prayers for children

This is my daughter, five years ago, at Lake Matinenda in Ontario. I cried when I read about the baby thrown from the London fire.

Prayers for the children in the London fire and their parents and grandparents. Prayers for the refugee’s children, that they are not lost and drowned. Prayers for the Congresspeople shot yesterday and their families and friends.

Prayers for all the children in the world.

The dead are with me

I am at the lake. There are younger people with me. We go to the graveyard. The earth is soft and loose. There are no markers or stones. We do not need them.

“I can feel the people in the earth.” says one of the younger people.

“Me too!” says another.

“Of course.” I say. I name the people under the earth and introduce them. The young people are amazed. I am surprised that they have never felt the dead. I think the cities and concrete and phones and television and computers: all of these must block the signals. But we never allowed electricity here. The phones don’t work. Candles, aladdin lamps, propane stoves and heat with wood in old cabins. Thin shacks where we hear the wind and water, and tents, lying in the embrace of the earth.

We leave but when we come back, the young start to reach down into the soft earth, arms length. “Did they die young?” one asks. “We want to know more.”

“You must be patient.” I say. “Don’t push the dead.”

Later I return a third time to sit quietly alone with the dead. Dark falls, moonless, overcast, no stars. I stand to return to the cabins and my flashlight dies. I know the paths well, but not the path to the graveyard. I tie up my long skirt and kneel. I feel the ground gently. Yes, I can feel the path. I start to crawl slowly, stopping to feel the packed worn earth. I think of wolves and cougars but none have been here for years. It is not cold enough for exposure. It is just dark and slow. The dead are with me and approve.

mermaid

This poem is related to yesterday’s post about learning to keep my temper. I wrote it in April 2012.

mermaid

when I was born, they took my skin

i had no skin
i was frightened
i wept

a witch came
she studied me
i turned my head from the spoon

“Good,” she said, “You may refuse it if you want.”

She gave me the gift of anger

it was the only defense I had

but over the years
I studied and thought
and I found my tears
and I found my fears

i made my skin of tears
this took me many years
one tear for each hair

at last it is done
my skin
is complete

i smile at the sky
as i don it

i slip into the water
and i am gone