Archive for the ‘Poetry’ category

Conversations after Eden

January 6, 2010

Jan van Eyck- The Ghent Altarpiece - Adam (detail)

“Why do you blame me?” This night,
she held back no longer her need to assuage.
“You were with me
when I ate!
You heard that wicked creature’s enticements!
Why did you not protect me? Why were you silent?”
Bitterness ricochets off the cavern’s walls; even
punishing did not satisfy, nothing did.
The accusation echoes —  then she is wrenched
with guilt at the muffled sobs of the man. He never
wept.   Always that flinty gaze, even when
exiting the garden.

Then Cain wakes. She turns from the man’s side
to the child; he nestles at her comforting breast,
and slumbers again. Adam murmurs, finally, “Woman,
I forgave you, as I named you. You are ‘Giver
of Life’! Eve, forgive me — or  the promises
will wither, as all our crops have done.” She hears his plea,
she ransoms fear, her fingers drip with liquid myrrh,
to open the handles of the bolt, yet he has risen from their bed.
And another day she must endure of
her soul failing when he spoke.

He groans, feeling his body’s bane, the chill of Fall,
and an ebbing fire. He sees an ebony mamba,
a sneering glint, slithering away
towards the field’s briers, and though he knows
her seed would smash its head, he will taunt a snake.
“You are finished!” His voice sounds ridiculous in
the empty silence. So Adam wearily waits for
more light, yearning for that dawn
when the sting of thorns will be ended, and
his children will not return to dust — only be made new.

An Expensive Gift

December 26, 2009
unwrapping the gift

This is real love: imagine a gift,
one thing you treasured for self,
and you weep as you wrap–
you cry, “Oh, must I give it, Lord?”

Such excruciation only ornaments
the celebration of a birth
that was only ever meant for death–
wrap, and weep, oh you giver of gifts!

Package undone, your sacrifice–disdained?
Grieve again for love unrequited. Yet turn
your cheek– then turn your eyes — to adore Him!
O Cry, “Thanks be… for His inexpressible gift!”

For Broken Things

November 7, 2009

to Josselyn

Glory be to God for broken things:
for a tunic of skin covering nakedness,
for a rainbow of a robe become torn and bloody,
for a veil hiding fading radiance,
for a harp hung on a willow by a river,
for a water pot forgotten near Jacob’s well,
for a net torn by its load of fish,
for a flask that released some fragrance,
for linen strips unbound from a body,
for a curtain torn in two.

Glory to God for all the scattered shards, bruised reeds,
for every sparrow’s feather that falls.
He gathers them, and in a heavenly alchemy,
a nail splinters wood,
a bitter cup is drunk to the dregs;
and those contrite who have
mixed His words with faith
are strangers no longer, are knit together
with the power of an indestructible life
to then reflect His beauty.

Glory to God for those ransacked souls
admitting their bankruptcy:
the madman gnashing the skin of his tomb,
the blind man shouting above the crowd,
the bad woman crashing the pious man’s party,
the proud ruler begging for his dying daughter,
the unclean one touching His hem as she bled,
the fisherman cursing as a rooster crowed,
the nailed thief’s poignant plea and
an exiled king, head covered, weeping on his barefoot ascent.

Oh Glory to Him for every wretched heart
set on pilgrimage;
for all those who fail, then fall on that Rock,
and come to Him in pieces.
O Glory to God for all the wastrels
coming to their senses, still stinking of pigpens!
He has called out these broken bits of earth,
they have become the living stones.
It is not many noble the Father has welcomed
to His gleaming home in Zion: Praise Him!

Elijah Is Fed

October 17, 2009

Does only splendid light hide You? This
dreadful body of death covers just as well;
Oh, such heaviness since I said, “I, only I, am left,
who follow you wholly!” Such darkness always comes
from self-martyrdom and man-fearing!
Now I am abandoned, forsaken,
facing her fierce wickedness, alone.
Except for traitor memory that
dredges up all my Jezebels– again!
And did I really forget that You are

not in fire, not in wind, not in tremors?
No, You are only in a delicious stillness
that rescues  humbled men;
Repentant, I  fall into the splendor
of the Father now; in His embrace I
exchange impoverishment for
promised rest, a prophet’s mantle
for nourishment of bread.
Another will be anointed to wonders;
I am taken up by a Voice that feeds.

There is Sorrow On The Sea

September 8, 2009

( Jeremiah 49:23, from Spurgeon’s, ‘Evening by Evening’, 9/7)

“It cannot be quiet…” for the sea longs
to give up its dead! All its billows roll
over so many bones: ruins of the fallen,
all the drawn under–the sea
mourns for them! It weeps in its
waves, keens in wind, and ends in
sobs, the shudders of pebbles on sand.

The sea remembers some comfort,
once: the exquisite voice of Him
who understands this pain,
who does sit by and moan, who does
share such sorrow too! The sea was
silenced at the word of this One,
and longed for its own annihilation,

for time’s final unwinding,
heavens bright dawn
and the end of all turmoil–
when the sea will be relieved of grief,
and its salt tears at last.
Like the sun and moon, it will be gone, and yet
a rainbow, like an emerald, is around Him.

Joy In A Stone

September 7, 2009

For Elijah T

Surely it cried out then,
when the ponderous weight of it
was pushed by some angelic hand,
and mysteriously rolled away.
Surely the stone was singing then–
perhaps in rapture —

it no longer covered
His sarcophagus.  It had been
first witness to death’s collapse. The stone
saw the grave give up it’s relentless
gravity;  the grave had power no longer
to return to dust the children of men.

The Son of Man spoke this truth:
When man’s stark silence is stubborn,
the stones must speak His praise.
So in that moment, the yearning
of all creation echoes in
that stone’s shout of — Hosanna!

Then silenced,
until Apocalypse, until
after the rocks have all fallen.
But when every broken boulder is gone
and every tomb is empty —
then we shall hear again the joy of stones.