Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lent, again

Small Baptist church
Edge of the city
Family farms were gone
Ever widening streets
Car lots and early stage
Of strip malls
Good people
Almost "country folk"
My mom's people

They knew the Bible
They loved it
They tried to live it
No creeds of rituals so
They believed

Lent was bad, almost evil
Empty routine of
False religion
Catholics and Lutherans
Maybe some others so
Far from faith

Home is not so distant
Four or five hours down the freeway
Decades later, now about four

Yearly ashes to my forehead
The joy of sorrow
The smudge of death
The touch of some pastor
I hardly know

What was once forbidden
Now is my food, my life

I worry for a moment that I may later see
Someone I know at the
Store who won't understand

Six weeks Wednesday at noon
Sitting with Glenn
Sometimes others join us
A hymn or two
Short sermon
Some good, some not

Lunch in the basement
Church cookbook casserole
Creamy salad
Water or tea
Neither of us drink coffee

Talk of family and sports
Maybe the sermon
Church friends and politics
Work updates
We say our goodbyes

Giving up something, maybe
Remembering, anything to help

Holy Week, the beginning with
Sword ferns posing as palms
Maundy Thursday
It took a long time to
Understand the "Maundy"
Good Friday
It's trite,
But who ever thought to
Call it "good?"
The dark, quiet and waiting

Easter and
It's over
Day of joy
Get my life back, again
Not sure I want it
At this cost
The seasons end

I hope it will come again
Next year
Or maybe, I hope
I'll be here next year
To remember that
It happened
Jesus suffered
And I live

Monday, February 16, 2009

August Evening

sitting next to Connie
old, hard, wooden stadium benches
red paint, chipped, gouged and peeling
she puts on her sweater
I put on my sweatshirt

band plays hits of some artist
we know little of and care less for
overbearing 80's synthesizer
annoys me
she doesn't seem to notice or care

beyond the stage I watch carnival rides
loop, spin and race into the evening
colored lights intensify
sky drifts to darkness

near full moon glows above the trees
growing smaller as it brightens
yellow to orange to almost white

we come to the fair almost every year
it's something we do
we learned this spring she has cancer
treatment, fear, hope shadow our days

we talk a bit, decide to leave
i am ready, but hesitate
how many more times we will go to the fair

merit award 2007 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"We Are the Ship" Shares Baseball History

Baseball is an American rite of spring, but it can be much more than that. Baseball can contribute to building a sense of family. Many families share memories around the game; a first trip to the park, softball at a family reunion, street ball in the neighborhood, collecting cards and catch games between parents and children.

I love the story of baseball. I have visited historic parks, read and collected many books, and attended numerous games with family and friends. I love to tell others about base ball’s (it used to be two words) story and one of the most important parts of that story is the history of the Negro Leagues.
We Are the Ship by Kadir Nelson is a welcome book to help children learn the story of this special part of U. S. history. Through compelling paintings—Nelson is an artist first—and rich yet simple storytelling, children gain a comprehensive sense of the history of the Negro Leagues. This book provides more than games and statistics. It covers train rides and restaurant shunnings, Satchel Paige’s power pitching, Josh Gibson’s home runs, to integration with Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson.

We Are the Ship recently received the 2008 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year from Spitball Magazine. It marks the first time the award has been presented to a children’s book. In winning the award, the judges called the book "Expressive. Majestic. Inspiring”… “everything a great book should be”… ”a book to enjoy over and over again" ... "a beautiful work all parents should share with little baseball fans to the edification of both."

All children will benefit from gaining the insight into this special part of our history. We need to keep reading and telling the story of the Negro Leagues so that each generation learns of the struggles and heroes, and so we never forget. We Are the Ship tells the story in ways that is beautiful, interesting, fun, heart-warming and intriguing for children and parents alike. It makes a perfect bridge from Black History Month to the coming spring.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

She Left Me

She left me

It was late spring

Maybe early summer

Shift of calendar or climate

Thought we'd make it

Stay together

Not be like those others

I'd see her

Eyes dark cold

Or vacant, lost

Death had visited

More than one died

Words - halting, angry or none

Long stretches

Empty, lonely, afraid

Now was an ache, a worry

Panic turned stomach acid

Sleep was an escape, if it came

Could this be, be our end?

The future was a terror

The evil of something worse than this

This living nothing 2.8.09

Monday, February 2, 2009

Calling Woodburn

phoned Woodburn
George answered
said, It would cost me
to talk to her
his way of joking

"Barbara, it's Jim."
"Hi, son. How are you?"
"Fine, thought I'd call."
she didn't seem to notice
the choked words
said she was fine, too
must not have noticed
she needed to go
help a friend
we said quick goodbye's

I wanted to tell her
"Bernie died yesterday."
almost ninety
we knew she was fading
no surprise
wanted to talk more
didn't know how to say it
didn't tell her
couldn't do it
she was gone