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Tuesday, March 17, 2020


a poem in four parts
by Jill Crainshaw


mama cardinal studies me as i stand
in rain-wet morning sunlight

i see fire flash in her feathers
when she flits and flashes

from fencepost to flaming forsythia
nesting in preparation for whatever

springtime color waits to touch the earth


sepia-soaked scrapbooks ensconce
human fragilities exposed

i study faces retreating from
fiery colors of aliveness buried

in catacombs where mortal coils
were torn away too soon from butterflies

waiting even now to meet the sunrise


night settles down into streets emptied
of laughing children and lingering lovers

spinning cocoons to hide fragile dreams
while the world shuts out a sinister stalker

a brave pinion pushes open a window
slips a lonely song into the silence and hope

throbs in voices that swell together on the breeze


backyard cardinals carry
springtime rhythms in their beaks

wrens domicile in the abandoned eaves
of the church belfry next door

and we humans study yet again how to
weave into our nests fiery threads of hope

longing to color unsettled nights with song

Jill Crainshaw is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and a liturgical theology professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.