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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

In Matt. 18, Jesus said (essentially), “Unless you turn into a little child, you’ll never get where you really want to go.”  Lewis said that when he became a man, one of the childish things he put away was the fear of appearing very child-like.  Yes.  Exactly.  And so here’s  little poem from a while ago for you to chew on while I work on some new things.

Perhaps the point of fairy tales

Perhaps
the point of
fairy tales
is not so much
in lulling little
ones to sleep;

maybe these stories safely
sing our dreams until
they whisper us awake
to fill us
with such strength and hope
that, story-like
we open wide our pages and
our eyes until
we make these dreams
come true.

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To everything there is a season.  Sometimes small lamentations can help along the winding way way through a time to mourn.  This describes the current pain of a dear friend (upon whom, peace):

dark blue (a little lament)

Drifting ghost-like through these rooms
Gathering up all that you left behind:
Promises and passion,
Bell-like laughter,
Storybooks that now must close forever or
At least until I find a way
to catch my breath, or somehow
Rub off all your fingerprints
But now I’m not so sure

For I can stow away these pieces of
A now-past life of love we shared
(and is it really gone?
so fast and wordlessly
like Christmas trees
out on the curb?).

But somehow, even with the boxes I
cannot undo the sharpness, bumping
Into edges everywhere,
Drawers and closets full
Of fading scents
I’d thought I learned to
love so well,
In every room, all of these

Dear remainders of the mess you left behind:
Now all my walls are patchy blue.

I find of course that
all this love still lives here, love
I do not want to train
To sadly slip away, and now
I cannot clear a path through all
That’s passed between us
Cause I can’t quite see
For all this salty water in my eyes
Awash over my head
And drowning me
I can’t quite breath,
As days grow dark and cloudy with
No lighthouse left to find.

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You know, yes, that Christ’s Mass begins on the 25th of Dec?  That all that comes before equals Advent?  And that in some Catholic countries they still save presents for 6th Jan, Epiphany, the day (supposedly) We Three Kings came to the baby  Jesus with their gifts?

And you know, don’t you, that people have complained about the jangle of commercialization of Christmas almost since Dickens invented the modern holiday we all know and some decry?

Just checking.  I’m a TEACHER, you know. Pa rum pum pum pum.

Every year, I take out this orphan-child poem of mine, “I Don’t Believe in Christmas” and polish it up, adding, subtracting, till I grow weary of it and stuff it away into the cyber equivalent of the old cardboard box up in the attic.  This year I made some progress.  Here ya go.  And Merry Christmas, still:

I don’t believe in Christmas
(American disease),
this chance to flaunt our
less-than-seemly sides
and they are Legion.

It seems at other seasons
I embrace a jangling sound
a klaxon-call to wake
me from this stupor of
the everyday; yes, usually
let bells ring out
however rusty, but

just noise now jars me into
cringing in December din,
clanging in my ear
like old regret or
all that’s left behind by too-long days,
that sigh and lapse, wholly give in
to nothing like
a silent night.

No. “Advent” rings much truer and
I like that Latin sound of it
Ad-ventus—“coming towards us,” and
encroaching, yes, infringing, even
with an almost hostile sense as
Something slouches towards me with
a power of unmaking or,
at very least,
upsetting all the tables
in my temple.
A slouching, stumbling Something or
Someone.

Yes, I do believe in that,
I do indeed believe in

breaking in and entering, yes, this
little Burglar, yes, this
ragged Baby breaking in
and catching us
all off our guard and
smelling slightly of a stable.

And now I wonder if that Advent of
the Christ-child might right now have
something strange and true to say,
have more to do with me
than I supposed, to all of this commercial jingle,
bells of registers, yes.
Maybe Advent still can speak
Into this not-so-holiday much more than
I supposed:

For He too, (tiny-handed) clutches,
grasping at the world, and catching
at my sleeve like twelve too many shoppers
lunging for the latest thing, for something to latch onto.

He must have screamed that starry night,
squalled at the world like nothing more than
angry, ardent customers, their
silver clutched in fists, jaws set
thin socks cold-wet with rain:
small wonder they’d be angry.

Small wonder.  Yes of course.
And so I see a way,
two common qualities,
how I might hold to Advent
and keep Christmas in my head.

It takes outrage, of course, both then as now
we all know outrage, us as He.
And as another winter swirls
this sense of something gone so wrong
hangs on us like old ornaments
like tiny lights that flicker out,
or like a slightly acrid
stable smell.

But from the straw Small Wonder,
still and silent as the night appears
to help us loose all that we clutch
and cling to, to embrace instead
that thing we least expected, this strange gift
so strangely wrapped as it arrives.

Small Wonder seems so opposite to
all that I think I need
As does a beggar at a feast
(as does the thought of me
down on my knees),
as do good tidings of great joy
declared to dirty men
while working graveyard yet somehow
with weather eye turned heaven-ward.

And it shows to maybe all of us
(who stumble through this pageant as we
mumble carols, eat too much)
it shows us (maybe) that belief
means little more than doing dirty work
with one eye to the sky
and somehow still see well enough
to drop it all, and to be found
night-weary in that stable
where we surely don’t belong, yet where
the outrage of small wonder draws
A heaving, little, peaceful sigh
then settles down to sleep.

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