Friday, July 28, 2023

Poem for Kerri, draft no. 1

 Kerri Schmidt 

is a gem. That's it. 

Guided by the Holy Spirit,

perfect giver of perfect gifts,

encouraging, hopeful, 

diligent, kind. 

A better employer

none could find. 

Poem for Becky Bain, draft no. 1

Becky Bain deserves a poem

and not one that is just ho-hum.

She's been a friend

in times of need;

She knows her flowers 

and her weeds.

She's been through a lot

but that hasn't stopped her--

she became a role model

for both of her daughters.

Fragrant, loving, thoughtful...

tardy

likes her beer clean

and her plants hardy

The perfect friend to take to the beach

or to trimming fronds from 

office trees. 

Friday, July 21, 2023

The Paperwhite by Jen Hunt

An Evernote audio dictation journal, I think in 12/2018:

Paperwhite was what I left on the credenza at MVR on the 11/30 after Myrna had betrayed me (though not because of that, just same timing). I had purchased them at Walmart on the way there, to convey condolences for their recent loss of loved ones, also as a sort of white flag, to show that despite Myrna behaving unprofessionally in mentioning moot points in group meetings with others, I intended to treat them all warmly. Paperwhite also expresses the anxiety of blank page I have felt for many years as a writer, plus the calm of white space I am learning, and the beautify scent the flower carries once bloomed. Also, they bloom very quickly in just a vase of water, and shoot very tall. Just light and warmth and timing, which has parallels to my own life.

 

Thoughts on wounds from enemies can be trusted:

I used to think that the worst thing in the world would be someone to inadvertently be hurt by something that I said that I didn’t mean to hurt them. In the process I became afraid of sharing my true self out of fear their misunderstandings would not being able to be understood by others would hurt them. Now I am freer and I think that I am willing to take the risk to be vulnerable and be misunderstood than keep quiet and never feel like I’ve been connected with people at all.

I am a work in process and I am okay with that. Speaking about the proverbs where it says the wounds of a friend can be trusted and God showed me that even the wounds of an enemy can be trusted because God is God over the enemy too and nothing that comes to us doesn’t go through his fingers first. He is not the agent of evil, but he allows it because it does work good. It works good in my life. It refines me. Somebody intending evil can even be saying something true that I would miss, if they didn’t say it. And I am willing to take that risk to understand --to try to understand --another human being, even if that takes risk.

One thing I need to think through is… how in a fallen world, where everyone is a sinner, has been sinned against, and is capable of wounding, even us as victims, how can we ever get along? I don’t think there is a way apart from the power of an outside source and I know that that is God in Jesus Christ. He is showing me that so clearly through what happened that totally took me by surprise, but it didn’t take him by surprise. I cannot believe how carefully I notice every wound that was meant for evil was used for good. I am more aware of understanding certain passages such as it is when I am weak than I am strong. Because how can we understand God’s strength unless we know we are weak. And when I know I am weak, I don’t trust in myself and then I go to the better source, which is God for that strength as a Christian because the Holy Spirit prompts me to do that and I am seeing how any, I am understanding how …there is a third, I think we’ve talked about this before, about three births, I’ve heard this saying with when somebody becomes a Christian, they are born into love of God, and love of the church family and love of the Bible, or is it love of the self? I don’t remember love of self? I don’t remember exactly how that goes. But I also believe it..it is true, that we are born to love and to love for …I don’t know…growth? Or pain, not to be masochistic, but…or do I mean self or truth? There is a lot of things we are born into. I think what God finally wants us is …to be born into (sigh), love of our imperfections in a way (?), to beauty, and beauty can be found in imperfections, as somebody was sharing in group today about the quilt.

Lord, there’s so much to be learning and right now I thank you for slowing me down. [pause] I thank you for slowing me down however you choose. It’s been in a way I didn’t want, through the wounds of a friend  [slight laugh]…no!...through the wounds of an enemy! I think it’s also true that the wounds of an enemy can be trusted because God made our enemies, too. And is bigger than them.

