Expectant Hope

Photo by Fiona Murray on Unsplash

She was still swaying as the last honey-laden tunes
Of sweet summer faded away like fragile baby’s breath—
Her eyes were closed, a shawl lightly over shoulders
Under the net of stars that had become a shroud
As one by one they died silent into the pale light
Of a clouded dawn, and all the guests had gone
In a whispered goodbye, like the twinkle in his eye.

But the womb still has its memory as does the heart—
Heart over heart, head over head, eight months bodied
Though autumn breezes steal him away like a changeling,
Like a changeling into winter’s overcoat to fleeting summer’s loss—
I will not speak of spring, she said, breathing gusts of prayer
Aware at last of the chillness in the air, but of tombs, oh LORD, empty
Oh, my God, in that long-expectant day, birthing him to eternity, holy.


1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NIV)
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

Continue reading “Expectant Hope”

That’s So Random

He said I like to jazz the sky
Sometimes, you know
See me some hardcore Detroit
Drummer overdosing it
Like intensely
On proximal melodies
Ghosting me some romantic moonlight
Jigging up this wasteland
Taking an axe to all the quotidian brainiac
Entanglements of pigeon-freaking
Sh**—

She said Brick it up, man,
I’m not one of your ratty here-today-
Gone-tomorrow charm-school
Friends on anesthesia for the last stages
Of their latest art-appreciation-activism
Veering destitute of anything but ego-
Maniacal mimetic devolution into hedonistic
He**—

He said I want—
She said I want—

They said —you

And the woman on the bench said That’s a wrap.


You can blame this beat offering on the “absurdist” mood I’m in right now. But don’t leave out Shay’s Word Garden and her celebratory list of randomly chosen words from the first issue of the recently returned CREEM magazine, known for its irreverent presence on the music scene. The word list from which we are to pick at least three for use, is as follows:
anesthesia, axe, brainiac. brick, charm, Detroit, drummer, ghost, hardcore, intensely, jazz, overdose, pigeons, proximal, ratty, romantic, stages, transmissions, veering, wasteland. For more or less random poetry, check out dVerse’s OLN hosted by Björn.

When I Am Most Sick

When I am most sick, she confesses,
My mother’s face swims close
Like a dimly discerned form
On tree bark on which

I trace the tenderness I craved
Drawn by sickness to my window
Witnessing penance in unremitting pain
As in a cloister where whispers seek

Absolution that will never be given
By roots winding, coiling, her fingers
As leaves brushing bark into memory
Locked in a brace of trees.

“Embrace”
(painting by Lee Madgwick used by permission
for dVerse’s Poetics ekphrastic prompt)

Love Ran Through His Island Heart

“Without hope we live on in desire.”
Sanza speme vivemo in disio.

Dante, Inferno, Canto IV, line 42

Love ran through his island heart
From springes freed took flight
Left swallows’ cries of yesteryears
Desire-torn in apple-bright

Bone-white his wings that beat the air
And strain bent low his neck
Wind beat hard his sinews bare
Yet Hope grew clear his sight

Quiet-warmed as kingly deer by brook
Calm shattered shivers of doubt
Drawn unseen through cloud and dark
Dew-quenched his thirsting heart

Love and Hope together sang
He heard their various strain
Not far the wing-breadths that remained
To reach the One he loved.


“That without hope we live on in desire”
The pagan poet found
But pity more each one whose fire
Burns for themselves alone.


Before Canto 4 of the Inferno where the pilgrim Dante is introduced to the virtuous pagans among whom is his guide through Hell, the poet Virgil himself, Dante first crosses the gate of Hell whereon he sees inscribed, “Abandon hope all who enter here” (Canto 3). Here, he sees the first sinners in Hell, a craven company who lived for themselves, filled with envious desires, whom Virgil describes as “the sorry souls of those who lived without infamy or praise. They are mingled with that base band of angels who were neither rebellious nor faithful to God, but stood apart.” Being disengaged from the battle, this endless line of souls have no hope of death’s oblivion, “mercy and justice disdain them. Let us not speak of them, but look, and pass on” (trans. Charles S. Singleton). Virgil won’t even name them for they have reduced reality, reduced the world to a show, a spectacle for their own amusement. These rage and wail as swarms of stinging wasps and flies follow them and worms engorge on their blood. In contrast the virtuous pre-Christian pagans whom Dante meets next in Limbo live in a bucolic garden, their great sadness, desiring yet remaining apart from God.

Continue reading “Love Ran Through His Island Heart”

Dawn Worship

A-lone, a-bed, a need to rise,
arise, remembering, sighing to rise
sight aroused, upraised

dawn-drawn
in fulness of cloud
tears of consummation, gathering

gathering, a communion of praise
for One whose work completed
upgathers to raise me, to rise,

arise, walk in new life.


Luke 5: 18-26 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he said to the man who was paralyzed–“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”

And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.

And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”


To use the word "work" in a quadrille of 44 words is our Labor Day task from Lisa at dVerse. My labor? To look on the work of Christ Jesus upon the Cross for all who believe in Him. 

