Camille A. Balla

The Hazelnut

It sits in my top dresser drawer.
Its roundedness rolls between
rayon, soft cotton, and silk lingerie—
a memento I brought home
from a women’s enrichment program
about Juliana of Norwich—
The saint, the mystic, the woman.

In touching on the fabric of her life
we learned of her suffering
as well as the joy of the mystic
while sharing pastries, tea,
and morning faith camaraderie.

This hazelnut, a gracious takeaway,
was placed into the palm of my hand
to remember Juliana’s faith
in the oneness of things small,
a reminder of God’s love and care
for all of creation.

I ruminate on this symbol as I isolate
due to the coronavirus pandemic,
becoming aware today
that our saint of that morning
more than a decade ago                 
left still another message
during the time of the Black Plague:

Vitally woven into Lady Julian’s life
are her words, strong as silk—
And all shall be well. All shall be well.
And all manner of things shall be well.

The saint, the mystic, the woman.*

* Juliana of Norwich (1342-1417)

©️ Camille A. Balla
     Nov., 2020

At the Window of My World during the Pandemic

          April 17, 2020:   
Rainy, chilly days.       
Still in Corona lockdown
Thin layer of snow
covers grass, masks magnolia 
buds, zaps daffodil petals.                

          April 18, 2020:  
Awakened by sun 
Another day of lockdown.
Pink petals survived
the melting snow. Your email.
Sudden burst of energy.
         April 19, 2020:  
Yellow, bright surprise!
Petite flower, not planted      
had pushed her way through
established lawn—late crocus?
Named her Ms. Resilience.

Stay grounded, stay safe, stay.

©️ Camille A. Balla

Note: All three stanzas are in tanka format.

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