 

How I Have Been Blessed by the Triune God in the last 24 hours

I think I remembered what it was…it was the fourth or was it third love we are born into is love of the world, even unbelievers and I laugh because I don’t know if I could say when I was a new Christian that I loved unbelievers? I think I pitied them, felt sorry for them that maybe I would catch their unbelief, but I [long pause] I don’t feel that way anymore. I think today that prophet that people quote that had been scary to me that my sister and brother in law had included the reading from it in their wedding ceremony, the one about Kahlil Gibran? I can’t even say it right, I had to ask others to tell me it in group, [yeah]…it’s about love is a two-columned thing, and I am not afraid of that prophet or quote unquote prophet, I don’t believe he’s truly God’s messenger as others might, I don’t know much about that, but I do believe that there’s elements of truth in many people and I’m not saying that to equivocate or that Jesus is only on the same level as that, but that he made those people too, the ones that I used to be afraid of, the ones who are broken.

And I think I was afraid of them because I was afraid of my own brokenness. I knew Jesus forgave my sins, {and wants to keep me from sin—I am infinitely less offended/annoyed now, the Infinite one has started to show me how} but I didn’t really believe that he could take care of my brokenness, I guess, and now I do. Now I see that that is the only way to be before him, I don’t have a choice, because I am broken and I now know that my brokenness doesn’t scare God; God [light laugh] loves broken people. I went to the meeting today [ACA] without washing my face, putting my makeup on, brushing my…[short pause] I might have brushed my teeth. Did I? I might have had a little breakfast. I had my pajamas on. I put my boots on and a coat [sounding joyful and free] on, grabbed my purse and I went out the door. And you know I’m laughing now, because maybe somebody looking at me wouldn’t even know? Or maybe somebody else in the store might think “oh, there’s that kook!”; I had no idea. It didn’t even cross my mind to think about it [incredulous]! And I love that freedom, because when I’m not thinking about that, then I can notice the checkout person and make a little small talk *{look up what the announcer said}…talk with them about how much I liked the announcement that went over, like it was like something about welcome smart shoppers or savvy shoppers or frugal shoppers, it was something like that…that caught me off-guard that I didn’t expect to hear, that was as boring as “welcome shoppers” and in the state that I was in just delighted me.

And you know what I’m thinking is a blessing right now? Is a device that can record me talking in my talking in my truest self that I have and because it’s a device, I can play it back to myself.  I can also …it’s can be a better listener than family members, sometimes. And I don’t mean that to fault them, because I’m not a good listener either, a lot of the time [and I am often so hard to listen to and talk so much of the time; it must be hard to do that for me all the time.

Oh, my gosh, I feel like I’ve just all of a sudden become Mister Rogers in a female form/body [laughs quietly to myself].

 

[Cal: nobody loves me…Mom: son the electric throw will keep you warm down there in the basement until these poems are born. Son, turn that television quieter, this isn’t time to joke. If you do not I will write that you’re a naughty little bloke]. 

 

And there’s so many thoughts that God is showing me that are good and true and like making scripture come alive in my heart. It’s like he the breath prayer I am praying, “Rabboni , I am listening” is pause…it’s [oh there was something that is just about always at the…I’ll just leave it there for now. I, I’m not depressed, I’m amazingly…I’m.. Godstruck. I am shaken up but like it’s the right way, like the act of being shaken up has restored me [sounding surprised] to myself. I love God that he can do that. I think it’s so funny that I’m actually, [at least] to me I’m sounding sane right now, when normally with my medication I can be talking too fast when I…and the words don’t come out like as well as I want them to writing. But I feel God’s hand on my chest as if it’s a weighted blanket they sell now to calm people and the words are coming out like I mean them in my truest self with his help-- I’m not saying the smarts come from me—And I feel like God is listening because God, because I can’t talk, but now I feel like I totally could talk. I feel like I could be a radio show host [I think I meant guest speaker]. I’m not saying that to boast, but like it’s funny I never thought of myself as having any gift in speaking at all [and all my spoken words have seemed to make no expanding ring at all; seem to have been too soft and impact small] so now I’m learning that the gift of the wounds, but in Jesus hand healing me, I’m healing myself by God’s help, I’m letting him heal me and I’m also healing for others, I hope one day. I don’t have to just wait to write it, I may be able to sync it all so that it’s in real time, so that my words and my heart spot are in sync and my actions and how it comes across [at least that is a possibility now]

