Tenebrae (a poem)

Tenebrae

Tenebrae candles church

Tenebrae

at noontide, in an unfamiliar church

I sat in polished wooden pews, beneath smooth arches

tiny colored lights dancing through window pictures

amber glow of candles

beneath the cross.

I listened for God

as readers shared the holy scriptures

piece by piece, the stories to remind us of that Friday so long ago.

I listened for God

in the hymns we sang

still so familiar to my tongue

which once recited the words, caressed the Truth, tasted

His presence.

I have not heard God

since those golden days when we

were a thrown-together family in His name.

Remember how we gathered, holding hands, sharing spirits?

Remember how we preached

to each other

knew

the importance of

loving our neighbor as we loved ourselves

clothing the naked, feeding the hungry

shining lights, a beacon on a hill, the salt of the earth?

 

You knew.

You knew, all of you.

Yet you did nothing.

 

When I was always smiling

doors open for group socials and happy games

you were there (and so was God).

When I stood certain, a rock in my faith, inner light

glowing like a Good Friday candelabra, shining bright

you were there (and so was God).

I saw you all around me

and heard God

felt God

in the old hymns, in the new songs.

We clapped our hands

held each others’ babies as we prayed together

our own private city, Christian club

example to the world

of forgiveness

of love.

 

But when times

grew heavy, when I could

no longer carry my own load, back breaking

drowning in a salt water sea, I lifted my hands out

to you, to all of you.

Remember

my cries? Help me! I can’t…

Remember my long, gray silence

as my candles were snuffed out, one by one?

I curled there in that tomb, searching my way out of darkness

grasping like the blind at every flicker of light.

Where were you then, brothers

and sisters?

 

You were in your homes

raising your children, clocking in

walking dogs, sharing recipes, happy online photos.

I saw it all from a distance

like staring through

a locked window.

 

Where were you, brothers and sisters?

 

You,

the medicine for my pain,

stayed far away, like suffering was contagious

like my crumbling life was too much

for your pampered

sensibilities.

 

You,

fellow followers of Christ

were too busy on your knees, absorbed

in prayer, consumed with your own Quiet Times

wrapped in your hectic schedules of church, and small groups, and

planned events.

My life was messy, in those days.

I did not fit into

your lives.

 

But I was among the naked, in need of clothes.

and I was the hungry

and I was the sick

and the thirsty

and the cold.

The hurting person on the side of the road

as you traveled home to Samaria.

I was lost

I was in darkness

So

WHERE WERE YOU?

 

If I were Martin Luther

I would nail these angry words on your doors,

oh church

for your corrupt culture

your holy huddles, worshipping at the altars

of political outrage, of perfect families, of appearances

instead of following the most important

of all the commandments –

to love.

 

I did not hear God today

as the Tenebrae candles were snuffed

one by one.

Too filled with corked up emotions

released as I reflected on

what it’s all supposed

to mean

but does not.

My faith was a rock

chipped away by too many

years of solitude, apart from those

who once claimed to be

One.

 

I never cry out anymore.

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Reverse (a poem)

I wish I could reverse the hands on the clock

erase the night when we danced

in your living room

fireworks blooming in flowers of sparks

shy smiles over glasses of wine

and fine art

no trace of what became Us

fingers interwoven

joined.

Two open bowls of berries and cream

something that could be broken,

spoiled.

I would make myself someone bland

a comfortable face in your office

trading humor in the break room

an easy friend

for barbecue parties

and group nights

an apple in your fruit bowl

shirt hanging in your closet.

Oh look, it’s 9am

and there she sits

open-faced, waiting

someone you turn to to share stories

revel in your travels

your triumphs

confess your frustrations

release pieces of your spirit

and not

someone you would

leave.

Willow Spirits (a Poem)

Warmth will fade and winds will blow

Then come ice and winter’s snow

In dormant sleep we lie below

Still, in the spring, our tendrils grow

 

Roads may end before they start

Cruelty’s arrow, Cupid’s dart

Pain to pierce the fragile heart

But we refuse to fall apart

 

Though rocks may fall and ground may quake

And tears will spill and hearts will ache

Our willow spirits rise, awake

To bow, to bend, but never break

 

bruce lee willow trees in wind

Badass (A Poem)

Does anyone know when the rules changed?

When once women

smiled upon, praises heaped

for her whispers, powder-soft feminine grace

delicate charms

rewarded for fragility

her tears like treasures raining from lowered lashes

Stay pretty, they told us.

We were cherished once

honored

Bought, never borrowed

safe beneath his wing.

Until

the world thought it best to change the picture

sudden shift

grafitti-marred brick wall displays

the new Femme Fatale

strong, savage beauty

clad in black leather

full lips like blood, eyes like flames.

Though born soft, she is tossed in the arena

to fight alone

Badass

Rogue

Swallow the dark elixir they feed us

inject fantasy into our skin like tattoos

Be HER, they tell us.

Buffy, Katniss, Khaleesi

Forge the spirit of Athena

the hardness of the Amazons.

