I tried to write a poem but words couldn't capture a friendship that runs through my life, spills over the edges into the cracks day into night work into weekend winter into summer day into month into years. A poem couldn't contain the laughter echoing from an oil change station it couldn't soak up the funeral home tears, couldn't color disappointments and joys in job, family, relationships, or in ourselves. A little thing like a poem couldn't begin to describe the mooring strength of a friendship that's always there-- a phone call, visit, text away. How could a poem demonstrate that safe harbor relief found in a friendship where pretense isn't necessary; where there's no judgement for being the leaky rowboat instead of the sleek private yacht? Nope, no way could a poem display how friendship strings light and dark moments together into a rich and lustrous life.
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? Chaos Panic Fear Injury Death
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?
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 melancholy the notes rise like trout to a fly floated down a dark slick of water just there and then swallowed.
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.