[I have been] like in those movies where the verbage isn’t coming with the actions, but today it is and for that I’m grateful. I haven’t slept well last night, or much today, or eaten much, except for the French toast [which I was so glad to remember I had frozen gluten free for me], but I don’t know what this all means, I just only know the next step. It’s not because I’m depressed and I can’t emotionally take the next step, it’s like my body physically has been slowed down [and I said that to Calvin] and that can really just mean it’s a grace. These are seasons of the soul or of emotions that are healthy in a normal person to have those fluctuations and I’m okay with that. I’m okay with being a little bit off schedule today because God doesn’t need me to be on a schedule to be [light laugh] healed. God isn’t thwarted by my upset schedule and what a blessing it is to be with other people in a group some of them who are believers and some of them who say they’re not or who may be one day (I don’t give up on people [someone else in group said that today]. Every one of them had some truth to share and it was like [pause]  a stained glass window [or one of those klitchy ceramic colored light Christmas trees you see on shelves this time of year]or a glittering jewel…so…if that’s the case with this motley crew, I can’t even imagine what it will look like in heaven when we are completely renewed, but I want everybody on earth to know that joy, completeness, beauty, love, acceptance, grace, belonging, thriving, and serving and it all goes together. I don’t have the energy and the time to share it all now, but I feel like a little pinhole --and that’s all God [ever or really] needs—of heaven has been opened for a moment for me to sense, I don’t even say I see it, but I can sense it in my heart and I’m grateful because it means I’m alive and I’m known and God knows my name. And he’s there and he hasn’t forgotten me. I [don’t really think really] I’ve ever thought God had forgotten me, I might not have understood him, but it’s impossible for me to think about the last 24 hours and not think an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful, not just powerful, but a power that is in control, I guess the word would be sovereign, God is here.

 

Oh, Lord Jesus, I know you and that is all…I…need. That is enough [pause]. I want my Christmas season to be simple. [inner gasp or groan] as simple as a baby in a manger with straw, because a manger is where, where animals like sheep feed. And I am a sheep, but there’s one thing I know, and that is that Jesus leaves…would leave the ninety-nine—not that he’s negligent, he’s gonna leave them so that [or and then] they get lost, he would [only, of course], leave them at the right time. The sense is not that he’s left the ninety-nine, but that he is so in love with me, with each of us, that it would be inconceivable [voice breaking] for him and how much he loves us to die for us and wants to care for us, how much how impossible it would be for him to not want to go and find us when we are lost…from him.

I don’t think that when we are lost we [necessarily] know it. We can be thinking we are anything but lost and we can be lost. And it’s not that we are dumb, less righteous than others [although there’s truly none righteous in his eyes, no not one] but that we are—it is impossible for us to know our true condition apart from God revealing it to us. And the way I know God is that [besides when I was four or five him telling me to get the book off the cupboard shelf and open it on my bed so it could breathe…such a quaint and quiet way to meet a girl as young as me. And I truly think I thought that’s what it meant it was God-breathed—is that] there is nothing he would not do to make his love for us and our condition known and do so in the gentlest most tiny--most small, because small is big to him—one out of ninety-nine sheep? That’s [quite] a low percentage, but my Lord,  and my Savior is not about percentages, he is about people.  And because he is about people, especially people who are lost and don’t know it, he is able to come up with the most incredible, inconceivably brilliant plan lovingly planned from the beginning of time for saving the world. He, knowing it could not be done any other way, [here a ping from a text comes in and rings like a loud comet through my ear’s sky] allowed evil to crucify him for me and for you. And I know Christmas is often a sad time of year for me for the very reason that it is such a contrast, it is such a lie that it automatically brings me closer to Jesus. It usually does the opposite. But I also believe that however messy and rushed and distracted and empty and wasted and squandered Christmas days can be, despite best intentions, I believe that [gasp] my God is that much bigger that that even that is not even the smallest the big? [no] -the smallest problem for him, I should say…

He is not bounded in bondage other [or swaddled or gagged] other than any way he chooses to be wrapped for our sakes, to the problems of this world, he is that much bigger and yet he is that much bigger, he is able to be big in a small insignificant [gasp and broken-voiced] beautifully… backward… opposite… thumb-your-nose-at-the-world’s-economy…perfect way.

