The Writer

God supplies the pen, our bodies, and the life giving ink, our spirit. We write the words of the story of our lives each day. Sometimes just random notes with lots of crossings out, sometimes a flowing, well structured narrative. But is good to know that the master manuscript has already been written and is stored for eternity with the One who wants only our best work to be published.

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Impatience

Red Admiral butterfly

When I was a little girl I peeled the skin off chrysalises. Not to be cruel you understand, but to help the trapped little creatures escape. I watched in revulsion and fascination as the ugly crippled insects struggled and writhed, silently willing them to stretch their crumpled wings and become the beautiful butterflies I so admired.

Needless to say, they never did. I was so sure when I watched the twitching, pulsing cases that the creatures needed my help. That they were desperately trying to get free, and that my intervention would hasten their escape to a life of dazzling aerobatics.

I am nearing sixty now, and I have only just reflected on this now odd-seeming behaviour. I keenly remember coming across these dried up little packets in my shed (or somewhere equally furtive) and being spellbound when they started to move. It seemed to me cruel to leave them struggling when I could surely help them. I now know, of course, that their struggle is a necessary part of their survival.

That without tensing and pushing and building up strength, the insect cannot hope to burst through its self-constructed shell. Nor could it possibly generate the force needed to pump life-giving fluid into those huge, diaphanous wings. No, there is a process. One which is no doubt painful, and at times the creature must long to give up. But oh, the reward!

To have spent a life earth-bound. Lumpen and obtuse. A day meant for merely gorging and resting. Until a final rest overtakes it. A defeat. An almost-death.

How it must have to still itself, surrender. Let a greater force take over. And with no knowledge of how long, perhaps eternal, this sleep will be.

And then, one bright day, its rebirth arrives. A new consciousness. The sense of limbs where there previously were none. The need to extend, to break out. Tentative at first, it tests its muscle. The elasticity of the shell is too tight to begin with. But little by little, over hours and days, it can feel a rent.

Air on limbs is an encouragement. Folds of some new body part slip free. Cooling, drying, they flutter a little in the breeze. And then the real effort begins. As each pulse sends life into the fabric, a huge, and colourful, and wondrous appendage is raised. And in raising it, the creature itself is lifted. At last two very beautiful, very fragile, but very powerful new limbs elevate the creature. High. Over ground and flowers and other things never before seen. To the sky. To the sun. To the future. Aloft.

And needing no human intervention. Only time. And patience.

Disappearance

Where is the Plough? Reveal it to me now

As morning draws a veil across the sky

And did I dream Orion, brightly cinctured would remain

Whatever fiercer glare obscured my eye?

The promised Bear and maiden seemed to dominate the night

Adorned with myriad starlets they cavorted

But daylight brought their efforts to impermanence it seems

Their place in Heaven’s gateway sadly thwarted

Ah, day, sunlit bathed, illuminates my path

And yet the calls of midnight sky remain

The twinkling pinpricks hovering, just shrouded for a time

Until I gaze in wonderment again

 

Autumn Separation

At the start, we’re curled up tight, folded into ourselves

Tinged a fresh green, we are soft, formless, developing

Then, as we gently unfold, surfaces open, we reach outward

Stretched to our tips, our colour deepens, vivid

Fully flattened to absorb all light, moisture, experience

Whole and energised, extended we thrill to the breezes

Growing, glowing, nothing lacking, mature

Then, at our peak, we ripen

Our growing slows, changes, and tiny parts unseen die back

Our colour slides to golden hues, bronzes, burnished, beautiful

We sense the pull of separation yet resist, straining to our stem

Holding fiercely with our last gasp to remain attached, connected

But then, detachment

Alone we fall, spiralling, pirouetting, a golden teardrop

Yet caught, and giddy

And differently alive

Autumn’s Farewell

The dawn sky stood grey, and did I discern a pinkish blush?

Blank, unspeaking, awaiting the imprint of day

The trees, silent, poised expectant, ready to tremble at the command

And when it came, all quivered in unison, thrilling at a chilled caress

Soon, soon, they thought, a blast will strip us of our summer burdens

And we, released, will commence our departure

Not embarrassed by our nakedness

Unafraid of frigid fingers or icy breezes

For we will slip down, unperceived, a sliding withdrawal

Seeping into the core of ourselves

Tentacles retracting, liquid pooling

Deep into our warm heart

There to solidify

Centred, strong

Storm-stilled, peaceful

Awaiting

Harvest Moon

And going back, my eyes drank in a poet’s moon

Gold, and bold, and stipple-streaked with grey

Thoughts un-numbered filled my clouded heart

Stumbling stones collected through a troubled day

 

Yet the dinner plate cut through the indigo

Stark, and cold, but warming nonetheless

Speaking eloquent, of seasons richly crowned

Moments though unleashed to harm us, still could bless

 

Lives are tribulation-filled, but joys abound

We, enduring, run from tear to laughter

Cyclical, the harvest must return

Kindling hope, to heal forever after

Childhood

When all the world was new

And hopes and dreams abounded

When every day would start afresh

With every fear unfounded

The taste of life a thrill

With every sinew humming

Alive with every breath and step

And all your fingers strumming

Just happy to exist

No hankering after fame

No inkling of a bucket-list

Those days, you overcame

Golden

If your life was always golden

If the sunrays always warmed your brow

If your closed eyes bathed in splendour

And your head reclined on silken pillow now

If your days were giddy dancing

All the partners smiled a sweet caress

All your vistas high and awesome

And achievements decked your days with cleverness

If no dark shone in your brightness

With no taint of malice ever on your tongue

Life would be a golden wonder

Not in this life would you find yourself, my son

In Hiding

I resurrect my wall of sin

To keep folks out and hem me in

So dark and sinuous it grows

Destroying dahlia and rose

To crush my hopefulness and thanks

And hold me fast in mis’ry’s ranks

So I in writhing discontent

Am frail within my putrid tent

Arranged around me by defiance

My self-inflicted sin alliance

But will I grasp the hands that reach?

Him only, with the power to breach

And eyes to penetrate that wall

And catch me

Ere I truly fall

Courage

Courage is living firmly in the face of imperfections

Dealing daily with disasters small and large

Reaching resolutely outwards when we’d rather curl up cringing

Working wisely while aware we’re not in charge

 

Overcoming shame and sadness to achieve beyond our limits

Unbelieving yet believing deeper still

Learning how to dodge the pitfalls or perceiving them as platforms

Using setbacks as a springboard for our will

 

Being human, feeling fragile, never certain, living hopeful

These are challenges we constantly must face

As we hourly add our outcomes and subtract the misadventures

There are moments when we recognise the grace