Two poems about sanctuary

Definitions of home

Here I am not living out of a suitcase,
here are my old sweat pants,
my dog,
my Scrabble board,
the ashes of my father.

Here I do not need to explain my silence,
here I can eat standing up
if I want,
here are all the memories
of the smells
of my children’s childhoods.

Here is the indoors
where outdoors was prairie,
Minnesota pine,
an urbanscape of Manhattan, Boston,
the seacoast of Seacoast.

Here is my Toad Hall
where I bring comfortable friends,
at least one flower of which I have become
too fond,
a rabbit shabby and real.
Here is the back of the closet

from which I go somewhere else.

Set me on a rock that is higher
Psalm 61:2

It is Indian summer at Starved Rock
and October heat dusts ash leaves
and oak, as I climb
the long stairs
to the sandstone butte
where a band of Illiniwek fled,
and were surrounded and trapped
by Ottawa, Potawotami.

The summit is beautiful
and I can see for miles —
the river below flows swift and blue,
splitting at Plum Island,
the sanctuary for bald eagles.

Sometimes the issue is not so much
how far I can run,
but how high.
Sometimes I wonder
which hiding place is safe,
which hiding place will kill me.

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4 Responses to Two poems about sanctuary

  1. R. Matthew Stevens says:

    Lots of fodder here for reflection, Maren.

  2. Maren says:

    Yes, the introvert in me is always wondering about sanctuary and hiding place, about making a home and daring to journey.

  3. Never having considered the title of your blog I now perceive that your writing hands are open to the gift of words that the Spirit has to offer you. I am often overwhelmed by the power of those words crafted into place by the writing instrument which is the carrier for your thoughts. Please share what your recording instrument of choice is. (I know that Katherine Paterson prefers pencil.)

  4. Maren says:

    Hi Toni, Thanks for that question. It is usually pen and stenographer’s notebook — those half sized green-tinted booklets. That is because I love to write just about anywhere. All of my editing and shaping is done on laptop however … sometimes ipad mini, with a little keyboard attached. I like the feel of typing fingers to push phrases around … as well the scratching out of the original ones.

    Do you realize that I have a companion giftsinopenhands@gmail.com where folks send me pieces that they would like to share especially on Thursdays when I always have a guest contributor? I would love to read some of your writing. I hope you share it — and how you write it.

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