Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Slow To Dress

I have signed myself up to complete a poetry masterclass with Billy Collins online. He makes writing poetry something fun to do. Always carry a notebook, he says, as he goes on to tell of a time when he had a poem growing in his head and nothing to write with or on.  He popped into a bank, snaffled a few deposit slips and used the pen chained to the desk to write his poem.

To accompany the short clips, there’s a workbook that has the writing exercises.

Go for a walk, he says, and take a notebook. I’m not sure that he knows it’s raining outside and I have a hole in my shoe. Observe the things around you – the trees, the people, the puddles and the clouds scudding across the sky. Then write a poem.

I followed the path around the outside of the estate where I live. I stopped to speak to some poppies growing the other side of a green fence. They are almost ready to pop out their loud, red flowers. I’d like to say that I speak to people, but that doesn’t happen often.

The path follows a stream, or burn. There are plenty of trees, most of them with newly minted leaves. The blossom is almost done with. In the middle of a dozen or so trees two stood out. No leaves, no blossom, just bare bark and branches, all grey. Trees die just like any other life form. I thought about diseases – the bugs and bacteria, so small, which fell the giants. I felt sad.

I stepped closer. I’m a tactile kind of a girl. I thought about Jesus cursing a fig tree and wondered if it worked in reverse. Could I speak a word that would bless a tree? That’s when I noticed the trees were not dead. At the end of each branch was a bud. They were just slow to dress.

I think I am going through a “slow-to-dress” phase. It seems that so many of my friends on their faith journey are buzzing and tripping over to tell me their victory stories. I’m standing amid all that wild spiritual growth and feeling like bare bark and branches. And yet, it I look closely there are tight little buds about to explode into brightness and colour. I just need to be patient – there are some things in life that will not hurry.

They stand out
Two naked old ladies in
A room full of girls
In bright spring dresses
They catch the eye but
Bruise the heart
Lean grey limbs exposed
Nothing concealed

Two dead trees stand
Amid a chorus of wild growth
But look – draw close - see
Tight buds primed to burst
Two trees in a wood
Quietly alive
Just slow to dress
Almost ready to join the party

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