I wonder where the lost have gone

Dante and Virgil Penetrating the Forest 1824-7 William Blake 1757-1827 (Tate Gallery)

I wonder where the lost have gone
Lost to wonder, lost to touch
When sense is taken, sight is gone
What is found, and what is won.

I wonder if they’re all alone
In the darkness, in the gloom
Or in the sweating ground alone
More is said, and more is done.

Spinning earth no justice takes
For lying tongue or stiff-necked pride;
Warm her microbe-seethed embrace
Of oneness wrought, forgetfulness.

The bodies claimed by coffins lined
Or watery depths or funeral pyres
Souls unearthed new moorings find
As exiled prophets, poets divined.

I wonder where the lost have gone
Apart from mercy, love, and grace
And in their wake what’s left undone
Too late—their choices sealed in stone.


Continue reading “I wonder where the lost have gone”

Her Eyes Are Busy With Light

Mary and Baby Jesus, Oil on Paper, 2018, Katy Hawk

Her eyes are busy with light
Though I worry her with my doubts
There are candles in picture windows
Flirty love ballads on stereos
Ivy stabbed with holly
Santas under mistletoe
And I can’t get enough of the night.

Her eyes are busy with light
Though I fear her faith is naïve
Government thugs surveil, killing with drones
Children trafficked in towns, families ripped
Credit flows lucre between banks into pockets
Drugs dull, cocktails insensitize till we all go aground
And I burrow into the darkness of the night.

Her eyes are busy with light
Her hopes against my fears
She doesn’t see weakness in a babe in a manger
She doesn’t see defeat in a man on a cross
She doesn’t see what I see in a handful of dust
When the devil comes calling to offer a favor
And I run like the dickens to add to my scars.

O Winter, O Church Bells, O Dawn of revelation!
Would I could see her Savior, hear hallelujahs
Know what it feels like to know darkness conquered
Have peace and contentment, courage in the fight
To overthrow temptations and to laugh at my weakness
With Christ as my Brother, crying ‘Abba! Father!”
And wordless prayers by the Spirit means I’m not alone.

In such a heart as mine, O Father, enter in
In such a world as mine, O Christ, enter in
In such a darkness as this, O Spirit, enter in
Your call I hear above the noise
Your love for me over unbelief overflows
Before I can seek You, God, You have sought me
To save and to keep me eternally in You.

My eyes are busy with His Light
My life is bursting with His Life
My weakness melts in His Strength
The darkness dispersed by His Word
The pain we bear makes me aware
That God suffered in His flesh
To deliver us from death
And, hallelujah, our eyes are busy with Light!


[Jesus said,] “If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

Luke 11:36

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

Luke 1:46-55

This is not a show:

“Adoration of the Magi” tapestry (1890) designed by Edward Burne Jones, woven by William Morris et. al.

This is not a show
Don’t let it fool you
This baby escaped a tyrant’s slaughter
Not a carpet of flowers

Jesus knew hummus before kosher
At Egyptian tables to eat (Rimbaud yawns!)
These wise visitors bore gifts for an exile
Oh glorious! for the King of kings

We beg/steal/borrow tv Santa’s wigs
Play jolly, play Marley’s ghost
Turn engines of Christmas to erupt
Merry, when Jesus was born for sorrow.

Count His bones on the tree, no beauty
This mother will see, only a sword piercing
From cross to myrrh-anointed shroud

An ocean, an ocean of darkness to bear
A birthday for a Man whose death will be the death of Death
Erupt in hallelujah! Turn nuns into acrobats!

This is not a show
Don’t let it fool you
This baby escaped a tyrant’s slaughter
Not spring weather on a tapestry

Design for the “Adoration of the Magi” tapestry, Edward Burne-Jones, 1887

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”
And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.
Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Matthew 2:1-18

Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Isaiah 53:1-10
Shay/Fireblossom's "Word Garden Word List #5 (Gregory Corso)"
"What we do here is this: write a poem using at least 3 of the twenty words on the following list. Your poem need not have anything to do with Corso except for the three (or more) words. The list is a springboard."

Light

Unlooked for.
You were unlooked for.
Unhoped for.
You were unhoped for.
Where I was
You were not.
Where You were
I was not.
Sudden. Then.
It was sudden.
Not the shuddering
of wings, not of swan.
Angels watched.
Unwatched for.
What are you looking at?
Put ‘em back, your hallelujahs.
Because I’m a mess.
A blubbering mess.
Mess of sticky goo, sin.
Call it what you will.
It was painful, this birth.
This death. At twenty.
A resurrection in You.
In You. In You. In You.
I can’t get over You.
I can’t get over You.
You know me through and through.
You know me through and through.
You swaddled me
not in a manger.
You fed me at Your breast
Your Holy Spirit milk.
You hid me in Egypt.
You found me at Jacob’s well.
You suffer me a cross to bear
You bore it as well. For me. For me.
You birthed me. You loved me.
It’s not a fluke of biology
this Light as in Damascus.
This Love, this Light, this manger
this cross, this thorny crown
this night, this life over which
this darkness cannot roll.
This Love is Light is mine.


