Monthly Archives: December 2018

Hope > Despair

In You, I am complete
While ever in deconstruction
I swallowed defeat
But not destruction
You have lavished mercy-
I search Your instruction.
You’ve inscrutably chosen me,
And written my introduction;
I eagerly read on.

You surrounded
My petty despair,
My fears unfounded,
With others who care-
To Your glory redound
The unity we share.
May the world be astounded
By the work You’ve declared
And expounded

Accomplished by fiat,
and kneeling intervention.
Grace beyond grace-
Love beyond comprehension!

On Being Forward

When the steady, monochrome rain
turned the often choppy bay
into a barren plain
and the ducks and geese lay low
drifting, ruffling, dripping
in some abandoned cove
while the deer wandered, sipping heavenward
Time brushed by me in passing,
and this, his indiscretion, stirred
a presentiment of trespassing here-
tuned to an unknown, irregular frequency
lost when the world runs clear-
but for one moment stolen between eternity

and now.

Pot-bellied Burn

Whether a soul is birthed
Or forged
Who can say?

Yet between those prosaic amblers,
Those who gambol through the race,
Always remarking in kind,
“What a lovely day,”
And “The early bird gets his worm,”
For whom their IRAs,
Their endgame plans,
Stretch no farther in imagination
Than the angle of repose.
Of those I have very little to say…

But the others between
As one out of pace,
Out of country, out of tune-
Who burn like furnaces
Churning their influences
Into solid states-
Whose collars smell
Of woodsmoke, of bootblacking and waste
No open air or sea
Who taste of sap,
Of antiquity and ideas-

Of these
I am gripped by sudden
Recognition, a filial fealty,
And the aching awareness
Of the vast impermanence
Of all things.

Giving Up or In

Father, remove Your displeasure-
I will follow as You lead,
But I must see the measures
As I am given need-
Do not count against my offspring
The frailties of my heart-
Nor let my pungent offerings
Cause Your Spirit to depart-
I am dust.
Born of dust, struggling the same
To learn the mysteries of trust,
Or the power in Your name-
Remember my frame and constitution.
I shall not linger long,
Even in remonstrance and restitution,
I’m a flitting, failing song.
Man has caused me many fears,
Bruised flesh and crimes against my core,
But I am still here,
And my greatest fear is Yours.
Who are we, and what are we,
To mingle our intrinsic fault
In Your dynamic activity-
When what remains is to exalt-

Only never leave me alone-
My soul is still crippled
From the mold in which I’ve grown-
Cruelty shaping in ripples-
I am tired, decades in,
Struggling to reconcile
The powerful, holy cadence
Indwelling our squirming bile
And this vile mass of flesh,
Of which I am full member
Begs to be refreshed,
Redeemed, remembered-

In my mother’s blood, in my sin,
You died for me.
Deal in kindness once again,
Gently set me free

So I may see,
With no misgivings,
Your goodness here
In the land of the living.

On the Wing

I cannot be sure,
But tonight may be the night I quit.
I don’t think I’m even being obedient anymore,
Just obstinate.
Maybe I deceived myself before;
Maybe now I’m throwing a despondent fit:
Both can be equally ignored.

I cannot do it alone-
And why would I without You in it?
Yet for a moment between groans
Hope was upward-winded
But not yet flown
More than tongues and tenets-
Standing in flesh, and feather, and bone-

And I believed.

Memory Pangs

I’ve read our memories are best plucked
By specific scents, the sense of time
Bends and folds in sudden agreement
To retrieve a moment from where it’s tucked.
Forgotten years may be retrieved
By a single sniff: A whiff of aroma
Translating ancient hieroglyphs
Into tactile memories perceived

But this roving feeling in my gut:
Hungry, ill, then intractable will
Empowers empty to give its fill:
An illusion of some ethereal glut-
This precise, vivid language, rarely-used,
Unenthralled, unwraps the shawl of years
Exposing in the clarity of muscle-squalls,
“Ah-ha! I remember! This isn’t new-

I once lived here.”

Creation Declares

I’ve always thought glorifying You,
Was an act that humans do
For other humans to see,
To respond and believe,
To echo out to other men-
Setting the cycle to begin again.

Yet angels look in wonder,
Celestial beings peering under
Canopies of creation
Glorify You in jubilation

For Your work in man.

Heartbeats, Footfalls, and Pounding Waves

Let the drumbeats lead us to the sea-
In cool of dark and cover of blindness,
A mighty sun lashes vulnerable skin,
Foam churns the salivated-ocean
Sticky on the swollen shores
Tongues and gums and
Saltwater evaporations
Adhere the dry bed to sky
Out we must march!
In darkness, dark
Preserves our vulnerable
Sun-crisped skin
Where cold may bite,
And ice may burn,
But the drumbeats take us!

I had a mother once-
With soft flesh and ivory teeth
Singing dark songs,
Low melodic spirituals
Sundering soul from bone
Her hidden youth
Borne of blood and water and man
And the tigers’ heard her
Moonlit dirge, her mournful croon,
Her tigers’ blood pumping
Through a woman’s veins
They desired her with tooth and talons,
Mauled flesh and appetite,
And her spiritual wanders
Dry spaces, drumless paces-

But the drumbeats bear me away!
Steps and sounds mingling
Into body chanting
Pounding the ghosts from sand
To frighten what lurks
In outer darkness, lost rings
Surrounding the drums
We pound out rhythms,
Purpose, protection, toes in sand
Beating out a road to sea
Our stretched legs limber
Sinews like fingers
Stomping in strength
Answered by weakness, silence,
Pounding again in strength-

Beyond the drums the lightning flashes
Ivory teeth and slitted eyes
And my mother’s spirit
Hungry, angry, clicking teeth
I hear it beyond the drumbeats
But sun will scorch them
Drive us both to ground
We wait till darkness only falls,
The beats put distance between
Flash of tooth and sudden violence,
Retribution for the apostasy
Of being man,
Tameless, shameless man,
Of wandering arid spaces
Until the sea may save us!

The Young Sun

The sun yawned once and rolled out young,
Full rays frolicking on green earth,
Clean air, crisp, precise,
Rollicking in the fervor of new birth.
And we were new, brash and foolish,
Reaching where we ought not,
Taking with ease the very things
We were taught not.
How weightlessly we carried
Our moments of import
Our engine of presumption
Extending over our consorts-

For now was always, and always new
The future held no portal-
Assuming the sun may never age,
And we, too, may be immortal
For bones made long and strong,
And flesh stretched firm and smooth
Could find no reason to change,
Where there is no need to improve.
We needed no fear of future
Knowing no need to mend-
How brash! How foolish the youth who believes
His delights will never end!

To Appetite, Avarice, and Apathy

Oh bitter man,
Striking earth with hoe and heel,
Does mercy burn away as dross,
Compassions cool as hardened steel?
Tiny, timid, trembling hands
Upholding immortal speculations
In fingertips of frail flesh,
Ageless treasures amid ancient desolations-
Oh coarse, consuming man!
In desecration of design
Feeding ignoble appetites,
Fatted on the sublime,
Until the basest desires
Devour all

Souls stricken with sight
Pleading with these blind
To see, to receive,
To love in kind.