Day 10 – Poetry for Lent


Devastated to hear about the shootings in New Zealand this morning. This poem was one I had written after the shootings in Las Vegas. I was playing with form because I wanted to paint a visual to go with it as well. Trees always remind me of life and connectedness. I pulled it out and played with it a bit here. Still haven’t gotten very far on the painting….

Did you
feel powerful
for those minutes,
framed in that window
far above the ground
—far below heaven?
Did the music sound distant,
the joy and excitement
way beneath you?
When you sowed your terror,
did you even look down
to see the crop you planted?

Scattered bullets, mistaken fireworks,
spurred a stampede in that country music crowd. 
But everyday heroes rounded up the wounded, body-sheltered injured,
prayed over the dead, and carried the bleeding over fences,
across runways, behind cars, and under balconies. 
First responders, nurses, doctors, friends, and strangers 
jumped those gaps between life and death.

Did you see that, Terrorist?
Did you see the hope and help that flowered
despite the chaos you’d sown?
Or did you stare into that dark barrel
before reaping your own deathly harvest?

Do we see
that what we plant
 we must prepare to harvest?

Day 5 – Poetry for Lent

Night Rain

I love listening to the sound of rain when I’m in bed. It raises a sense of nostalgia, a feeling of melancholy–but not in a bad way.

The night saturates
the land
Dark fat drops
plink and plonk
before settling into 
a steady drumming
beating a rhythm
the lyrics full of 
longing, burgeoning
with desire and
the notes rise
like trout to a
fly floated down a
dark slick of water
just there and then

Day 2 – Poetry for Lent

This poem was actually started some time ago. We’d had a sermon or two on Daniel and his friends, and I had jotted a few lines at the time wondering (like I do with most survival stories) whether I would have been able to do what they did. Would I –say in a school shooting situation–be able to stand up for what I believed if it meant death? Of course, whenever I think this, I quickly throw in a “Please God, let me never have to find out.”

But there are all those little moments–standing up to bullies, racists, haters of any sort–or even harder, those who profess to believe the same things I do. Sure, maybe it only involves anger, social disgrace, ostracism–but do I stand up? Small things build, so where do I draw the line? What do I stand for?

Would I, Could I, Should I?

Would I stand up 
when all else bowed
legs strong, backbone straight
furnace flames licking heels and thighs?
And when challenged on that upright pose
would I collapse
knees buckling like
a mighty oak
felled with nothing but an axe?

Could I kneel down
when law denied
bow my head and pray to God
while lions roared in nearby den?
Or would I hide my godly pose,
afraid discovery's fangs 
might rip and shred
my heart and soul
until I'm nothing, almost dead?

I confess,
I hope I never know.

But should I encounter
no furnace flames or lions' den
but merely tests within, without
and trials in my daily way
Remind me then, oh Holy One
to whom I owe my everything
of Daniel and his mighty friends.
Though knees may quake
and fear course wild through my veins
place Your hand on me
and still my mouth
  if that will close the lion's maw,
or help me speak
  to put out hatred's fiercest flame
for I am Yours
  though small and weak.