Tag Archives: poems


5 Jul


The following is the text of what I shared at Isaac’s memorial service, Saturday, 29 June 2013.  The bits of poetry are excerpts of lyrics from Sarah Groves’ “Add To The Beauty“, which played while the photos for this section were shown.

Scripture readings:

Isaiah 61

61 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek. He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound,

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn,

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”

Daniel 4

New Living Translation (NLT)

1a “Peace and prosperity to you!

“I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me.

How great are his signs,
how powerful his wonders!
His kingdom will last forever,
his rule through all generations.


God’s love and intervention in the lives of three people rippled out to include all of you. It is an adventure story full of suffering, delays, plot twists, mysteries:

  • The same week I mournfully defiantly wrote of trusting God’s goodness and grace in our suffering, our barren childlessness, a boy baby was born in a far away land
  • God sent us dreams that changed a man’s mind and gave hope to a woman that she had not been forgotten
  • How in the world did we get the information and contacts needed for all this to happen before the age of computers, cellphones, the internet?
  • How did that boy get in that orphanage?
  • How did we choose “He laughs” (Isaac) as our son’s name before we ever met him?
  • In what way was Isaac the first and the last in Oruro, Bolivia?


We come with beautiful secrets
We come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls
We come to every new morning
With possibilities only we can hold, that only we can hold


God had a beautiful secret for Isaac. He brought Isaac from a far off land to set him in a family. Being his Mom and Dad was one of the purposes written on our souls.  It was not easy.  Until his death, walking the road to the day of his legal adoption here in the US was the most difficult time of our lives.


Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
Calling out the best of who we are


December 17th, 1992 we arrived at a poor, run-down state orphanage in Oruro, Bolivia. There was no glass in the windows. There was nothing but abject poverty.  Children slept on mats on the floor and were fed potatoes.


Eventually we were handed a small, ugly, sick Aymara Indian/Hispanic boy. He was severely malnourished and covered with pox scars.  Three weeks shy of two years old he was 29 inches long and weighed 19 pounds. He had a lung infection. He could not walk or speak. There is no doubt in my mind he would not have lived a year in that orphanage.


And I want to add to the beauty
I want to tell a better story,
Shine with the light
That’s burning up inside


He was named Misael Rodrigo Patino.   I have never met another living soul named Misael.  Misael was the name of one of the three faithful boys taken with Daniel into Babylon to be trained as administrators. Renamed Meshach, he was one of the young men who went into the fiery furnace and then walked out alive. Misael means:  Who is like God?


Beauty comes in helping a soul find it’s worth.


God gave us a tremendous gift.  He chose our son for us.


You are invited for the weeks and months and years ahead to call, visit, write if you wish to know more and share your story with us.


We thank the Almighty for His love, mercy and grace to Isaac and to us, for opening the way to him, and forging us as a family through the trials it took to make him our son.




Opening Day

7 May

In the black hour before dawn,

In the deep dark wood

In beauty sit, surrounded

Nestle at knees of looming

Lace-fringed gypsy trees

Beneath bright night ornaments

See sky jeweled finger-fronds sieve

Wind, shake semaphore

Signals, sough with soft singing

Some last leaves telegraphing

Soft Morse code music.

Squat surrounded on leaf skirts

And surrender to

Beauty  Big Beauty  Beauty

Then night sinks into the soil

Day drops from above

Color and detail expand

Make ordinary

Replace mystery with mundane.

Dark beauty departs

Dark beauty becomes docile

In dawn daylight dons

Different revealing veil.

Come, realize this bounty

These dark tree dances

Waving worship in the wind

Leaf laughter, loose, free.

Such surfeit of bountiful

Beauty unbound and

Repeated on a hundred

Thousand hills.  From our

Hurry hidden in plain view.

