Morning

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Morning Poem (by Mary Oliver)

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead —
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging —

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted —

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
lavishly,
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

” . . . Whether or not you have ever dared to pray.” 

I love Mary’s poetry. She has a way of painting a picture with the reader square in the middle of the scene. Here, it is morning. We see the rising sun, the trees, the pond, the lilies. There is the happy person swimming through the lilies or the one who is burdened with life’s circumstance, trudging along carrying the heavy “thorn.”

And, even if one is focused on the drudgery of existence and cannot see it, there is that voice within–that beast–that knows that this morning brings exactly what it needs, “Whether or not.”

Even if we don’t notice it around us, even if we have never thought we were worthy, even if we have never dared to pray, the morning arrives in all its glorious splendour.

As the writer of the Book of Lamentations penned:

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; [God’s] mercies never come to an end–they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.”

The new day lies open before us.

Whether or not we have ever dared to pray.

Disembarking

IMG_4401The last rays of a tired sun reflected
on the mirror-like, just-out-of-the-factory 737
disgorging it’s passengers
through a miles-too-long aerobridge

Two businessmen with over-sized briefcases
who planned ahead to avoid the anxiety of
a shoulder-to-shoulder, four-deep baggage claim

A mother with a crying 3-year old
whose tears ran out long before the discomfort

Three surfer dudes returning from distant waves,
congratulating a fourth who (apparently)
scored the number of one of the stewardesses

My heart seemed like it was beating out of my chest—
Oh! the relief of arriving
and the joy, the joy of reuniting

A family—mum, dad, three children wearing Mickey ears—
showing the relaxed look of having holidayed,
but now-glum faces at its necessary end

An elderly man whose face lights up like Christmas
at the sound of a screeching duet of “Grandpa, grandpa!”
from youngsters (impatiently) waiting
in the the cordoned-off area

Where was she?

Why did she always wait
for everyone else to leave the plane?

My restless mind scans the passengers
making their way along the aerobridge,
most into the welcoming embrace of family
or meeting smiling friends

Is that her?

Craning my neck I see a grey-laced-with-pastel-blue head
on a increasingly-hunched-but-still-stately frame,
Rose Pink the chosen colour for today’s adventure
(Once she dressed in Sunday-best for traveling;
now it’s all about comfort)
Yes! My heart was beating out of my chest—
two years is a very long time.

Scanning the crowd,
her gaze meets with my growing-misty eyes.
Pushing through the meeters and greeters
I find myself in a strong, Chanel-scented hug
(lingering—will she ever let go?)
“Oh mum! It’s so good to see you again.”

The Avowal

As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them;
so would I learn to attain
freefall, and float
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.

(Denise Levertov, as quoted by Marcus J. Borg in Putting Away Childish Things)