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Showing posts from 2012

Carrying the Weight

The tonnage of this load
exceeds all legal limits
of a bridge.
You cannot cross it
to the other side.
The crushing weight
of granite grief
will split the spans and
send you spiraling down.

Unless (and
I am no engineer)
the load is
properly distributed
on this barren,
buckling asphalt,
heaving under
the weight
of your shattered,
tear-stained heart.

Yes, we will bear the burden
with you-
even it on our shoulders
like so many wheeled containers,
transporting anguish
across state lines.

We will help to bear the
cargo of pain
that's sent you
careening across this
four lane stretch,
out of fuel
bereft of even water.
empty.

A load this great must be borne over a
life's length of days.

And we will wait
on the other side
heads atilt,
looking for your coming
as you cross
waving you on
with signs that
say "Rest Ahead."

And
we
will
help
you
rest.
~~~~~~~~
Linking with dverse Pub for Open Link Night #75. More healing words there. And prompted by this,  "...whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you

Crucible

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I bend to be formed, not torn or broken but tempered by heat, a fire so hot the white is all You see of me.
I said “change” and “grow” and I’m bent so low this shape of me is screaming-- melting brass in Your hands, forged by tools so strong I fear the breaking.
But I'm bound to bend, be shaped, sheared shown anew the sound of me, the shine of me, gleaming glory. Yes, choosing to bend not break, become the beautiful breath of sudden sound built by your Spirit (breath) living notes played through me a golden song borne on the wind.... ~~~~~~~~~~

#iamveryconfused

#whyisitcalled a hashtag?

and not a number sign
as in "#3"?
(or n-o period 3?)

For that matter,
why is it a "pound sign"?
(as in "Please enter your password,
followed by the pound sign?"
(my son did not weigh
7#'s 3 oz.
it was lbs., thank you.)

You're calling it a hashtag
for tweeters who
twitter (or tweet?
yes, tweet........
but that's a bird)

Maybe it's a hashtag as in
corned beefed hash--
in front of the tag?
as in, "tag, you're it?"
as in....oh, I give up.

just tell me
why is it called a hashtag?
~~~~~~~~~~
Adding some 'tricks' to the mix, a smile perhaps.  This poem was first posted on my Facebook page in a response to someone who had just joined Twitter.  Now I think I can see the benefit of this social connection--even the NYC Mayor used it last night! 
Linking up with dVerse Poets for Open Link Night 68 and praying for all in harm's way.

Strong Trees

Image
Josh Groban is
heavenly hollering
"Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring".
The sweet and gentle
resolution of the violin and oboes
slows me down to hear your
soft love.

Not the out loud from
the rooftops kind,
but quiet as the roots of
a tree digging down
in the dark,
seeking support
where we need it.

You tether and train the branches
so I can build a tree house
for all the world to see up top,
waving bright flags
to the busy, noisy world
calling, "Isn't life grand?"

But your towering quiet
reminds me
a tree is beautiful and strong,
growing not just up and out
but down as well,
anchored in what matters--
the soil of who you are
living with the leaves of
who I am,
splendoring the world
with shade and space,
quiet, strong, sure.

