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.

Sharing with dVerse Pub for Open Link Night 42--more great poems here.




Reception without reservation








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
'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...'
and me so impressed, not by his job
but his niceness in New York
that carried over to the exchanged emails
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.
We were safe at home (physically) but the mental and emotional
healing would take many, many months.
Years. (and there would be scars).
His concern helped.

Forget everything you've ever heard about the
fright of traveling underground in those lightless places
New York--London--Tokyo
perilously passing you through the layers underneath--
there are people kind, open, friendly,
and no matter where you are
we are all the same--
especially on the subway.

Jody Lee Collins c. 2012

This is a poem about the night before September 11th.
You can read what I wrote afterwards here.

New Life NOLA

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?
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

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...
                                                                    Warrior Poet Circle

Eternal Hold

"Your wait time is approximately 30 minutes..."
But the music is pleasant enough;
some piano riffs in the background
accompanying me
as I move about the house.

Thirty minutes grows like the puddle
left from a leaking pipe.
I wonder--do I have time for this right now?
Is the wait truly worth it?

It comes to me that I've misjudged forever,
timing my days by my own clock,
limiting the space with earth-bound ideas.
What is 30 minutes in an eon?
a nano-blink on the radar,
a sight gone missing in
the grand scheme of things.

no, thirty minutes is NOT forever--
we were made for much, much more.

Sharing with the folks over at dVerse Pub for Open Link night....