Some call the man-giant “Python Slayer,” but the woman-giant has battled pythons, too. They rolled out a python skin, ten feet long. (That was the small one.) We touched the skin of a crocodile which swam in the same river toward the giant, once upon a time. On the wall hung a bow, longer than I am tall, and a poison arrow. The man-giant presented another arrow to my children. Don’t touch the tip! I wanted to tell them.
Monthly Archives: October 2011
there’s no such thing
as a sharply defined
horizon line. Tomorrow
is always blurry.
When I can’t see ahead
too clearly, perhaps
it’s because God is
shining His light more
brightly right here.
(Also linking with Ann Voskamp this week as she hosts a community of those who share about “The Practice of Faith.” Click on the Holy Experience badge below to read (on Wednesday) more posts on Faith!)
In one cupped hand I hold
the cup of His blood poured,
He said, for me. Looking down
I’m astonished to see in that cup
a regular pulse, a cadence disturbing
the dark liquid surface
in the cup of His blood poured
for me. It takes some time
for me to see that this pulsing is
my own heart beating
in the cup of His blood—
and now, every time,
if I hold still I can see
how my very heartbeat pours into
the cup of His blood poured
When a child reads
a good book for the first time
she doesn’t just take it
in like a worn-out vessel
hoarding the blessing too long,
until it coagulates and can be
poured no longer. She pours
her self, still liquid, into
the pages written
Two poems for the poetry prompt to write a poem using another’s words as “triggers.” I don’t know that my poems are really related to the trigger, but here’s my trigger (some lines from Anne Fadiman’s foreword to Rereadings):
The first time [reading a particular book], especially if it’s in childhood, is induplicable. It is customary to speak of children as vessels into which books are poured, but I think the reverse analogy is more accurate: children pour themselves into books, changing their shape to fit each vessel. . . . I think that’s why so many children prefer fiction and so many adults prefer nonfiction. As we age, we coagulate. Our shapes become fixed and we can no longer be poured.
- Anne Fadiman, Rereadings, pp. xiv-xv.
From first through third grades I loved everything about school, even the spaghetti served with an ice cream scoop. But I did not love the walk home.
Mr. and Mrs. Franklin didn’t fit in, not in that neighborhood. Rocking chairs, not cars, occupied their garage. Their garage door was always open, and they sat in their chairs, facing out. They called children walking by to come and talk to them. I was one of those children.
Mr. and Mrs. Franklin lived across the street and three houses down from us on Naffa Avenue, Carson, California (Los Angeles County). Whenever I walked home from school, I made sure to walk on the other side of the street. I knew without looking that their garage door was open and Mr. Franklin was giving me that wordless summons: his old, gray head and his old, gray arm simultaneously waving me over in jerking motions. Pretending not to notice, I walked faster, staring at the sidewalk. Just three more houses and I’m home, I thought. But they wouldn’t let me go that easy. Mr. Franklin called out, “Monica! Come here!”
We lived in a subdivision called “Carriage Crest Community,” but the “Community” part didn’t apply. Residents installed thick iron bars over the windows and doors, but the heavy bars, while keeping out potential thieves, also kept out potential friends.
A shy, self-isolating girl in a neighborhood like this, I never wanted to visit with Mr. and Mrs. Franklin. I just wanted to go home where no one would ring the doorbell.
But the Franklins persisted, and I always crossed the street. I stared at the cracks in their driveway while we chatted about nothing memorable. This happened every day.
One Halloween when I was older (around 7th grade), I went trick-or-treating at a tennis friend’s neighborhood (Rancho Palos Verdes—an affluent city where people gave out big chocolates instead of the less expensive lollipops).
The next time I saw Mr. Franklin, he said with a mixture of accusation and sadness, like a child betrayed by his friends, “I waited for you at Halloween. You didn’t come.”
“No, I went to another neighborhood instead.”
“Well, we were waiting for you. We had a one-pound Hershey bar for you.”
Three decades later, I realize that they loved me and I loved them. I miss the Franklins. I want to linger in their garage and get to know them better instead of counting the seconds until I could keep walking home. But, I can’t. They’re gone.
Will they ever know how, in a few short moments after school, they taught me to love my neighbor, to reach out to children around me, to be welcoming and open instead of guarded and afraid?
I’ll never see Mr. and Mrs. Franklin again on this earth. But down the street, there are children coming home from school. I think I’ll wave to them.
(In memory and in honor of Stanley and Jean Franklin, for the Community Writing Project hosted by Jennifer Lee to write about an important person from your childhood.)
It sounds like a song. Listen to the exuberance, the excitement, the fiery and exhilarating passion in this:
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Then, find out from where and in what situation Paul speaks:
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord…
How’d Paul do that? How could he say that?
What kind of joy is this?
What kind of joy is this
that counts it a blessing to suffer?
What kind of joy is this
that gives the prisoner his song?
What kind of joy could stare death in the face
and see it as sweet victory?
This is the joy of a soul that’s forgiven and free!
(from Steven Curtis Chapman’s What Kind of Joy?)
Father, may I always hope in You; may I always have and proclaim this kind of joy, wherever I am.
This Wednesday Ann Voskamp hosts a community of those who share about Hope. Click on the Holy Experience badge below to read more posts on Hope!