The Spirit Of Lent

March 28th, 2015 by Magdalena Tabor

I wasn’t going to talk about it. But when people at work asked me what I was “giving up” for Lent I decided to tell them. It’s not so much a matter of giving up as it is a matter of giving. the spirit of lentAfter all, we’re not kids anymore. Giving up “soda” benefits you and no one else. After some debate (with myself) I decided I had to feel what it is to actually suffer while at the same time benefit someone else in return. I would give up my Friday Morning Special, a bacon and egg with cheese sandwich, and give it to a homeless person instead. In essence, I was trading places with him (or her) and they would get to eat while I would feel what it was to have hunger gnawing at my stomach. This noble gesture lasted the first two weeks as I gradually gave in to the temptation of filling my gut. By the third week I was no longer waiting until noon, but nibbling something at 11 am, then at 10. No matter, I reasoned, I was still experiencing the unbearable reality of having nothing to eat. Really? What about going all day or for days on end? Jesus fasted for forty days, the homeless do it all the time and not by choice. And me? Well, don’t be too hard on yourself. Our talents to releive the suffering spirits of others lie in all directions. We need to be different to fill different needs.
I decided, while still participating in my hunger trade off (I’m still working at it), that I would also go to church during my lunch hour and pray for those in need. Oh, I still have to cheat and eat lunch at my desk first, and then go so the growling lion in my stomach doesn’t echo through the uppermost chambers of the cathedral and disturb everyone else. That’s considerate, isn’t it? One would think that even in the heart of midtown Manhattan, here, in this beautiful sanctuary is a haven of peace. But this is where the homeless are fed each morning by the friars of both St. Francis of Assisi and St. John the Baptists churches. The homeless linger because there’s no place else for them to go. They’re found sleeping in the pews, snoring or dozing off while the working class stop in to murmur petitions into God’s ear. The crowd is not your usual one but I’ve come to accept that it’s more normal than my usual parish. After all, there are all kinds of people and the unfortunate ones are a grim reminder of what charity is supposed to be.
Along with the sad state of the world scattered between the hard wooden pews serving as resting places, there are all manner of unexpected and rather unholy sounds that detract from the overall experience of trying to muster a sense of devotion in the space of 60 minutes. The clattering of mop and pail as the janitor performs his churchly duty. The intrusive ring tone of a cell phone finding its way even here and then answered by its recipient with no regard to the inner conversations of those around her. The couple continuing their conversation as they walk in from the street as if they’re walking into a Starbuck’s to order a latte. And then the lack of decorum extends treating the church as a public space to read the newspaper, and get this, feet propped up on the pew in front of him! It’s okay to be comfortable in God’s house but this is not your living room. I promised myself not to be judgemental but….c’mon.
Well, here’s the surprise. I walked into church yesterday right in the middle of Stations of The Cross. For those of you unfamiliar with Catholicism, the Stations are the re-enactment of Jesus’s crucifixtion. There were only a few people but I found a place in back where I wouldn’t disturb the group already in progress. The priest was at the pulpit conducting this somber service. But there, in the middle of the aisle, on bended knee, was the same man I see every day reading his paper, the construction worker with the audacity to prop his feet up on the pew in front of him. He was the most devout of all ! And he even collected the little booklets from the people at the end of the service.
So, in this Spirit of Lent, bring yourseld as you are, with all of your God-given imperfections and be transformed. Miracles happen even, or shall I say especially, in New York City. After all, I may still one day bring an empty stomach. The possibilities are there.


I Saw Jesus

March 28th, 2015 by Magdalena Tabor

I saw Jesus
On a New York City sidewalk.
His hooded sweatshirt
Pulled up over his face.
The dollar bill I gave him
Went through the holes
In both his hands.
And he never looked up.
Not once.

I saw Jesusi saw jesus
Carry his cross of cardboard.
I followed him into an alleyway
Where he slept
With the trash of humanity.
The sweat that trickled from his brow
Was bloodstained.
And he smiled at me
But once.

I saw Jesus.
He wore the face of every man.
He was at Seventh Avenue
And at 31st and Broadway.
He was the beggar, the friar
And the multitudes.
He was everyone
And everywhere at once.


Springtime Jaunt

March 22nd, 2015 by Magdalena Tabor

Through the tangled depthspringtime jaunt
Of forest
Moves a form
Amongst the trees.
But its heart
Begins to flourish,
Man with dog
Trots at his knees.

