The house of tomorrow

I always say that Ryan is the one who had fostering in his blood, not me. But tonight I remembered a poem I loved before I was married. I used to sing it to myself, because it got inside my heart and tugged. Maybe it was a premonition. I never thought so then.

Foster Baby Bye
Judy Ann Unruh

I did not cry when they came for him,
my goodbye was suitably gay;
as if it were not a jagged-edged piece of my heart
that was torn
that was torn
torn away.

This is my goal with every foster child I keep:

To see inside.
To get a little glimpse into the heart of the real person, and to love him forever.

I have never kept a child long, and have not seen how hard it will get, after months of loving. In the meanwhile I find it deeply fulfilling. And this helps, when I pack the carefully-chosen outfits and write a note to go along, and wave goodbye: I know I got to meet an awesome kid, and he will be a part of me as long as I live.

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Horatian Ode to a Meadville Winter

With deepest apologies to Horace, Keats, Shelley, Rossetti, and anyone else who ever created something beautiful. Also to my grandmother and my first-grade teacher, who expected better.


Season of clouds, of barren gray and dun

Close bosom-friend of darkness. What is sun?

A thing of faerie.

Bitterest wind, and snow on snow

Relentless misery in this line too, no place to go;

I cannot approve thee.


And yet I could forgive if thou hadst made thy peace

And by the end of February’d ceased

Thy pestilence.

O winter, ah winter, canst not thou see

The month of March is not the place for thee?

Get hence.


Another thing I wish to say concerns your roads

I wouldn’t wish them on rats or pigs or toads;

They are despicable.

Snowplows, all unwitting, have spirited away thy concrete

And left a Swiss cheese where solid and gaseous meet

In random acts of violence.

Concerning rain

Confession: I am a sunshine lover, but oh, the nice rich rain!

All day it has fallen; and if it nourishes even me, how must the grass feel?


It rained and it rained and it rained. Piglet told himself that never in all his life, and he was goodness knows how old–three, was it, or four?–never had he seen so much rain.

A. A. Milne, from Chapter IX: In which Piglet is Entirely Surrounded by Water


Little Brother’s Secret

When my birthday was coming

Little Brother had a secret.

He kept it for days and days

And just hummed a little tune when I asked him.

But one night it rained.

And I woke up and heard him crying;

Then he told me.

“I planted two lumps of sugar in your garden

Because you love it so frightfully.

I thought there would be a whole sugar tree for your birthday.

And now it will be all melted.”

Oh, the darling!

Katherine Mansfield


Rain in town is a joy all its own

Streetlights dripping

Cars swishing

All the umbrellas

Making comrades from strangers

Suited up, slick and shining

Lights in the windows are home and hearth

But I am out and about.


Rain in the country is another joy

A lush moist pattering

The full creek rushing, nothing else to be heard

Soft air lighted, grey and green, misting

I hear the grass growing, the warm earth drinking.

Richness luxury fertility.

Shari Zook