Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Very God of Very God

My song is up and available to download.  Invest 99 cents and I may get to record the second one.  :-)

The "Buy" doesn't seem to work on this widget, but it is available on i-tunes and Amazon. Just search with my name.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Aunt Eva

            Aunt Eva lived in a small addition attached to Uncle Wilfred and Aunt Dorothy’s grey stucco farmhouse.  She lived alone. But with her eight nieces and nephews next door and the steady stream of piano students, never alone. 
            Her black hair was sprinkled with hints of gray and rolled into a tight sausage that circled the back of her neck.  It must have been the hip style in the Holiness Movement because my mother wore hers the same.  I remember one time being surprised to see Aunt Eva comb her hair out.  It fell halfway down her back—thin, with a hint of a wave.  She washed it with raw egg.
            Every Tuesday, I walked from my one-room school in the Canadian countryside to Aunt Eva’s for a fifty-cent piano lesson.  It was a good deal for an hour of piano, tea, and cookies.  I’m not sure if she wasn’t a good teacher, or if I was just a poor student, but I never learned to read music very well.  I had a good ear and would memorize those Royal Conservatory pieces, then play, looking at the sheet music, pretending to sight-read.  She probably wasn’t fooled, especially when I’d improvise, though she never seemed to mind my own special touches.  We sat together at an old upright.  On top of the piano sat a cherished china figurine of Liberace at his piano.  She admired him.
Sometimes in the winter, my hands would be so cold she’d have me warm them by the old wood stove until I could move them enough to manipulate the piano keys.  They were never quite warm enough for scales and arpeggios, however.  That required too much discipline and practice.
            She didn’t hit me on the fingers like one of the nuns I’d heard of in town, and she never stopped me from expressing my own voice in music.  However, I never did place in piano at the local music festival. My performances were rather “individual.”  The adjudicator’s remarks always included things like: “A nice start, but . . .”  or “Good expression, but . . .”  Regardless, Aunt Eva was proud of her students, and she was always proud of me.
            She had never married.  Eva appeared content the way she was except for the fact that she had been “dying” all her life.  I wouldn’t say she was a hypochondriac, just fearful and addicted to worry.  As a young girl, she’d contracted scarlet fever, and whether there were real and actual symptoms left over from that, I don’t know.  But, at times, she was convinced death was near and would panic. Who knows what she was really feeling, but I think perhaps I’ve inherited her disorder. 
            Since we assumed Aunt Eva was perfectly content with her multitude of relatives, piano students, and church acquaintances, it came as quite a shock when, with blushing cheeks, she announced that she was to be married.  To Bill.  She was sixty-three.
            Bill was a man of great patience, I guess, for he had asked her thirty years before.  They were married in our little church in town, and there never was a more radiant bride.  Aunt Eva twinkled!  Not a small thing at sixty-three.
            I noticed a remarkable change in my aunt.  For one thing, she appeared softer around the edges as if she was always moving in diffused light.  She loved and was loved.  It washed over her in waves of smiles and blushes and a knowing look. 
            Bill and Eva were married for about ten years when the car accident happened.  I don’t know whose fault it was—just one of those things.  But Eva went down hill over the next couple of years.  She weakened.  I visited her in the hospital, and my sisters and I sang some hymns.  She smiled for us, but continued wasting away.  I think she had stopped “dying” for those twelve good years with Bill, but at the age of seventy-five, she really did die. 
            I miss Aunt Eva’s wonderful brown sugar candy.  I miss being served tea in a fancy cup and saucer.  I miss the way she pronounced the “O’s” in the word “cookie” like “cool.”  She loved music.  She loved God.  She loved us, and she really loved Bill.  When I’m sixty-three I hope I won’t be afraid to try something new—to take a radical step, to stop dying and live.  And maybe even twinkle.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Prayer

I almost feel guilty going about my normal day,
rearranging furniture,
picking up my organics,
cruising over in my Japanese-made Honda to scour the plenty on the shelves at Trader Joe's.
With so much suffering, raw and fresh,
I feel like I should be weeping,
weeping and not stopping;
but these are not my immediate family,
their faces are not familiar.
Yet seeing homes and cars and real and desperate people
swept away as nothing
to become the flotsam of yet another disaster,
another media event,
how can my heart not ache deep and long for
the loss, the agony, the torrent of suffering.
Broken world, shaking and quaking,
moaning, crying out for redemption:  Oh, God
bring solace to those caught in the crosshairs of this eternal tension.

LG 12 Mar. 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Peach-pink, gold molten,
blue wisps of breath,
slivers of molecule--
a sun rising, while I am unable
or unwilling--
tucked in my bed.
Waving and crackling
tired few leaves
call the morning,
hanging on by tiny desperate strands
for one more
winter morning.