Our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.
v. 1 “O, Worship the King”
The hymn we sang at the knee of our mother
who taught us the harmonies learned
in her childhood, who rejoiced in the sound
of her daughters singing, singing the worship
of God, the Ancient of Days.
Truest of all the titles of God, whose eye
is that of the oldest elephant present
on the day of creation; an eye not so weighty
with justice as mercy, a compassion so deep
it disappears into the heart of one who sees it,
to be mined only for God’s adornment and purpose.
I lay this salver down before you
with the song I sing a thing of gold
upon it, my intention to please in
an act of love. Like Farmer Hoggett
in the movie Babe, who sang and danced
the pig back to health, I would if I could
dance for you like David before the Ark
where you dwelt alone. Would you
feel less alone with my song? sung
in a voice old and unpracticed?
and what I have to offer
to you whom I love.
Jesus, Mary and Saint Joseph,
I say quietly throughout the day
as wandering thoughts plead
and pray for a full response
from the whole family.
An exclamation early learned
as exasperation with circumstance
has transmuted into intercession.
Only today did I see and hear
what I said and say as prayer, not
imprecation. May that understanding
mean years of cursing redeemed.
Mary Oliver wonders
what it is
that I will accomplish
and on that today for me in July
I write a letter to the editor
of America magazine re an issue
I feel strongly about.
I read Philip Booth and hope
and pray he is with me today
in all my work––
I wash the sheets. The clean
bed awaits the quiet of night.
Holy. Holy. Holy.
Fly-specked and dusty and perfectly mine
is this space for poetry out of time
where worry troubles not the moted air.
Once over the threshold nary a care
can raise its fleecy bothersome head
demanding attention I’ve already shed
when doffing my coat and winter hat
and lighting a fire, spit-spat.
Done, I assume the writer’s seat
pick up the pen and relish the heat.
Ink on paper, word on tongue …
a chant that can be daily sung
to invoke the Muse in all its glory
and contribute one note to the human story.
White paper. Black pen.
Ready? Let’s begin.
A fall day. Is that enough to say?
Do I need to list colors? Not Roy G. Biv
but fiery orange and wild pink
sharing branches of the same tree
even the same leaf,
and that’s the beginning.
Ready for a day of walking, looking
in order to really see and faithfully
deliver the Good News that life goes on
in spite of politics, including politics
falling at our feet each day in newspaper,
on television and now on line––
wars and threats and rumors of war
started by irresponsible men. And
women too, who get on the wagon
that climbs not to any star, but rolls
its way to hell on wheels of stone.
That given, remember the colors
of orange and pink that share
the veined space on the same leaf.