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Monday, September 26, 2016

1979, Preaching To The Zinnias

It's only 1a.m. here, still time for a  Sunday night sermon, so...
Having revisited 1964 in my previous post, I thought it apposite to travel closer downtime (or perhaps uptime --after all these years of timetravel I still get the terms confused) toward the present (then) and share an experience of theological vertigo In 1979. Here is a Normaphoto recently taken in our garden that got me remembering. Remembering what?
If you look at the sunflower towering over zinnias below, you'll get some idea of what I endured keeping a promise that year ('79). My friends, Kate and Mike (both blond and blue-eyed with heads like lightbulbs with sensible brains in them), had decided to get married and asked me to speak at their wedding. Wedding was set at the First Baptist Church on L street in Sacramento. Church was built in 1929 on the general plan of the Roman Pantheon --beautiful pile of chiseled rock that towers halfway to hereafter. The loggia consists of open corridors formed by columns through which I was led to a high pulpit with the little poem I wrote as a gift to them. That is when vertigo set in. I am a gardener who has trimmed down tall trees but never without climbing-gear, so there was a surplus of emotion in my delivery.

However, composure was saved by concentrating on a youngster's face about 20 pews back:
This enabled me to recite the following poem:

I have climbed the stairs,
An astonished child.
I have left the lull of illusion.
You and I and a tremor of time
Climb brimming green along the shore.
I am not only myself anymore.
We are a wave 
Holding sunlight and life,
A rolling glow, music and more--
More than the sum of ourselves before
We gave our gift to time.
We stepped our separate stairs
To a door upon the earth.
It is open.
We have a simple hold,
A touch, a wash of fanning sea
Over a swath of sand, a boulder,
A lace of foam, a stairway of waves--
A lyric on the land.
When songs mingle, they sing
Among themselves, winding gift
With gift where new-winged dreams
Drift, melodies touch.
We touched,
We joined ways, and to
That touch entrusted all our days.

I'll stop here and mention the poem's line cued an interpretive dance
It is still my policy, after 37 years, not to become crapulent at wedding receptions.
Go thou and do likewise.



31 comments:

  1. What a lovely sentiment...we are a wave that will continue on to the end of time, changing shape, changing direction, but always there, always moving. I will be thinking about this all day.

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    1. Thanks, Delores. I sure hope we persist in the elements. This big blue planet gave us life and I trust will continue to do so.

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  2. Didn't become crapulent at the last wedding I attended! Or the one before that - Lucy and mine. (Yawn!) Not likely to see any other weddings; maybe an occasional funeral though. Everyone here loves a funeral! Does your injunction apply to funerals?

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    1. Tom, I approve of any internal fortifications that get people through funerals.

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  3. "A lace of foam, a stairway of waves"....I read it several times,Geo., and was deeply touched in a different way each time. In my humble opinion, this is one of your best.

    "We are a wave". What a delightful wedding remembrance.

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    1. Thanks, Jon. Despite its oily cinema and bad fashions, the '70s were alive with local arts and literature. It was a fun poem to write.

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  4. I will endeavour to find a wedding reception that I can go and not be crapulent at. It would be easier if I knew what crapulent meant; however, easy does not build character.

    Your poem is beautiful. And what a gift! Lovely.

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    1. Most kind, thanks. As I recall, crapulence was a term I learned in the 1960s from attending events that were, by nature, crapulous. By '79, I was impelled to research temperance.

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    2. Aha ... a dim bulb brightens :) I have successfully dodged crapulence since university. Nausea is a state of being that I avoid at all costs.

      And here I thought you made that word up. Silly me!

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  5. A perfect gift. A lasting gift. An inspirational gift. To the happy couple and to us.
    Thank you.

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    1. It is I who should thank you for your generous comment. It was indeed a happy day.

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  6. A beautiful poem. A gift to all who read it and a special blessing to Kate and Mike.

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    1. Thanks, Tom. Poem was written by a 30-year-old version of myself for all who join their futures --no matter how long or briefly-- in the course of love.

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  7. This is a beautiful poem, Geo., - a beautiful present, and they will have cherished it!
    The idea of concentrating on a youngster's (zinnia)-face: yes - look straight-ahead when vertigo sets in. The sunflower is doing the same.
    ("crapulent" I had to look up - found only the noun, and am not quite sure whether it means "Katzenjammer?)

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    1. Dear Brigitta, thank you. The poem was fun to write and 1979 was a fun year to write it in. Your translation of crapulent and katzenjammer is very close --they are ailments of identical etiology.

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  8. If we have poetry and dance, we need little else to keep going. Thanks, Geo.
    x

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    1. Kind Austan, there is great strength in what you say. My poems have got shorter and my dance less injurious to partners, but one keeps going. You keep going too, deal?

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  9. Hi Geo. I love the imagery of the wave holding the sunlight and life. Your post is timely as I am attending a wedding this weekend. I will try to follow your excellent example.

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    1. Dear Consigliere, my poem is not copywrighted --nor will it ever be. If you recite it, I shall be honored. If this is a wedding of which you approve, the gift is free --unless you have your own speech planned, in which case nevermind, or combine. Have a lovely and fun weekend. Love is always in the air!

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    2. HI Geo, thank you so much. Now I wish I had been asked to speak and could have used your poem. I'll keep it for the next one. I did manage to avoid being crapulent. That might be a first. I love weddings and all the celebratory toasts that go with it. It's hard not to get a little carried away.

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    3. Glad you had fun. Weddings should be fun, more than two well-dressed people solemnly swearing things at each other.

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  10. Nice. Very nice, my friend. I'm betting there are others in the world who value it as much, for good reason.

    As to not becoming crapulent. I'm somehow reminded when the youngest was picked up from pre-school lo those years ago. I asked her what she did, as usual. She brightened, looked at me and said "I didn't bite Alicia!!"
    I congratulated her, asked no questions.
    Cheers,
    Mike

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    1. There is great progress toward humanity when we stop biting people. Although you've done the early work, I'd say the day is closer when we will stop biting each other. I too learned from my children!

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  11. I can hardly stop myself dancing! In fact am going out to entertain my dwarf sunflowers right now :-) x

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  12. Your poem is wonderful, dude. It expresses a comforting and uplifting image of time and eternity, and I'm sure it touched the hearts of everyone in the church that day, just as it has touched the hearts of those reading it now. I hope your friends have a copy of it framed in a place of honor on their wall to keep them ever mindful of its sentiments.

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    1. Susan, I hope it helped where it was needed. I didn't write much in the way of love poems back then but weddings give dudes the goldurned emotions.

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  13. A lovely poem, Geo! We are waves moving in mostly space, but it's so hard to wrap my mind around the physics. I wish I could be around a few more centuries to enjoy the illusion! Have a good one!

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    1. Thank you, Blue! As centuries go, I'm totally having a good one --trust you are too. After a tenure of half the 20th century, I'm quite excited about this one. Must admit though, I'm getting impatient about personal antigravity jetpacks and world peace, aren't you? Let's keep doing this!

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  14. It is a touching poem. I shall go forth and do likewise.

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