He entered imperfection perfectly. I can’t even be imperfect perfectly. Sometimes I do just good enough that I confuse myself and forget who I am and think that I might be possibly able to do something without God’s help. [though I’m not so much as good at that as kelp] That’s how messed up I am. I am so messed up that I can’t even mess up perfectly. I go all over the road. [I later learn my husband had a car spin around just in front of him from a ten car pile up, but did not so much as get a hair split on the road].

I have never been diagnosed with bipolar, II or I, or anything.* At times I’ve wondered, [laugh] times like these, like four times a year, when I feel God’s presence so clearly that it’s a clear space, but [laugh again] despite that, [uh where was I going with that?] Despite that, I’m not worried. I’m not worried because my security, my significance, my future, my inheritance, my even [exhale] even my fruit doesn’t at all depend on me. And I can promise you right now that Jen in her own strength could not say a single whisper of what I’ve said today. It is God who has enabled me to see this [this way]. He knows I have longed to grow in Christlikeness and I have been waiting, often impatiently, and for whatever reason he is allowing me to experience [breathing in through my partially blocked nose]…what’s the word? The Holy Spirit in a thinner space three in one God and I, I would not trade it for anything.

The person that hurt me, I don’t now know if they did mean it. I definitely know that they are not the enemy; I’ve always known that. And that is why I know this sounds impossible and boasting, but I have dug down in myself and really the best that I can try to see if I harbor bitterness against this person and I don’t, and that is only from Christ, because I persevere perfectly [well at least perfectly as anything else I do] that is a gift of mine. And I [know] I can persevere in bearing a grudge as well as loving. I don’t say that proudly, but I say that as I amend to my friend and my others that I know who aren’t yet friends. And I like what somebody said today, that we don’t give up on anybody. That’s the way I want to be. Not giving up on anybody.

I don’t say that to say I have to take the intentionally or accept all the pain that others bring my way, or that I can never protect myself. But what I’m saying is that the part of me that as a child maybe  didn’t , because my parents were really good parents. They were messed up, in so many ways, but they were so kind and I don’t mean spoiling kind, but just treasures. [beginning to cry]. They were a gift that I don’t think it would have been possible to realize as a kid, but I do see that now. And that gift had a defect, if you will, of they did not teach me, I guess, if my sister who was older, they protected me and who just seemed to have it out for me, I have never understood why, they…they protected me I guess in a sense, but I, I, did not learn the skills there, because it was a safe house maybe, I don’t know maybe, to protect myself when I am vulnerable…and I don’t need to take the blow, and actually Satan through them would be the only explanation, because I don’t believe anyone can…can…can believe as God made us, we are as responsible, I don’t mean to say we are not responsible, I believe that the part of us that is most true that God …wants to that God wants to restore[ redeem] [!] and bring into perfect love is a result of  us as much as satan, the forces of evil. And so when I look at someone that is hurting or has hurt me, I…think that it I think that it helps me to not believe that they…I guess, [helps me to] forgive them for whatever it is, because I believe that, I guess that I [tend to] believe the best about people to a fault and I am learning about phrases like, uh…glutton for punishment…or, oh the rest are escaping me. Well, in verses like well, like I shared before, when I am weak, then I am strong, and I am stronger. I’ve been trying to be careful so as not to mislead people that I’m being overly dramatic because the truth is this pain that I’ve gone through from an unexpected experience has been worked out for good. And what I’m feeling as I’m crying isn’t really sadness, no, well, it’s not despair in the least, it’s like the most  I can’t…the verse about struck down and not destroyed and all that passage…which I have a bad memory, so it’s not all coming to me, that whole…that whole passage is clearer to me. And so because of that, I’m unbelievably grateful for this. And I want to take whatever time I need to take so that I don’t forget this lesson. I don’t want to punish myself to say oh, I have to take so much time, must learn this lesson so bad. I don’t have to learn it so bad. I just thought of a word…I don’t know if it’s a word, sometimes we use the it’s opposite, ruthlessly, like when we say ruthlessly honest with myself, but then I thought I don’t [have to do that] but I want to be [heal] ruthfully [truthfully] honest with myself. I know I can drag myself ruthless through the mud more than I drag through anyone else.

