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To My Husband on Father’s Day, 2018

This poem is a simple one dedicated to my dear husband.  It is written in iambic pentameter: x/x/x/x/x/, with only a single rhyme throughout: AAAA.

 

Father’s Day, 2018

I may have borne them each, but it was you,

Whose shoulders carried weight I never knew,

You set the bar so high, so straight, so true,

The surest, strongest Dad?  Well, that was you.

 

I may have dried their tears, but it was you,

Who made them get back up and push on through,

Who taught them well, the skill of making do,

That common sense they have, they got from you.

 

I may have spoken more, but it was you,

Who guided them in wisdom as they grew,

Who showed them lifelong paths they could pursue,

Whichever route they take, they’ll follow you.

 

I may have never made it clear to you,

How priceless you are, from my point of view.

Their father, but my treasured husband too . . .

I never knew such love, ‘til I knew you.

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Resurrection

This poem is inspired by I Corinthians 15:35-57.  I love the metaphor of the grain of wheat.  “It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:  it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:  it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” (v. 42-44)  As the seed differs dramatically from the plant it becomes, so our resurrected bodies will far outshine the worn-out ones we wear now.   We can’t imagine!  “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

“Resurrection” is written in iambic tetrameter/trimeter:  x/x/x/x/ .  . . x/x/x/, form ABAB.

 

Resurrection

Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die” (I Corinthians 15:36)

Bare grain I am, this mortal flesh,

Corruptible and frail,

Brought forth when Heaven’s hand did thresh

With suff’ring’s able flail.

 

The chaff removed, I now remain

A solitary seed,

A body of the earth’s terrain,

Wheat’s tiny golden bead.

 

I’m ready for my job at hand;

It’s not a pretty task,

For I must fall upon this land;

The dirt must be my mask.

 

My golden shell must warp and crack

And moulder in its cave.

My beauty now decayed and black

Within my silent grave.

 

But look! From where I once was sown

In dust, dishonour, shame,

There comes a body new, unknown–

A living, glorious frame.

 

It isn’t, on first glance, at all

The seed I used to be.

This living plant, so green, so tall

And yet, I know it’s me.

 

For  essence of my former shell,

That spirit, never free,

Has passed to One Who clothes it well

In Immortality.

 

Death’s swallowed up in victory–

This grain, corrupt and small,

Is sown, but raised triumphantly

To greatest Life of all.

Thoughts on January 31, 2018’s Complete Lunar Eclipse

These are some thoughts I had while watching the amazing lunar eclipse last night.  This poem is written in iambic tetrameter: x/x/x/x/, form AABB.

 

 

Reflected Glory, full and bright,

Transforming inky, blackest night

To wonderland of silver-grey,

A tintype of my world by day.

 

But strangely, in the early hours,

I wake as Full-Moon’s brilliance lours–

So slowly, incrementally,

That human eye can scarcely see

 

The blurring of that Orb so clear,

Which slowly starts to disappear.

The World and all her Cares intrude

Upon the brightest attitude.

 

Reflected Glory, on my face,

The World can blur, blot out, erase,

Just like Earth’s shadow on the Moon

That bit by bit, but all too soon

 

Can dim the image of the Sun

Upon Moon’s face, ‘til there is none.

Just shadow, dead, and cold and still,

Devoid of Light, and numb and chill.

 

Oh, World and all your Suffering,

Pass o’er me quickly, and then bring

The Son, to shine again on me.

Let me reflect His Majesty.

 

Fear

This poem is a snapshot of a person struggling with fear.  Fear can overtake us, can wrap its tentacles around our emotions, our mind, even our physical bodies.  But there is a remedy, a way out:  “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.”  (Psalm 56:3)  Our faith and trust in our Creator is a trust in One Who is Perfect Love, and the Scriptures tell us that “perfect love casteth out fear: ” (I John 4:18)

“Fear” is written in iambic tetrameter/trimeter: x/x/x/x/–x/x/x/, with the form ABCB–and an internal rhyme on the first and third line of each stanza.

 

“Away from here!” I said to Fear,

And, softly, he withdrew.

But, lost in thought, I plain forgot

To bar the door anew.

 

So Faith and I sat down to try

And chat the night away.

But while we talked, outside, Fear stalked

And waited for his day.

 

That time came soon, next afternoon,

Once finished with my work.

I tidied up, sat down to sup,

Then started with a jerk.

 

From down the hall, an icy Pall

Came creeping to my chair.

He filled the room with horror’s gloom

And held me in his snare.

 

“Oh, Faith,” I cried, now terrified,

“Why aren’t you here with me?”

