Seen All and Been Redeemed







I eat these
wild red raspberries
still warm from the sun
and smelling faintly of jewelweed
in memory of my father

tucking the napkin
under his chin and bending
over an ironstone bowl
of the bright drupelets
awash in cream

my father
with the sigh of a man
who has seen all and been redeemed
said time after time
as he lifted his spoon

men kill for this.
~Maxine Kumin, “Appetite” from Selected Poems: 1960-1990.








We’ve exhausted the strawberries with only a few “everbearing” continuing to produce through the remaining hot days of summer.  The raspberries too are drying up with leaves curling.  The mountain huckleberries have had their hey-day.  The blueberries continue strong and juicy.

And now blackberries, free for the picking, hang in mouth-watering clusters from every fence line, long roads and ditches, just begging to be eaten.  Blackberry vines seem like trouble 90% of the year–growing where they are not welcome;  their thorns reach out to grab passersby without discriminating between human, dog or horse. But for about 3 weeks in August, they yield black gold–bursting unimaginably sweet fruit that is worth the hassle borne the rest of the weeks of the year.

Thorns are indeed part of our everyday life. They stand in front of much that is sweet and good and precious to us. They tear us up, bloody us, make us cry, make us beg for mercy.  In fact, man has died by thorns and been killed for the sweetness.

Yet thorns did not stop salvation, did not stop goodness, did not stop the promise of redemption to come. We don’t even need to wait to be fed and no one need die: such a gift as this was dropped from heaven itself.













One thought on “Seen All and Been Redeemed

  1. Whether we want to admit it or not, pain and ‘thorns, even amidst beauty, are part of the human journey. Some persons seem to be overburdened with them. Others prefer to just suffer in silence, with the sad result that our loved ones and caring friends are deprived of using their genuine gifts of caring and compassion to help share the burden. Our pride and our refusal to accept help in attempting to ‘go it alone’ in times of emotional and spiritual suffering are unnecessary and counterproductive. And unnecessary.
    Jesus promised us that, through His Holy Spirit, He would be there for us as we travel our earthly Journey — but especially in those times in our lives when we face the ‘blackness’ of despondency and despair by believing that we are alone. Totally alone, with no help….During my times of such need, the first thing I did was to pray constantly for God’s help. All I received was silence. Hurt and feeling abandoned by Him, I ceased praying – to the extent that I even refused to attend church services and to receive the healing Eucharist..
    God, however, chose to answer my prayer in an unexpected and, I thought, unusual way: He brought loving, caring people into my life whose presence to me were a resounding answer to my prayer, a beautiful affirmation that He had, once again, kept His promise. I never had the patience – nor the faith – to let God be God – to ‘do it His way,’ in His time.

    Thank you, Emily, for the timely reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

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