Category Archives: Poetry and Stuff

Art that makes your heart sing

We had, as part of our annual conference, a display of art – both paintings and photographs – done by the members of the congregation. Art can cause in us a sense of worship and wonder. In his image, we are called to create even though the beauty we create is small in comparison.  Art that I really connect with, and it does not have to be “religious” art at all,  brings me onto the presence of God
 
Art
 
It seems that art tempts
With longing those
Deeper places of the heart
Where song begins,
As do those spaces
Of open air, with sky
Blue as ocean.
One stands before it
Hanging inert, passive, and
The song begins
Calling to the spirit,
Singing the mind awake
To beauty. 
The creator brought it all from
Nothing. We, imitators,
Make do with paint and film.
Pleased when in response
Your eyes sing
Notes of beauty to your soul.

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Till Some Time Suspended

There are times when my poetic mind

Is flat broke for inspiration.

Life presses in too tightly

And there is hardly room to think,

Let alone create with rhyme and rhythm.

 

The guys come home hungry from work

How can their mother refuse to cook them food?

They look right fagged out from

Building small bits of paradise. 

In someone else’s yard.

 

And the girls need things from the store

Mostly they need my money

I think.  Or my car to get there.

Girl stuff.  They don’t want to be seen

By the boy – a classmate at the counter.

 

And I let them use me, knowing that

Too soon they will be gone.  My house

Will echo with empty walls

I will prepare food for a full table

And no one will come to eat the leftovers.

 

So for now, I will rest my mind.

I will gather memories,

Set them in store rooms till some time,

Winter descended, time suspended,

I will work on them;

Knit them to a cozy blanket

To cover myself in the wonder my life has been.

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Beyond

Have you ever experienced that trace of something akin to longing for a distant place to which you should make your way?  It is somewhere just past the edge of my conscious mind.  It is a sense of something existing that is beyond the reality we know.  It is something more than my mind can catch a hold of – like the reality of another level of existence that I do not understand but that my heart calls out to become part of.  It is as if I know that someday I will understand and belong to that place but for now I have to live in skin.

 

Beyond

 

I live in a misty valley

Beyond which lie things

I have never seen.

Rumours?  Maybe

A place of wonder

Beyond this wall of mist. 

My hands fumble searching passage,

Where is the hidden door?

Fog slips through fingertips,

Only mist and more mist beyond mist.

The nymph of the place beyond luring me

To who knows where?

The sun?

I am charmed, seduced,

Drawn by this dream

Of another world,

Of light beyond the low grey clouds,

Beyond this mist.

There! Did I hear it call again?

The nymph sings

And I can not join it yet.

 

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Small Breaths

 

Psalm 62:9 (NLT)

From the greatest to the lowliest –

All are nothing in his sight.

If you weigh them on the scales,

They are lighter than a puff of air.

 

Small Breaths

 

A puff of air

No more,

Scarcely even a breath,

Our days are nothing.

We are born.

We live,

Hardly even a small breath

Exhaled quickly

For the Divine.

Then we are still.

 

Yet, he esteems

Us; small

Breaths. Gathering us he

Raises a current.

Zephyrs trusted

To carry

Gossamer seeds. Moving them

To good soil;

O Breath of God

Your breath in us.

 

 

 

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Morning Prayer

Morning Prayer

 

In the quiet of the early morn,

Before the children stir,

Before my busy work begins,

I attend to your voice.

As the sky waits for the rising sun

So my heart waits for your voice,

O Divine Word.

 

As the sun splashes fiery colour

Awakening the sky,

O Son, awaken love in me.

Colour me in your hues

Of character.  Let them be rich

In likeness to you this day

For your glory.

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Reflection on Psalm 75

I thank you Lord

For you are very near.   Ps.75:1 (NLT)

 

Why did you choose to

Love me so intensely?

It is easier to imagine

A distant God; fierce and cold.

But you break in on me;

Interrupt my isolation.

Longing, like a deep sigh,

Sends me seeking you.

 

I am used to distance.

I guard the space

That insulates my life.

Calloused skin adds

Thickness.  Insensibility

Sets in to match my blindness

And my deafened ears

Till I am self contained.

 

I know I am not worthy of

A God who’d choose

To wrap himself in

Human cells and sinews

Just so I could know,

Or begin to know,

How much I am

Desired.  Delighted in.

 

My God. Incarnate Gift.

Beloved One. Gentle Saviour.

The mystery of your love

Tears off my wraps of

False protection. 

I thank you Lord.

Teach me to sense again

That you are very near.

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The Table

Last week at our small group we gathered around a small table and were invited to bring whatever we had and, figuratively, place it on that table in front of God.  The time we spent praying together was very good.  As I went home from there, I was struck by the reality that I did not put much on the table.  A few things, but I did not want to monopolise the time with my own stuff.  I could have filled that table; heaped stuff on there till the table broke! In fact sometimes the problems are a bit like the snow we have been having lately – it just keeps coming.  You shovel and clear a path and before morning it is all filled up again.  No end it seems. 

 

But, you know how it is; politeness keeps us from unloading all our stuff in front of others.  Some reservation is likely the proper thing to do under the circumstances.  But not as far as what we put on the table before God.  We won’t run out of time or burden him by spending long periods of time telling him the details of our life where we need him to work.  He is a very gracious host. 

 

As a result of the time we spent together last Wednesday, I went home and wrote.  Poetry seemed the only way to express some of the things I felt.

 

The Table

 

The table waits. In linen

A long expanse of pure white

And all around

A ragtag crowd clutches

Great green garbage bags

Bulging with broken goods. 

We’ve come in hope.

There was a promise; this stuff

Could be exchanged here

For better things.

 

We are afraid.

We thought it was a yard sale.

He said to bring whatever we had,

That we could leave it here,

Our junk,

And get stuff remade like new,

For nothing.

The spotless white linen

Will be spoiled

By what I’ve brought.

.

I have a heart dripping

With brokenness.

It’s sure to stain.

There are words oily with

The dark lubrication of half truths.

Here are puzzles with no picture guide,

Missing pieces.  Dust gatherers.

There are rags infected

By disease awaiting cures

Hope having died in little steps.

 

Jesus, how dare I

Soil your table with such filth?

How can I spread such piles

Of worthless junk before you?

I should have brought my finest stuff

But had none.

You say, “Don’t worry,

The invitation stands. Come. 

Give me your broken stuff”

 So here I am.  Here is everything I am.

 

 

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