I am really tired of people who are in charge of things – leaders, authorities, and grown ups – fighting. I am annoyed with how much of the “news” consists of offering ringside seats at the latest knock down, drag out. I am sickened by sarcasm, cynicism, stridency and the legitimizing of fear, anger, and blame as reasonable and acceptable points of view in communal problem solving. I am annoyed by emails which trumpet, Read and weep and conclude with This is bad…..real bad….these guys MUST be stopped, stopped now, and stopped HARD!!!!
Thank goodness, April is poetry month. It has arrived just in time to save you from the black hole of my self righteous indignation.
When my brother and I picked, poked, badgered and teased each other into tears and blows at bedtime, my poet mom would holler up the stairs, “You kids settle down or I am coming up there with a stick with a bee on the end of it.” Mom rarely raised her voice or showed anger, but that image of her bounding up the steps waving a stick with a bee attached would hush us up and settle us down right smart. Just contemplating mom doing such a thing was sobering. So we turned over in our beds, sighed, and fell into the sleep we so sorely needed.
Flannery O’Conner wrote that poetry is the accurate naming of the things of God. For me that means everything, for what does not belong to God? For accuracy we must step away from bombast, pontification, egotism and fear to look courageously into what is so. Rather than exalting anger and fear and attempting to defend truth by diminishing all other competing truths, poetry invites us to gaze generously upon the reality of our common experience that points in the direction of truth, which poetry would never claim to possess, but only to love.
Poetry is the sensuous earthy praise of dirt, color, and detail. Poetry holds in its open palm the transformative reality of the winged sparks of sun bouncing off the blackbird’s belly, and the piercing sting of a stick with a bee on the end of it.
God, who consented in Jesus to be tethered to time, space, race, nation – the unique, speckled, flecked and marked human form of one homo sapiens, has in that startling incarnation blessed and made holy the spare, the absurd, and singular. In each particle of creation the deity scintillates, and truth shouts for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.
A poem has been haunting me for the past two weeks. Remembering only snatches, It’s lemonade. It’s lemonade. It’s April, I finally hunted it up. Read it out loud right now to your cat, your friend, or just for the glorious sound of it.
It’s lemonade, it’s lemonade, it’s daisy.
It’s a roller-skating, scissor-grinding day;
It’s gingham waisted, chocolate flavored, lazy
With the children flower-scattered at their play.
It’s the sun like watermelon,
And the sidewalks overlaid
With a glaze of yellow yellow
Like a jar of marmalade.
It’s the mower gently mowing,
And the stars like startled glass,
While the mower keeps on going
In a waterfall of grass.
Then the rich magenta evening
Like a sauce upon the walk,
And the porches softly swinging
With a hammockful of talk.
It’s the hobo at the corner
With his lilac-sniffing gait,
And the shy departing thunder
Of the fast departing skate.
It’s lemonade, it’s lemonade, it’s April!
A water sprinkler, puddle winking time,
When a boy who peddles slowly, with a smile remote and holy
Sells you April chocolate flavored for a dime.