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2021 Poems: January-April

 

A Spicy Plea            Print this poem only

 

The sage bush

waves in the wind

spreading its subtle scent

like incense for the Earth

a plea to passers-by

to pause and breathe

in peace. 

 

Written 1-15-21

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Winter Senryu            Print this poem only

 

Gently softly now I float

a small wispy whitish cloud

unto your ocean

 

Author’s Note: A senryu, like a haiku, is a three-line 17 syllable Japanese poetic form that focuses on human nature, usually consisting of three lines, with syllables as follows: 5, 7, 5.

 

Written 1-16-21

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Arrivals and Departures            Print this poem only

 

I am grateful for all the arrivals

at campgrounds in mountains

retreats and desert revivals

landings in marshes and lowlands

casinos, theaters, and even dirty dins

where I learned the distance yet ahead.

 

To see me now I look settled

yet my father’s son is always on the run

riding the winds

confessing sins

finding sages in pages

searching decades

for worthy crusades

seeking fellow travelers

steeped in joy

upon encountering

beautiful souls.

 

All the miles searched, and books read,

all the places and races fled

led to the simple truth

the answer was right here all the time

deeper found pausing inside

the vaulted skies

of the divine.

 

Author’s Note: Written upon finishing The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton.

Written 1-16-21

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Take it          Print this poem only

 

Here it is right at hand

nothing startling or grand

but it seems such a climb

to simply take….. my……... time.

 

Written 1-17-21

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A Letter in Time            Print this poem only

 

Every letter I type is a drop of me

eyes so full of life

they drop a tear

and in that bead

that pearl rolling down my cheek

is sadness, joy, care or grief

the sweat of my heart.

 

Written 1-15-21

 

Thirsty Evenings            Print this poem only

 

Missing our talks made a yearning in me

like morning longs for light at midnight.

 

Our shared visions and sorrows

rest in my memory

dust upon sacred volumes aching to be read.

 

My heart has been thirsty for Christ

who lives on Thursday evenings

when we search and celebrate Scripture

and the thoughts and writings of saints.

 

The small spark you get in your eyes

when you are joyfully professing

your earnest faith

is incense permeating the room,

incense gathered from icy climes of Russia

low mountains and plains of Oklahoma

lead mines and flat rivers of Missouri

and the splendid peaks and streams of Colorado.

 

Christ our precious Lord

created these moments of grace.

His cross and rising

reverberate in the play of our words,

the play of our thirsty evenings.

 

Author’s Note: Written for my good friend, Brother, and Pastor Kevin. We gather regularly on Thursday evenings to study the Bible and other books, but due to circumstances were unable to meet for a while. And especially during the COVID pandemic, these conversations were real important to each of us.

 

Written on 1-13-21

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Gift of Time            Print this poem  only

 

I sink into this sweet moment

not of lightning and hail

but soft unveiled convection warmth

of the south

in early afternoon

of winter.

I find my center

here in time

more precious than rubies or sparkling of diamonds

what a crime

presumption

I will persist

in it

this gift

this present

time.

 

Written 1-9-21

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Have your way with me            Print this poem only

 

I cannot resist your wriggle

your movement wrestles me awake

from my routine slumbering lumbering day

your breath

your wind are my oxygen

telling me I’m alive

you move from heart to fingers

and dance on the floor

of this keyboard

with your partner

pen on the smooth flat surface of paper.

 

It is more vital to write my heart

to write write write as I MUST

than to obey some poetry manual

or imitate Longfellow, Rumi, or Frost

or any other.

 

Writing your movement is like breathing

I cannot go long without it

you impel me to this place

this oasis

this pure land

these tropics

where I let you speak

and have your way with me,

you my magnificent muse.

Written 1-8-21

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Momentum Took Us            Print this poem only

 

We were both feeling a small joy

at some long-awaited good news

our conversation crept in a soft light

but then you drifted

into your dark valley of anger and angst,

life circumstance

overtaking you like a black cloud

full of rain and lightning.

 

The momentum of this moment

thrust me into your pain

but how could I leave you now

and still say I love you?

 

Author’s Note: I bow to Frances Raeburn and her poem, Ten, for the inspiration for this poem.  

Written 1-24-21

 

Link to “Ten” by Frances Raeburn: https://hellopoetry.com/Frannieraeburn1/poems/

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Virtue of Winter Grass            Print this poem only

 

The drab day is clothed in gray

yellowed grass

lays silently soaking up rain

patiently awaiting a distant spring

not yet ready to sing its lively green.

Hoping for inspiration

I almost overlooked your present virtue -

patience.

 

Written 1-24-21

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Sustain the Weary            Print this poem only

 

The wizened old man told me -
sustain the weary with a word

for many a one has none

to bring love and light

into the blight of their dreary days.

 

I asked which word

and through a wan smile

he said - you figure it out.

Written 2-8-21

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A Strong and Tender Heart            Print this poem only

 

Precious Jesus here and now

tell me, teach me your heart

I know my will but I know not how

to stay tucked inside you not apart.