November 2010-April2011

Tracks, Bread, Squares, Sonnet

17 Feb

Yesterday Hawthorne and I both could walk a few feet on some areas of the snow crust.  Not this morning.  He could walk, gingerly, but attempts to run were quickly abandoned after his hind end dropped through up to his belly.  Me?  I mostly high-stepped it until we reached the snowmobile trail.  Which was at the end of the walk since I reversed yesterday’s course. A couple deer have followed that snowmobile track, too.  A coyote has crossed the alfalfa waste back and forth.  What was funny were the crow tracks that followed my mostly wind-blown snow hidden yesterday trail through the field; I think they were searching for evidence of rodent activity.  Yesterday there were small rodent, squirrel, and rabbit tracks coming out from the hedgerows into the fields or woods. Oh, and this from Monday:  Some small bird was harvested by a bigger bird.  An owl?  A hawk?  I picked up a wing feather (4.5 inches, gray with white edge) and two smaller breast feathers (gray with reddish brown edge) wondering if i could figure out what kind of bird was eaten.  It is already in the mid-40’sF now.  woo-hoo!

Photos for Kirsty of the bread that is similar, but still not as good as hers.  It crackles as it cools.  It has a wonderful crust.  But still a bit damp inside.

Finally: all caught up and on-time with the Civil War Quilt Squares:

Seven sisters and Log Cabin.

And lastly, but not least, this poem by CS Lewis that I have been thinking of with regard to events in my life and around the world:


Dieu a etabli la oriere pour communiquer a ses creatures la dignite de la causalite. –PASCAL

The Bible says Sennacherib’s campaign was spoiled

By angels: in Herodotus it says, by mice–

Innumerably nibbling all one night they toiled

To eat his bowstrings piecemeal as warm wind eats ice.


But muscular archangels, I suggest, employed

Seven little jaws at labour on each slender string,

And by their aid, weak masters though they be, destroyed

The smiling-lipped Assyrian, cruel-bearded king.


No stranger that onmipotence should choose to need

Small helps than great–no stranger if His action lingers

Till men have prayed, and suffers their weak prayers indeed

To move as very muscles His delaying fingers,


Who, in His longanimity and love for our

Small dignities, enfeebles, for a time, His power.

C.S. Lewis

Books from the Bedside

15 Apr

While hunting dust bunnies I decided to cut down on the reading material on the upper level of the stand next to the bed.

Removed for now, mostly because they are (in my mind) “winter reading”:

The Golden Treasury of the Best Songs and Lyrical Poems in the English Language, selected and arranged by Francis Turner Palgrave

The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci -Jonathan D. Spence

Sketches of Home – Suzanne Clark

The Confessions of St. Augustine

Gibbon’s Roman Empire, Vol.1

-Poems, Vol.1 – John Masefield

The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery

Color – Victoria Finlay  (This one might go back up again)

The Great Taos Bank Robbery and other Indian Country Affairs – Tony Hillerman

Unspoken Sermons – George MacDonald

The Sword and the Stone – T.H. White

Katerskill Falls – Allegra Goodman (this one I probably will not finish)

Social Life in The Insect World – J. H. Fabre


Cranford – Elizabeth Gaskell

More Stories to Remember – selected by Thomas B. Costain and John Beecroft

-small antique Vol 1 of  Shakespeare series from my grandfather (Tempest. Two Gent., Com. Errors)

The White Horse King – Benjamin Merkle


3 Dec

Last night Isabelle and I played Jesu Parvule and Some Children See Him while the Wednesday night Advent service attenders sang.  I played the pieces like carols, rather quickly, not as choral arrangements.  Jay said they were hard to sing.  The chords are ‘modern’ so maybe that was part of the reason.  Or maybe I played them too fast.

The service was focusing on responses to the coming of the Christ child.  So in between the carols (it is difficult for me to change from the key of B-flat to E in a moment) I read, with appropriate wicked witchiness, Ursula Fanthorpe’s poem

The Wicked Fairy at the Manger

My gift for the child:

No wife, kids, home;
No money sense. Unemployable.
Friends, yes. But the wrong sort –
The workshy, women, wogs,
Petty infringers of the law, persons
With notifiable diseases,
Poll tax collectors, tarts;
The bottom rung.
His end?
I think we’ll make it
Public, prolonged, painful.

Right, said the baby. That was roughly
What we had in mind.

The Wild Strawberries

18 Jun

“She came thousands of miles to get me” she said, “she homeschools me and pays lots of money for lessons and drives me and feeds me and loves me.”

“And in return,” she giggles,  pulling out her hand from behind her back, “I picked her handful of strawberries. So now we are even.”

The girl likes the poem The Lanyard by Billy Collins.

Earlier today, she offered two pennies, then twelve cents, found money.  What a silly.

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