"Anna" -- a poem

In church one day not long ago, I was listening to a wise woman playing the organ. This poem came to me. Francis of Assisi's dying words were: "I have done what was mine to do; may Christ teach you what is yours to do." So many "Anna's" can teach us about serving as we can.


Having passed eighty
hasn't hit a speed bump.
At the ancient organ on Sunday she
may press every twentieth note wrong
even Amazing Grace
she's played since she was a school girl
in the 1940s.

Fire leaps out her eyes
as her gnarled hands skate
across the keyboards.

She gets behind,
then ahead,
then behind the cantor
who smiles in quiet benignity.

Anna plays on, humming all the while
"and saves a wretch like me" maybe
remembering that torrid day in 1970
when she tried to pull the broken body
of her husband Red
from under the still smoking green tractor
that flipped over on him while
pulling a snagged log out of the woodlot.

Amazing Grace indeed –
she sings on
knowing wretchedness first hand.
Sing on, sing on --
offering us the music of what happens.