Love and hope and memory

when you go home tell them
of us and say ‘for your
tomorrows we gave our today’

i

perhaps you did not
see one hundred years ahead
yet Sir you graced each

ii

thank you for singing
love and hope and memory
as you gave your all

iii

you did not know me
but sacrificed anyway and now
live in Love in all

SRM – MM Haiku 51 Day 81

Running The Red Line

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What an enormous privilege it was to be invited to capture some images of a vibrant and wonderfully ‘alive’ book launch for Julie Carter’s Running The Red Line on 21 April at The Skiddaw Hotel, Keswick. There’s nothing quite so wonderful as a room full of inspiring and inspired, encouraged and encouraging, charismatic and articulate friends – gathering to celebrate something profoundly rich – and thereby ‘write in light’, creating living poetry in the electrified air.

Broadband users, please click on the image above for a photobook (pdf) which will download in around 30 seconds.  Best viewed full screen.

 

Acorns, owl feather and ribbon

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photo at pixabay

I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel,
about the Sacraments –
he got so excited
and ran into a hollow in his tree and came
back holding some acorns, an owl feather,
and a ribbon he had found.
And I just smiled and said, “Yes, dear,
you understand:
everything imparts
His grace.”

St Francis of Assisi
Translation by Daniel Ladinsky
Love Poems From God: Twelve Voices from the East and West

My beloved Dad died last Wednesday. Mum’s now in hospital having fallen and broken an arm a day later. Many miles away we’ve been seeing the inside of hospital too. And friends have just been bereaved … and … and … and … well, everyone in the world knows how it goes, for all of us, for some of our time. Grief. Pain. Fear. Distance.

So is Francis right? Does ‘everything’ (even if not quite literally) impart grace? I’ve had a few opportunities to find out over a scary weekend. And my answer’s a resounding ‘yes!’

Here’s a bit of a list: wonderful life-partner, children, grandchildren, siblings, cousins, parents, aunts and uncles, advisers, counselors, doctors, nurses, neighbours, weight-bearing friends around the world and ‘there’ and ‘here’. Friendship’s love, candles lit, and prayer communicated from afar.  ‘A Taste of Italy’ on TV, memories of ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ sung at high volume by my parents, sister, brother, cousins, children, and me. Thank you notes from baby grandchildren and a great-niece. Deep meditation’s peace.

I’m with you, Squirrel: acorns, an owl feather, and a ribbon [you] found. I just need to remember to run into the hollow. And there, and also everywhere, I find, and am found. Grace.

Recovered

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The songs of small birds fade away
into the bushes after sundown,
the air dry, sweet with goldenrod.
Beside the path, suddenly, bright asters
flare in the dusk. The aged voices
of a few crickets thread the silence.
It is a quiet I love, though my life
too often drives me through it deaf.
Busy with costs and losses, I waste
the time I have to be here—a time
blessed beyond my deserts, as I know,
if only I would keep aware. The leaves
rest in the air, perfectly still.
I would like them to rest in my mind
as still, as simply spaced. As I approach,
the sorrel filly looks up from her grazing,
poised there, light on the slope
as a young apple tree. A week ago
I took her away to sell, and failed
to get my price, and brought her home
again. Now in the quiet I stand
and look at her a long time, glad
to have recovered what is lost
in the exchange of something for money.

Wendell Berry
The Sorrel Filly, Collected Poems: 1957-1982

What is to be done after a reading of Wendell Berry? A walk outdoors as soon as possible. And if the poem has been feasted upon in early evening then a sunset walk will probably be necessary – with a camera close to expectant hearts.

And so it was … and tonight we did ‘stand / … glad to have recovered what is lost.’ And though these images are written well enough upon the aforementioned hearts, still the photographs, the written record, will remind us, over time, to stand … glad, again and again and again. Awed.

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