Inhabiting Our Lives

 Let us remember that in the end we go to poetry for one reason, so that we might more fully inhabit our lives and the world in which we live them, and that if we more fully inhabit these things, we might be less apt to destroy both.   

Christian Wiman, as quoted in Poetry Magazine

Sweet Dreams



Sweet dreams, my mother would tell me during good night hugs.

What should I dream about?  I always asked, and she always answered.

 How tired she must have been,  answering all day questions.

She would pause ,  then tell me things that were very practical, because she was.

Dream about cinnamon toast for breakfast.  Dream about wearing your new dress.

Dream about school tomorrow. 

Somehow, it was enough.  Following the ritual Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep prayer,  tucked into line dried sheets that smelled of sunshine and grass,  I closed my eyes and the ordinary everyday thoughts powdered with dream dust soothed  and satisfied.

What will you dream about, sweet girl?

 You look like a beautiful fairy child sleeping.

Baking chocolate chip cookies from scratch and licking the spoon?  

Picking strawberries and finding Easter eggs?

Paw pats from kittens?

Dream about cinnamon toast.

Dream about your new dress.

Dream about school. 

It is, after all, the ordinary from which the best dreams come.

And, having dreamed, what extraordinary tomorrows you will have.

Earth’s crammed with heaven;

And every common bush afire with God;

but only he who sees, takes off his shoes.

The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

                         ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Eden on My Mind


 With Eden on my mind, I walk in the garden.

A kitchen garden growing just beyond my back porch is fragrant with herbs and taste tempting vegetables.

But my kitchen garden is inside, too.

Inside or out, it is that which I have been given to tend.

At my sink, in my pantry, with rising bread, pots of soup , and table to share, I tend this garden.

 I stand beneath an arbor where bunches of pink roses tumble around in a whispering  breeze with wisteria fronds.

I weep with awe and wonder and praise for created and Creator.

Then I open the door and go inside where I am arbored by other creation.

Under and around, surrounded in the shelter and sanctuary of books, music,  sweet images  and reminders of family and friends  who are gifts of the Creator chosen and created for me.

Nurturing, caretaking, keeping, all  become the art of tending this garden.

 Time began in a garden.

Still, my time is in a garden.

Photo JDP