C3: COCKTAILS & CHRISTIAN CONVERSATIONS
 Fri, July 22 @ 5pm


C3: COCKTAILS & CHRISTIAN CONVERSATIONS 

PARABLES set in the VINEYARD

MATTHEW 18:23-35
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant 

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him, and, as he could not pay, the lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’
      And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’
     Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.
      Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’  And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 
     So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

MATTHEW 20:1-16 — The Laborers in the Vineyard
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.
     When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
     When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around, and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?
     They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
     He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’
     When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager,‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’
     When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’
      But he replied to one of them,‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”MATTHEW 21:28-31 —The Parable of the Two Sons
“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said,‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 
     He answered, ‘I will not,’ but later he changed his mind and went.
    The father went to the second and said the same, and he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go.”
    [Jesus asked] 31 “Which of the two did the will of his father?”
    They said, “The first.”

 MATTHEW 21:33-41,43-45 — The Parable of the Wicked Tenants
“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went away.
    When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first, and they treated them in the same way.
    Then he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
    But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
    [Jesus asked] “Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
    They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.” …
    “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces its fruits.

Themes from vineyard parables: loving and laborious, first and last, generous and greedy, willing and willful

Indeed, the word sacrament is derived from a Latin phrase which means “to make holy.” When hit with the glint of love’s light, even ordinary things become holy. … But our God is in the business of transforming ordinary things into holy things, scraps of food into feasts and empty purification vessels into fountains of fine wine. This God knows his way around the world, so there’s no need to fear…. There’s always enough—just taste and see. There’s always and ever enough. —Rachel Held Evans

Beer is made by men, wine by God. — Martin Luther

Today I begin a new life. Today I shed my old skin which hath, too long, suffered the bruises of failure and the wounds of mediocrity. Today I am born anew and my birthplace is a vineyard where there is fruit for all. — Og Mandino


The WINE of LOVE — James Thomson

The wine of Love is music,
And the feast of Love is song:
And when Love sits down to the banquet,
Love sits long:

Sits long and ariseth drunken,
But not with the feast and the wine;
He reeleth with his own heart,
That great rich Vine.


A DRINKING SONG W. B. Yeats

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

SONGS about OWING:

SONGS about OFFERING:

LOVE: I Am the Vineyard — Rumi

The singer sings about love, until 
the Friend appears in the doorway. 

Kitchen smoke drifts up into clouds 
and becomes a thousand-year-old wine. 

I am here, not reckoning the credit
accumulated or future speculation.

I am the vineyard and the barrel
where the grapes are crushed,

the entire operation, whose transaction
pours this glass of wine,
this moment, this poem.

A man stumbles by with baggage,
papers from the house, regret and wishing,
not knowing which to tend to. Neither.

After you see the face, concerns change,
as lakewater rises into mist.

The VINEYARD— Rudyard Kipling
At the eleventh hour he came,
But his wages were the same
As ours who all day long had trod
The wine-press of the Wrath of God.

When he shouldered through the lines
Of our cropped and mangled vines,
His unjaded eye could scan
How each hour had marked its man.

(Children of the morning-tide
With the hosts of noon had died,
And our noon contingents lay
Dead with twilight’s spent array.)

Since his back had felt no load ,
Virtue still in him abode;
So he swiftly made his own
Those last spoils we had not won.

We went home, delivered thence,
Grudging him no recompense
Till he portioned praise or blame
To our works before he came.

Till he showed us for our good–
Deaf to mirth, and blind to scorn–
How we might have best withstood
Burdens that he had not born!

THOUSANDS of WINES — Rumi
…There are thousands of wines
that can take over our minds.
Don’t think all ecstasies
are the same!
Jesus was lost in his love for God.
His donkey was drunk with barley.
Drink from the presence of saints,
not from those other jars.
Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.
Be a connoisseur,
and taste with caution.
Any wine will get you high.
Judge like a king, and choose the purest,
the ones unadulterated with fear,
or some urgency about “what’s needed.”…

THE WORM’S WAKING — Rumi
This is how a human being can change:
there’s a worm addicted to eating
grape leaves.
                         Suddenly he wakes up,
call it grace, whatever, something
wakes him, and he’s no longer
a worm.
                He’s the entire vineyard,
and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that doesn’t need
to devour.

LABORING in the VINEYARD
Training the vineyard:
https://www.arec.vaes.vt.edu/content/dam/arec_vaes_vt_edu/alson-h-smith/grapes/viticulture/extension/presentations/newgrowervinemgmt.pdf

Planting, maintaining and harvesting vineyards in first-century Israel was strenuous work requiring hard physical labor in the heat of summer. Often, additional laborers were required to get all the work done.  — Gotquestions.org

The most intimate contact between man and nature occurs during pruning. Observe, breathe, walk around and sense, above all sense. Before we prune, we must first study the vineyard, but most importantly, we must love it
      Pruning is to the vine what a new building is to an architect. The first steps at the beginning of the year; the beginning of the process of the life cycle of our vines, the most significant decision in the cycle of the vineyard; choosing which wine we want to create from each plot, where it all begins.
     It is one of the tasks carried out with the utmost respect, attention, sensitivity and one that requires the most experience and wisdom. All the work which takes place throughout the year is important, but pruning is probably the most relevant, since the quality and the quantity of the grape and the wine that will be obtained later depends on how well it is performed. — from Raventos i Blanc, ful article :https://www.raventos.com/web/module_travel/blog/en/poda/

Vineyards and shining harvests, pastures, arbors, And all this our very utmost toil Can hardly care for, we wear down our strength Whether in oxen or in men, we dull The edges of our ploughshares, and in return Our fields turn mean and stingy, underfed, And so today the farmer shakes his head, More and more often sighing that his work, The labour of his hands, has come to naught. – Lucretius

Every person should guard the vineyard where he has been called to labor. – Sunday Adelaja

Any man who, having planted a vineyard, has not yet reaped the benefits should do so at once, so that he does not die in the struggle and leave it for another to enjoy. – Paulo Coelho

