Adventia, day 7

December 5th. The Second Sunday of Advent. Sometimes, in terms of prophetic Scriptures, the Sunday representing hope. The gravitas of a future better than our past, of something yet to come that outshines the gloom of dark days, uncertain and fear-filled.

I can’t say this is necessarily that, but it is a new one all the same. And, if it helps to birth hope, all the better.

Advent

Cup before the pour, cocoa, or tea.

Clouds, rain-swollen, before taking their moment.

Hearts before words, warm and rightly spoken.

Page before pen, story pushing out to meet its maker.

Inside, a child gazes out at virgin snow.

Child, new and eyes closed, before the first embrace.

Car, keys jangling in shaky hands, before first welcome.

Night, old and disheveled, before day-gates open.

Gravitas, bodies’ ache, release of first touch.

Eyes, leaden-lidded, before the thick of sleep.

Tired world, sore of woe, looks East.

Adventia, day 6

Our offering for Adventia, day 6 comes to us by way of the Adventus Project, which did a wonderful Advent exploration last year. C. S. Lewis never disappoints!

What the Bird Said Early in the Year
C.S. Lewis

birdbig

I heard in Addison’s Walk a bird sing clear:
This year the summer will come true. This year. This year.

Winds will not strip the blossom from the apple trees
This year, nor want of rain destroy the peas.

This year time’s nature will no more defeat you,
Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you.

This time they will not lead you round and back
To Autumn, one year older, by the well-worn track.

This year, this year, as all these flowers foretell,
We shall escape the circle and undo the spell.

Often deceived, yet open once again your heart,
Quick, quick, quick, quick! – the gates are drawn apart.

Adventia – day 2

In my first post in this series, I explained the origins of my strange, made up word. Adventia, as I see it, is our foray into the headwaters of Advent – waiting, hoping, and preparing, together with Fragmentia, those literary illuminations of God’s in-breaking into our world to which we may unite the former.

For most of these we’re taking our cue from a favourite Instagram site of mine – #realpoetsdaily Today, we’re blessed by this gem by T. S. Eliot, from “East Coker.”

"But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting..." T.S. Eliot

Adding Sails

It could be said that

our journeys

are nothing less than

the accumulation

of barnacled hulls and salted prows,

of decks swabbed, well-waxed.

Our crew, composed of those

most impressive, help our slow, steady progress

on the coursing waves of coarser seas.

They sing the old songs.

It could be said that

our wayfaring breezes,

blushed in day-fat skies,

signal us to find their end,

pathways noble, chosen, fearless.

Our guide-stars, poised in Spring-fair heavens,

simplify our white-ribbon’d way

through cushioning waves.

It could be said that

this blue-borne sprawl before us

like weedless gardens,

paths without walls,

is a wordless song of melodies, uninterrupted

and well-key’d, meant for voices

of children and saints.

It could be said that

whatever shanties once joined

throats in the shared songs of adventure

were nothing more than the nursery

rhymes of spoil’d children,

sung by swaying lunar choirs

of the misshapen but hopeful.

Of all the things that could be said,

I will say but one:

of this or any journey,

in the outward way before us –

we are not the Captain of our ships,

we are only

adding sails.

Building Our Poem

Posted this recently to my Innerwoven blog. But, it’s just as timely and appropriate here. I hope you enjoy. Peace, friends…

innerwoven

“…in thy voice I catch

The language of my former heart…”*

“The Bud,” 1987

I love poetry. I love its exactitude, its wide-eyed innocence wed to unflinching honesty. The unforced rhythms of perfection, like Grandma’s gaze over well-worn glasses. It is the art of lovers, the science of thinkers, the wisdom of doers.

Poetry gives up her secrets cautiously, altruistically, slowly. Every word, like every note of a great symphony, is fully intended, placed unequivocally in its place with an eye, and ear, to building something remarkable out of simple things, something well beyond the sum of its parts.

In a thousand ways, we are the amalgam of our carefully written words; each one added to the emerging poem of our lives. In this process, there are no real mistakes. There is only the discernment asked of us in the changing turn of phrase that will ultimately become…

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Found

Another good one by fellow poet and all round great human being, Kelly Belmonte. Check out everything on her page (https://allninemuses.wordpress.com). Well worth your time.

All Nine

Are not all poems found poems?

Are not all poets failed poets

failing in a form fated to fail?

Poetry is not truth, but the last

gasp of revelation after hearing

the truest word. The poet

speaks in tongues to a world

that cannot bear truth, whose words

are woodpeckers at the rotting beam,

wind rattling against the eaves.

The poet is found a poet

as a poem is found in the ruins

of a dying language, the last breath

of truth in a truth-famished land.

Find me in these ruins.

*****

Photo by Jiannis Tsiliakis on Unsplash

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8

Some of my favourite poetry is that which wrestles, dances with the rich imagery at work in the Bible. It doesn’t preach. It simply tells a story. It helps us picture what the original authors might have been aiming for. This is a poem written as part of a homework assignment for a theology course I’m taking.

It plays around a bit with Psalm 8. Let’s dance. It’s always God’s idea.

8

God, you have scattered your way

among stars, heaped about in the easy

wonders of your winking eye.

Our small and stuttered stance, hands

perched on brows, we squint against

the brilliance and tuck our ignorance

inside curiosity, piqu’d at your

grand and noble gesture.

We shine bright inside your shadow.

From there, at your behest, we are noblesse oblige.

It is in the suppler clay of faces you

do your best work –

the weary eyes of fawning mothers,

the stretching yawns of nipple-fed wains,

tossed high by fathers and friends,

and high school herds, stalwart tribes

trumpeting tales of borrowed conquest.

Foe, fallow-field, and fission –

all made from the same stuff.

What careless shrug dares dismiss so noble a kiss?

Who would think it wise to cork this wine

so ably poured from heaven’s fire?

God, you have scattered

my way among stars.

February 14, 2021 ©Robert A. Rife

I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes to the Hills…

innerwoven

A favourite Psalm of mine proclaims the following, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” The simple act of looking to the hills does not, of itself, bring promise. It is an act of desperation, the longing for salvation wrought of shared hopeful faith. In the end, our help doesn’t come from looking to the hills, but from the hand of God whose hills they are.

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Vice President Kamala Harris will have their work cut out for them. We are in times of unprecedented division, delusion, decrepitude, and chaos. But, in all the good and hopeful things coming out of the Inauguration yesterday, none was so moving than this from young poet laureate, Amanda Gorman.

Normally I post poetry on my LitBits site. I felt it required…

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