But Fear had moved in, unapproved,

And Faith I could not see.

 

The sun now set, I felt a sweat

So clammy on my skin.

Anxiety came over me,

And panic from within.

 

Familiar Dread had stopped me dead;

I struggled now to act.

To overcome, to not succumb

To keep my mind intact.

 

In my despair, I breathed a prayer:

“God, help my unbelief.

Don’t leave me now; please don’t allow

This evil, wretched Thief,

 

This eerie Wraith to steal my Faith

To fill this house with fright.

Please fortify my mind so I

Can conquer Fear tonight.”

 

And suddenly, I felt him flee,

That dreadful, clammy Ghost.

As Faith came in where Fear had been

Expelled him from his post.

 

Unwanted guests are often pests,

Unwanted Fear is worse.

He sneaks around without a sound;

He poisons with his curse.

 

But now I know to overthrow

His monstrous, grasping plan

By asking aid when I’m afraid

From Heaven’s Guardian.

 

‘Til We Forgot

This poem is based on Deuteronomy 8, in which the LORD warns the children of Israel before they enter into the promised land.  They are finishing their 40-year wandering in the wilderness, and they are preparing to cross into Canaan, their land of “milk and honey.”   The warning is that, once they are comfortable, filled, settled, and successful, they might be prone to forget the God Who led them through those harsh days in the wilderness.   And, the record of Scripture indeed bears out that this happened, time and again.

When we who love the LORD walk a particularly painful, rough road, we throw ourselves on His mercy completely.  The third dimensional world fades, and our faith is elevated to heights we may have never before experienced.  These are remarkable times of closeness to our God, as we hang onto Him and only Him through the flood and fire.

But later, when the dust clears, and things get back to normal, our tendency is to forget that Hand that held us through it all.  This poem is a reminder to me not to forget.

It is written in trochaic heptameter (x/x/x/x/x/x/x), with each line split after the fourth trochee.  The form of the poem is ABAB.

 

‘Til We Forgot

. . .  lest when thou hast eaten and art full,  . . .  then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt,  . . .who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents,and scorpions, and drought . . .  

 

It happened by degrees, so slow

As seasons change to years,

We didn’t feel the shift below,

The sliding of the gears.

 

The deprivation once we knew,

The sorrow and the strain,

When nothing in our field of view

Could mitigate the pain,

 

Now gone and, in its stead, a trust

For blessing, favor, grace.

Awakening, we rose from dust

To Eden’s better place.

 

How cautiously we tried to walk,

How tentative our tread,

As those recovering, with shock,

When rising from the dead.

 

But, step by step, our strength returned,

And with it grew our hope.

The locust years behind us, burned,

The future in our scope.

 

Success now stamped our working days

And pleasure marked our path.

Our journey under Heaven’s rays,

No longer marked by Wrath.

 

So time sped by, without much thought

Of skies that once were gray.

‘Til we forgot,  . . . yes, we forgot . . .

Our God of yesterday.

Walk With Me

This is another poem for my husband.  It is written in trochaic heptameter (x/x/x/x/x/x/x), though each line is split after the fourth trochee.  The form of the poem is ABAB.

 

Walk With Me

 

Walk with me, though both of us

May wonder where we go .

Talk with me, explore, discuss

The things we may not know.

 

Sit with me, through anxious hours

Of waiting and of pain.

Stay with me, to share what’s ours

In sunshine and in rain.

 

Look at me and see beyond

What all the world can see.

Touch me, knowing I’ll respond

With warm felicity.

 

Love with me, when times are hard

And laughter wants to die.

Hold my heart with fond regard

More, as the years go by.

 

Walk and talk and sit and stay

And look and touch and love.

With me, make each passing day

Our blessing from above.

 

Kingdom of Heaven: Mustard Seed

This is another poem based on the Kingdom of Heaven parables found in the book of Matthew; this one from Matthew 13:31-32:  “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”  

It’s interesting to me how many of these Kingdom of Heaven parables have a similar theme:  the idea that something very small and easily overlooked could become the greatest thing–that a small amount of leaven could transform a lump of dough; that a hidden treasure in a field could be worth a man’s whole fortune; that the least of seeds could grow quickly into the most notable herb in the garden, large enough to accommodate the birds of the air.

“Kingdom of Heaven: Mustard Seed” is written in iambic trimeter: x/x/x/x, x/x/x/, form ABAB.

Kingdom of Heaven:  Mustard Seed

Unnoticed, small beginnings:

One seed, one Man, one Word,

Become the garden’s winnings,

A lodging for each bird.

