Senses Alike

I like the smell of a shotgun shell
Right after it is fired
I like the feel of bedsheet’s peel
When I am feeling tired
I like the sight of warm sunlight
When I am feeling worried
I like the sound of watered ground
When feet run fast and hurried.
I like the taste of tomato paste
When on the cheese-stuffed crust
I like the song that rights all wrong
When I just wait in trust
I like the knowing of all that’s growing
When I look with peering mind
I like the being of all that’s freeing
When I choose to be kind.

And a musical staff for an epitaph
When my opus must be signed.

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[No] One

[No] One

The problem isn’t God’s willingness to teach
It’s our willingness to learn.
No one wants a course in suffering.
No one wants a diet of hunger.
No one wants a hard road of obedience.
No one wants the hill of difficulty
No one wants the splintery cross on their back
Only to be suffocated when you have carried it long enough.

No one wants to learn humility or compassion
The fear of the Lord or the depravity of his own soul.
No one would be utterly dependent on God
Knowing that God is not subject to our fleshly wants.
No one wants to give up everything to have nothing but God.
No one wants to leave behind their job,
Their home, their family, their hobbies,
Their possessions, their favorite things,
So that all they have is a heart to know God alone.

No one wants to pay the price to know God.
No one wants to forgo opportunity for the necessity of waiting.
No one wants to cease from their work
Until God Himself arises to work through them.

How endless, yet how tireless His search
For just one with a heart to know him!
The one to whom the Son wishes to show Him.

Mark the man of mean estate
Who holds for sin that powerful hate
And bears the scars of loss and shame
So not in vain He can bear His name.

For such a price, God can be known,
For such a cost, Christ’s pain is shown.
And only to the fire-purged heart
Will God His glorious life impart.

Meditations of a Pearl

~It’s so hard to see in this place.
So deprived of even warmth as a comfort.
Nowhere to hide from the loneliness inside
The soft, cushy beddings beneath me beat me up.

This irritating, grating, infernal thing.
It won’t let go, and deeply I am suffering.
Keeping tender so life can keep me well-rounded
Or hardening myself and becoming a less beautiful thing.

This insignificant, minuscule granule–
This meager task I am given to do, bearing up under life’s weight
Around me the ocean of political and circumstantial upheavals swirls by,
Toying with my shy shell like one of an angry child’s legos.

It is endless, futile, like the sun’s faint glow which doesn’t warm me here.
My fists may clench like my teeth, unwilling to swallow the silt life thrusts me into
But anything kept in my fist will escape the moment my pearl sees the sun
That day when my tired muscles shall give out,

Whether by the prying knife, the ravenous creature, or the cruel, stony washboard of life
Eventually my deeply and closely guarded treasure will emerge
And through sifting be surfaced to be found by the Merchant.
May He find a pearl of great price.

~Inspired by T. Austin-Spark’s sermon, “A Pearl of Great Price.”

Wind, Tongue, Heart

Wind
Tongue
Heart

Churning
Burning
Yearning

Tempest tossed
Flame-brands crossed
All feels lost

Rivers eddy
Warmth is steady
Always ready

Clouds raging linger
Pyres point the finger
Please dull the stinger

Storms are slackening
Fires are blackening
Soul is flattening

Hush! Little wind and be calm
Brush! Feed the fire and keep warm
Thrush! Shells crush, but do no harm

Sea of glass as flat as a plate
Soft embers blown by love not hate
The strength of words now marked in slate

I’m
at
rest.

Marker Stone

This weight, a sandbag, an undertow.
My heart is thinned by a marker stone.
A cold white stone on living grass
Black arrow etched in distance past
The grim sight gives the traveler’s stead
Ability to decide if its ready
To take the path he journeys on
Or rest in pasture’s green warm song
But city’s distance furrows his brow
His character is not in this wasteland sown
Birds pluck the shelled life untold
From gutter’s refuse, from cracks in boulders
How weighty on his thoughts that rock
That monument to what lies locked
Behind the wall of city dweller’s face
Where Devil and Angel wings are traced.
What wealth the poor are beaten to take
On what poverty the rich have all things staked
Forbearing all this with a heavy heart
His tired feet have sorely smarted
A friend passed this way once before
If only he had not swung so loosely his sword
That his restructured and suggested way
Be hollowed out down the highwayman’s main.
Danger crouching in every shifting dark
Wherein this flattened warrior shaves with sparks
The blade which leaves its scabbard clean
But heavy in the arm the mother weans.
Such steps he takes collapses him despondent
His map suddenly seems of no assistance.
The mile marker helpful for the length
Does not reach into limbs of lead to strengthen.
Broad ways lose many progressions each day.
Only marked paths reach a safe place.
Returning from the desolate wild land
Where his fingers came to clutch the Father’s hands
Finds a quiet soberness in face once glad
To tell his tale in the presence of all lads.
The reason: by this tombstone, he is low.
And feels the greatest distance from his home.

