Thursday, August 18, 2016

Jael

Hold it steady in your hand
and with the hammer drive it deep.
Your arms are thick from setting and striking 
as you move from place to place. 
The world gives little choice. 
Your life was set at birth:
who you marry and how you live.
The power you have was not given. 
You built it by driving pegs 
each day of your life. Then this pig 
shows up with his imperial demands, 
ignores the rites of guest and host 
for after all, you’re not a man. 
So you wait; he falls asleep.

Hold it steady, drive it deep.

̶  November 23, 2012

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Kenosis

for Kelly
Philippians 2:5-11


There is an empty cup once full
poured out into the living hearts
of those you served. If you heard
this said of you, your face would flush
from neck to ears (you know it’s true)
accompanied by an “aw-shucks” grin.

The good die young and old and in between
and all too soon, it seems. And a life
heaven-bound fails to mitigate
grief and pain: tears can wash but not
erase, never erase. Deny the pain
denies the life, denies the love.

A life well-lived deserves to be well-mourned.
The deeper the love, the deeper the scar that binds
the broken heart. And as grief pours down
to re-baptize the wounded lives, an empty
cup once full remains to store the tears.

Friday, May 27, 2016

In Silence Sleeps

In silence sleeps my lady lovely.
She cradles my head close to her breast.
The evening keeps its sentry watch
over our bed while we take our rest.
In youth and age our love has kept;
grown close, grown far and close again.
We've turned the page, we've laughed and wept.
We've shared our love: the joy and pain.
So I watch her sleep this lady lovely;
kiss her face, gently caress.
And I will keep this quiet memory
locked in my heart close to her breast.

To Terri
Valentine's Day, 2008

Friday, April 8, 2016

Immortality

You cannot write eternal words
by design. But once in
a life a thought takes hold.
Even then, you cannot know,
you dare not know lest you corrupt
the words themselves. You just write
with brains on fire, as if all
depended on one word, one phrase,
one solitary syllable.
So you search elusive words
without a clue if they will live
beyond your grave. You have to write:
                                 you have no choice.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ashes

February 10, 2016

smudges on a fleshly canvas
mark the metanoian moment
with soot crucified in oil

The hope for those who fell;
a light for those who cannot see.
a hand that plumbs the deepest hell
to lift to heights of bended knee.

For the times when I did naught,
for false humility and pride,
for the things I’ve left undone,
for all the good unbegun,
when calloused, I refused to cry,
for the times when I forgot…

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy
                on this heart

Ascending steps on winding stairs
upward facing toward the light
brooding visage in stark relief
a face obscured in primordial night.

For the times I did not care,
for the times I hid my eyes
pursing pleasure, avoiding pain,
denying love, embracing shame
refusing truth, believing lies,
and falling to the fowler’s snare…

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy
                on us all

remembrance of a heart unturned:
broken, blackened, unforgiven
ashes, ashes we fall face down

(a meditation for Ash Wednesday)