scars – a poem

A poem referencing the Gospel lectionary passage for this coming Sunday. John 20:19-31.

Scars

Running blind ‘round a corner,
Robber to a cop in hot pursuit,
Forehead meets half-opened door;
Pain, dizziness, trickle of blood.

Childhood memory is borne in the body,
Fibrous tissues heralding past pain,
Scar as locus of life’s hurt and healing.

Boyhood hands whittle a branch,
Releasing bark, sharpening to a point.
“Always away from you,” momentarily forgotten,
Jackknife jumps, slices skin, hits bone.  Continue reading

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poem for palm sunday

PALM SUNDAY

     hymn

Time-pressed sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic rocks
Burst with anticipation that, human voices stayed,
Their moment of unlocked eloquence and
Soaring speech might finally arrive.

But vocal chords reverberate with ancient choruses,
Embodying praise for earth divinely imagined, given,
Gathering sentiments of quartz, kingfisher and crocodile:
Hosanna! King! Saviour!

     recoil

Impossible words, these,
An unlikely thing, this,
For ears untrained, minds unprepared,
Hearts hardened and unremitting in (un)generous doubt.

We would muzzle rocks,
And mock too-easy faith and hope,
Unless our own in human ingenuity unleashed,
In mean and method, device and digital tomorrow.

     walk

Whisper of fabric, cloaks lifted again across shoulders,
Palms tossed aside, withering echo of a song.
He silently surveys ancient bricked courtyards,
Seeking in crack and crevice, faithfulness and mercy.

Disappointment and departure,
Reculant in sad reversal of pomp and procession,
Bethany re-christened ‘disappointment,’
Thud of stone over Lazarus’ grave.

     persist

Resistance is ours only,
ultimacy not granted to our ‘no’,
flintlike, his face,
‘yes’. 

     three days

Night Running (a new poem) #NDG

NIGHT RUNNING

Rhythmic stride and drumming feet
as dark descends on west-end street;
cicadas drone through August night,
humid air stays fullest flight.

Windows cranked to widest aperture,
invite a breeze to ease the temperature;
glistening brows and clammy skin
beg hint of breath, reprieve to win.

Floodlit bocce at Layton Park,
murmured conversation against the dark;
collared shirts and graying heads,
enjoyment ease in old world’s stead.

Public pool its waters calm,
in daylight hours a cooling balm;
echoes of laughter splashing zest,
diving kids now in bed to rest.

Darkened lane, air-conditioner’s thrum,
cloisters of coolness against nature’s hum;
whispering growling friendships of night
thwarted by windows now shut and sealed tight,

though living rooms blaze with blinds open wide,
and running voyeur gets a look inside;
not much to see that says much at all,
flickering screens keeping families in thrall.

Schools and churches dim and locked tight,
silent old beacons of learning and light,
old as the neighbourhood, much older still,
leading by fits and starts into goodwill.

Coronation to Somerled, turning to home,
by neighbour’s old Charger glinting with chrome;
legs tired, knees sore as I slow now to walk,
life’s always lived in the length of a block.

Anxiety (a new poem)

Anxiety

An old acquaintance appears with-
out invitation, under the radar,
fastening invisible hands on heart
and throat – salvo in ongoing war.

Disorienting deja-vu says I’ve been here
before, but “here” is lost and adrift;
familiar faces somehow out of reach,
with utter otherness imbued.

Greet this friend, enemy – refuse to
fight in a contest that only can be lost;
give an inch and he’ll take a mile,
every resource necessarily exhaust.

Clichéd sweaty palms and pounding
heart capture it, but also cannot;
one moment holds agitation and distress,
a cup running over with panic,

residue of fight or flight in a world of
passing threats and impossible leisure,
quaking hands and restless eyes
bespeak a fear of life’s erasure.

A cross not taken up or chosen,
neither a path walked with intention;
only inarticulate hope this blackness
somehow shares his death, beaten;

a battle of inches and seconds remains,
strategies multiplying succeeding failing,
the adversary somehow best ignored.
Fight by laying down all weapons.

Monday Sabbath (a new poem)

Monday Sabbath

The preacher lives a Monday Sabbath
as the world rushes to the quotidian;
the city-bus groan, office politics,
classroom chaos, breakfast to go.

Resist the voice that insists on
Productivity!
Usefulness!
Preparedness!
Refuse the myth of indispensability,
lie that dies slowly,
deserving a quick burial,
oblivion.

Roll from bed into a day rife with
possibilities neither created nor
imagined – only to be received.

Pages of non-fiction delight and enliven –
Pastoureau’s The Colour of our Memories.
Tomato seedlings cry for planting, for
fresh air, for freedom to extend roots.
The camera begs to be taken up to capture
and be questioned by a living world.

Only see and hear and touch and receive.

The preacher lives a Monday Sabbath,
and suddenly knows whereof he speaks.

A new poem – Blossoms

Blossoms

Short-lived on stem and branch,
like honey on the tongue or
lover’s hand on neck and cheek –
almost absent in presence,
longing even in the holding.

So soon scattered to the floor, a May
snow-shower of perfumed petals –
wasteful abandon of white and pink,
the world taking even as it gives,
giving even as it takes.

Crab apple and lilac and magnolia,
beauty and longing in one instant,
harbingers of another impossible day
beyond ‘through a mirror dimly’.
This day and that day, gift.