the death of the field mouse
came in a field of sorts
a back yard in the city
overgrown, strewn with the withering
detritus of the fall
there, dragging the limp
ribbon of a leg
impossibly thin, skin
covering delicate vasculature
and bones, flattened from the crush
of spring-loaded steel,
only thinly missing delivering
a death in the house
there he was shivering
the thin, tremulous ears
transparent, the black
unreadable dots of his eyes
with tiniest of catch lights
catching the grey morning
there he shuffled slowly
under the filigreed shroud of the leaves
unseeing the fall of the brick
When we were young growing up in Pakistan, we had several delightful Christmas books, which my mother must have brought over from America. One of them featured a story about Pegasus and Christmas which began “Someone was blowing bubbles…” I have a hard time figuring out what book this story is in, but with a fair amount of certainty, I believe it is The Golden Christmas Book from 1947 (republished in 1955) which was compiled by Gertrude Crampton. If I save my shekels, I might try to find a copy one day.
Just before Christmas, I found this ornament in a thrift store. It was made in 1984 and if it was not made after this story at least it echoes it very well! Yes, if you pull on the string, the wings do move. Epiphany, of course, is the day the church has celebrated the arrival of the wise men to visit baby Jesus, when a wonder of an even more amazing sort was revealed.
fall leaves like old folks
swept by, unseen; watch! see! their
glories, fading, shine
I had the privilege of photographing a family in the intimate setting of their Thanksgiving/Christmas celebration recently. And toward the end of our time I was introduced to the grandfather, who had his own addition to the house accessed from the dining room. It was perfectly appointed for his needs and comfort and connected intimately with the main house. I will not lie, as the gentleman was 93, there was a moment of wistfulness at not having that extra 11 years with Dad. But there was also a satisfaction, that however emotionally clumsily I met his needs at times, that he had that little room above the street and that he was cared for well and that I got to enjoy his rich presence. This Sunday the gentleman came out and took his place at the center of the couch as his family clustered around him. For several shots he clasped the hands of his grandsons sitting to his sides, one a fully grown cowboy in Montana.
And that, dear friends, is the gold standard of care for our parents, I know, and for many for a variety of legitimate reasons it cannot managed, but I would sure like to see a whole lot more folk try, as folks with lesser means still do more frequently all around the globe.
With apologies for the preachiness, Neil.
As you may have surmised, if you are a regular reader, I just got my first smartphone and decided to go straight to what I see as the top of the heap and get an iPhone 5s. I love fiddling with it and using apps to make creations such as the one above.
I began thinking of this haiku this morning in north city and would like to redo it with an image from that part of town, but my lunch hour was on the south side and, hence, this image. I will not always so illuminate my haiku, which is kind of cheating in a way, no? :) Nor, rest assured, will I give up the big camera either.
If you do like such things as Instagram, which is pretty great for catching the passing moment, you can follow me here.
Finally, this haiku can be very easily generalized thusly:
snow in the city,
an atonement; autumn trees,
the shouts of glory
in new arms. water sealed child.
of the covenant.
This haiku was penned in church this past February while I ran the projector for song lyrics and witnessed the baptism of a baby adopted into a family. Even though I did not really know the couple. I penned it onto a small sheet of paper, drew a little baptismal graphic, and gave it to them afterwards. I did add some full-stops to change it’s rhythm which I did not like initially.
It appeared on the blog when it was being published only on the mirror site and seeing it again today I thought I would reprint it here.
I would like to encourage more such spontaneous haiku writing actually. Maybe we could call it haiku bombing :)
OK, though much like Pope Benedict is soon to be this site is largely functioning as a Blog Emeritus to the new site :) I do want to use it from time to time, though, for special announcements, etc. Won’t you consider donating to this worthy project. I know a lot of people (including a ton of artists) are asking for your money these days, but I can vouch for these gentleman and their heart and vision and I want to promote their cause wherever I can.
Some gentlemen I know from church are part of an endeavor to create a business that does good by helping to foster new artists and to change the perception of a much maligned but amazing city, my city, St. Louis.
Would you watch the video on their page and consider donating? As a personal connection, the house that the video was shot in? Yup, that’s das Haus, my house, right in the middle of the aforementioned city. Check them out on Facebook here and the web here. Click on the image below to go to their fundraising page.
From their Indiegogo page:
“Hey there people. My name is Cardin Irakoze and I am one of the interns for Danger Schmanger. I’m originally from Congo. I have been in St. Louis for five years and the first thing I noticed about St. Louis the danger. It took me awhile to notice the beauty of St. Louis. The first thing I want other people to notice about St. Louis is the beauty not the danger. One of the best ways we can do that is through Danger Schmanger. One t-shirt can make a huge difference. We need your help. We need $4500 to finish buying equipment and things for our shop. And even if you can’t help us financially, you can still pray for us. Thank you.”
Cardin is an awesome kid studying at Forest Park Community College to do web design. We are truly privileged to be burning screens, pulling ink, and making T-shirts with him.
How it all works: