sacramental seasons

Magic in a honeysuckle lamp. . .

My two pups—Bella and Penny—and I are spending much of our social distancing time looking for poems in our back yard. Sometimes I write them down.

This time has become for me a sacramental season that is revealing its own sacred secrets.

springtime nectar magic
sweetening a vermillion-
blooming honeysuckle lamp

magic sweetening a glass thimble
at sunday’s meal
in the back-when lutheran church
with the red door

grandpa—i am his spitting image
mama said—was buried out back
long before i sat with mrs hartwell
and my own daddy
on the very last pew watching
the back of mama’s curly-permed head
as her feet tap-danced out handel’s magic
water music on old pipe organ pedals

my spit-shiny mary janes kept time
in the spirited air above the hardwood floor
while I waited each sunday
for daddy to come back
from the magic table
where he ate and drank something
that made him smell funny when
i touched his tweed jacket sleeve
and he looked down at me
with a finger to his lips

shush—no talking—
or whispering either

i was grown up enough i was sure
—i could read chapter books
and ride without training wheels
and pull open the heavy doors
of our sky blue catalina
without daddy’s help—
to taste those sweet solemn secrets

tall waxy candlesticks
and light caught in a stained glass
window given in memory
of grandpa who waits out back
for grandma to come home
to that grassy cemetery chessboard
where aunts and uncles
are queens and kings
of their inscribed stories

and that easter i did—
sip from the bloom of adulthood
(or so pastor robert said
when he showed us the
bits of jesus and miniature
goblets that hold
the blood of our Lord—he
seemed so certain of it all)
and the single violet drop
stained my lips with memories
still tasted
even now
as if for the first time

springtime nectar
magic in a honeysuckle lamp

Author: Jill Crainshaw

I am a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and an ordained PCUSA minister.

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