Oh my goodness, Lord. I praise you. I bless you for your kindness and your goodness to me all the time. Especially in my darkest feelings about Christmas when it seems the furthest thing from Emmanuel, God with us. Yet, even then you are with us. You’ve used people. People that have hurt me. People that are just in or sharing their own stories and just being vulnerable enough to share, you’ve used the Jan Johnson study online. You’ve used books you’ve prompted me to read even before I knew what was coming. You gave me some sort of sense that I needed to prepare, even though I didn’t know what. Even with reducing the clutter in my house, reading a Cozy Minimalist book, seems like it’s been a prompting that you’ve given me for this time. And I want to take this time and honor it, God. Please allow me to value you enough …to not be afraid that if I take this time that I need somehow you won’t take care of me, or my family or my loved ones. Lord, you know I wouldn’t want to leave my job, and I don’t really think I’m in jeopardy of that, but all I can say is I don’t care if I don’t have to lay it down.

I can’t remember the last time I spent 34 minutes of being able to share [thank you for making room beside your chair] and feel accepted. And I’m not alone with myself.

O Lord, you are wise. You had me open Psalm 17 in The Message version when I was looking for Psalm 22. I’ve been listening to those as well as our passages on John in church, but it was that passage that version that most spoke to me in the middle of the night. You do that.

And David, when he was sad, or struck or blindsided, he wrote poetry. [!] And you helped me write a rough draft of a poem this morning and be able to share that at [ACA] group, even though I only had thirty minutes (I meant to take fifteen minutes, but I got in late and was wearing pajamas. [smiling to myself]. How amazing is that.

I love you, Lord.

Amen.                                                                                                       


* A couple years later, I was. 

 

The Tree, draft no. 2

This Christmas I want to pray--

I want to pray you the kind of prayer

that can make a tree dance---

I will pray prayers for you that will light its branches--

It is so dark this time of year

but that is beautiful, too.

I wish you a day, draft no. 2

I wish you a sick day so that you can

stay in bed with your chicken soup with rice

and your soda and remember

what it was like when you were small

just a girl in your bed

all cozy and loved

 

I wish you snow day so you can remember

the joy of smoothing a snow angel

you were certain the angels approved of

(and you were right)

 

I wish you a rainy day

so that you can recall

the joy of splashing puddles in your rain boots

 

I wish you a day that you never forget

because God dwelt in you

Caramels, draft no. 2

I was a naughty kitten on Tuesday

on the drive home from work I told myself

I would go into that chain store and come right out

if I did not see the one thing

I was looking for

but I lost track of time and also

 

one of my silver velvet gloves

with the puff of rabbit hair

that I had found in Shawano at Octoberfest earlier that fall

in the clearance room of Drier Pharmacy

with the old lady at the cashier

who seemed so completely thrilled

to be there helping her friend sell nice things at cheap prices

who told everyone she does this for her friend for free

except maybe being granted a store item now and then

 

she was like a circus showman

every. single. thing.  she said made the store

look better

made me want to buy. something.

made me glad that there are every kind of people in the world

filling it and giving it life

and making it possible for me to have a Saturday that seemed

 

so incredibly sweet

I don’t even know if I will ever find out who that other woman was

who sold me those caramels

that were as fresh as baby’s cheeks or plums

she seemed so sweet herself I would not be surprised if she was edible, too

that is how sweet she was

But I remember stopping by her booth on that warm October day

a booth which seemed so sparse

save the caramels seemingly put there just for me

that when I got home

and ate the first one

I thought that maybe

I had met an angel unaware

 

Here

I have forgotten to mention

the sweetest part:

the finding the silver glove

upright

on the asphalt’s

dim floor

Speak Slower, draft no. 2

People have been telling me

my whole life

to speak slower, more clearly

 

I have always felt the need to squeeze

all the words I wanted to say

into a space the size of a floss tin

 

If I am speaking slowly

to you

today

then you will know God has appeared

Only God can make a fast speaker slow

(He healed the mute as well, you know.)

