Count the Beautiful Things, Part 2

I wrote a second day’s worth.   It’s not poetry, really, but here it is.   We could do this sort of thing everyday, and never run out of counting.   Just thankful. Especially for this beautiful bunch.   Not together this year for Thanksgiving, but they’ll always be with me, whichever holiday table finds us.


Count the beautiful things.
Morning synapses chasing out depression,
Stories fresh from the night’s sleep all of hope.
The manic chatter of optimism,
The anticipation of a lunch with a like soul,
And the sweetness of strawberry jam on scones.
Oppression’s disappearance,
Hands clapping at delightful rhymes,
The hanging silence of a community’s shared depth,
The embrace of one particular priest once a year.
The moment when complaining stops
And sun streaks out from behind those damn clouds.
Journeys at thirty-five thousand feet,
Where there are hardly any clouds, ever.
Retreats God comes to, loving poetry as you do,
Tapping feet to tunes built on rhythms of your own heartbeat.
Anthems and symphonies, and kid’s songs,
And the kind of music that leaps out of who you are today.
The letting go of “better this and better that”
And coming into the present now, the present wow,
Which is always present if we see it.
The acceptance of ear’s ringing and sight easing,
The ongoing assault of time nothing to bother with.
Old books that delight, hoarding them,
Or letting them go, each for comfort and clarity.
The “of course I can” that is such a relief
After the damned hells of yesterday.
Tears that rise from a thankful place,
Soul opening rather than shutting down.
Fog catching street lights, and wives of wide smiles
Who day after day love you as if they love you.
Italian ceramics, mandolins, small beards on small chins,
Hobbit movies and romances that tease us,
The warmth of wall heaters at our feet,
And the remnant film of of fine breakfast and coffee.
A smile of “I like you” given to a new friend,
A hug for those near crying,
The silent sitting when no words will do,
And the lingering at the grave of a father,
Knowing that he loved you as best he could.
Heart pounding courage, the step out the front door,
The step to the microphone, the step onto the field.
The next pass after the interception,
The touchdown after the fumble,
The fold in the origami seagull,
The smooth skin of the marble masterpieces of Michaelangelo.
For Popes who rewrite things toward God,
The hand raised to kill that stops, the why unknown.
The resistance to the impulse that would destroy,
And the sacrifice of a long life so others soar.
Soap, and the cleaning of old teeth,
And the tight embrace of love that cares not of scent or purity.
The lack of hells to go to, and the mystery of death.
God’s name, and its mysterious power,
And the power behind that,
And the power behind that.
Our many times removal from the final reality,
And our comfort with it, His will be done.
Sighs, neighborhoods walks with intimates,
Fences and gates with golden hour light streaking.
And yes, Christmas tales and songs,
Wassails and ribbons and memories of Christmas Tree Cookies.
Writing “O”, and meaning it.
The taste of Shakespeare in your mouth,
And sweet breathing on the other end of the phone,
As your children decide to let you in a little more.
Times Square, and lights to head us into wonder,
Slack jawed standing at the corner of forty second and anything,
Tall beauties, mirrors of old age, and the fart that’s a laughing relief.
Veined hands that grip a crooked stick,
And steady, reach out for the great-grandchild toddling toward them.
The low breath of a wife at her ease,
The low beat of the music of renters,
And trifocals that let me see in sharp lines or fuzzy, as needed.

Count the beautiful things.
A church filling with dysfunctional folks,
Them absently grasping fellows’ hands,
Stuffing the Thursday night pizza into their mouths,
As they resolve to beat the addictions that wrecked them.
Songs of praise with sharp sopranos and dull tenors,
Uneven beats of poor musicians loving God for all they’re worth.
The clanking of trays with Jesus’ blood going by,
And the small crackers that say “I’m with You Lord.”
Dollars leaving pockets, destined for other countries.
For other countries, for lives lived unlike my own.
Fishermen knitting nets on middle eastern shores,
The bowed bodies of pray-ers, who want God more than anything.
The kindnesses of shared meals and tones of love
In Asia, in South America, in India, in Africa.
Bugs as protein, not for me, but still, good sustenance.
The wealthy who spend down to share it all.
Entrepreneurial energy that will not take no for an answer,
Not when the world is in such need of goodness,
Shoes, and warm jackets and houses.
Vegetables in lawn gardens, and neighbors who don’t mind.
Productivity that means a poem a day,
Or a song of love once every ten years.
Is there a beauty uncounted?
Count that one too.

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