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Category Archives: Poetry

in the heart’s own wax

One book, printed in the heart’s own wax
Is worth a thousand in the stacks.

~ Jan Luyken (Dutch poet)

 

O heart, too much like stone, you,
and chisel dulled;
or, better, a hard drive,
overloaded
with too many hurried bytes.

A tablet of wax
ever-expanding
ever-lengthening
ever-impressionable
beckoning the fresh
imprint
of lettered treasures old and new…

Too many in the stacks;
Move, O bookish stylus, to the wax!

stylus on wax

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Posted by on December 7, 2015 in Poetry, Quotes, Uncategorized

 

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a single brushstroke down

Light dawns, and any talk of proof
resembles a blind man’s cane at sunrise.

Remember the passage,
We are with you wherever you are.

Come back to that.
When did we ever leave it?

No matter we’re in a prison of forgetting
or enjoying the banquet of wisdom,
we are always inside presence.

Drunkenly asleep, tenderly awake,
clouded with grief, laughing like lightning,
angry at war, quiet with gratitude, we are nothing
in this many-mooded world of weather
but a single brushstroke down,
speaking of presence.

*The word Allah in Arabic begins with a strong downward mark.

Excerpt From: Coleman Barks. “A Year with Rumi.”

This is what Proverbs calls “a word on its wheels” – what we call a “timely word.” I simply can’t quite get enough of it.

All talk of proof is like a blind man’s cane at sunrise. Positively exquisite.

Always inside presence in this many-mooded world of weather. Yes.

How desperately we need this truth as an ice pick when heart and hearth freeze. Where are those Ezekiel eyes? Those roomy eyes that can see through our barren Chebar landscape to the whirling of the Wheels, to the indescribable presence we thought reserved for holier, happier climes.

And the single brushstroke down speaking of presence. Exquisite doesn’t even begin to capture how it fires my soul to know that the Muslim word for “the God” begins with a single brushstroke down. Some see only sword, but it’s Immanuel hidden in a stroke. Immanuel everywhere.

In this many-mooded world…

Allah-Final551-300x203

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2015 in Poetry, Uncategorized

 

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russ

I’m not ready for the friends of my youth to die.

I just told, again, the story,
the story of you,
to another youth,
to another generation,
the day before you died.
I can’t tell my story without telling of you.
A lost, hidden youth I was,
trying to be a rebel
but failing to even look the part
with my scraggly hair
and untucked shirt.
Pathetic.
But you saw me.
You loved me in.
You opened the Book.
You taught me to sing.
You made me believe in me –
pathetic, rebel, hiding me.
We’ve lived apart for the past three decades
and more,
so why does it pierce me so
to know that we no longer enjoy
the same sun
rising and setting
that we no longer feel the same breeze
or wonder at the heavens above?
But it does, to the core of me, it does.
Where is your sting, O death?
Why, here. Again. And again.

I’m not ready for the friends of my youth to die.
treeoflife

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2015 in Poetry

 

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O, Pain

What do I do with thee?
I can
hate
curse
revile
despise
castigate
denigrate
condemn
contemn
and generally,
thoroughly,
scorn thee, O Pain.

But then what would I be?

Little more than a limpid,
pissed off puddle.

Such waste of space,
that.

So how about
I welcome you,
I, your reluctant,
often resentful,
inhospitable
host,
and kiss your brow
as the brow of
Christ,
my Christ come to
teach me
your
thorny,
bloody,
life-instilling
lessons.

courtesy of Anna Shukeylo annashukeylo.com

“First Embrace” courtesy of Anna Shukeylo annashukeylo.com

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2015 in Poetry

 

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shard.

What a remarkable thing.Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 9.54.05 AM
Thankful for a shard.
Feeling them all week in these
neuropathic chemo
feet.
Invisible shards
deep
unrelenting
daggers

tormenting
sleep stealing
walk stopping
ungripable
unpullable
unstoppable.

So how surprisingly marvelous

to step
to feel one
again
but to actually see
blood.
O exquisite pleasure!
Finally here be one
gripable
pullable
stoppable.

Neuropathic chemo
fingers
grappling with a shard
that can finally be
touched
gripped
removed
to the sounds of reverberating
laughter!

Never thought I’d be so
thankful
for a shard.

images

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2015 in Poetry

 

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oh impetuous procession

Oh impetuous procession!sickles advance
Oh splendid advance!
Placed, you were, on that gentle slope
good ground
linked, connected like
interlocking shield.

But rising before you,
from that orchard stared down
in imagination fired by roiling memories
unlimbered guns
and unleashed furies
revealing a devil to pay.

No time to consult,
No time for orders.

Now.
Forward!
They marched
bugles blaring,
banners waving,
forward to higher ground
in their thousands they marched
shield unhitched
line undone

in the air.

Do we march out too?
Do we join them there?

No, the magnificent voice intones.
Wait.
Tumble back, yes, they will,
and soon.
Wait.

And then, on cue,
rebel yell shrieks
blue line braces
and amidst shot and shell
the stubborn tumbling starts.

We do this.
Disregarding good ground
forward we fly!
to imagined higher ground;
caution flies too, other voices be damned!
forward we fly!

‘til we find our own devil to pay
Oh impetuous advance!
More than a leg
will we perhaps this time
lose
as our own stubborn tumbling starts. . .

9PeachOrch

On the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, Daniel Sickles, in command of some 12,000 men in the III Corps of the Union Army of the Potomac, without orders advanced his men a mile forward of the Union position just prior to an all-out Confederate assault. His exposed corps suffered close to 50% casualties and Sickles lost his leg.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Poetry

 

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to the states

to the states_Whitman

Good reading for the Fourth, methinks.
I love to toss this at government students.
Interesting to contemplate within Whitman’s time and context.
Good to contemplate within ours
or any.

Resist much, obey little.

O the implications, applications.
The manner and temper of each is perhaps key.
From a biblical standpoint,
I would see the entire book of Romans as a dissertation on “resist much”
And in the first paragraph of Romans 13 the admonishment to “obey little.”
Like we do with the injunction of James
“Be swift to hear, slow to speak,”
We tend to reverse the order.

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2015 in Poetry, Quotations

 

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