Day 40 – Poetry for Lent

Hope Soars

Hard to believe the sun still shines
with you sealed in a tomb
people go about their business
dawn comes and the world turns
sending the sun sliding down 
past the horizon
And it all seems wrong.

Hopelessness is a heavy weight
we've carried these last couple days
when little over a week ago
we followed you in
a triumphal entry
a celebration of the Messiah
Where did it go wrong?

Morning comes early
for sleepless sleepers
on this third day
the last task waits
the anointing of His body
a bittersweet final goodbye
but the stone rolled away  
signals something wrong.

Why do you look for the living
among the dead, proclaim
men who gleam like lightning
He is not here for
He has risen!
And what was wrong
becomes right

Hope soars

Day 38 – Poetry for Lent

What A Poem Couldn’t Capture

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.

Day 22 – Poetry for Lent

Daffodils

It would be easier
to sleep
blanket of snow
tucked over your head
dreaming of sunny 
spring days

It is so difficult
to bloom
to turn your face up and 
greet the new day
when it is cold 
and lonely

But you, brave daffodil
brighten everyone’s winter
days just by being
and winter will not
last forever

One day the sun 
will kiss you
awake
and you will trumpet
your joy to the world

Day 18 – Poetry for Lent

Ruth

I would not leave
though she told me,
Go back, find rest
a husband
a home.

I could not leave
for she was 
a mother to me
her people, my family
her home, my home.

I dared not leave, for
how would she manage
alone and destitute
hands veined blue
legs morning shaky?

And so I followed
that I might be 
her hands young and strong
her legs spry in the morning
sturdy in the evening
her family in the new land
her daughter
Ruth.

Day 10 – Poetry for Lent

Harvest

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?





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
melancholy
the notes rise
like trout to a
fly floated down a
dark slick of water
just there and then
swallowed.

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.