To picture our connection to this golden thread that runs through our lives, I thought it would be fitting to share some poems I’ve written recently on this theme.
I hope they bless they you and would love to hear what they bring up for you.
Your progressive redneck preacher,
I see her, needle and thread in hand,
knitting away her fear and sorrow
for the little one laying before her,
knitting away the losses that lie
at the root of each fear
with more precision than I,
knees and hands caked in dirt,
ever can pull up my weeds by their roots
in my own garden,
yet also knitting hopes and dreams,
as if each new strand
creates a brighter future
for this child of love.
And perhaps it does.
They say our intention, when deeply held
has some quantum power
to shape our world.
The story is that water,
placed under microscope,
When people speak in anger
tightly held in focus over it,
the lens shows such water
will have a chaos, a fury, a lack of order
which water under the same lens
frozen instead as words of peace, joy, and compassion
are spoken over as the heart’s true focus.
I am no quantum mechanic.
I lack the toolkit to tinker with fate,
let alone determine if such claims are true.
Or do I?
For this young woman seems certain,
her eyes tightening and hands furious at work,
certain that the only tools she needs
to shape the web of life,
these quantum threads of fate,
for this littlest of ones, are
her needles, her thread, and her heart afire with love.
Who can say she is wrong?
I have upon my mantle
a worn yet welcome scarf
woven by such a woman,
a weaver not young but threadworn,
battered by her years.
When I touch it, my fingers come alive.
I can almost feel some unseen flame dance,
setting my whole soul to tingling.
Is this not why mother
baked cakes with care
to give to the mourning we knew,
that they may be nourished
not just by some crumb of bread
but by the taste of human kindness?
Is this not why the preacher raises bread and cup,
muttering ancient words,
why each sacred eve words of kaddish are spoken
by chosen people before meal,
why Sufis spin,
and some pilgrims bow five times
toward the East upon their mats?
In truth, is this not also why,
taking pen in hand,
I too weave my strands of stories,
each word a gem,
hoping to craft my own worry beads
upon which I can join
my muttered prayers
or, better yet, weave
some ornate blanket
to warm not just myself
but others against life’s winter chill?
A Golden Thread
Warms my soul
Threaded with grandpa’s sweat
Summer sun on his back
Toiling tobacco fields
Crying out for rain
Defying drought with the same words
Praying for safety while dodging
The Kaiser’s bullets and bombs
That golden thread intertwined with grandma’s cry at night
That paw paw come home alive
Her prayers of praise on his return
Her many late nights praying for her students
At the little school room in rural Carolina
In which her work whittled away at time
In their long night prayers to have a child
And their surprise at God’s answer
For a little girl born of another’s body
In need of love
Yet woven in its midst is the dust
Of a man returned from war
Whose promises, broken as deep as his spirit,
Left their little girl to be and her mama without home and hope
So she might need to turn to them
The dust of a time in our dear south land
When such a mother was filled with shame
Treated as a disgrace
Rather than embraced for the strength she showed
The dust of a time that painted but one family picture
Wiping out the glorious complexity
Of loves as truly lived
That left my little fingers as a boy
As red as Lady Macbeth’s
Who never could wipe off the blood
A dust woven into my spirit
By the land these good hearted ones
Could farm and rear
Only because their great great grands
Stole it from those whom they called ‘Red as that clay
The fruit of which even in my and pa’s times of prayer
Was kept by force
From those of darker hue
Woven in this web of soul
Is the gold thread of daddy’s faith
Born in preaching like an earthquake
Under Georgia tents
The roar of wind and rain
Causing bulbs to burst in sync with the thunder
A faith he instilled in me
On fishing trips and bike rides
The thread of mama’s faith that there is more than this
Which led her to speak against
Dust upon the gold
Of male chauvinism in the name of God
And the heartache it brought in women’s hearts
Never naming her own pain
And to push against it to return to school
Putting her gifts to the healing
Of children as forgotten and broken as she once must have felt
I am warmed by this rich blanket
Of shining thread
I too must take needle in hand
Knitting thread anew
What dust shall I shake out?
What golden threads weave in?
What mire of my own become part of the pattern
Who knits us in our mother’s wombs
And weaves with us the patterns of our lives
Help me make my pattern
Stronger, warmer, and more alive with light
That those you send in answers to our late night prayers
May be warm through life’s winters
And find the springs of soul with you