A Poet Gathering

I had a dream about a gathering of poets. 
All anxious to see others’ work

One stretched his neck to read my scrawl but

All I had on my page was what I’d studied about

The hard work not yet done

The hoped-for work

Put off for 

The hunch that this self needed to grow up (more) in order to produce.

I awoke with my self still attached.

Come to find that its place and presence doesn’t so much need reckoned with

Other than to be taken captive and hushed

Yes, it’s already in the art by virtue of its inextricably bound contact

But this is no mystery needing solved.

That examination can (blessedly) be over.

The self need not be a major player:

Noticed, stroked, hailed for its presence among us.

It needs only to record its findings 

Is needed only to examine spaces, places, abiding mercies

And share what it’s found.

The artist’s generosity is in communicating

The gifts.

Souls have value:

Let’s not dispute that.

Questioning the validity of their voices

Wasn’t the dream

The discovery and unpacking of those voices 

As they reflect all the goodness of their Creator’s the dream.

Little mirrors co-creating in honor of the One artist.

The unexamined life may not be worth living

But that may also be true of the morbidly examined one

So intent upon its own navel that life

Is lost on it.

And this isn’t to devalue our personhood:

Rather it is the reinforcement of it.

See! and then Share! 

Have a peek at my scribbles

I’ll peek at yours

And may there be something to see:

Some connective tissue from a

Personhood all intact.

Adding to the beauty

Reflecting things true and needful

And so see the world through another lens

– His –

Ah, the dream of poets.

Move

  

When? When’ll it get written ‘cept now?

When? When’ll it get planted and how?

‘Less someone like me cares a whole awful lot

Nothing is going to get done, it’s just not.

‘Cept what happens when caring’s not in the equation

When my mind is so full but so dull

What happens when I’m paralyzed with my self

And I just can’t distinguish my call?

What happens when my brain’s so full of turmoil?

(I’ve been stewing, despondent and down)

Feeling a victim all over the place

Smiles are scarce ’round this face: s’mostly frowns.

See nothing gets done – I just stop and I stare –

Then obsess more with all that’s not done

I am weak, Lord, You know it, wish I had more of a scapegoat

But my self is at fault – I’m the one

That is faulty and sinful and wretched and dumb

Full of Amy and all of her woes

I forget – least don’t act like – all Your goodness is here

That I could myself on Jesus throw

I’m sorry, I am, I’m so sorry ’bout these:

These leanings towards over and whelm 

I don’t know what the cause is, the source or the problem

That threatens my place at the helm

‘Cause it’s that: it’s that feeling that I’m not in control 

Of my destiny, life, or e’en hope

And it leaves me despondent (yes I know it’s redundant)

And I wonder how better to cope

I can’t figure it out (it’s only been 40 years)

So maybe the answer’s not there

Maybe the answer’s in just looking up

To the One Who assures me He’s here

See “what would Jesus do” is slightly off base

It’s “what’s Jesus doing” that’s now

It’s a matter of aligning myself with His Self

(And relaxing these lines on my brow)

I can trust Him (we can!) we can trust Him always

And forever to do what is best

I can trust that my angst, and my self, and these pains

Can be completely shored up in His rest

It’s not a naive sort of trust that I mean

Rather it’s hard and a battle for sure

But it’s all not for naught – there is good purpose here

Makes us loving, gentle, right, and pure

In order to separate the good from the dross

Some fire’s required: heat and light

The yuck must be skimmed from this soul that is His

That His presence is all that’s in sight

See there’s too much of me too much world and distraction

That it muddles one’s right view of Him

So these troubles I feel – though they seem very real –

Must be brought more to Him so to dim

So now on to remember – Lord, help me do better –

Remember Your presence always

Remember what You’ve done, are doing, begun

Fixed-on-Jesus-eyes are what must stay

Thank You, Father, for even now I realize

That You’re helping me this very minute

To remember Your goodness, faithful, gentle leading

Redeeming all that is amiss

That’s the God that You Are, the One who rights all the wrongs

Who brings healing and light to dark places

Turns all things inside out, turns all things upside down

Transforms shame into beautiful spaces

Thank You for help, and thank You for love

And thank You for helping to love

And thanks for redemption, freedom, and reminding

Me blessedly towards You to move.

