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Showing posts from 2016

Sabbath on the Page, Winter

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What can you hear in a 
       winter sky? Trees
       sleeping, sap coursing
       slowly stopped by 
       these northern climes and
       their accompanying chill.
The sound of sunlight, settled
       like a theater's best ending,
       shadowplay kept for
       juncos and chickadees.
Gray like warm flannel on a 
       winter's night by the
       fire, celestial feathers
       cover like a goose's wing
       over her chicks.

I tune my pencil, painting
       this poem of treesound, cloudstill
       and year's end, listening
       for tomorrow's song.

The Word

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Son, ferried within water, the womb
        of his mother. She, comforted
        on the back of a donkey,
        led at the hand by a hopeful man,
        father, to the House of Bread.

Seer, sounding words that seared the 
         hearts of those who heard, time
         in the temple as He lives into His
         name, declarations undoing the 
         calm, intentional unsettling.

Sovereign, carried as costly cargo
         atop a beast of burden
         led among shouts, disciples 
         offering praises as He entered
         the city, Abode of Peace, and
         exited, a

Saviour, ascending the hill, neither
         ferried nor carried, but sent
         to be buried with threats and 
         words sending Him to the
         grave where he stayed, quietly
         undoing death, then moved
         this time alone.

Love led him out on his own
         two feet, called forth by the
         Father, leading Him into the
         world, fleshing the Word,
         leading the Way.

Advent--Waiting

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shadows smudge on the wall
           beside me, gray on red
           as I look up, pensive,
           pen in hand to write.
how to right this over indulgence,
           too full of my own
           bloated worry?
I've buried my prayers, fed one
           saturated heart with cares
           not meant to be carried.
Fasting from the thoughts that also
           fill my brain seems a lifeline
           in this season where we're 
           drowning in too much.
I shut the door, shutter the blinds
           and feast on silence, making
           space in my waiting for the
           gift to arrive, though it tarry.
It occurs to me, that like
           the Christ child's birth,
           answers may look far
           different than I expect.
So I make room in the welcome
           dark, waiting for the light,
           which will surely dawn.

c. Jody Lee Collins, 2016

Keeping Watch

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I flatten myself carpetside, legs parallel as the lines of a crosswalk,
arms a perpendicular “T”
to my torso, aching as they
stretch (or do they stretch
and therefore ache?) Open-bodied
stance releases all weight of this weary week.
White-flagging my way to the floor
a wide space spans my once-tight
palms, now held by an invisible
silken thread index to index.
Sprung free from the web of close-in
clamoring that’s cluttered my days,
revelation arrives via the limbs.
My body remembers a vast freedom,
the lull and lilt of quiet, room to roam.
Bones at rest, eyes shuttered, the inky view
messaging my brain. Sometimes I don’t
know what I don’t know, how tightly
I’m wound until I’m undone. I want to
live undone.

When Trees Speak

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Autumn morning, eyes trained
through windows to the
shadow show on tree trunks,
crayon box colors of Fall
falling through space from now
visible branches.
Creator comes to mind, how He
carries us, colors us, covers us
with His power, the Tree the
strength, raising us Heavenward.

Sap is invisible, pulsing like a
sticky river, nourishment in its wake.
All I see is cottonwood, maple, and rarely
wonder at their strength, never
stop to remark, "would you
look at the energy feeding those trees!?"
Likewise we fuss and worry
that God may not be at work
while we grow our leaf-filled days,
falling we think, and wonder
'where is He? why isn't He
doing something?'
And all the time His constant
reliable reach pushes up and
out, earthborne sap that cannot
be stopped, no matter how our
lives fall out.

Gossamer Faith

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Sir spider suspended,                            still but for the invisible jarring of his aerial                             abode, does it frighten him to be held by strength he cannot see,
to scuttle across the sky, limb to leaf  knowing the opposite                            anchored  end could detach in a blink? Still he spins in space hovers in my way 'til I swat him down and lament, "My God to have                           the faith of a spider."

Water Carriers

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Thirsty, thankful hearts
     raised, open cups held
aloft, receive the joy of song
     and words,
healed in the hearing.

We ferry the precious
bounty via voice and
tone, conduits of the balm
that is the bounty of praise,
pouring into vessels,
empty to be filled.

Parched lips receive
the draught and splash in
the glory drops, wash in
the words, bask in
the golden sound as it channels
life through the veins.

