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She Calls

A Poem Dedicated to Madyson Middleton and Laura Jordan of Santa Cruz, California

 

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She calls, provides me with a simple life,

a life on the San Lorenzo River,

overlooking pink eucalyptus and pine.

She urges ­– become a painter, a writer,

live in an intentional arts community.

 

Some mornings, coffee in hand,

cat on my lap, I marvel.

I am suppose to paint, write,

I am suppose to contemplate,

drink it in, the flash of

of the iridescent blue jay,

against the forest green.

 

Called, yes, thirty-three years ago,

a sudden awakening, a rebirth.

I was led to the Unity Prayer Room,

Lee Summit, Missouri,

praying with people from

the U.S, the world.

 

I learned,

“Be still and know I am God.

Be still and know I am.

Be still and know.

Be still.”

 

My vocation included sitting for a

half-hour in the dead of night, winter,

in the dimly lit chapel

where prayer had been

continuous for ninety years.

 

I did my best, I didn’t understand,

how I’d arrived there,

but, I was deeply honored;

my own wounds healing.

 

It’s as if I’m on an invisible path,

sometimes lit, sometimes not,

headed north, slowly, following a map of

valleys and mountains without designation,

but with stars and moon revealed.

 

And just last summer

a little girl, Maddy, eight,

a neighbor on the first floor,

was murdered by another

neighbor, fifteen, a sick boy

who just wanted to know what

it felt like to kill someone.

 

On this holy ground,

Tibetian monks performed

an exorcism – with loud clanging

bells, gongs, and drums.

They chanted for a good hour,

red and gold robes in dim light

in our community room,

releasing, cleansing, and purifying.

If only it was that easy.

I and others, children too,

lit candles and prayed for days.

 

I was called to offer

a light of a painting,

red and gold, “Golden Spirit,”

to Laura, Maddy’s brave mother.

Now I know why,

in all this light and darkness too,

why ­–

I paint, pray, and write.