Listening at Morning: a prayer poem

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sunlight, splashing across
fresh-cut grass, leaving diamonds
affixed to each blade, like teardrops.
criss-crossing tree trunks and branches,
still Spring-bare with slightest buds,
interlace like fingers in prayer,
rising up from the earth.
dim, white-washed morning sky,
painted too thin across
the heavenly canvas, sweeps
away yesterday’s darkened thoughts,
as the birds cry out, “good morning!
good morning!” “heigh-ho! heigh-ho!”

in the morning stillness, the house
sighs with furnace blowers and
creaks with popping timbers.
no one else stirs beyond sleeping breaths,
and i wait for Your voice
and all the diamond-treasure graces
You bring fresh each morning.

The First Day: a poem

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On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. (Luke 24:1)

the first day:
walking with heavy loads and burdened hearts
to the place His breathless body lay.
every hour seemed so still
since that dark day.

but now, the first day:
their hesitating procession to the tomb
finds the place, but not Him;
and aching emptiness
meets anger’s anxiety.

yet, on the first day
two men send shivers of loud light
mingled with a message:
‘He’s alive like a new day’s dawning!’
and they remember His words.

this first day is the third day
that sends the dark day running.

[This is a poem I wrote as part of the Eastbrook Church Lenten devotional, “Hungry for God.”]

Apocalyptic Christ: a poem

visions of horror shudder
the human heart
heaving oceans and lurching beasts
clamor over creation
raging conquerors crush and kill
life scurrying under the sun
and history’s wheels roll over
all vulnerable souls

then lightning flashes the skies
and tear-filled eyes see
heaven’s in-breaking rule snaps in
like a curtain torn in two
all the boiling cauldron of earth
stops short in hearing a baby’s cry
and all human hearts find unshakable rest
in vulnerable visions of glory

Holy Week Poems

This year I pulled together a cycle of poems related to themes of Holy Week here on my blog. The poems follow the journey of Jesus, at times through the eyes of different characters. They are part of a longer series of poems that I am not ready to share yet. I wanted to simply gather them into one post here, so you could read them one after the other as they were mean to be read.

“Unseeing in Sleep”

“Maker Unmade”

“Nothing for Him”

“The Glory”

“Three Figures”

“Joseph’s Offering”

“The First Day”

“Unbelievable Words”

Unbelievable Words

Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. (Luke 24:12a)

unbelievable words move me,
send my heart shivering.
could this be what He meant,
or is it the nonsense of grieving hearts?
in that reeling moment,
suddenly i am running to the tomb,
leaning in, and looking at the
empty linen strips.
His body gone, but no angels for me;
none for me who left Him to die.
i feel so alone and confused,
like a soul in exile from the world.
what can all this mean?
what did Jesus mean?
were these all unbelievable words?

[This is the eighth in a group of original poems composed for Holy Week.]

The First Day

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. (Luke 24:1)

the first day:
walking with heavy loads and burdened hearts
to the place His breathless body lay.
every hour seemed so still
since that dark day.

but now, the first day:
their hesitating procession to the tomb
finds the place, but not Him;
and aching emptiness
meets anger’s anxiety.

yet, on the first day
two men send shivers of loud light
mingled with a message:
‘He’s alive like a new day’s dawning!’
and they remember His words.

this first day is the third day
that sends the dark day running.

[This is the seventh in a group of original poems composed for Holy Week.]

Joseph’s Offering

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus….With Pilate’s permission he came and took the body away. (John 19:38)

as the crowd dispersed
i came to honor Him.
perhaps it was too late…
but the cost was real for me,
as others from the Sanhedrin
turned their dark looks upon me.
our entourage gathered His limp form
with painful effort from the tree
and wrapped it with care.

standing there, at the Executioner’s workplace,
i couldn’t help but think that
He deserved more than this;
that my present actions were a feeble attempt
to cover my earlier inaction.

Jesus, wrapped in linen and death’s shadow,
seemed like a gift Jerusalem
was not worthy to hold.
so we took Him to the tomb,
with the women following close,
and placed Him gently within
for safe-keeping until the day of the Lord.
but my heart ached within me.

[This is the sixth in a group of original poems composed for Holy Week.]