Monthly Archives: November 2011

If Only Humility Fit into a Shopping Cart

If Only Humility Fit into a Shopping Cart

A wry smile sneaks onto my somber face

when I identify the cashier at the end of this long, long line.

Her nametag reads BRENDA

and she’s started wearing barrettes in her hair.


It does not fail—

if I am tired

or prickly

or hurried,

if nothing has gone right all day long,

if my sanity clings to the edge with two flimsy fingernails,


will be my cashier,

like this is just another question on life’s big test,

the one I can’t quite seem to pass.


BRENDA gets overwhelmed easily

and she’s not the brightest crayon in the box.

She usually has to call for help

and I watch my express line halt

while lines of overflowing carts race past.


I could switch lines,

but you know how that goes—

the cashier in the new line would run out of dollar bills

and need to do a price check

or call a manager for approval…


So I stay put,

trying hard to be grateful

for this lesson in patience,

for the opportunity to steal a few deep breaths,


my teacher.

Found in Translation

Found in Translation
I said “Ground me” not
“Grind me.”
But I suppose that’s the problem
with praying while chewing.
Or maybe too many people were on their cell phones,
scrambling my plea
and everyone else’s,
creating chaos worldwide
as “open” became “broken”,
“gentleness” became “gentlemen”,
and “strength to survive” became “streets I can drive.”
Perhaps the dispatcher scratched his head
as he scribbled down these unusual requests
before setting them on the Divine’s desk.
I’m sure the Divine chuckled,
and smiled her wise smile,
knowing that what we really need
isn’t usually what we ask for,
that assigning words
to our deepest needs
is a long shot, at best,
that I needed to be “ground”
before I could be “grounded.”

Be-Now Fill-Joy

Be-Now Fill-Joy
Change your live-here tick-tock hours…”
-William Stafford, In the All-Verbs Navaho World

Wake up with the look-at-me sun,
skip-walk down the go-anywhere path.
Feel the tickle-tickle breeze,
praise-listen to the bring-glee birds.
Pause-breathe when your move-everywhere legs
grow happy-weary-ready for fold-sit-rest.


Inhale the cleanse-change air,
swallow-spread stillness through your heart-cradle chest.
Surrender-squeeze your look-notice eyes,
open-ready your listen-hear ears.
Experience the tiptoe-tiny mice
whisper-dance through point-sway grass.


Open your cup-hand vessels to drip-drop rain,
slurp-swallow the grow-life nectar.
Let it deep-flow-rush into your twinkle-cells,
feel it rainbow-grow through your give-blossom center.
Thank-smile at this bliss-bless moment,
cry-give sing-joy from your word-shaper song-breather lips.