Lent — days thirteen and fourteen

Day thirteen:

Shook, shaken,
poured, mistaken,
running, but a thread
got caught, I’m all but
unraveled here.
had I known that each step
I took would be my undoing,
would I still have come to you?

Day fourteen:

Welcome, fellow soul,
to here and sun and eyes.
Welcome to this broken land.
Welcome to this garden.
Once we walked in the cool
of the day, with no fear
that love was untrue.
I’m sorry for the broken ways,
we’ve already told that to you.

Here is where we are now,
still, we’re in a garden.
Though the questions
and wrestlings, and ache
are worse than they were
meant to be, though ground is
laced with splinters and shards
of what were once home-found trees,
you, dear soul, are light and life
just in getting born here.
And the longer you brave
the well-splintered night,
the more souls you will warm here.

So, welcome to this garden.
Welcome Brave and True.
You arrived just on the brink of
spring in its glorious, defiant way –
its rhapsody and poetry,
in daffodils and wild streams,
with quiet creeping into things,
and boisterous sparrows unafraid to sing –
it has come to tell the night away
it has come to tell you what always remains.

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Lent — day two

It stormed somewhere over there
the raging, restless, quiet kind,
and she and I listened.
We listened for our names
in the howling wind,
the grace-torn sky.
We’re listening still,
listening in each others’ eyes,
listening in the daffodils
the storm promises to bring,
listening in given tears,
and laughter poured, spilled.
And somewhere,
in the listening,
the listening itself
calls our name,
he called it all the way here.

The season of singing birds has come

There is a bird singing outside – singing as if it cannot stop.

“Look, the winter is past,and the rains are over and gone,
the flowers are springing up,
the season of singing birds has come!
Their songs fill the air,
and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.
Rise up, my darling!
Come away with me, my fair one!” — song of solomon 2:11-13

Spring.

It’s not quite here. In fact, the forecast calls for 6-8 inches of snow tomorrow. But, I’ll take the singing birds today. I’ll take the hope they give. There is something about bird songs that make my heart remember resurrection. There is something about bird songs that awaken those tired, run-down parts of me and reminds them that they were made to be alive.

There is promise in a bird song. There is a cry of made new!

My soul swells when I think of all things being made new.

 with every breath you take, I am restoring

New life, real life, being manifested in me and everything around me with every breath I take.

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you.”— Romans 8:11

The very same power that won over death is living in me – recreating me with every breath.

“Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.— Jeremiah 1:9-10

I am being made new – and in living into the newness Christ brings, I am bringing the Kingdom (that same recreation) to every person I encounter.

Tearing down lies. Destroying bondage. Overthrowing death – undoing death.
Building Kingdom walls. Planting Eden’s seeds.
Because Jesus lives in me. We move as one.

Bird songs promise spring.

Spring, that call to create. Spring, that call to live out the restoring work of the kingdom. Spring, that life. Spring, those fountains of life again finding their source. Spring, creation’s play of Kingdom come.  Spring that fosters life, fosters life.

Spring lives in me – finds home in me. Spring finds home in you. Spring finds home in everyone.

Redemption, restoration, the undoing of death, the re-writing of life, the hope of glory – lives in you, works in you. You carry it wherever you, to every broken place, to every healing place, to every good place, every hard place, every unknown place – it overcomes, every time.

And that is worth a song.

Coffee and Carl Sandburg

I sipped my coffee, felt its burnt adrenaline ease its way into my mind, and once I was thoroughly steeped in what it had to offer, I set the mug down. Coffee takes on a different nature altogether when it is room temperature. And I most often drink it when it has reached room temperature. I cannot actually remember the last time I drank a cup of hot coffee. I have formed the habit, or way of life, really, in which I pour coffee for myself and set it on my desk or the coffee table or kitchen table or floor, and then scurry off and become distracted by at least twenty-six things before I actually return and get to the business of drinking my coffee. And drinking coffee stopped being an actual business long ago. No longer do I sit and savor every single ounce that passes through my lips, over my tongue, down my throat, into my stomach, my bloodstream, my heart. No longer do I revel in every hidden flavor, no longer do I play hide and seek in earnest longing to find something new. Coffee is my almost-constant companion, and I am disappointed to discover that this has moved its identity from that of “religious experience” to “commonplace.” Commonplace is not bad, simply different. It is somewhat like my siblings.  How when they first came into my everyday, they were new, undiscovered. How then I “oooed” and “ahhed” over every part of them, delighting in their cuddly selves, their gurgling mouths, their footy-pajamas. But their newness wore off, and they became a fixture – still wonderful, still complex, still mostly undiscovered, just usual.

My head throbbed now, tired of the coffee I was forcing into it at a relentless pace. I tried to apologize with large amounts of water, but the ache would not be so easily dissuaded. Headaches over the likes of coffee are a stubborn lot. I decided to try engaging my head in an activity other than aching in hopes that it would decide the other activity was more worthy of its time. Imaginary conversation. I have them often. I pride myself on being rather good at concocting and carrying them. Naturally, this was my distraction of choice. I whipped up the imaginary setting of a park and set an inquisitive, professional version of myself on one end of a green bench and a musing, mysterious version of myself on the other. The interview began.

“How do you write poetry?”
“As it comes.”
“And it comes?”
“Like the rain.”

That was as far as my cleverness would allow and the interview ended, the scene evaporated.

It’s really no wonder I am somewhat insane, I spend my days locked away in “The Nook with a View.” A cup of once-warm coffee, a glass of water, and music are my permanent co-residents. I imagine sometimes that this is how authors live – though, most of them probably have brandy or some other spirit in place of water. I do school work, here in my Nook with a View.

My current task? American Literature. I must study it. I view studying as diving into something and swimming around and choking on the water until I can emerge with enough knowledge to at least pretend I know about the subject of the pool. That was essentially today – splashing hungrily in American Literature until I could come out dripping and saying things like “did you know Emily Dickinson wrote over 1775 poems?” I’ve read many poems while fiddling in that pool. They’ve filtered into my brain and taken over my own poem-forming skills. My muse has been altered to resemble something not my own.

I sometimes write poems on coffee-stained index cards as the day goes on. This is for two reasons. One – that random flow of creative something keeps me from going completely insane, which would be the case if I kept it pent up. Two – it looks really artsy. Today I wrote two poems and both tasted of Carl Sandburg. I can’t say that I mind Carl Sandburg, it’s just that I’d rather he didn’t take over my poetry. He did, though. At least to some extent.  I changed tense and tone at least twice. Did any of you notice and think me an awful writer for it? I did make effort to include less run-on sentences and that should be counted in my favor. Here are the Carl-Sandburg-tinted poems:

The First –

Fly-away petals
Make spring-time snow.
My coffee-mug’s green,
its contents cold,
the radio plays January
songs, as if they belong.
Radio doesn’t know the weather,
unlike my neighbor,
taking advantage of March-time warm
to clean his car –
water finds its way
through my window,
a curious thing.
Competing with the radio
is a basket ball, and my brother’s friends
singing songs of their own.
They know the weather,
but care not for my cold coffee –
they did maim a flower
and mourned for its loss
by throwing the ball again,
singing their song again,
scuffing, laughing, lively
song.

The Second –

Giggles, squeals, and rain-drop footsteps
herald her sun-yellow hair,
sunrise-pink skirt, rosy-red face.
Behind her is a raspy-voiced boy,
well-dressed and short.
He tries in earnest to catch her,
but her legs are longer, her feet faster.
“This is fun!” she calls,
he wheezes in reply.
Down the hill, round the bend,
Up the hill, gone.