We slake the thirst and
all are watered in turn,
rivulets of your Presence
soaking like canals in the
desert, skirting the dry land.
~~~~~~~~  
This poem came out of a Writer's Retreat my friend Kimberlee Ireton and I led last year called "Abide." We'remeeting again this September in the Cascade Mountains of Washington--maybe you'd like to come?

Expecting

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Like the bound bud in the almost bloomed magnolia
there is beauty ready to burst,
tight secrets on the God side
buried within this cool, bright day. I'm waiting, watching,
counting the sleeps
until this quiet wonder world wakes up
and I stand amazed
at the life that comes
from what was surely death
or dormancy
through all those chill & darkening days. I ask for an eager heart as well,
listening, looking at the gate
longing for an answer,
ready for a new birth in me,
the delivery of good news
the message--just for the day--
which God speaks amidst the quiet unfurling
leafworks of Spring. c. Jody Lee Collins 2016

Prayer Plant

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I sit myself down in this place close to the light,
darkness at the edges,
the tick, tick, tickingof night-time clocks
echoing in the quiet.
(Too loud.)
The plant's leaves behind me
unfurl towards the lamp's illumination, artificial albeit bright.
I've noticed they're growing
up and out, green with life
stretching for the light.
It may be time for a new home.
(Too small.)
I plant myself here couch-side
to pray, awakened by myFather.
“Tick, tick, tick”, I hear Him say,  "make the most of the time."
so I do,reading theHallel Psalms,
remembering my Saviour,
(too kind)who on the night He was betrayed
left the twelve and moved to the garden
where He plantedhimself and prayed,
ushering in my move
from sin and deathto life and freedom,
securing for both He and I (for we are kin),
our place in God's new home.

What my Grandkids will say about me on Oprah

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When my grandkids talk to Oprah
    about their Nana, the famous writer,
they will say words were my oxygen--
    to read, to write, to share,
and that I spent way too much money
    at Thrift Stores on books by dead authors--
Emily Dickinson, George Herbert, LM Montgomery
    and Keats.

They will also tell her I loved to sing--
    another form of breathing--
and how I embarrassed them in public
    by belting out the "Tomorrow" song from Annie
or grabbing their elbows in the mall
    while shouting "We're off to see the Wizard!"

They will announce to the world,
    in front of God and everybody,
that my profession as a teacher was their   
    greatest undoing;
constantly coaching them about penmanship,
the correct formation of the letter "a"
    or while reading, pointing out misread syllables in
    a favorite text.

They will oblige Ms. O's prodding by adding the death 
    knell~
that I couldn't help myself when it came to learning,
    revealing in hushed tones …

Poetry and the Problem with Pain {Coming Clean}

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the poem below is one I did not write.
I was sorting through some old files and found it in a folder marked, "Poetry, Others."
I'm certain the poem was written nearly 35 years ago; the paper 
is yellowed and the print is clearly that of my old manual typewriter.
~~~~~~
Seth Haines, an author/blogger disguised as a lawyer, has written a powerful book called "Coming Clean" telling the story of his struggle with alcohol during a near tragedy with his youngest son. Seth's healing began when he faced the pain that threatened to undo him, walking through forgiveness and repentance one day at a time.

Seth's started a Facebook page--'Coming Clean Insiders'--which anyone can join--to discuss the book in the safety of community; Chapter One kicked off last week. 

When I read 'need is our name' the other night, the words resonated with the heart of Seth's book--the ways we mask our brokenness and bury our pain.  And the way God meets us there when we …

Poets at Play--An Interview with Laurie Klein

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Laurie Klein and I first met online after I'd been following her work in print for a number of years. We share a common decade and a love of poetry and song. I then discovered she was blogging and we've been corresponding ever since. Laurie is the author of the prize-winning chapbook 'Bodies of Water, Bodies of Flesh' and the classic praise chorus ''I Love You, Lord.'' Her poems and prose have appeared in many publications, including Ascent, The Southern Review, Atlanta Review, Terrain, and the Holman Personal Worship Bible. She is a recipient of the Thomas Merton Prize for Poetry of the Sacred. Her most recent release in the Poemia Poetry Series from Cascade Books is  "Where the Sky Opens".
Here are a few questions and answers so you can get to know Laurie, a Poet at Play. (for the other poets interviewed on this blog, click here.)
1) Tell me about your writing path--how did it lead you to where you are today? Twenty years ago, sadness launched my…

Kindergarten, January

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I never dreamed one day I’d be parsing a picture book explaining to five year olds that yes, a black man was shot by someone who hated him  because of the color of his skin, and before he died he had a Dream for children Just like them.
After the story (required), they—with their earnest, “was he real, teacher?” “yes, he was,” and  me with my tears welling up, held at bay (“I’m the grown up here, after all”) stunned at their beautiful innocence, so sure of what they believe too young to know any other truth, with their small-ish hands placed in front of them, like so many skin-made flowers, a spontaneous array of color spread across the carpet.
And their words, Puzzling, bewildered Again and again, “but I’m just like her, She’s just like him. They shouldn’t have done that. Why did they shoot him? We’re all just the same, teacher.”
And me shuttered speechless, nodding, mumbling, tears on my cheeks, Bungling words that should never be said To five year olds, “They killed him because…

Available

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