I was taking myself very seriously the other day. I wasn’t sure how I could solve (or survive) global warming, the health care crisis, the rise in violent crime, and all the diseases I read about in magazines. Modern life is complex, and it’s easy for me to get lost in its intricacies. I had a thought about Jesus that brought comfort and led to a poem of sorts:
He is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
And Mary’s son.
The Great High Priest, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,
Author and Finisher, the Chief Cornerstone, King of Kings,
And calmer of storms.
Desire of Nations, Sun of Righteousness, Bread of Life,
And friend of sinners.
He is of the highest complexity and the greatest simplicity.
He alone is God even when I pretend to be.
a path that wanders through the dunes
roots of old beech trees protrude
this little woods is a way station
to warblers on their spring migration north.
Today a way station to me.
As I walk along, I shed off the clamor of daily demands
and put on the lovely garment of solitude.
The air is filled with the varied vocabulary of birds;
painted turtles slowly crane their necks to see
who walks by. Proud geese parents let their
goslings approach for a handout of seed;
a few ponds with Lilly pads reflect nearby trees and clouds.
Dear Lord, be my solitude
as I must leave this place;
like the tiny warbler let me fly quickly
and alight on your outstretched arm.
by Blue Heron
Web of Life
rabbits in the evening
do-si-do on emerald lawn
the whole yard daffodill
with garnish of dandelion
endlessly circumnavigate the pond
while solitary kingfisher
perched on willow branch
sees fish as entree or appetizer
web of life
each animal perfectly suited for a niche
I seek to nestle into my own.
A thread of longing
petals drifting down from cherry trees
in slow motion
so their beauty slides off gently
we do not see a moment of passing.
and so, in our lives
our youth slips away in increments
that youth still flickers
like a candle flame on the living room wall.
and then one day
with some sadness
we realize we have crossed
a certain threshold
and shall not have opportunity to reenact
the same events.
From one view we diminish
but in another
we embody an album of rich memories.
We have been formed into something more valuable
than all our doing and imagining.
I wonder what Jesus would have thought
if he looked back on his own experience?
Would he have paused at the suffering of the cross?
Or would he have settled for the gain?
As I reflect over the years, I see some frayed threads
in my tapestry. Perhaps even some places where the
needle needed to be re-threaded.. But I do sense a common thread;
a strand of longing, a filament of gold that occasionally surfaces
along my way. Jesus is persistently at work in both my knowing
Poetry by the 18th century English poet Christopher Smart seems to capture the all-encompassing awe, beauty and brilliance of the Almighty, which we celebrate in the resurrection season. The text below also speaks of God as a ‘force on which all strength depends’ — a comfort during this time.
From the universal…..
We sing of God, the mighty source
of all things; the stupendous force
on which all strength depends;
from whose right arm, beneath whose eyes,
all period, power and enterprise
commences, reigns and ends.
To the most intricate beauties…..
For the flowers are great blessings.
For the flowers have their angels,
Even the words of God’s creation.
For the flower glorifies God
And the root parries the adversary.
For there is a language of flowers.
For the flowers are peculiarly
The poetry of Christ.
May the joy of the Easter season fill your hearts with all hope at this time!
[Texts from Christopher Smart’s We sing of God, the mighty source & Jubilate Agno]
by Melodius Monk
How do we find faith in God? In trying to find answers, I see glimpses of a pathway in this sonnet by John Milton. In line nine the sonnet makes a decided choice, saying: “Yet be it less, or more, or soon or slow…” This is the crux of the matter isn’t it? No matter what, am I willing to risk everything to stand on the idea that “all is?” With God’s grace, may it be so.
How Soon Hath Time
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stoln on his wing my three and twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew’th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arrived so near,
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That some more timely-happy spirits endu’th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven;
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Taskmaster’s eye.
still gray and raw
the path I take devoid
like a war zone;
trunks strewn in all directions;
trees uprooted and snapped off by recent nor’easters.
I strain to find a pretty moss or some isolated
patch of beauty.
The choas of the woods mirrors the restlessness
I feel inside.
I am tired of winter. I long for mornings filled with bird song,
and evenings with peepers.
Winter has whittled my world down into sameness.
My thoughts have gone gray.
And then on Saturday, at Evensong
The warmth of candlelight, the harmony of sound,
I sit immersed in a Magnificat
of song sweet
God moving then
I have been adopted
into a family
by a radical love;
love being such an over-used word
perhaps affection a more appropriate term;
Yes, with affection
which like a great nor’easter
has swept away the winter of my life
and given me permission to lift my hands in reply;
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
God has crowned us with glory and honor. The psalmists proclaimed we “have” been crowned. It isn’t that we “might” be crowned, or possibly if you’re good, or only if you’re a certain blood type. We have been crowned, all of us — your parents, siblings, next-door-neighbors, co-workers, everyone. Yet, I think many of us often take this “crown” off. Are we afraid of what it may require of us? Are we scared we’ll disappoint God? Do we not want to take the responsibility of honor? It might be a different answer for everyone. But if God the Creator, decided to crown us with glory and honor, I don’t think it is something we can remove. This crowning was created to be the best parts in each of us. In everyone we meet, we would do well to remind, encourage, nurture, and respect these magnificent “crowns.”
by Blue Heron
I venture out
onto fresh fallen snow
and examine footprints
of creatures who walked before dawn;
a rabbit, several gray squirrels, and a raccoon;
the raccoon leaving delicate impressions of his padded paws.
traverse the yard and curl
to embrace indigo shadows.
the birds, hours before, trampled the snow
beneath the feeders
leaving bare grass and seed litter.
I thought I was early, but really I have missed most
of the action. What remains is silent, and poised
like a stage still set, before the curtain falls
the actors gone, but the air still swirling with their movements.