Archives for posts with tag: joy

The Ultimate Empath

How does He do it?
How does He scoop up
the weight of a world’s worth
of pain, with tenderness
and perfect presence— and not
lose a little part of Himself
at the sight of us?

Fashioning His arms
into a mammoth cradle,
His tender lullaby sends
the clouds adrift, dishevels
the tops of oak trees,
weaves a sliver of morning
light between our curtains,
pins a gleaming crescent
of moonlight in our sky—
some kind of divine analgesic
in faithful doses,

until at last we fall asleep,
just as we are, just as we always are
and can only ever hope to be:
surrendered in the moment
to the sufferings of a fallen world,
to grief that shatters,
anguish that nips away
at our birthright of joy
like a famished street dog,
but in the end, still knowing
that Someone knows all about it.

Claire Juno, © 2017

Sweetheart Redux

There you were.

It was only seventy-two years ago.
You, a mere twenty-two, and he, a mere
twenty-four, and it was all beginning
on that day: the requisite gains and losses
of life, of parents, of children, of jobs
and money, of health and status,
of friends and rivals.

Earth-gardens and heaven-houses,
shoes polished and lined neatly
along the edge of your shared closet floor,
the smart suit and A-line poplin dress,
plum lipstick and late night inventions
of one kind or another.

Playful babies and disinclined cats,
charitable neighbors with their hand-me-down
furniture, church folk and kin folk and
you folks, doing what all good folks do.

Breakfast sausage, wedding punch,
chocolate pies and cotton aprons,
summer parades and overalls and fresh
coats of sage green paint, three stories up
on a wooden ladder with the ease and humor
of a circus performer.

Manicured shrubbery, the studied
country yard: each perennial in its optimal place,
a scientist’s sway over his private landscape.

The briskly swept sidewalk, the rotary
phone with its clumsy charm, the slamming
screen door, the basement ping pong table,
a silent witness to everything but the game.

Ice cream socials and redolent catalpa blooms,
fire-popped corn, the grape arbor’s late summer bounty.

And that shiny red tricycle
you brought home on the city trolley
for your firstborn, your giddy joy amusingly
obvious to fellow passengers on the car,
just as it was to your children and grandchildren,
to acquaintances and strangers, and to God Himself,
winking at the two of you so many decades ago.

Claire Juno, © 2015

…dedicated to the memory of my grandparents on their anniversary.