Autumn Seventeen

When did the hills 

gather this golden?

yesterday's horizons

turn amber in waves?

I slept with green outside

my window and woke 

to topaz, russet, moving 

yellow, mellow against the sky.

-Jody Collins c. 2017

65 is Just a Number

There is no statute of limitations on vision.
My old eyes register a darting messenger of
God's blatant, creative joy. Watch the winged
creation hover in a web of air.
Spy a sleuthing intruder
snap-tapping its way
across the wood, tunneling
away and down the outside stairs.
No expiration (yet) for hearing,
cataloguing birdvoice and the
chipclacking of breakfast
at the feeder, the squeaking
insistence at the fountain.

Teach me to number my days, Lord,
to register the ways the wind
ruffles the tablecloth in the morning's
gentle breeze, how cool, shortened
shadows signal this sea change
of a season rippling towards
quieter times.
May I live this calendar daily
not ticking the days toward the end
but aware and alive and about your
business, not counting the days, but
living into your addition, subtraction
multiplication, division, the only
math that matters.
c. Jody Lee Collins 2017


Lavender linaria spikes upward,
miniature clouds stalk-perched
     as they reach for the sky.
Hummingbirds crowd-feed
     in the waning afternoon sun.
Carnations, red as a fresh-cut
     thumb, wave divine perfume from
     ruffled taffeta on gray-green stems.
Sweet peas' pungent surprise,
     a salmon/marshmallow palette, celestial
     bouquet a fragrance of that 
     far away gate in the Heavenlies.
Juncos chip-clacking in rhythm, 
     sure-footed clutching on feeders afloat,
     trapezing in the breeze.
Leaves, light-transfigured day
     lanterns lingering against
     a cornflower sky.
Voices ferried on the wind,
     gleeful hollers loud as a
     clap of thunder, neighborhood 
     jazz accompaniment
     to this quieting afternoon.
Let the record show, no pockets
     or wallets were emptied in
     exchange for these riches, no
     bank account tapped, no debt
     incurred to pay for this view.
The ledger will detail only this:
     "Full stop, eyes open,
     breathing slowed."
No currency recorded, just a
     bookkeeper's note in a lazy
"Two slowing feet, arrested gaze
     earful of sound."
The books are balanced and so
is my soul.

Silence Ascends, Sunday

There's a lot one can say

     about the power of being 
     quiet (yes, I see the irony).
When listening forefronts the mind
     other senses muscle their 
     way into place (the ears above
     all) take in the not-words
     simply song, hum and tone
     in counterpoint.
No addition necessary; I am
     mute, yet the Word bursts
     alive, verse and chorus rise
     without me. The truth
     needs no help to stand.
Even when I'm not singing
     even if I'm not yes-ing it.
Sometimes you don't get an amen.


"In the beginning"
begs the existence of a
dot, the endpoint of
a line referencing time and
movement, like an ant on
the Golden Gate Bridge.

If there is time (now)
and movement (how?)
why do we shun this
guess the size of a 
galaxy, turn from the
possibility of a God
placing us just so?

I may travel by antenna,
feel my way blind on small 
steel and close pavement,
stopping for crumbs.
But just because I cannot
see it does not mean
there is no sky. 

Spring's Verb Says

photo by Karen Boudreaux, NOLA, used by permission
Fireworks have nothing on me,
no man-made show can match
this explosive display.
Shocking green here,
shouting magenta there,
showy white front and center.

No gunpowder could blow
breezes like this 
to bristle trees,
to “whoosh” the wind
across the skies,
no factory fierce enough
to produce this bright beauty.

Spring’s verb says 
the growing will never stop,
but will flow from a fire 
deep in the dark,
shoved to the surface,
erupting when you’re not looking.

Spring’s verb comes from nowhere
but Godwhere.

Spring’s verb says ‘get ready.’
This poem was prompted by the first line in a poetry book, ‘Mischief Cafe’, 
and the sound of this Easter song in my head.
previously published on my blog Three Way Light


"Samara," she said and the words
took flight in my hearing,
invisible windborne flora
soaring across my thoughts.
She spoke of wings, a divine
creation spinning towards
earth to plant itself like a
stubborn weed-fierce and stuck.
Imagination took root,
sending me flying home
towards Webster's--
'some-are-uh' - and there
a black and white drawing of
a seed with wings
"an indehiscent, usually 
one-seeded fruit, of the ash 
or maple."

Like that spinning tree-gift
may I fly holy words,
carrying the seed of my
Saviour to land, stuck
and stubborn, finally
splitting into silent roots
then skyward, bearing
fruit with wings.
sometimes a poem inspires a poem.
Thank you, Laurie Klein

Week One-A Prayer

I wish I could collect
     the light, landing its shadows
     on this page as it creeps
     ever brighter through the gray.

Pour it out to wash my heart,
     salve the wound of this
     present heaviness, the sighs
     that never end.

Hold it lightly aloft, praying
     no sharp wind or
     quiet, steady breeze
     snuff it out, for we
     need it so

Father, carry us,
     ferry us through storms,
     silent and proud as we
     shine hope in the right
     up ward.

Send us, spread us
     like the daily sure rising
     of your sun, that moves ever
     on into the distant dark.

I've Been Asking

because He said I could
about a Five Year Plan--
lke a plannable annuity
with a guaranteed return on
my investment.
as if...
as if a sure answer for my tomorrows would bring
me peace today.
He whispers instead what's doable--
the Five Hour Plan-a chunk 
of time allotted to say, oh, baking
a pie--
manageable, like a tried and true recipe
gather ingredients
check oven
double check recipe
mix, roll, bake
voila! a pie, sure as
Yes, I asked Jesus about
what's ahead...on down 
the road...
over the hill
and of course (you guessed it)
He handed me a peach.

The Practice of Prayer While Making Soup

{on not watching the Golden Globes}
Facing the stove, I busy my hands
with this thrice-cooked fowl, weaving water
herbs and onions to conjure up a warming 
repast for our souls.
Skin holds meat, meat holds
bone (or is it the other way around?) and
as the chunks slip and slide into the bubbling
pot before me, I wonder, wordless,
at the speed with which we revere
and revile our fellow human beings.
In the other room a happy tumult erupts.
A television voice announces it's a beautiful
day in LaLaLand. The steady sun shines
on folks arriving via car and carpet as
crowds cheer.
Some of them will be handed the world.
Perhaps they deserve it.
The cynical may scoff at these bright gifts
offered to those who chase and make
'silly dreams.'
Why all the to do over such a shallow
show, this vanity diminished by the weight
of the headlines, today's news, my own life?
Perhaps it is precisely dreams we need.
Oh, indeed, we need our dreams.

c. Jody Lee Collins 2016
photo credit--from L. Richardson website "Interior Wisdom"