hear the church bells

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Luminous morning, Hildegard gazes at
the array of blooms, holding in her heart
the young boy with a mysterious rash, the woman

reaching menopause, the newly minted widower,
and the black Abbey cat with digestive issues who wandered
in one night and stayed.  New complaints arrive each day.

She gathers bunches of dandelions, their yellow
profusion a welcome sight in the monastery garden,
red clover, nettle, fennel, sprigs of parsley to boil later in wine.

She glances to make sure none of her sisters are
peering around pillars, slips off her worn leather shoes
to relish the freshness between her toes,

face upturned to the rising sun, she sings lucida materia,
matrix of light, words to the Virgin, makes a mental
note to return to the scriptorium to write that image down.

When the church bells ring for Lauds, she hesitates just a
moment, knowing her morning praise has already begun,
wanting to linger in this space where the dew still clings.

At the end of her life, she met with a terrible obstinacy,
from the hierarchy came a ban on receiving
bread and wine and her cherished singing.

She now clips a single rose, medicine for a broken heart,
which she will sip slowly in tea, along with her favorite spelt
biscuits, and offer some to the widower

grieving for his own lost beloved,
they smile together softly at this act of holy communion
and the music rising among blades of grass.

~Christine Valters Paintner

those hard, tight places in the crevices of our mind…..stuck, hurt, unbecoming…..

inquiry for today~    whether you see the wild, fall wind as destructive or cleansing may be a matter far beyond your own simple beliefs……how will you refresh your wild heart?

for all that I’ve dreamed

When I was young the silk
of my mind
hard as a peony head
unfurled
and wind bloomed the parachute:

The air-head tugged me
up,
tore my roots loose and drove
high, so high

I want to touch down now
and taste the ground
I want to take in
my silk
and ask where I am
before it is too late to know.

~A. R. Ammons

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