Sunday, March 7, 2010

Faith in a Plum

When I was a girl I found a convincing manner
to tell my mother I didn't believe in God
He was a construct I told her and her belief almost seemed childlike to me
She put me in the car and drove me to a giant Cathederal
it's full grandeur and authority towering over a girl
I could hear the words dripping from her tongue
the how dare I even question and then her voice softened
"Thousands of men spent years building this place
and you would tell them their efforts were in vain?"
The light was bouncing off the walls and off the
mounds of snow outside and from her tender face
For the first time I understood
She wanted to believe
this wasn't bible camp in Amboy, Iowa
This wasn't a Wednesday Catechism class
her eyes were pleading and although she didn't say it then
I could hear it now in the way I tell my son
"Pay attention here this is the important stuff"

The world was dripping today, melting in drops I heard
like a symphony of nature's turn toward Spring
and I was eating a plum, not an ordinary plum mind you
the softest and sweetest of drupaceous fruit, its purple
so purple it was almost black and I closed my eyes
and listened for even one Spring bird, nothing
I could hear the raccoon chittering on the roof
eating a bagel I left in our place earlier
and there was God's kiss in the squirt of sweetness
over my teeth and the smell of the earth under the
mounds of soft snow
and then the thoughts of you rushing in my head
I could really hear your voice when we are all alone
and you are whispering to me something I will need later
so I can take it out with me on walks like this
when you are far away and yet the next beat of my wonky heart

I was my mother for a moment
enjoying God's glory in a plum waiting for the earth
to spin Spring my way so I could dig in the yard
I am here to testify that loving you is like eating that plum
God's wisdom doesn't always avail itself to me
and when I am meandering on one of his wild chases of geese
unsure what I am supposed to ignore and what I should hold close
sure that when I have lunch with my Best Friend
she will smile and shake her head and explain to me carefully
that even when I am paying attention I step over the clues
and she reminds me what love is in her laugh
and if tickled enough her double knee slap

How could a plum be Science? a simple splicing of one
plant to another to create the flesh of salmon
so sweet you have to close your eyes to eat it
the way I find myself when you are telling me
to be exactly who I am and when I hear you and believe you
the rain falls over me and washes away the dust of a careless world
turning in its own speed with its own want
this way and then stalling over winter
call me baby one more time before I pull the blanket over my head
and wonder what tomorrow has waiting behind sleep's rocking cradle
Faith works wonders and I know as I get older why my mother
found comfort in her hymnal and her blind belief
of the Lord who made plums, and who made me and who made a man
who never complains
who fights the good fight, wards off demons
tries when trying is brave, who loves his mother tenderly,
because that's the only way he knows to love women
He stands guard over my heart not by accident
not because at one time an ape did this and the other apes enjoyed it
because it was God's design you see

before I pushed my way into this world
God was in the East listening to the sweet song of October winds
and a beautiful woman lost her heart
this happens easily in October, don't ask me how I know
in a moment he witnessed a sparrow's song its twittering of no pretense
then he wondered for a moment if a man could carry the heart of a sparrow
if he could be strong and yet sing a gentle song of love's want
and Spring's promise
and in a push and a divine release
he made you
in that moment
designed a smile that puts a woman at ease
made your arms strong so you could hold her in a moment
designed your laugh like thunder to get my attention
and gave you a sparrow's song in gloaming whispers
and when I am missing you and I feel silly and tiny
this isn't Science either, it's not coincidence
it's also part of the design of a ferocious girl
and a not so chance meeting
of two people wondering what is missing
and somewhere he is smiling admiring his work
singing to me in a surprising song of drip drip dripping
Yes! I am Morrigan he assures me, I am the warrior
who wouldn't ever let anyone cut your branches
or dampen the sparrow's song
not by luck
by love's design and always in a song of Thanks
a melody of wonder
and a mother's blind faith

When someone gives of themselves so freely that you are assured that love is so alive in the world that you want to sing it's song and you wish it was Sunday so you could go to church and sing. I skipped church this morning, I was too tired and sleep was hiding last night but I did get some time watching Moulin Rouge and delighted in the idea of Come What May. Below you will find the Giving Tree, read by Silverstein himself. I just realized this morning he wrote the Johnny Cash Song, A Boy named Sue. Yesterday out of the blue Best Friend tells me I should write a song. I think I will, if not today, soon. I hope you like the story as much as I do. If you look past a few older posts there's another of his stories, they are wonderful.

It's certainly true that God is in the details, but then again he always was. I suppose his frustration is getting us to notice and his joy when we sing it's praises. Enjoy Sunday.


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