Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Harold, my Friend


Harold, my Friend

I felt him sailing away

Last summer,

Going back

To places he knew, but we didn’t.

If you think demons don’t have power,

You are wrong.

We begged him not to go.

His rope broke free from our shore,

And he is over the horizon now. Our world is so much

Darker today. He took his lantern with him.

Friend. Ambassador. Encourager.

I will hear his laughter echo in my dreams

For a long time. I know he is in

A better place. But I am not.

I am still here.


Don’t Follow the Breadcrumbs. Follow the Rabbi.

Don’t Follow the Breadcrumbs. Follow the Rabbi.

I was

Wrong. I thought

It was about leaving

Breadcrumbs…like Hansel and Gretel…but

Following those breadcrumbs will only lead you

To the witch.

The grackles have eaten the damn things anyway.

The Way

Forward can only be

Found in imagining

With Jesus…


Begging, pleading with Jesus

For a Way



With Jesus…

The real one, the Living One…

The Way


There is

No other way


I’ve Heard it Sing

gold yellow wheat field close up with sunset sky in background

I’ve Heard it Sing

I am sad today

Because I feel something that I have loved

Slip away from me. It is just beyond me. Always, it seems. Just beyond me.

I’ve heard it sing.  The rustle of its wings in the brush has startled me. I just can’t

Find the simple word to tell myself and you what

It is. I only know its song

Is beautiful.

There is a grief.  It is always there among

The flowers along the road.

So many illusions knifed down in these fields. The joy is never whole.

There never comes a day when

Every stone is plucked from the pasture

So that the rows grow straight, and the plow cuts


My friend hasn’t spoken to me of it.    I don’t know

Who I am to him. But from across this gap, I could feel something

Break. What broke in him today, is broken in me, too.

It was a different rod that broke it…there are so

Many that get picked up and thrown. “Count the cost”, the teacher said. But

How could we have possibly known how deep that slash would be?

And if, one day, we finally get to where that song is sung in full chorus, will there be anything left

In us to even recognize its tune anymore?

Fly. You Must.


Fly. You Must.

These years are

Not enough. There

Is so much I’d hoped

To teach you, to tell

You. And yet,

You will choose

Your teachers and tellers

Now. My place, if it was ever really mine, has

Changed. Instead

Of being

The teacher and the teller,

I am

Now the listener

Who has grown old. But

In my age I have grown

Proud of all you have

Become. Eighteen years and now

You fly. You must.

But visit me

From time to time

And I will learn to

Listen well. And I will

Love you always. These years

Are not enough, and they

Passed by so very fast.

May 20th


May 20th

If I knew

A way (or away)

To make it all


That is what I would do.

If I could take

The scratches out of things, I would.

I know a way…

But it doesn’t

Make everything


It just makes it so I can

Breathe sometimes.

I remember Ben.  That is

My way.  Remembering.

                                                                                         – For _____ (Ben’s mom) , May 2o, 2008

Ninety-Five and Today


elderly hands02

Ninety-Five and Today

34,675 times the sun has risen for you, though

You may struggle to recall all its shades and hues.

The day rose and set on ninety-five winters,

Springs and summers and falls

Again.  Furrowed deeper now than

Before. Wiser. More sure…and less.

Days and days and days in a row, the sun cast

Two shadows together.  Now?  Only one,

Who sees the days crest differently,

Knowing that neither winter,

Nor even the sun can separate

What God has bound together.

For now, though, let’s laugh;

For we know that the one still

Casts two shadows


                                                                                                                     -For Jane, April 14, 2013

Guest Blogger – Marty Carney: Love. Grace. Depth. Who knows?

Despensa Painting02

From an amazing vessel of the Good News. Marty is a pastor and an artist and a beautiful soul with a heart for God’s mission.  He painted the piece that is now the logo (above) for StreetLifeministries and the piece that is now the logo for ReignStorm Youth Mission. He relates this story of the emerging Kingdom of God in his mission field. If you look closely, there is life all around this.  Here you go. Marty writes:

Several weeks ago as I was enjoying a cuppa at the coffee shop, I overheard a young adult standing behind me and talking with his friend, “… and I’m on food stamps…” I heard him say only this fragment of a sentence with some anxiety. He looked to be a vibrant and healthy young adult. I was surprised to overhear this coming from him. I am still learning the diverse face of poverty. So I prayed and wondered if there might be something, some connection of hope to make with him… But since I didn’t know him, I didn’t know if I’d see him again.

Then last week at another coffee shop on my Monday Sabbath, I saw him again doing some artwork at his table across the room. I’m naturally an introvert and it was my Sabbath… but as Jesus said, the Sabbath is for humanity… so I took all this as a sign… since the Spirit had previously caught my attention about this young person’s poverty.

