Impossible Madness

Why does it feel like I’ve lost you
when you aren’t even dead?

Why am I the only one
who wants to make amends?

Why does it have to be so hard
after all these years?

Maybe it’s the tears
mine and yours, and theirs,
that makes breathing and living
loving and forgiving so impossible

I guess sometimes families and madness
can’t survive one another

Because that’s what you are, you know,
mad, or crazy, or mentally ill
whatever you want to call it

It’s torn us apart
because you don’t understand
why they can’t begin to comprehend
what’s going on inside your head

It’s torn us—you and me—apart
because you’ve convinced yourself
that I don’t at all understand
what’s going on inside your head

You forget I’ve been there
that those crazy, mad thoughts
have been inside my head, too

But then you’ve forgotten a lot of things
all the times I was there for you
just to listen
and the times you were there for me

My greatest desire is to forgive
and to be forgiven
to live and laugh and love again
to mend what has been torn asunder
to heal the thoughts inside your head

But right now, in this moment
it feels like you might as well be dead
at least that would be easier to live with

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My Zealous Adonai

Adonai, my Lord of love
How I long to see Thy face
Alight on me, Holy Dove

Bread of Life, strength for the race
Thy Word, my faith, sustain me
Resting, resting on Thy grace

Creator, who made the tree
Sun and moon, all life, mankind
Thou gave us but one decree

Deliverer, oh so kind
Even when I break Thy law
Giving sight when I am blind

Elohim, I kneel in awe
Before Thy majestic throne
In Thee is nary a flaw

Father, mercy Thou hast shown
To Thy undeserving child
Though to wander I am prone

Good Shepherd, meek and mild
Keep me in Thy safe lockup
Bring me back when I’m beguiled

Holy Spirit, fill me up
By Thy abundant measure
Overflow my blessing cup

Immanuel, my treasure
Savior of humanity
Surpassing all life’s pleasure

Jesus Christ, Thy majesty
Bestowed Thy eternal gift
Poured out upon Calvary

King of kings, Thy scepter lift
As Thou lifted on the cross
From me to Thee guilt did shift

Lamb of God, my gain, Thy loss
Light of the world shining bright
Burn from my heart wicked dross

Messiah, Thy way is right
By Thee death is defeated
Prophets foretold Thy great might

Name above all names seated
Now at the Father’s right hand
Thy work, my soul, completed

One True God, salvation planned
Setting Thy people apart
On Thy sovereign grace I stand

Prince of Peace, reign in my heart
That Thee be my legacy
Never let Thy grace depart

Qanna, in Thy jealousy
Oh, let my trust in Thee grow
Remember me tenderly

Redeemer, Thou love me so
Though my days with sin are rife
Paying all that I did owe

Savior, ransom of my life
Answer my fervent requests
Rescue me from pain and strife

Truth upon which wisdom rests
Count me in Thy census
Free me from temptation’s tests

Unchanging God, most gracious
To sing Thy holy praises
Beseech Thy faithful chorus

Vine, the severed branch blazes
Abandoned fields lie fallow
Lest a new crop Thou raises

Way, Truth, and Life, I’ll follow
Word made flesh, Thou art divine
In Thy grace life’s not hollow

Examine my spirit fine
Tune me to Thy lovely gaze
Holy Spirit, gift of mine

Yahweh, the Ancient of Days
Thy virtues I will extol
Help me follow Thy ways

Zealous protector, my soul
Under Thy gaze from above
Make my broken parts a whole

Adonai, my Lord of love
Zealous One, my Holy Dove

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A Beautiful Sacrifice

Over at dVerse Poets Pub, Mary challenges to write about beauty. With Good Friday and Easter on the horizon, I decided to write about the most beautiful sacrifice in all of history.

A Beautiful Sacrifice

It is an ugly scene

A naked man with bloody hands and feet
hangs upon an instrument of torture
sharp thorns jammed into his forehead
blood dripping down his face
sweat covering his body

He weeps
not for himself, but for the mockers
spitting at him
taunting and jeering
casting lots for his clothing
knowing not what they do

He cries out in agony yet
intercedes for those who hate him
prays they be forgiven, that we be forgiven
He atones, redeems, sets free
loves in a way we cannot fully comprehend

It is a beautiful scene
It is a beautiful sacrifice of love

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No Dead Poetry Allowed

Today is World Poetry Day, so I thought I’d write a poem about poetry. I hope my poetry, in general, falls into the “living poetry” category.

No Dead Poetry Allowed

A poem leaps off the page
into the reader’s heart

or it is simply words on a page
describing emotions

A poem evokes strong emotion
wrenching the heart

or it simply tells the reader
how to think and feel

A poem skips along smelling flowers
in a fragrant field

or it is simply a list of flowers
the writer says smell good

A poem reveals the divine
creating desire for God

or it simply tells the reader
God exists

A poem acts, accosts the senses,
implores, greets, entreats, and lives

or it is simply dead

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Words Lurk

Another dVerse challenge I couldn’t resist. Victoria has called us to action, to use verbs to improve our poetry. She suggested taking an older poem and rewriting it to replace any tired “to be” verbs with action verbs. I took an extremely old one of mine, from before I posted a single blog post, and spruced it up a bit.

