Our daughter and her husband were visiting — six feet apart — friends who have a four-year-old daughter. Mid-conversation, the little one piped up, “I want the germs to go away. I want to hug my friends and hold their hands.”
It got to me this week that I was waking up and immediately realizing that no matter what 45 pulls off or what the latest report on Covid-19 is, this day will be just about the same as the day before, and tomorrow also will be.
Then out of nowhere it hit me: without 45 and without Covid-19, the day would still be pretty much the same. So I better take a nap and adjust my thinking to the realization that getting to read and watch the garden come into blossom and listen to music all through the day and walk the dog and have Julie here and once in a while have a neighbor appear to greet and, and, and…
But I’d still like to hug you and hold your hand.
I trust what my body says.
It is soft-spoken, never shouts,
gently whispers or nudges me into place.
I think you know what I mean.
Yesterday, it told me to go to the market
and buy a box of graham crackers.
I did. But it didn’t want the crackers,
just the walk to market and back.
Maybe another day.
Today, I feel it taking me outside.
“It’s sunny,” it says.
And I agree.
for William Stafford
Published in Between (Dawn Valley Press)
“All you can do is face the world with quiet grace and hope you make a sliver of a difference.”
–Brian Doyle from his remarkable collection of essays, One Long River of Song (Little Brown).
The sweetest email this week came from poet Garret Stack. He shared that in an interview with Pine Row Press, he was asked if any poets inspire him. He said that Ted Kooser was his “strongest influence,” and, “More recently, I’m inspired by… Jack Ridl who is quietly waging the most peaceful and poetic political protest in history.” I love that.
Jim Allis was here this morning and told me about waking up and deciding to deliver 70 pizzas to the families of the kids in his Tae Kwon Do class.
Naomi Shihab Nye has a new collection: CAST AWAY (Greenwillow). She has developed a fascinatingly direct voice. Imagine, 147 pages of poems about trash! Those concerned about our environment–everyone!– will find it a companion.
My first publisher, Nancy Esther James, has published a collection of her highly reflective poems: Avenues Toward Light (Dawn Valley Press).
M.L. Liebler has created an engaging reading series on ZOOM. Write to him for details. He has invited me to read with Charles Baxter and Laurel Blossom on June 21 at 2pm.
Gayle Boss has recorded her luminous book of environmental essays, Wild Hope, Paraclete Press, available now through Audible.
Our own Pastor Sal — Salvatore Sapienza — has a new book out, encouraging us to put away our childish thinking. It’s called… wait for it… Childish Thinking: How the Church Keeps Us Stuck in Sunday School.
Where are the books? Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.
Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.
Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.