A Sensory God

A poem for a sense of God while in discernment.

Inspiration thanks to a prompt given at Arkansas’ Episcopal Church Women’s Summer Quest with special gratitude for St. Luke’s, Hot Springs.

God tastes like a vitamin

Bitter and nasty

if left too long on the tongue

or in the mouth.

Heaven forbid it get

stuck

in the throat.

Best to swallow quickly and whole.

God smells like a spring rain

refreshing and sweet

with the scent of death

not far away or

under feet.

God feels like a 2×4

directly slammed to the head

or heart

but also like

grandma’s arms and chest

wrapped around in full

embrace

          and

                 comfort. . .

assurance that all is well.

God looks like the twinkle

of the eyes

above a smile,

through the tears,

from the heart,

bubbling up from the soul,

unbidden yet persistent.

God sounds like “YES”

when “no” is easier,

like “Here I am”

when nothing’s left to give,

like “I’ll go”

when no clear path appears.

God is Love

when Fear is all around.

To whom would you

         rather go?

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Nowhere in Particular

Stairs to nowhereCamp Mitchell Stairs to Nowhere

they seem to be

in the early afternoon sun

where everything looks like a silhouette.

I almost missed them,

so loudly distracted

walking through

the crunching

crashing

multitude of leaves,

mere skeletons now,

void of the autumnal vibrance

of weeks ago.

Had there been a cabin here?

Was this would-be/had-been stoop

discarded?

Could I stand perched above

and take the next step in faith?

Maybe,

if I could see where I was going,

what came next.

(I’d probably fall.)

Even the leaves are still

and quiet

Except for the ones

whispering,

still attached

at greater heights,

closer, maybe,

rooted to something

deeper than I can comprehend.

(Eventually, they’ll fall, too.)

I continue on my way,

clamouring among the bones

once more,

not knowing where

the path may

lead.

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let me smile

I do not ask to bare my teeth to you

In kindness.

Lips dry and cracked or

Glossed in rosey hue,

I frame my greeting in sentiment

Pure and true.

Without a word

I hear your ache and loss,

Your fear.

Do you dare respond with such vulnerability,

Heart wide open?

Does it help if

I also feel your dreams and joys and

See the light in you,

however dim and disguised?

Please.

Let me smile.

Accept this token given freely, not even my own.

This grace.

God’s love.

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imPerfection

We read a poem this weekend that had to be written by a kindred.  Her words spoke in my language, spoke in truth.  I cannot find her complete poem on-line, though there are partial reprints.  Elizabeth Carlson’s “Imperfections” can be found in this book, however.  I dare not repost the perfect little poem in its entirety, what with copyright laws and all.

What I can post is my own writing, though.  After listening to and with Carlson’s poem a bit, we got to go our solitary ways.  I listen well when I am writing, when I am doing nearly anything.  To listen for my own imperfections at a deeper level, I sat.  I wrote.  This is what surfaced.  (I apologize in advance that I cannot get the spacing to change, so pardon the stanza run-on! I tried.)

“imPerfection”

I can sit with the ants in the dappled light

On this, another awe-inspiring autumn morning.

What mysteries might the breeze whisper in my ear?

What chatter does that strange creature

echo from my monkey brain?

Usually I listen for the wisdom I stumble upon,

Doing the tasks that need be done.

For once, at least,

I let myself

discover

my Self.

May the pen be my trowel

And my busy-ness the weeds

I remove from the soil.

The soil is rich and fertile.

Or maybe I fold the distractions

Away

With each shirt, pants, and sock.

Some thoughts need to dry in

Their own time.

No dirty nails this time to

Show for my effort.

Digging deep.

What are the treasures?

I cannot be rid of the roots from the species

Too invasive.

This is hard,

too hard.

But the longer I ignore them, the harder it gets

To let the soil be rich,

To appreciate the beauty

That is there if only

It, too, could obtain the resources

Stolen

by that which needs the

Persistent practice,

The daily tending.

