Empty-handed, no explanation.
After three nights of not sleeping,
Three nights of listening for
His footsteps, His mules sliding
Deftly under my bed, I stand
At the stove, giving him my back,
Wearing the same tight, tacky dress, same slip,
Same seamed stockings I’d put on before He left.
He leans on the kitchen table, waiting
For me to make him His coffee.
I watch the water boil,
Refuse to turn around,
Wonder how to leave Him.
Woman, He slurs, when have I ever done
What you wanted me to do?
Reason by Robin Coste Lewis
Get off my back, God.
Take your claws out of my shoulder.
I’d like to throw you off
like I would brush off some particularly repellent insect!
Sometimes I get the feeling that if I could turn round
I would see you
grinning at me,
full of glee, plotting, scheming, devious, challenging
The hell with all this stuff about fire and storm
and still, quiet waters.
I’ve got your number.
I’ve unmasked you.
I’d like to throw you off
like I would brush off some
particularly repellent insect.
You’re a daemon!
Unfortunately, you seem to have this great attachment
Actually, being honest, I know in my heart
I’d miss you if you weren’t there,
leering at me, reminding me of death and dread and destiny,
winding me up and puncturing
I know, with a sinking feeling in my gut
that all the best of me
– the fire and storm,
and even, now and then, still waters,
are born out of the death-defying struggle
that we wage,
my dearest daemon.
Wresting With God by Kathy Galloway
I didn’t ask for this,
in fact, I believe I tried to block it,
avoid it at all costs.
But here I am feeling
facing my bittersweet days.
Wondering where the hell
this is gonna take me?
What is my purpose here?
where I lived my experiment for 5 years?
what was taken
and I am not sure what to do with it…
light it up
burn it down?
all I know is this is the place
I have been called to
at this moment
for only God knows what,
and He’s not talking,
hasn’t shown his face in weeks.
I must rely on this silly sliver of a promise,
that it is meant for my good
Trust is a ruthless business,
an extreme proposition to live.
I am not leaning to my own understanding,
or natural desires,
even a bitty-bit,
or I definitely wouldn’t be right here
– right now
or anytime in the future.
Yet here I am,
standing on this holiest of my profane grounds,
way out in the back forty
of thecomfort zone,
knowing beyond knowing,
I’m in the only place
I’m supposed to be
This is where the magic happens.
Amy Lloyd (AL)
God wants to encounter you with His love, so you can become a light everywhere you go, your life will shout to the world, ‘I’ve seen Him, I’ve felt Him. I’ve heard His voice. He is alive. He is here with us. In us. For us.’
Nothing happens by chance, no one goes on a quest without a reason, without the pull of the magnet there is no action.
When all the world is young, lad,
And all the trees are green;
And every goose a swan, lad,
And every lass a queen;
Then hey for boot and horse, lad,
And round the world away;
Young blood must have its course, lad,
And every dog his day.
When all the world is old, lad,
And all the trees are brown;
And all the sport is stale, lad,
And all the wheels run down;
Creep home, and take your place there,
The spent and maimed among:
God grant you find one face there,
You loved when all was young.
Young and Old by Charles Kingsley
I lay and watched your final breath
Lay in a pool of steel, blood and nashing teeth
All knew your smile and humor
I saw the life you were to live
So much love you left behind
So much more you had left to give.
Every breath I took was fire
Not desire, No silent repose
That life I was given back was given to chasing ghosts
No action, no deed, nothing ever was my own
From reverie to taps, a life spent chasing ghosts.
In times such as this,
What is born of such circumstance?
Death gives birth to so much mourning
That spawns life and living.
Your death gave birth to me
Achievements you will never see
Tears, monuments, poetry and prose
You gave your life,
I gave you those.
Just another life spent chasing ghosts.
Chasing Ghosts by Charles Cooper
And then there comes a moment
when all you have suffered,
all you have learned,
all you have lost and found,
rise up and become.
and suddenly you are
who you dreamed of being,
so many years ago.
suddenly you have arrived
at what you caught glimpses of
for so many years,
and the search,
the free fall of broken dreams,
tumbling down rabbit holes,
stumbling over the feet
of your own lack of knowledge,
you find yourself on solid ground.
raising your Ebenezer,
those tributes to God,
for all the mighty stones of help,
building this foundation,
on the solid rocks of your soul
you know so well.
and though the pilgrimage may continue,
though the journey is definitely not over,
though life is fragile,
and security an illusion.
there is a new sureness to your step,
a trusting unshakable,
a calm in it all,
a new assurance of provision,
a new traveling song to be sung as you walk forward,
always pilgrim ready for new adventures.
forgetting the names of what lay behind,
you press on to your calling,
the prize set before,
reveling in the mercies, ever new,
for each new day.
there is no stopping now.
you have found something
which cannot ever be taken.
you have arrived here by your own determination,
reached a place,
both spiritual and physical,
a place of such magnitude
the light shines from every angle,
it has sealed up the oldest sores,
bound up the deepest wounds,
satisfied the deepest longings,
settled old scores with finality.
no longer will you settle for less than you deserve.
no more will you tolerate anything less than your own best and highest offerings.
you must be all you can be.
that is all.
gratitude fills you for this place,
a place so lovely,
it can bear up
even under the weight
of your hearts wildest desires,
with just this simple name
it resounds inside our souls like a bell –
you are home.
right where you belong.
This road is not for the timid or the faint of heart. not at all. But there is no other road. No one will simply wave a magical wand over you. It is a road of destruction and the question is, “How much are you willing to give up? How much can you endure?
God is not doing an old thing. God is not doing the next thing. God is doing a new thing and new things don’t fit in old vessels. As I was praying I believe the Lord is saying that He is making old vessels new again. Shedding off the old and making it new. This may mean old ways of thinking, repetitive ways that don’t work anymore or don’t yield results as they used to. Old bodies that don’t function the way they used to. Feeling any younger yet? Old and achy bodies will be regenerated into young, flexible and new bodies for the new thing to be placed into. New wine doesn’t go into old wine skins. God needs us 50ish people (give or take a few years) to impart into the younger generations and we need to be as active as they are.
Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.
– Mary Oliver
Running to Catch a Poem: Remembering the Poet in the Story
Poems came to me
As if from far away.
I would feel them coming,
I would rush into the house,
Looking for paper and pencil.
It had to be quick,
For they passed through me
And were gone forever.
– Ruth Stone, “Fragrance” (in her last collection “What Love Comes To”
As a poet myself, I feel for Ruth Stone, because thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert, Stone’s mode of chasing poems like runaway horses is favorite, but few have read the poet herself or even remember her name. It’s well worth seeking out her work and noticing, along the way, how she rose above a dark river of grief and pain, especially after her second husband (also a poet) hanged himself from a door in the family home.
Oh yes. Then there are two delicious further revelations in Gilbert’s account of how she heard it from Stone. When a poem got away from her, she felt it galloping away, “searching for another poet”. Then sometimes she would manage to grab an escaping poem by the tail, and would feel herself pulling it back. “In these instances, the poem would appear on the page from the last word to the first – backward, but otherwise intact.” (Elizabeth Gilbert, “Big Magic”, 65.)
Many of us dreamers know exactly how that works, as we pull back dreams by the tail as they run away. How many of the dreams that escape go searching for another dreamer?