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January 2016

Burying the Unknown Dead

Burying the Unknown Dead

A ministry, non-sectarian, in

Students from a private
From a private school

Attend to one, an unknown
Man, somewhere with a
Name but no one to claim
And care for his mortal

“But today we are his family,
We are here as his sons . . .”

Pallbearers, recitations of
Free and liturgical verse—
These youth provide all

To bear the body and,
Finally, kindly lay with
Loving intention into the
City’s yard and ground

In Boston, it’s a frozen
Day, yet there is some light

Because hope of all kinds
And times and mortal or
Immortal prophecies—

Hope blazes here

(reported at for
25 January, “Today We
Are . . .” by Arun Rath)

Psalm 26, a song of dissatisfaction

Psalm 26
a song of dissatisfaction

You know, Lord,
sometimes in spite
of all of my deficiencies,
I am dissatisfied

with what I have. I
don’t wish to be
un-thankful, but
there it is. I wish
things were better.

I wish the world were
giving and forthcoming
in all its parts and

I wish we were better
people—generous to
strangers, open to
the differences that
others bring into all
our overlapping circles.

I wish we were more
grateful. Start with me.

Sunshine Blogger Award (my responses)

To anyone whose reading. There are names with links for some truly fine blogs given below. I invite and encourage you to visit them.


Thank you, Call Me Cordelia, whose blog about reading and writing—and cooking—makes me smile. Thank you for the timing of the award. As you note, it’s a great time of year (in the northern regions of the world) in which to be reminded of the spring-upcoming, rewarding sunshine. I’m kind of season-shocked from Storm Jonas and after. This recognition warms.

Call Me Cordelia’ blog,

Call Me Cordelia’s award post,

(Cordelia’s) Questions for the Nominees:

1. What or who inspired you to blog?
2. Do you write outside of your blog?
3. What is your biggest fear regarding reading and/or cooking and/or traveling?
4. Describe the best thing you ever created.
5. What book belongs on everyone’s bookshelf?
6. What is the one thing that is definitely overrated?
7. Which book was so vivid, you could visualize the characters and plot as if you were watching a movie?
8. Truth, which movie did you like better than the book?
9. What always makes you smile, no matter what’s going on?
10. Where is the most beautiful place you’ve been?
11. Have you read War and Peace? If yes, what did you think? If no, why not?

My Responses

1. My spiritual director recommended I blog. I think he thought it might turn out commercially for me. I’m enjoying it avocationally, however.
2. Yes. I’ve been keeping a journal—haphazardly at first, then pretty much daily since I got back home from open-heart surgery. When teaching, I write a great deal for work.
3. I’m claustrophobic and acrophobic. I fly in planes, though it’s a challenge. My fear in cooking is sickening my guests. So far that hasn’t happened. I have eye strain when reading. Hopefully, it will never get more difficult than that.
4. Since have no children and cannot take credit for creating a cat, I guess I’d say a couple of poems that I wrote that made folk cry (in a good way).
5. One can know God without the Bible, so I think I’ll say The Hobbit. About what happens when someone ordinary must exceed self-expectation in order to become heroic.
6. Excess. Our society says excess is good. It’s not.
7. Ghost Story by Peter Straub. I got so engrossed and frightened by the plot, I put the novel down. But I had grown to care about the characters, so I picked it up again.
8. The Princess Bride.
9. Cleverness makes me smile. Whether it was in my cat or in the precocious children whom I know. That’s an especially good question. I hadn’t thought about this before.

My questions for nominees:

1. Do you have a favorite season? Can you say why?
2. What do you like to read? Any kinds of reads you like? Do you have a favorite text? (Which is?)
3. Why do you write?
4. Why do you keep a blog? How did you start? Was someone else involved (and, if you don’t mind saying, who)?
5. Do you have a favorite way to write? A favorite place?
6. When you’re not writing or reading, what else do you like to do?
7. What would you like to do when you grow up? (I’m still working on this.)
8. What is a text (doesn’t have to be your favorite) that you think everyone should read and have at hand (if only to recommend to someone else)?
9. So far, based on your notion of beauty, what is the most beautiful place you have been to?
10. Besides your blog, what else do you write?
11. Today (besides responding to these questions, naturally!), what will you do that you enjoy?

My Nominees (I’m thinking sunshine as I write–and I’ll be in touch)

Stray Coffee Breaks,
Only One Hundred Words,
in media res,
Ishma Imroz,
What the Woman Wrote,
Jacki Kellum Juxtapositions,
Invisible World,
Sanghramitra’s Blog,

If you maintain an award-free blog, that’s fine, of course. You may simply (and only) enjoy the nomination.
If I’ve nominated you before or elsewhere, well, there are all-new questions (some swiped from others—I mean, respectfully borrowed as an homage) here! Have a go!
If I haven’t nominated you and I should have, I apologize. And for any mistakes I’ve made in transferring blog links, in my own writing, and so forth.
For those of you who fully respond to the nomination, Thanks and Celebrate the Sunshine!

