“Hallow’s Eve”

Today the d’Verse Poetics challenge for today is hosted by anmol(alias HA) and is centered on the subject of geography. I wanted another try at the prompt as I found it quite intriguing.

People who know me know that I am a Whovian who adores Doctor Who. After Steven Moffat’s story entitled “Blink” was released I had a real problem. I am a minister and suddenly I was afraid of living statues. Actually, a nearby town had a statue with the weeping angel shape in their yard and I literally rushed past it in my car for months.

This past Halloween Night, I was on a retreat at the Malvern Retreat Center when a friend of mine from the past two years pointed out that there were lots of statues around. I had never taken a walk in the woods on Halloween. What better time than after the evening service when we were all required to remain silent until morning? In other words, no nervous humming, no music, and nothing but the sounds of the forest on Halloween.

I walked down into the grotto to the largest collection of statues. I would say that my heart was beating out of my chest, but I learned anxiety breathing techniques that kept me from having a conniption. I made it down all the way and refused to run back up the hill.

There was something terrifying about being surrounded by hills and darkness on every side. It was as if I was descending to my doom like some Greek hero descending into the underworld. I wrote this poem to explore the feeling of descending into the darkness down into the depths of a valley with the earth rising up around me on one of the scariest nights of the year.

By the way, the friend almost hid in the woods to scare me, but realized that I would probably have instinctively hit him hard enough that he would have woken up in the hospital. He was probably right.

Down dark paths I tread on Hallow’s Eve
After the silence has fallen on dark paths.
Statuary reminds me of teary-eyed angels
Creeping out through the nightmares of my own imagination.

My heart beats as I descend the path
Into the depths of darkened statued hollow.
Every footfall echoes off of the trees stripped barren
As lights spread themselves too far and too thin for my racing heart.

Leaves whirl across path and confuse sounds
As darkness fills imagination with fear.
I ponder dark cliffs and the path before and behind
I blink one eye at a time as I seek shapes hiding ahead.

In the deep hollow all ways lead up
Darkness falls around in every direction
The statues and I all stand breathless in the darkness.
Primal fear wars with grown mind as I turn, look up, and close eyes:
Curse Steven Moffat’s monsters.

Taking a break with quadrilles

Tonight I had the first night of three evenings in a row with committee meetings. I found myself coming home and needing to let off some steam by thinking about something besides the church. I noticed that dVerse~Poets Pub was having another poetry challenge. Today’s is the quadrille or a 44 word poem with the word “Spike” involved in some way, shape, or form in the poem. I tried a pair of different poems for fun.

The first poem is inspired by my marvelous wife who sometimes forgets just how talented she happens to be. At the Father-Daughter dance at the school the other day, a friend remarked how the look my daughter gave her sister came straight from her mother. My wife is fierce, strong, and intelligent–Athena personified in my life. So, this first quadrille poem is for her. Also, it is a rondelet because apparently I’m a glutton for punishment.

My favorite warrior princess… The kid is pretty great too.

You pierce my heart dear.
My heart rate spikes as I stop to wonder.
You pierce my heart dear.
Athena questions her footing in fear
While I listen and hear ringing thunder
As heaven’s mold she does break asunder.
You pierce my heart dear.

“Athena’s Rondelet,” by the Distracted Pastor, 2019. Written in honor of my wife.

My second poem is far less serious. It is entirely about a fictional video game character that I have been hanging out with off and on since July 13, 2016. We’ve been spending more time than usual lately as it turns out walking is the one exercise I can do well without throwing out my back. That comment is not an invitation for advice… The character is my Snorlax from Pokémon Go, which is totally not my intellectual property. Hey, free publicity though… I like your game. It is mindless and good motivation to keep on walking. The number of kilometers I have walked with this goon kinda shocks me. The poem’s form is ABABCC

My Snorlax is the best Snorlax… Well, he will be if he wakes up.

Five kilometers for just one candy.
My heart rate spikes as black ice makes me slip.
My Pokémon Snorlax will be handy
If I could only earn more on this trip.
I straighten up and continue walking.
No one loses weight sitting and talking.

“Pokémon Quadrille” by the Distracted Pastor, 2019. Feel free to use this Niantic!

For my eldest…

Watching her face glow.
Captain Marvel stands up as
She smiles with a tear.
Oh Thanos, you're in for it:
My daughter will have no less.

Kevin Feige, I’m not a DC guy. I grew up with the X-Men, Spiderman, and Iron Man, but I can learn if you disappoint my daughters!

An Amusing Story

This week I am attending the second last session of the Academy for Spiritual Formation. One of the things I have found at the Academy is a community of souls who are diverse and beautiful. There are also several folks who love awful jokes. So, while I did pre-write these posts, I thought I would share a joke that I have been working on for other folks who love bad jokes. It is a twist on a joke out of a book my kids gave me.

Two friends lived their entire lives next door to each other. Their families spent time together, their kids played together, and they were really great neighbors. Every year they would go hunting for water fowl and the friends would sit together for hours.

Over time one of the friends began to be bothered. It seemed like everything in life was grand, but his friend always found a way to look at the downside of things. If there was a rainbow, he’d complain about the rain. If there was a bumper crop of zucchini, he’d complain about eating the same thing every night. If he went hunting and did not reach his limit, he would complain about bad luck despite having birds to clean and feed his family. This man loved his friend, but it was increasingly difficult to find a sense of humor about his friend’s tendency to complain.

He became obsessed with pointing out the little blessings, but his friend seemed oblivious. After a few years of this, his long patient and helpful hunting dog passed away. Sure enough, his neighbor started complaining about how tough it was to train a new dog.

Nevertheless, the optimistic friend started training a little pup. Being a religious man with a sense of humor, he named his dog Jesus. “Jesus was always there for him.” “Jesus just wanted a closer walk with him.” You know the kind of jokes…

He loved the pup and started his training. He was shocked to find that when he began to train the dog to retrieve fowl the dog would walk on water to the bird to retrieve it. It was a miracle! He was shocked, awed, and finally thrilled that he at last had a chance to show his friend that not everything was bad in this life. There were miracles all around if we stop focusing on the terrible stuff all the time.

So, one day the two men go hunting. The man doesn’t tell a soul about his dog’s gift. Soon enough, the bird dog was sent to go get a downed fowl. The dog got out of the boat, walked over the pond, picked up the bird, and came back.

The friend was quiet and thoughtful for a moment. He slowly turned to the proud dog owner and put a hand on his shoulder. “I’m so sorry. First you lost your trusty hunting dog and now this. You just have the worst luck.”

The dog owner was flabbergasted. He asked how his friend could possibly look at this is something less than wonderful. The friend looked him in the eye, squeezed his shoulder, and said, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but I don’t think your dog can swim.”

Our dogs Lily and Wolf. They approve of this joke.