Kindness

A single act
word
or gesture.
The power to propel
guard
or gather.
Embodies compassion,
making it action.

A smile
or nod,
unexpected applaud.
Really seeing,
being
present.

Kindness
is mindful,
refuses to stifle
when it can’t understand.
Knows God’s hand
has the end
planned.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Mary’s Redbubble Shop

Gregory

Strong hands trace the grains down the length of lumber.

“She’s beautiful.”
“It’ll do then?”
“Perfectly.”

Muscular hands grasp the beam, pulling it down from the delivery truck.

“Care to help?”

Then comes the cuts, sharp and sure. Sand glued to paper tears into the beam’s edges. First, they rip tiny shards free. Then the stubs left are ground and smoothed away.

“I will make you shine.”

Lifted into place atop two strong pillars. The work of placing the balusters starts. The measuring, the chiselled crevices. Each paper-thin layer shaved away until wooden sculptures slid true into their homes. Glued then fastened with a single piercing nail.

“You may live longer then I do.”

He stains its grains to match the steps he stands on, each brush stroke rhythmic, a perfect dance of a man’s hand. Then he seals the deep cherry-red with varnish to make wood shimmer in the light.

“Indeed, that’ll do.”

He brings his bride home. Her manicured nails slide along the new banisters curves as eyes roved over the entryway, the steps, the home he has made for her.

“It’s perfect!”

One day his bride carries a babe up those steps to bed. Laid against mother’s shoulder, the child revels in the gentle pat of those manicured fingers.

Splatter.

The babe spits up, drenching mother and railing with sour droplets.

“GEORGE!”

The reprimand is startling and the babe wails, but only for a moment. A mother’s shock and disgust replaced in a heartbeat with love.

As that babe lays sleeping, manufactured nails scrubs cherry-red wood clean.

“Gregory, I think I took the finish of the banister.”

Soon baby feet grow and race through the house. His favourite car finds the perfect track down the ripples his father etched in that beam years ago.

“It made it!”

He whoops and hollers, driving the second car down the length of the banister by hand, unaware of the scratches he leaves in his wake.

Cars turn to girls and hushed voices as one night two shadows slink upstairs away from adult eyes.

“Avoid the next step,” he whispers.

As his partner attempts to skip the step in high heals a light switches on. A shriek fuelled by adrenaline and surprise pierces ear drums. A heal snaps from its shoe and a girl grabs at balusters to keep from sliding down the stairs length.

Another snap tells them all that more than a high heal is broken.

“GEORGE!”
“I’ll fix it, Dad!”

The ups and downs, the rides and sounds. The staircase resounds with echoes as life speeds by. A banister once shiny loses its lustre, as age robs its craftsman of the strength and mobility needed to restore it.

The empty nest comes.

Sounds of bustle from the kitchen carry through the hall and up the steps.

“Gregory,” she calls. “Dinner is ready.”

He hears her and rolls his newspaper tightly in one hand. Yes, he still reads it every day.

First, he shuffles to his slippers, then to the steps. The banister cool smoothness greats him with a familiar hello as he rests his hand atop it, ready to start the decent, one slow step at a time. But wait.

“Oh!”

He presses fingers to his left breast. His arm lets out a throb that starts from shoulder and shoots through fingers.

“Margret.”

His call is feeble and frustrated. The deep breath he grasps for sends a second shock down his arm. Then his feet crumble. The cherry-red banister is all that holds him from plummeting down those steps.

“Margret!”

This time the call caries and she comes running.

“Gregory, you’re white as a ghost!”
“Dear, I might be one soon. Phone.”

All he hears is the shuffle of his wife’s sandals. All he sees is the cherry-red steps. But he feels the banister, he never let go of it. Its coolness has warmed under his touch. His grip shakes.

“I guess re-sanding you will have to wait another year, my dear.”

He speaks despite the darkness creeping into his side vision. A blink clears it for a moment, and he notices the broken baluster has slipped beyond its brothers and needs to be knocked back into place.

“I must tell Gorge on his next visit. He never fixed that thing right.”

“Gregory, they are on there way. Gregory!”

He lets go of the banister and now all he feels is his wife’s manicured nails digging into his arm as she tugs his shoulder. Can she pull him back to this reality? The cherry-red staircase holds them both.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Gregory was written for a small writing competition. We didn’t make the cut this time, but that’s okay. Learning and fun happened.

