Quiet Morning

This is my Sabbath day of serenity. Here is the perfect reflection for the day. This was written on the first morning we awoke in Ukraine over a decade ago, newcomers to Soviet life. It reveals a shadow of what I left behind and a glimmer of what stretched before me. Its message of serenity still speaks to me.


Theodore Steele, 1891

Quiet Morning 

Puzzle pieces of morning light

gleam through thin kitchen curtains. 

Outside plump ruby grapes dangle

from twisted vines, and

vibrant  grape leaves

hang motionless

in the still of first light. 

My soul is as peaceful

as the Ukrainian morning. 

I read and drink coffee

in the humble kitchen of 

stout-hearty Soviet friends.

Their rickety kitchen table jiggles as I journal.

A half-eaten grape cluster  

leans against a chunk of

yesterday’s crusty brown bread. 

My heart sings and swells for simplicity,

for quiet. Distant jagged patterns and

neon colors of home emerge:

grasping for Donna Karan,

clawing for Vera Wang,

force feeding the fat,

rescuing the apathetic,

competing, running in the

left lane winded, jaded,

gathering with both fists full. 

This home-scene memory

rushes before my eyes vivid, 

but I can’t hear it.

The morning is too quiet.

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