythms in her substance,
this soup might cure what ails you.

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ

Sunday, January 6, 2019

A Birthday and Three Epiphanies

It’s all I have to bring to-day,
this and my heart, beside,
this and my heart and all the fields,
and all the meadows wide.
Be sure you count, should I forget—
someone the sum could tell,—
This, and my heart, and all the bees
which in the clover dwell.

—Emily Dickinson—

Thank you, Emily Dickinson.  I read this recently on a day when she was my bookish company and I found myself sighing a Yes.  What I behold, the sometimes wild array of what I feel, all of what I write, say, think…Essentially, the whole of who I am… made manifest in a multitude of ways and circumstances (the doing and being)… it is all I have to bring or offer…to God and the world around me.  And at the same time this feels like an Everything, it also has me feeling, as someone dear to me put it, like one tiny grain of sand in the vastness of a beach.

Yesterday was my birthday—an opportunity to give thanks for having anything to offer at all!  To give thanks for being-ness…with all of its facets, contradictions, curves and quirks and pokey bits.  An opportunity to give thanks for my senses and my stride; my perspective and mind; for laughter, for language, for passion and for soul.  To give thanks for it All.

I spent the morning working at the Centre and tried to put some good out into the universe; I received messages of care and wishes for well-being and blessing in the coming year; I rocked out to some songs and had gentle tears with others; witnessed the arresting beauty of the ocean’s power and was taken in by the fog’s mystical cloaking; I smiled and laughed with people beside me and with people thousands of kilometres away, sipped tea, drank a bottle of really good rootbeer; and tasted hoisin sauce for the first time (For the record:  It’s delicious with roasted asparagus).   I was hugged and held and kissed and had the chance to do the same;  I spoke of living; I spoke of dying; and sometimes I spoke nothing at all because words had lifted away and a bigger, deeper, wider, silence came visiting with its own being-ness to offer.

In that silence at the end of the day, the past act of coming into this world and the present moment of living in this world, the offering of who I am, rolled forward into the years to come.  I confess to being one who finds it challenging to imagine the future—in part because I think it all depends on choices we make one day at a time…each of us, each grain of sand on the beach.  Choices to be open to God and the universe, to beauty, to awe, to wonder…open to being our best ‘being’ in the midst of what is real and what is true.

As I considered all of this last night and what that best might look like for me, now “one year shy of being half an antique” as someone wrote in a card, I went searching through Facebook for a song someone had recently posted:

This whole world is spinning crazy
and I can’t quite keep up;
It’s the one thing around here
that we don’t have quite enough of
so I just wanna look a little more like love.

—More Like Love— Ben Rector (lyrics)

Yesterday was my birthday.  Today is the feast of the Epiphany.   In his poem, The Journey of the Magi, T.S. Eliot imagines the trek of those who want to make an offering to the God-child.

A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
sleeping in snatches,
with the voices singing in our ears, saying
that this was all folly.

Recalling the event in the voice of an older traveller, Eliot goes on to speak of their arrival, not a moment too soon, and their own three-fold epiphany…

They’d do it all again; the meaning of what they witnessed was not as clear as they’d thought along the way; and they knew things would never be the same.

I’m right there with them.  

Maybe that’s exactly how it is…when the journey is ever of Love and ever toward Love.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

End of Year, 2018: Each Bend and Crag, Crack and Nook

30 December, 2018

I have heard the University of King’s College Cathedral Choir sing many times before, yet each time is a different experience because the sound, the exquisite beauty they loose into the universe, is interacting with what I bring to the listening.  

Planets, solar systems, and galaxies have at different times been images that appear to me as each choral part swirls notes into orbit and the unique orbits hold each other in graceful, elliptical splendour, thanks to the composition’s gravity of precise arrangement.  Today, though, it was water and it was a current of ribbons.  

…am here at All Saints, laying witness with my senses to the glorious bloom of sound filling this space.  Absolutely spectacular.  All parts soaring, rising on unseen ribbons of air to ripple outward, to fill, to conform to every bend and crag, crack and nook, of this space…Augh, the overlap of sound, like a wave not waiting for the retreat of the one before and bringing its fullness to bear on the edges of what is already, releasing an energy of new notes in that union of waters and power…

As I listened, I couldn’t help but also think about the captivating fog I witnessed on the harbour yesterday morning, too… It absolutely had being-ness, this fog…It pulsed, it danced, it stretched from land to land over the water and yet kept changing.  At one moment, the dawn’s first brilliant notes stretched out upon it, glowing not only in itself, but also illuminating the fog from within as it settled upon the waters.

…light from light…begotten not made…

All of this…together with it being the end of the year…it has me thinking about what is to come…and how utterly impossible it is to predict, especially with the fractious politics and overall volatility of our world.  

Sitting in my chair at the cathedral, my prayer was this—May we all allow God to fill our being like the choir-sound fills this space…Allowing for such a fullness of God that God conforms to each bend and crag, crack and nook…  And if we can do that, allow ourselves to be illuminated from within by God, as we reach from person to person across harbours, borders, divisions of all kinds,  maybe, just maybe, things will be different…at least for a gasp of wonder, a moment, a flicker of memory, the sudden warmth of what it is like to hope.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Grace, 2018

Christmas Grace, 2018

Amidst the cold bells tolling,
the clamours of this broken world,
We have reason to rejoice in hope
and proclaim the glory of the Word Made Flesh-

Announce it with clarity and
Announce it with joy!

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
Hodie, Christus natus est!

Glory to God in the Highest!
Christ is born today!

Let us give thanks for this hope;
for those gathered here and for others
near-flung and far;
for this meal, for our Enough.

And let us live as grateful people;
loving people.
Grateful for each other;
loving toward each other.

And, grateful and loving in this world,
exactly as it is.

For in such a world, exactly as it was,
a star shone, a people journeyed, a child was born
and the universe changed


Kimberly M. King, RSCJ

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Advent Grace

Advent Grace

And so the world in winter waits, latitude not withstanding…

Some wait at borders and in camps, uncertain of home or place;
some at bedsides, where time no longer has meaning.
Those for whom the night is too long, they wait for dawn to rise.

The animals in tufted hidey-holes wait for the re-waking of green,
and the trees slow their breathing, resting in the fallow earth
waiting for the warm flow that will again bear life and leaf and growth.

And the world is waiting…
is waiting for us…us gathered here.  
Gathered in relationship, gathered in faith, gathered to be nourished, 
by one another, and by the food we will share as we wait 
for the coming of the Star of Wonder,
the Child foretold, the One who will save.

The world waits for our hope 
to become acts of justice, mercy, compassion,
and love and love and love
so that winter may give way to spring
in the heart of our suffering world.
And the world may rise, refreshed and renewed, once again.


-Kimberly M. King, RSCJ-