“This Amazing Day”


i thank You God

i thank You God for most this amazing
day for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any – lifted from the no
of all nothing – human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

E.E. Cummings

Springtime in Canada can come in fits and starts, but when it truly arrives it feels as if all creation bursts out in rejoicing.  Within a week, bare branches bud and then boldly spread their leaves to the sun, drawing a green curtain across our ravine for another summer season.

The birds call out their mating songs and build their nests to prepare for young.  This year, before we could get the eavestroughs cleared, we found an energetic bird sweeping the old fall leaves over the edge with the enthusiasm of a spring-cleaning housewife.

And my favourite flowers burst into bloom:  the magnolia, the lilac, the ground-covering lily of the valley that’s under our deck.  I can count on lilies of the valley being part of a Mother’s Day posy bouquet,  in a card or even virtually (as in our present pandemic circumstances).  It is a gift I receive each year with gratitude.

In this resurrection of life in spring, we catch a glimpse of what it will be like for our senses to be fully awake, to live abundantly.   In spring, there is new hope, so vital to our full participation in the world.

Hope depends on observation of the beauty around us and the ability to imagine beauty and life in the future.  Faith undergirds that Hope:  we trust that even if we can’t see what lies ahead, God’s Spirit ever hovers over creation.  It is always at work beyond “all we can ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).  It’s a brooding that nurtures our world and brings forth Love’s infinite variety.


Poetry at Play

Although our grandchildren are getting older, there are still toys in our house, and  I am loathe to give them up.   I prefer to keep them in case there’s something novel to discover for a little visitor, and perhaps there’s more than that.  It’s difficult to leave childhood behind.

It isn’t only the young who find joy in novelty, in giving imagination free rein.  It seems a creative spirit thrives on playfulness all our lives, and for me it’s certainly there in poetry.

Poets can be mischievous and mysterious, they play games of metaphorical hide and seek.  The smallest of details contain signs to follow into profound watery depths, secret attics, and mysterious trapdoors.  Rhythm and alliteration delight us with their sound, so that poetry can be pure joy to read aloud.   Its’ imagery creates structure and helps us to remember.

I once took an evening poetry class, and at that late hour the students’ energy levels could flag.  Perhaps it helps to bring more life experiences to the table, because even then I would find it hard to restrain my enthusiasm.  “How come,”  I once overheard a student say, “the mature students always have so many questions?”  And when students participated, the classes came alive, so that I wondered how they had gained so much wisdom at such a young age.  Inspiration caught fire as you suddenly saw something new.

Poetry at Play

“A sudden click inside my head
The tumbler falls in place;
The golden door now swings ajar
Just look at where we are!

Abracadabra,  a magic word
Contains the perfect key
A poem is like a toy
It’s living playfully.

Because it is so very true
There’s hidden jewels to be found
In mazes, maps, and riddles
In spinning a top round and round.

Rocking dolly with lullaby, or
Thrilling march of prancing horses
When music box begins its lilting rock
Who can stay the dancer’s courses?

Slinky syllables slowly slide
And jack-in-the-box jumps to take a peek
And look, just hiding over there
Is the very clue for which you seek.

Kaleidoscopes of colours
Light up an ordinary thing
3D and optical illusions
Open our eyes to discovering.

It speaks of long ago, and far away
And days to come with lots to do.
Treasures more precious far than gold
When their message is revealed to you.”

Trudy Prins

The Bread of Life

Breadbasket – Pixabay.com

“I have found such joy in simple things;
A plain, clean room, a nut-brown loaf of bread
A cup of milk, a kettle as it sings,
The shelter of a roof above my head . . .”

One of the silver linings of this time of isolation is that we have a chance to find out how wonderful the simple blessings of life can be, and truly how much we already possess in our lives.

Many people are taking the gift of extra time to enjoy baking.   When my daughters make their own bread, it seems a serendipitous revival of their heritage.  Their great-grandfather owned a bakery in a small town in Holland, and he delivered his bread to customers using a horse and wagon.  Tasty bread, if his slogan is translated correctly!

Once, years ago, when my Dad was observing as I plaited my small daughter’s hair, he commented that he knew how to do that.  When I looked at him skeptically, he assured me that indeed he had braided the dough for many loaves of bread!  A bakery meant  hard work, requiring the participation of the whole family, and it sustained them as they were growing up.

Tasty bread made by J. Voortman “

Recently,  I heard a fascinating TED talk by Peter Reinhart, master breadmaker, teacher, author, and theologian.  He has written books, including The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, and calls bread a “transformational food.”  All over the world, people are nourished by  various forms of bread.  Bread is “the staff of life.”

Reinhart points out that breadmaking is a process of death and resurrection, beginning with the death of the wheat when we harvest and crush its seeds to make flour.  Creator-like, we form a kind of clay, adding water.  Leaven is introduced as a new life, which in turns gives up its life in the baking.

To interpret his own craft, Reinhart turns to the ancient teaching  that there are different levels in a story:  the literal, the metaphorical, the ethical, and the mystical or poetical.  And we see that bread can be symbolic of much more.

Jesus offers himself as the  “Bread of Life.”  All things exist because of  Him, because of His sacrifice.  We truly live in this literal and mystical nourishment.  What appears simple, everyday, and ordinary is so much more.

We celebrate the sacrament of communion with the breaking of bread, but in a sense, all bread is sacred.  It is a gift from a providential God.

” . . . Oh, I have found such joys I wish I might
Tell every woman who goes seeking far
For some elusive, feverish delight,
That very close to home the great joys are:
The elemental things – old as the race,
Yet never, through the ages, commonplace.”

Selections from Grace Noll Crowell,  “I Have Found Such Joy”