Ache

Earth groans– the roots of oak trees find them out
~     In secret seeking cool sustaining streams
The air feels thin while splitting on the flout
~     A piercing cry of music from my dreams

How old the marrow grows in once strong arms
~     Anticipating touch without remorse
Still waiting for beloved tender warmth
~     Returning swift received without recourse

Two dandelions blown in stormy breeze
~     Are stripped of new beginnings as they wilt
Believing sure their children earth will seize
~     Creative soil unseen new lives rebuilt

So short cruel time to sever love from love
~      Its wound agape awaits the Gard’ners glove

Woe to Babylon

Based on Revelation 18, Genesis 11, Psalm 2, Isaiah 54:11, and a recent trip to Las Vegas, Nevada.
 
Woe, Babylon, O Babylon!
You build your towers tall
Your boasting blocks the wind of Heaven
You slowly die behind your wall.
 
Your sin from Genesis to Revelation
Has piled up before the God of Heaven
Your plans amuse Him; then His fierce indignation
Only the New Jerusalem will be safe.
 
“Come out of her, my people!”
And understand this Tale of Two Cities:
One will rise and fall without memory
The other will fall and rise set in antimony.

My Truck

Pretty as a 19-year old model
Shiny like she’s brand new
Bright red like a fire hydrant
Big like the King of the road

An 8-foot bed huge loads handles well
Her gate well-oiled snugly shuts
A bed liner makes the whole body protected
Its ridges guide the water out straight

Beneath the shine, a villainous corrosion
An oxidization made brittle by city salt
The frame has holes and cracks that deepen
Every bump it takes, and puddle it fords

One bump, the spring shackle bracket broke
And the left back corner of the truck bed sank
Suspension, transmission all put under tension
And the metal floor of the bed began to scrape

ACH! That noise! That digging scream
That cried for repair before the break came
It would punch a hole in the 8-foot bed,
If it was not healed with the Welder’s flame.

BREECH! That bump cost far too much
Too long the scream went unacknowledged
And now silenced the dagger is still
Jutting up through the floor of the 8-foot bed.

The frame now bears weight on the bone of the Truck
And the bed liner is not pierced but raised from the floor.
But a once water-tight 8-foot bed has a leak,
And the moaning continues as the hole gets bigger.

Aiee! Ach! That shameful burden stabbed
My heart to know my own neglect
Caused one small problem to cause many more
And now the damage cannot be undone.

But repair can be made by the Welder’s flame.
The community shop can raise up her frame
Line up the spring shackle bracket again
And solder it back to shoulder loads well again.

The hole in the 8-foot bed can be patched.
And the scar will still hold the water inside.
In fact, the strength lent to this space may be needed
Should any further breech occur beneath.

But the rust still needs to be arrested.
Or the problems will continue unless dealt with

The Earth – The Eye

O for courage to face the broken sphere
So easily comparable to the human soul
In which high thoughts like mountains sheer
Arise from the ever-moving ocean of emotion.

The Eye that pierces space and time
In search of eternity’s finitude
Alight with the small sun’s radiance sublime
A little dimmer than Mercury or Venus can tell.

Little part; big proportion. Tiny ant or looming mountain
Every piece of God’s creation patterned to His majesty.
Such a care of gentle wisdom, for the Sun to keep His distance
So all can delight in His good gifts, and not be swallowed up by His immensity!

O sphere so broken, trampled, bent.
His care for you is evident.
So let the eye of His image soften
To see the Good sparkling in His eye.

Poetry and Wisdom

I don’t like reading poetry
Except the works of old:
That timeless art of honesty
Where heart-sung words unfold
Like flowers. Shimmering and glistening
With vibrant tones and luscious accents
Knocking on the door of children listening
Hoping to know their guardian’s intents

Here I raise two books to the sky.
Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament
I hold in my hand Heaven and Earth.
And in between a human seeker
A person who is being shaped
To the image of the Author:
The servant who suffers is communicating
A meaningful truth inseparable from eternal love.

A Ravine. One who stands on one side
Sees only half of what can be seen below.
He who stands on the other side
Can only see half of what lies below.
But he who walks the tightrope between
And peers down straight into the deeps
Only to him can both halves be seen
As awestruck he barely balance keeps.

Mark well the poet who sees Three-D.
Such a one can see a penny from both sides
The canons that fire both ways in one shot
Are aimed with Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws in sight.
With all complexity of sides and tales
The center simple stays the same.
A start with an end that never fails:
The fear of Yahweh’s perfect name.