It was with good reason that God commanded through Moses that the vineyard and harvest were not to be gleaned to the last grape or grain; but something to be left for the poor. For covetousness is never to be satisfied; the more it has, the more it wants. Such insatiable ones injure themselves, and transform God’s blessings into evil. – Martin Luther

IN the VINEYARDS of TERAMO
for Franco — Laura Apol
1.
You are named for the man
who told you stories
of the vineyards of his youth
when you, too, were learning
the ways of love. There was the sun.
There was the light.
There were the vines and grapes,
the thick spread of honey
across breasts, belly and thighs,
and the gift of pleasure
a man can give and taste
in a woman’s skin.
It was a fine-­‐-­‐grained photo
of his life, oceans ago—
your grandfather creating with words
the land he had left and the man
he had been, carrying love
on his tongue for the rest of his years.
2.
We will know it together, someday—
that Adriatic light, the lush vines
covering the hillsides of Abruzzo,
and the hum of bees
threaded through the sweet smell
of ripening grapes.
And when at last
we lie down in that vineyard,
the hushed echo of grapes alive in the air,
I will call you by the name
you and he share—the name of a man
who passed on
the pleasures of skin and tongue,
the sweetness of light,
and the warm honeyed taste of Teramo.
3.
Say this is the place, these
the hillsides your grandfather
wandered, the thick vines he loved.
Picture his stained fingers
handling these curling tendrils,
these blossoms and shoots.

By night we taste the fruit,
breathe in its color, roll its velvet
names on our tongues:

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo,
Pepe Trebbiano, vintage Aurora—
the complex palate
of a wine-­‐-­‐maker’s dream. By day, too,
we sample the vines, live into the story
you learned long ago:
clay lime soil at my back, Gran Sasso peaks
and thunder in the distance—
the sky opening as I unlock your name.
And so we are soaked by Abruzzi rain,
here in the vineyards that speak to you
of home, and passion quickening
across continents and time.
Say this is the sweetness
your young grandfather tasted—
you, the future
he pressed himself toward.

ODE to WINE Pablo Neruda
Day-colored wine,
night-colored wine,
wine with purple feet
or wine with topaz blood,
wine,
starry child
of earth,
wine, smooth
as a golden sword,
soft
as lascivious velvet,
wine, spiral-seashelled
and full of wonder,
amorous,
marine;
never has one goblet contained you,
one song, one man,
you are choral, gregarious,
at the least, you must be shared.
At times
you feed on mortal
memories;
your wave carries us
from tomb to tomb,
stonecutter of icy sepulchers,
and we weep
transitory tears;
your
glorious
spring dress
is different,
blood rises through the shoots,
wind incites the day,
nothing is left
of your immutable soul.
Wine
stirs the spring, happiness
bursts through the earth like a plant,
walls crumble,
and rocky cliffs,
chasms close,
as song is born.
A jug of wine, and thou beside me
in the wilderness,
sang the ancient poet.
Let the wine pitcher
add to the kiss of love its own.

My darling, suddenly
the line of your hip
becomes the brimming curve
of the wine goblet,
your breast is the grape cluster,
your nipples are the grapes,
the gleam of spirits lights your hair,
and your navel is a chaste seal
stamped on the vessel of your belly,
your love an inexhaustible
cascade of wine,
light that illuminates my senses,
the earthly splendor of life.

But you are more than love,
the fiery kiss,
the heat of fire,
more than the wine of life;
you are
the community of man,
translucency,
chorus of discipline,
abundance of flowers.
I like on the table,
when we’re speaking,
the light of a bottle
of intelligent wine.
Drink it,
and remember in every
drop of gold,
in every topaz glass,
in every purple ladle,
that autumn labored
to fill the vessel with wine;
and in the ritual of his office,
let the simple man remember
to think of the soil and of his duty,
to propagate the canticle of the wine.

COMMENTARY on VINEYARD PARABLES

… Really, this parable isn’t about the workers. It’s about landowner.  This is God’s Vineyard, God’s table, God’s Kingdom and God’s world. We don’t make the invitation list and we don’t dole out the gifts. And it’s a good thing too because no doubt we would try to make it all fair. No doubt we’d make sure everyone got what they deserved. But God isn’t fair. God is irrationally and irresponsibly generous. His mercies are infinite, offensive, new every morning.
     We think the miracle is that our coworkers get to share in the reward, but the miracle is that any of us get to share in the work. The miracle is that God comes to the marketplace, pulls us out, hands us shovels and baskets and clippers, and puts us to work. If  we want in on this Kingdom, if we want in on this work, we best set aside our small notions of what it means to deserve, what it means to be fair, and what it means to earn. Because what makes God’s grace offensive isn’t who it leaves out, but who it lets in…starting with you and me. Fair’s got nothing to do with it.  — Rachel Held Evans, full article: https://rachelheldevans.com/blog/lectionary-workers-vineyard-landowner

We poison the wine as He decants it into us; murder a melody He would play with us as the instrument … — CS Lewis

What makes this the kingdom of God is not the worthiness or piety or social justicey-ness or the hard work of the laborers…none of that matters. It’s the fact that the landowner couldn’t manage to keep out of the marketplace. He goes back and back and back, interrupting lives…coming to get his people. Grace tapping us on the shoulder…And so, I reminded those seven pastors specifically, including the man who introduced me to grace, that the kingdom of God was just like that exact moment in which sinners/saints are reconciled to God and to one another…In the end, their calling, and their value in the kingdom of God comes not from the approval of a denomination or of the other works, but in their having been come-and-gotten by God. It is the pure and unfathomable mercy of a God that defines them and that says, ‘pay attention, this is for you. — Nadia Bolz-Weber

