Poem: Act of Faith

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Act of Faith

Cold. Dark. Just outside the hospital.
A special kind of silence.
Thoughts broken as ice, disjointed.
Legs walking on their own,
ignoring the mind.
You would rather not be here
again.
Rather not fight the dread
of not knowing
what you will find,
what form
the brokenness will take
and whether or not
you will have the words,
the grace
to heal
anything.

This is what you have chosen.
To be a missionary of sorts,
lacking evangelism
or wisdom, having no more
than your presence. A hodgepodge
of facts and
whatever spark of God lies buried
in your own struggles.

You stand on the elevator.
Ice dripping off your coat.
Your legs. Your cold mindless legs
moving forward, cold and fearful,
acting while the rest of you is stock still
and numb, the mere motion,
each step. the turning of the doorknob
an act of faith.

About this poem. 

The woman I love is a social worker. I am a part-time pastor. There are times we both are faced with situations that are beyond us.

Tom

Poem: A murder then,

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A murder, then,

There is a stillness.
A death in the room,
no pretense of a natural death.

A murder then,

a messy one, with rants and monologues and madness,
a time of lies with more teeth than truth,
one one side a display of fireworks and venom
and on the other, an almost corpse,
drained and dry and yet
still a thing of beauty,  worth keeping, worth preserving,
remnants of color standing over the funeral pyre
of the murderer.

About this poem

I seem to live in a sea of people tearing down others. My compassion always lies with the ones torn apart. Nature or nurture, I am never sure which, but that whole turn the cheek thing? Hard as hell, but mostly, it works.

Kill ’em with kindness. It drives them crazy. Proverbs 25:21-22.

Dancing,

Tom

Poem: The Strangest Work

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The Strangest Work

Nothing, it seems, comes easy.
There is work involved, and failure,
often far too much of it.
trial and error, error and more error.
Effort.
The danger of fear sabotaging
your guardian angels.

Paul was all too right,
we are in a spiritual battle,
a conflagration unseen by bystanders
with blood and gore and real casualties
falling to the left and right,
each side trying to decide
whom to surrender to
and why

the devil is so well dressed,
in Brooks brothers and a hankie tucked, just so
while God seems far more ordinary, so easily dismissed
a beggar with pockets of gold,
riches to be given away,
to any with the courage or foolishness
to believe:
The strangest work.

About this poem

The picture was taken at the Shaker Villiage in Hancock, MA.

The poem came out of nowhere. That seems to be happening a lot this week. I am not a poet these days, just a scribe.

Tom

 

Poem: Repentance

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Repentance

Let us cease to profess a faith that has forgotten
the broken, the abandoned, the lost.
Let us put away our crosses and robes,
our pulpits and altars wrapped in old testament wrath
all holy in our forgetting that we are indeed
our brother’s keeper,
that we are neither righteous or capable
of saving souls with our hard hearts and hate
for the hungry and shattered and holy other.
that in our trappings and good fortune
we have put aside the two commandments
that could save us and those around us.

They, these two lines in a book dense with words,
are too simple.
Unadorned.
Lacking in rank or showy theology.
Too obvious in their truth
to be true.
and so we wrap ourselves in the undercard,
righteous reasons to rant,
a shell game, a magicians’ trick, all distraction and smoke
and noise. Always, the noise.

It is time to stop.
To go quiet.
To look within,
to understand where and when and how
we became broken, unblessed, angry,
to turn away from the noise and clutter
and remember the purpose of our faith:

to save us
from ourselves.

About this poem

  1. I have become that rarest of creatures, a liberal, evangelical Christian.
  2. I have tried to stay away from my politics here, because as soon as you declare an opinion in today’s world, half your audience leaves you (which half depends on your stance). But my truth leaks out sometimes. Without apology.
  3. Matthew 22:34-40 reads…  34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
  4. My sermon this week at Rupert Methodist is on repentance. I think that is what started this poem.

Off my soapbox,

Tom

Poem: Ragamuffin Man

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Ragamuffin Man

You lay late at night,
work done,
prayers said,
spent,
well used,
the day’s battle fought,
never won,
never lost,
survived,
perhaps with a lesson
to move you forward
tomorrow.

This is the you never seen.
The ragamuffin man,
with little left,
desiring to dance,
more than you can know,
to jitterbug and wail the blues
in a major key.
So tired.
So very tired.

But you do not surrender,
for you have in the past and it led to nothing,
certainly not the rest desperately needed,
not the refreshing. No,
your surrender led only to another, and another
and a dead time,
a black hole in your life
that even today feels vague,
unreal,
and dangerous.

And so you lay, morning now,
just for a moment.
You open your tired soul
and trust God to find it,
and feed you like a starving child,
until you can stand,
wobbly as a newborn
and walk again, sword in hand,
an uncertain warrior,
more afraid of surrender than defeat.

About this poem

A history lesson. Nothing more.

Tom

Poem: Bread on the Waters

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Bread on the Waters

It is time to craft
a new forever,
to seek seas unseen,
unexplored,
not even imagined,

Sail with me,
and scatter your fears like bread on the water.
Let the fish swallow them,
and die
malnourished,
while with each crumb you release
you grow lighter,
sailing above the waves and storms
beyond the horizon you did not believe
was there.

About this poem

Repeat after me. Most fears are false. Most fears are false.

Tom

Poem: Still Life

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Still Life

Still.
Quiet.
The light coming through the window.

For just this moment
you are still,
without premise, or purpose,
content,
willing,
to simply be,

to ignore the complications
and trust your God
to sort out the details
and leave you
bliss.

About this poem. 

When I fret and worry, nothing good happens. When I let go and let life happen, somehow it works. A lesson I have to learn again and again. I am a slow learner, it seems.

Tom