I got up and went over and introduced myself and struck up a conversation about his very interesting artwork. I discovered that his name was “John.” I guess with our mutual interest in visual arts, the conversation flowed smoothly. John is an artist and musician from a small town outside of Sheboygan known for its conservative nature. I asked if his family was typical of that community. Humorously he said that his parents were “former hippies” and also former missionaries in Papua New Guinea (!). Though he didn’t have transportation from his parent’s town, through his network of friends, he found rides into the city and now basically lived in Sheboygan. As an artist and musician, I assumed that the city is his only source of revenue for sharing such gifts. He said that in just a week or two, because of his lack of revenue and opportunities here in Sheboygan, we was going to move out west again. He loved the Pacific Northwest, and especially Colorado. He planned to move to Boulder, Colorado, where there is a thriving arts community.

He continued to talk about his art. He talked about how his family had always lived simply… having lived through his early childhood in the third world… I confessed to him that I was a materialistic American… but was hoping to learn simplicity. He went to say that he thought the opposite of our consumer culture was a culture of creating. So he created art and music.
So, well, I couldn’t help but resonate with that wisdom. In the coming week I would be planning the worship service for our congregation’s 175th anniversary. So I took a big leap of faith and asked John if he would have any interest in playing his music in worship next Sunday… I also said we could pay him $100.

He smiled and said, “Sure.” [really to my surprise]. So we worked out the details which also included other worship leaders from Milwaukee–which , of course, is another amazing story of God’s mission of mercy. Interestingly, all this time, as I now remember, John never mentioned the word “God” in our conversation. He did talk about his deep passion for creating. At one point I think I started to talk about my perspective on Jesus’ mission… but then I heard myself becoming a bit too churchy… so I stopped and just continued to listen to John tell his story.

So just this past Sunday, the musicians in worship were truly a mysterious reflection of the beloved community of Jesus… including John in the mysterious flow of the morning. As one church person said yesterday as we shared our typical Tuesday morning coffee, “You could tell that he [referring to John] really was an interesting character… there’s definitely a story there.”

And there was. On Sunday, as I took all the musicians (six in all, including John) to lunch, we sat around and I listened to all their stories. John in particular revealed that in his journeys out west he had been injured in a traumatic accident… And the other followers of Jesus at the table were amazingly graceful in there listening presence. We learned that John still had some brain damage because of it. And so, again, the fragile humanity of Jesus revealed in such amazing ways.

That Sunday evening, as I sat at the coffee shop in Sheboygan [having to take John’s check to him that he had forgotten at the church], I sat and again overheard him talking to a friend near where I was seated…

“Hey I played a gig at a church this morning,” John said with a little amazement.

“Yeah, so how was that? What time was it?”

“It was at 10.30. Well, there were some good vibes there, you ought to go sometime.”

“Well, maybe I’d be sober enough to drive by then. Who knows?”

Love. Grace. Depth. Who knows?





A soot-black fog

Creeping, enfolding, closing in on an already graying sky,

Hate gained a body and cut its way

Into hallways, headlines…and lifelines…and so much more.

Are you taking your name off of us, Lord?

Have we so let you down?

Signs of the times…the in-between times;

Is this the world’s last gasp, mocking demons

Rushing to the barricades

In bitter rebellion against you?

Or is it just another gasp?

Cain found a way out of Nod,

Enraged and blaming and armed with rifle rounds.

“And he killed him”…them. The world rages and spits

And fires bullets into tiny children…its own image spilling out in pools


The tile and grout.  Seeking what? What does Cain want?

To stop

You? Has Herod set his minions loose upon us

Again in this Advent, killing our children to get at yours?

I had hoped

That ours were yours. Have you taken your name off of us?

Did you then?

Choked out through tears, your own murdered child’s plea

Barely can be heard

Among the wails of shattered mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters… and dreams

Echoing from Ramallah to Newtown,

“On earth as it is in heaven.”



Standing on the bridge, the student told the teacher, “I want to understand the river.”  The teacher replied, “Do you really want to understand the river?”  Thinking for a moment and sure of the answer, the student, “Yes.”  The teacher said, “There is only one way to understand the river.”   And with that, the teacher pushed the student off the bridge and into the river.

Likewise, there is only one way to understand your mission field.

Don’t Follow the Breadcrumbs. Follow the Rabbi.

Don’t Follow the Breadcrumbs. Follow the Rabbi.

I was

Wrong. I thought

It was about leaving

Breadcrumbs…like Hansel and Gretel…but

Following those breadcrumbs will only lead you

To the witch.

The grackles have eaten the damn things anyway.

The Way

Forward can only be

Found in imagining

With Jesus…


Begging, pleading with Jesus

For a Way



With Jesus…

The real one, the Living One…

The Way


There is

No other way


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