I feel like the vineyard owner and the tree all at once.  Like I’m my own defendant, judge and jury at the same time.  And I’d love nothing more than to stand here and say that this only happens once in awhile but the fact is it happens all the time. Impatience with myself and others.  Which is why eventually this little parable really broke my heart. Because once I realized that I felt like the tree and the vineyard owner at the same time, both the one who does not produce and the one who harshly judges the lack of production..well when I realized that it felt amazing to make the next jump – which is to realize that God is the one in our lives who steps in with a big sledgehammer of grace and advocates for us saying “one more year” Another year.  Another month.  Another week.  Another day.  This is what God comes to us offering like an endless deferment of your student loan. — Nadia Bolz-Weber

Of FRUIT & CUP

Wine is sunlight, held together by water. — Galileo Galilei

Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile — Homer

Wine is a living liquid containing no preservatives. Its life cycle comprises youth, maturity, old age, and death. When not treated with reasonable respect it will sicken and die. — Julia Child The sun had already set behind the mountains, and the sky had been drained of color. The trellises of sauvignon blanc flowed down the hill in even rows toward the valley floor. Whatever I was looking for, it wasn’t outside. As far as I could tell, the grapes were minding their own business. – Frederick Weisel

Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.– Benjamin Franklin

Groves of orange and lemon perfumed the air, their ripe fruit glowing among the foliage; while, sloping to the plains, extensive vineyards spread their treasures. Beyond these, woods and pastures, and mingled towns and hamlets stretched towards the sea, on whose bright surface gleamed many a distant sail; while, over the whole scene was diffused the purple glow of evening. – Ann Radcliffe

Every season hath its pleasure; Spring may boast her flowery prime, Yet the vineyard’s ruby treasuries brighten Autumn’s sob’rer time. – Thomas Moore

Would the valleys were your streets, and the green paths your alleys, that you might seek one another through vineyards, and come with the fragrance of the earth in your garments. – Kahlil Gibran

My only regret in life is that I did not drink more wine. — Ernest Hemingway

Men are like wine – some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age. — Pope John XXIII

Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read. — Francis Bacon

GO WORK in MY VINEYARD — Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Go work in my vineyard, said the Lord,
And gather the bruised grain;
But the reapers had left the stubble bare,
And I trod the soil in pain.

The fields of my Lord are wide and broad,
He has pastures fair and green,
And vineyards that drink the golden light
Which flows from the sun’s bright sheen.

I heard the joy of the reapers’ song,
As they gathered golden grain;
Then wearily turned unto my task,
With a lonely sense of pain.

Sadly I turned from the sun’s fierce glare,
And sought the quiet shade,
And over my dim and weary eyes
Sleep’s peaceful fingers strayed.

I dreamed I joined with a restless throng,
Eager for pleasure and gain;
But ever and anon a stumbler fell,
And uttered a cry of pain.

But the eager crowd still hurried on,
Too busy to pause or heed,
When a voice rang sadly through my soul,
You must staunch these wounds that bleed.

My hands were weak, but I reached them out
To feebler ones than mine,
And over the shadows of my life
Stole the light of a peace divine.

Oh! then my task was a sacred thing,
How precious it grew in my eyes!
‘Twas mine to gather the bruised grain
For the “Lord of Paradise.”

And when the reapers shall lay their grain
On the floors of golden light,
I feel that mine with its broken sheaves
Shall be precious in His sight.

Though thorns may often pierce my feet,
And the shadows still abide,
The mists will vanish before His smile,
There will be light at eventide.

WILD GRAPES

— Robert Frost – 1874-1963

What tree may not the fig be gathered from?

The grape may not be gathered from the birch?

It’s all you know the grape, or know the birch.
As a girl gathered from the birch myself
Equally with my weight in grapes, one autumn,
I ought to know what tree the grape is fruit of.
I was born, I suppose, like anyone,
And grew to be a little boyish girl
My brother could not always leave at home.
But that beginning was wiped out in fear
The day I swung suspended with the grapes,
And was come after like Eurydice
And brought down safely from the upper regions;
And the life I live now’s an extra life
I can waste as I please on whom I please.
So if you see me celebrate two birthdays,
And give myself out of two different ages,
One of them five years younger than I look-

One day my brother led me to a glade
Where a white birch he knew of stood alone,
Wearing a thin head-dress of pointed leaves,
And heavy on her heavy hair behind,
Against her neck, an ornament of grapes.
Grapes, I knew grapes from having seen them last year.
One bunch of them, and there began to be
Bunches all round me growing in white birches,
The way they grew round Leif the Lucky’s German;
Mostly as much beyond my lifted hands, though,
As the moon used to seem when I was younger,
And only freely to be had for climbing.
My brother did the climbing; and at first
Threw me down grapes to miss and scatter
And have to hunt for in sweet fern and hardhack;
Which gave him some time to himself to eat,
But not so much, perhaps, as a boy needed.
So then, to make me wholly self-supporting,
He climbed still higher and bent the tree to earth
And put it in my hands to pick my own grapes.
‘Here, take a tree-top, I’ll get down another.
Hold on with all your might when I let go.’
I said I had the tree. It wasn’t true.
The opposite was true. The tree had me.
The minute it was left with me alone
It caught me up as if I were the fish
And it the fishpole. So I was translated
To loud cries from my brother of ‘Let go!
Don’t you know anything, you girl? Let go!’
But I, with something of the baby grip
Acquired ancestrally in just such trees
When wilder mothers than our wildest now
Hung babies out on branches by the hands
To dry or wash or tan, I don’t know which,
(You’ll have to ask an evolutionist)-
I held on uncomplainingly for life.
My brother tried to make me laugh to help me.
‘What are you doing up there in those grapes?
Don’t be afraid. A few of them won’t hurt you.
I mean, they won’t pick you if you don’t them.’
Much danger of my picking anything!
By that time I was pretty well reduced
To a philosophy of hang-and-let-hang.
‘Now you know how it feels,’ my brother said,
‘To be a bunch of fox-grapes, as they call them,
That when it thinks it has escaped the fox
By growing where it shouldn’t-on a birch,
Where a fox wouldn’t think to look for it-
And if he looked and found it, couldn’t reach it-
Just then come you and I to gather it.
Only you have the advantage of the grapes
In one way: you have one more stem to cling by,
And promise more resistance to the picker.’

