Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Poetry Tuesday: the Miracles of Multiplication

Yesterday was another tough day at work.  We knew that layoffs were coming, but I had hoped that somehow, we might be spared.

We were not.  We lost seven faculty members and two staff members.  Classes start next week, and now we administrators must scramble.

My department had a potluck lunch in the faculty/staff break room.  Once our department would have been too numerous to fit in the break room.  Yesterday we would have had room for an additional department or two to join us.

We would have had enough food too.  I love that aspect of potluck dinners.  There's always plenty, enough to feed anyone who showed up.

I think back to the Gospel stories of Jesus feeding a massive crowd.  One version of the story says that Jesus had 5 loaves and two fish that the disciples collected from the crowd.  The multiplication is a miracle--or is it?   Those of us who have been to potluck dinners might not be surprised that the food seems to have magically multiplied.

One version of the Gospel tells us that after the miracle of multiplying loaves and fishes, the leftovers filled 12 baskets.  It's always interesting to me what details leap out at me as we travel through the Lectionary.  One year, I couldn't stop thinking about those 12 baskets.

So, of course, I wrote a poem.  It appeared in qarrtsiluni.  You can read it here; hearing me read it is also an option.

Left Behind


We gathered twelve baskets of leftovers,
and then we confronted a new crisis:
what do with all the food left behind?

We slapped together fish sandwiches for all the weary
travelers. We made to-go bags
for everyone with hungry
families at home. We made sure the boy
got his investment back and then some.

We still had several baskets.
We made a picnic for ourselves.
And then Martha stepped forward.
With her old family recipe, she baked
pan after pan of bread pudding.

Some people gathered to talk mystical
theology. The rest of us helped
Martha clean up the kitchen. We wallowed
in dessert and fellowship. We celebrated
sweetness, the important life lesson.

I hope that as we move through the coming weeks, we see some unexpected sweetness.  I hope we experience the miracles of multiplication.  I am tired of the severe lessons of division.

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