The Abstract Expressionist


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…
~Jacqueline Osherow from “Autumn Psalm”



Crimson Fingers




…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
full of our boxed and stored lives,
weeps red.

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

I must follow.

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”