One by one I lost off my hat and shoes,
And still I clung. I let my head fall back,
And shut my eyes against the sun, my ears
Against my brother’s nonsense; ‘Drop,’ he said,
‘I’ll catch you in my arms. It isn’t far.’
(Stated in lengths of him it might not be.)
‘Drop or I’ll shake the tree and shake you down.’
Grim silence on my part as I sank lower,
My small wrists stretching till they showed the banjo strings.
‘Why, if she isn’t serious about it!
Hold tight awhile till I think what to do.
I’ll bend the tree down and let you down by it.’
I don’t know much about the letting down;
But once I felt ground with my stocking feet
And the world came revolving back to me,
I know I looked long at my curled-up fingers,
Before I straightened them and brushed the bark off.
My brother said: ‘Don’t you weigh anything?
Try to weigh something next time, so you won’t
Be run off with by birch trees into space.’

It wasn’t my not weighing anything
So much as my not knowing anything-
My brother had been nearer right before.
I had not taken the first step in knowledge;
I had not learned to let go with the hands,
As still I have not learned to with the heart,
And have no wish to with the heart-nor need,
That I can see. The mind-is not the heart.
I may yet live, as I know others live,
To wish in vain to let go with the mind-
Of cares, at night, to sleep; but nothing tells me
That I need learn to let go with the heart.

The VINE Thomas Merton

When wind and winter turn our vineyard
To a bitter Calvary,
What hands come out and crucify us
Like the innocent vine?

How long will starlight weep as sharp as thorns
In the night of our desolate life?
How long will moonlight fear to free the naked prisoner?
Or is there no deliverer?

A mob of winds, on Holy Thursday, come like murderers
And batter the walls of our locked and terrified souls.
Our doors are down, and our defense is done.
Good Friday’s rains, in Roman order,
March, with sharpest lances, up our vineyard hill.

More dreadful than St. Peter’s cry
When he was being swallowed in the sea,
Cries out our anguish: “O! We are abandoned!”
When in our life we see the ruined vine
Cut open by the cruel spring,
Ploughed by the furious season!

As if we had forgotten how the whips of winter
And the cross of April
Would all be lost in one bright miracle.
For look! The vine on Calvary is bright with branches!
See how the leaves laugh in the light,
And how the whole hill smiles with flowers:
And know how all our numbered veins must run
With life, like the sweet vine, when it is full of sun.

Event with JCC and around town – July 20-24: fitness, zumba, concerts, variety show, naturalist-led walks, cookbook piotluck, research open house, worship and more

WED, July 20

  • FITNESS CLASS with Laurie McAleer 
    9am • Parish Hall
    Gentle fitness class for all ages and abiliites. All welcome. Free!
  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Wildcat Tavern: Simon Crawford • 6-9pm

THURS, July 21

  • Community Event: NATURALIST LED HIKES in JACKSON
    10am • Tin Mountain Site, Jackson, NH
    Thursdays 10am-12pm in July & August
    • Join Tin Mountain Conservation Center for weekly hikes at the Jackson Field Station property. Highlights include the summit of Tin Mountain, a tin mine on the property, and historic homestead, and a mountain pond. Tin Mountain’s naturalist will explain the historic use of the property, help identify plant species, and point out animal signs. These hikes are a great way to explore the lesser trod trails of the White Mountains and avoid the crowds. Participants of all ages welcome.
    • Program fee of $15/person or $25/household for non-members; members are free. 
    • Space is limited and registration is required. Call 603-447-6991 or click here to register.
  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
  • Community Service: WAY STATION 
    2-5 • Food collection & distribution
    10-6 • Open shift for drop-ins and apts.
    • Staff and volunteers of JCC participate. Operating in church basement this week: Nativity Lutheran.
  • Community Resource: AA MEETING
    6pm? • JCC Parish House
  • Community Events: JUBILEE ARTS: LIVE at the FILLMORE (Allman Brothers Tribute Band)
    6pm – Opening Act Christian Martin • 7ppm – Main . 7pm • Cranmore Mountain Resort
  • Community Events: SEBAGO LONG LAKE MUSIC FESTIVAL (Mountain Top Music)
    6:30pm (doors open) / 7:30pm Perfomace begins • Majestic Theater, Concey, NH
    More info & ticketsL: https://mountaintop.ludus.com/index.php
    • The musicians of the celebrated Sebago Long Lake Music Festival  perform Weber, Piazzolla, & Schumann
    • Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826): Trio for Flute, Cello, and Piano in G Minor, Op. 63 (1818-19) Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992): Histoire du Tango for Flute and Guitar (1985) Robert Schumann (1810-1856): Piano Quintet in E-Flat Major, Op. 44 (1842)
    • Susan Rotholz, flute; Min-Young Kim, violin; Keiko Tokunaga, violin; Matthew Sinno, viola; Eliot Bailen, cello; Mihai Marica, cello; Oren Fader, guitar; Mihae Lee, piano
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Wildcat Tavern: Rafe Matregrano • 6-9pm

FRI, July 22

  • Community Event: ZUMBA with DOTTI
    • 8:15am * Whitney Community Center
      The class is $5 per person with no sign in. Also, bring your water, a small towel and a smile!!!! If you have any questions feel free to either text or call Dotti,: 978-790-3375.
  • ** FITNESS CLASS with Laurie McAleer  (no Friday classes this summer)**
  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
  • C3: COCKTAILS & CHRISTIAN CONVERSATIONS
    5pm • Zoom link & password required
    • Bring your adult beverage and your curiosity for a conversation about our sacred texts.
  • Community Event: MAJESTIC CAFE CONCERT – Justin Ramos & Willow Carter
    7pm • Majestic Theater, Conway Village
    Info and tickets: https://mountaintop.ludus.com/index.php
    Walk-ins are welcome, but space is limited; reservations are recommended to guarantee your seat.  $10 per person cover charge. Wine, beer, & cocktails are available.  Doors open at 6:30 pm, music starts at 7pm.  Admission is limited to those 18 and older unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.  
  • Community Event: FRIDAY NIGHT VERTICALS
    7pm • Cranmore Mountain Resort
    Let’s get vertical! Ski the Whites and Cranmore Mountain are hosting their 5th iteration of the Friday Night Vertical Series, which encourages runners and hikers of all abilities to conquer the slopes of Cranmore in summertime style. The group run to the top starts at 7pm, but those looking for a gentler ascent can always start their run/walk any time after 6pm. $5 registration fee per event. Register online today. Dates available throughout the summer.  
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Wildcat Tavern: Al Shafner • 6-9pm
    • Shannon Door: Sheehan & Holden • 6-9pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Rioley Parkhurst Project • 8-11pm

