Into a sea of emptiness
Nothing was great enough
With no energy to swim
And the water she once drank for life
Do we mourn for thee, Ophelia
For thou art dead,
To a world which shall care for thee—
Not like this one.
We sing your praises
Ophelia by John Everett Millais
Her grandmother used to knead by hand
On a floured surface
Removing treasured wedding bands
In exchange for dough-covered fingers
She can remember Grandmother’s punching
Filling the dough with joys
Whatever were the feelings of the moment, the day, the week, the month
Now years later
with no floured surface
She carefully measures her wheat, honey, water,
Yeast, oil, gluten into her bowl
Breadhook attached, machine plugged, timer set,
the mixer does all of Grandmother’s work
to the tune of ten minutes.
The timer sounds, the kneading is done —or is it?
She longs to touch the dough
like clay in the artist’s hands
Bringing life into element through the hand-builder.
Pulling out the flour, she dusts her counter and hands
Ooooooo—wow. How could she know it would feel so fresh in her hands? She turns in her sorrow for the fussing she did to John who wouldn’t put on his shoes and head to kindergarten class in time for the bell and pats in her smile she shared with the baby this morning. She infuses the bread with her spirit
as she feels
The futility is passed. She embraces the past, and
Making bread is now a joy.
Ever since a thoughtful friend shared Sarah Kay’s TED talk with me years ago, I have been enamored of her work. She recently shared a poem from her new book, and I wanted to share it with you, my dear blog readers. xoxoxo
I lay resting next to you–
Your heavy eyelids drifting
in and out of dreams
Your fingers wrapped around my
I gently unweave myself from you
tiny bone of my bone
flesh of my flesh
And move the strings out of your grasp
–but I like the way they look
Enclosed in little hands
fresh from Heaven
I want you to hang onto me forever
How will I know when to let you go?
Up in my figurative tower
Growing out my hair
Her tight hold on my soul
Mirrored only by the way she held the brush
For another twist
Manipulate my spirit, my voice
In, out, down, through, under, twist, braid, tight, tighter, tighter….
Who hired me
as architect for your early life?
My experiences with Legos are hardly
Sufficient credentials, I think….
Still, I labor
Planning the experiences that will build
Modifying blueprints as my
on-the-job training requires
Will you love soccer, ballet,
More importantly, will you love
Your fellow beings?
With experiences as cinderblocks and
Love as mortar
We work together building the edifice of
Across endless power lines
Like notes on a staff
When I die, will you paint me
Eyes set forward, without tears for Ethan’s cancer at age six (he was here oh-so-briefly)
Brow long and high, not with wrinkles borne of worry for
Kaitlin’s solo, Jonathan’s baseball championship, and later
Kaitlin’s failing marriage, Jonathan’s lost job, and even later
Burying Jim after thirty-six years of happily and not-so-happily
Will you paint me innocent? Free from fear?
Yet I look in the mirror at my
Hands once delicately fingering a piano, rolling a cookie, painting a homecoming poster
And I wonder
If each mark of age represents an
Would I trade it all back for a young face, thick hair, and soft hands?
The notes don’t come as easily as they once did
And yet, in some ways, they are easier
Maybe her fingers are more nimble from the hours of
Hours at her disposal are no longer available
When she sits to play, as she once did
Several lifetimes ago
She feels the same.