Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Poetry Wednesday, Vol. 108

A Cold Rain the Day Before Spring

From heaven it falls on the gray pitted ice
that has been here since December.
In the gutter rivulets erode piles
of dirt and road salt into small countries
and the morning is so dark, in school

teachers turn on fluorescent lights
and everyone comes in smelling of damp wool.
From heaven it falls, just the opposite
of prayer, which I send up
at the traffic light: please

let me begin over again, one
more time over again, wipe the slate
clean, the same way after school
janitors, keys jangling from
belt loops, will use a wet rag and wipe

the school day off, so there is only
the residue, faint white on the smooth
surface. It's the same way
the infield looks before the game
begins, or the ice on a rink

between periods. All new again
for the moment and glistening.
Imagine each day you get to start
again and again. Again. How many
days does the janitor enter the room

of your soul, wipe it clean
go out into the hallway
and push his broom
down the long corridor, full
of doors to so many rooms.


Thanks to Ginny at Small Things, we have a new book for Lent.  I really enjoy her blog, especially for the pictures of her sweet, messy children.  Her youngest girl I find especially fun.  She can be found with a painted face or personally chopped hair at any time of the week.  My kids have (mostly, almost) grown out of the marker on the face stage, but it makes me smile to see another kid markered up.  I remember at one point Del was not allowed markers because he would cheerfully uncap them, bite off the marker part, chew it up, and swallow.  He would munch on markers, drooling different colors everywhere he went.  Good times.  

Because of Ginny, the children and I have been reading through Bringing Lent Home with Mother Theresa.  I have so enjoyed this book.  My favorite part of each day is the fasting and almsgiving portions.  All too often in Lent, any type of fast, small or large, is looked upon with suspicion by the children, as something handed down from their parents as a way of punishing them, or making their life that much more miserable.  This little book asks small things of us each day.  Small things that become large.  My favorite day so far was when we were asked to fast from complaining.  It was suggested we become extra thoughtful before we speak, which would help us curb our complaining.  I don't know who it was more difficult for, the children or myself!  For almsgiving that day, and this was my most favorite, we were asked to give away ten beautiful smiles, saying a little prayer for the person we were smiling at.  At the end of the day I asked everyone who they had smiled at, and if they had remembered to pray, and the chorus of answers!  I smiled at Bob (the newspaper man)! I smiled at you!  I smiled at Miss Mary!  

As I write this, I had to take gum away from Del that he stole from the Mikey.  Mikey's birthday gum, no less.  I can't convince the boy to keep the gum downstairs where it will be less of a temptation to his brother.  Mikey thinks, and rightly so, that once the gum is down with me it will be rationed.  So he keeps it upstairs, and Del keeps stealing pieces, and I keep punishing the theft.  And on, and on, and on.  

The problem with refining and with Life, is that they are just so perpetual.  It never stops.  We are never done.  We can never say, "There!  The kitchen floor has been mopped!  I will never have to do that again!" or, "I have now gotten as healthy as I will ever be, I can stop exercising!" or even, "Christ truly is my everything, there isn't one nook or cranny left to perfect."  Every day.  Every day.  We begin each day with the best of intentions, and sometimes we make it all the way to noon keeping those intentions, only to fail over and over again.  

The beauty of Refining and with Life, is in the fact that they are indeed so perpetual.  Every day we fall, and every day we have the chance to turn it all over to Christ.  If we throw up in the lunchroom, He will be there to clean us up.  Not only the janitor, but the school nurse and the favorite teacher.  We lay ourselves at his feet, to be wiped clean, to begin again.  


Thank you to all of you who participate in Poetry Wednesday.  I truly enjoy reading your choices in poetry and your thoughts behind those poems.  


A M B E R said...

Thank you for hosting Poetry Wednesday, it is a pleasure to participate! And I enjoy reading about your life, and children. And I really do wish that I could mop the floor once and for all.

Beth Hanna said...

Loved the poem. Think of the janitor as Christ, who wipes our slate clean every single day, giving us a chance to better our way of doing things! I love all your comments too. Aren't you glad we have God?? I know I am!
Love you.

Julia said...

Yes, thank you for being the Stable Mabel of the blogging world and hosting Poetry Wednesday so faithfully, even when I dropped out for so long. I appreciate it so much.

And this is a really great poem and a great post too. And I'm glad to know that my kid isn't the only one that eats marker tips.

Beth said...

Thank you for Kris, for the poem an your thoughts. As always, Mother Teresa breaks it down so beautifully, simple things, smiles, almsgiving as smiles. I love that. I need to smile more. Peace and goodness. Beth

PS Sorry I can't get myself together right now and post some poetry. Thank you for hosting. I enjoy reading the blogs.