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A Giggle of Pure Joy

By November 16, 2020Poetry

This poem came to me several years ago on a retreat at The Society of St. John the Evangelist, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their garden brought back a memory from many years before in Poland.


The fragrance of roses rising
made Mary Oliver spin with joy.
This morning I was spun
by a chorus line of tulips
dancing in the morning sun
and breezes off the Charles River.

Their saucy white heads
tossed in rhythms that
brought to mind a company
of white-wimpled
Lutheran sisters
in a Polish country convent
playing frisbee for the first time
on their summer lawn.

One young and pretty sister,
reaching overhead to make a catch
tumbled backwards
into a huge bush,
feet and legs and skirts flying up,
with a giggle as joyful as a bell.

It was holy laughter.
That is how I saw it then.
Today the tulips tossed
their own heads back
and smiled Amen.


-Leighton Ford, in the garden of The Society of St. John the Evangelist, Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 2007

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