Was there ever such
A kinship,
Loving glances stolen
Off he runs, an act
More selfish.
But with a whistle
Shakes the dust.

Once more
At his master’s side,
Two connected
Without chain.
One must seek
As the other hides
Yet neither one
Would dare complain


Sir Robin

February 28th, 2015 by Magdalena Tabor

Fat, round, harbingersir robin
Of Hope,
Startled at the absence
Of anything verdant,
Suspiciously eyeing
The quilted conundrum
At my throat -
As if I could sing.
But here,
My lovely golden orb,
An utterance of delight
Caught between the breath
Of winter
And the gloved hand
To my lips,
At what you might choose
To bring.


Tyler Talks Poe-Etry

February 19th, 2015 by Magdalena Tabor

Hi! It’s me! Tyler! Here to save the day……while perusing the blog site, I was horrified to learn that the entries of late (and I do mean LATE) have been somewhat sporadic and scant intyler content. I mean, if you like poetry, fine but there has to be a little more substance, don’t you agree? Blogs with a little more bite to them. That’s where I step in, to pick up the slack.
I admit I’m not a big fan of poetry. Anyone can do it, even a cat. That’s not to say we’re in any way inferior to the human bean, let me clarify this by saying, it’s quite the opposite. Cats choose not to write poetry for the simple reason, we just don’t want to. Oh, we can do it all right, in fact with the utmost of grace and eloquence, however this restricts us from rising to greater aspirations some of which you may be more likely to associate with the feline of species. But just to make my point that even a cat can do it, here’s one example…”Once upon a midnight mousey, As I pondered feeling lousey, Over many a volume of forgotten gore….” Pretty good, huh? Written by a cat named Poe.
Now, what troubles me is the ever apparent neglect in blog submissions. What have the Beans been doing with their time??? Oh, don’t give me that dried up old excuse…..shoveling snow, scraping ice, shivering in your bootstraps nonsense. I’ve seen you out there. Doesn’t look like that much work to me. You don’t even look cold. In fact you’re sweating. Then you come inside and groan (just to make sure I know you’re tired) and pull off your wet things and have a hot bowl of something nice to eat. And when I ask for some, I get a teeny tiny nibble that’s supposed to satisfy my lion’s appetite worked up from watching you at the window. This is very distressing to say the least.
Then to top it all off with the proverbial red cherry and chocolate sprinkles (make that multi colored) you expect me, a quiet unassuming feline, to contribute his valuable time and (yawn) energy to utilize his creative writing skills in a pinch? Well, all right then! You asked for it! (I think this is what’s called venting.) I’m through with the pair of you! After this, you’re on your own. And don’t give us another one of your hokey five second poems. Let’s have a blog entry with a little meat on the bone, like mine. Now go make yourselves useful and get my dinner. (This has been a public service announcement brought to you by the Tyler Talks Foundation….If it’s worth spilling ink it’s because I knocked it over).


The Wicked Wicked Winter

February 15th, 2015 by Magdalena Tabor

Merciless wind.
The snow and icewinter
Of sinner’s sin.
Frozen hearts
Linked end to end.
A chain of no redemption.

Armed with shovel.
Salt the walk
From hub to hovel.
Flanked by banks
Of arctic rubble.
A mountain of contention.

The wicked wicked wintry blast.
More’s the fool
Who thought to ask
Relief from summer’s
Brashest brass
But never his intention.


Cold !

January 27th, 2015 by Magdalena Tabor

Brrr-aving the wind that gustscold
The just settled snow
To fall anew,
That talcoms every naked branch
In powder blue.

But I, mummified
In quilted coat
And wrapped not once
But twisted twice,
Peer from within
The downy depths,
Two owl eyes
In its knitted nest.


When I’ve Forgotten

January 18th, 2015 by Magdalena Tabor

When I have forgottenRose in the snow
The names of the flowers,
The birds,
And the trees.
When I see them
For what they are
And not by what
They are called,
I will know my self
Before the language
I was taught.
And the name
I was given.
Taking my place
Amongst the stars
I remembered.


