Day 26 – Poetry for Lent

Humanity’s Crazy Quilt

We stitch this quilt together,
panels of light and dark,
bright patterns sewn next
to those of somber hue.

The design not always one
of our own choosing,
we work with what we have,
a crazy quilt crafted from
bits and pieces of our lives.

We dream and plan in colorful
coordinated patterns of delight
with lustrous materials -
gossamer and ermine,
gaudy choices reflect
energy and youth.

But life is full of unexpecteds -
scratchy burlap work days
that irritate and exhaust,
pale washed-out squares of sickness,
grim funeral clothes 
stitched to pastel baby blankets
and lacy white bridal gowns
join seams with gaudy vacation shirts
or gray and black suits of mourning.

No one knows the pattern 
of their days,
how wide or long
their life will be.

Therefore
savor those bright fabrics.
Approve the sections formed
of sturdy cloth that endure,
softening with the years.
And pray that when all
panels are sewn and stitched,
and humanity's quilt is finished
- as it shall be in time -
your square holds up well
and is pleasing to the
Master Quilter's eye.

Day 25 – Poetry for Lent

Tolkien & Lewis

I am currently reading A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918 by Joseph Loconte. The book goes into the effects of the war on the political and religious landscape of the West. It delves into how Tolkien’s and Lewis’s experiences in the trenches inspired and played into the imaginary worlds they are so known for as writers.

I was thinking about the book when I went out in the hot tub with my daughter. The sky was clear and the stars were incredible. It all seemed so serene despite the horrors of battle still playing out in my head. This poem stems from that.

The Great War marches in
and battle fills the air
with the cries of the wounded
the pleas and prayers of the dying.
Explosions jar bones
loosen teeth
the throaty roars of heavy artillery
drowning out the staccato 
rattle of small arms.

Above it all
the stars shine
pin-pricks in black velvet
allowing a glimpse
of the beautiful light
high beyond this present darkness.

Caught by the machines of war
new realms form
and faith is forged.

Day 23 – Poetry for Lent

Taking Home With Us

Poem read by Sarah McElrath
The stars shine high
     above the clouds
     above the bombs
        which scatter us like dust
        every which way
        looking to settle
        but driven by winds
          of war
          and fear.

We try to take home with us
     a teddy bear for security
        of which we have none
     a photograph of family
        many whom have died
     a blue china tea pot -
     keepsake from happier times
        now hard to remember
     a heart burning with hope
        for a future
        for safety
        for a place to build
           to plant and grow roots
           find neighbors and friends.

We dream of things we have lost
and hold tight to what we still have. 

Day 20 – Poetry for Lent

Creator

Half way through Lent! I didn’t really realize how difficult it would be to do a poem a day for 40 days. Hence the resorting to Haiku now and then. : ) I saw the most amazing sunsets yesterday and today. And the stars! Incredible.

Teach me Your story
so I might know mine
so I can know others
so I’ll worship 
You
God of all
Ruler, Creator
beginning and end
of all that is known 
and what lies beyond

Beginning
of all
a universe in
ever expanding wonder
body, brain, and soul
intricate workings
a marvelous mystery

Yet
End of all too
all roads, all lives 
return back to You
in time

Lord, You
make and unmake 
now remake me new
know me
name me
and love me too
when I circle back
iron drawn to Your magnet
a needle pulled ever 
to Your north

Day 19 – Poetry for Lent

Still, Small Whisper

Sometimes there is so much noise in the news, on social media. I feel like everyone is yelling and no one is listening. And then something happens, a friend in a car wreck, a co-worker loses a spouse, and it reminds me what is important–and what is just noise.

Listen

The wild, roaring 
rush of wind
surges through trees
like ocean breakers
crashing eternal 
on rocky shores.

Listen

Snapping branches
create staccato accents
amid percussive storms
that blow 
fear and hatred
through busy lives.

Listen

Hail rattles
down on hapless towns
hitting innocent bystanders
like stray bullets
and extinguishing the still, small 
whisper of love.

Listen

We are all
but a near miss,
 a second removed
from getting swept up 
and blown away.

Listen

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.