Archive for category: Poetry

The Old Man

Each week, I try to bring at least one piece of poetry to the table. Sure, poetry might not be your bag, but poetry is the full-body workout for the avid writer or reader. It hits you where you’re weak, builds up mental muscle. Poetry stretches us in word economy, metaphor, and abstract thought. In that way, poetry makes us more complete readers and better writers.

Today’s poem, “The Old Man,” is a reflection on seeing. Enjoy.

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“The Old Man”

Among the mysteries of seeing, of knowing and being known,
two are most unfathomable, most improbable, most true:
how aged eyes feel youthful without the mirror’s reflection;
how the soul remains unknown without hushed prayer.

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In this month’s Tiny Letter (my monthly newsletter), I’m discussing the idea of resting within church practices. There, I’m speaking candidly about some recent changes in the Haines’ household, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Sign up to read along!

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On the Occasion of Joel’s Wedding (A Collective Poem)

This weekend, I attended a beautiful wedding. This poem commemorates the event.

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On the Occasion of Joel’s Wedding

Gather you fires,
awake in the collective;
come to the wedding and see
with most earnest eyes.

Something old:
the timeless way of a woman
in her most beautiful hour.

Something new:
the fear and wonder in
trembling groom’s hand;
the glassy-eyed anticipation
of his mother’s dreams lived.

Something borrowed:
the cloud of witnesses lending
amens to tender shooting vows;

Something blue:
the January sky;
the jays returning;
the handkerchief passed
from mother to daughter,
to daughter again;
the continuity of
metaphors lost
on those without eyes.

 

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Hold Me

Hold Me

My youngest child
an Ozark whisp,
a collection
of reed-thick bones
and knobby joints,
asks to hold me,
reaching.

Hold me?
I ask, and
Intuiting toddler’s
inverted language,
our reaches meet,
mine and his,
and with
a tensing
lower back,
I swing him
to capable frame,
to his pillow of
neck and collarbone.

Hold me?
I consider, and
intuiting another
coming inversion,
I remember
the way of life.
There is my mother;
how she cradled
her father
in his rising twilight;
how her aging arms
slipped under his
thin-skinned
shoulders and
knobby knees.
She bent, huddled, and
whispered secrets
of the wonders
of a world
without end.

Amen.

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Psalm #21(Sanctuary)

Welcome to 2015!

I know; I know–I’m a little behind. But rest assured, I was sucking the very last bit of marrow from the holidays, enjoying the sabbath. All good sabbaths must come to an end (this side of the veil, anyhow), and the grind must go on, which brings me to my first post of 2015.

In considering what I’d publish first in 2015, I ran the gauntlet of ideas. Should I lead with my One Song for 2015 (my take on the “One Word” craze)? Would Amber and I open with a Marriage Letter? Would I pen existential thoughts on wonder, or beauty, or the inevitable rise of the machines against humanity? I considered each of these (save and except for the bit about the machines), but instead opted to kick off 2015 with a continuation of my psalm series.

Sure, it’s not all cannons, fireworks, and inspirational quotes, but there’s something about the sparseness of a poem, the economy of it. And perhaps this is a metaphor for my 2015. Perhaps I’d like to explore sparser, more economical words.

On to the poem.

Psalm #21 (Sanctuary) was inspired by a holiday drive through the Arkansas Delta. The Mississippi Alluvial Plain on the eastern side of my grand state is home to a winter migration of birds like you’ve never seen. Thousands upon thousands of our avian friends fill the delta fields and squawk one to another. It’s a sight to behold, and speaks a metaphor of sorts (if you’re willing to listen). This morning, I’m offering you a window into that world.

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Psalm #21 (Sanctuary)

Gather all creatures of God and King,
far from the riverbed’s evening blush.
Come near alluvial’s winged throngs;
Listen to Delta songs sung.

Near the rice tassels of Carlisle’s skirt,
singing the songs of God’s ashen sky,
rising and falling like ribbons of smoke,
Flock of best Delta songs sung.

Congregation of the fowlest found—
Snow geese in hunted month’s plumy field,
Mallard drake, murder of crows, sparrows—
Singing the Delta songs sung.

Here, find the Great Blue on stickish legs,
priest of the flock belching herron hymns.
Rhythm of liturgy, heaven bends
Hearing the Delta songs sung.

God and King’s creatures gather you here.
Listen to best congregation’s song.
None is as simple, as loud, as bold.
Emulate Delta songs sung.

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Begotten Not Made: An Advent Welcome

Advent: from the Latin advents, meaning “a coming, approach, arrival,” in Church Latin “the coming of the Savior,” from past participle stem of advenire “arrive, come to,” from ad- “to” + venire “to come.” (Source link.)

Welcome to Advent, the season in which we prepare for the coming of the Hope of the World. Are you following the shining star to the it’s illogical conclusion in the baby’s manger? Is your heart making room?

Today I’m sharing an Advent poem at Elizabeth Marshall’s site. Would you join me?

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Begotten Not Made

And though he birthed the star alight,
he took to manger underneath
the humbled cry of stifled speech,
of own begotten form.

He suckled there at woman’s breast,
the mouth of God on human skin
he spoke before the world began,
to birth begotten form.

Continue reading at Elizabeth Marshall’s site.

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