SAT, July 23

  • PRIVATE MEMORIAL SERVICE
    Noon • Jackson Community Church
    Private family memorial service. The sanctuary and building will be reserved for this purpose.
  • Community Event: RESEARCH OPEN HOUSE (Tin Mountain program)
    9am – Noon • Tin Mountain Conservation Center, Albany, NH
    Come learn what the Tin Mountain research team do with their summers studying the forest and stream ecosystems of the Mount Washington Valley. We’ll be giving a bird banding demonstration, conducting some bird surveys, and collecting and identifying benthic macroinvertebrates. We’ll also have information about the results of our previous research and what we’ve learned from over 10 years of data collection. Our research interns will be eager to give insights into what their time working with bird and trout research has been like, and we’ll have information about our community science projects and how people can get involved.
  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
  • Community Event: COOKBOOK POTLUCK
    4:30pm • Jackson Public Library
    More infoi: http://jacksonlibrary.org/visit/events/
  • Community Event: JOSH & DUSTIN VARIETY HOUR
    7:30pm ¶ Majestic Theater, Conway, NH
    • Live and in person! Original sketches, parody songs and one-liners, plus tribute sketches, special guest interviews, and music from local performers – all in the beautifully renovated Majestic Theater!
      All proceeds from ticket sales go to Jen’s Friends Cancer FoundationProduced by Josh and Darin; sponsored by Mountain Top Music and others. Admission to limited to those over 18 or accompanied by parent / guardian.  Doors and Majestic Cafe concessions open at 6:30 pm, the show at 7:30 pm. Livestream available. 
    • More info & ticketsL: https://mountaintop.ludus.com/index.php
  • Community Event: GARDEN STAGE CONCERT: Jonathan Sarty Band
    7pm • Wildcat Tavern Garden
  • MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Shannon Door: Willow Carter • 7-10pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Echo Tones • 8-11pm

SUN, July 24

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING (pavilion & zoom)
    8am • Pavilion behind Whitney Community Center & Zoom
    • Zoom link & password required
    • Join us for prayer, poetry & literature, and conversation.
  • WORSHIP 
    10:30am • JCC (in-person & zoom)
    • Zoom link & password required
    • Message: Rev Gail Doktor about Jesus’ Parables
  • MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Shannon Door: Mike & Becca • 6-9pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Jeremy Holden • 4-7pm

Of seeds & sowers, gardens & growing

When people try to bury you, remind yourself you are a seed.
― Matshona Dhliwayo

Your heart is full of fertile seeds, waiting to sprout. — Morihei Ueshiba

The seed is in the ground. Now may we rest in hope, while darkness does its work.
~ Wendell Berry

Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution.— Norman Vincent Peale

From seeds of his body blossomed the flower that liberated a people and touched the soul of a nation. — Jesse Jackson

We are a seed patiently waiting in the earth: waiting to come up a flower in the Gardener’s good time, up into the real world, the real waking. I suppose that our whole present life, looked back on from there, will seem only a drowsy half-waking. We are here in the land of dreams. But cock-crow is coming. — CS Lewis


  I the grain and the furrow,
The plough-cloven clod
       And the ploughshare drawn thorough,
The germ and the sod,
The deed and the doer, the seed and the sower,
the dust which is God.
— Algernon Charles Swinburne, Hertha (excerpt)

SONGS about SEEDS & GARDENS
Planting Seeds by Nimo ft. Daniel Nahmod (folk/rap): https://youtu.be/5AmqYcWjBmc
• The Seed by Aurora (pop/indie): https://youtu.be/_Mc_OM5oNA8
• Garden Song performed by John Denver & Muppet (folk): https://youtu.be/D3FkaN0HQgs
• Garden Song by Dave Mallett (folk): https://youtu.be/2m0LewjkO4s
• My Little Seed by Woodie Guthrie (folk): https://youtu.be/aO1HSp2soiA
• A Seed’s a Star by Stevie Wonder (rock/pop): https://youtu.be/KEK7tMxXRpo
• Plant the Seeds by Digging Roots (folk/indie): https://youtu.be/9EmLqdmvUDQ
• Sowing the Seeds of Love by Tears for Fears (rock): https://youtu.be/VAtGOESO7W8
• Will It Grow by Jake Dylan (pop/folk): https://youtu.be/b0nFyEM0aHU
• Secret Garden by Rolf Lovland (piano/instrumental): https://youtu.be/-sWnEWpS_fA
• Seeds by Kathy Mattea (folk): https://youtu.be/61D5AU3SG7A
• Octopus’s Garden by The Beatles (rock): https://youtu.be/De1LCQvbqV4
• Poppy Seed Heart by Tom Billington (folk/rock): https://youtu.be/KdHpYiBoxKs
• The Olive Tree by Judith Durham (folk): https://youtu.be/agvbSC2rmDg
• Seed Song by Giants in the Trees (pop): https://youtu.be/RDpftwzTdjk
• The Seed by The Roots (rap/soul): https://youtu.be/ojC0mg2hJCc
• Seed Song by the Mountain Goats (country): https://youtu.be/bZi2FhOOXKc
• Mustard Seed by David Ashley Trent (Christan): https://youtu.be/uS6Er6I2nbM
• Rain Only Matters / Expecting a Harvest by William McDowell Music (gospel): https://youtu.be/JgBSwIGnS-s
• Planting Seeds of Love by Pam Donkin (folk): https://youtu.be/B5uUyM128M0

