Monthly Archives: March 2012

Burn Me

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Fire amazes me
how it’s orange-white flames
whisper beauty to my soul,
denying the desolation
they will leave in their wake.

And you
did not embrace me with your warmth,
or even consume me in your passion—
you simply looked away.

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Coming Home

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they asked me how I got so far from you,
how long I ran on this journey away from home
but looking back I never ran,
No, that is not how I got here
on some angry track with hair blowing in the wind
It started with a glance over my shoulder,
a toss of my head as I turned to survey the other possibilities
It started with a glance and a small backwards step
This journey took years, one small sidling step at a time
Until I stopped and found I’d traveled through countries
over oceans and up mountains
it was never a long journey running away
I never found the path difficult to walk
So why is it that turning back toward home has proven so daunting
Why are these forward steps
so  much harder than the backward ones
Feet knee-deep in sand, drenched in confusion
Pulling out each foot, planting it in a new direction
Returning toward home

Yearly Escape From Prison

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A fountain stands
surrounded by sprouting young trees
sand-colored cement benches
white blossoms pushing out of wreathed bowls
crimson canopies shading green café tables

Its large goblet swallows up cool waves and pushes them over the rim
above, the clear periwinkle of the sky,
absent of the clouds which normally splash their way onto that blue canvas
around, four smooth walls, carved from granite
to create that imposing structure that surrounds this bit of sunshine and space

I spend my days imprisoned in that beautiful, finely crafted building
scurrying through ornate halls,
holed up in tiny rooms with no windows
and once a year,
I escape—
find they key and unlock the door to this secret garden
being birthed into life by a splashing fountain
I sit at the fountain’s feet
hating to tear myself away from
this budding oasis

The jingle of the prison keys
tinkles in my ears
calling me back to my concrete prison
I wonder who it is that locked me inside so long ago
what mystical power they hold over me
and who it is that permits this yearly holiday

My eyes climb up the slick, granite walls
trying to imagine a way to contort my heavy frame up those blocks
and escape my prison

Daddy

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What you must think
when you look at me—
and my feeble stumblings toward you,
and my confused attempts to understand your holiness,

And I keep passionately trying to figure it out—
following those plastic feet laid out for me,
trying to put together the steps of the dance . . .
and getting it all mixed up.

What if . . .
(perhaps just for a brief moment)
I stopped trying to figure you out—
and raised my hands
(like that ten month old child)
and cried
“Daddy”
Would you bend down and pick me up—
calm me with your kiss,
and somehow
might I find,
that my understanding  wasn’t really that important after all . . .

What I must think
being held in your arms—
and the peace I must find there,
and how I might discover the simplicity that somewhere I lost in all my
trying

 

Metamorphosis

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two dimpled knees bend unsteadily
while the space between her small body and the dirty sand decreases
her hand reaches out and tentatively brushes the strand of pale hair away from her face
it moves to the pile of pebbles at her left
unsteadily it closes the tiny fingers around a shiny stone
cautiously she balances her weight as she sends the smooth gray object into the vast expanse of water
concentric circles form in the clear pool
fascinated, her perfect hands clap in delight
and in another world:
a beautiful lady gracefully brings her hands to this same pool
their delicate fingers forming a perfect  cup
as her neck slowly bends to accommodate her sleep-swollen lips
they earnestly find the sweet water
and somehow the clear substance fulfills a deep need
slowly the corners of her beautiful mouth rise forming a smile
and in another world:
two figures are running across the land
finding the way to this  same pond by following the drumbeats of their hearts
and while socks and hastily tied shoes come off, the tinkling of soft laughter vibrates through the valley
and the mother and child splash their feet in the cool water and  raise their confident voices to heaven
in resounding thanks
and in another world:
a black-clad girl makes her way to the pond
her bruised feet climb the rocks above the pool
and as she sits on the hard mass of granite she clutches a black urn which is absorbing the tears that fall from her face
and as she reaches her hand into the jar and sets the ashes free on the water,
she sings the song her mother taught her
the song her mother sang when her two dimpled knees bent unsteadily