You stay put and
I'll climb up,
letting the banners fly,
declaring these words,
"Isn't God grand?"
~~~~~~~~~~
Three months ago when my husband was getting ready retire I was not looking forward to the transition. A friend who prayed for us gave us this verse, wh…

Looking for Life in the Garden

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There is no flower on the
zucchini--I guess there will be
no more fruit.
It is time to put the garden to
bed, as Margaret says.

Fruit only comes in the right season
and we are not to be always producing.
there is stillness,
rest, tearing out,
covering up (mulch helps).
There is quiet, it is cooler
and less sun to see by day.

But the days are no shorter,
we still have the alloted 24 hours,
same time, just
a different direction defined
by deeper chores
putting down roots in the soil
of the Word.
Searching for living water
(no more drinks from the hose--
ever ready)
but putting forth the effort
to savor draughts from that well--
that is the work of the winter
months to come.

drinking deep in the darkening
days,
waiting through winter
to Spring.

Atticus to Zeppelin

Image
Three of my grandchildren and their mother, April 2012
"Recess teacher!!"
(That would be me
and anyone else over 3 feet tall
who has a whistle).

"Hey guys, just so you know,
my name's Mrs. Collins",
flashing my cartoon-y fish
logo with my fancy-ish name.
"What're your names?"
"I'm Atticus, this is
Zeppelin."

"Well, those are some pretty big
 names," I remark,
and proceed to untangle the
playground problem.

They walk away while
I'm musing
the challenge of the names
they are saddled
with,
embattled with
in the spelling
from K through twelfth,
and I wonder
what parents--
readers of classics?
rock and roll fans?--
would do that
to a five year old,
giving them,
not a name to grace them
to fit well
but letters too many
to spell
when you are five
and all you want to
do is play on the
swings
and fly..........

Linking for the first time with LL Barkat for On, In and Around Mondays and with dVerse Pub forOpen Link Night 65.  More good stuff over there.

Truer Gifts

Twelve minutes after two the blinking red face confirms as I waken wondering, why? I was so very tired and now I am N O T. the pulsing numbers push me back—a book, a bowl of cereal, a bending black case with another glowing face and I click and read, peruse the people saying something I didn’t say. consuming comments not for me circles where I do not live.

I land with sleepful hope pillowside
thinking, blinking
full and empty at once--
full of other words,
lifeless feasts for my soul
empty in great part because
of this vision and mind meal
feeding nothing.

The hours pass--
red lights proclaim 4:30.
"Perhaps now," I think,
closing my wordful eyes,
pondering
the manna I never tasted.
And I remember,
"By day the LORD directs his love,
at night His song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life."
                     Psalm 42:8

I declare in the dark
and drift off,
dreaming of truer gifts--
water that quenches,
bread that satisfies,
deciding.

"Next time," I say,
"I'll sing."
~~~~~~…

slow down.....

Image
Grandson Hanan Samuel, 3 ish
Watching Hanan see the World
Spider, bug,
Ant and bee
In my garden,
At my knee.

Provide a show
For this young one,
Eyes tuned tight
In midday sun.
He alone can see them move
We pass so fast his dawdling proves
Were we more still
We’d find delight
In this wee world
Through childs’ sight. ~~~~~~~~~~~ I wrote this several years ago when our son and his wife and Hanan lived with us. I remember when he was a toddler and he enjoyed crawling around in our yard....there are spiders galore this year--he would love it! He started back to school a few weeks ago and is now a fourth grader; the years have gone by so fast. Life especially seems to gear up and get going each Fall as school begins again. I thought this was a good reminder to   s l o w d o w n....
Linking with the fine folks at dVerse Pub for Open Link night 63.
More good reading over there!

Missing Peace

Sometimes I don't know which direction I'm going
until I get in the car and
drive.......

Sometimes I don't know what's on my heart
until I start to write.

sometimes I don't know what's on my mind
until I open my mouth and speak
and my Father gives the words.

Sometimes I don't know what I'm missing
until the piece presents itself
and I realize, 'wow, there it is!'

Then I am at peace.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Philippians4:6,7 Amplified "6 Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. 7 And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

With apologies to Wm Carlos Williams

Image
This is just to say we could not eat the plums--
they were so many
pyramided together in plastic,
hailing from casa de Costco
where everything is sold in bulk.

We could not eat the plums.
unripe as they were--
purple/black skins
yielding to (very) firm yellow
(oh! not sweet)
flesh.

We enlisted children,
yea grandchildren--
the 5 of them, and
their parents
but the pyramid remained piled
for ripening another
day.

