A smile is like a drink 

A smile is like a drink of water;

It flows from that boca of yours.

 

A handshake beckoning as the noble

Seagull that flies along the shore.

 

A voice comes deep like rolling waves..

¡Corre, mi corazón!

 

A gaze like twin pools of glory-deep

Was before my eyes, born.

Calm my quivering heart;

Soothe my longing soul.

Clasp this wandering waist

La paz shall make us whole.

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Shaped by the sea

From the beginning wind-breath,

To last moment’s wave-shaped caress,

There you are.

You are their

Wave that rushes back to shore,

Every time it plays run-away.

 

Full power to forge the bolder,

Teeming with shark and scaly life.

Taking all crevices;

No bareness untouched.

Even babies, men are at once lulled and afraid.

 

Fearsome, awesome, and winsome–

Shape my rocky heart!

Over, through, and within,

You are there.

The Springtide Table

Come gather at the springtide table,

Thou seeking-searching-sorrowing mass,

Who knows that joy is good for hearts

But peace inside thee cannot have.

 

This chamber deep is dark indeed;

Soft— let thy eyes adjust.

For on this bare and loamy ground,

The stillness breeds pure milk, honeyed-trust.

 

White flowers strewn through cloths and sticks

Whispering wisdom old and ever-new:

Love my beauty, then thou shall eat my truth.

How many fear this, they cannot do.

 

“Why is this table stone-broken such?

Whose bread-crumbs spilled around?

How can we be fed in banquet shrouded be?”

Spoke the brows that frowned.

 

Hail the few, with dirty palms and soles,

Falling silent now in awe.

Those who know they cannot know

Themselves, near to mysterious table shall draw.

 

How strange here is this food, 

Changing one and one to three?

Could it be that on these thrones, 

now right-side-up are we?

 

“I am,” says Wooden Table,

 

“The humblest of them all,

Foundation of each festival,

Sure safeguard when ye fall.

Rest long and run fingers on my broken cracks;

Reach far and join hands with those ye love.

Begin this starry-foretold feast,

Oh guests of Eternal Fullness Above.”

 

Come gather at the summertime table…

It is good to be small

It is good to be small,
Sparrow declares in his morning hymn;

Dancing lightly on pink-blossomed twig.

It is good to be small,
Baby giggles as his mama

Scoops applesauce into his open mouth.

It is good to be small,
Priest teaches his sheep;

Pointing to the Father’s Love Crucified.

“It is good to be small,”
Wandering woman speaks in her heart,

As 99% of those papers loose
Their meaning
When exposed to
angelic heights.

Sursum Corda

Feet bounce over cloud-grey concrete;

The morning ritual has begun.

Giving them the rhythm of my habitual soundtrack,

I’m lulled into my tiny, selfish circles.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble…

I raise my eyes from running feet to running river,

To panting breeze, to energetic sun, to intrepid shores.

They say God wrote us two love-letters:

The Bible and nature.

Sursum corda.

In a surprise leap, the Missouri River banks transform before my eyes

Into the raging Cliffs of Mohr, then the lay skirts of the Potomac,

And finally, the lapping shores of Cotton Lake.

Oh God, who makes the mountains melt…

Come wrestle us and win.

Surely the Beckoner of the breezes mingles sands and stones into one;

Nature’s natural innocence is more easily redeemed than ours.

But wait! Friend, look at me again with your ocean eyes.

I think He wrote three.

Ode to Lake Zorinsky

Seven Miles of Trail Poetry  

The first meadow-thought surprises me: I wish they made perfume sweet as the warm, honeyed grass.

Half a mile down the rolling route, my limbs compromise on a rhythm (and it reminds me of that swing dance that midsummers night, too long ago).

Soft, a lilac flower! Who put you there, my favorite love-symbol? (He makes all things new).

And still the rhythm keeps: mile two.

Oh pale yellow flutter-fly– you mustn’t remind me of family summer suppers. I see now that the familiar pattern of dad with the grill, mom with the garden vegetables, and sister with the silverware is a carefully-ordered (ancient) dance.

There is a big city christened “Capitol” calling my name; quickly I am trying to put these girlish things behind me (opportunity cost is just another word for sacrifice, after all.)

Mile four announces itself en español (pienso en ti, la casa de Olga) and oh are my cheeks flushed– how quickly the pines breathe their cool breath on my forehead.

Sometimes we are given an answer!

Lest I become too elated with this rambunctious round of Nature, it seems the lake has lapped above its banks and almost tricked me into a wetter trip (if that friend was here, we’d splash right through.)

Now squirreling through traffic on the bridge, I chuckle realizing how even Nature herself has shepherded me back to my flock.

“It is not good for man to be alone.”

A little bobbing blonde head appears around the fresh turn, and I smile at the little one (oh, and three more!) before greeting his parents with full eyes.

Look at what you made.

After passing, my gaze rises upwards to offer thanks, just in time to wonder at how silently a storm cloud just passed over us. Never just a fact of nature, my mind and body compose a poem through the seventh mile.

More family.

I am running and laughing, the twin toddlers follow me laughing and running, and our guardian angels bless the Lord.

That peace! My trained mind can’t help considering why precisely a good dose of Nature is a healing salve– ah, wait! It is a child’s story.

The glory of Nature is to call each of us her younglings (what are years or experience to her?)

Grasses tickle us, trees shield us, water tricks us, and father sun nourishes and cleanses everyone under his burning gaze. Come nightfall, mother moon will sooth and watch our rising, dreaming chests.

We are never alone.

We are never far from Home.

