blanks

blanks

Patches are missing.
But I catch something blurry in the space.
I don’t even know that I miss it until I dig up past days.
(It moved so fast)
And presence isn’t a strength of mine so it’s probable (not impossible)
That I just didn’t impress each length of time,
As wildflower or fallen leaf,
Between the pages of my mind.

The mild power of most memories
Isn’t freeze-framed like the family photos,
Isn’t captured on VHS, in stunning granularity.
Even when I watch the ones I own, they seem trite,
As if I wrote down the wrong things in my journal,
Or I’ve kept the memory without the meaning.

But there must be meaning to those blanks,
Not just noise with no impact,
Because sometimes they suddenly appear, intact,
With the wild power of familiarity:
A face, a smell… oh! and the pace of a yellow atmosphere
at a certain time of day.
Most of my fears cascade in curtains of rhymes between me, myself, and I,
But the ones that ambush me
Part the sea, my hell, and the sky.

It could be, like existence and wonders unexplored,
That this thunder by the door, these bullets to the brain,
Are kept in cabinets for safekeeping till the fullness of the day
I am most in need (most days, it seems).
Most days I could use a dream, or two or three,
(Especially knowing they were real, once).

So you and me?
Let’s leave them lie, let them sleep.
Someday every fragment will have risen from the deep,
And the puzzle will be complete.
And we, memory-dancers all, just maybe, we won’t care.
Since the ephemeral “ANSWER” seems to be in Getting There.

ninety-nine reasons to stay

lost sheep

Leave everything for me,
Herds and havens, the heaven-scent of billowy-backed clouds,
And the sure, steady streams of meadows sweet, the hills crowned
With succession of sunlight, leaping from dew upon the ground.

Leave your home for me,
Those heady beams of cedar, wound about by ropes of pinpoint green,
The Lebanon, the Life, the Vale Unseen,
Temples of a staggering reality,
The fullest Fullness and final Finality…
Leave it, for me.

Leave your family,
Row upon row of the righteous, robed in raiment white as wool,
And obedient, not like this fool,
But willing, if only to the fault
That they’ll never get the killing,
Nor learn to live as salt.

Leave it all for me,
A fallen, failing buffoon, a wandering greedy ingrate,
Bawling and wailing at the mess I’ve made, lurching,
Blinded to my need except to know I’m hurting,
Fleeing from Your true embrace, time and time again,
Writhing in my slavery, and hating in my pain.

Seems that only You
Would leave ninety-nine reasons to stay
For the single little cotton-headed lamb that got away.

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:4‭-‬10 NIV

(Liturgical poetry during ordinary time after Pentecost is inspired by the parables of Luke.)

Words for the Church: Ordinary Time
difficult, divine
better
torrents of my making
mine to forgive
now does the earth
when blood
knock
unveil
something fearsome
gold dust prayer
lamps alike
eat the song
smallness
sisyphus

sisyphus

sisyphus

Measure it out to the end,
This treasure of yours, hidden inside.
You asked Him to follow through,
Follow you, embrace your human-plans,
Then trace you in the sky as you flew,
A god applauding.

Was there a “calling” placed on your life?
As in preaching to heathens or taking a wife?
Were there walls falling, allowing entrance into your own personal Jericho?
There we go again, centering our balance
On applications pending approval,
Reliance on biblical stories that by removal
From context leave us dangling as a participle.
The precipice for falling, thus,
And Sisyphus is calling to us:
“Rocks you roll will cripple.”

No, this business of being a disciple
Isn’t about you or your stomach or whatever thing inside you speaks,
And listening to it and calling it God
Is idolatry, and it reeks.

Maybe there’s a passion that can be fashioned,
That can be rationed out or and cashed in with a God who actually cares
About what’s inside of you,
Because He made you to hold it,
And emboldened you to believe.

Measure the treasure there,
In pots of clay, and stay a little while
In the knowledge of His plans for you,
Not your plans for yourself.
His are better and sure to succeed.
He plans not for what you want
But rather, for what you need.
So give it all up and steady yourself,
Get ready to follow His lead.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. Luke 14:28‭-‬33

(Liturgical poetry during ordinary time after Pentecost is inspired by the parables of Luke.)

Words for the Church: Ordinary Time
difficult, divine
better
torrents of my making
mine to forgive
now does the earth
when blood
knock
unveil
something fearsome
gold dust prayer
lamps alike
eat the song
smallness

smallness

smallness

Most days I feel small.
Compare me with what You will
And I come up short,
One more year and maybe I can ride the big rides,
Brave the big things,
Without crying.
But I’m just a kid with a courage to match my stature
And a small way of thinking.
In fact, I’m quite sure
I’m shrinking.

I could blame it on others,
And there’s blame to go around.
Sure, some of it comes from my grasping for crowns,
From naming and claiming
That which isn’t mine to take.
And some comes from all the stupid choices I make.
But the rest, a large part,
Divested of others and me,
Is just how the world works,
Who I am, and what I’m meant to be.

Smallness is the gift to the small
Of an essence that should be familiar to all,
Of a greatness yet compact until God acts.
It will grow into shelter,
And spread through the dough,
And this isn’t feeling, but fact.
We, tiny saints, carry within us
The body and blood of His holy city.
And our smallness as seeds is a promise, not a pity.

This is so much bigger than all of us combined:
From a King once microscopic
Comes a Kingdom divine.

Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Luke 13:18‭-‬21

(Liturgical poetry during ordinary time after Pentecost is inspired by the parables of Luke.)

Words for the Church: Ordinary Time
difficult, divine
better
torrents of my making
mine to forgive
now does the earth
when blood
knock
unveil
something fearsome
gold dust prayer
lamps alike
eat the song

eat the song

fruit

The wait is long, and long and low
The sighs of wind through empty leaves.
What fruit might hang on branch and bough
Is missing, and it makes me grieve.

Then sighs the wind through empty leaves
A song of three years passing by:
“I’m missing that which made me grieve,
And longing for what makes me cry.”

A song! For three years passed me by,
And never fruit to eat. A song
Of longing, sung to make me cry,
And one more year to right the wrong.

I never… fruit. To eat the song
Is yet to swallow hope and grace
For one more year. To right the wrong
Is up to You, to turn Your face.

See, the swallow! Hope and grace,
A weight so lifted, long and low:
Now up to You, lift to Your face
The fruit that hangs on branch and bough.

Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” – Luke 13:6‭-‬9

(Liturgical poetry during ordinary time after Pentecost is inspired by the parables of Luke.)

Words for the Church: Ordinary Time
difficult, divine
better
torrents of my making
mine to forgive
now does the earth
when blood
knock
unveil
something fearsome
gold dust prayer
lamps alike