Monday, January 31, 2011

Scars (cicatrices)

There are scars where blood once bloomed
on bodies born pure, their stories live on.

A dog engraved his teeth marks on
Laurel, a girl I knew long ago,
leaving a concave spider web
splayed on her cheek.

As a child in a hospital ward
I saw a little boy's charred skin,
his outer layer like pieces of
red crumpled paper.

Metal forceps created
a crooked mark on my husband's
sweet newborn face,
still visible decades later.

My son's six year-old leg
collided with a bicycle pedal
that left a forever grin
stamped on his shin.

Dad's leg carries
a long scar from childhood
bone infection that took
a year of his boyhood away.

There is a diagonal slash
across Helen's chest,
a betrayal of a breast
and its landmines of cancer.

My visible scars are of parts uneeded,
an ovary full of potential disease,
breast tissue that burdened my body and spirit.

Some unseen scars have
their own stories,
little demons of iniquity,
embedded with tears.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy Birthday

This evening, I sat by an open window
and read till the light was gone and the book
was no more than a part of the darkness.
I could easily have switched on a lamp,
but I wanted to ride this day down into night,
to sit alone and smooth the unreadable page
with the pale gray ghost of my hand.

Ted Kooser

Monday, January 24, 2011

As Heard in Church . . .

God doesn't throw us out in the trash just because we have empty nets at daybreak.
Pastor Chip Freed
January 23, 2010

Friday, January 21, 2011

Coexist Quotes

I realize patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness toward anyone.
Edith Cavell, nurse and humanitarian 1865-1915

What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do.
John Ruskin 1819-1900

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
General and 34th President 1890-1969

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This is America

"This is America, where a white Catholic male Republican judge was murdered on the way to greet a Democratic Jewish woman member of Congress, who was his friend. Her life was saved initially by a 20 year-old Mexican American gay college student and eventually by a Korean American combat surgeon, all eulogized by an African American President."
Mark Shields, PBS

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr.

"Like life, racial understanding is not something we find, but something we must create."
President Barack Obama received an average of 30 death threats every day his first term in office. This was a 400% increase in the number of threats made against President George W. Bush.

"Poverty is one of the most urgent items on the agenda of modern life."
39.8 million Americans were classified as poor in 2009 by the US Census Bureau.
32 million Americans were classified as poor in 1999.
49 million Americans go hungry every night according to the Food Research and Action Center - 22% are children.

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.
45 million Americans lack basic health insurance.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Censoring Mark Twain

A new edition of Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is being released next month. In it, all 219 references to Jim as the N-word will be changed to "runaway slave." Political correctness is the goal, of course. I believe the underlying goal is also comfort. We are tired of being reminded of our country's failings. But we should not be tired of truth.

I understand this word is incendiary and offensive in present day, but it was written in the context of the 1840's, not the 2000's. A book is a work of art, a creation of the writer. Every artist chooses what to write, which words to use carefully, just as a painter chooses what to paint, often without regard to what others will think.

It is well known that rap singers are free to sing whatever lyrics they want in this day and age,(certainly including this word) whether offensive or vulgar to some. Comedians also.

To change the words of a classic book is to change history and change someone's quotes, and I do not believe anyone has the right to do that. You have the right not to read the book or look at the painting, or listen to the CD - but not change it.

And why is it assumed that we (or high school students assigned to read the book) are unable to place these stories and words in their historical context? That in itself should be a valuable lesson in high school classes. The Bible would be another example of many stories in the Old Testament being written in a different time of values and living.

If this is acceptable now, imagine how many things might be changed in the future. What words or phrases are we now using that someday might be offensive? Should we go back and change the lyrics of classic songs written by Oscar Hammerstein or Ira Gershwin because the term "gay" had a different connotation in the early twentieth century? How many other author's works could be changed? Where is the line in altering history and art?

Saturday, January 8, 2011


song lyrics by Ani DiFranco

White people are so scared of black people,
they bulldoze out to the country and put up houses
on little loop-de-loop streets,
while America gets its heart cut right out of its chest,
the Berlin wall still runs down main street
separating east side from west, and nothing
is stirring, not even a mouse, in the boarded up stores
and the broken down houses, so they hang colorful banners
off all the street lamps just to prove they got manners.
No mercy, no sense and
I wonder what it will take for my city to rise.
First we admit our mistakes and then we open our eyes.
The ghosts of old buildings are haunting parking lots
in the city of good neighbors that history forgot.
I remember the first time I saw someone lying on the cold street,
I thought "I just can't walk past you, this just can't be true."
But I learned by example to just keep moving my feet.
It's amazing the things that we all learn to do.
So we're led by denial like lambs to the slaughter,
serving empires of style and carbonated sugar water
and the old farmroad's a four-lane that leads to the mall
and my dreams are all guillotines waiting to fall.
And I wonder what it will take for my country to rise.
First we admit our mistakes and then we open our eyes
'til nation's last taker succumbs to one last dumb decision
and America the beautiful is just one big subdivision.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Un-Resolution

It's so tempting on January 1st to tell myself that THIS year I will lose those 5 (or 10) pounds - but, alas, I never do. Exercise more - um, probably not. I'm pretty content with my walking and yoga.

Over my 2 week Christmas vacation this year I realized that I had done several things I'd never done before. I was asked to help lead a worship service at my church. Compared to singing solos I figured it would be relatively easy since I have above average reading skills :) I ended up doing just about everything but the sermon and got to read my Christmas poem as well. It felt good.

I picked up a book I'd bought a couple years ago after realizing that, voracious reader that I am, I'd never read a Charles Dickens novel. I read all 550 pages of"Great Expectations." I enjoyed it once I got used to the language.

Lastly, my hubby and I went tobogganning. I'd never done that before! It was a very short experience due to the fact that it was a sunny, but cold winter day and every kid (and parent, apparently) was on vacation just like me. We waited 30 minutes to buy the tickets and another 30 minutes climbing the steep wooden steps (with hubby carrying the toboggan). We took one exciting 10 second ride down the shoot, screaming and laughing all the way. The line at the bottom was about twice as long as when we'd arrived and it was COLD!! So we decided the second ride would feel the same as the first and we left happy and cold.

I've decided that doing something you've never done before is a better, and potentially more fun "resolution" than trying and failing at the same old thing, year after year. I am still working on my list for 2011. Any ideas???