Of changing seasons and the heart of man

The weight, the stink of summer sweat

erased, now late, the greening days.

Pursued no more by Spring’s regret,

once come the crisping Autumn ways.

* * * * *

Delivered, fresh, with fondness, fields

that love no more the drawling heat.

Welcome, Autumn’s respite, real,

her daunting face of beauty, sweet.

* * * * *

To smell the winds and wayward sky

is once again one’s place to know.

A speck, a grain, a hollow sigh-

to plant, to seal, to die, to grow.

* * * * *

And underneath her drying skin

are gifts of death, of seedling hope;

entombed, encoffin’d earth, within

the ground, while truth, with life, elope.

* * * * *

And you, O Man, so faint and dull,

where fate and folly freely meet,

your seasons, many, twist and pull-

your grasping, brash; God’s touch, discreet.

* * * * *

Return and taste the Summer gifts

the iridescent, squeamish Fall;

the Winter’s breathless cold uplifts

till Christ, like Spring, will death annul.

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Help me to forgive you, God

I recognize this is not the first of its kind. Others have also shared just such things in the wake of the recent, horrific atrocities in Syria. I feel impotent to change much of this. But I can write. And I can pray. Here, I do both. Join me…please.

syria

 

 

 

 

Lord, they did not ask for dusty feet

sandaled and sore

to walk over the flesh and bones

of neighbors and friends,

of brothers, sisters and parents.

They didn’t ask to be brought before

someone else’s tribunal on imagined

charges of being what they should not be,

what you created them to be.

They did not seek out this desperation

that found them huddled, fearful and crying.

To see the bloated bodies of fellow pilgrims

floating down the river, under bridges,

stuck and floating on rocks jutting out

and shaking bony fists at you for justice,

is to see a God too small to save.

Or am I missing something, Lord?

I am not smart enough to know

the fancy talk at long, important tables

where cigar-smoking men carve up

the world with a wink and a handshake.

I am not wise enough to understand

how to discern what most is needed.

I am not strong enough not to hate,

nor still enough not to stir up

my anger, my outrage.

Lord, if I am forced to sit and watch

what looks like the refuse of hate-filled politics

paraded before a God with weak arms,

and no stomach to move into the fray;

then, help me to forgive you, God,

if only long enough to dive in myself.

Who knows?

Perhaps we’ll meet each other there.

Picture: www.blogs.common.georgetown.edu

“There once was a girl from Nantucket…”: why I write poetry

poet's pen

“There once was a girl from Nantucket…”

There are as many ways of self-expression as there are people…self-expressing. One can say something in many and varied ways. There, see? Unlike other, non-poetic forms of writing, poetry evokes rather than explains. Now, good prose also can do this. But, somehow, there is an economy of words and focus of emotion in poetry, a kind of escalator narrative that moves us up and down at will, that prose cannot seem to create in as neat and succinct a way. Prose tells the story of our life on paper. Poetry crunches up the paper and then makes sense of the wrinkles. Prose seeks to pull petals off the flower and, in deconstructing it, find it. Poetry imagines the soul of the flower and, in ways both sensory and direct, introduces us. Prose tells us how beautiful the flower is. Poetry tells the flower how beautiful we are. In a real sense, poetry is a flower, a kind of natural face given to the mystery of our being.

Poetry doesn’t take us from A to B. It asks why we even need B in the first place, or at least takes the longer, scenic route. Prose needs readers to engage with its detail and form. Poetry needs but to exist since it is both beauty and the suggestion thereof. It is an invitation not to read but to be read. “If a tree falls in the forest” is a question we ask ourselves. The poet shows how cool a silent tree really is. It is the art of words rather than the science of language. Moreover, the lucidity and dominance of its spatial, nuanced non-rhetoric leaves a big, front door through which those of us thirsty for something other than exactitude and definition may find our Narnia. A good narrative will give us the tale, the wardrobe, the place. Poetry helps us live the tale. Prose ushers us to turkey dinner at Grandma’s house. Poetry ushers us to Grandma whose heart was the crucible of love out of which came our dinner.

I write poetry because, for me, it is prayer. It allows extreme right-brained thinkers like myself to engage with words in more dancelike fashion, treating them more like lovers than telemarketers. I can simply close my eyes and, through the mystery of my subconscious, knit to God’s own being, walk through the veil of here to there without having to explain why or even how I got there. Poetry is perfect for people who can’t figure things out but for whom the things are just as cool unfigured out. Mystery wins every time.

If you had no idea what the hell I just wrote, you’re not quite ready for poetry…just yet.

Photo: www.blog.ted.com

An unexpected invitation

saints and sinners

 

 

 

 

 

I have hidden my head

in the cloak of heaven, singing.

I can smell a fragrance

and watch an evening unfold.

Could this be the dance

of saints and sinners,

women and men,

soldiers and satin,

frail and overpowering,

wise and unstable,

sick and perfect,

praise and calumny?

They swoosh and dance and mingle

with heads up and eyes wide

hands clasped and hearts raised.

Listen for their whispered shouts, loudly silent,

heard only by those

with a need to hear something

they did not expect –

“Come.”

 

Logo: www.tripsmarter.com