As the years continue to tick beyond control, two things have become abundantly clear to me. Tou cannot take things with you from this life to the next. No matter how fancy the ring or how great the object, time strips away most things. For this reason, this is the moment when we should enjoy the blessings of this life. It is far better to enjoy the moment in which we live than to mourn years past or to long for a future that is beyond today’s reach. I believe Qoholeth smiles across time as the choice is made to enjoy the moment.
Truth embodied in a piece of plexiglass. Spaces for herbs and plants to grow above fish that will dance and nibble among the roots. Basil globes, flowers, and spider plants now dip their roots among the waters as curious fish nip and taste the roots that hang down through the clear lid. Above, an energy efficient bulb shares light and warm with fish and plant alike. Even in the coldest winter, a new symbiotic relationship dawns between the herbs and their hungry neighbors.
Basil roots stretch down as their bright leaves reach up high: Fish nibble away
I wrote this poem for use in worship this coming Sunday as we deal with the grief of resuming virtual worship again.
Go deeper into the Light
When you are scared of tomorrow,
and when nothing seems to turn out right,
trust the Keeper of both day and night.
When your heart is full of sorrow,
go deeper into the Light.
Choose trust when all seems amiss.
When it all seems to have gone wrong
the easy choice would be to just hide.
The Spirit waits for us to confide
and listens to our hearts' sad song.
Choose trust when all seems amiss.
Reach out and take a friend's hand
when it is easy to just cry
and bury heart in your grief or fear.
Dear friend, you and your life are too dear
to wander lonely paths and sigh:
Reach out and take a friend's hand.
My jeans are too thin.
My legs love to move.
My back will be sore
if I stop moving.
I should not sit there
and look out over
a stream that will run
while I stop moving.
I do like to rest
but my jeans are thin.
Winter here is cold
if you stop moving.
I walk down the trail
No yellowed wood path
as I seek to live
and I keep moving.
Yesterday I knew,
I knew, I was thirty nine.
Body, heart, and soul.
I was sure I had one more.
How could time flow so quickly?
A friendly voice spoke
Had I done the math? Did I?
Of course I was sure
I was so sure that I knew,
I knew, I was thirty nine.
As the shower rained,
I checked on fingers.
The fingers say I'm forty.
I knew I was thirty nine.
It seems so stupid
that I forgot my own age,
but who really cares
If I add a syllable
or see who I am inside?
I am who I am
and I don't dwell on my age.
The tree was happy
as the colorful lights shone
and celebrated with me.
The trees reach up with deep green limbs
Waving fingers with verdant grace.
Sunlight dazzles in warm still shade.
Silent the song of breathing hymns
Lifted up from a wooden face
Straining to reach heaven as made.
I lie still for an age
Shrouded behind death's mask:
Silent at last.
No dance and no glib jest.
Stillness my companion
and I would rest.
Fine bells will ring no more.
A shroud wraps my frame tight:
My time is now my own:
No lords need I pleasure,
save the one Lord.
Let me rest here in peace
for I am done with life
as a royal plaything:
and I would rest.
It has been a while since I have contributed to the D’verse Poets Pub. I needed to let off some steam after a couple of interesting things happened in my world today, so here I am.
The challenge for Poetics Tuesday is bringing life back to a person through poetry. I was thinking about the literary character of Yorick from William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” today, so I thought I would expand upon the life of this character. I wanted to explore the themes of vanity, death, and service to a royal family that is portrayed as more than a bit dysfunctional.
Less than two weeks waking in this old town: a parking lot altar stands for an hour. Old wedding superstitions are mirrored: Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue picked by coincidence. A space for lawn chairs marks a short moment where oily asphalt holds holy thin space.
Psalm instead of song, mask instead of mic: Word and prayer still anchor our shared time. Only one more Sunday moment is left. Sorrow asks for blessings on the marriage of heaven and earth to continue on when my service is but a memory.
In this space renews a sacred vow held quite dear for two centuries
This is sacrilege: Chemical warfare before Pictures are taken With someone’s Bible proving The book is held as a flag.
