September thru December
Poem List: 2016 September thru December
Making My Way Back Print this poem only
Why do I leave the clover meadow
cool and humming with life,
abandon the lucid brook
vibrant with freshness
teeming with rebirth?
Fanfare and foibles
cast me out, out, and away -
with this good and that
singing familiar lines,
past melodies and moods
with their fix.
I am numb with bluster
streams of noisy luster
clothed in lies
oh so very pretty -
This flourishing obsession
tries its best
to rob the soul
but it whimpers
its trembling blight
loses its gains
in the cleansing rains
Now I am making my way back
making my way back
to where I belong
to the faithful and the strong
to a place I believe
to a field singing with green
to a river of hope
tributaries of love
where I am refreshed
where I am
Romans 8: 5-6
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. in the gentle power of the Light.
Patience Print this poem only
How can you still stand and sing
I’m the wind beneath your wings
sit and listen to my poems with love
as if they came from above?
How can you cook and create dishes
to satisfy my hunger and my wishes
when I’ve left you and said goodbye
by ignoring your love or telling a lie?
How can you still give forgiveness
for all the hurt you have witnessed
speak softly when I have shouted
stay with me when I have doubted?
Do you hold that spark of the Divine
that in despair and darkness shines?
Is your store of mercy so wide
that I cannot turn you aside?
Or is it your patience my dear lover
your determined will to discover
in me some strain of goodness or light?
Is it your blindness or is it your sight?
Author’s Note: I wrote this after reflecting on verses in I Timothy 1:2 and 12-14 In his letter to his beloved Timothy, Paul’s greeting, in addition to the usual “grace and peace” uses the word “mercy.” And later he says “Our Lord considered me faithful… one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor and an arrogant man. But I received mercy... the grace of our Lord overflowed along with faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”
When I read Scripture I like to ask what God is saying to me, now,. So even though it occurred to me that God is the very essence of patience, so too my beautiful wife Helen, and dare I say many other wives, are blessed with an abundance of the uncommon virtue of patience. Thus the title of the poem which is addressed primarily to Helen, but also to God.
Written September 5, 2016
Dare I say I’m a righteous man? Print this poem only
Language is such a vexing vessel…
Try to describe a trout’s speckle
the angle of an eagles’ wings
the stress of a violin’s strings.
Can you capture a baby’s sigh
the look in a dying man’s eyes
what it does inside seeing them
or hearing your favorite old hymn?
Can you say in a word
the reason you are stirred
by a great sermon or speech
and the heights that you reach?
Why can’t I say or take a stand
that I am a righteous man?
Am I just enough? Do I even start
to think of such purity of heart?
And yet if I - a believing sinner – repent,
like the eagle on Spirit wings’ assent
a sweet covenant of mercy from above
will make me a righteous man in faith and love.
Author’s Note: Written upon reflection on I Timothy 1:9 “We know that the law was not made for the righteous person but for the lawless and rebellious…”
Written September 4, 2016
Fighting Darkness Print this poem only
If you follow each of these guys
watch them go through their days,
the normal conventional eye
would see their divergent ways.
One an engineer by trade
one a poet dreaming of summer
a retiree who’s made the grade
an oilman and a former drummer.
But look closely and see them sitting
once a week at a café table
listening keenly and admitting
their struggles the best they’re able.
See their Bibles open to a letter
from Paul sharing his terrible thorn
teaching them how to better
their walk on the path they’ve sworn.
Listen and hear them quietly say
what the Word means to them,
working, staying, loving each day
wherever, whomever God sends.
Observe the depth they all reach
beyond any divides that may seem,
hear how together they breach
the expected and find the Supreme.
In short this is a gathering of men
willing and determined to fight
the darkness that draws them,
to climb together into Light.
Author's Note: This was written about a small group of men who meet weekly to discuss a chapter of a book of the Bible and to share how it applies to their lives. It is a diverse group and we have come to appreciate and respect each other in spite of the differences.
Bison Song Print this poem only
Oh how the sadness in your wizened eyes
betrays your history on our mother earth
the plains whose dust your heard would fill the skies
your massive movement sounding your great girth.
For centuries your flesh and bones supplied
the native peoples from their very birth.
Whites took your land and brought your quick demise
to steal the sacred meaning of your worth.
But still with furry shoulders you stand tall
your sacred legacy of strength remains
we thank you for the blessings you still bring.
You ground us lifting souls to Spirit’s call
you sweep and roar across our daily plains
reminding us to bow, then dance and sing.
