Tag Archives: grace

The Wave

20 Jun

The swing set little girl, though flying,
manages to wave as I drive by
in the work van, sweep of hair
and dress turning sight to faith
and I tap the brakes.

Generously her flight curves,
her small hand giving grace
as if she knows it will return.
My hand obeys, and a swerve
of laughter crashes on my face.

Odds On Redemption

29 Mar

I’m thinking of a number
between one and ten
and whoever guesses best
gets the final brownie.
Clamor of voices desist!
Each make a choice
and I’ll reveal what I have hid.

I’m thinking of a hitter
who wishes to be better
than the pitch, not to press,
but to select one he can hit. 
He fights and works the count,
hoping for an offering
to come to him.

I’m thinking of a number
between one and seven billion.
This clamor of faces exists
to be cherished and lifted. 
I’m thinking of a kindness
given to the many, and all
the opportunity to guess.

Given

30 Jun

Our Sundays in the park are not forgotten:
the flowering apples, the plumb and level bees.
At the pavilion, bridesmaids and groomsmen
smoking, waiting for pictures to be taken.

I had a wish to syncopate their laughter
with our cadence and our rhythm.
You concealed, double wrapped in skin.
I your living envelope, your place of origin.

Not desiring marriage, and despite my arm’s petitions
I gave you for adoption.
      Oh, the grip of charcoal eyes, of newborn grace!
      Oh, the place where lightning struck my boughs!
      Oh, the rhythm of rainfall the day you appeared
my rising river, my hidden-to-me girl.

Fall arrives and oaks brace themselves,
the park gathers its leaves—I am familiar with
the hardening of bark, the early freeze,
but could not have guessed what now rolls over me.

An infant cry—a flash and strike—but wait,
a distant rumbled comfort has its say.
I ask the baby’s name, tiny hands are upraised;
The mother and I stretch over the stroller like a canopy.

-for Jill G.

Graceful Rider

30 Jun

I recall the asphalt—a blur beneath—and my days
at the school of tachometry.  Chrome tailpipes
and handlebars shone like a vision.
I leaned into the turns until the foot pegs scraped.
Hardtop suited me just fine.

I evoke the throttle’s spirit—the twist and release—
and the engine’s heat.  They moved me, but pavement
takes a toll and ditches are replete.  All those close calls,
falls, and crashes hurt, but I never refused the road.
I crossed the double line

before I slowed.  Then came the graceful rider.
He rode from days of old on everlasting tires
because the time had come.  When he spoke I shattered,
but he whispered to each piece; for every shard he shouted.
His voice was bread and wine.   

He made pursuit his standard and tattooed me with fire.
I ducked and dodged and rolled with bent desire,
but he planned my course.  He pierced and purchased,
broke bones and mended, then caught me with a look…
He saw a man born blind.

My will failed, he gripped.  He healed my road-rash knees,
rebuilt my make and model, he saw to parts unseen
and my gears made changes.  Rubber on the street
moved me to new places.  Beneath chain and sprocket
I saw narrow roads unwind.               

Trail Run

1 Dec

Gray squirrels rustling dry leaves
Skirt runners’ feet on the course;

A tolerant turtle parks and waits. 
But pale blue petals dappling dirt

Lie, and I trample the butterflies.
A crowd of survivor wings rises,

Blinking—the enduring blue
Eyelashes a buttress for my knees.

Meditation On Shadow

20 Jul

Lifted shades—shoulder blades
angled to the window;

Pen jots—mortal thoughts
cast immortal shadows;

Salt shaker, pepper mill
huddled on the table;

I, the paragon of Cain,
extol the offering of Abel.

Morning Reflection

14 Jul

As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them… ~John 17: 18

…my yoke is easy…    ~Matthew 11:30

At the kitchen, by the door,
Our heels on morning floor,
We gather and prepare
To cross the threshold.

Our heels on morning floor,
We hesitate or hurry
To cross the threshold—
sent into the world.

We hesitate or hurry;
We sally, stump, or tumble—
sent into the world
to shoulder and forgive.

We sally, stump, or tumble,
Heels bruised and blistered,
To shoulder and forgive,
To receive the yoke of rest.

Heels bruised and blistered,
We gather and prepare
To receive the yoke of rest
At the kitchen, by the door.

Rising

22 Feb

She rubs mist from her drab face,
yawns as the granite moon descends,

ripples and shivers while embers,
buried by night, are stoked and blown. 

