Poetry

Back to bed.
The pain in my back

holds fast and furious.
I'm wondering the worst.
Three weeks is too long for me.
I normally heal up in days.
Is it a mad kidney?
Some foreign mass moving in?
Paul rightly calls us
a body of death.
Sin lingering in skin,
corrupting everything in its path.
The wonderful woman
who feathers away dust
is making her way 
through the house.
Meticulously, she shines
our valuables—
photos of grand-kids,
tables where we break bread,
bow our heads,
thanking God for sustanence.
Scrubbing can leave a sink 
free of stain,
but how do we handle pain?
There's no carrying it out
with the trash.
Wiping it clean with a rag.
I hear water running,
a rush of clean.
That's how it will be 
once we leave.
Back to Jesus.
A body bedded in lies,
launched in truth.
Born in dishonor,
carried to glory.
Rooted in weakness,
pulled up in power.
The first man made of dust—
the second Man raised for us.
Changed.
Death down the drain.
(2021)

 


Today I'm feeling full as the moon!
I almost didn't go.
Monday morning lady's study
on Colossians has me walking on air.
Fourteen of us
around a block of tables
sharing the finest bread.
All of us loving the word of God
like our life depended on it.
This is it.
Fellowship in the gospel.

Like never I knew female friendship.
Hearing each other
until we discover,
we all think alike.
This faith thing is hard.
How can we do it better?
Stumbling over what we are—
getting to who He is.
Incapable of this holiness
given through Jesus.
Us?
Our amazement searches
each other's eyes.
Until we let ourselves own it.
It's more than our heads can hold.
The glory of God filling the temple,
and no one is able to resist it.
Spilling over and refilling us
again and again
and none of us wants it to end.
(2021)

 


Where doubt ends
and faith begins.
Where regrets die
and forgiveness lives.
Where tears stain
and the soul is washed.
Where weakness is torn down
and strength built up.
Where dreams are born
and laughter breathes.
Where hatred is bridled
and love set free.
Where battles are surrendered
and peace is won.
Where hopes are shared
and miracles spun.
Where pride descends
and humility climbs.
Where the Holy Spirit dwells
and the human soul flies.
(1996)

 

Little rich white girl
in a little white town.
Destined to poverty
were the black and the brown.
Slur and sarcasm
built our impressions.
Lincoln freed the slaves
in 1863 —
you've had plenty of time
to catch up with me.
Nothing did I know
of legalized lynching.
Failed to ask
why so many in prison.
My heart is covered
in sackcloth and ashes,
purge me with hyssop,
forgive my inaction.
Lord, drag my heart
through stories of color,
until I grasp hands
with black sisters and brothers.
(In memory of George Floyd
2020)

 

Born under a law
I could not keep.
Desperate for a father
to just love me.
I stumble about the earth,
unable to find
attention, direction, protection
for my mind.
Bound by lies,
I hate myself.
Void of value,
I forfeit wealth.
Your word stoops down,
grabs hold of my soul,
executes my past,
revives me whole.
Up from the grave
and into Your Son.
No more a prisoner,
You and I become one.
Each new day
is my chance to see,
who You are…
reveals me.
My mind above,
my shame died.
My life now hidden
in Christ with God.
(Dedicated to my brothers
in the Life Learning Program,

Cook County Jail. 2018)

 

Keep writing.
Work your words out,
like a lifetime relationship
to an immature spouse.
You’ll start out with lies,
cause you’re new at this,
shootin for gold
and all that bliss.
They’ll start to turn
and anger will form.
Don’t give them up,
they’re building a storm.
They have to come,
have to blow,
have to break,
need to flow.
You’ll get to the door
and want to leave.
You’re done with them all,
sick of their grief.
Let go of those drafts,
rewrite the view.
You’ll love them all
when they’re nothing but true.
(2018)

 


One day You will come
to my rescue,

steal me from all sadness and grief.
You will whisk me away
to Your kingdom,

dress my spirit in relief.
The love, received and given,
will be my only belongings brought.
The most important possessions I had
were the simple things You taught.
The perils of this land
are temporary.

Through each one
Your armor more bright.

Until, at last,
on that appointed day,

I am embraced
in the arms of my Knight.

(1995)

 


I’m sorry I went so soon today.
I left without so much as a kiss.
I am told,
though my stay was short,

I am already missed.
I want you to know
I’m safe and sound,
that my spirit lives on in peace.
I am grateful
for the chance you gave.

I look forward
to the day we meet.

My gifts
were the purest paths of life,

never having stepped foot on land.
Arriving in the warmth
of your womb,

departing in the palm of His hand.
(1997)

 


Today you cross the finish-line.
The checkered flag is waved.
You have fought long and hard,
there’s much to celebrate.
So gather up your trophies of love,
your medals in sweet charity,
pack your ribbons for faithfulness,
your Purple Heart for bravery.