What is that to me?, draft no. 2

Reflecting on John 21:22

If God wants to take someone in a chariot

He can do it

If God wants to cut life short or make dry bones live

He can do it

And if God wants to surprise me

with his love so that I can run on that in an imperfect world

for forty-eight more turns of the same

that is just fine with me

I no longer fear the old lady,

the old lady I would be at that age--

I don’t know if I would recognize myself at that age

if I saw her at the Odd Fellows home tomorrow,

but I don’t worry anymore if I would. 

If I forget everything he has ever taught me

which I so easily can do—today

it would not matter

Yes, even if I live to be a scary age

I know I am his child

And that is all I need

Pride, draft no. 2

(now separated out from What is that to me? above)

Sometimes I think that God will wait to take me home

until I have figured out everything that has to happen.

I have tried to dig my own grave

build my own coffin

nail my own hinges

and close my own lid,

forgetting

I do not have a way to dig

if I am dead without him

Brokenness, draft no. 2

Lord, I tried to make my brokenness

neat like an ice cube tray

and I wondered why people felt

so cold around me--

How strange yet warm

these shards!

Standing Room Only, draft no. 2*

This poem is for those which have gotten stuck

in my throat on the way out

for those which I am in denial about

for those which from shock have been forgotten

I now understand why you thought Jesus the gardener

Mary Magdalene

Until Jesus breathed your name outside his tomb

And brought you to your senses

Rabboni! he cried, meaning teacher,

Teacher, yes, at least that

And so much more

You did not scold her blindness

One word from you brought her to herself

 

My soul breathes this prayer

Rabboni, I am listening

Ever, always

 

C.S. Lewis wrote “to love at all is to be vulnerable”

And that was written on the bag I carried to group today

Someone wrote love is a two-columned wonder

A phrase which I first heard at my sister’s wedding

When I as too afraid to understand

 

I am sitting now

make that standing, at least on the inside

in a room--room full of columns

two or five or twenty

When a room is that full of columns

no quake can topple it

no quake topples when souls stand straight

 

I can understand Paul’s sadness without despair

I am feeling the tears on my cheeks

and I don’t even care if they are salty or sweet

a cry of joy or grief--

both feel redeemed

when our souls meet

Jesus, you are as kind and perfect as sunlight on my cheek

 

I’ve always known the song “love means never having to say you’re sorry”

is a blatant lie

but I wonder if it holds a sliver, a flame, of truth

for there is no need to hear sorry from one kind of love

a perfect love

because a perfect love can be trusted

to always do what is right

There is no need to hear sorry from a perfect love

just to feel arms that hold

arms that risk

a vulnerable love

arms that are wounded, yet shield me

as their dove

I know of one alone who qualifies--

My Rabboni!


*In honor of my ACA friends. 

This poem is for Reg, draft no. 2

Yesterday, I finally learned how to write a poem

In thirty minutes

Today, thirty seconds

Thank you for prophesying twenty years ago

I might reach the place I am now

A belated Thanksgiving message of gratitude for you

The World is Full, draft no. 2

Lord, John was right when he said that the whole world

would not be able to contain the books

should all be written

about you

For even today on the first of December

I have not been able to stop speaking words from you

as if by dictation

If I never say another word, that is enough for me

But think of all the words that all the people in the world have spoken

and imagine what it would be like if every single sigh of those

were breathed first from above

I want that kind of world and I can see it in your love

There are so many books yet to be

As I look around

I don’t worry if there are enough trees

because the books are you and me

and I know “so will it be”

All November, draft no. 2

All of November

I was grateful and sad together

Grateful

because everywhere I looked

I saw God in love with me

Sad

because I did not have the strength

to tell you so

 

I did not keep my vow to write each week

--a vow I did not need to keep--

I was sad I did not keep my vow

 

If I knew then what I know now

I would not have been so sad

It’s funny how December’s cold

has made a cold heart glad

So many plans, draft no. 2

I had so many good plans

today

but I have learned

God’s are always,

always better

I have never had a year, draft no. 2

I have never had a year quite like this one, Lord

It was sweet and sour and salty and bitter

in all the right places

 

Even if I ate the same breakfast every day all year long--

which I almost did

the sweet potatoes tasted so good to me this year--

it was such a sweet year I don’t know

if there will ever be one so nice again

I don’t know if there will not

 

I have never had a year like this one, Lord

where I kept the resolution

made on New Years’

the whole way through,

that was new

 

and I am, too

thank you


 

Thank you for my feelings, draft no. 2

I like feeling all my feelings

They are always new

surprising me.

