an ordinary day

Thanks to the Daily Challenge for the invitation to share this writing:

AN ORDINARY DAY

For ten days I lived the learning curve
of diabetes, partnering with my beloved son
to help his through maternal leave,
given the grace of time to relish
each extraordinary moment.

The first hour’s sing-song babbling
lifts from crib to giggled hugs and undercover
hide-and-seek en route to the day’s first blood glucose test
followed by calculations of insulin and carbs,
breakfast planned to even out
the hours to come.

This child, so gentle and joyful of spirit
accepts each poked finger and prodded thigh
with grace, a lesson I cannot fail to notice sets
the warp of our day through which we weave
our patterned way, each hour
a new adventure.

From Grandma’s blocks we build
to hold what he loved at the aquarium –
octopus by the elevator climbing glass walls,
his giant purple sac blowing up bigger then smaller
carefully reconstructed through his two-year
old imprint, giant tank within winding
ramp, sea lions sunning beyond.

He recalls with pride how he placed his hand
in the pool where flat rays swam shallow circles
requiring him to dip, lean and shriek with surprise
when the flappy gray surface floated beneath
outstretched fingers, feeling like velvet
fleet and brief, tickling his hand
again and again.

We chant the trains that took us there —
‘one train, two train, three train, blue train’
and back – ‘one train, two train, red train, bed train’
to test, insulin, lunch and rest. Later, we’ll
relive the adventure with Brio trains,
tunnels and bridges arcing us
back to the present.

Past supper the day’s reduced
to favorite books, moonlight and song
stories lingering among the family
of bears lining his crib, a round
of Dona Nobis Pacem circling
him in love’s embrace.

How the layers unfold like
an origami crane in flight; then settle
back to nest, each hour building bridges
between love and need, grace wrapping
itself around this wondrous gift
of an ordinary winter day.
swb ©2017

oversight

large_oops

from internet, source unknown

Odd word, oversight; and today’s WordPress Daily Prompt. It’s one of those words with two meanings that are antithetical to one another. Meaning on the one hand, to watch over, be responsible for; and on the other, having ignored, neglected, forgotten.

How can one small word hold such a world of difference within the same space of letters? As I was pondering this paradox, it hit me. Hard. That in fact, one of the scariest things in life is when the two come together. As when a person or institution has, let’s say, legal oversight (responsibility for) the well-being of a person or group – and fails them. Just ignores their welfare.

Like selecting, for agencies with a clear mandate to protect and safeguard the environment or educate the nation’s young, ‘leaders’  with an equally clear intention to destroy that mission? Or promising to take care of everyone, especially the struggling worker; and then without missing a beat, deleting a mortgage allowance that means the difference of home ownership to many of the same; or pulling the healthcare rug out from under most of them? It goes on.

I may be slow, but this is hitting hard and fast. Truth, integrity, transparency … These are values I hold dear, and ones that received a lot of national attention over the past several months. Where did they go? It seems we need real oversight in our highest offices before the rest of us become, well, a mere oversight.

mash-up

ng-blowing-bubbles-for-paulIt is becoming increasingly clear that I’ll never catch up with all the Daily Post prompts I’ve missed this fall – despite keeping a running list and my best intentions. Instead, I’ll insinuate the first four of December into a single reflection. See if you agree that I’ve hit upon echo, relax, panoply and sacred  – without ever naming any one of these things outright!!

[Full Disclosure: The initial inspiration for my writing came from Gary Johnson’s poem, ‘December:’  my hopes and fears are met/In this small singer holding onto my hand.]

THIS SMALL SINGER

My hopes (and fears) are met
in this small singer
the one snuggled into my neck
begging ‘baby song, baby song!’

and later, sprawled across my lap,
more song, OK’ his nodded approval
wide as any door of hope embracing
the rhythms and modulations of comfort

and blessed joy, myriad notes
running up scale and down, harmonies
and rounds joining the balance of us
in heartfelt song no matter the season.

It is song that holds my hopes
met in this small child, son of my son,
who gently strokes my head,
the ‘ruff’ cast on my arm, his blue eyes

saucer size gazing right into mine
with concern only a toddler can beam
an ancient knowing shared with the dog
to whom he patiently reads ‘Ginger Boy’

helpfully explaining its pictures
in single syllables to the baffled dog,
the young boy charmed at having mastered
the flow of the tale, its lines a music

of its own, rhythm and cadence
lilting through his just-learning-words
speech that rises and falls with his grasp
of a phrase returning from his mouth to the air

among bubbles rising from soapy hands
and the breathy support of elders circled
and circling this golden boy, our hopes
far outweighing our fears.

We’ll stick with the hopes, thanks
to the sweet voice of request and laughter,
the sing-song renditions of spiders and rowboats
an entire world unfolding from A to Z

through song and story by this young singer
holding my hand, and my heart.

swb, 12.1.16

praise

credit - unknown

credit – unknown

In response to today’s WordPress Daily Post Challenge, I find myself once again (still?) feeling the need to speak out for reason, for truth, for reality. Because for months now I/we have been hammered by an altered reality that bears no resemblance to anything short of a future of utter devastation of all we know, trust, believe in, hold dear.

So many words vie for prominence. Many are now familiar for their endless repetition — though repetition alone can not make truth. What I want to make prominent are words of consequence, of conscience, of connection.

And so, in response to today’s prompt, I offer one of the most inspiring inaugural poems ever written. So many reminders of whence we came and how we might proceed together into the future. Too many favorite phrases to repeat. Just the poem in its entirety, which you can also hear in her own voice here.

Praise Song for the Day: A Poem for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration 2008, by Elizabeth Alexander

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what’s on the other side.

I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,

picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.

grain – not!

BuckwheatTXT

credit – yurielkaim

I love the coincidences of these Dailiy Post one-word prompts. Just this very morning I made, for my friend-with-the-broken-wrist who is staying with me, some comfort food. Buckwheat pancakes. With my usual a-recipe-is-only-a-suggestion wantonness, adding banana and yogurt to approximate the suggested buttermilk; nutmeg because of the banana; and omitting the scant sugar, again because of banana.

While we were exclaiming over the tasty nuttiness and general comfy-feeling-makingness of these modest morning delights, we pondered – just what IS buckwheat, anyway?

Buckwheat, it turns out, is the seed of a plant called “fagopyrum esculentum.” It’s related to rhubarb, or all things (which might explain my apparently-innate fondness for it – my dad and I were the only takers of the abundant perennial patch behind my childhood home, doubtless a carryover from the war garden). Not wheat, not rye, not barley. Furthermore, despite the name, buckwheat is gluten-free. Still better, it is a high quality plant protein extremely rich in antioxidants, minerals, and soluble dietary fiber.

What’s not to love? And all this, NOT being a grain!!!