What do you do to fight the rainy-day blues,
To push through the mud, the flood, and thunder
When it’s always spring but never Easter?
At the window watching lightning flicker—
The power, too—feel the pane as it shakes.
What do you do to fight the rainy-day blues?
New life for flowers, snails, mushrooms, and you?
You search in hope for new growth but it seems
That it’s always spring but never Easter.
Each drop’s surface tension is soft heartbreak,
Alone, trapped from within and without, but
That’s how life is with the rainy-day blues.
Like March, love warms and cools and warms again
And the future is clear as mountain fog
When it’s always spring but not yet Easter.
Glory in the mundane. Praise faithful work.
Do the next thing. Rest in what’s done for you.
That’s the way to fight the rainy-day blues—
For right now it’s spring, and soon it’s Easter.
Image: Redbuds, Walker County, Georgia, March 2020.
Each courtesy I am accustomed to
Becomes an act of thoughtless violence,
Posing threats to all save a trusted few.
Streets and schools become a pool of silence.
To stay at home and read a tome or play
A game or bake a pie or pause to cry
Or break a dish or eat a fish or pray
Makes no change to the gray and lukewarm sky.
Lenten paths of mourning lead to brooding,
Rustic joys like bread, butter, and laughter
Keep a light on, my soul now concluding,
“Look up, beauty is now and not after.
What is true is sad; what was good is bad,
Find some fearful symmetry or go mad.”
Image: Fungus, Branch, Moss, Snow—Hamilton County, Tenn., + original watercolor, February 2020.
Was it for nothing that the blueberry
In the backyard,
Its fruit consumed,
Its year’s growth pruned,
Caught fire one morning?
I took off my shoes, there in the kitchen,
Beholding it aflame.
Is this newfound bioluminescence?
Can a shrub throb with photons
As surely as neon waves,
Plankton, a lampshade jelly,
The lure of a dragonfish,
Alive with luciferin like foxfire
That startles campers awake?
All life must glow, as dewdrops on a fern,
The shimmer of scales
On a fritillary wing,
Mucosal sheen of a passing slug.
If the paper-skin of the deceased
Can be translucent, then a blueberry
Bush may burn yet not be consumed.
Light is not light unless compared to dark,
And so my squinting
At the world, charged as it is,
Is for the dullness of my soul.
What sparkles through the glass
So dimly may be glory, or it may
Be the devil, crouching at the door.
Image: Blueberry bush, my backyard, November 2018.
A sweetgum is silhouetted
against the east cream-sky, leaves like
star-shaped kids’ cereal sogging
In forgotten milk.
Weathered, brittle plastic toys lie
scattered in the backyard glowing
in faint beatific rose light
For a little while.
The house sits quiet and languid
as the summer air outside feels
like a held breath, waiting to burst
Out, then in again.
When the kids wake, the spell will be
broken, but for the time being,
the world itself seems possible,
Open, blank, watching.
Maybe today’s news won’t happen,
and all is cream and roses and
God is standing back of it all
Breathing, “It is good.”
Image: Appalachian Sunrise, Watauga County, N.C., July 2018.