“This is Sacrilege…” Tanka, Distracted Pastor, 2020
The narrative bothers me deeply: A peaceful protest is cleared with a form of chemical weapons so that a secular leader can take a photo with a Bible. I love the Bible, I read it, and after watching the news I think of the words of Deuteronomy 27:19 (NRSV): “ ‘Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan ,and the widow of justice.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ ”
“ ‘Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan ,and the widow of justice.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ ”
Deuteronomy 27:19, NRSV
An inheritor of privilege holding a Bible while an oppressed people asking for the very justice required by God require medical assistance. The situation makes me feel sick to my stomach. A person murdered in public after a long string of abuses on others of the same race, people calling for justice, and being met with chemical weapons in the streets… Elsewhere, widows and orphans met with the same force for the social crime of demanding justice. This cannot continue.
Justice demands action, righteousness demands action, holiness demands action, and our own children’s futures demand action. This must change.
Take the fragrant dough. Fold it: let it grow. Treat it gently: Just like so… Heat oven below. Place with care—don’t throw.
Listen to the news… Injustice… anger… In-law wearing riot gear… Burning effigies… And hurting people…
Slice the bread to toast, Brew a dark decaf French roast: Seek the Holy Ghost…
“Big Heart” by The Distracted Pastor, 2020
I wrote this poem to express the challenge of the morning. I sat to write a poem to go with the toast made from an experimental loaf I made yesterday, The loaf was made with a lot of care.
While thinking about what words to use, I listened to news about tensions over police brutality. I heard a lot of frustration with a broken system. I thought of the gasping words coming from a man who could not breathe. I thought of burning buildings representing inadequately an unjust system that seems fire-proof. I was already grieving when my wife came down to tell me my brother-in-law went to work in riot-gear today.
The poem starts very clean and measured with a rhyming pattern, devolves as the world intrudes, and ends right where I am as a person: sitting quietly and listening for comfort and wisdom. The title comes from the thought I had and the original first lines: “It takes a big heart; to hold joy and grief.”
Light falls On empty path Through woods by still waters: A shrouded path for another. Light falls...
This poem is dedicated to a church member who passed away this last weekend. I’ve visited him for over five years in various facilities as he’s fought through various struggles. His journey is now beyond my sight and in God’s hands…
Today’s Rethink Church prompt is “Amazed.” The photo is from a local graveyard. As Easter dawns, there is life in the dead places of this world. While this photo was taken at sundown facing west, the sun is rising in the east over this graveyard as this poem is published. If I were to title the haiku, I might title it “Jesus’ checklist for today.” May Easter light fill your lives this day.
Today’s Rethink Church prompt for Photo-A-Day is “Believe.” In Christian tradition, Holy Saturday is a day of both anticipation and solemnity. Depending on your tradition, you may spend it celebrating or you might spend it silently.
I chose the photo I selected because it is my hope that we each tend to our light of faith on this holy day. May it burn brightly however you celebrate Holy Saturday.
Today’s prompt for the Rethink Church Photo-A-Day is “Among.” I decided to share a photo of my child and I sitting back and eating one gigantic matzoh cracker. It is my belief that there was laughter at the Last Supper in addition to seriousness.
Today’s prompt for Rethink Church is “Here.” I decided to share a photo from the local zoo. Here’s why you should always look before opening a door. You never know who is waiting on the other side of the door, so you should keep your eyes in the here and now. This is doubly true at a zoo.
Holy Week is really intense for me. I have been working to have a sense of peace, but things are often a bit chaotic with last minute preparations.
Today I woke up early and decided to make some oatmeal. I texted upstairs to my wife who was waking up for the day and she said she’d like some oatmeal. Despite texting her on silent in order to keep our communication silent, our toddler heard the buzz. We broke the first rule: We woke the kid.
I began to prepare oatmeal for my family. I split the oatmeal into our three bowls. We each had our own type. The toddler had dried fruit in hers, my wife’s was plain and ready to be doctored, and my oatmeal was mixed with some eggs and spices. As the bowls sat there, I thought about two things. I thought about Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Today’s Rethink Church prompt is “Prepared.” I know that it is Holy Week, but after writing all of these haigas, I cannot help but use this prompt to recommend to all new parents that they either buy baby wipes by the case or invest in a lot of hand towels.
Today’s Rethink Church prompt is “Rest.” Today I decided to share an image of rest within a family. Remember, even on Palm Sunday, that there are many ways to use your cutlery. You cannot run off to a parade with cloaks and palms with messy hair… By the way, she’s never seen “The Little Mermaid.”