The Award Rules

• Thank the person who nominated you!
• Answer the 11 questions you were asked.
• Nominate 11 other bloggers and let them know they were nominated.
• Ask the nominees 11 questions. Use others’ questions. Compose your own.
• Copy and place the award logos at your blog, as a shiny icon of distinction.


These Are the Voyages (28 January 1986)

These Are the Voyages
(28 January 1986)

Thirty years ago and less or
More, there was Apollo 1,
Challenger, and Columbia

Source and cause of death
In rising through the skies;
Reluctant, stubborn loss in

Exploration—first mission
To the Moon, first teacher
Into pace, and a flight we’d

Grown too used to thinking
Ordinary—limited and limitless,
We were reminded; now in

Vision foresworn and sworn
Again, these guard our flights
On toward all our heavens,

Treasuring what in dreams
Will be manifest—we in faith,
Voyagers relentless, we

Travel closer to our God of
Discovery, all of us tied now
In tribute sentinel sacrifice

(Note. Remember the first USA
Space shuttle? It was Enterprise)

First Words Depending on Where Refugees Arrive

(response to Denmark’s new law)


First Words Depending on Where Refugees Arrive

Welcome to our nation
Give us everything you have

Welcome to our nation
We need to assay all you own

Welcome to our nation
How will you contribute?

Welcome to our nation
We have to screen you first

Welcome to your nation
Let’s get you settled here

Psalm 25, a song of after-celebration

Psalm 25
a song of after-celebration

It’s not Sunday, no
Official day of rest

But unofficially we
At home are done with
Formal celebration

Unusually fine food,
Goods in boxes wrapped
Just-so, paper, sticky
Tape, silk ribbons—all
Now vestiges

All the tries at sweeping
Up glitter and confetti,
Finished for a time

(Glitter on a surface
Somewhere, somewhen,
A sparkling moment of
Quiet surprise to come)

Cups are filled with
Plain coffee now

The dogs and other
Pets are tired, next
To us and at peace

We enjoy a holiday
Without the holiday

Happy and less-sated,
Gazing at our decorations
Also now at rest

Sipping our hot morning
Drinks (or cool), looking
Out glass panels upon a
Sun-lit, dampened yard

Lord, please pardon, if this
Is for us the better
Holiday after-day


Psalm 24, a song of in-between

Psalm 24
a song of in-between

What do we do on an in-between
Day? How might we please
You, Lord, on this kind of day?

If we do small things—speak
More softly and with civility
To those we know and those
Whom we encounter;

If we see the grey wash of
Sky and appreciate that it
Is not a sky of harsher conflict;

If we enjoy the colors, textures
That we have (even awash) and
Simple meals within our means

To have three times—post-dawn,
At midday, and again in twilight;

If we choose to look at harmony
And listen to the view—if

We accomplish these diminutive
Tasks, maybe without thinking,
Might we still please you? We

Do hope so and so we pledge,
Even if all around us is
An indifferent age

Psalm 23, a song of ancient assurance

Psalm 23
a song of ancient assurance

The shepherd psalm
If you’ve read in Old Testament
Then you, I think, know this

If your holy scripture is not
Divided so or does not
Contain this at all, I will tell
You this numbered psalm
Is well-known in metaphor
Of shepherding

(Genders of the shepherds?
They have been both when
Keeping sheep and will
Go on this way)

There is a rod and staff
Tools of the shepherd’s will
They don’t sound so good
To modern me, but I

Understand these somehow
Mean comfort and provide
There are still waters, too
These are clean, and we are
Led beside maybe because
We are so tired by then
That breezes off the water
Soothe us all

We are anointed—rite
Religiously special
And there is a feast

Our enemies are at table
But not served—Awkward?
Maybe, though I think it’s
An unworldly sign of triumph

Earned somehow, not
Simply out of injustice
We might have endured
But because, at last, victims
Are honor-placed

There are more promises
Finally, a place in heaven,
There to dwell with God

This song sings an invitation
Anyone might answer, go
Have coolness in the water,

Oil and banquet celebration,
Finally our home within

All in accepting
Shepherd’s care

Heaven once the peril’s
Done when, as tired
And need-starved beats,
We are carried home



Am I trapped on
the second floor?
My town for now
has the greater

And I realize this
is maybe too much.
I look out:

all I see are shapes
of indistinction;
I can’t even see
that well for
vapor pushing
up against my
window, making
visual barriers
in condensation.

The storm is Jonas;
that’s fine. If you
can escape the
hunt of God by

living for days in
a great fish—before
being retrieved by
hunter’s hand (let’s
say)—then I not
hunted by the
divine with the
exception to be

then I can weather
this—well, you

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