Walt Whitman on Miracles

Oh God beyond all praising, we worship you today!

As I sleepily sit in a white rental minivan with my dad at the helm, zooming through the streets of Paradise Valley back to the airport, nothing seems short of a miracle. A mere three days of family Easter vacation in this desert oasis have reminded me that first things come first, and a first thing is to grab the person closest to you and give them a hug.

For me, the second thing is to share the wonderful things that strike me in the things that I read. I love poetry because it attunes our minds to the melody of the everyday. It sings from the order of leathery airplane seat rows, juxtaposed to the reckless glory of dawn unable to be held back by a thin airplane pane, the extra squeeze in a brother’s hug before we depart to our respective terminals towards our respective homes, and the unexpectedly cheery grin of the flight attendant as he dispenses breakfast cookies, lemon waters, coffees, and the occasional cocktail (oh what a mystery at 6am.) As Alain de Botton declares in The Art of Travel (a jolly brilliant book on which I frequently bubble over with mirth by quoting passages to my poor traveling companions):

Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than moving planes, ships, or trains. There is an almost quaint correlation between what is before our eyes and the thoughts we are able to have in our heads: large thoughts at times requiring large views, and new thoughts, new places (pg. 54.)

And believe me, with the mind of an economics major, I mean to grasp and share this point in all its practicality. We know we’ve found the truth when it changes something. It begins to make all things new. So what do these mini-miracles mean for the way we go about our everyday lives? It’s pretty simple: our concrete reactions. Life sweeps us up in a new dance each morning (I’m pretty sure this is the reason that music, rhythms, and poems resonate so soundly with us.) A real gem for your Easter morning:
Miracles
By: Walt Whitman

Why, who makes much of a miracle?

As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,

Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,

Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,

Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,

Or stand under trees in the woods,

Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love,

Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,

Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,

Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,

Or animals feeding in the fields,

Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,

Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,

Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;

These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,

The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

 

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,

Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,

Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,

Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

 

To me the sea is a continual miracle,

The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the ships with men in them,

What stranger miracles are there?

John Donne on Religion

What a week! Though the frigid air swirls and chills the earth ever more, I’m tempted to argue that the cozy winter months bring out the warmest times amongst friends. Since such present living has left me with little time for reflective essays, this week’s passage will be a remarkable poem that never fails to leave quite the impression. No further words are needed:
By: John Donne
Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Hurrahing in Harvest

As Creighton’s campus was prepared in celebration of our new President’s inauguration this week (welcome, welcome Fr. Hendrickson!!), verses from Gerard Manley Hopkins–a Jesuit priest and poet–were flashed across the screens of the business school. I was happily reminded of one of my long-time favorite poems, which in turn never fails to remind me to gratefully behold all of the beauty enveloping us:

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil…

And man, did I need that reminder. It’s funny how easily we forget the things that we once knew, and I had surely forgotten that amongst my other whirlwind of duties, I have a duty to myself and others to simply take delight in the wonders of this world. We are given our days and our daily bread; truly the only thing that God allows to be overflowing in our lives are His blessings. Therefore, this fresh Sunday morning, I’ve decided to pen a humble little “thankful list”:

The Culprit Cafe

As I watch the bustling streets and looming buildings out this large picture window, steamy soy cappuccino in hand, Omaha actually feels like a real city! And this lull of coffeehouse melodies warms the heart just the same. They say it best in their own words: “our mission is to provide a place to feel a sense of community, and a healthy amount of indulgence…” Amen to that!

Confirmation Class

Each Saturday, I do my best to teach ten 8th graders about God, the Catholic Church, and the powerful sacrament of Confirmation. I do my best to keep it interesting with field trips outside, healthy snacks, and fascinating stories about saints. What they probably don’t know is that the whole time, they’re the ones teaching me about God.

Cooking

So we girls had a jolly potluck on Friday night, and as I conquered the (super simple) recipes for Glazed Mexican Chocolate Popcorn and Pumpkin Popcorn (because pumpkin is KING this time of year), I was reminded of the simple joy of cooking. I may still burn the toast from time to time, but you can bet that this is a skill I will be practicing relentlessly. 🙂

My people

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We like to spend our nights exploring the little town of Omaha on bikes, discovering the best friend-date spots, cooking and arguing over who gets to clean up after, and giving inspirational speeches to each other. They act as my mothers, guardian angels, and my best friends simultaneously, need I say more?

Driving

There is something about the exhilarating sense of freedom that comes from zipping from one location to another, always with the option to take a spontaneous detour. So much taken for granted, the ability to go where I want, when I want, is a power like none other.

Flowers

It may not have been the most manly gift, but with all the good autumn deals, I simply could not resist sending the Head of the Jace Household a lovely bouquet of fall blossoms and chocolate for his birthday (it may have been two for one…so our lovely cottage may have a delivery in store as well…). Also, please notice the cover photo of this post– the community around my cabin takes it upon themselves to plant an entire sea of sunflowers each year, encompassing a vast stretch of country highway. Now that is something to be thankful for!


Though my personal role in actual fall harvests are confined to exuberant visits to pumpkin patches and apple orchards, we can all hurrah in the harvest of the fruits of our labors and be thankful for the opportunity to devote our time and efforts to meaningful learning and work. Please enjoy another Hopkins poem below, as fall, in all her crisp glory, is coming fast upon us!

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 10.18.51 AM
Taken from Bartleby.com

7: Full Circle

Like all great stories, I decided to come full circle and conclude this 7-post adventure with another Shakespearean sonnet:

Sonnet LV
By: William Shakespeare
Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear’d with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword, nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
‘Gainst death, and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.