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

Green bananas

I don’t know how long I’ve got left, I don’t even buy green bananas

J B Priestley on growing old
Quoted in The Times

I’ve smiled whenever I’ve come across this observation down the years. And whilst I’m not yet at the turning down green bananas stage I deliberately call to mind what a great gift life and peace in and around me is, and celebrate each day thankfully.

Part of that thankfulness involves conscious daily awareness of the many who don’t have access to bananas, green or otherwise, or to shelter, food or water – some because they’ve never had it, others newly deprived of it. May there come a time for all humanity when shared awareness of “I don’t know how long I’ve got left” translates the world over to equitable, peaceful co-existence and an end to the daily destruction and profound torments and tragedies of war.

Connection

We’re just back from overnighting with a special friend who’d cooked an old favourite supper, baked buns and altogether spoiled us rotten – the evening morphing into one of those entirely relaxed catch-ups – as ABBA would have it – “The Way Old Friends Do”. Heartfelt thanks!

Thanks too to our dentist: poet, philosopher and all-round good fellow whose good dentistry is matched by good conversation, shared passion for books and the sheer privilege of being alive in the twenty-first century, and whose team make all-comers feel like members of their family.

And thanks for friends in Australia, the US (keep warm over there on the East Coast!), and the UK whose abiding encouragement, giftedness and many kindnesses are treasures I’m conscious of each and every day. And there’s been a special kind of magic, too, this week for a grandson who’s newly 4 and a granddaughter who has just found her feet!

Connection. What it means – and what a grace – to be human.

Spaces in between

Fire

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the space in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that makes fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
grows
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

Judy Brown

Back from London by train last evening, having once again loved the buzz of the place, and the concert at the Royal Albert Hall, and the rugby crowds, and the good breakfast in the large shared dining room, the soaring architecture and the busyness … for a day or two.

We’ve harvested plenty of “fuel”. And now, curtains drawn across a cold and foggy night, kneeling before the stove at home to lay the logs and set the evening’s hearth, I am deeply thankful for the balancing space we enjoy in our lives; profoundly grateful for plenty of opportunity to “lay a log lightly”, allowing for space enough for “the flame that knows just how it wants to burn”.

I need to contemplate, to meditate, to pay attention to the Spirit’s flame, to the spaces in between.