Category Archives: Poetry
Mark 12:41 [Jesus] sat down opposite the treasury and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (NRSVUE)
Such amazing freedom this impoverished widow had –
Clinging to nothing, but rather,
Freely giving all to God, knowing
God would take care of her.
As free as the birds of the air and
The lilies in the fields.
In times past, I pictured her old, bent, in rags,
Walking with a cane; but now I see her as
Ageless, happy, joyous, stepping lightly with
Sparkles in her eyes, full of peaceful contentment.
I like to imagine the women who were always with
Jesus rushing to her with love, embraces, and joy –
Taking her into the fold – this widow now joining the
Disciples at Jesus’ feet, learning and loving; with
Him at the Passover Seder, aghast at the mock trials,
Weeping at the scourging post and the cross;
Dancing with the risen King,
Aflame in the upper room.
she was a day-sailor designed for
sounds, bays, harbors, lakes, not
open ocean, and indeed, she was not
in the open ocean, but instead well
within the sight of land when the
fog fell like a thick wet blanket
obliterating any possibility of sight
his left hand on the tiller, his right
holding the mainsheet, he could not
see her bow, nor the top of the mast;
even the jib was shrouded in grey
she had no motor, carried no compass,
no radar, no navigation aids of any kind,
not even a bucket to use as a sea anchor
only the airhorn he blasted at the
top of each minute as he luffed
her into irons and waited, drifting
with the tide, which he knew would
eventually suck him through the hole –
the narrows between the islands where
the current rushed with strength that
put many a large vessel on the rocks
he hoped the fog would lift before the
current gripped her in its clutches, but
it did not. helpless to do anything except
don a life jacket, lash to the boat,
drop sail and cling to the gunnels, she
spun like a bubble swirling down a drain
bumping rocks like a pinball, jarring,
dizzy and dazed, surreal as he observed that,
contrary to nature, he had no fear, but
instead was almost able to stand beside
himself observing with curiosity as the
salt spray burst through the fog to soak him
he licked the salt on his lips as a strange
joy washed over him, still spinning, still bumping,
as suddenly as it began
the waters calmed and he knew he had
shot through the hole from the sound into
the bay without harm, but yet still
cloaked in thick fog, and now, with the
current against him, without possibility of
sailing back to the harbor, drifting, drifting,
as if veiled from
sensing an unreachable connection, adrift from identity
the glass through which he peers is warped,
thick, wavy, malformed, scratched by
abandonment, smeared by envy – only
shadows, glimpses, hints of
Enough to reveal the sunrays of
Vast fields of ice
Pure white, blinding
Groans as she’s crushed
The miraculous trek begins.
Through war-ravaged shambles
Across homeless encampments and
Hospital wards where respirators
Gasp and saline drips;
Past ice-cliffs of struggle,
Through foreboding canyons of grief
Among the starving children and
Newly baptized saints in the cages that
Overlook the cemetery where infants join
Old men and widows, and where reckless
Teenagers sleep and young widowers wail as they
Stumble for words of explanation for sobbing children.
Trudging on over blazing deserts
Snake mounds and petroglyphs
Where cactus wrens and roadrunners worship
Under the watchful gaze of the ram
Perched confidently on enigmatic assurance.
Sailing now on lashed barges with
Cotton sails, through inky seas of chaos,
Racism and fascist hatred; seas filled with
Macropredators slicing waves that
Can swallow the most massive ship.
Onward through sorrow, pain, grief, and loss,
Indominable women, scarves pulled
Tightly about their heads, sheltering
Babes in ragged coats in groups of four
Or, are there five?
“I know that during that long and racking march, it seemed to me often that we were four, not three.” – Sir Ernest Shackleton, South
“Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you.”
– T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)
Soft, warm, gentle, long-lasting,
First rain of Spring, soaking, softening the
Hard and cracked soil as
Earth takes a long, slow, deep
Drink and her flowers, grasses,
Bushes and trees absorb water and minerals.