It helps to name the

bermuda grasses of my being.

I cannot ignore the

Reality of money,

The need to connect with my family,

The limits of time.

I have to give up this idea of

Stagnant Perfection.

A garden is not a photograph.

It teems with

Life and Intention,

with Persistent Practice.

Blood and sweat, surely,

From the thorns and twigs of

Truth

Running

Deep.

I didn’t plant the oak tree there

Or the rose there.

Gifts of vulnerable strength and

Fragile beauty.

Timeless, both, and full of

Grace.

The mosquito offers its own poison

As it draws my blood,

Leaving the stinging itch

That will gnaw like the

Censor to challenge any

Gift I may unearth and

Lay claim to.

But it, too, will fade.

And even after my blood

Is dried and gone,

The earth remains to

Receive again

That which it gave.

Live into this cycle,

every moment.

Practice persistence with

Compassion

and

Gratitude,

whether with the harvest of the Earth

or the

Fruits of our wombs.

All is still and alive.

All is well.

This I am told.

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Rainy Day Poetry

“I See You”

It’s okay, Man in the brown tweed jacket.
I’ll not look into your dark eyes
    or watch the rain fall into your
    salt and pepper hair.

Your feet jump over the running water as
You stride purposefully to your vehicle
    at 5:30 p.m., carrying your dark baggage.
But with your slightly hunched shoulders
    and hands at your sides poised for a snap,
You return to your workplace with your
    magic keycode, empty-handed.

Forget something?

How could we miss this?

You come passing my way again but
Now carrying your neon orange lunch cooler.
Don’t worry.
I’ll not look into your dark eyes,
Which dare not even look my way
Lest I bear witness to your
    momentary lapse of planning.
Let’s not make tomorrow any more difficult
    than it need be.

You walk alone to your vehicle,
And others will follow.
But it is you whom I see right now.

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SpringTime Haiku for Moms

An invitation . . .
Sun beckons to come play now.
The dishes will wait.

The beautiful weather this day couldn’t keep us indoors, even after me having two fillings replaced at 8:10am.  Off to the woods we go so I can get another go at rock climbing and so the kids can enjoy the warm, fresh air and the dog a good swim.

A few minutes alone, walking along the upper trail to fetch the draws from a climb, I felt it– the presence of nature that speaks through the living things around you and whispers on the breeze.  It’s a stillness and peace, an acceptance of life as what it is, for what it is, and all is well.  All is beautiful.  Oh, that I could bring that presence into every breath.

I’m pretty sure that the potential is there.  We have within us the ability to be still and fully present.  But how quickly I forget how beautiful it can be, even in the storms, for when the sun returns again I wonder, was the green so brilliant just the other day?  Was it this amazing last spring; did the colors so vibrantly glow?  I don’t have to compare.  I don’t have to know.  My purpose is to love indiscriminately; it doesn’t matter what the weather’s like.  I always have a choice.

Will it rain or shine?
As you make each choice, you ask.
Is Love wet or dry?

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Creative Moments

For you mothers out there, please visit Mother Words today for some beautiful poetry and solidly good recommended reading.

For you moms with children asking what to give their friends this holiday season, let me share what I told my oldest: recycle.  For some this may sound offensive, and if it does, please ignore.  We don’t, however, have the means to buy a new gift for each child-friend we have.  If the friends would be offended, we’ll go without giving a gift, but for those who would appreciate a thoughtfully put-together present, we’ll gladly do so.

My suggestion:  a couple of books in new condition, topped with a never-played-with small stuffed animal, tied together with a pretty ribbon, set in a box and wrapped with love.  Perhaps even a DVD in between or atop the books.  Instantly, a $30+ gift with no out-of-pocket expense.

Feed your soul this season.  Appreciate your abundance even if your accounts look grim.  There’s no better time to be creative.

Much love.

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