SEED SONGS (Kid Music):
• Seed Song by the Ark Collective (kids music): https://youtu.be/OBatjl0BRQg
• Roots, Stems, Leaves, Flower by Firefly Family Theater (kid music): https://youtu.be/9bFU_wJgvBI • I’m a Little Seed by Leslie Bixler (kids music): https://youtu.be/9oRarzP4oyU
• One Seed by Laurie Berkner (kids song): https://youtu.be/jDtehB-BpIA
• Seed Dispersal by Mr R’s Teaching Songs (kids music): https://youtu.be/3CCOWHa-qfc
• Una Semilla/The Seed by 123 Andres (kid music): https://youtu.be/02L8Y9z7McM
• The Farmer Plants the Seeds by Kiboomer (kids music): https://youtu.be/VxlGDAMqFkU
• The Seed Song by Let’s Roll Snowball (kids music): https://youtu.be/Cd2O4utPw6c
• Take a Little Seed by Tom Pease & Stuart Stotts (kid music/storytelling song session): https://youtu.be/O7St5L8fzX4
A Short Story of Falling
Alice Oswald

It is the story of the falling rain
to turn into a leaf and fall again

it is the secret of a summer shower
to steal the light and hide it in a flower

and every flower a tiny tributary
that from the ground flows
green and momentary

is one of water’s wishes and this tale
hangs in a seed-head smaller
than my thumbnail

if only I a passerby could pass
as clear as water through
a plume of grass

to find the sunlight hidden at the tip
turning to seed a kind
of lifting rain drip

then I might know like water
how to balance
the weight of hope against
the light of patience

water which is so raw
so earthy-strong
and lurks in cast-iron tanks
and leaks along

drawn under gravity t
owards my tongue
to cool and fill the pipe-work
of this song

which is the story of the falling rain
that rises to the light
and falls again

Earth, Teach Me — Native American Prayer, unattributed

Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.

Prayer for a Garden — Maren Tirabassi

God, we need peace – so we come to the garden for quiet.
We need joy – so we come to the garden for our senses —
the green of leaf,
the rich crumbling smell of soil,
and the scent of pine needle,
the sounds of small life, of chipmunk and bird,
that come and go in all places natural,
the rough texture of gravel, the delicacy of a flower petal.

We need to let things go – so we come to the garden for rest,
and we need to let people go,
so we come to the garden to remember them.

We need hope – so we come to the garden to watch things grow
reminding ourselves to be planters
and to enjoy what others have planted.

We need benches where we can begin to let Sabbath in our lives.
We need paths to help us recognize our own journeys.
We need a justice commitment to environment,
a global commitment that calls us to action,
but we also need a small square of real earth
to root our speeches and to get our hands dirty.

We need community – so we come to this garden
to give and receive a shared blessing
(not the result of our personal winter catalogues,
spring compost, summer weeding)
to give and receive a shared blessing
from the hand of the Sower of seeds. Amen

OF SEEDS

By cultivating the beautiful we scatter the seeds of heavenly flowers, as by doing good we cultivate those that belong to humanity. — Robert A. Heinlein

We know we cannot plant seeds with closed fists. To sow, we must open our hands. — Adolfo Perez Esquivel

By cultivating the beautiful we scatter the seeds of heavenly flowers, as by doing good we cultivate those that belong to humanity. Share this Quote Robert A. Heinlein
Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/seeds-quotes A seed neither fears light nor darkness, but uses both to grow.― Matshona Dhliwayo

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. — Robert Louis Stevenson
Inside the seed are many trees… Inside You are many kingdoms. ― Bert McCoy

Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed. — Robert H. Schulle

You were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness. — Zig Ziglar
Deep in the secret world of winter’s darkness, deep in the heart of the Earth, the scattered seed dreams of what it will accomplish, some warm day when its wild beauty has grown strong and wise. ― Solstice

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go. — Martha Washington

Failure holds the seeds for greatness – so long as you water those seeds with introspection, they can be the root of your success. —Daniel Lubetzky

The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.— Paramahansa Yogananda

I think that any time of great pain is a time of transformation, a fertile time to plant new seeds. — Debbie Ford

Help young people. Help small guys. Because small guys will be big. Young people will have the seeds you bury in their minds, and when they grow up, they will change the world.— Jack Ma

Dreams are the seeds of change. Nothing ever grows without a seed, and nothing ever changes without a dream. — Debby Boone

Words are also seeds, and when dropped into the invisible spiritual substance, they grow and bring forth after their kind.— Charles Fillmore

Man is a competitive creature, and the seeds of conflict are built deep into our genes. We fought each other on the savannah and only survived against great odds by organising ourselves into groups which would have had a common purpose, giving morale and fortitude. — Robert Winston

I hope that upon this scorched earth we have planted the seeds of ideas that will bear the fruit of more diverse and inclusive stories ….  Wilson Cruz

The vegetable life does not content itself with casting from the flower or the tree a single seed, but it fills the air and earth with a prodigality of seeds, that, if thousands perish, thousands may plant themselves, that hundreds may come up, that tens may live to maturity; that, at least one may replace the parent.— Ralph Waldo Emerson

The dispersal of juniper seeds is effected by the plum and cherry plan of hiring birds at the cost of their board, and thus obtaining the use of a pair of extra good wings. — John Muir

Women of this planet need some essential resources: wells, seeds and roads. That is primarily all we have ever needed. Added to that, women need righteous and strong men who will help us to use our most cherished gifts: the ability to multitask and problem solve. — Roseanne Barr

Harvest Gathering Phoebe Cary

The last days of the summer: bright and clear
    Shines the warm sun down on the quiet land,
Where corn-fields, thick and heavy in the ear,
    Are slowly ripening for the laborer’s hand;
Seed-time and harvest — since the bow was set,
Not vainly has man hoped your coming yet!
 
To the quick rush of sickles, joyously
    The reapers in the yellow wheat-fields sung,
And bound the pale sheaves of the ripened rye,
    When the first tassels of the maize were hung;
That precious seed into the furrow cast
Earliest in spring-time, crowns the harvest last.
 
