Sonnet #15: Week of June 11, 2017

Giant Food
My local Giant Food store on 41st Street in Baltimore.

With four hands on the shopping cart they walked
In synchrony, no bumping, side by side
In fluid motion, just as one. I gawked
Because they seemed so peaceful in their stride.
I followed them; I stalked them with my cart
To seek the essence of their dance, their zen;
How neither hurried-up the other’s start
Or stop. I had to wonder if, or ever, when
I’d have the patience of these lovely two
Who moved in tandem, soulmates in the store
Not paying much attention to me, who
Lurked and snaked behind them out the door.
Following is not considered rude
When Muses show up at the Giant Food.

 

So, this actually happened a couple years ago while I was grocery shopping. And I find I can’t stop thinking about this charming senior couple.

 

Sonnet #14: Week of May 28, 2017

welcomejhu

“Inter Sanctos Sors Illorum Est–”
These words carved into stone atop a Church
That I walk past each day became a test
Of memory for me—so I could search
Their meaning. Google gave some Latin clues
But I am not a scholar of that tongue.
And word-by-word translation is a ruse
That’s best for basic travelers. “Among
them is Holy?” With a question mark?
Did not inspire faith. Does it convey
That somewhere in the crowds here and the dark
Is light? I wish that we could find our way
To be the ones so blessed, to walk with grace.
Reflecting holiness in urban space.

Sonnet #13: Week of May 21, 2017

MooseMy dog has trouble when ascending stairs,
Especially on days I’ve walked him far.
He doesn’t mope about it, never cares
That age is catching up to him. Sidebar:
I saw a photograph of me in shorts
And quickly grew dismayed. My crepe-y skin
All mottled, wrinkled, put me out of sorts;
Resentful of the current shape I’m in.
But what’s the use of that? Ridiculous.
My dog is focused only on what’s fun.
There is no point in chasing all that fuss
That promises a youth that’s passed and done.
So walk me, Moose, along the path you know
As perfect now as it was years ago.

(Pictured above are my youthful son and my old dog. Both are happy with their life stages, and there is definitely something to be said for that!)

Sonnet #12: Week of May 14, 2017

Mom

I used to call her when I was upset;
Or when I had a funny story. She
Would hear of things accomplished, goals unmet;
And listen, commenting subjectively.
That’s how it is with Moms, the best of which
Can nurture with a gentle, guiding hand.
But on this day that comes in May, we switch,
For I’m the one who listens now. Unplanned
Is the reversal of our standard roles;
She the child and I the mother now
Who coaxes, coaches, and at times consoles,
I wish that I could turn back time somehow.
I promise to remember all the things
That bind me to you with a million strings.

Sonnet #11: Week of April 23, 2017

old_world_swallowtail_butterfly_papilio_machaon_217416

The smell of Spring’s a green and yellow blend
Of lawn and heavy-headed marigolds;
Of rain-soaked decks; of mulch and soil to tend;
Of all the hope a growing season holds.
We breathe it in, and welcome change, adjust
To newness with an ease that’s nature-based.
The January resolution’s dust
Is sprinkled on the garden. I have faced
So many alterations and I see
That turning over ground and rising strong
From compost (shit) that slowly rots can be
The only way to make one’s way along
A twisting path of days. I love this strange/
Familiar season of new growth and change.

Sonnet #10: Week of April 9, 2017

JHUP pix 017
The Johns Hopkins University Press   (Photo by Keli M. Strickland, my talented colleague.)

I think Johns Hopkins twice has saved the day;
First when my youngest son was barely six.
The bullseye rash that’s common—from deer ticks—
Did not show up on him. I learned to pray
In earnest by his bedside, thanking God
And all the specialists at JHU
For sparing me the pain of living through
A loss to Lyme disease. It’s kind of odd
How Hopkins surfaced, saving me again
With my employment and admission to
The MA program: writing helped me through
The chaos of my life in twenty-ten.
I’m grateful to this university
For things far more profound than a degree.

Better than a Sonnet! Week of April 2, 2017

Pat_Kristin

Thank my Pop, James J. Flood
For the Irish blood
Compelling me to say
Some words on the groom to this packed room
On the eve of their wedding day.

When Patrick was two
I would read each night through
An A.A. Milne verse, anyhow…
One night I suppose I fell into a doze
He recited the rest, Holy Cow!

It was then that I sensed
That we had commenced
A wordy relationship, we
Could often be heard vying for the last word
In the home court–presiding Judge, ME!

How I loved all those times,
He eschewed nursery rhymes
For nonfiction books on the planets.
I learned about Mars, and the black holes and stars
Now I have no rhyme, so, “Pomegranates.”

Well, Pat grew up blessed
With an insatiable zest
For learning, unstoppable still.
His joy—so contagious, his humor outrageous,
And tomorrow I’m thrilled that he will

Take a partner, a wife
Who will bring to his life
The depth and complexity of
Intelligence, grace and kindness—
This is found in Kristin’s love.

Raise a glass “where you’re at”
To toast Kristin and Pat,
While I wrap this thing up in whimsy
I think that it’s cool, I’m an April fool
For love, as we all should be!

Cilantro!

A few notes for the non-family reading this:

My grandfather, James J. Flood, was a Vice President of J. Walter Thompson in NYC in the glory days of advertising. I have a memory of him writing, carrying a yellow legal pad with him. I heard he could move people from tears to laughter in a phrase. This is one of my writing goals.

The verse I reference that Pat memorized at age 2 was “King John’s Christmas,” by A. A. Milne.  It’s a good read!

Pat’s sister, Laura, is two years younger. As children, each could choose one book before bedtime, and she would sigh in disdain when Patrick would choose a very dry book on Mercury or Saturn. “Not another Sinus book,” she would complain!

“Where you’re at” is a Baltimore phrase that I particularly love, and never heard until I moved here. I felt I needed to work it in.

We have adopted the toast “Cilantro” because a year ago at a restaurant in Scotland on a family vacation, Pat raised a glass to toast but temporarily forgot the Scottish toast “Slainte,” substituting “Cilantro.”

We wish Patrick and Kristin a lifetime of love and happiness and laughter!

I am so proud and grateful to be his Mom.