Saturday in Flint, 1963

bread

Saturday in Flint 1963

Saturday mornings
after we cleaned house,
washed clothes,
scrubbed the car,
mowed the grass,
watched Mr. Magic and The Three Stooges,
we would go to the bread factory (was it Tastee Bread?)
for a loaf of fresh baked bread
hot off the line
wrapped in a clear cellophane wrapper
made cloudy by the steaming of the loaf,
a twist tie around the opening.

If we got to the factory
at just the right time
we would get a loaf for free.
Otherwise it was 25 cents.

The thing smelled so good
we hardly got it home
without tasting it.

So soft it tore
when you pulled it from the wrapper,
so moist it was hard to cut
and stuck to our teeth when we chewed.

The bread factory is gone now
as is the half of Bennett Ave that ran into the river,
replaced by an expressway (I-475?)
bridging deserted neighborhoods
to the canyon where DuPont Paint and Buick once breathed
the fumes of industry and financial security
into Flint air.

This morning
I opened a loaf of fresh bread
And OH!!! JOY AND WONDEROUS BLISS!!!
My mouth remembered
Saturday mornings on Bennet Ave in Flint.

© photo and poem by carole fults

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Joy and Suffering

on top of a flower

                                             Joy and Suffering
In the afternoon butterflies gather on purple flowers for a meal.
Do they ponder death and the suffering of torn wings?
Maybe sometime they will know of painful things,
but not in this moment.
Right now they know only of the blissful sucking of nectar
from warm blossoms.

There are scores of tiny frogs joyfully jumping through the grass.
Do they understand about getting chopped up in a lawn mower or
stepped on by clumsy feet?
Maybe sometime they will know about cut off limbs and ensuing death,
but not in this moment.
Right now they know only the delight of sunshine, the wetness of leaves
and the safety of rocks.

The old woman sits among the flowers where her son’s ashes are strewn.
Does she think of death as she sits, back broken and bent?
Maybe sometimes she considers her mortality,
but not in this moment.
Right now she savors the fragrance and colors of the blooms, the whistling finches,
the softness of the afternoon sun and says she feels like Eve in Paradise.

Breezes blow, cease, and blow again.
Rivers flow, tides move in and out.
Coming and going, movement and stillness, breathing in and out, birth and death,
each is marked by a pause, a moment when the motion turns.
Maybe sometime I will consider all this,
but not in this moment.
Right now I am enjoying the clouds that partially cover the sun
and the unspoken love caressing my heart.

©photo and poem by caf

 

The Gardener Talks About the Gardener

the gardner

The Gardener Talks about the Gardener
“My young gardener comes weekly
to spread mulch,
pull weeds,
clean up winter’s mess.

He bends easily, shoveling, filling,
and dumping
the large wheel barrow.
The dirt flies when he comes to work, I tell you.

Time was, I could shovel all day
and go to bed at night
thinking about digging some more in the morning.

(Now my back rebels when I pick up a trowel,
and I rejoice when I can stop
to sit after weeding a bit.)

I listen to his stories,
trying to keep up with his
quick, graceful movements
but, really, I’m hoping it’s close to lunch
or even quitting time.
One more load of weeds and you’ll
have to wheel me back to the shed.

But we do have a commonality this young gardener and me.
We both have grubby hands and fingernails,
our pants are stained with earth and grass,
and we have a deep love for what we have accomplished,
for how peaceful the shade garden is,
how the mulch adds a coolness to the rock garden,
and how we work so well together as a team
the young gardener and me, an aging woman.”

Remembering

barn

It’s still there –
your house in front of the field
by the barn.

Winds under my bed blow familiar voices
into my ears sometimes
waking me at midnight.

Saved letters hold your old school penmanship
ornate and beautiful.
But your hand is gone
and no longer writes
shucks peas,
cans tomatoes,
plants daffodils and poppies
or plays piano.

I was safe when I was with you
and, now, I have made you a home in my heart
where I will hold you forever.

©photo and poem by carole fults

Beautiful Soul

cattailBeautiful Soul

Long ago the heart of God
like a cattail beside a pond or river
cracked and split
spreading its life over all that was.

The womb of God
like a milkweed in the meadow
burst open
bursting followed by birthing
as the silken spirits fell and grew
in the fertile fields of creation
recreating love
sending sprouts of joy
throughout the universe.

The sun discovered daffodils and sumac
as a Mourning Dove hunkered down
in the snow under a pine.
The icy snow that could destroy her is – for now –
her protector.
Her beautiful soul finds shelter within the breast
of the beast that threatens.

Isn’t that the path of a fearless heart?

4 Ponds and a Bog

4 Ponds

4 Ponds and a Bog

One day the hiker came to kneel
by the bog
bury her face in the muck
and inhale the mud from which she had been created
to feel the spirit of the stuff
from which she had been distilled.

She smelled the gathering fragrance
of congregating beings
a scent elemental and familiar
like the smell of family and tribe.

Are there dragons in the forest?
Or monsters in the ponds? She wonders.
But no.
Only bugs kissing the waters for a drink.

She feels the earth recognize her as its own child
as she dissolves into her true home
where bees hum the song of the universe
and dragonflies are angels.

And she asks that when she lies down
for the last time –
when she comes to the end of herself
like the dead frog lying in the road –
may it be on the peace of home
by 4 ponds and a bog.
by caf

©photo and poem by caf

To All Terrorists

 

To All Those Who Love Terror

Did you think we would give up because you were scary,
because you have guns, bombs and can kill us?

There is something worse than losing a life –
losing a soul to fear,
a heart to suspicion,
a love to dreams of revenge.

You will not massacre my peace.
You will not exterminate my hope.
You will not eradicate my joy.

I have this whole earth as my love,
my defense and my strength,
and you have only guns
while I have a pen and camera.

by caf

©photo and poem by carole fults