Ever, when summer’s sun burns faint and dim,
    And rare and few the pleasant days are given,
When the sweet praise of our thankgiving hymn
    Makes beautiful music in the ear of Heaven,
I think of other harvests whence the sound
Of singing comes not as the sheaves are bound.
 
Not where the rice-fields whiten in the sun,
      And the warm South casts down her yellow fruit,
Shout they the labors of the autumn done —   
      For there Oppression casts her deadly root,
And they, who sow and gather in that clime
Share not the treasures of the harvest-time.
 
God of the seasons! thou who didst ordain
      Bread for the eater who shall plant the soil,
How have they heard thee, who have forged the chain
      And built the dungeon for the sons of toil?
Burdening their hearts, not with the voice of prayer,
But the dull cries of almost dumb despair.
 
They who would see that growth of wickedness
      Planted where now the peaceful prairie waves,
And make the green paths of our wilderness
      Red with the torn and bleeding feet of slaves —
Forbid it, Heaven! and let the sharp axe be
Laid at the root of that most poison tree!
 
Let us behold its deadly leaves begin
      A fainter shadow o’er the world to cast,
And the long day that nursed its growth of sin
      Wane to a sunset that shall be its last;
So that the day-star, rising from the sea,
Shall light a land whose children will be free!

LETS PLANT SOME SEEDS TOGETHER — Rachel Held Evans, full article: https://rachelheldevans.com/blog/plant-seeds-women

… the most effective thing we can do is participate in the life-giving and subversive act of planting new trees: 

  • trees that have the roots of equality from the very beginning.
  • trees that gain nourishment from a free-er gospel and soil that is enriched with freedom and hope instead of fear and absolute certainty.
  • trees that have men and women and rich and poor and educated and uneducated and black and white and gay and straight all tangled up together from the beginning.
  • trees that are tended to gently and naturally instead of pumped with unnatural growth agents & pesticides that try to advance the progression of development to “catch up faster” to other churches that will always have the advantage of time and power on their side.
  • trees that get their strength from the beatitudes not the latest and greatest how-to-grow books and conferences.trees that are well-watered by people who are tired of talk and are ready for action.
  • trees that over time will flourish and bring shade and fruit and all kinds of other goodness for generations to come in the communities & cultures where they are planted.
  • a diverse ecosystem of trees that more accurately reflect the fullness of God’s image. 

 [Read the rest of the post here.] …

1. What sort of seeds will you start planting in your life … ?

KINGDOM of GOD & MUSTARD SEEDS

The kingdom is like a tiny mustard seed, he said, that grows into an enormous tree with branches wide and strong enough to make a home for all the birds. It is like a buried treasure, a delicious feast, or a net that catches an abundance of fish. The kingdom is right here, Jesus said. It is present and yet hidden, immanent yet transcendent. The kingdom isn’t some far-off place you go when you die; the kingdom is at hand—among us and beyond us, now and not-yet. It is the wheat growing in the midst of weeds, the yeast working its magic in the dough, the pearl germinating in a sepulchral shell. It can come and go in the twinkling of an eye, Jesus said. So pay attention; don’t miss it. ― Rachel Held Evans

The Reign of God is Jesus’ message, but he never describes it literally. He walks around it and keeps giving different images of the Real. For example, the mustard seed is very small and insignificant, and the kingdom is “like” that. Pliny the Elder, a contemporary of Jesus, wrote an encyclopedic book called Natural History, in which he describes all the plants that were known in the Mediterranean world. He says two main things about the mustard plant: it’s medicinal, and it’s a weed that cannot be stopped:

Mustard . . .  with its pungent taste and fiery effect is extremely beneficial for the health. It grows entirely wild, though it is improved by being transplanted: but on the other hand when it has once been sown it is scarcely possible to get the place free of it, as the seed when it falls germinates at once. [1]

The two images on which Jesus is building in this parable of the mustard seed are a therapeutic image of life and healing, and a fast-growing weed. What a strange thing for Jesus to say: “I’m planting a weed in the world!” Jesus’ teachings of nonviolence and simplicity are planted and they’re going to flourish, even wildly so. The old world is over.
— Richard Rohr, entire article: https://cac.org/daily-meditations/the-kingdom-is-like-a-mustard-seed-2020-11-16/

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:
stay together
learn the flowers
go light

— Gary Snyder

SPIRITUAL SEEDS

Everyone, from almost every tradition, agrees on five things:
Rule 1: We are all family.
Rule 2: You reap exactly what you sow, that is, you cannot grow tulips from zucchini seeds.
Rule 3: Try to breathe every few minutes or so.
Rule 4: It helps beyond words to plant bulbs in the dark of winter.
Rule 5: It is immoral to hit first.
— Anne Lamott

Although nature has proven season in and season out that if the thing that is planted bears at all, it will yield more of itself, there are those who seem certain that if they plant tomato seeds, at harvesttime they can reap onions.
       Too many times for comfort I have expected to reap good when I know I have sown evil. My lame excuse is that I have not always known that actions can only reproduce themselves, or rather, I have not always allowed myself to be aware of that knowledge. Now, after years of observation and enough courage to admit what I have observed, I try to plant peace if I do not want discord; to plant loyalty and honesty if I want to avoid betrayal and lies.
      Of course, there is no absolute assurance that those things I plant will always fall upon arable land and will take root and grow, nor can I know if another cultivator did not leave contrary seeds before I arrived. I do know, however, that if I leave little to chance, if I am careful about the kinds of seeds I plant, about their potency and nature, I can, within reason, trust my expectations. — Maya Angelou

It is memory that provides the heart with impetus, fuels the brain, and propels the corn plant from seed to fruit. — Joy Harjo

There are two kinds of compassion. The first comes from a natural concern for friends and family who are close to us. This has limited range but can be the seed for something bigger. We can also learn to extend a genuine concern for others’ well-being, whoever they are. That is real compassion, and only human beings are capable of developing it. — Dalai Lama

