Linda L. Bielowski



Grandpa loved God,
his neighbor, his family, his house,
and Christmas.
Christmas stuffed with--
Grandma’s date nut cookies, butter stars sprinkled with red and green sugar sparkles, and iced Norwegian fruit bread.
Bing Crosby and Perry Como carols
beside grandpa’s unique crooning of Oh Tannenbaum!
Joy in the oohs and aahs of grandchildren
tiptoeing to presents long before the first light,
despite grandpa’s protestations against receiving gifts himself--
content with food to eat and a roof over his head.
On his last Christmas,
the Christmas grandpa had not been expected to live,
my baby brother in tiny Santa suit bounced on his knee-- 
eyes were filled to overflowing.
After Grandpa died,
Christmas was never the same.
There were broken ornaments, fewer lights on the tree, and a cold draft in the front room.
Whenever I arranged fragile figurines for the crèche,
it seemed the Christ was missing.

                              By Linda L. Bielowski, Ph.D.

Daily Miracles

Here I sit a mystic in my closet
under the spell of the long loneliness,
a seeker of small miracles:
the spectral hues each morning or evening brings.

Needing to die to self,
but not enough;
I fall seven times daily.

Knowing life would be far lonelier
without the fellowship
of my worldly goods:

Tubular wind chimes
   resonant with the pitch of the Angelus bell
Teal bowl of blueberries
   ripe with the taste of Michigan orchards
   rich with the absorbed color of sky-over-lake
Chipped pottery mug
   heavy with the heat of the August midday
   it was given new purpose at a barn sale
Black-and-white Dorothy Day poster
  brotherhood shouted above wicker shelves
  with side-by-side books

Wisdom readings
from Desert Mothers and Benedictine Sisters,
soul mates who offer the inner anchor-hold
to my floating life:

The sense of Presence
                                    That carries me on…

                                      By Linda L. Bielowski, Ph.D.

Dirty Rags

Perhaps it sprouted
from the diaspora of her people
in fruitful pockets over the vast grasslands
Roots dug down in the sediment
of what was the edges of a giant inland sea
Rolling and rushing in a moving journey
through four seasons
every climate
all the topographies of the soul

This expansiveness of spirit
This contentment with the little way

Removed from worldly pomps
the flesh pots and rich platters of lesser things
She was free of stubble
and full of light
With ample time to plumb the psalms
to preach the Gospel
in season
out of season
Surveying the crops to learn

Life is a process of dying and rising
All times are in the hand of God

Given a listening heart
she heard her Lord’s whisper
in the robin’s song of songs
Saw splendor in the rooster’s tiara
and in the glory of buttercups
Wearing a yoked smock and kerchief veil
garb for her daily acts of mercy
She wiped smeared ketchup and spilled milk
grape juice and salt tears

Dried sweet clover in pillowslips
Lined dresser drawers with cedar

Steadfast in keeping vigil with Christ
replete with the care and preciseness
of preparing burial cloth or swaddling clothes
Came her rubbing of dirty rags against the scrub board
their dipping in the tin washtub font
The squeezing and twisting in the rubber wringer
hoped to clean a host of sins
Rags strung like lines of white lilies
above her head

She knew an embrace in the soul
No earthbound place can contain
Believing ever to become smaller
That is the aim

                              By Linda L. Bielowski, Ph.D.