• Late Fragment

    I just love this poem.

    BTW, I wrote about this poem here, if you’re interested. And sorry about the silence around here. Our internet company has this ridiculous, oppressive policy of expecting their bill to be paid on time every month. Which normally we manage. But it’s been a long, crazy couple of weeks. If you’ve been following along for a while, you are already aware of the fact that this sort of thing happens from time to time. Like the one time I got 5 flat tires in a month. On the same car.

    Anyhow. I am beloved on the earth. Even if life is ridiculous and dumb.

  • The-Brightest-of-Stars

    Self-Dependence

    When I was a senior in high school, I came across a poem which became my moral compass in a way, for my life ever since. It’s called Self Dependence by Matthew Arnold (you probably had to read his poem “Dover Beach” in high school):

    Self Dependence

    WEARY of myself, and sick of asking
    What I am, and what I ought to be,
    At the vessel’s prow I stand, which bears me
    Forwards, forwards, o’er the starlit sea.

    And a look of passionate desire
    O’er the sea and to the stars I send:
    ‘Ye who from my childhood up have calm’d me,
    Calm me, ah, compose me to the end.

    ‘Ah, once more,’ I cried, ‘ye Stars, ye Waters.
    On my heart your mighty charm renew:
    Still, still let me, as I gaze upon you,
    Feel my soul becoming vast like you.’

    From the intense, clear, star-sown vault of heaven,
    Over the lit sea’s unquiet way,
    In the rustling night-air came the answer—
    ‘Wouldst thou
    be as these are? Live as they.

    ‘Unaffrighted by the silence round them,
    Undistracted by the sights they see,
    These demand not that the things without them
    Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.

    ‘And with joy the stars perform their shining,
    And the sea its long moon-silver’d roll.
    For alone they live, nor pine with noting
    All the fever of some differing soul.

    ‘Bounded by themselves, and unobservant
    In what state God’s other works may be,
    In their own tasks all their powers pouring,
    These attain the mighty life you see.’ Continue reading

  • The Will of God – A Poem

    The Will of God

    “I always think of a story I heard
    on Christian radio,” she says
    crossing her large arms
    washboard hands
    “About a woman
    abused for years
    by her husband.
    He became a Christian.
    It’s all worthwhile then.”

    ThewillofGodThewillofGodThewillofGod

    Abundant life
    beat your wife
    or girl Continue reading

  • Writing my first traditional, non-sucky Haiku

    Writing my first traditional, non-sucky Haiku

     

    I wish I could show

     the beauty I see in you

    when love looks through me

    Many poets say that their poems just come to them, often fully formed.  This is both how I usually write poems and why I haven’t written a lot more poetry. Usually it starts with some phrase that floats around my head for a while.  Sometimes that’s all there is.   I’ve had some phrases floating around my head for years that I’ve never figured out what to do with. (“A sense of the color of things” is my favorite.)  But sometimes, I can get a couple more lines worked out, and I’ll sit down to write.  When I’m really lucky, all the rest is just there.  There’s always fiddling to be done, but the body of the poem has been provided. 

     For the last several days, the lines above have been floating around my head, but every time I sat down to write anything with them, I couldn’t go a single word further.  This afternoon, I typed them out and once again couldn’t go any further.  So I sat with it a minute and it occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t supposed to go any further.  I counted up the syllables and sure enough, I had a serviceable haiku

    It had been there all along. I just needed to stop trying to make it into something it wasn’t and look at it a little differently. Much like  life sometimes we’re so busy trying to get things to me the way we think they are supposed to be that we miss what is.  Maybe if we thought to stop and look a little differently more often, we would discover that everything has been alright the whole time.   

  • Now Its Time For A Love Poem

    A Tweet to the first person to guess correctly how old I was when I wrote this!

    *Ahem*

    A Love Story

    A turn of fate

    A twist of the eye

    The misalignment of moonlight

    The glow of stars

    And you are in love

    Suddenly the world is blind

    And you are beautiful

    You’ve found someone to share your lunch with.

    You cry at his jokes

    And laugh at your wedding

    Then you buy a frog

    and the kids live happily ever after.

    So you sell the washer and dryer

    To buy a garden

    Where you plant ladybugs until 3 pm

    When it’s time to go, dear

    And you ride away on your tandem bike.

  • I Am The Willow In Winter

    Picture Cribbed From "From the Lilypad"

    I wrote this poem ages and ages ago but never thought it was very good.  But lines from it keep popping into my head lately.  So I thought I’d share. 

    I am the willow in winter

    Long swaying branches

    like tenticles

    dance on frigid air

    tinkling an icy fugue

    the leafless branches

    are all beauty, no life.

    I will be the willow in spring

    reaching down to choke the deep

    and pull out life.

    And I will dance

    in warm, moist air

    full of life

    green leaves

    making shushing noises

    as they rub together

    these leaves will die again

    in fall

    the next time

    the coldness of the world

    overcomes the willow

    and me.

  • i-am-quitting

    The Quitter

    I would quit

    I have tried to quit

    But it seems that I don’t know how

    There is no window to submit your paperwork to

    Or voicemail to leave a message on late at night.

    You cannot march into God’s office

    To announce your departure face-to-face

    He will not reply, “I hate to see you go.”

    No matter how hard

    I try to quit

    The well-worn ruts in my brain

    Are etched out by more hours than I ever imagined

    Spent in the company of the Divine.

    The words carved into my psyche

    Are taunting me and pulling at me

    With that message I now want to quit:

    “God is real.  He loves you like a father

    like a brother

    like a servant

    or a friend.

    He loves me like a man

    Longing for his beloved

    Just wait.  Just a little longer.

    Resurrection comes with the dawn.”

    I can no longer believe these

    Chirruping reminders

    But I know no better guide to follow

    Than these deep grooves

    Sculpted into my brain.

    Although now I am lost.

    My lover will have to come for me.

    If he is real

    And if he is good.

    I will know his voice

    should it come

    I have heard it often before

  • Book of Job Chapter 3: Ever Wanted to Die?

    Chapter 1 here

    Chapter 2 here

    At the start of Chapter 3 of The Book of Job, we find Job, having sat in silence with his 3 friends for 7 days, ready to talk. (Text of Chapter 3 here.) What comes out of his mouth is one of the more heartbreaking of the laments found in scriptures. Job does not curse God or Satan or even his misfortune. Rather, it is his very existence which is the subject of his lament.

    One of the notable things about Chapter 3 is that it is where the Book of Job ceases to be a narrative story and becomes an extended series of poems. We are of course reading a translation which can make it hard for us to appreciate the poetry involved. In addition, Hebrew poetry uses something called parallelism where an idea is stated and then restated. This can happen between lines, within lines, between stanzas or withing stanzas. For example, verse 17: “There the wicked cease from troubling, there the weary are at rest” is an example of parallelism within a line. We can see it in the repetition of the sentence structure and the repetition of the first word of each phrase. There is also a pairing relationship between the wicked and the weary and ceasing from trouble and being at rest (ceasing to be troubled).

    People with more patience and attention to detail than I have/can spend oodles of time teasing out these structures and themes. For the rest of us, however, the result is often that the text becomes repetative and we can get so caught up in the flow that we lose track of what is going on. Like I said, I am not a good detail person, so having to wade through a bunch of lines which repeat themselves with variations over and over again is not my cup of tea. I have found it helpful to look at these sections as what they are: poems. I try to break the poem into thematic sections which are usually composed of the same or similar number of lines. For this chapter, it looks like this: Continue reading