Oh--you bought apricots, too?
But we still have these plums........
~~~~~~~~~~~

Linking with the wonderful writing crowd atdVerse Pub for Open Link Night

If All the World were Paper

Image
Sam learns to write--September 2011  jlc.
Thank goodness for paper in all its glorious forms, surfaces for saying in pen (cil) what needs to be said NOW, available everywhere for the asking.
Napkins are handy at that dinner with a friend, the back of a program will do when inspiration strikes during Scene Deux.
Church bulletins--always!-- (but more white space would be nice...) maybe next to the Small Group announcement?
The endpapers of a book, the margins of a book.
Writers must write-- and when the Spirit moves, any paper will do....
Now where did I put that placemat from last week's lunch? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My daughter Leah Johnson is a chef here in Tacoma, WA. I had lunch there last week and wrote this while I waited for my clam chowder.
sharing withdVerse Pub for Open Link Night 51 Some really great poetry there!

Trees

Image
Enya remembers trees
and I would rather, too.
Remember, that is--
summer trees--lush and green,
flower draped, glistening color and sunlight.
Full of life, saturated with purpose,
provision--
giving shelter and shade,
returning live breaths to the atmosphere they inhabit,
covered head to toe
cloaked in a wardrobe of wonder,
branches raised in praise.




But alas, the truth is--
bare branches framed against the sky paint a stronger, more sure picture.
Their form and structure
revealed only by what isn't there...

no leaves
no life
no lush-ness.
Just barren bones holding up the air--
a perch for birds perhaps
or the perfect place to hang a swing.
Solitary strength
a support for others,
a trunk for clinging to,
leaning against in the fiercest storms.

Strike that.
Autumn trees are best,
showing me what's needful there
to grow on, build on, add to when the summer comes...














Solomon Episcopal Retreat Center
                     Rachel Zoe DuPlessis. Used by Permission
~~~~~~~~~~~ This poem is shared with Tweetspeak Poet…

Spring reign

Image
The warm spring rain persisted Like the need for prayer, insisted I arise. A call to care, regardless of the hour, When time knows no limits, And love requires me to listen!
Whose heart’s cry do I hear? My own—involved, consumed? Aware of the power, if I ask, for The Father’s hand to reach down And touch—bring healing, redeem, make new.
Whose heart do I hear?The Father’s— Broken, broken… Splintered and crying over lost lives, The enemy’s stealth and deception, Muddling perception, leaving blind the sightful.
Whose heart would I hear? His own—truthful, honest, facing the light That reveals the pain, not concealing, But paying the cost for a change. Deciding that pretense makes no sense When death brings the ultimate perspective.
How I pray that he would see the Father’s heart, Broken open for him. See the arms that welcome the wounded, turn towards the light— the light that brings comfort, restoration, warmth. The warmth and depth of His love, love that sheds for him falling tears like the persistent, quiet Sp…

First Grade Recess

Image
I wanna wear rainbow-striped leggings like Carly
or a bright pink tutu with Zoe's sparkly shirt.
I'd like pigtails or a vivid
purple flower clipped
in my hair.
I'd like to run with abandon
hollering after a ball
and do a leaping high five
when I catch it.

I want to jump rope--double-dutch, in fact--
"Ice cream, Ice cream
cherry on top
How many boyfriends
do you got?"
and count As High as I Can
until I miss

I want to skip away with my friends
and giggle at a joke,
without a care in the world.

But alas,
I'm here in the background
standing still, dressed in
blase black and khaki,
watching from afar
with a whistle and a name tag
around my neck--Official-Looking--
and bewildered by all these rules,
remembering My Schedule,
keeping things in line...
wishing I was 6 years old again,
even if just for a day.
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joining in the fun at dVerse Poets for Open Link Night. 
More great poems there!

Picnic

Image
We have a mandate to leave no child behind,
Yet we are educating children not left behind,
But left to die, escaping with their families and their lives,
The clothes on their backs and a lifetime of images they want to forget.
So we attempt to educate them--
‘educate’ from the Latin-‘to lead out’
Lead out from terror, away from want, weariness and war.
Away from fear, their homeland torn beyond recognition.
Lead them to America, where we shout “welcome!” and expect them to be,
Somehow, just like our children.
Expect them to forget the hell they’ve seen,
ask them to ignore the obvious (they are alive!)
Expect them to observe the rules, sit in our chairs, be quiet,
controlled, obedient.
Raise our voices when they don’t understand,
hand out warnings at their laziness and lack of discipline,
shake our heads that they are so behind.