If I didn’t have all my feelings

I wouldn’t be

Me

The infant prays, draft no. 3

I.

the babe in the crib

who does not know

a single vowel

does he pray?

II.

the infant prays

in many ways

the monk, just

eight times a day

III.

a newborn prayer

a wordless way

is all I wish to say

today

The unborn and the rocks, draft no. 2

The unborn and the rocks

cry out

when life, like candles, is snuffed out

The fire warm found me out, draft no. 2

From John 18:18

How often, Lord,

am I like Peter

unable to take my hands from this fire

so cold outside, within?

They took you bound you and soon they will mock and flog you

yet I stay and warm my hands a spell

I am so cold--

and this fire is so warm

A bushel, draft no. 2

A bushel is useful

A bushel is round

But a very poor place

For a candle to be found

The stronger, draft no. 2

(Meditating on John 18:22)

When one of the officials nearby

slapped him in the face

Jesus, so kind so strong so solid

did not strike back

he asked him a question

weld words to split

soul and spirit

perfectly

a better weapon

than fists could ever be

spoke only to heal

not bleed

Shan’t we?

Four Winds, draft no. 3

This poem is for my family

Four winds never settled

Yet always just so

Wind only needs God and it blows

For my family, draft no. 3

May all the pain

our course has caused

be healed by God’s own Spirit and rod

One or two, draft no. 3

Lord, I fear this phone will die

before my words’ completion

 

dross and dust float all about

please save them from deletion

 

make if not all, then, one or two

outlast passing iron or dew

Rind, draft no. 2

A quiet life might do for you

but I like the orange

with the rind, too

So empty so delighted, draft no. 3

I’ve forgotten when I started

I’ve forgotten when I’ll stop

I have been so utterly emptied--

You have filled me to the top.

A different mine, draft no. 2

Gold down there

he thought he’d find

he should have been looking

in a different mine

So much is paper, draft no. 2

So much is paper

So much is rust

It’s wise

To think

Before you trust

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Brown County Library Book Sale, draft no. 3

I entered a book sale

as honest as a crypt

books lined up as coffins  

read and unread scripts

some with scribbles, others chewed.

Maybe only one will do.

Beauty, draft no. 2

All those years

I was so empty

All those days and moments too

Empty and shivering

Fearing nothing new

Why did I worry

You only know

I am broken in places

Your beauty glows

All that glitters, draft no. 2

What I’m feeling is not found

in the DSM-V

Seems The Holy Spirit

Has one up on

psychiatry

If I had distributed the gifts, draft no. 2

God, if I had sent the gifts

I would have paced them out

not poured the words down

at once and spilt them all about  

Uncoordinated, draft no. 2

I do not want this day to end

I’ve eaten almost nothing

I’ve slept in snips and let things slip,

cartwheeled and somersaulted

my sister had a body that could fold in two it seemed

But I, more esoteric

Must content myself with dreams

A Song for My Healer, draft no. 2

When you’re healed you are so happy you can’t hold it inside

You aren’t worried about who will snicker and snide

When you’re healed in a way nothing else can explain

You can’t stop talking about it

Again and again

Not Just a Masseuse, draft no. 2

You got out all the muscle spasms

the knots, the tension, flew

You did your job so well

I’m buying a pack of hours

Next year too

So grateful for someone so gifted

for you

You are not just a masseuse

You are a blessing, too

A poem for my occupational therapist, Peg, draft no. 2

Your eyes carried faith

my shoulder might move

in ways it had not

a whole year through

we talked about cows

about farms, bikes, and sons

you pared down the sequence

so it would get done

gave multi-hued bands

to stretch me in odd ways

God bless you now

for your sinewรจd grace 

Soldiers, draft no. 2

The soldiers there who took your clothes

were careful not to waste,

casting lots so as to keep

your garment in one piece.

They handled things so carefully

just not your hands and feet.

I wonder which if any

of them in heaven I will meet.

