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The Taste of Ashes

The taste of ashes is in our mouth

The smell is in our nose

The flames have ravaged hopes

And taken lives

 

The fires have roared

Our lungs have filled with smoke

As we wait for the rain

That must surely come

 

Then washed clean and reborn

We will rise from the ashes

Above the haze

On the wings of our dreams

 

 

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How Many Candles?

burn burning candle candlelight

Photo by Hakan Erenler on Pexels.com

How many candles do we need to light?

Will there be enough wax

To hold the slender wicks of all our prayers?

How many tears do we need to shed

To cause the ocean to overflow

With the torrents of our grief?

 

I want to light a candle

For every single soul

For the children

For the elders

For all those at risk

For all those who are targeted

For who they are

Or what they believe

I want to light a candle

For all those who have not survived

 

Can our candles burn any brighter

With their fierce and furious love?

Can the molten wax we create

Burn through a world of hate

Of greed and blatant disregard

Of all that makes life holy?

 

Our prayers can flow like lava

Erupting through the darkening sky

Angel wings can beat within our hearts

Soaring high in the warming air.

So many candles of love we have

Lit by an eternal flame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Holy Rage

I remember this feeling

Tightness in my chest

Fists clenching

Panicked tears.

 

The day my father was baptized

Was the day I stopped

Attending church.

It took me 30 years

To go back.

 

They knew what he was like

But it did not matter

I did not matter

They never asked me

They never cared enough.

 

Another drunken abuser

Is about to stagger into more power

Where he will no doubt

Abuse us all.

 

Where is our sacrament?

Where is our blessing?

Where is the salvation,

For the victims,

For the survivors?

 

I tell you this:

I am no longer a child

I know the truth

I will remember

And I will not forgive.

My rage is holy now.

 

 

 

Vengeance

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Vengeance will be ours

For every time you did not stop

To ask if it was OK with us

And for every time we said no

And you did not listen

For every cat call and every grope

For every pair of pants

You couldn’t keep zipped.

For every girl-child and woman

Who was afraid to speak

For every female you blamed

And slimed with the shame

That was your own creation

 

Be afraid for your time is ending

As ours is being born

Our daughters will rise as warriors

Our sons will be steady, kind, and strong.

 

Judith came with her knife

And Holofernes found his reward

We will all be smiling

When your heads, finally,

Begin to roll.

Feel free to hope

That the knife is only

A metaphor.

 

Storms

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Will the roof hold through the howling wind?

Will the flames stay behind the firebreak, the highways?

How fragile life is

And human structures

How easy to hate

The blame spreading

Into war

How vicious the destruction

We have wrought

And brought

Upon ourselves

And our children

And our planet.

When our own small lives

Are finally at stake

It may be much too late

For repentance.

 

 

 

 

My Body Speaks A Prayer

My body speaks in code sometimes

A slight twinge

A subtle ache

A vague unease

Then BOOM

Another issue

That must be addressed.

Aging is great

The wisdom

The lack of worry

About work; its stresses

And responsibilities.

But oh my old body weeps

It limps it shivers and it sweats.

Give us strength

Lend us courage

The trail is ever steeper

Progress only measured

By how far we fall

And how hard we land.

We don’t expect to reach the peak

But just grant us more time

To savor this journey

Help my body keep laughing

Along the way

 

 

 

Frankie in a Dream

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It is odd

How sometimes

People from your past

Come to you in dreams.

Frankie died some years ago

Both her children too

Are gone now.

We worked together for years

In our good government jobs

(They were good back then

Long before I left to become

A minister

Long before I retired even from that

Second calling)

Frankie was my boss off and on

And I was hers once, briefly.

We always had

Each other’s backs

Fighting for the people

And what was right.

Frankie had heart.

I loved her

And she drove me crazy too

Sometimes.

Last night she came to me

When I was in the midst

Of a preacher’s nightmare.

A big service in a big venue

(Like that is going to happen)

And I’d forgotten to prepare

The order of service.

Frankie came running up

“No worries”, she said

“It’s being printed now.”

A flash of stress.

Had she picked the right hymns

The readings that I needed?

(She was Lutheran after all)

Then a flash of memory

Of recognition.

She always had my back.

I am smiling up at you

My old, and very dear, friend.

Thank you for helping me

Even in my dreams.

 

 

Some Mornings

 

IMG_1996Some mornings

I have to drag my eyes open

With sheer force of will.

Stay asleep please

In the land of dreams.

The world is too full

Of nightmares.

But like a dried

Lily leaf

I rise

Looking for moisture

For hope.

Hummingbird Hearts

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We live our lives

With hummingbird hearts

Beating so fast

It seems we rarely

Find the time

To breathe

Racing from flower to flower

Our fragile bodies

Are always prey

To the shadow cast

By the hunting owls

Swooping down like death

Catching us

In mid-flight.

The only lesson

Is to keep drinking

That sweet nectar

While it lasts.

 

My Body

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Whose body is this?

Smaller than it was

The muscles firmer

The skin looser

But so much the same

The bones

The teeth

The joints

The smile

Every  ache and pain

The bruises and the scars

No miracle this

Just a change.

My body

Is the same

I pray it will continue

To carry me

As best it can.