And all along inside, they’re saying,
“Thank you for the clean water and the toilets in the school.
Thank you for the windows in my classroom, the grass at lunchtime,
the dail…

Adventure

Image
Elderly gentleman at the bus stop
braving the chill this cool, breezy spring morning Bright orange backpack on, crutches at his side. How does he stand it? all that bare baldness, hat-free in the cold?
Wide ribbon of gray
encircling this head,
body erect, shoulders back.
Nimble hands holding
the schedule, eyes alert
searching for Route 405.

It’s early—people-on-their-way to work time,
drinking-morning-coffee-in-their-cars time
and he stands
and waits.

That knapsack is filled—
Clean water bottle at the ready.
Inside--more layers?
Today’s lunch?
Supplies to attend him
on his walking journey,
crutches standing tall
at attention.

Why would he ever let those slow him down?

Proverbs 16:31 “Gray hair is a crown of glory.  It is gained in a righteous life.” -------------------------------------------------------------- How often we guess at the realities of the people we pass by, imagining all kinds of lives for them.  This poem was prompted by a quick glance at a stoplight over to the curb and well, there he was.

Sha…

Worship

Starvation
Expectation Reception without reservation Fascination Captivation Revelation Saturation Restoration Habitation~~~~~~~~~~c. J. L. Collins 2012 “The best kind of poem is an inventory.”G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 2009 My husband and I visited friends in their church in New Orleans over our Easter break. The congregation was hungry for God’s presence and He came.It made all the difference in the world.He inhabits the praises of His people.

The Kindness of Strangers

way back then
when no one knew
the world would crack the next day,
we stood there,
tourist trappings wrapped around us
everywhere.
'howdy' I said, that quiet night on the subway.
late ride home, guest of the nephew,
no one but he, myself, and daughter, it seemed.
(surely there were others).
"We're from Seattle," I announced,
including my girl
with the sweep
of my hand. 
"Visiting him....."
towards the nephew.

"My name's Peter. I'm a writer,"
he replied.
'Who do write for?'
'A magazine--Newsweek...'
'oh.'
and me so impressed, not by his job
but his niceness in New York
that carried over to the exchanged emails
(truly!)
and the phone call I got to make the few days later
when, safely arrived at home, across miles of mayhem
and madness
I reached through, asked for him,
and heard him say, "Seattle?--how are you?"
and he cared with his questions and I in turn with mine.
He was okay....recovering in the City that had been incinerated…

New Life NOLA

Image
Concrete ripped and piled Bulldozed building pieces askew,
Saltines stacked on a pile of dirt.
There is mess everywhere.

Plastic flaps outside, tucked in and under,
Protecting not much anymore.
Piles of rebar readied for foundations
Sand, rock for ballast, fill.
There is mess everywhere.

The glare of lights, warning signs,
Ominous fences.
There’s an implosion---
Destruction inside,
Overleaping, over reaching its bounds
Readying for more,
Which cannot contain all the New yet to come.

I’m a mess everywhere.
I’ve thrown open my arms,
The “I let go……”
To make room,
Allow the implosion
Destruction inside,
To wash away, be blown away
Rebuilt with the yet-to-be.

Am I ready?
Never.
But daily death yields to life and
more life.
Build, Father, Build.

The Space Between Us

The space between us, bringing comfort,

Enough room to move.

So full, yet undefined,

Gray as the future, pregnant with hope.

Did I know, declaring on that day as I did….

Could I know?

Some many days’ hence

The space between would be
          tested, tried, stretched?

Shattered, tattered at the edges,
          Torn by time,
Pulling us in directions we needn’t go?


Ah, but time, wrapping around

Us like the edges of a quilt,

Pulling the mismatched pieces back together…

Yes, time, healing all wounds

Repairing all breaches

Protecting, surrounding, preserving.

Time and grace and space.

Just enough to come between us.

Blood Flow

Image
Blood Flow
Where does all that life go?
how far
how wide
how deep
how long
Can it truly reach?
Only through the scoured places
where channels are carved
through open wounds
with high walls,
making way for the wonder of
His life.
It will never stop--
Descending from that mountain
past temples torn in two
curtains rent, shattering rock
sailing my sin all the way
down to the sea.....

This poem is shared as part of The Warrior Poet Circle hosted by Jason S. 
More poetry is here...