Day 13 – Poetry for Lent

Negative Space

The idea of negative space has intrigued me ever since I had an instructor talk about it in an art class. So much of art can be applied to life, don’t you think?

I think I’ll play around with light and dark font/background for this piece. It might add to the impact. And of course, the poem itself is rough, but I think there are some good seeds here….

You must add the darks,
my art teacher said
to balance the lights.

    My darks creep in and
    muddy my light 

Negative space
my art teacher called it
The space that
surrounds an object
defines it boundaries
and finds its edges

    Depression confines me,
    cuts edges with razor blade steel

An object doesn't become real
my art teacher said
doesn't stand out
until you add shading.

     What I am not
     helps make what I am real

The mix of positive and negative space
my art teacher said
brings balance 
to a composition.
     Learning to think 
     in shades of gray
     brings balance
     to my life.

Day 11 – Poetry for Lent


I am feeling my way
blind in more than eyes
longing to soar
but afraid of falling
or maybe not getting off the ground at all
so I crawl, inching forward
eyes closed
and maybe my heart too.

When I quiet all the noise
I hear your voice
calling my name
and my heart remembers you
and leaps forward
to meet you again
still, my flesh holds me back
my mind pleads for caution

Help me Lord
cast aside my restraints
that I might fly
in Your awesome wonder.

Day 8 – Poetry for Lent

Do No Harm

In this poem I played with the idea of several different “voices” as well as what I hope people understand is irony.

Do No Harm

First do no harm.
                                  Stomp down 
                                  those who disagree,
                                  who disbelieve.
                                  If they cannot see
                                  your right from their wrong,
                                  cast them out,
                                  like chaff from 
                                  your pure wheat.
                                  Their evil questions raise                               demons of doubt,
                                  doubts and specters of fear.
                                  What is behind the curtain?
Do onto others
what you'd have done
unto you.
                                  Hold strong 
                                  to your god-given truth.
                                  If you say it 
                                  loud enough,
                                  if you close your eyes, 
                                  and recite your prayers
                                  at a shout,
                                  you’ll drown out their cries,
                                  you won't see their wounds.
Truly I tell you,
whatever you did for
--or to--
one of the least of these
brothers and sisters of mine,
                       Could it be,
                       your secret fear,
                       a man pulling wires?
                       Or maybe no one at all,
                       a captainless ship,
                       a clock wound up and ticking?
you did for 
--or to--
                       Or is the real nightmare 
                       coming face-to-face
                       with the wizard Himself,
                       the Great and Powerful,
                       the Mighty and Merciful?
                       And finding He is
                       so much more than you
                       can ever believe,
                       could ever conceive?
Then do no harm.

Day 7 – Poetry for Lent

Winter Exorcism

Those early signs of Spring are so welcomed and cherished despite the crazy business of this time of year. Often I agonize over poems, but this one just slipped out. Gotta love it when that happens.

The owl out back is
asking questions again,
and I lie here hoping
to hear the answers
--or maybe just to 
understand the questions.
Life goes by so fast
I’m moving clocks
forward, backward, and 
forward again,
losing and gaining hours
I didn’t know I had
--or that I have already spent
ten times over,
like my Christmas money
or my summer vacation.
The rain brought the 
mist rising off the snow
today like it was exorcising 
the spirit of winter,
what with the crocuses
delicately craning
their necks above the soil
to watch while I cheer.

Spring is coming.

Day 6 – Poetry for Lent

Brother in Arms

I sat down to write this In celebration of my brother’s birthday–but it didn’t go exactly where I expected it to go. Such is the way of writing….

Brother in arms he was
two years younger
but alike as two
blonde-haired, blue-eyed
peas in a pod.
Together we
terrorized the neighborhood with pea-shooters
and ding-dong-ditch-it,
wandered the woods
impersonating book characters
--Henry Ware and Silent Tom--
building forts during the summer
and burrowing through snowbanks
in the Michigan winters.
On other days we christened ourselves Scott and Greg,
smoked cigarette butts found on the street 
(once was all it took to kill that habit),
ate snot berries plucked off yew bushes
(thankfully not the seed later found to be poisonous),
and attempted to create the world's largest ball of gum
--not all the additions chewed by us.

Brother in arms he was
but not me
"You're a girl"
a neighborhood kid pointed out
one hot shirtless summer day
when we were putting baby snapping turtles
through the races in the front yard.
Such a small change
--shirts and skins--
but then came middle school
with new friends, boyfriends and girlfriends
and though still blonde and blue-eyed,
we were no longer peas in a pod.

Brother in arms he was
but we fought different wars
in high school and college
dragons, secrets and skirmishes
closeness becoming competition
battles over the cat
ending at the point of a knitting needle
until time, distance
and busy schedules
saw the brotherhood disbanded
save for occasional reunions
where news of accomplishments
--battles fought and won--
bring respect and admiration

and a wistful longing
to go back to my childhood days
where I parted ways with
my brother in arms
and travel a different path

Day 4 – Poetry for Lent

This poem isn’t finished–time got away from me today–but I had fun playing with the senses.

If only I had known

The weight of silence
hangs from my shoulders
like the wet wool coat
I wore that
dark November day

You stood next to me
Tight lipped
Droplets of rain
Jeweling your hair

The ground gaped open
sodden dark earth 
bleeding into pale grass
while pouring rain 
drummed a mournful tune
on hollow wood 

If only I had known

The taste of regret
sours my mouth
like the black coffee 
I drank from
a flimsy paper cup
In the hospital 

You slept buried 
Under mounds 
of sterile blankets
hair winging across pillow

The curtains hung open
White moonlight
Shining into dark room
while monitors
beeped the sad echo 
of a broken heart.

If only I had known

The smell of missed opportunities