Tag Archives: poem

prayer

A smile between strangers.
Watching the robin hunt
for insects,
folding three loads of laundry, dropping
boiling water
into the teapot.

Writing in your journal, listening
to your spouse, sharing:
a meal, a ride,
Your load.

A cool breeze that cuts
through humid air.
The clack of boots
on asphalt. Going,
and leaving.
Habit and impulse.

Pray without ceasing –
Let this journey be
Your Prayer.

Advertisements

contented senses

Contentment looks like
a sleeping mouse and
an old oak tree
Contentment
feels like
a knit wool blanket
in grass green sprawled
out on your
unmade bed.
Contentment tastes like
mashed potatoes
and buttered
whole grain toast
Contentment sounds
like crickets
and summer rain
Contentment smells
like a warm
cup of earl gray
at 4 or 4:15.

on safety nets and waiting

waitingThe waiting times
I’ve heard
are lessons
to learn – so far
I’ve learned:

uncertainty is hard.
It wears at the
netting that holds us
Above that infinite
chasm of ultimate
un-knowing.

I scribbled down the poem above in my journal a couple of weeks ago in an attempt to reflect on the ruthless anxiety that has spread out and seeped in over the past, seemingly endless few weeks. We were waiting to learn about job opportunities, grades, financial provisions, and family health concerns. We were waiting to see how much we’d have to change to accommodate all the changes we couldn’t control. And just as the pieces started falling into some sort of order, my car broke down – and we’re waiting for rides and parts and final bills.

Waiting is inconceivably difficult. You have no central control. You make decisions and ease transition by doing an awkward, breathless, side-stepping dance around the resolution itself.

I went through a period of waiting before where I practiced repeating:

Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord.*

I don’t remember what I was waiting for. I only remember the verse. It’s a brilliant phrase for us, the waiting ones, because it gives us back a sliver of control: You have to actively respond to a command. You get to take a deep, heroic breath, hold your fist out in an intimidating pose toward the empty air in front of you and press on. You are legitimized in your struggle by the implication that waiting does take strength and willpower. Your internal voice that incessantly nags, “What are you whining about?” gets a hand held over its mouth and, for the second you’re reflecting, you feel strong again. You feel ok.

So you repeat it like an incantation. You redirect your waiting. You wait for the Lord to show up, God-willing, and work toward believing that the rest of it will show up, too.

*Psalm 27:14

image source: Waiting by Dr. Hugo Heyrman

Lao by Kenn Reagle

She calls me babysan
I am only nineteen years old
I don’t even shave
The skin on my face is soft
Lao giggles when she sees me
She introduces me to her friends
They call me babysan

I see her working in the fields
She offers me her lunch
One small ear of corn
I sit beside her
I eat her corn
What a strange war
At the moment we are winning

Lao points to her friend
Her name, “Minoi!”
“Minoi!” I say
She giggles
They speak
In a language
Incomprehensible to me
Minoi means darling
They call me babysan

I watch the fall of Nha Trang
On television in Lancaster, Ohio
I grieve for Lao and her friends
I won my war
They Called Me Babysan

KENN Reagle IS A FRIEND AND FREQUENT CUSTOMER AT THE COFFEE SHOP WHERE I WORK. HE’S ALSO A POET AND A GREAT CONVERSATIONALIST. HE RECENTLY GAVE ME TWO OF HIS POETRY BOOKS; LAO APPEARS IN NO ONE CALLS ME HERO, A COLLECTION OF POEMS ON HIS VIETNAM WAR EXPERIENCE.

Psalm 30:2

It takes some strain
to bow to humility
to ask for Help means:
I’ve really reached my
end.

So when I ask, know I’m
Desperate: I’ve run out of
time, excuses, plans.

I called to you –
Oh God! I called.
I asked for help with:
All the pomp & circumstance
of a General in Battle.

Bring your guns, ready
your forces. I’m
puffed up even in
my weakness. The commander of:
My Circumstances.

You were just reinforcements.

But instead,
Oh God! You laid me down
demanded light activity in
the nearest seaside town.

And the unrest, you
promised, would lose its
un-: I’d find the peace of
a Cicada at its end.

And the chaos would be
music and the nagging thoughts
a rhyme. And the world’d still spin around
us both, but we would dance
in time.

Lord, my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. – Psalm 30:2

attend to life

Each minute doesn’t
have to count
but it has to matter

Each waking eye
Each phase of the moon
Each dawn and
rain
it’s bound to come again
but never with
just the same flourish
or shape or pattern.

It doesn’t have to count
but it must be
acknowledged

Each hair brushed
just so, each sizzle
in the pan and
coffee ground and
alarm sounded
it’s the dance and
melody of normalcy
but not mediocrity.

It doesn’t have to count
but it should be appreciated

Each sigh
Each staring at the
wall and
backache and
hangnail and chore
forgotten
it strikes in the cheek
like a sinus headache
but it dissipates.

It doesn’t have to count
but of course it matters

Each daily ritual
Each daily error
it’s a rhythm, cycle,
slow creek in an often
parched wood
but it persists

It isn’t a counted forward march –
It is a sinewy, strengthening web
of rich matter.

Enough

I am not enough.

I know this to be true. The struggle of the quest to be enough is that it has no blunt ends or signposts or sections in the dictionary.

Enough : being what you need to be and nothing more.

But context is the final definer of the lines around enough and that story rests largely in my perception, my point of view.

I am not enough, I say, because I want to be more. Need is not a good enough end.

And here grace steps in, shaking her head, drawing a circle in red chalk in the center of the blacktop street – telling me firmly to Come In!

I step into the center, see a single word scrawled in bold block letters beneath my feet.

It says, Enough.

See! I am doing a new thing

The planting is hard but
the Sprouting
it hurts.
Imagine! Writhing
Up against nature’s grounding force
through mildewing grime
Would you – human –
with free will, with choice
ever push? Eat dirt,
awaken?
The mums are stronger
It wasn’t their choice
It’s nature
Look! If it’s light and
dew you want
you already have it.
Dilluted/deluded
in your watery
thoughts, you were
already taken Up
You have already fought
You are a golden mum
echoing light on each
dewy drop.

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”

a poem for Advent

Light of Christ

She held it cupped in her wrinkled palms,
across her lifeline, it burned
And fragmented and grew.
She peered in, squinting hard,
Hands to nose
Stars igniting in her eyes.

She clenched it then, tightly
Pushed it away with the force of her now
elongated arm, like a sigh, or fainting,
or a fervent dance.

She didn’t let go.
Afraid, though, of
The Revealing:
over-exposure,
Conviction – no trial necessary

But it hurt, holding its
heat, its heaviness
She shuttered her eyes

Release.
She knows it’s gone.
She can see the sun with her eyelids pinched tight.
A whisper, a knowing – she musters the courage to
Look.

She is enwrapped in a gown of radiance
frothy and feathered and laden with silk,
A light that imparts light
A glow that reveals, not her own:
griminess, despair, darkness.
The light of truth and love,
The light of Christ encroaching on:
decay, vanity, deceit,
Death.

Embraced, ignited,
A girl on fire
Enshrouded in the revealing and
Holy Light of Christ.