Life. Soon, leaves, buds, flowers, fruit.
So comes the good spirit.
Blasting wind, icy torrents slicing, biting,
Snapping weighed down branches.
Shingles fly, villages lose power,
Topsoil washes away as
Creek banks cave in and
Death. Destruction, chill, ruin.
So comes the evil spirit.
a door & a coffin
The carpenter made them both
Out of a fine piece of oak
That came from an ancient tree at long
Last felled by gale-force winds
Stirred up at the poles by
Rising temperatures elevated by
So, in one sense, they
Were both redeemed out of death.
The stately oak volunteered to be
Sacrificed for this cause.
Two fine pieces of artisanship planed and
Chiseled, carved and sanded
Both designed for one adult size human body
Both of wood; both made in the same shop by
The same craftsperson with the same tools.
Both stained in natural oak; both notched and
Pegged rather than nailed or screwed.
Both from the same source.
A door and a coffin.
A door hung at the entrance to the parish manse
Opening its whole self to welcome
Dignitaries and hobos alike
To a blazing hearth where warm stew and
Hot ale whisper gospels.
A coffin draped in cloth in the
Kirk storeroom waiting to
Open its whole being to welcome
Dignitaries and hobos alike
To the blazing throne where bread is
Blessed, broken, and given, and
Cherubim choruses ascend.
Wafting the fragrance of
Spring apples throughout the room
With three wicks
Three identical flames
Burning in tender synchronicity
With three identical flames
Now cloven into multiple
Tongues of fire
Dancing, joyous, spreading
Light, love, beauty
Sweet bouquet to savor
On the Origin of Evil
Often, we have walked this shore
Felt the sea breeze
Watched the sandpipers stab translucent sand crabs
And the ring-billed gulls glide across the surf.
But this morning there’s a strangeness in the air
An odd glow on the horizon
An unnatural unnerving wind in the eel-grass
A cold inverted vortex lifts us aloft
The dark myth unfolds
As ineffable as it is unfathomable.
Swirling in the thickness of illogic
It makes no sense to speak of
“Time before time,” of something
Before nothing, yet there it is –
Before infinitely condensed space-time,
Pure ethereal spirits, flames of fire
Created with free will.
(But, why? Surely not that the Omnipotent
Alpha-Omega had needs, or wanted slaves;
Nor would Divine Love be so aggrandizing as to
Narcissistically fashion beings just to adore the Divine Self.)
Unknown, unanswered, mystical and mythical
Creatures (if spirits can be called creatures)
Some of which choose pride, rebel, and,
By so doing, self-isolate into terrible aloneness.
Grace becomes malice
Love becomes hatred
Order turns into chaos
A thick fog in the dead of cold night
Darkness upon the face of the deep
A cosmos without order or beauty or music
Great God of Goodness and Love – heartbroken –
Loved these strange creatures, these shape-shifters,
These wraiths, these flames of fire.
Though humans were created in the Imago Dei,
All of creation bears the fingerprints of the
Divine – snake and eagle, toad and puppy, orca and damselfish.
These fallen dominions, principalities, powers –
Are they irredeemable?
Can created beings place themselves beyond the reach of divine love?
Being eternal, are they indestructible?
Is it impossible to annihilate them?
And, if not, why allow them to continue
Their spoiling of masterpieces?
They are dissonance, confusion, cruelty, heartbreak.
Did the Omniscient One not know they would choose
Havok, death, chaos, and cause merciless anguish?
Did not Perfect Love anticipate wars and burn units?
The whirlwind tenderly sets us down
As the chill dissipates and the sun –
Blessed in its normalness –
Rises to spread a warmth across land and sea.
With gentle strokes, we wave the warmth
Onto our faces as the portal softly closes
And feel the warm sand under our bare feet
And hear the lapping of the waves on a golden shore.
We are content with mystery.
We no longer need answers.
We bask in Love.