Away in a manger ten days before Christmas …

It happens this way …

One of my goals as a young poet was to rewrite the Bible from a woman’s point of view. Over the years, I’ve slowly accumulated poems about — among others — Adam and Eve, Noah, Martha and Mary, Lot’s daughter, and Job’s wife. Since ’tis the season, I thought I’d share one of my favorites. It’s  based on that moment in Bethlehem when Mary and Joseph are told the Inn is sold out.

Listen to the innkeeper’s wife when she comes to grips with who it was her husband turned away. What marketing opportunities were lost that day!

Innkeeper’s wife irate over loss

I could spit! I shouted in his face.

Turning paying guests away!

He brushed that couple off without

so much as, Maybe we could find … .


When will he learn? The Census earns

five years of room and board,

but lugging wood and curing hay,

learning isn’t on his mind.


Of course I’d carve a plan. I’d hearth

an extra rug to keep her bundle warm.

He and that soft-eyed man would share

a bed. And when it came her time,


we’d march those smelly shepherds far

beyond the barn and hush those wings

and aggravating songs. They could drive

a dreamer from his restless sleep.


And, the publicity we’d glean!

A destination site, at least.

Not every day do morning stars

and cameled Kings ruckus through


our town. We’d be well-mapped,

well-known for hospitality,

not the butt of half-lame jokes.

We lost the chance. I’m furious!


Know what’s worse? That dotty neighbor

with the rotting manger molding hay

lets strangers muck across his barn,

dropping coins to say they’ve been.


Now he roams his days across the hills,

singing sounds like tidingspeace,

and human hearts. Who talks like that?

I’d like to know. Who talks like that?

— from Carolyn Martin, The Way a Woman Knows (Beaverton, OR: The Poetry Box, 2015)


Sunday Evening with Buddha

It happens this way …

While doing some research on the Buddha for a poem, I came across a series of his quotations tonight. I thought I’d share some of my favorites.DSC00735

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

You only lose what you cling to.

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.

People with opinions just go around bothering one another.

It is better to travel well than to arrive.

Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.

It is ridiculous to think that somebody else can make you happy or unhappy.

When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.


Here’s to lifting up our eyes to the sky and laughing!