Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rwandan Litany

Here's the poem of mine that appeared in the spring 2007 edition of Portland Magazine, edited by Brian Doyle. Check out the magazine website for more stories and photos!


Praise for the laughing group
of schoolchildren
& their chant: “abazungu, abazungu!”
Praise for the scarlet-crested turaco
wings flashing red and black,
pecking guavas split by the sun.
Praise for the priest’s forearm
corded with veins.
Praise for dugout fishing boats,
trolling Lake Kivu at midnight.
Praise for cowhide drums
beaten by men’s callused palms.
Praise for the widows, draped
in coarse cotton.
Praise for all manner of beetles.
Praise for yeast bread, baked
in rusted barrel ovens.
Praise for the overturned truck
on Kijabe’s slick curve,
a woman prematurely in labor
beside it.
Praise for rain on tin rooftops,
erratic tap-tap and din of water.
Praise for the market lady
and her piles of soap,
rice, razorblades.
Praise for the plastic shunt
in a child’s skull,
draining excess fluid.
Praise for coffee beans.
Praise for red dust
caking each eyelash.
Praise for voices rising
from terraced banana groves.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jeff!

Last week we were out of town and I didn't get to post on Jeff's big day. So now it's time-- Happy Birthday to you, Jeff, and here's to many years ahead!

See here, for a poem I wrote last year. It still holds true.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Such Oddballs

Topic of conversation at dinner last night:

Are mother birds bulimic?
(because they throw up food to feed their young)

Friday, June 15, 2007

And Yet More of Rothenburg

I shot many photos in Rothenburg, so here you go again...

A runaway carriage--

A view of the city from the castle gardens--

The infamous "Schneeballen" (otherwise known as snowballs--deep fried fatty pastries rolled in powdered sugar, dipped in dark chocolate, and otherwise made dangerous to the arteries)--

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

In Bloom

Saw these flowers in Rothenburg, and they reminded me of Oregon--except I think the blooms were mostly purple there. Foxglove?

The King Does Come

The title above is from Frederick Buechner's writing--the June 13th entry in his book, Listening to Your Life. I really needed to hear his words today, a day when I'm wondering again, "what are you doing in my life, God, and where are you?"

Buechner writes: The day will come when all the voices that were ever raised...will be permanently stilled. But when that day comes, I believe that the tumbled stones will cry aloud of the great, deep hope that down through the centuries has been the one reason for having churches at all...the hope that into the world the King does come. And in the name of the Lord. And is always coming, blessed be he. And will come afire with glory, at the end of time.

A bit later he adds: Make our stone hearts cry out thy kingship. Make us holy and human at last that we may do the work of thy love.

To that, I say amen, and amen again. What I love about Buechner--he writes of immense joy and wonder, but he doesn't shy away from the horrible, awful, hard things in life. And He leads me ultimately towards God with his words. No one can do better than that.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Daily City Photo Goodness

While browsing blogs, I happened upon ParisDailyPhoto, and from there, the links to many other Daily City Photo sites. An easy way to hop around the world--with only a few clicks! Try out Shanghai Daily Photo, Lisbon Photos, Grenoble Daily Photo, Milano Daily Photo, and for a comprehensive listing, the Daily City Photo Blog.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

More Rothenburg Photos

Houses lining the central town square.

Eine Katze greeted us from a doorway.

Peering out the tower window.

All Around Rothenburg

Check out the ad for the last Harry Potter book-- coming out in a German translation on October 2007.

A view through the castle garden arch, looking towards central Rothenburg.

Jeff and I finally had a little weekend getaway for ourselves --it's been awhile. We thoroughly enjoyed Rothenburg, a medieval walled city only an hour and a half away by car.

Monday, June 04, 2007

My Grandma Hartung

I've been thinking about Grandma Hartung lately. She loved to sit down for a nice hot cup of tea with me in the afternoon, after first setting a timer for the teabag to steep--"Brew it five minutes, Laurie dear." Also, whenever I see Aplets and Cotlets at the store, in all their gummy, sugary goodness, I remember Gram. A sure-fire way to please her? Bring a few boxes for a gift. And maybe a new book of crossword puzzles. I miss her.

What Grandma said about her parents:

"Dad didn't have any say about anything mean or hateful. He was kind. My mother had to do the whipping. Dad wouldn't have laid a stick to anybody..."

"Mother moved every year, and always lived in an upstairs flat. She wasn't satisfied with anything--Mother was a funny woman."

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Quote for the Day

"What is to give light must endure burning." -- Viktor Frankl

Many moons ago, before starting college, I went on a two week survival course in the wilderness areas of Wisconsin and Michigan. As one of our requirements before the course, we had to read "Man's Search for Meaning," by Frankl. Recently, I picked up another copy from a box of free books, and plan to reread it over the summer.

Frankl survived Auschwitz, but his wife died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. On April 27, 1945, Frankl was liberated. Among his immediate relatives, the only survivor was his sister

It was due to his and others' suffering in these camps that he came to his hallmark conclusion that even in the most absurd, painful and dehumanized situation, life has potential meaning and that therefore even suffering is meaningful.