 

Release

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The sky was cloudless that September morning
when my father found me,
hands behind his back,
twinkle in his eye
I looked up from my pile of dirt and weeds and held out my hands
“What is it?”
I demanded with a pout.
He only smiled before pulling out the exquisite kite,
placing it in my grubby fingers
shades of deep purple streaked with lavender and gold
and a tail crafted from yards of ribbon and lace
a breathtaking piece of beauty amidst my grime
I jumped and laughed
grabbed hold of my kite and began to run
I ran as fast and as hard as I could
threading inches of twine through my fingers
Release the purple kite higher and higher toward that cloudless sky
And daddy’s eyes twinkled
Why did he love to give me such extravagant presents?

A few months later he stopped in to check on my magnificent flying contraption
My results were something les than spectacular
ribbons trailing the ground
A beautiful invention meant to soar
lay crumpled at my feet
Oh father . . .
And he walked over and placed his hands on mine
I looked up, questions in my eyes
How had I managed to ruin this gift so quickly?
Patiently he let out the twine,
“You’ve got to release.”
he whispered
“You’ve got to let go,
you’re choking the life out of it—
holding onto it so tightly
as if it were me.
I gave you gifts to soar through sun-breathed skies
but they’ll never fly if
you’re holding on so tightly.
You’ve got to release.”

I try it—
reach out my hand,
link my fingers through his
while the kite strings brush the fingers of my other hand
and suddenly the kite takes off.

Hunger Games, Nanny Diaries, and a Father’s Love

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Tonight I enjoyed an awesome girls night watching The Hunger Games.  We tried to go last night at midnight, but apparently even in a small town like Fredericksburg, all ten showings were sold out days in advance.  One person in our group hadn’t read the book, so everything was fresh for her.  Afterwards I asked her what she thought and she told me that she wasn’t too emotional until the famous scene with Rue and Katniss.  (Just in case any of you haven’t read the book or watched the movie yet, I’ll leave out which scene.  But for those of you that have, you’ll know what I’m talking about.) Anyway, she told me that when it got to that scene she was OK until she looked over at me and thought about me and my kids.  (As I affectionately call all the children who I am blessed to minister to.)  What would I do if it were one of my kids?

It is a really powerful thought– what would you do to protect the kids that you love?  I remember a time when I was working as a nanny.  Little Zach, who was about two and a half, was supposed to be taking a nap.  But he didn’t want to sleep–there were monsters lurking in his closet.  Or maybe he just wanted to play, and the monsters were his fall guys.  At any rate, I lay down next to him and began to sing him lullabies until he fell asleep.  And as he lay there, curled in my arms, I realized just how powerfully I loved him.  I thought about all those mothers whose baby boys were taken from them and slaughtered back in Egypt at the time of Moses’ birth and again in Palestine at Jesus’ birth.  What would I do if someone broke down my door demanding Zach?  All my strongly held pacifist beliefs were getting a run for their money.

And I wonder, what if that same fierce, protective love is the way my Heavenly Father feels about me?  About all of us.  Surely my love for Zach is not stronger than the Father’s love for him . . . or for me–as baffling and hard to believe as that may be.

So today, for Poetry Friday, I offer up this poem for everyone who offers a fierce love to their children.  Whether as a parent, a pastor, a nanny, or a Father.  And I offer this poem to all the children in our world — may you always be aware that there is someone who fiercely loves you.

 

I Hold You

I hold you
sweet child
in my arms
I hold you
whispering lullabies
in your ear
I hold you
in my steady arm
fighting off
the monsters that lurk
in your nighttime

Fear not
sweet child
in my arms
Fear not
I watch over you
wreathing flowers
in your hair
Fear not
you are not alone
in the shadows of this pain

Take heart
sweet child
in my arms
Take heart
I cradle you
singing peace
into your soul
Take heart
there is a hope
stronger than fear

Fly away
sweet child
in my arms
Fly away
you are secure
in my embrace
which breathes new life
into your brokenness
Fly away
into the freedom
that breaks all chains
and births creation anew