Words Lurk

Words hole up in my pen
only ink

Words lurk in dark recesses
of my mind

I wrestle with sleep
as words swirl and dance
playing word games

The sun arises, beams into my room
I struggle to recall and record the dance
The words hide, again
in the dark recesses
like the hole-in-the-wall gang

They desire freedom
to live in the light
yet fear entraps them

What will others think
if they reveal their dance?
In lines and curves of black
shining on the glaring white?
Lingering but in darkness
remains safer

And here is the original for comparison:

Words That Hide

Words are hiding in the ink
deep within my pen

Words are hiding in the dark
deep within my mind

I know they are there
because I see them when I try to sleep
They run around in circles
Playing their word games
And keeping me awake

But when the sun comes up
and I try to write them down
They hide again within my pen
and deep within my mind
In the dark within my mind

I know they want to come out and play
But they are afraid
At night in bed they feel safe
Playing in my mind

What will others think of them
If they play upon a page?
In lines and curves of black
Shining on the glaring white
It seems much safer just to hide
Within my pen
Within my mind
In the dark within my mind

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Like Santa Ana Winds

The Poetic Winds of March are blowing over at dVerse Poets Pub today. Kathleen Everett has challenged to write about the wind or to use the wind as a character or presence. I decided to combine my two favorite winds in this poem. The first is the Santa Ana winds of my youth in California. Although they could be dangerous because they fueled wildfires, I loved them.

Like Santa Ana Winds

As the arid Santa Ana winds
sweeping across
the hot California landscape
embrace me
warm my skin and to my core
feels like heaven

So does Your Holy Spirit
sweeping through
my cold inner heartscape
embrace me
warm the depths of my soul
promises heaven

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The Beginnings of a Poem

This is the beginning of a poem I’m sharing for Meeting the Bar at dVerse Poets Pub, following the Oulipo option from Anna. Playing with language and poetry rules, I’m writing a poem with the following self-imposed rules:

  1. It’s a Terza Rima with 26 stanzas plus the ending line
  2. It’s in the style of a Hebrew acrostic, like Psalm 119, so that each stanza begins with a successive letter of the alphabet—in this case, the English alphabet
  3. Each stanza begins with a name or characteristic of God
  4. Each line is 7 syllables, because 7 is the number of perfection
  5. The first line and the ending line end with the word “love” because God is love

Anyway, it’s not finished. It’s much more than a 48-hour project. But I wanted to share what I have so far, the first 7 stanzas, and get some feedback. One thing I can’t decide is whether to use “Thy, Thee, and Thou” throughout or the more modern “You and Your.” This version uses Thy, etc.

Oh, and it doesn’t have a title yet. Here it is.

Adonai, my Lord of love
How I long to see thy face
Alight on me, Holy Dove

Bread of Life, strength for the race
Thy Word, my faith sustain me
Resting, resting on Thy grace

Creator, who made the tree
Sun and moon, all life, mankind
Thou gave us but one decree

Deliverer, oh so kind
Even though I break Thy law
Giving sight when I am blind

Elohim, I kneel in awe
Before Thy majestic throne
In Thee is nary a flaw

Father, mercy Thou hast shown
To Thy undeserving child
Though to wander I am prone

Good Shepherd, meek and mild
Keep me in Thy safe lockup
Bring me back when I’m beguiled

 

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My Son Shine – Reduction

Son Shine

His smile
a thousand rays of sunshine

His laugh
a hundred birds singing

His dancing
a silly smile and laugh

His curiosity
a hundred cats

His temper
a howling hurricane

Sweet, silly, stubborn, bold
is he

The Meeting the Bar prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today offered choices. My initial thought was that the Oulipo option was perfect for the Terza Rima / Hebrew Acrostic I’m working on because I enjoy working with forms and combining them. And I may finish that in time to post to Mr. Linky for this prompt, but I may not. So I decided to take one of my older poems and respond to the Reduction option. The original poem titled “My Son Shine” is here if you want to compare.

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Filed under Family, Life, Poetry

Finding Light

This is the second poem I wrote during a poetry workshop at the Oregon Christian Writers’ conference last Saturday.

Finding Light

Lord, I’ve heard that You are light
then wonder why I close my eyes
and walk in darkness
as if I were deep in a cavern
without a headlamp or even a match

Stumbling, stubbing my toe on a rock
in plain sight if only I’d look
with the eyes of faith You’ve given me
But I don’t
I choose to stumble instead
and then complain about the pain
of a broken toe or a bruised ego

How long, O Lord, will I walk in darkness?

You are my headlamp in this dark cavern of life
brighter than a million, billion matches
and I long to see
the way, Your way
Help me find Your light

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Hate Never Wins

Cain killed his brother Abel
with a rock because of hate
But in the end
Cain didn’t win

Hate never wins

Pontius Pilate killed Jesus
had him crucified and buried
But in the end
Pilate didn’t win

Hate never wins

Caligula killed for pleasure
was a truly evil emperor
But in the end
Caligula didn’t win

Hate never wins

Ivan the Terrible killed his own son
in a fit of characteristic rage
But in the end
Ivan didn’t win

Hate never wins

Hitler killed the Jews and more
in gas chambers and by firing squad
But in the end
Hitler didn’t win

Hate never wins

Saddam Hussein killed all opposition
reigning terror on the nation he led
But in the end
Hussein didn’t win

Hate never wins

Pol Pot killed a million Cambodians
by starvation, imprisonment, and murder
But in the end
Pol Pot didn’t win

Hate never wins

Francois Duvalier terrorized Haiti
assassinating many, leaving them poor
But in the end
Duvalier didn’t win

Hate never wins

Idi Amin killed fellow Ugandans
by torture and executions
But in the end
Amin didn’t win

Hate never wins

Islamic extremists kill Christians,
Hindus, Muslims who don’t agree with them
But in the end
They won’t win

Hate never wins

Even when the battle is lost
Hate never wins its war against love

 

The prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a poem against terrorism. Head over and check out the other offerings by poets standing up for what is right.

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