I live with my two dogs on the edge of the university research forest, where I walk everyday and think and pray. I have taught at Oregon State University since 1986 and have been a Catholic deacon since 1987. I have written a number of books, including two books of poetry. My second book of poems, THE NEXT THING ALWAYS BELONGS, was published in 2011 by Airlie Press.
A Summer Day
A ukulele band strums by the grave
of an old woman I never knew.
I lead the prayers, alb flapping,
helping to lay the body to rest,
and, as the family lingers,
quietly walk away, down the hill
to another grave I remember from before.
It was winter then, and the oak was bare,
and the one we buried was a boy.
“I keep thinking he’ll be cold,”
the father said. “He’ll need his coat.”
But it’s summer now, and the farmers
are haying in their yellow fields.
The dust of the harvest is softening the air.
And as I stand at the marker, looking out,
a feeling starts to come over me,
a kind of peace, almost like the peace
I prayed for up the hill, the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding.
It spreads through my body like warmth.
I know. I’m just saying what happened.
I’m just saying that it surprised me, too.
The farmers, and the yellow fields,
and the warm, summer wind.
The ukulele band, strumming still.
-A Summer Day is from my book, THE NEXT THING ALWAYS BELONGS, Arlie Press, 2011, available through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Next-Thing-Always-Belongs/dp/0982106653
©2015 Chris Anderson