• Thoughts of a harassed mother as Christmas approaches

    Margaret Lyall 18 October 2015

    Thoughts of a harassed mother as Christmas approaches

    Stress and distress, crisis on crisis,
    mind, body and spirit cannot take much more.
    Utter exhaustion, energy finished,
    pain and despair, darkness and silence.

    Then, piercing the silence, the cry of an infant,
    heralding One who will suffer and die.
    Through His living and dying His love will be steadfast
    His Spirit set free and gifted to all.

    Can this really be true?
    Does it fit with experience?
    There's reluctance to believe such a staggering claim.

    And yet, to be honest, so often it happens
    In the depths of the pain, in the pit of despair... 
      - through others' hands His hands stretch out to touch
      - through others' eyes His eyes look out in love
      - through others' lips His lips speak words of care…
    and faith is rekindled, in response to His words
    'What more must I do for you to believe?'

    Minds cannot comprehend;
    truth is veiled in paradox.
    But every time doubt becomes stronger,
    a potentially deeper faith
    yearns to reach out and embrace it…
    like light piercing the darkness.

    ©Margaret Lyall

    Image www.christiannetwork.com

  • Advertisement for Uber, The Thinker, my sister and daughter and all things about love in Philadelphia

    Tess Ashton 15 October 2015

    Advertisement for Uber, The Thinker, my sister and daughter and all things about love in Philadelphia

    My loving sister who lives

    in Philadelphia
    first city of America
                city of a thousand trees and
    slim pretty streets
    where window boxes
    spill with flowers and 4th of July flags
    and people gather on pavement chairs
    tipped out tight doorways
    over high front stairs
    terrace-house knees negotiating
    close as the tree limbs
    speak brotherly love
    drink sisterly wines
    on hot Friday nights

                 My sister I was saying
    has the Uber app
    on her phone
    we used it twice when we visited
    right now I’m started…
    she Uber’d
    to get us round the corner
    me, husband Lloyd and grandson Caspar
    from Parkway Apartments
    art deco with a hint of gothic flair
    in Logan Square
    to terrace house digs
    in sweet Meredith
    heart of the arts quarter
    where Rocky at the
    steps of the Philadelphia
    Museum of Art
    is hot property
    the city’s latest addition
    to its statue collection

                 as I was saying
    enlivened by our
    exciting reunion with
    our daughter Alex
    and granddaughter Olivia
    down from Canada
    on that first evening at my sister’s
    we and Caspar wafted one with the lift
    that once carried
    education board people
    out to the marble edge of Winter St
    and elegant
    where classical trees
    loftily mind
    the people below who
    stop by
    Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’
    and those mesmerised
    by the art at the Barnes Foundation
    who come out bearing
    Cezanne apple and pear
    candle fruit mementos
    that make fools
    of customs officers at airports  – ha!
    and bring postcards of Matisse
    and Picasso riches home
    for mantel pieces

                  High classical trees that cool
    people who visit
    the science museum
    of Benjamin Franklin
    in the summer season
    and who loll on the grass
    with homeless people
    like lionesses
    while grand children
    play on the swans and
    the giant First Nation people
    at Logan Circle

                  but re my sister and Uber
    our light toes had barely
    reached the pavement
    our hearts one
    with the hot American night
    when our Uber appeared
    a black Chevy sculpture
    a mere click of the fingers
    from there to here
    Denzel Washington quipped hubby later
    was the driver
    tall as a Pennsylvania night
    and lustrous as a god
    we were fated to be in possession of
    for a moment
    gave reason
    to later muse
    on the panoply of
    guiding trees
    the dark bronze sculpture
    in Rodin’s Gallery garden
    we would pass several times
    on our walk to Wholefoods
    organic supermarket
    where they employ disabled people
    and yellow shopping bags have LOVE
    in big letters
    a take on
    the famous Love sculpture in the Love Park
    on the JFK Boulevard
    by the fountain where the kids
    all rush and play
    in the heat of July holidays

                  It was ‘The Thinker’
    got me humming
    through the week
    that came
    the plaque explained
    on close inspection
    is the top small figure
    created for
    a sculpture
    of Dante’s
    ‘The Gates Of Hell’
    then the artist
    enlarged his expression
    to personify all inspiration
    behind creative thought
    an answer to my old question
    about what’s behind all things poetic
    bizarre this driver
    for a moment
    personified the revelation
    that love is in motion
    here in Philadelphia

                 In the back of his Chevvy
    our stuff and my family
    tumbled about the leather excitedly
    from the front
    I marveled the way
    of our limo-trained driver
    the pay-later scheme
    completed the golden mile
    next day
    we returned from being out
    to find Caspar’s
    red running shoes
    glowing on the doorstep
    like Cinder’s slippers
    dropped in the getaway
    returned by Uber
    a surprising
    thing for a taxi driver

                  But Uber is like no other
    fits well in the city of brothers
    where Penn the Father
    was known to interpret
    St Paul’s words of freedom
    ‘Love is above all;
    and when it prevails in us all,
    we shall all be lovely,
    and in love with God and one with another’
    hail to Philadelphia’s far walking father
    and my sister, daughter, grand daughter
    husband, and grandson
    and the Uber driver and trees and art
    in Pennsylvania

    ©Tess Ashton

    Image Philadelphia Love Statue  www.philly.com

    Side note:
    America’s first city named by
    its far-seeing owner
    William Penn who dreamed it all
    devotee of St Paul
    America’s first Quaker
    set the hopeful standard
    for extravagant love
    his city plan and libertarian principles
    Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin
    the American constitution
    invited British and European persecuted
    Hugenots, Mennonites
    Amish, Catholics, Lutherans and Jews
    in time art lovers with Penn’s Oxford
    people with money
    got persuaded
    made bronze statues of mothers and fathers
    heros and heroines
    planted them like muses on
    the ridiculously clever
    town planner’s
    broad plazas