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Pots of Hope/Dwelling Literary

I have a short poem that came out at Dwelling Literary today. Pots of Hope is a feature in the GREENHOUSE Issue. It can be read on page 22 of the downloadable version.

I enjoy Dwellig Literary for their interactive monthly publications. If you visit their home page on a computer the green house is a clickable fun place to read poetry and flash fiction on the theme of GREENHOUSE, this month. Next month Dwelling will be redecorated for a new theme, but the GREENHOUSE Issue will still be available to read via the archive.

Writing for themes is something I have been enjoying the last few months. Thanks for reading!

Six Word Stories (22)

What is hope?

An intangible thing that all humanity grasps for.

Sometimes I imagine I can feel it’s edges like a feather soft thing, just out of reach.

But is it really out of reach? Is hope something to be grasped?

No.

Hope is experienced, not held. Hope is found but not possessed.

It lives in places where logic alone dares not live.

Perspective changes things. It doesn’t change truth, but can give us a wider view of what is true.

Toes can never me mountains, but they can show is a likened beauty, and defy the shoes they are so often crammed into, and hold up the weight of our lives, like the deepest roots of the earth.

As does every shoulder bent in strain, stooped in pain, and prostrate in prayer.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photos sourced from unsplash.com

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Patience

                             Patience isn't passive
                      but A power held in check,
       ready when Time comes
              to move Inexorably forward.
                PatiencE shows a passion
           for peace iN bite sized nuggets
unafraid of silenCe
                        wisE in gauging climates.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Delight

Do you delight
in me
like a piece of poetry,

understood by poet
differently
then reader?

Do you rejoice
to see
every part of me,

as I spill words across your page?

Free to be
pure alchemy
mixed by Creator’s quill.

Bubbling with will.

Rephrasing me,
EMBOLDENED be,

speaking full while hushed and still.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Stories (21)

I remember my Father’s back and legs, clad in gray overalls, being the only thing visible as he leaned into the open maw of his truck’s hood. If we came to close with our loud games, he would shoosh us. He was listening.

He knew the sound of a healthy engine. He could tell what was off… The sound wasn’t right.

In all the noise of the universe, I wonder if our planet sound off as it spins. Can God hear the clank of my heart and tell just what isn’t quite right?

I imagine he listens closely to our world.

A world made to work, move, revolve, expand, collide, and create in the middle of deceptive chaos.

The constant churning of ideas, peoples, matter, all looks like a blended mess from the middle. But what does it look like as we take a step back and view the whole? Is there a rhyme or a reason?

The marks of our history litter this world. Even the rusted rim of a wheel has a story to tell us. It’s a piece of the puzzle, the hand of God is laying out. Only he knows their planned order.

If the world sounds off, maybe it’s just because He isn’t finished yet.

Are we a continuation of creation?

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photos sourced from Unsplash.com

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Peace

Present places,
present faces,
in the moment here with you.

Touching sunlight,
touching evening,
side by side in all I do.

In comings,
follow goings,
always knowing you have space.

Quiet moments
hectic motions,
anchored inside grace.

Such protection,
unseen deflection,
learning ever to remain.

In the sphere
of your promise,
knowing every tear of pain,

is treasured,
measured,
in the palm of your hand.

Ensuring
your enduring
present peace before me spanned.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Our Forest on an Artist’s Conk/Hencroft Hub

I am happy to announce the publication of my first short story. Our Forest on an Artist’s Conk has been accepted and published in Hencroft Hub‘s first Issue. The theme of ISSUE ONE is FUNGUS. I took inspiration from the large tree mushrooms my sister harvested from the forest around her home, to use in my artwork. This short story is my first acceptance from a themed publication. It was a lot of fun to work around their theme and stretch my writing experience. Thank you to the Editor’s for giving my story a home.

Our Forest on an Artist’s Conk can be read HERE and don’t forget to read all the other great contributions to ISSUE ONE.

Six Word Stories (20)

The presence of light has such power. It can illuminate or bind us.

Darkness shreds in the presence of even a single flame.

It sets a mood and tells a story.

It’s an element that shouts volumes, with just a whispered presence.

Light is energy. Without it, growth is impossible.

Nature has a way of reclaiming what man uses and then forgets.

It doesn’t see our castoffs as no longer needed, it knows that it’s all still a part of the matter making up this world.

We can’t separate it out.

As nature reclaims its own pieces from the aftermath of us, it has its own stories to tell us.

Will we take the time to read them?

Stones remember, even when understanding is lost and history is forgotten.

Stones remember.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photos sourced from unsplash.com

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