Author’s Note: Inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke’s sonnet, “Archaic Torso of Apollo” Rilke’s poem, in sonnet form, wrote beautifully what the white marble sculpture of Apollo (arms, and head no longer there) spoke to him. Here are his first five lines:
We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp , in which his gaze, now turned low,
gleams in all its power…
Looking for my own piece of art, I found a wood-carved sculpture of a bison, given to me many years ago by my wife, that now stands on the top shelf of our garden room, a place of honor where it belongs.
Hiding Friend Print this poem only
Long before I knew you
there you were - hiding
or should I say lurking,
a fluttering feather
sending me here and there
into the everywhere.
The teacher whipped my butt
me on the jumping gym
of my fourth grade desk
me in my persistent squirm
but now in shock
teacher standing there stern
but proud of her stealthy shot.
There I was pale
what crime cost
and innocence lost?
There I was
a child cast in shadow
under the dark cloak
and its incipient sting.
And there you are
behind the scene.
Author’s Note: This is about the experience of having Attention Deficit Disorder which I now consider a friend, especially in the writing of poetry. But at the time as a child I knew not of this diagnosis for it was not even available at the time.
Anxiety Print this poem only
You swallow up my faith,
you ravenous, gluttonous demon
you vicious venomous being
for the weakness and frailty
in my humanity.
You take me away
away from my anchors
from the precious Body of Christ
where my Father planted and nurtured me
and lavished upon me
unspeakable unrepeatable moments of joy.
When in your grip
I cannot seem to recall
my rich inheritance
into which I was born
So on this dark morning
into this night
I reach out
for the great antidote
to your venom.
into my depths
to grab a thread of his shawl
to fetch and clutch to my breast
the garment of grace
I need to pass beyond
your dark dank
valley of fear.
Lizzie Alive Print this poem only
She is alive so alive
as un-tackable and un-trackable
as a stream dancing on stones
or music written in scherzo
played in pizzicato
putting violins in a frenzy
and music men in a tizzy
yes that’s her mama’s Lizzie.
On the other hand
she’s as sound and sure
as an oak in a meadow.
Her laugh and her smile
are perpetual dawnings,
a hill festooned of bluebonnets
and sprinkled with kindness.
She is a strong Texas woman
rooted in the plains of her family
like the sturdy Mesquite,
its limbs reaching out,
its nature surviving drought
and rocky stubborn soil.
The tree is alive
and as wildly protective
as its many thorns.
Egoic arrogance she cannot abide
nor taking generous ones for a ride
but she has a good keen eye
for the hurting, the frail and the weak
her vision triggering the love
deep in her bones
placed there by angels
and her Father above.
She’s a poet who turns dark into light
has a soul so deep she bears the pain
of others’ suffering and strain
without complaint or ire.
She is a redhead from head to toe
yes she’s funny and oh so feisty
and her heart is all aglow -
but - speak to her nicely -
she’s no pushover you know.
Lizzie, we’re glad you were born
that day eight decades ago.
At this moment we know we are blessed,
that our lives would be so much less
without your laughter and light.
Yes, you are a woman so very wise
but you can’t imagine the fondness that resides
in those here gathered, nor the love that’s inside.
Our joy rises because eighty years ago you arrived
and showed us God’s fire that still brings you alive.
Author's Note: For Elizabeth Hobbs on her 80th birthday November 22, 2016
Fiddle Fig Print this poem only
You are so hardy
surviving your tenders' neglect.
Your leafy abundance
dances into my day,
the breeze caressing you
with the opening of the door.
You make me wonder!
How do you create
that massive leaf
through those tributaries
the contrast of which
I can now see,
the night having sneaked away
with the dawn's early light
revealing the veins
of your gorgeous
I climb into you -
and travel every tributary
of your green river
savor the great appendage
Author's Note: It is a Fiddleleaf Fig plant.
Elizabeth: A Life Print this poem only
Her mom knew her intense insistent desire
to have the answer, to find out, to know,
not knowing was her bane, her briar -
she couldn’t bear delay, or walking slow.
“But my dear,” her mom said to her.
“You’ll have to wait a while this time
for nine months you’ll have to defer
your haste for your inside clock to chime.”
Oh how she loved to be fast
with her winding softball pitch
to run those bases like a blast
bowling a strike was a prize so rich
she could not retrain her shouts
as she yelped and jumped for joy
and her opponents were thrown out
showing how a girl could beat the boys.
She had grit and courage, she was tough
she up and married a Navy man
but staying back home wasn’t enough
she followed him and moved to Japan
picked up the language and went to work
learned statesmanship and restraint
on the job - no mere flunky or clerk
she stood tall - wasn’t about to faint.
