Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter, 2013

Easter, 2013


Let the Easter I proclaim be

the simple extraordinary

time and again and ultimate

resurrection of hope.


Hope in you, who gave everything;

Hope in you, who calls me to do likewise;

Hope in you, love beyond reason and measure.


Let me live with this

singing within and steadying me,

saving and challenging me

to praise you always and everywhere:


Risen, rising, and yet to come.

C. MperiodPress


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Who's in your bag?

From William Joyce's The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

There are large photo pools on various sites that follow the theme What's in your bag? Owners dump and arrange the contents of their daily bag, photograph it, tag it, and post it to the curious enjoyment of thousands.

What I find myself wondering far more often that what is who? What are the books we carry? Who are the authors whose company we enjoy enough to take them traveling on our daily trod paths? And how does one decide who to bring?

For me, the selection is about far more than what I might be currently reading. I've been known to put a book in my bag just to have its company even though I never get to take it out during the course of my day. I might want to walk with a memory I associate with a book or author, or perhaps I feel like traveling to wherever I was when I first encountered a particular piece of literature. I might be needing inspiration from someone or simply enjoying the company of a friend.

Pablo Neruda and Walt Whitman are both regulars in the recesses of my the moment, Eudora Welty is tagging along while writing letters to William Maxwell (What there is to Say, We have Said). Janet Erskine Stuart is a conversant companion and Julia Child is good for a laugh. Wislawa Szymborska makes me think and a secondhand guide to world architecture is great for dreams.

I have to say too, it does make a difference to me that it is a thumbable, physical, actual, honest and papery, book. I am entirely for technology and advances in communication and information dissemination and access, but when it comes to what I keep in my bag... I do like the warm rustle of the printed word.

It is the object itself as well as the author and content that is important to me. I've given away the book in my bag and used it to kill a bug. I've written to a friend in the margins and used a tea bag envelope that smells like my childhood as a bookmark. It has been wrapped in a fleece and used as a pillow, it's been read aloud to strangers, and it has taught me something new.

When people ask me if the printed word will remain a viable format for literature, I must say yes...not only for the practical aspects...I believe it will continue to be logistically and pragmatically easier to get a greater number of people books than ereaders or computers for a good while into the future...but also for personal reasons.

Quite simply, I would miss its warm steady company in my day.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Eating an Orange at Day's End

Every aspect of the orange I just tenderly consumed was an ideal, a citric aspiration to greatness. Tissue thin membranes separating the sections; a sweetness rivaled by the heady lilacs growing in the Arboretum at UW-Madison where I would ride my bike simply for the joy of inhaling; tight skin hugging the jeweled interior; and such an anointing of my hands with its essence that this sacramental moment will not soon be forgotten.

It was a blessing to appreciate something for the fullness of its being...Presented in humble simplicity, yet, terrifically intricate as well. Each tiny pod of juice nestled against the other, fitting perfectly, contained in larger shapes that also fit together, and wrapped protectively in an outer layer that can't help but give a hint of the glory it has within.

It was a blessing for my body to eat such a thing of beauty... And it is as though my entire body knows it. The contentment I feel is far deeper and more widespread than taste buds and stomach. My eyes are blessed by the saturated colors, my ears by the gentle squeak of segments pulling apart, my tongue by the fresh syrupy juice...
My soul knows it has been nourished, and at the end of this day, that leaves me quite thankful.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Poetic Meals

Still life, Checked Tablecloth, Henri Matisse

My day began with a scant but roomy three line poem for breakfast...

Eating a Morning Poem

French bread toast

with a smear of lemon curd, a mandarin,

and a cup of tea.


It was simple, clean, fresh, pleasing, bright...all I could ideally ask of a breakfast... I composed my meal with intention and I delighted in every bit of it...the slight puckering sound of the curd jar opening for the first time; the careful slicing open of a French bread roll and the gentle flattening of it with my hands like molding a favorite pillow; the crevice filling, tart, textured spread of curd across the crunchy terrain of toast; the jeweled burst of each segment of mandarin and the residual glory of citrus that remained on my hands; the steadying fortification of hot strong tea to bring it all together.

A Vase with Two Handles, Henri Matisse

My day ended with the comforting rhythms and harmonies of a sonnet...rounded iambic edges, filling, chewy and yet precise. There was a bit of rice left in the bottom of a sack in the pantry and a short handful of lentils in their bag...into the pot of olive oiled and salted boiling water. A pinch of cumin into the bottom of my waiting bowl...a couple of spoonfuls of the cooking water...the lentils and rice...cracked pepper, fresh grated Parmesan, and a squeeze of lemon. A bowl of heartfelt praise, honoring joy, flavor, balance, and care.