The impulse to create is pure, self sufficient, its own reward or punishment.Vernon Scannell, A Proper Gentleman.
by Vernon Scannell (1922 – 2007)
My son aged three fell in the nettle bed.
‘Bed’ seemed a curious name for those green spears,
That regiment of spite behind the shed:
It was no place for rest. With sobs and tears
The boy came seeking comfort and I saw
White blisters beaded on his tender skin.
We soothed him till his pain was not so raw.
At last he offered us a watery grin,
And then I took my billhook, honed the blade
And went outside and slashed in fury with it
Till not a nettle in that fierce parade
Stood upright any more. And then I lit
A funeral pyre to burn the fallen dead,
But in two weeks the busy sun and rain
Had called up tall recruits behind the shed:
My son would often feel sharp wounds again.
Happy Easter. It is a late spring after a cold winter in Minnesota. In my part of the world, regardless the date Easter falls, the minute a farmer puts down his fork after eating ham on Easter Sunday, they think its time to start planting. Patience will be required this year, as the soils are still too wet, the frost is still in the ground, and fields are not fit for spring planting activities to commence. Fresh snow fell across much of the state in the past week. A patient April reigns supreme.
I am personally in need of a James Wright kind of spring; one where in a flourish I suddenly blossom, a spring where the world is in a hurry to become a kaleidoscope of color. We don’t always get what we want. We don’t even get what we need sometimes. In the words of my Mother, a wise, long time kindergarten teacher, “you get what you get, so don’t get upset.” It works for what’s left on the cookie plate and for dealing with mother nature.
In contemplation of Easter’s story of sacrifice, I ponder if human kind is capable of evolving from a state of conflict to a process of resolution or is all peace a solitary and temporary detente? I spent time reviewing religious sonnets with Easter themes and came away from all of them feeling grim. Not the kind of emotion I wanted to share today. Instead I decided to think of Easter as a prayer for our collective sons. What do we wish for our children? Happiness, prosperity, a life well lived. When are we going to stop sending sons (and daughters) into contrived battles of our own making and set them free to live their own lives? Conflict is a generational curse, passed down as an obligation, an inheritance, unless people have the courage to change course. Who will change the course of the war in Ukraine? If it left to the battle field, the conflict will only be seeded deeper in the fertile Ukrainian soil. Easter can also be a story of transformation, rejuvenation, re-birth, the best of what Spring has to offer. What re-birth awaits for you in the coming month? What transformation do you summon the courage to awaken?
by Mihaela Moscaliuc
for my son, enwombed
May you harvest your language from the alphabet of butterflies,
may their wings brushstroke your name on translucent scrolls,
filter air for your breath, teach you flight the way I can’t.
May you preserve the wisdom with which you arrive,
the metaphors through which you’ll first parse the world,
the moon always a ripe banana, always within reach.
May your fingers tease and probe all truths.
It’s not the grain of sand, as we hold dear, but organisms
wayward in their drift that, trapped, abrade the oyster’s flesh.
Errant breather smothered into loveliness,
the pearl has its own song.
If you drag it ashore
language loses meaning,
so bring your ear to the ocean floor.
There, neither fish nor son, eavesdrop.
Neither fish nor son yet,
call sister sister and lie awhile by the echo.
While there, bless the echo and learn
how to lie to me beautifully.