 

You walked the dusty rocky roads

you sweated in afternoon heat

trapped by a crowd on sandy shores

you had no place to retreat.

 

Jesus make your way into me

through my arteries and veins

make this vessel what it will be

when you are all that remains.

 

Release me from bondage of pride

take this dense, protean clay,  

and fashion it to keep you firmly inside.

For your strong and tender heart I pray.

Written 2-8-21

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Heaven on Earth            Print this poem only

 

Ghosts

 

The ghosts float about

sometimes above my head

                sometimes in my chest

they wrap themselves

Oh to be lycan

                I saw a wolf in the northwest covered with snow

                                blue eyes looking right through me

                                as if to say wake up you stupid human

                                                stuck in the mud

float in snow my man!

I feel the heat on my inner thighs

                creeping upward tickling enticing

                                as if the summer is trying to peak its head

through cold winter soil

a shiny black snake coils

around my ankles

squeezes telling me to be not afraid

                of the primordial divine impulse

                                to take my earthiness and embrace it

                                bring it to the heavens where it belongs

                                with my spirit.

 

The Woman

 

The long thin silk scarf around her neck

flaps and flies off her left shoulder

like angel wings in the wind

caresses my cheek and neck

wants me within her feminine self.

Ah! what sweetness to behold!

her soft skin gentlizes me

takes my hairy clunky body

lifts it into my dreams

into her moistness.

 

Awake

 

And now I am awake

to spring in its irrepressible green

daffodils at the base of the pear tree

                direct my eyes from earth to sky

like an organic gothic arch

long puffy clouds stand still

against the bright azure sky

heaven on earth.

Author’s Note: I wasn’t sure I could allow myself the freedom anymore to just let my mental images take me, line to line. I have to say I am a tiny bit surprised. Inspired by M-E’s poem, Night of the Beheaded Flower p.03 Final

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The gates of life are everywhere            Print this poem only

 

I feel a little joy

to see the new growth on the sage bush

it survived the deep freeze of winter.

I join this subtle green creature

in this moment, in this piece of now

maybe I too will get through this season

with a small burst

of creative energy

enter the gates

and rejoin Life.

 

Swampy Yearnings            Print this poem only

 

My heart keeps floating east

to the place of my birth

along the brown rushing waters

of the awesome Mississippi

the vast Atchafalaya basin

where the boys 

of fishermen and hunters

become men.

Oaks drip with moss

cypress trees grow out of swamps

and exude a mystic charm

that pierces your mood

and captures your fancy.

La Nouvelle-Orleans

born in centuries past

gateway to a new life

for my forefathers

who crossed oceans from France

made families for the generations

and planted their culture

amidst the rich foliage

and damp environs

of this magnificent mysterious place.

Yes, I yearn to cross the Sabine

make my way to Breaux Bridge

and other Evangeline towns

eat crawfish etoufee

by the Bayou Teche

speak my Texanized accent

to my Cajun cousins

who tell their stories

with a hint of French

and laugh in a universal language.

Soon I hope to make the trek

to quinch the yearning of my heart

hug my cousins

breathe the poem of my life

and the moist fragrant Louisiana air.

 

Written 4-5-21

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The Puppy            Print this poem only

 

I got to wondering today

if I am an old dog

who can’t be taught new tricks

if that windmill going round and round

catching the wind between the blades

is really who I am,

if the universe surges

into the spaces still left in me,

if it is trying to wake the music

yet alive inside

in the curves of my heart,

if the blood pulsing there refuses to go down

in one grave path

and insists on a symphony of swerve

an inclination in a new direction.

If that breeze is really grace

then maybe I am being reborn

a puppy full of life

eager to be all the dog it can be.

Written 4-11-12

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The Jim I Knew
 
Looking at him with that long gray beard
and unruly hair, and listening to him speak
you would not know from the way he appeared
that he had books written in Hebrew, and Greek
or that he was a biblical scholar of sorts,
read theology and volumes of biblical meaning
and in those books went to many lands, embarked from many ports.
His mind brimmed with ideas and was inclined to dreaming.
 
His voice echoed Arkansas hills and streams
his eyes sparkled with humor and wonder,
his stories, full of drama and dreams,
of storms ringing with lightning and thunder.
He was a machinist, expert with a lathe
tamed metal into a rifle sure and true
he aimed for God with a heart full of faith
reborn in Christ’s Spirit that brought him through.
 
I’ve known few men whose heart poured tears
when he suffered fierce remorse for his sins,
when he told his mistakes in various spheres
he was sad for too many losses and too few wins.
How wrong can a body be about someone
who appears a mere lean country boy
but has a soul deep as the sea and bright as the sun.
Yes, I’m sad at his loss, but thinking of him brings me joy.
Author's Note: This poem was written and delivered at the funeral of my friend Jim Stacy who passed away April 7, 2021 he was 87 years old. James Oliver Stacy Jr. was born July 9, 1933 in Fort Smith, Arkansas to Burnus and James Oliver Stacy, Sr.