Tears clear dust from the eyes

Might I, if no one minds, crawl from the

rubble of this world

to speak of what you’ve done?

To note the earth below the collapse

and the sky above it, light piercing

the gloom and colors born of its shafts,

and greet the other rubble people rising,

shaking dust from their shirt,

weeping, believing

and starting again?

Your granddaughter, your namesake

You were in your last days

and you’d open your eyes

and say you were tired.

We said, Sleep, and

We’re going for a walk.

I didn’t like that it was wet in the woods,

but there were acorns,

and that, she said, was what you did together –

make dolls of them, and sew.

Once she made pants. When she

thought she was, she said, I’m done,

but you said no.

You pulled stitches and fixed the seam.

You wouldn’t stop till you got it right.

Which is what you’re doing now, she said:

piecing the past and pulling tight the seam.


I thought I was supposed to

do something big,

but it kept never happening

and I felt really small.

My heart became a sad, little

shrinking thing, and if you took me

whole and entire, I’d have fit through

the hole of a salt shaker.

The crystals were like boulders to me.

The worst of it was

I knew it was good to be little

and so I felt I

had no right to be sad.

I was selling the message of

poor in the Spirit, and believed it too,

so why was I sad? I knew big

would do nothing for me.

Thank God I wasn’t always sad.

Joy stole up like a teasing child.

Play a game. Look at my kaleidoscope.

I didn’t have the heart to shoo her away.

All she had to do was move a single cloud

and the whole world looked different.

When she left, though, to play with her ocean,

I’d put all the clouds back in place.

And it stayed that way, my face

fixed in a wrinkle, and it

stayed that way

until one day I saw

what the problem was.

I was trying to be big by being

a prophet of the little,

but forgot to be, really be, little,

a man at home in his own wooly heart,

working in sleet and sun and stain,

ready to live life alive again.

A man in a hat. A man with a rake.

A man whom happiness would not forsake

at the drop of a hat.

So now I’m off to do that job –

to work for free in God’s own yard.

God will rain and God will blow,

and I’ll rake His leaves and shovel His snow.

And smile as I do, for the little I know.

What in the name of Sam Hill?

His highway 14 is a string of lights

in this fog, and the river is only

just now visible. Back at the manse

he’s stuck in a frame looking

at his books, the neat sets he

never read, and wonders if he

ought to’ve.

Given his druthers he’d be not in the frame

and not on the road,

but on the terrace overlooking the river,

where no one is rushing around

trying to make, make, make it

before they die.