Category Archives: Pantry of Prose

Great Is the Grief of the Grapes

How can the grapes endure such grief?
What forgotten strength contained within
their skins must they summon,
now that the pickers have come with shears
to fill their empty baskets?
They must be aching,
knowing they’ll be tossed in the press
that will crush every drop of life from them.
There’s nothing subtle about destruction.
It doesn’t steal over you
like the fleeting shadow of a wren at twilight,
but lands like a stone on a toe.
Great is the grief of the grapes!


Poem © 2019 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Sunday’s Whirligig #241
More Pantry of Poetry and Prose #5 at Poets United


Haibun: Grief Work

My grief over my father’s death has become my life’s work. Some days I drink from a bitter cup. Other days I choose to spread my bread with honey. And sometimes I lay myself down on the anvil of sorrows and let the hammer fall, shaping me as it will. Sheer stubbornness drives me to try to understand why a tear leans into the wind, hoping to dry itself; or why the dead enter our world saying nothing, giving neither comfort nor counsel, but simply watching and waiting. So far, I have failed in my quest, but I will not quit. Stubbornness, remember?

Walking through the woods
on an autumn afternoon—
this is song enough.


Haibun © 2019 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Sunday’s Whirligig #239
More Pantry of Poetry and Prose #3 at Poets United

True Tale: Preparing for Sleep

I discover the poetry of Jane Kenyon a few weeks after my father dies. I pick her Collected Poems at random from the library bookshelf and begin to read.
Nothing has prepared me for such a frank, yet delicate, appraisal of the world, and line by line I begin to weep.
Eleven years after my father dies, I am lying in bed, trying to prepare myself for sleep as Mrs. Hill, my high school English teacher, said I should: by letting good words have their way with me just before I turn off the light.
So I visit the nursing home where Jane Kenyon’s mother-in-law, a tired, wild horse, lies dying, and I hear her plead for the Master to come with a halter that He himself has fashioned, and lead the old horse home.
And I press a cookie to my forehead with Jane, to honor her dead mother-in-law (as well as the cousin who baked the cookie), because there is nothing else to do at a time like this.
What more can I ask than the gift of Jane’s good words for my lullaby this evening, when even the coyotes seem to be weeping for something lost?


Story © 2019 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More A Pantry of Prose at Poets United