Some Shoes, a Snake, and a Straw

A local newspaper writer invited readers to accept a challenge to write a story (though I chose a rhyming form) using a shoe, a snake, and a straw. This is what I came up with, which to my delight and surprise, he chose for publication! I offer it here in response to the Color by Words blog story challenge.

I was 8 years old, ’bout 3rd grade, you see,

When I walked in the store that day.

My Mom was ho-hum 

But I was a-thrum 

Anticipation held all out at bay, 

It was

Anticipation held all at bay.

(For you can’t very well

As a kid just let tell 

of the thrill that is buying new shoes;

They make you jump higher look cooler run faster 

If you’re shy, bring you outta your shell, 

– Maybe –

If you’re shy bring you outta your shell.)

So I sauntered real cool

As I eyed up the stool 

Where decisions’d be made that would count.

Like a beacon of light

The stool shone all aright 

My innards a veritable fount,

– Say I –

Of excitement a veritable fount.

Too excited to talk

Real deliberate I walked

To the shoes that lined new on the wall.

That’s when he came in

Kinda tall, kinda thin

Glasses and ponytail donned, I recall

– That’s right –

A gray ponytail donned, I recall.

“Can I help you?” he asked

With a smirk that was masked

‘Neath a straw that he held ‘tween his lips.

He chewed it all ’round

It made nary a sound

But his words were sarcastic and quipped

– They were –

Words all sounding sarcastic and quipped. 

So onward I went

Tentative though not spent

From my search for the perfect new shoes.

Saw a blue and white pair

On their own little stair

Couldn’t wait to see what they could do

– Oh, man! –

Couldn’t wait to see what they could do.

But this salesman, this guy,

No matter how hard I tried

Wouldn’t let me get outta my head.

Condescending and mean

In his eye a deep gleam

That said, “Don’t make a mistake, little girl.”

– It did –

Say, “Don’t make a mistake, little girl.”

How dare he, this guy,

Come in here and try

To thwart the bliss of my getting new shoes!

Did he not think

That his straw, smirk, and wink

Were the bane of a kid’s ability to choose?

– Why not –

Know you’re the bane of a kid trying to choose?

Well I’m happy to say

That I bought shoes that day

In spite of that guy at the store.

(They were a bright white

With blue stripes that were light

I still remember the feel, what is more!

– I do –

Still remember their feel, what is more.)

So, grown-ups, please know

As the young ones who grow

In your presence are trying things out,

Don’t make them feel small

Condescend them at all

Or arrogantly throw ’round your clout

– Please don’t –

Take advantage of all your (old) clout.

Else they’ll think you a snake

Meany, phony, or fake

As they discern whether fight or just hide.

So please watch your tone

Get way down off your throne

Let them know you’re a guy on their side

– They need –

You to really just be on their side.

————————-

So that is my take

On the shoes, straw, and snake

From the gauntlet and challenge so thrown.

Robert Frost I am not

Just a dried up old snot

A once-kid in a person now grown

– I am –

A once-kid in a person now grown.

Darlings Away

Oh how I love you.

And so very wildly surprised

(And delighted) at how

Motherhood spins all these

Invisible threads that

Palpably

Bind me to you.
Hoping this solidarity’s (desperation) will

Defy time and space,

Carry over, blanket you in all things needed.

Hoping these while-you’re-away prayers

Are reaching the throne of heaven.
Hoping that somehow

My love for you is an offering;

That these frantic hopes please Him and

See you protected and good-showered

– help to defeat all that would harm or steal.
My darlings,

I pine for your return:

But I celebrate your going

As I try to bravely (not cut)

Stretch the cord enough that you feel free

But still fully supported.

That you feel free to go

And (always) free to come back, to be, to bound to me.

Not stifled, not held back,

But wholly loved that you’re filled full up,

Ready in turn to fully live, fully love.
Be free, my darlings.

Be open, be wise, be strong, be kind.

Be impervious to evil’s wiles.

Be engaged in love’s beauteous play,

Life’s glorious possibilities.

As you’re away,

Be.

And know that I am grateful that you are (at least little bit) mine.

Be you…

And most of all,

Be His.