Darkness Among The Dogwood

 

Mourning dove on a front porch,
Says with her eyes,
Her implacable, light-ringed eyes,

Yes, I made a mess
Building this nest.
But
The pangs were upon me, and

My nest-mess is the herald
Of Easter,
Of passion and pain.
In a corner of the cornice,
I hide my life,
Against the roaring of the foe,
Who stalks like a blight,
A darkness among dogwood,
A hatred complete.

This piercing is a deep breath
Inhaled for the victory shout.

I am the covering;
I will die for life.

~

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Come Up Here To Me Awhile

Take a deep breath, girl.
Fill those lungs;
Relax your shoulders,
Your neck,
Your jaw.

Be still,
And know that
I am God.

Open your hand.
I’ll hold it now,
And sit beside you,
And care for every little thing
That you care about.

Your babies . . .
Their babies,

I’ve got them.

Look at Me.
Hear Me.

Every single word
In My Book,
Is a love song.

One word of Mine,
One word,
Is a feast worthy of a
Great Hall.

Deep in My Word,
Find Me
All you’ve craved,
And all that satisfies you.

Find Me . . .
Delighted with you.

I hear you when you fear
That you might be the one
I forget,

The one
I don’t
Have an answer for.

Ask for Me.
I promise you,
I promise you,
I AM your answer.

I’ll show you a mystery:
Walk with me in love,
And your eyes will see,
Your feet will tread,
A straight road,
Where hard-hearts stumble crooked.

Straight roads are not
Easy roads.

I know this.
John cried Me a straight road –
Valleys raised
And mountains leveled.

I set My face on a
Straight road

To the cross.

And when the straight road
Led
To the end of all things,
The abandoned grief
And naked shame
Became the womb of
Glory!

That’s what I do
For you.

For you . . .
You are dust.

I held your body in My hands
So gently.
I put my face to yours
And
Breathed a rushing wind.

And you came alive.                                                                

I did this first on an Eden morning.
It was Adam I held, but
You were there too,
In My heart.
I knew you then.

And then I breathed on you another time,
You and I know when.
The day I called your name.
Do you remember?
And you heard My voice,
Remember?

Oh, I sang that day.

What I breathe to life
No power can kill.
Your deliverance
Is
Eternal.

On your
Straight,
Hard
Road,
Nights can be dark,
But
There is always the third day

When Joy bursts like
The rising of the Morning Star.

Child of Mine,
Come up here to me awhile.
~
Written for the women’s conference at Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church, Cullman, AL, March 1 and 2, 2019.

Obedience Street – Part Two

Tiny glimpse
Beyond the veil,
Moment of deepest peace,
Knowing my Companion
On Obedience Road,
My walking Buddy,
Is the judge who acquitted me,
The lawyer who pled for me,
The prisoner who accepted my
Life sentence,
My three-in-one.
I would resist the word obey
Except that
When my heart’s Friend says it,
It seems to mean
Favored.
Favorite.
And that is irresistible.
That’s life
On this road.
~
Psalm 119: 153 – 160

Conversations With Doubt

Doubt:
Who are you
To write a poem
About someone else’s
Fire?
Me:
I must praise. I must.
Doubt:
For what?
Me:
You wouldn’t understand.
Doubt:
That’s not an answer.
Me: 
Ok. Well. The sweetest of Savior-Gods
Takes things so He can give Himself in their place.
He brings arms and coats and love for those
Watching it all burn.
And even in the tossing first night of shock
He holds and whispers and breathes,
“I will replace with more and better.”
Doubt:
Some things are irreplaceable, though;
They’re just gone.
Me:
I think . . .maybe not.
Doubt:
The ashes do not lie, foolish child.
Me:
Praise is the exchange,
The gift given to me to
Give back to Him. All the smallest
Particles of me,
Emptied of lesser joys,
Are filled with delight of doing
What they, even flecks of dust,
Ashes, if you will,
Were hand-made to do.
They ascend to priestly duty when they sing,
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.’
Their lyric opens my eyes to see that
All the things I think I’ve lost
Aren’t lost at all. They are
Improved.
Doubt: 
Brave words.
What if
The thing He takes
Tomorrow
Is more than you can bear?
What then?
Me:
You
Aren’t
Listening,
Serpent-child.

Marriage Road


Tomorrow you step onto
Marriage Road.
Tonight you hold hands,
And wonder what it holds.

Brother Trotter will present you as
Man and Wife
And your first step forward
Is a different life.
Not just two roads becoming one,
Though they do,
But more, one road that is
Brand new,
Through grassy sweeps and
Thickets deep
Where no road yet has
Thought to be.

This world will tell you
I exaggerate,
That you’re both still yourselves;
No need to overstate.
That the route to joy is in
Holding back,
‘Leave space between’
Is the common hack.
You’ll seek, yourself, to
Make this true,
Because giving all is
Hard to do.

But when does Grace
With this world agree?
Never,
Not in marriage, certainly.
Grace came down and opened wide
His arms, His heart,
His blood, His life.
He married us, for better or worse,
And took the sting from
The thorny curse.

In ten and twenty years
You’ll still need His grace.
And you’ll relearn this lesson
Every day.
But oh He makes it the
Sweetest lesson in school.
Because Grace gives more
Than my own self-rule.

And if I haven’t convinced you yet,
Ask Annie, Cynthia, Zelma, Bertha, and Paulette.
Saints and pilgrims ahead of you,
They walk by faith and know it’s true.

Tomorrow you step onto Marriage Road.
Give freely,
And know you can always come home.
~
For Colin and Eliza on the eve of their wedding, August 10, 2018.

Gentle Handsmith

 

Photo by Abigail Grey

In the making,
Bent, intent,
Joyfully toward
Communion
You loved us into being
With Your hands.

In the breathing, did You
Hold us gently,
Tip our heads back,
And impart Your
Waking grace of life enough
For us to see You and
Love you back?
For why else do we breathe?

In the molding, are Your
Father-hands fixed firm as
Unshakable mountains? Are they
Givers of thorn and rock, of
Steep and lonely crawls
Through tangled brakes?

And are they, too, the hands that
Part the twisted limbs and
Mark the arrowed way, and
Point the summit’s glory?
And do they, the very hands that
Created mine,
Now take tender hold so we can
Climb together?

In the saving,
Your hands are marked with
Justice and Mercy,
And I am twice Yours,
Made and remade
By the gentlest of
Handsmiths.

~
Psalm 119: 73 – 80

New York, Day Four: Bigger Things

Ichabod’s woods are indeed
Haunted.
He was right, though ridiculous,
To jump at every eddy.
Haints and witches abandon a
Gorse-grown stoney field
And melt back in to old, old
Woods,
To titter at our cluelessness.
On a wet stone we stand,
Once a top step.
Who stood on that stone,
Home and
Relieved at road’s end?
The almost-home stone.
The Woman’s respite stone,
Work half done, her eyes
Drank in the pond downhill,
Thistles and thorns and damp.
She saw the bigger things.