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When I wanted a birdhouse,
Daddy built one.  We hung it
from a branch of the maple tree.
A rusted hanger keeps it there,

though it rocks when the wind
blows.  And a dusting of snow
on its lavendered roof glistens—
coldly—in the light of a

haloed moon.   No one occupies
the duplex for wrens.  Despite our
hospitality, they always winter
further south.  The leaves

turn yellow and off they fly,
while fickle birds leave apartments
in disarray.  The remnants
of an abandoned nest jutting

through the northernmost door.
A well-crafted perch—
once painted green—
has faded and fallen to the ground,

landing with the common sticks,
hiding under frost-tipped leaves.
first published in Tacenda, later in Paper Snowflakes, available from Southern Hum Press

Care is something other than cure. Cure means “change.” A doctor, a lawyer, a minister, a social worker-they all want to use their professional skills to bring about changes in people’s lives. They get paid for whatever kind of cure they can bring about. But cure, desirable as it may be, can easily become violent, manipulative, and even destructive if it does not grow out of care. Care is being with, crying out with, suffering with, feeling with. Care is compassion. It is claiming the truth that the other person is my brother or sister, human, mortal, vulnerable, like I am.

.

When care is our first concern, cure can be received as a gift. Often we are not able to cure, but we are always able to care. To care is to be human.

February 2007
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