    From ash a yellow lobe will rise,
will hold itself, poised, in her reflection.
 
She joins leaf and limb, heralds again
the return of daylight and birdsong,

flaunts her glints and ruffles, beckons
one who, too long, has been gone. 

Cashier

7 Feb

Sunday morning after church shopping list:
bananas
bread
bologna
tomato soup
diapers.

At the register
the cashier
runs to grab a flier,
plucks the coupon
for five dollars off
any size Pampers.  

We make our way toward home—
plastic sacks,
hungry kids,
full air in all four tires.

Dad’s Journal, Saturday January 1st

7 Jan

Arose, made coffee, oatmeal, and a list.
Hugged and kissed spouse, and prayed.
Discussed a canoe, a massage—a birthday.
Chased, regained, attempted to retain
next door neighbor’s pet, crazy.
Climbed up and down attic staircase,
then folded stairs away.

Exercised paintbrush on desktop
and taught third grader a bit
about how to paint.  Made a lap:
dressed toddler in pink boots
and green shirt.  Went out to help
with fifth grade science experiment
before it rained—got damp anyway.

Brushed and rolled here and there.
Watched fifth grader play computer game.
Watched Popeye and the gang.
Cleaned up for dinner.  Sat down
with family and ate.  Beheld faces,
took up the graces, read books…
then wrote, and hit the hay.

Robert Buchanan, Hindenburg Docker

14 Oct

260px-Hindenburg_burning

Robert Buchanan waited on the field,
in wet clothes, to dock the Hindenburg.
No shadow marked its’ place
beneath the heavy morning sky.
The airship came close, then, POOF!—

strange enormous light, a bite, and suffocation.
He wondered, is this the end?
Heat shoved him, outran him, jumped down
on him.  It was the hottest thing
he would ever live to tell.

Rain came twice while he had waited;
twice its’ grace fell on him.
He escaped, but had to run a long way
before he turned
(to see from what he had been saved).

Robert Buchanan was interviewed for the PBS program History Detectives (Season 6, Episode 5).  His testimony of how he avoided severe burns and possible death at the crash of the Hindenburg inspired this poem.

In Tenderness He Sought Me by W. Spencer Walton

7 Oct

I AM the Good Shepherd

Jesus said, “I am the gate for the sheep.  All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10: 7-9).

In tenderness He sought me,
Weary and sick with sin,
And on His shoulders brought me
Back to His fold again.
While angels in His presence sang
Until the courts of heaven rang.

Refrain:
Oh, the love that sought me!
Oh, the blood that bought me!
Oh, the grace that brought me to the fold,
Wondrous grace that brought me to the fold!

He washed the bleeding sin-wounds,
And poured in oil and wine;
He whispered to assure me,
“I’ve found thee; thou art Mine”;
I never heard a sweeter voice;
It made my aching heart rejoice!

He pointed to the nailprints;
For me His blood was shed;
A mocking crown so thorny
Was placed upon His head:
I wondered what He saw in me
To suffer such deep agony.

I’m sitting in His presence,
The sunshine of His face,
While with adoring wonder
His blessings I retrace.
It seems as if eternal days
Are far too short to sound His praise.

So, while the hours are passing,
All now is perfect rest;
I’m waiting for the morning,
The brightest and the best,
When He will call us to His side,
To be with Him, His spotless bride.


Help My Unbelief by John Newton

25 Aug
Albert Finney as John Newton in Amazing Grace

Albert Finney as John Newton in Amazing Grace

I know the Lord is nigh,
and would but cannot pray,
For Satan meets me when I try,
and frights my soul away.
And frights my soul away.

I would but can’t repent,
though I endeavor oft;
This stony heart can ne’er relent
till Jesus makes it soft.
Till Jesus make it soft.

Help my unbelief.
Help my unbelief
Help my unbelief.
My help must come from Thee.

I would but cannot love,
though wooed by love divine;
No arguments have power to move
a soul as base as mine.
A soul so base as mine.

I would but cannot rest,
in God’s most holy will;
I know what He appoints is best,
and murmur at it still.
I murmur at it still.

Jesus Of The Scars by Edward Shillito

14 Jan

If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, the only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow;
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.

The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars we claim Thy grace.

If when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know today what wounds are; have no fear;
Show us Thy Scars; we know the countersign.

The other gods were strong, but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds, only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.