You Can Be My Sunshine

Lemon Lily

You there, beaming your golden
smile, trumpeting your song
as if the world were your kingdom,
as if you intended to proclaim
joy from shore to shore,
You can be my sunshine
on this cloudy summer day.
I’ll take your song and sing it.
I’ll beam your message of joy.
Let the clouds grow and the rain
fall, and may they sing, too,
until everything is shining
with your golden, perfect song.

This is It Exactly

Summer Day

Oh Yes! This is it!
This is what we wanted,
what we longed for
all winter long. This
summer day with winds
pushing the tall grass
and giant clouds evoking
memories of childhood,
when we stretched out
on the green fragrance
and found circuses
sailing overhead, when
even the ants were a matter
of utter fascination. Yes!
This is it exactly. The perfect
summer day. Oh, at last.
Oh Yes. Oh Yes. Oh Yes.

Suddenly, Summer

Star Lilies

Kaboom! It’s summer,
with all its sizzle and glory,
come to pare us down to our essence,
to burn away all that’s unneeded,
all that doesn’t belong. Come
with its vivid splendor and bright hues,
with its dazzling contrasts of light
and shade, of sweat and leisure,
of hard work and hard play,
of steamy heat and pouring rain.
Summer, where dreams are conceived
and brought to fruition. Summer,
pulling us on to become all we can be,
giving us our best chances, singing
with light.

Chasing the No Away

Yarrow Blossoms

Knowing that Earth is no Eden, that those
who venture here are subject to the dark
as well as the light, the Great Yes sends
healing. It comes in countless forms—
in gentle smiles, in skillful hands, in words
and music. It flows in the veins of trees
and of plants. And today it dances
the dance of the legendary yarrow,
its white blossoms filling the fields,
lining the roadsides. The sight of it
alone holds the magic to heal
your spirit. Leaf, blossom, stem,
all can heal, comforting, soothing
ailments and wounds, chasing
the no away. May you be whole.
May you be blessed. May you know
that you are loved.

Walking in the Woods with my Dad

Woodland Creek

Sometimes, Daddy, when I walk in the deep woods,
I remember the time you drove Mom and me
up to your hunting cabin, a little wooden shack
you shared with Mike and Okie every winter
when you went to hunt for deer. I was five.
The cabin, you said, was near Rose City, a name
that created wondrous images in my young mind.
It turned out there were no roses there. But
there was a woods that lined the road for miles
then we followed two dusty ruts, nearly overgrown,
for miles more. The cabin was one big room
with bunk beds, an ice box, and a big iron stove.
Mom stayed there to clean things up while
you took me on a long walk into the woods,
pointing out the rabbit scat and the poison ivy,
telling me how you would sit in the snow there
for hours watching for a buck to come along.
It was all so green, and the trees were thick
and towered to the sky. We listened to them
whispering to each other, and to the birds
and chattering squirrels. I had no idea
how to get back to the cabin. But I was never
afraid. Because you were there. And you
were strong and brave and a hunter,
and you knew everything. I loved you
then for taking me to this secret, magic place.
I love you now, even though you are gone.
And often, when I walk in the deep woods,
I feel you beside me, and I am never afraid.

Faithful Hearts

It was so long ago that I first tucked you
into my garden, that I have forgotten your name.
But you don’t care. You come back anyway,
year after year, spreading your little flowers
and bi-color heart shaped leaves all along
the wall. I love the way you brighten things,
and the strong vanilla smell of you. Maybe
you know that. Maybe that’s why you
unfailingly come back.

Serenade

I see their little faces, open in song,
the notes dotting their tongues
with puddles of honey, and I laugh.
Long-forgotten lyrics and a melody
in three-part harmony floats into my mind:
“Let me call you sweetheart . . .”
Oh, darling flowers, I love you, too.

Rescued by Bugs

Damsel Fly

Not often, although it’s a wonder,
but sometimes, I let the daily news
upset me. How could it not?
All this vitriol and division,
all this manipulated rage.
Today was one of those days.
I went outside to clear my mind.
The air was as thick and heavy
as my mood. But then a flicker
caught my eye and I turned
to see a damsel fly lighting
on a hosta leaf. It swept me,
as damsel flies always do,
back to my childhood.
And suddenly I remembered
the scent of Aunt Maybelle’s
petunias on mornings like these,
when the world was still new
and beautiful. I thanked
the little messenger. Funny
how you can be rescued
from your gloom by a bug.
Later, the day turned dark,
and I started to slide again
into my weariness with the world.
But then I remembered seeing
the season’s first fireflies last night,
brilliant and flickering like Christmas
lights through the dark boughs
of the spruce. And I remembered
that peace begins with me.

Crimson Lily

Yesterday, a fat, tight bud balanced
atop a four-foot stem. But this morning
as the run rose, suddenly the lily
flung its crimson song into the sky.
Miracles often happen like that, appearing
in the blink of an eye, changing everything—
landscapes, attitudes, lives. One instant,
only possibility; the next, the Yes,
dressed in surprise, visible to all eyes,
as true and bright as dawn.