Here is your son, draft no. 2

When Jesus said to John

“Here is your mother”

and to his mother

“Here is your son”

I think he was caring for them both

But a bit moreso his mum

I don’t get

how we have made his mother mother us

I love and honor Mary

it’s just there’s so much

din

What if the poems never end?, draft no. 2

If the whole world were spinning

around you, a pin

I still think you’d find a way

for us to let you in

 

If the whole world were a needle

And you were the thread

I still think you could eye us

Through the blood you shed,

Could sew us back up

and be our friend

 

What if the poems we make never end?

That’s a fear I hadn’t dreamed or comprehended

But that might be how my story ends

Jesus, my author, my Lord and my Friend

A Lover of sinners, and women and

Jen

with three N’s

one for each act of the story he’ll send

What if, draft no. 2

What if they think I am drunk?

Or confused?

The Holy Spirit has had

its fair share of fake news


Joseph, draft no. 2

Joseph, I always thought you were so grand,

how you had prison in the palm of your hand

You must have been some unusual man

I want some of your brand

the courage to make dreams open

for lost kings and lost lands

Prison, draft no. 2

Prison only threatens if You’re

not within

If You’re there

No key that clangs

Ruffles my wings

It’s as if I’m a bird

under its mother’s wings

A nest for a man or woman or king

The Covering, draft no. 2

I had a party and wrote a poem

with lots of lean hours in between

still, if that’s all I ever offered

my Lord would cover me

Foreknowledge, draft no. 2

From John 18:4 “Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him”

You knew that it was coming

You told them in advance

So nobody would doubt

You had the whole world in your hands

Thin space, draft no. 2

Today I learned

you can write a poem

if you’re mad or sad

or even when there’s no space

between God and me to be had

A poem for writers, draft no. 2

If you are a writer

here’s what I’d like to say to you:

If you can get through the first twenty or so winters,

there’s nothing you can’t do.

Lost Art, draft no. 2

If my poem got deleted 

or lost in some virtual stew

Perhaps I could still go on

if I had written them for You.

Easy Yoke, draft no. 2

I carry Jesus around in my body,

his death

his life, too

no man’s burden

is lighter, Jesus, than you

They will look, draft no. 2

They will look

on the one they have pierced;

Scripture says they will

But how many of them

will see?

Writing, draft no. 2

A poem for my hands

which my dying mother pitied, she was so kind.

My hands have often struck the keys

transporting me to distant lands.

They kept me breathing, kept me living

until my voice began.

Writing isn’t easy

But dictation? That’s grand.

Four, My Family, draft no. 2

A poem for my family

Graham, Alden, and Calvin, whom I love:

I did not always think it

so grand of a plan

that God made us so, so

different, but

wouldn’t the alternative be bland?

 

When you have four

there are enough corners

for a foundation to be built

Even if parents are

weak and ill

four corners are plenty

for a family to fill

 

Four people in a house

that God willed

None of us unnecessary

None of us weak-willed

We share this trait only

The rest fall unequalled,

Molds broken

 

 

Perhaps that is how

we turned out so fair

despite all of our hems, haws

and airs

 

Maybe four legs

make a table stand square

and still enough to hold the

food God prepares

Mike Mulligan, draft no. 3

Mike Mulligan?! Mike Mulligan came!?!

That old bulldozer or crane –

I don’t even know its real name—

But it seems his handiwork’s to blame

Here he’s come, so brilliant, fast and kind

I’m sorry I didn’t see him from behind

If I had known

I’d not have shoveled my fingers to the bone

Here in one week I’ve drafted a slew

The only way this could be true

is if God planted in me the poems which grew

Harvest moon, draft no. 2

Don’t think me boastful or blind

If I say one of my sins is

not knowing how to be unkind

when to say enough is enough

thinking every man’s cross is mine to take up

 

I think

It’s time to go to bed

Good night

 

God, all I wanted to do my whole life was write

I wish you hadn’t bunched your visits all in one night

That’s not quite what I think Mary said

When you came

I think I will dream about her visit again

Shalom, draft no. 3

If you had not settled this song in my lap

I would have lain down for a long winter’s nap

and never awakened

and never been known

and never blossomed

and never grown

But settled it you did.

My heart is your home.

Shalom.

If this is a hoax, draft no. 2

No sin tastes as great

as your love feels.

You have given me

all your fatness

and taken all my peels.

This is not

one of those fly by night deals.

If this is a hoax,

nothing is real.