Leave behind your broken pieces,
the bruises you have known.
There isn’t space for suffering,
for today you’re going home.
(1995)

 


God delivered me to earth today
in the form of a tiny seed.
He heard you could not carry me,
so He disguised me as a weed.
He said I would bring many tears
of heartbreak and delight.
He said I was the prayer
of a chosen man and wife.
Your eyes are the source
of my unveiling,
the rose I was meant to be.
I was born for you,
and you were joined for me.
(1995)

 


The little girl who’s just like me.
She sounds like me,
looks like me,
even sometimes acts like me.
We shared our first doll,
first day,
first date.
She knows my deepest secrets,
brightest moments,
favorite place.
You share distance
no one else has been,

laughter no one else finds funny,
stories no one else can tell
 when you're sisters.
(For Karen 1997)

 


I came to tell you, thank you,
for that priceless gift you gave.
I wanted to finally meet you,
and touch your noble name.
I sense your heroism around me,
as I walk the long still wall.
Pausing at the sound
of the trumpet,

as it plays its sobering psalm.
The sacrifice
will not be forgotten —
how
 your life was cut in half.
I am not the first to mourn you,
nor will I be the last.
(Dedicated to the
Vietnam Veterans 1995)

 


What is this thing…
grace?
Is it a prayer,
a sacrament,
a religious mandate?
Someone said it was free;
a gift of some kind.
Hard to believe
something I didn’t work for
could really be mine.
They say
that’s what makes this gift
like no other.
Offered to any human soul
in need of a Savior.
It’s written, God came to earth
just like I did.
Offered Himself as payment
for sins.
They say there’s nothing I can do
to deserve such a prize.
Only by believing,
God opens my eyes.
Perhaps this purpose I search for,
this emptiness I can not name,
is found in this Jesus,
and the gift
of His grace.
(2000)

 


Help me Lord,
that I might see
all the man I was intended to be.
Give me hands
that reach toward others,
never to hoard or betray another.
Give me legs
that bend in gratitude,
remembering all I have
comes from You.

Give me feet
that children can follow,

each tiny step
toward a better tomorrow.

Lend me a voice filled with truth,
a tongue driven to bear good fruit.
Give me a spirit
that climbs above the earth
when the world mocks
an honest days work.
Give me a heart
which beats a song,
to Whom I depend,
to Whom I belong.
(For David 1996)

 


Thank you, Lord
for making me see
that You are the beauty in me.
No makeup, or hair,
or latest fashion
can satisfy
this misguided passion.
To have and hold
the perfect self
is not obtained
from upon a shelf.
But by my hope
in Christ
I inherit
the unfailing beauty
of a gentle,
quiet spirit.
(2004)

 


When a promise is planted
in virgin soil,
and the hope of a harvest
is firmly coiled.
The willingness to sit
so the other may stand,
exposing our frailties
with open hands.
When unforgiveness
is finally retired,
and the vows to self
set on fire.
How the ridiculous
splits our sides
when all modesty
begins to hide.
Ears collecting
our daily words,
lips extinguishing
momentary fears.
Broken vessels becoming
one work of art
on a stage
that models
the Creator’s heart.
(For Jacob and Kelli 2014)

 


Cradling you
I’ve come to know,
I’m not who I used to be.
You have seized
a corner of my heart,
and made a mother
out of me.
Now, forever,
I look toward tomorrow
to see
what life holds for you.
I plan to catch
every tender smile,
and bandage
every wound.
We’ll hold hands
and sing songs,
and you’ll tell me
all you want to be.
As for myself
I shall never be the same,
since you made
a mother out of me.
(1998)

 


A model
of simplicity.
A lesson
in sincerity.
Strength
I never knew I had.
Direction
toward a straighter path.
Desire
for simple truth.
Fire
that ignites my youth.
Anticipation
of a glorious day.
A reason
to want to stay.
Appetite
for what is right.
A source
of sound insight.
A voice
where love is prompted.
A friend
I’ve always wanted.
(2001)

 


My tiny soul
was sent from heaven
hoping I will return.
To the Father
who sent me to you,
to mold, shape, and learn.
Within these walls
you’ll teach me
about faith,
the colors of life,
the pink and the gray.
You’ll set me on a path
of compassion and truth.
And bathe me in love
all the days of my youth.
And when I step
beyond these doors
I’ll remember the hands
that led me
were yours.
(1998)

 


There's always something missing
from this cluttered place.

Every time I think I've found it
it's just more empty space.
I press on to fill the hollowness
that taunts my very soul.
I've come to the conclusion
this must not be my home.
This ache that lives within me
only God himself can close.
This search for perfect wholeness
rests in Him alone. 
(2002)

 


Though our hands can't always hold,
our spirits surely do.
God has gifted a way

to bring us to you.
Closing our eyes we pray,
open pictures of your face,
remembering our time at play
and there you are,
not far.
Maybe closer than flesh,
nearer than hugs,
held inside,
cheering our hearts,
laughing and rolling
in sweet spirit skin.
Time and space cannot separate us.
Any moment we can celebrate us
in the unseen luxury of God's holy touch.
(For Frederick, Paul, Martin
and Jane 2019

 

Half a heart
won't ever be enough
to grasp the reach
of My love.
Come back this way,
you're not that far.
Seek Me first
with all your heart.
I am He
who gets demons off your door.
Come, sit
with the word of the Lord.
I am here
every hour, every day.
I destroy foes,
wipe tears away.
I AM WHO I AM,
the First and the Last,
the Bread of Life,
the sacrificial Lamb.
My word is My love.
It's all written down.
I heal the broken.
Let's start right now.
This is gonna hurt.
Truth bends, it breaks.
But I'll carry your burdens
every step of the way.
I know it's been hard.
You've suffered and lost.
I saw it gone down
up on the cross.
But sky and earth
are passing away,
and the words of My mouth
are power to save.
Repeat after Me:
"Be still and know."
Let it sink in,
allow it to grow.
"I am God"
will rest your soul.
Meditate on Me
wherever you go.
Your heart will fill,
enemies will flee,
when you stay the course
and trust just Me.
(2021)