My new daily spiritual discipline for 2016 is doing lectio divina with my book of Mary Oliver poems; this one is called New and Selected Poems, Volume One, 1992.

I read, meditate, pray and contemplate on one poem or part of a poem in the morning after the kid cloud has evaporated and my two point breakfast has fulfilled its promise .

Three times so far, what I have read that morning has reconstituted later in my day.  I know it could be attributed to the concept of attention; where what you notice changes based on you noticing it.

But it feels is a little strange.

On the day I found six snake skins in the Mississippi cabin, was the day I read “The Forest.”

At the back of the neck

the old skin splits.

The snake shivers

but does not hesitate.

He inches forward.

He begins to bleed through

like satin.

The next weekend, my Mom is texting me about two friend/family members who died, and I go to the wake of a cousin by marriage where my Dad’s first cousins guilt me into planning another family reunion.  (“We’re letting down Louis Joseph’s legacy”, uuggghh, twist twist).   That morning’s no-brainer lectio…  “When Death Comes.”

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

Yesterday afternoon, playing on the playground, I notice the 8 year old laying face down on the smooshy surface.  He tells me he is sad again about our dog that died 6 months ago.  We resolve to write a letter to God and see if we can pet one of the many dogs cavorting at the nearby dog run.  I don’t remember until this morning, that yesterday’s poem was “Her Grave.”

A dog can never tell you what she knows from

the smells of the world, but you know, watching her, that you know

almost nothing.


This morning’s poem is “Goldenrod.”

they bend as though it was natural and godly to bend,

they rise in a stiff sweetness

in the pure peace of giving

one’s gold away.


Sshhh, don’t tell Jim.