Everything we do seeds the future. No action is an empty one. — Joan D. Chittister

Whether we have happiness or not depends on the seeds in our consciousness. If our seeds of compassion, understanding, and love are strong, those qualities will be able to manifest in us. If the seeds of anger, hostility and sadness in us are strong, then we will experience much suffering. To understand someone, we have to be aware of the quality of the seeds in his consciousness. And we need to remember that his is not solely responsible for those seeds. His ancestors, parents, and society are co-responsible for the quality of the seeds in his consciousness. When we understand this, we are able to feel compassion for that person. With understanding and love, we will know how to water our own beautiful seeds and those of others, and we will recognize seeds of suffering and find ways to transform them. — Thich Nhat Hanh

… our capacity to listen, to be plowed up by what we hear so that we can nurture the seeds of divinity when we encounter them. If we resist being unsettled and loosened and turned into good soil, then the religiosity that has gotten us this far will begin to slip away. We will abandon the spiritual life and say that it was doing nothing for us.  But if we accept our discomfort and truly listen with open ears, even knowing that what we hear might change and disrupt us, we will begin to grow, and find our capacity to see and hear expanding day by day. — Karl Stevens, article: https://dsobeloved.org/luke-81-25-being-the-good-soil/

Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it gems of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men. Most of these unnumbered seeds perish and are lost, because men are not prepared to receive them: for such seeds as these cannot spring up anywhere except in the good soil of freedom, spontaneity and love. — Thomas Merton

We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way—centred on money or pleasure or ambition—and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you could not do. As He said, a thistle cannot produce figs. If I am a field that contains nothing but grass-seed, I cannot produce wheat. Cutting the grass may keep it short: but I shall still produce grass and no wheat. If I want to produce wheat, the change must go deeper than the surface. I must be ploughed up and re-sown. — CS Lewis

Carbonized grains of wheat unearthed
From the seventh millennium B.C. town of Jarmo
In the Tigris-Euphrates basin
Match the grains of three kinds of wheat still extant,
Two wild, one found only in cultivation.
The separate grains
Were parched and eaten,
Or soaked into gruel, yeasted, fermented.
Took to the idea of bread,
Ceres, while you were gone.
Wind whistles in the smokey thatch,
Oven browns its lifted loaf,
And in the spring the nourished seeds,
Hybrid with wild grass,
Easily open in a hundred days,
And seeded fruits, compact and dry,
Store well together.
They make the straw for beds,
They ask the caring hand to sow, the resting foot
To stay, to court the seasons.
— Josephine Miles, Fields of Learning (excerpt)

The Pomegranate Kahlil Gibran

Once when I was living in the heart of a pomegranate, I heard a seed
saying, “Someday I shall become a tree, and the wind will sing in
my branches, and the sun will dance on my leaves, and I shall be
strong and beautiful through all the seasons.”
 
Then another seed spoke and said, “When I was as young as you, I
too held such views; but now that I can weigh and measure things,
I see that my hopes were vain.”
 
And a third seed spoke also, “I see in us nothing that promises so
great a future.”
 
And a fourth said, “But what a mockery our life would be, without
a greater future!”
 
Said a fifth, “Why dispute what we shall be, when we know not even
what we are.”
 
But a sixth replied, “Whatever we are, that we shall continue to
be.”
 
And a seventh said, “I have such a clear idea how everything will
be, but I cannot put it into words.”
 
Then an eight spoke—and a ninth—and a tenth—and then many—until
all were speaking, and I could distinguish nothing for the many
voices.
 
And so I moved that very day into the heart of a quince, where the
seeds are few and almost silent.

By the Waters of Babylon:
III. The Sower.

Emma Lazarus

1. Over a boundless plain went a man, carrying seed.

2. His face was blackened by sun and rugged from tempest, scarred and distorted by pain. Naked to the loins, his back was ridged with furrows, his breast was plowed with stripes.

3. From his hand dropped the fecund seed.

4. And behold, instantly started from the prepared soil blade, a sheaf, a springing trunk, a myriad-branching, cloud-aspiring tree. Its arms touched the ends of the horizon, the heavens were darkened with its shadow.

5. It bare blossoms of gold and blossoms of blood, fruitage of health and fruitage of poison; birds sang amid its foliage, and a serpent was coiled about its stem.

6. Under its branches a divinely beautiful man, crowned with thorns, was nailed to a cross.

7. And the tree put forth treacherous boughs to strangle the Sower; his flesh was bruised and torn, but cunningly he disentangled the murderous knot and passed to the eastward.

8. Again there dropped from his hand the fecund seed.

9. And behold, instantly started from the prepared soil a blade, a sheaf, a springing trunk, a myriad-branching, cloud-aspiring tree. Crescent shaped like little emerald moons were the leaves; it bare blossoms of silver and blossoms of blood, fruitage of health and fruitage of poison; birds sang amid its foilage and a serpent was coiled about its stem.

10. Under its branches a turbaned mighty-limbed Prophet brandished a drawn sword.

11. And behold, this tree likewise puts forth perfidious arms to strangle the Sower; but cunningly he disentangles the murderous knot and passes on.

12. Lo, his hands are not empty of grain, the strength of his arm is not spent.

13. What germ hast thou saved for the future, O miraculous Husbandman? Tell me, thou Planter of Christhood and Islam; tell me, thou seed-bearing Israel!

Seeding an Alphabet
Emily Warn

To invent the alef-beit,

decipher the grammar of crows,

read a tangle of bare branches

with vowels of the last leaves

scrawling their jittery speech

on the sky’s pale page.

Choose a beginning.

See what God yields and dirt cedes

when tines disturb fescue, vetch, and sage,

when your hand dips grain from a sack,

scattering it among engraved furrows.

Beyond the hill, a plume of dust

where oxen track the hours.

Does God lead or follow or scout?

To answer, count to one again and again:

a red maple leaf and a yellow maple leaf

that wind rifles and rain shines until they let go,

blazing their scripted nothingness on air.

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