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.
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.



I Love The Man: Evening Ramblings and Morning Truth

In the evening,
I’m fifty-three.
I worry about my mother.
I just learned what a quark is.
Awesome, that.
I love kids’ word creations,
Like ‘fetch.’ No, not ‘go get.’
I worry about my daughters.
I know Jesus and know I shouldn’t worry.
I admire my students.
Art quilts are heaven to do,
But never quite reach what is in my head.
I doubt there’s much in my head.
Heaven, actually
Is to sit with other women and
Look at the Bible. Oh, wow.
Lady Gaga’s ‘Shallow’
Makes my heart ache
Or my stomach. Or both.
Tell me something, boy.’
And I am, like everyone else,
I’ve been married thirty years, and men
Are still a Cipher,
Charming and operating under
Different code.
My favorite man listens to music really
Really loud,
And gazes at his vintage
Sound system and
Likes it.
My son grins when I ask, and says,
It’s all good, Mom.
But, I have to figure that it’s
Harder than ‘all good.’ I also
Know to respect the man.
I’ve known that since I had him.
Had him. As in, lying on a table
And shrieking, OH.
He doesn’t want to know about that.
That’s weird.
Tell me about it, boy.
Morning comes.
And I open the Book.
53 fades into eternity,
Eternity assumes the form of
A Man. Charming and operating
Under different code.
And He gazes on me and
Likes me.
He sings me a Psalm
About warfare, and how
When all is said and done,
What He says is what’s done,
And so, to gather His words
To myself as the gold of my life.
I love The Man.
Psalm 119: 162

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
And that is irresistible.
That’s life
On this road.
Psalm 119: 153 – 160

December Into January And Yoga Pants

December into January,
From Advent to after,
Build-up to come-down,
Weighty to wayward,
And it’s raining;
The calendar has grown soggy,
Clumped into a fibrous wad,
Windblown and
Come to rest against
The dripping screen on a winter back porch.
Days don’t have names in the earliest moments
Of a new year. The year only knows it’s new
Because of the let-down after the feast,
When all it can contemplate is
Digestion, and maybe
A yard-sale in . . . March, when the
Day-names come back.
Meanwhile, I’ll put on my Christmas-new,
Cornflower blue
Yoga pants and ride on
Last year’s
Muscle memory to keep my heels together
Toes tippied knees back
Shoulders down hips tucked
Belly button in lungs respiring
Arm up high balanced at the barre,
Pulsing low to the downbeat of

Conversations With Doubt

Who are you
To write a poem
About someone else’s
I must praise. I must.
For what?
You wouldn’t understand.
That’s not an answer.
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.”
Some things are irreplaceable, though;
They’re just gone.
I think . . .maybe not.
The ashes do not lie, foolish child.
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
Brave words.
What if
The thing He takes
Is more than you can bear?
What then?

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?
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.