 

What started in a manger,

Undignified and small,

Whose ending seemed yet stranger–

The shame, affliction, gall,

 

That least of seeds, ignoble,

Once overlooked, ignored,

Has grown, with impact global:

The Kingdom of our LORD.

Kingdom of Heaven: Things Old and New

This poem is based on another kingdom of Heaven parable from Matthew 13:  “Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.”  

There are many layers to the terms “new” and “old.”  We can think of the Old and New Covenants:  the law as given by Moses, and grace, which came through Jesus Christ.  We can differentiate (as I do here) between old head knowledge and new, fresh heart knowledge.  We can separate the old and new into exegesis: the critical examination of a text, and hermeneutics: the interpretation and application of that text to our lives.

“Kingdom of Heaven:  Things Old and New” is written in iambic heptameter: x/x/x/x/x/x/x/, form AABBCC.  I wrote the poem from the perspective of a scribe, a reader, copier, and teacher of Scripture, who knows the law well, but who also grows to comprehend the kingdom of Heaven.

Kingdom of Heaven:  Things Old and New

 

I was among the learn-ed, but my offerings were bland

To students who had wished to learn, to grow and understand,

But over time the knowledge that was housed inside my head

The history, the dusty page, the list of names, long dead–

It moved into my heart, just bit by bit and line by line,

Until the truths I’d known for years were ultimately mine.

 

Instruction in the kingdom was the catalyst that spurred

My learning to become complete dependence on the Word.

Head knowledge is foundational, the “Old” a teacher brings–

But knowing facts and knowing Life are very diff-rent things.

And since I’ve come to know this Truth within my heart and soul,

I’m offering both Old and New, instruction full and whole.

Kingdom of Heaven: Tares Among the Wheat

In this poem, I explore another of Jesus’ parables from the book of Matthew: the Tares among the Wheat.

The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.  (Matthew 13:24-30)

When the disciples wondered the meaning of the parable, Jesus explained it:   He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;  the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;  and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:37-43)

I think it is interesting that tares (also called darnel, or false wheat) look so similar to wheat until the harvest.  But they are inherently different.  Darnel produces a small black seed that is quite poisonous to humans. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolium_temulentum)  Wheat, on the other hand, is the staff of life.  Yet they grow together.

“Kingdom of Heaven: Tares Among the Wheat” is written iambic heptameter: x/x/x/x/x/x/x/, form AABB.

Kingdom of Heaven:  Tares Among the Wheat

We watched with satisfaction as the first green sprouts appeared.

And waited, so expectant, for each stalk of grain, each beard.

The seed we’d sown, so perfect, incorruptible, pristine,

Would doubtless yield the finest field our crew had ever seen.

.

But time went on and, as our crop grew, each of us could see,

Between maturing heads of grain, a slight discrepancy.

For where the wheat bowed down with fruit, so nourishing and fine,

Another crop stood tall beside, malignant by design.

.

“An enemy hath done this,” so the householder declared

When, crestfallen, we told him that his field had not been spared.

The evil one had come at night, while we were still asleep,

And quickly sown his mischief, undetectable and deep.

.

We hadn’t noticed anything at first; it all looked green,

But now those upright poison tares had marred the perfect scene.

We wondered, “ Should we pluck them out and try to fix the field?”

“Not yet,” he told us, “lest you root up wheat that’s not revealed.

.

“Just let them both stay side by side, together in the ground

Until the harvest; then make sure the noxious tares are bound

And saved in piles for burning; then and only then we’ll mow;

We’ll bind and thresh and store and save the finest seed to sow.”

.

Our crew obeyed the householder’s command when harvest came.

And now, we noticed, tares and wheat looked not at all the same.

The tares were black, so obvious, once harvest had begun–

But all the wheat was golden-white and shining like the sun.

I Think I Like You Better Now

This poem is one I wrote for my husband.  It is written in iambic heptameter: x/x/x/x/x/x/x/, form AABB.

 

I Think I Like You Better Now

 

I think I like you better now; it’s been a little while

Since first you took my breath away with just a passing smile.

When love was fresh and new and fast, before life took its toll–

I think I like you better now, with weathered heart and soul.

 

I think I like you better now than when it just was us,

Before the babies came with all their love and joy and fuss,

When it was husband, wife, alone, who shared each long night through.

I think I like our love stretched thin, for more than me and you.

 

I think I like you better now, a little gray and worn,

A little tired, weary, from the burdens we have borne,

But ready with a smile and touch that leaves me breathless, still–

I think I like you better now; I think I always will.