NPM: Bitter Brother

Bitter brother
Scowling at the dirt
This dirt which nourished his crops
Watered with the sweat of his brow

Back-breaking labor, wrestling with the thorns
And thistles of his father’s mistake
Fighting the land, no longer a garden,
No longer yielding abundant fruits
But like a scorned lover
Jealous and withholding
Resentfully providing growth
Only when the full payment of labor had been received

He brought in his harvest
And set aside an offering
To the God who cast them out of paradise
But like a scorned lover
Jealous and withholding
Resentfully bringing his obligatory gift
He gave his hard-earned spoils
And was rejected.

This betrayal, more personal than any prior punishment,
Stung him deeper than the thorns and brambles.
And his shame was emblazoned in stark relief
Against the favor shown to another

Bitter brother
Scowling at the dirt
This dirt which stole his joy
Now watered with his brother’s blood


NPM: Stage of Life

Our hostas haven’t sprouted yet 

They lie dormant beneath the topsoil

But the neighbor’s hostas

Are poking their tender green heads

Up from their cool, dark slumber

In fact, all around the block

I see them growing

And feel affronted

How dare they?

I crouch down along the row of dirt

Where last year’s hostas flourished

Running my fingers through the mulch

Searching with fingertips for a sign of life

I find nothing but dry soil

And the memory of verdant summers past

Perhaps mine are just late bloomers

Perhaps they are just slow starters

Waiting in stasis for life to begin

Or perhaps I am waiting in vain

For a resurrection that will never come

My Bestie Jane

I cannot believe I went through my whole childhood and adolescence without reading Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. I first read it during my freshman year of college and have read it annually ever since.  I’m re-reading it now (we’re on Reading #4, for all my fellow math-hating English-Lit people) and I love it just as much as the first time I read it, if not more.  I’m not sure why I love this book so much, especially since the first half is fairly tortuous to read.  Jane’s miserable childhood is not exciting (rather, it is painful to imagine), and as my friend Valerie Campbell is quick to point out, Jane tends to err on the side of whining about it too much.  But then there are the glowing monologues of Helen Burns, an impossibly wonderful human being, who (despite her unrealistic saintliness) wins my heart every time and makes me want to be a really good person too!

Anyway, I think the story really takes off when Jane reaches adulthood and longs for her liberty.  Her theological journey is so intriguing to me!  I love Jane because I identify with her weaknesses–her quick temper, her slowness to forgive, her reliance on human affection.  It gives me hope to see her grow away from these vices and into greater virtues.  But rather than babble on about the entire plot-line of this classic, let me just leave you with a quote by Muriel Clark: “Each time we re-read a book, we get more out of it because we put more into it; a different person is reading it, and therefore it is a different book.”   Amen, Muriel.  Justified.