Wild geese are flocking and calling in pure golden air,
Glory like that which painters long ago
Spread as a background for some little hermit
Beside his cave, giving his cloak away,
Or for some martyr stretching out
On her expected rack.
A few black cedars grow nearby
And there’s a donkey grazing.
Small craftsmen, steeped in anonymity like bees,
Gilded their wooden panels, leaving fame to chance,
Like the maker of this wing-flooded golden sky,
Who forgives all our ignorance
Both of his nature and of his very name,
Freely accepting our one heedless glance.
~Anne Porter, “A November Sunrise” from An Altogether Different Language.
My need for forgiveness is continually overwhelmed by God’s capacity to forgive: I mess up so frequently, it is as natural as breathing to me.
I tend to forget His provision — God’s grace cleans up after me.
May I never forget His name, see the beauty He created and acknowledge His capacity for loving the unlovable.
And so shall I try to fulfill His hope for me.
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At the old Polish gardener’s
There’s a young cat
Under the potting shed
Where she was born
Her face is decorated
With daubs and smudges
And streaks of black
As if she were made up to be a clown
In some mysterious carnival
I gaze at her in wonder
She gazes back
With her clear golden eyes.
~Anne Porter “A Village Cat”
Our stub-tailed calico Bobbie came to live here eleven years ago when her physician owner needed to move out of the area and couldn’t take her along. She arrived with a van full of cat furniture from her luxurious indoor house cat existence — a cat house, a cat tree, a cat bed, her own large chair and lots of toys. I gently explained Bobbie would be living the life of an outdoor farm cat from here on, but her stuff was unloaded and after a tearful goodbye, her mom left.
Bobbie took one look around the farm and claimed it as hers, much to the chagrin of several long term resident farm cats and corgi dogs. She has been the Queen here ever since, greeting any new visitors with royal demeanor and occasionally allowing a stroke of her colorful fur only if it is offered with proper respect and deference.
Her favorite person is our Japanese daughter-in-law, Tomomi, and Bobbie greets her affectionately during her summer visits — no one else is allowed such access to her Royal Highness.
Bobbie, in her uncanny wisdom, knows a quality person when she sees one.
Bobbie will frequently accompany us on walk-abouts on the farm – oh, excuse me, your Highness, I’ll correct myself — we and the corgis are allowed to accompany her on walk-abouts on the farm.
Just to make sure the corgis understand her ownership of all things, she will enter the dog pen while they are out doing chores with me and then remain until their return, striking terror in their little inferior canine brains as they try to decide whether to re-claim their territory and food bowls — or not. Until she decides it is time to elegantly stroll in a leisurely manner out of their pen, they are stymied with fear and refuse to reenter.
Bobbie has climbed every tree, explored every building including the roofs, and won’t sleep in the same place more than one night in a row. No surrogate cat house, tree, chair or toys for this cat.
She is the Queen, after all, and when we are fixed under her golden eyed gaze, we aren’t about to forget: we are her subjects and forever will be.
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
~e.e. cummings from “somewhere I have never travelled”
I reach for the visual texture of growing things
without touching with my fingers.
My eyes know its softness at a glance;
it is enough for me to embrace and enfold myself within it.
It takes my breath away and then gives it back.
And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country
We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams
And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows
Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander.
~Anne Porter from “Music”
as cold days linger in interminable gray
when energy wanes
sleep as refuge
instead of restoration
to wander this wintry path
alongside the One who
readies us for radiance
of bird song and sleigh bell frog chorus
of a promise kept~
this is not all there is
Nobody in the hospital
Could tell the age
Of the old woman who
Was called Susanna
Because she had no visitors
I would stop by to see her
But she was always sleeping
One day I was beside her
When she woke up
Opening small dark eyes
Of a surprising clearness
She looked at me and said
You want to know the truth?
I answered Yes
She said it’s something that
My mother told me
There’s not a single inch
Of our whole body
That the Lord does not love
She then went back to sleep.
~Anne Porter from “Susanna”
We tend to forget who made us,
including the funny looking feet,
the crooked teeth, the wrinkles, the scars, the split ends —
We see only imperfection
when our Creator sees dust made manifest
in His image.
He loves us even when we do not love ourselves,
hiding our nakedess.
He loves us even when we cover up with gloss
of polish, perms, plucking and plastic surgery,
hiding beneath our cosmetic masks.
He loves every inch
because we are His opus, a masterpiece.
He knew what He was doing.