Blessing for Caffeine

Blessing for Caffeine (c) Gail Doktor 2018

Blessing for the pause shaped
By the round vessel between your palms
Paper cup, ceramic mug warmed
And pressing in a flare outward against the curve of your hands
Frothing with hot liquid and deep color
Brewed to biting wakefulness
Steeped to startling fullness
Charging up the body
As the soul inhales long enough
To anticipate the moment of goodness yet to come
And gives thanks for this simple pleasure
And the gift of time to claim it

Blessing for Wilderness

Blessing for Wilderness (c) Gail Doktor

This blessing grows
In the thicket of thorny cane
Around which you bend and step
Caught on its prickers
So the scratch hurts

The berry sweetness
Ripe and red beneath the serrated green leaf
Bursts brighter on your tongue
Rolls throbbing through your hesitant fingers
Breaks on the ground
Smacks in the mouth
Hard-won among tall grass, lush fern, fallen birch, rotting logs, and working bees,

The wild richness flourishes
In the trampled bowl
You guess was as recently as a few hours ago
A deer’s breakfast, a bear’s luncheon,
Flattened like a nest
Trampled down among arching branches

Here is the heart
Of pain and succulence
You find along the narrow animal trail
You mistook for a human path
Overwhelmed by the scratchy maps
It leaves on your exposed skin as you pass through

As you suck on the just-turned crimson  plunder
In the wake of those first missteps
Off known routes and maps
Coming to a place that is
For just now
Yours alone

You linger
Gather up, gather in
Until you cannot bear to feast anymore
Unless you return with someone else
Offering unexpected bounty

Yet who will follow you
Past all markers into the unknown
For a handful of summer sweetness
And a temporary set of scars
And a blessing stained
Across empty, cupped palms?

Lenten Word #45: Absent

  • Poem: Sonnet 98: From you have I been absent in the spring By William Shakespeare
    From you have I been absent in the spring,
    When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
    Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
    That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him.
    Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
    Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
    Could make me any summer’s story tell,
    Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:
    Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
    Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
    They were but sweet, but figures of delight
    Drawn after you, – you pattern of all those.
        Yet seem’d it winter still, and, you away,
        As with your shadow I with these did play.

Lent Word #44: Die

  • Music video: Disturbed – Another Way To Die
  • Poem: Music when Soft Voices Die (To –) By Percy Bysshe Shelley
    Music, when soft voices die,
    Vibrates in the memory—
    Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
    Live within the sense they quicken.
    Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
    Are heaped for the belovèd’s bed;
    And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
    Love itself shall slumber on.

Lent Word #43: Remember

  • Music Video: Remember When by Alan Jackson
  • Poem: Remember (excerpt) By Langston Hughes
    Remember
    The days of bondage—
    And remembering—
    Look down

    … The unscrupulous power

    That makes of you
    The hungry wretched thing you are today.

Lent Word #42: Do

  • Music Video: I Do by Musiq Soulchild
  • Music Video: I Do by Jessie James Decker
  • Poem: Do Not! (excerpt of full poem at Poetry Foundation) By Stevie Smith 
    … Oh know your own heart, that heart’s not wholly evil,

    And from the particular judge the general,
    If judge you must, but with compassion see life,
    Or else, of yourself despairing, flee strife.

Lent Word #39: Gather

  • Poem: [Let Us Gather in a Flourishing Way] (excerpt of full poem available on Poetry Foundation) By Juan Felipe Herrera
    Let us gather in a flourishing way …

    in the garden of our struggle and joy
    let us offer our hearts a saludar our águila rising
    freedom …

Lent Word #38: Process

  • Poem: I Sing the Body Electric 6. by Walt Whitman
    The male is not less the soul nor more, he too is in his place,
    He too is all qualities, he is action and power,
    The flush of the known universe is in him,
    Scorn becomes him well, and appetite and defiance become him well,
    The wildest largest passions, bliss that is utmost, sorrow that is utmost become him well, pride is for him,
    The full-spread pride of man is calming and excellent to the soul,
    Knowledge becomes him, he likes it always, he brings every thing to the test of himself,
    Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail he strikes soundings at last only here,
    (Where else does he strike soundings except here?)
    The man’s body is sacred and the woman’s body is sacred,
    No matter who it is, it is sacred—is it the meanest one in the laborers’ gang?
    Is it one of the dull-faced immigrants just landed on the wharf?
    Each belongs here or anywhere just as much as the well-off, just as much as you,
    Each has his or her place in the procession.
    (All is a procession,
    The universe is a procession with measured and perfect motion.)
    Do you know so much yourself that you call the meanest ignorant?
    Do you suppose you have a right to a good sight, and he or she has no right to a sight?
    Do you think matter has cohered together from its diffuse float, and the soil is on the surface, and water runs and vegetation sprouts,
    For you only, and not for him and her?