Fight with the strength of a man

dance the lead like a man

be ever more like a man

but stay…

pretty.

female warrior

Fiffer-Feffer-Splunk (aka: Happy World Poetry Day!)

Say-It-With-a-Poem

Today’s a special holiday

observed across the land

a time to honor poetry

the crummy and the grand.

 

Egads! You cry. You rhymed your blog?

Oh dear, such cruelty

to force the world to read your slop

transformed to poetry!

 

Take heart – for only once a year

deserves such accolade

tomorrow, from your memories

these dreadful rhymes will fade

 

(Nature aims to set the mood

with gray and thunderous rain

as though the weather knows it too,

that rhyming is a pain.)

 

I guess I could have skipped the rhymes

and written in haiku

or flowing, esoteric prose

Like Maya Angelou.

 

Or, break the rules like Dr. Seuss

and fill the gaps with junk

like cats in hats and Sam-I-Am

and Fiffer-Feffer-Splunk

 

But genius poet I am not

so my apology

for this experiment

in lame originality.

 

Well, that’s a wrap, it’s time to go

amazing how time flies.

I’d better hustle back to work

and quit this exercise.

 

Now it’s your turn.

Come on…it’s not like you can do much worse.

Let’s honor World Poetry Day

by writing blogs in verse.

poetry talk

Wings (aka: Two Poems on a Winter’s Day)

Ode to a Caterpillar

 

Oh little caterpillar

who brought such color to the world!

How I remember

tiny fingers grasping

heavy Mason glass

swift

ready to catch, to observe

the free ones

the ones with wings

the ones who flew.

So much you learned, as you curled

safe

in your small, loved home

until today

fragile walls tearing loose

open crack of wide, wide blue

cupped in hands

to test new wings.

Oh butterfly

this world is yours.

caterpillar-to-butterfly

 

Night Angels

 

Eyes lifted toward darkened skies

strapped warm in leather womb

hushed voices mingle with

steady drone.

There I see it

flash of copper light

brief sight of wingless angel

flying in the night.

Warm sigh

fingers pressed, cold against glass

until

once more the darkness lifts

and angel glows.

One by one

on tall, steel legs

they dance

across the stars

halos burning in bronze glory

as my lashes droop

beneath watchful eyes.

street-lamps-shining

Three Poems on Tuesday

Fragile dawn

All the Things We Cannot Keep

Now I lay me down to sleep

dream of sunshine, little sheep

downy dandelion bed

angels dancing ‘round your head

 

Dawn will break before you know

bathe the world in scarlet glow

one by one the stars they fade

as daylight burns the window shade

 

Time will cut the nursery lock

restless feet must take their walk

leave behind the dusty lap

set your compass, draw your map

 

Garden walls shall not constrain

hold the clouds until they rain

push the wind until it blows

keep the seed until it grows

 

Sunrise pinks and palest blue

crystal drops of early dew

lingering dreams as morning creeps

all the things we cannot keep

all the things we cannot keep.

Words

What do you want from me?

More words?

Fine. Have a seat while I

boil them up

pour them steaming in your cup

then stand back

as you scald your tongue on the hot bitter black

words

Shall I melt them down like sugar

sticky and sweet

a child’s easy treat?

Or can you handle something more?

Yearning and sore

for the flowing passion

of my underground river

swift and changing current

reaching, wanting, hiding beneath the surface

in fear of your thirst?

You think this is what you want, what you need

but you never see

that I bleed

words

and that you are the form of every letter.

beware the girl in red

Beware the Girl in Red

“Go into the wood,” her mama said

then dressed her up in velvet red

placed a pail into her arms

“Beware the wolf. He means you harm.”

 

With tiptoe steps the girl made way

and left behind the light of day

weak and cautious little bird

marched to the tune of Mama’s word

 

Weary after many hours

Little Red noticed the flowers

blooming off the beaten trail

and so she paused to fill her pail.

 

It’s always off the trail, I fear

that clever wolves choose to appear

Sleek as shadows, swift as wind

He blocked her path and sniffed, then grinned

 

“Sweet and delicate little rose,”

He purred as the child froze

“Don’t you worry. What’s your haste?

I only want a little taste.”

 

Through the brambled wood she fled

But was no match for Wolfie’s tread

He swallowed her scream, devoured her cry

Then lifted his howl to the sky

 

He laid the girl beneath a tree

and shook his head in sympathy

“There’s one like me in every story

You wandered in my territory.

 

“All alone, a tempting treat

Juicy apple, red and sweet.

Beware the wolf – you should have known

Foolish child on your own.”

 

As he left her, Little Red

yanked the red cape from her head.

No more rank humiliation!

No more victim of predation!

 

With weapons fashioned from the tree

she sat and waited patiently.

As wolves strolled by, she took her aim

then made a fur coat of her game.

 

Soon wolf mamas warned their sons

“Heed my warning, little one

for many a wolf has lost his head.

You must beware the Girl in Red.”