Sold and bought cars, saw the world
she grew devoted, and practical, and sane
but having two beautiful girls
was the greatest joy she’d attain.
Strong in Christ and human kindness
whatever she did, with ledgers and books
she challenged our moral blindness
she was honest on every road she took.
People of many kinds you could mention
came to the library to her station
because she stood stopped and paid attention
and although there were frustrations
she did not show ire or spite
instead she smiled and spoke nicely
she listened and did what was right
explained things softly and concisely.
Although these days she seldom runs
she travels to visit family and friends
and she still knows how to have fun
to laugh and listen and make amends
She watches frogs, speaks to dragon flies
drinks morning coffee and reads the news
occasionally with tears in her eyes
but by noon she’s shook off the blues.
She gave all she had to Ray
taught us Jesus with her sacrifice
with devotion she showed us the way
for the good of others she paid the price
but was never paid what she deserved
she is an artist, a lady, and a poet
her place in heaven is reserved
and those who love her know it.
For Elizabeth Hobbs on her 80th Birthday November 22, 2016
This Is Personal Print this poem only
I've got the hand of Jesus
and he's got my heart
This ain't no theory ya'll
or in my mind apart
This is very personal
I've got Jesus and he's got me
can't find reason for it
no logic I can see
All I know is we've got something
that ain't just him and ain't just me
it's the two of us together
making music meant to be
How I got here 's quite a story
A man named Richard told
that God knew if he became human
his true nature we'd behold:
He's a person a human person
with feelings of joy and pain
who loved with a love we'd never seen
a love he showed again and again
And if he's a person who really cares
a human person who's God's real son
then if we're God' children this Jesus man
is a brother to me and to everyone
And if God's inside all his creatures
then Jesus is right here inside me
and if he's a Savior of all us humans
then he's a personal savior to me and thee.
Gotta go stir the red beans Print this poem only
Oh what a precious soul
that girl next door, Jackie Kroll
her father Max and mother Gin
and Mike - to our family were like kin.
Fondly I recall the crawfish bisque
oh what a luscious savory dish
labored over without a gripe
without charge or fret or hype.
Gin and Max taught her well
for she drew from that crawfish shell
the best etoufee in all of the south
and stirred those red beans to delight your mouth.
I’ll remember her in that kitchen
cooking was almost like her religion
like a prayer she toiled without fuss
and we knew it was done just for us.
Oh! how she gave us our daily bread
the support and caring in what she said
nourished us beyond the table
to do more than we thought we were able.
She also had another wondrous feature:
serving others, she was a gifted teacher,
and she sewed the pieces of our lives together
into a quilt fit for all kinds of weather.
Hers was the heart of a Tiger through and through
she seemed fearless, was graceful, and true
she was in our world a very loyal fan
and when we were down she helped us to stand.
She didn’t boast of her walk with the divine
but her devotion was truly a Christian sign
sermons and lessons she sometimes told
and they became yeast baked into our souls.
I bow to you, Jackie and honor your name
maybe you didn’t have status or fame
but I stand here now out loud to attest
as a human person you were one of the best.
I can hardly believe you’re gone from this life
you mother and friend, you loyal wife
but when I think you’re fully gone and disappeared
I need to recall your precious soul that’s still here.
Author's Note: My dear friend Jackie Kroll Reine passed away December 19, 2016 and this poem is dedicated to her and her family. Please click here for the obituary.
Distance Print this poem only
This distance between us occupied
minutes and hours multiplied
by walking and running thoughts,
divining the cost of careless loss
roving and darting with such might
not even a rest in dreams of night.
Then a trouble or something tragic
pauses me, and a moment of magic
makes all that distance naught.
I fly to you my love in thought
bound again by strings unclear
I yearn and ache to have you near.
But again the world cries out to me
and again I am gone - in its roiling sea.
Inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnet # 44
Shining Moment Print this poem only
Oh, that shining moment
head emerging from the water
breaking forth into the Light
as from my mother’s womb
this time the span of a life
beneath those ripples,
and I an old man
bathed in grace
rising, dripping joy.
Remembering that moment
a year ago
tears now drip
from these old eyes
my sight blurred by them
blurred by Spirit
who has not let go of me
still he holds on
grasping my heart
Is he a carpenter
or a stubborn sculptor,
his firm hands
Written on 28-2016 for the 1st anniversary of my baptism, my first rebirthday. Baptized and reborn August 30, 2015