Jesus Met The Woman At The Well

January 9th, 2015 by Magdalena Tabor

I was brought up as a Catholic. As a child I attended 8 years of Catholic grammar school, 9 if you count Kindergarten. I can still remember Tommy and Kathleen Henderson, two of jesus met the woman at the wellmany siblings in their large talented family, regularly asked to sing for the class. One of their favorite hymns was “Jesus Met The Woman At The Well”. I could hardly fathom the reality of the lyrics in my innocence at 7 years old, and now retrospectively, realize the importance of the lesson. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the hymn, Jesus tells the woman everything she’s ever done, that she has five husbands…….and is willing to forgive her.
If Jesus, in his infinite mercy forgives, why does the Catholic Church alienate divorced people, demanding in exchange, unreasonable sums of money to declare the marriage annulled? Jesus didn’t ask the woman at the well for anything as long as she was sorry. People make mistakes. People are expected to. That’s how we learn and grow spiritually. It’s the only way possible. The Church wants people to “come back” but refuses communion to anyone who has not been granted an annulment. That’s like inviting someone to your house but not allowing them to eat at your table.
I’m a big fan of Pope Francis. (I sometimes make the mistake of calling him Pope Saint Francis but that may not be too far from the truth.) He is a man of remarkable insight and isn’t afraid to say what he believes is right, even in the face of opposition and criticism. Here is what he had to say on the subject of divorcees as quoted in the Catholic Herald on December 8, 2014:
“In the case of divorcees who have remarried, we posed the question, what do we do with them? What door can we allow them to open? This was a pastoral concern: will we allow them to go to Communion? Communion alone is no solution.
“The solution is integration. They have not been excommunicated, true. But they cannot be godfathers to any child being baptised, mass readings are not for divorcees, they cannot give Communion, they cannot teach Sunday school, there are about seven things that they cannot do, I have the list over there. Come on! If I disclose any of this it will seem that they have been excommunicated in fact. Thus, let us open the doors a bit more.”
In October, the Pope will once again ask the Church to change (no cost annulments is but one suggestion) but there are some cardinals staunchly opposed to the reformation concerning the divorced. They refer to the teachings of Jesus who stated no one must divorce. Yes, it’s true these words are in the Bible. What’s also true is Jesus forgave the woman at the well. If she were invited to His house along with a good many other people, wouldn’t she be among the first to join him at His table for supper?

So…………..whadayathink? I have divorce in my background, and after many years have happily come back to the Church, only to be confronted with alienation all over again. If no one can separate us from God, the question remains, may we eat at His table or not?



December 20th, 2014 by Magdalena Tabor

Christmas is coming. Today is especially busy, with last minute shoppers bustling about. I never bought into that; the hurry-up and buy whatever, without any real thought invested into believethe purchase, especially for people you think the world of. No……there has to be more time taken, well ahead of the Christmas rush. The perfect gift might be bought in summer (Hey, Herb would love this) or just after the season (Nina would think this is great) but then, that’s just me. Never liked being rushed into anything. I was done with shopping weeks ago. Wrapped the parcels into neat little bows and arranged them into shopping bags ready to go at a moment’s notice. Why? So I can sit back and watch the world go into its annual frenzy with my feet propped up in front of a roaring fire sipping hot cider with a self satisfied smirk.
But this year was especially hard for me. I didn’t want Christmas coming with its jangling idiotic bells of merriment. But I knew it had to. And I began shopping early, as well I should, following my usual routine like a goose in flight, lagging somewhat reluctantly behind the arrowed formation of the other geese. But I was still ahead of the rush, mind you. There was no danger of being swept into the Christmas craze I was determined to avoid.
But what if there were no gifts? No friends or family with which to share this grandest of holidays? Would Christmas still come? Or have we forgotten? You know…..the real meaning of Christmas? I was feeling so lost. Trying to keep self pity at arm’s length when all at once something happened. I latched onto a tiny glimmer of hope. And I ran with it, never looking back. This glimmer grew with determination. Nothing was going to stop me from moving forward. I knew each day would bring me closer to how I wanted to live my life in spite of what life threw in my way. I would hurdle, jump, swerve, to avoid stumbling and scraping my knees against the stones of injustice. I would stand up.
And so. I am standing up this Christmas. I’m extending my Christmas card of Hope. There’s a manger filled with straw. It used to be empty. But every single straw that cushions a particular child, was placed there by each one of you. This Christmas, I wish you PEACE. LOVE. and JOY. If only in our hearts….let Christmas come.