Fingers Crimson With Applause

Oh, feed me this day, Holy Spirit, with
the fragrance of the fields and the
freshness of the oceans which you have
made, and help me to hear and to hold
in all dearness those exacting and wonderful
words of our Lord Jesus Christ, saying:
Follow me.
~Mary Oliver from “Six Recognitions of the Lord

A full year passed (the seasons keep me honest)
since I last noticed this same commotion.   
Who knew God was an abstract expressionist?
I’m asking myself—the very question   
I asked last year, staring out at this array of racing colors-
the out-of-control Virginia creeper   
my friends say I should do something about,
whose vermilion went at least a full shade deeper…

…God’s not nonexistent; He’s just been waylaid
by a host of what no one could’ve foreseen.   

He’s got plans for you: this red-gold-green parade
is actually a fairly detailed outline.  

…it’s true that my Virginia creeper praises Him,   
its palms and fingers crimson with applause, 
that the local breeze is weaving Him a diadem…
~Jacqueline Osherow from “Autumn Psalm”

The crimson leaves creep over the brow of our ancient garage in growing streaks and flowing streams, crawling alongside to reach new destinations.

This old building was once a small church at the turn of the 20th century, moved just a few hundred yards from the intersection of two country roads to this raised knoll.

It is fitting that every fall this little cedar-paneled church,
emptied of sermons and worship,
weeps red.

Every autumn these bloodied fingers reach out
to touch and bless,
clasp and envelope:
Do not despair.
He’s got plans for us all.
Plans that give hope.

I must follow.


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