All Thumbs

This morning I’m all thumbs,

scrambled as my too-dry eggs,

twisted as my knotted

necklace chain; I drop a pill, lose a

thought, ill at ease with the garbled

verbs and adverbs of my life.


My larger world feels scrabbled too,

justice tangled in the skirts of power,

truth slips between fingers grasping

flimsy straws of status and esteem.


Meanwhile, a finch sits quiet,

nipping at our thistle seed;

two chickadees meet at the suet;

leafy branches glimmer in the early

morning sun; the stillness holds me

close, an almost holy sigh, whisper

of a somewhere time, God’s thumb

to wipe away the tangles of our tears.

5 thoughts on “All Thumbs

  1. Hi Carol, Your beautiful poem was just what I needed to read this morning. Being in early Parkinson’s, I know what I have to deal with is incalculably less than what you have to deal with, but seeing the grace and faith with which you live your life gives new hope and strength for the day’s challenges. Cheers and God bless, Paul

  2. Good Morning, Paul and glad my poem may have touched you in some small way. I have to disagree with you a bit, though, re. the difficulties with which we live our daily lives. I would simply call them challenges in different ways. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers for Parkinson’s or for CFS/ME, but yes, there are those daily almost holy sighs that breathe through our lives. And the prayer support of friends far and near. Gifts! The best to both of you, Carol

  3. Well, you certainly weren’t all thumbs when you wrote this beauty.

    I’ve always admired poets who see meaning in the smallest things. They take these seemingly small things and expand them to confront a world of truth. This poem begins with too-dry scrambled eggs and a knotted necklace chain. Seriously, what light do these seeming anomalies cast on a dark world? Well, there’s that scrabbled world where justice is tangled in the skirts of power (gosh, I LOVE that you suggest that our current President isn’t exactly a manly man — not that there’s ANYTHING wrong with skirts — I’m just reminded that skirts for this President have provided access to vulnerability –“fingers grasping,” etc. that he exploits to prove his power. But I digress . . . )

    So at this point in this poem I’m feeling rather powerless and thoroughly disgusted with the powers that be and what flies in but birds and the morning sun and stillness and a holy sigh . . . and God’s thumb — not to pin us down, but to comfort and free us from the twisted tangles.

    As a way to express my gratitude, I post this poem by Anne Sexton:


    There is joy
    in all:
    in the hair I brush each morning,
    in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
    that I rub my body with each morning,
    in the chapel of eggs I cook
    each morning,
    in the outcry from the kettle
    that heats my coffee
    each morning,
    in the spoon and the chair
    that cry “hello there, Anne”
    each morning,
    in the godhead of the table
    that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
    each morning.

    All this is God,
    right here in my pea-green house
    each morning
    and I mean,
    though often forget,
    to give thanks,
    to faint down by the kitchen table
    in a prayer of rejoicing
    as the holy birds at the kitchen window
    peck into their marriage of seeds.

    So while I think of it,
    let me paint a thank-you on my palm
    for this God, this laughter of the morning,
    lest it go unspoken.

    The Joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,
    dies young.
    All to say, your poem, “All Thumbs” paints a thank-you on the palm of the world.

    One last thing: I think I’ve made scrambled eggs about three times in my life. Never successfully. You aren’t alone.

  4. Thank you for another beautiful poem by Sexton. “Seeing the meaning in the smallest things”–sometimes I do; more often I forget to be attentive. I think the idea of painting a thank-you on our palms is such a wonderful idea–maybe would bring me each morning to that “fainting down” by the simple kitchen table with thanksgiving and rejoicing. Related to seeing the meaning in the smallest of things is Henri Nouwen’s profound comment that “those who have received the ‘mind of Christ’ deep in their hearts can discern the presence of Christ in all persons and in all things.” Oh for open eyes and hearts–not just for ourselves, but for all, and maybe especially for those who are frittering away their lives grasping for those flimsy straws of status and esteem. Sigh.

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