On Hope

It isn’t always a little feathery thing, perched atop a box slammed shut, whistling a cheery tune.

Sometimes hope is recollection: I have been here before – in pain, and sorrowing, and alone – and I have survived it. Sometimes it’s courageous enough to say “I don’t feel it, but I have confidence that I will get through this, again, with God’s help.” Some nights (and days) it is an exhausted child, not understanding what it happening but trusting his mother’s love to carry him. In dark seasons, it can only sleep, huddled in a cubbyhole with a favorite blanket, longing in its dreams for the slow but certain return of the sun.

The Poet’s Prayer, at Harvest-Time

originally published at http://www.allninemuses.wordpress.com

All Nine

Image by Becka Choat Image by Becka Choat

The Poet’s Prayer, at Harvest-Time

I have planted neither
field nor orchard.

My seeds are words.
I have sown them, here
in this small home-plot,
and any that were left
I have flung to the wind.
You alone, O Lord, know
where they have scattered,
whether they have taken root,
what fruit they have borne.

Many seem to have fallen
in poor soil, or on stones.

At harvest-time, I have nothing
to gather in baskets and lay
upon the altar. And so I kneel,
wordless, and stretch out
before you my empty hands,
which you fill again with seeds.

*****

Becka Choat is a lifelong lover of words who spends many hours each week in a room of her own, writing or reading and drinking coffee. Her book reviews can be found at www.beckasbookreview.wordpress.com, and her poetry and other musings at www.beckachoat.wordpress.com. You may…

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Portrait of my Grandmother

apron

 

The hands that tied this apron on every morning
that I can remember first picked a hundred pounds
of cotton in a day at age five.
They wrote out sums and spelling words
through eighth grade, then went back
to the more necessary work of picking
peaches, beans, cotton, whatever was in season.

They accepted a simple silver band from
the also-calloused hands of a mechanic
one day right in the middle of the Great Depression,
and they laid down the tow sack and picked up the apron.

Those hands cared for a man and his clothes,
their house and their babies.
They cooked three hot meals every day
and washed up the dishes by hand.
They made the clothes and the quilts,
and ran them through the wringer washer,
and hung them on the line to dry.

Those hands cut and combed and braided hair.
They bound up cuts and burns
and placed cool cloths on fevered foreheads.
They canned peaches and made piecrust
and fried chicken and carried food
to new mothers and grieving widows.
They wrote letters, cut coupons and paper dolls,
and taught smaller hands to crochet.

Those hands planted and watered and weeded.
They could put a dry stick in a pot of dirt  and it
would grow. They ironed other women’s husbands’
shirts to pick up a few dollars here and there.
They cleaned the church on Wednesday mornings
and put dimes in the offering plate on Sundays.

Those hands were never idle until they were
folded on her breast in a peaceful pose.

Some people’s lives are written on their faces.
My grandmother’s story was held in her hands.

~ Rebekah Choat

A Birthday

2014-03-20 17.04.12-1

My heart is like a singing bird
whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple tree
whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
that paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
and peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes;
in leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
is come, my love is come to me.

~ Christina Rossetti