Chiaroscuro

The gap in synchrony

between my head and feet

Both entangling a soul

though tethered free indeed

My earthbound walk painted

more like a stagger and lurch

Between eternal heights

and a cyclical curse

Ever failing to learn

lessons from missteps made

But for Your favor unearned

I’d end at the grave

Until You return in

this condition I’ll wait

Moving onward and upward

death penalty stayed

Strewn

It is all here
And there
The disarray
The fragments strewn
There and here and nowhere
In between
The clothes you wore
The tools you used
Notes you wrote
And books you read
The grease-stained John Deere hat
The chair in which you sat
Your glasses
With a smudge on the lens
Your fingerprint
Perhaps
A memory
A ghost
Your voice which once bellowed
Subaerial
Now slips in with the passed
Away
Distorted and coming apart
Ethereal threads soaked
And dissolving beneath the surface
Of the river water that won’t stop
Flowing
Under the bridge
Further away with each tick
Of the clock
The bitter moment stretches
The realization that my words
Will reach your ears
No more

Wheels

In that early morning hour

Of the only night

That winter chose to bite

The wheels left tracks

In a thin layer of snow

From the back door past

The reach of the porch light

Into the dark

Of little consequence

A business transaction

Complete

With an appointment made

For later

In the day

To seal the fate

Of the broken jar

The gurney carried

But that you

Left

Behind

It was the tracks

In the snow that continued on

In my mind

As I drove home

The singer sang

“Let Jesus lead you,

Let Jesus lead you,

Let Jesus lead you

All the way

All the way 
Lord

From earth to heaven

Let Jesus lead you

All the way”

Waterlogged

Your face

Your reflection

On the rolling surface of the water

Undecipherable

Through the torrents of rain

And the churning gale

The notion of a darkest hour

Before some supposed dawn

Surfacing for a moment

Elusive at best

Leaving me here

This morning

Having learned only this lesson

That there is

Always

A darker day

To come

While hope springs

Eternal

So apparently

Does the darkness

That causes us

To yearn

For it

Or so it seems in this moment

When the instruments that I have

To aid my navigation

Are under water

Epilogue: This poem was written in a moment that has passed, but, that will likely return again and again. I’m learning that this journey is a descent with ever-changing slopes that is interrupted, at times, by flashes of God’s presence and a repeating reminder that, when we finally do hit bottom, He’ll be there to carry us up to heights never before experienced in a place where depth doesn’t exist.

Rest

Headache gray eroded away along with
The scent of the radiation burned fray
Synthetic rogue fibers that tripped you up
Dissolved into the past of a place where
Time only stands as a fading construct
Dreamt up by shepherds whose herds were scattered
Leaving them with just the hope on their backs
So they could still know that for which they yearned
Would be sufficient to provide pastures
Lush green and graced with peace unending

For you to be healthy, you must rest. Slow down, and God will heal you. He will bring rest to your mind, to your body, and most of all to your soul. He will lead you to green pastures. Green pastures were not the natural terrain of Judea. The hills around Bethlehem where David kept his flock were not lush and green. Even today they are white and parched. Any green pasture in Judea is the work of some shepherd. He has cleared the rough, rocky land. Stumps have been torn out, and brush has been burned. Irrigation. Cultivation. Such are the work of a shepherd. Hence, when David says, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures,” he is saying, “My shepherd makes me lie down in his finished work.” With his own pierced hands, Jesus created a pasture for the soul. He tore out the thorny underbrush of condemnation. He prided loose the huge boulders of sin. In their place he planted seeds of grace and dug ponds of mercy. And he invites us to rest there. Can you imagine the satisfaction in the heart of the shepherd when, with work completed, he sees his sheep rest in the tender grass? Can you imagine the satisfaction in the heart of God when we do the same? His pasture is his gift to us. This is not a pasture that you have made. Nor is it a pasture that you deserve. It is a gift from God.
Safe In The Shepherd’s Arms, Pp.29-30, by Max Lucado

Waiting Room

Perhaps the role of pain late unfolding

Once serene and summer-dawned youth bled dry

An overcast horizon of mourning

Is to train our wayward eyes on the sky

In The Words of Emily Dickinson

The bustle in a house

The morning after death

Is solemnest of industries

Enacted upon earth, –


The sweeping up the heart

And putting love away

We shall not want to use again

Until eternity.