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Upon a Bench: A dedication

Bench dedication

Bench dedication

In the mid-morning light on July 20, as the tents were rising from the ground for Huss Future Fest 2013, friends and neighbors gathered to witness the dedication of a new garden bench for the Huss Project.  The bench, donated by Peggy Deames from Love Your Mother, is made of recycled milk jugs and, as our resident poet Elisabeth Wenger illuminated with an original work for the dedication, it’s so much more than just a place to sit.  Thank you, Peggy, for the generous donation and thank you, Elisabeth, for helping mark the occasion of the dedication with such lovely words and images!


Upon A Bench
by Elisabeth Wenger

Come, rest your head in unhoused air.
Has it been this long since you dreamed
out-of-doors? There is space to look up,
miles of it! And here, a bench. Rest

your heels which ache the well-earned ache
of those who work for a living. Admire something
that you have had nothing to do with the making of —
it will give you strength for tomorrow.

Quiet your hands and close your mouth.
This is corn country, but the popcorn you brought
is for the birds, for this is their country, too.
Sit alone among multitudes.

Practice cloud dynamics, and conduct traffic
to the tempo beating down your bones.
There are children laughing blocks away,
the incautious wind whips it to a froth

and the foam rises and floats to where you sit,
on the bench and perhaps by this time
no longer alone. After all, a bench may hold five,
if they are friendly.

You may sit here with a stranger.
Here you may meet a stranger every day,
until she is no longer a stranger, and together
you have watched the mulch of all your cigarette butts bloom.

Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma

Kirstin is a member of the *culture is not optional core community and is the Head Caretaker at GilChrist Retreat Center.