All She Gave

IMG_4781Just two small coins – but coins of value, true,
not just the jingling metal that betrays
my presence with each step, the coins I will,
unthinking, toss upon my bureau at
day’s end, to languish unregarded and
unwanted, not to cross another palm
to settle my just debts. No, these small coins
would buy a loaf of bread, or maybe two,
to make a meal, to stave off hunger, bring
another anxious day comforting close.

Just two small coins – but coins not changed for bread,
nor flour, nor wine, nor clothing, nor for rent –
coins placed, their mild ring near lost amidst
the clattering rain of donors’ waterfalls.
The merry ring of silver and of gold,
coin falling onto coin, a music of
the givers’ generosity. Clink, clink:
her coins descend, to vanish from the sight
of those observing, buried by the stream
and weight and hue of coins worth more than hers.

To vanish from the sight of all but you,
the teacher come from Galilee, who sees
not just the copper, buried now beneath
the gold and silver, but the bread and wine
unpurchased and the ragged seams unsewn
for want of thread. You feel as hunger gnaws,
you hear her as she lifts her plaintive call
for “mercy on a widow.” Then you turn
to your disciples, and remind your friends
of what it means to offer all you have.

A poem/prayer based on Mark 12:38-44, the Revised Common Lectionary reading for Year B, Proper 27.

Photo of two U.S. pennies by Eric Anderson.



Summit summer-shaken
Rocks now resting
Like tumbled tumuli
Buried in basalt.

Lava languishes
Column cobble-choked
Yet vapor venting
Exhaust ethereal.

Caldera collapsed:
Like a soul subsiding,
Deeply dismayed,
Grieving and groaning.

“Give up your gifts,”
Unwelcomely uttered,
“Present to the poor,”
Displeasing decree.

You discourage discipleship,
Demanding Deliverer,
Boost bar to barrier,
from fracture to fence.

You ask all my all,
My self and my substance –
So my character crumbles,
And my features fall.

Just one hope for the helpless,
To comfort your companions:
The preposterous for people
Is the greatness of God.

A poem/prayer based on Mark 10:17-31, the Revised Common Lectionary reading for Year B, Proper 23.

Photo of the Kilauea caldera – showing rockfalls from the earthquakes and collapses of the summer of 2018 – was taken by Eric Anderson on October 8, 2018.

The Kind Peacock

Peacock_Quinn DembrowskiThis story is more about a peahen than it is about a peacock. Well, it’s about a choice she wanted to make.

She was looking for someone to share her life with. Not everyone wants to, and not everyone can, but she could and did and so she was taking a look at all the peacocks around her to see who would make a good life companion. It turned out to be a problem, not because there too few (there were plenty), and not because there were too few nice peacocks (there were plenty of those, too), but, well…

There were too many to choose from. And frankly, they were very much alike. How do you choose when they’re all so similar?

They all had glorious fans of tailfeathers, with the bright emerald eyes glinting in the sunlight whenever they displayed them. They all had a very similar grace in the way they moved about, nearly dancing as they moved the fan left, and right, and forward, and back. They bowed their gleaming azure heads and necks with politeness and respect. They were even able to talk the good talk to her and the other peahens.

Well, all right. They were able to squawk the good squawk. It comes to the same thing.

With so many options, how was she to choose?

As it happened, it was the chickens that helped her decide.

No, they weren’t offering advice. They were sharing their living grounds and feeding area. There were nearly always chickens about.

Most of the peacocks ignored them most of the time. They didn’t say “Hello,” and they didn’t ask about their day. They’d readjust their fans so it faced a peacock, not a chicken.

There were other times when they stopped ignoring them, and it turned out to be a Bad Thing. They’d scream at them to go away, and they’d rush them with their wings batting away, and they’d even start pecking them with their sharp beaks.

One peacock, however, didn’t act that way. When the chickens showed up at break of day, he’d squawk a polite “Good morning.” When other peacocks started chasing chickens about, he’d stand between them and glare until they stopped. When he found a particularly good bunch of seed, he’d call out an invitation to everyone to come and share: peacocks and chickens alike.

That, decided the peahen, is the peacock for me. This is somebody who can care for creatures other than those like himself. If he’s kind to chickens, he’ll be kind to me.

Are you ready for the ending? Are you?

They lived happily ever after.

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski. Used by permission under Creative Commons license.