Friday, August 4, 2017
Last night my sibs and I all called each other. Mary called to tell me that Bill’s intimate friend of 60 + years had died on the golf course, a loss for all of us, deeper for Bill, and deeper still because Chuck’s Sue is now left without him. I tried to reach Bill 3 times with no luck; one or another of his six children were with their dad. So I called Midge out in Nevada and we talked a while. Then Midge & Jim’s daughter Terri came walking over from her house next door. While we talked, I got to thinking of one of Terri’s poems; “flint hard” one poet critic described them. For me, she’s in the same company with Denise Levertov or W. H. Auden or Joy Harjo.
Finally, I slipped a call in to Bill between his childrens’. We talked about loss and love. These conversations were followed by phone time with another soul friend while she drove home after a day with her husband during a long hip surgery. Such strong family time with loves in my life. These last days, too, I have listened to four or five deep demanding stories from other close friends whose kinship has been woven into my life for years. Takes my breath away this Friday morning.
Yes, the wider world requires attention beyond our close joys and griefs and vigils. The world offers us baseball games, mean violence, grinding poverty and political turmoil. Worrisome news too of relentless, physically dangerous heat in this country, and places across the planet. The wide world.
In my work world, this Friday marks the end of the first week after summer time. During my morning prayer, while I looked for a strong poem, one from my niece caught my attention. Perhaps it will catch yours too.
Best to read the poem out loud, with pauses. Have a blest weekend.
john st sj
Prayers That Mean Something
Grandmother loans out guardian angels.
She is generous with them, always
has an extra. I suppose she’s been
collecting them, maybe inheriting them,
one every five years or so,
from loved ones gone.
If my need is truly great, she sends two or three, or
one of her best, my grandfather’s
or her own. She
grips my hand, without
fragility, tells me,
“You are good” and
it means just that.
When Grandmother says she’ll pray for something,
it is wise to have faith. For her,
even wishbone wishes come true.
Her prayers are long,
include every grandchild by name.
She prays, “Dear Lord, for what is best…”
and it is not less to be one
of so many grandchildren, for
her prayers have strength.
And she prays,
“Dear God, thank you that I still am able,” as
she hangs wet clothing between
two trees older than she, but
And I, without any gods, pray too, pray, dear god dear
that she still is able.
North west shore of Lake Michigan with whitecaps – July 27, 2011