Platform of Hope

A friend diagnosed with cancer
describes the reality of how it feels
to be beaten up over and over again
with pain, nausea from treatment
to treatment, then body-slammed
onto the floor, with cancer calling
out the challenge: Now show me
what you’ve got. It is in that moment,
she says, the gauntlet thrown down
and the body a mess of disease
that the choice is made to stagger
up to a standing position, and with
tears, tears of anger for the fact
of the need of this point of decision
and by that act of standing up
new life begins to build. First floor,
second floor, up to the third, where
treatment ends and hair grows back
not straight this time, but curly
and at a great rate.

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Humus, Humility––A Common Root

Consider humus, that gift to the garden,
of rot. Layers and layers of life lived
of hurt and healing God knows
and presses down upon, compacting soil
and all matter, factored in to fertilizer
that grows the soul, making a way
for humility in place of arrogance.

Death before life is axiomatic; only
hear what Jesus said: that a grain
of wheat must fall to the ground before
it can ever give life; be gathered, threshed
and ground to flour, to make bread, to be
broken and fed to all for the sake of God,
who is Source of life, of rot, of humus,
that gift to the garden. Consider.

On the Eve of New Year’s Eve

From “The Flower,” by George Herbert

And now in age I bud again,
After so many deaths I live and write;
I once more smell the dew and rain
And relish versing: O, my only Light,
It cannot be
That I am he
On whom thy tempests fell all night.

You thought you were doing your best.
Be that as it may, you’re different today
after scores of years of living

in this singular body, this rescued soul.
Dedicate yourself as never before.
Sweep clean the house and prepare it to be

an altar, a table, where God comes down
where the first is last
and the last is best withal.