Common Grace

There is a fine line between prophetic initiation
and righteous indignation.  The first brings about
a flowering of possibility while the latter begins
with the assumption that what is right for one 
is right for all.  That path leads only to regret.
I once sat down upon a log to think of the moments
when I shared my thoughts and to feel the times
when I shared my feelings.  There was something there.
So often I have held a pen that is too short
to write upon the page before me.  Then, complaining
that life has somehow shorted the three of us,
me, myself and I, I have simply not said what needed
to be said for fear of appearing somehow inadequate.
Having more than one thing creates stress around
which one to use in one particular moment.  Call it,
a complication.  An anniversary passed not too long ago,
with all those fourteen-year old memories still ripening
in the present.  How I long to take a quiet stroll
around the neighborhood pushing a stroller holding
my sleeping child; to create a space for the possible 
in between what I long for and what calls
for my attention, hoping, common grace appears again.

Ordinary Pessimism

I said, "I have decided to defend myself
against the many charges of me
being a pessimist."

She asked, "And is that possible
with reality the way it is; with
the crushing expectations of life?"

I replied, "Are you suggesting
that labels, once applied, are unable
to be removed?"

She answered, "There are times
when the overgrown bushes
need to be pulled out."

I said, "Perhaps in our drive
to be inhuman we need to curb
our natural impulses."

She said, "Or raise the level of preaching
filling the pews with unwanted desires
to achieve ordinariness."

Perishing

"...the bourgeois individual perishes ingloriously..." - Reinhold Niebuhr

Nothing like going down in flames to warm the soul.
Or, perhaps a slow decay should draw more attention
as atom after atom zip off into the realm of the ether.
One eternity becomes another in each moment in time;
one particularity an opportunity for the next.  We study
some moments as if they were more eternal than others;
points in time where death visited with fanfare and fingers
pointed, astonished, like death had never happened before.
The last act of God in history may very well be a fizzle but 
that does not mean that nothing in the here and now
should not make some sort of sense to the ones perishing.

Wanting Memories

Wanting memories to appear
with strange juxtapositions
that flow to the woods,
I study the hawk circling
then landing on a winter branch
watching it view the ground
for only movement that it sees.
I dance with my amazement
at how the certainties of yesterday
continue to appear as idols in my life.
I wonder, are there necessary
idolatries that God does not mind?
How does one know how
to resolve the paradox
that all will be revealed in time?
Will another dimension be needed?
Once again my poems become questions.
Perhaps questions make memories.

Dance and Song

The poet writes 
of a secret subtle awareness
as if there is a pairing 
of a quietly playing child 
with some about to be revealed 
divine and human connection
dancing between 
the carefully stacked blocks 
of time and space.

At some point 
the distance between finitude
and the infinite became small.
Onlookers watched in amazement
as a single bird appeared in the morning
alighting on a branch
against the blue sky
singing a simple song
welcoming the sun.

On Burnt Paper

I am a desert stranger 
filling the rooms of my house 
with my wandering presence.

Standing naked under the stars
once held an attraction for my eyes
but too often starlight blinded me.

I have been held in the arms
of nightmares of old where the winds
shook the branches of my life.

No longer do I cede such power
to the elements created by chance
at the very beginning of time.

The feeling of being complete
fills me as I write these words 
from my past down on burnt paper.

Undone

I survived my last spontaneous love affair 
in what used to be called the insane asylum
by demanding at all times for God to be removed
from the heavens and given into the hands of the people.

New students of the divine were more than pleased
to see the moment of promised serenity and deep peace
when grace lifted itself off of the pages of studied texts
and crept into the pockets of all who walked by the window.

There will come a time when driven nails will actually
remove themselves from all bleeding hands
and lean bodies will fall gently down from the trees
upon which they were to have spent eternity.

“I make peace and create evil.” Isaiah 45:7

Surely the desire to create evil comes
from some crooked past untouched by the divine.
Or, does this line join all the other buried texts
that make us uncomfortable when standing
before the burning bush and with each other?
One does not mention the nature of the whims of God
in polite company seeking to drink tea in peace.
Is it any wonder that redemption then waits
for us on the other side of how we spend our time
passing each other over with our judgments
that come from some tiny space inside our hearts?