“How can an age which is so devoid of poetic imagination as ours be truly religious?” – Reinhold Niebuhr

Perhaps people hesitate now before shedding the blood
which atones for failures, indiscretions and ignorance.
In hesitation, comfort can be found while taking away
any sense of the poetic dance moving between lines.
When was the last time any of us fell to our knees
begging for the cup of death to be removed?
We need that fall before we begin to write new poems.

“Now God is God not of the dead, but of the living…” – Luke 20:38

God in whom we live and have our very being,
who enlivens all death,
who effortlessly turns the pages of the Book of Life,
who dances on graves,
and who says "Yes" to every "No,"
the leaves fall,
the ground hardens,
the buried rest
and we must go on living.
The earth continues to turn
and so many of those in the world
continue their death-dealing ways.
Dwell with us once again
so we may join you in your divine dance
holding hands with all of the ones
who have gone before us into your music.
Amen.

And suddenly there was a great earthquake. – Matthew 28:2

Subtle God,
Disquieting God,
Stone Rolling God,
who ruptures our reality
with the nuance of shaking ground
moving earth between Heaven and Hell,
pick up the dust of our bodies,
stir the center of our spirits,
decompose our minds
emboldening us once again
to proclaim
"Death is not the final answer"
because so much
around us
silences us.
Amen.

Said and Done

I have written about joys lived
and unhappiness suffered 
for many days and years.
The pages break time down.
Line after line ties my body
to ink on bound paper.
The spirit travels by moving
forward and backward
between today and the past.
I hope to not have to choose
with my last act of free will
between becoming a drop 
in the ocean or remaining myself
or vanishing into nothingness.
Some sort of combination
depending upon my mood
sounds nice.  To not have
sunsets and the laughter 
of a beloved surrounding
me on a calm evening
seems like a loss.  Will I care?
I hope so.  And, after all has been said
and done, I hope that my cares
blend with the cares of others
in some peaceful and decent way.

To Marry and Die

Not all heroes and heroines 
must marry and die.  One must
be born first.  Born into reason,
nature and spirit.  Filled with
a bit of mystery.  Stirred
by the hands of fate.  And witness
the flowering of a day lily.  And
the sighing pshaw of the chickadee.
Each moment may bring surprise
but more often than not it will 
be followed by another moment.
Sometimes my day passes 
trying to get at the meaning
of yesterday.  Did I worship
everything meaningfully?  And,
how important was it for me
to do so?  Maybe greeting
a passerby is more than enough.
Enough does not have to be the best.
Time still follows the worst which, 
though crushed, can no longer witness
how it becomes history.  Perhaps,
and again perhaps, what is worn
and what becomes do not have
to marry and die.

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.

To Live, Just Once

I keep "Minute" perpetually on my shopping list,
hoping to find one on the grocery shelf tucked 
between the dried blueberries and granola.
And then to find another and another and another.

A strange way to seek immortality - no less bizarre
than traipsing off through a jungle in search of some
mythical fountain of life where a sip of bubbling water
promises an additional breath for each breath drawn.

To live another day - to experience one more hurricane,
more casualties of war, a sunrise and another summer
of the buzz of cicadas - with permission from life
to get out of bed and to be a beginner again.

Is one experience of body-surfing a wave into the beach
not enough?  The taste of banana taffy again?  To hold
the hand of my beloved?  Or do I search for more time 
afraid that, like birth, death will only happen once?

Maintenance Required

I cannot imagine a soul apart from the body.
And, I understand the dynamics
of soul-attachment are not meant for me to know.

But if I, my soul, am to float away up into the heavens
upon whatever breeze that blows when I die,
I would like to enjoy the ride with the body 
that I leave behind.

There are those, perhaps many, who look forward
to that day of detachment from disease, paralysis
and fear that inhabits the corporeal.

Yet, what is this the Psalmist writes, God keeps
alive and restores souls?  Does this not change 
the yearning for moving along after death 
if maintenance is still required?