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:1-5, 9-13

Grace at dVerse asks us to write either in the form of Kwansaba or write a poem of blessing or praise in the style of David Whyte. Click on Mr. Linky and join us for the last meeting of 2021 at the dVerse bar.
Image credit: Photo by Andre Moura from pexels

Sailing into Eternity

“What is all this love for if we have to walk into the dark?” (M.R. James)

This is no country for old women
Scavenging among the shops of younger
Birds feathered-fit for triumphalist high-fives
Impatient of scarecrow’s creaking shoes, masked
Grimace reaching for a tin on a grocer’s shelf.

Pain exacts through sickness and age
Its own price, even as we gingerly kneel
To find the lisolia of those now lost to sight,
Praying hands held aloft, clasping light
In the aftergloom of laughter’s ghosts.

In the heartmoor of these days and nights
Visions appear, and I press forward into the dark
Of words that like crumbs from the children’s table
Fall upon me, as manna, as showers, as stories
Of love that even scarecrows can laugh to tell.


Linda at dVerse asks us to choose one or more words from a list of neologisms to write a poem. Click on Mr. Linky and join in! I've chosen "heartmoor," "aftergloom" and "lisolia," definitions of which are given in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:
Aftergloom: the pang of loneliness you feel the day after an intensely social event, as the glow of voices and laughter fades into a somber quiet.
Heartmoor: the primal longing for a home village to return to, a place that no longer exists, if it ever did.
Lisolia: the satisfaction of things worn down by time, broken in baseball mitts, the shiny snout of a lucky bronze pig, or footprints ground deep into floorboards by generations of kneeling monks.

Last Days

Image credit; Kellepics @ Pixabay

The ghosts
of religion: hipsters,
academics, suburbanites
in confession: by coffins cradling
amen-ing old women
stoned.

And you’re singing
the tomcat blues;
you’re whistling
a lazy cat’s tunes.

And a pigeon
on a sidewalk colored
a tinsel rainbow
says the Captain’s
coming back soon.


Shay/Fireblossom's Word Garden Word List #4 (Laura Nyro)
Mish at dVerse Quadrille #142 ("tinsel", 44 words)
Sadje's What Do You See #112

Gaudete Sunday: Light the Candle of Joy

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione et obsecratione cum gratiarum actione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob. [“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob.”] Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85 (84):1

The incipit for the Gregorian chant introit from which Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, gets its name.
James Tissot, “The Magi Journeying” (c. 1890)

The Journey of the Magi

The nativity creche sits under the tree
Not of cypress or palm, but a fragrant fir;
Out in the hall, the magi make their way each day
A few feet closer, here in the dead of winter.

We catch our toddler chewing on a magus
Whose eyes, pointed up to the ceiling,
Now contain the consternation of ages
Before being released to his camels.

The five-year-old wants to know why
The magi can’t fast-travel to the manger
Their journey so slow and prey to perils
Between them and what they seek.

“We’re taking care of them, aren’t we?”
The nine-year-old says, retrieving an errant
Praying magus from the bathtub, bobbing
Beside duckie and the inconsiderate toddler.

Each advent day they get closer to the Desire
Of nations, the Messiah born to save His people
And on Christmas, they’ll be nearer, in the doorway
Rejoicing in expectation of welcoming their King.

Somewhere

Somewhere
I can find a rainbow
smuggled in like an overcoat
thrown across my shoulders
in chilly December.

Somewhere
I will see a dark window
where a winged angel sits cradling
a homeless soul on a grimy ledge
over D.C.’s VIP traffic.

Somewhere
maybe what we don’t yet know
will be all that is true power
faith beyond snip and tucked illusions
on venal wrinkling faces.


Carrie's Sunday Muse #190 photo prompt
Sammi's Weekend Writing Prompt#239: 66 words exactly, "smuggle"

Into the Epode with Grover Lewis

The day before the Ditty Bops came to town,
the ghost of Grover Lewis prowled the backstage
canvas tent smoking with one hand and fuming
with the other like a dumbshow player.

While the painters and the carpenters hammered
and brushed, Grover stood on the amplifier
overseeing the pandemonium like he was
in someone’s grandfather’s pulpit preaching

from a fragrant text of his mother’s hallowed
last words, and the sunset didn’t stop him talking,
nor the dawn, nor the scudding shadows
before the storm broke in an early morning shower.

The university town was in west Texas,
the splendor of short grass barely dried
when the educated girls came to lay territorial
claim like locusts, and Grover cursed

like the sailors he never knew but the father
he thought he knew when he emerged
from childhood’s wreckage, a fever growing
as evening fell and the once relaxed crowd

grew restless with the opening act’s mulligans
when someone pulled down the curtain
and the Ditty Bops were forced to appear
before their time, the stage lit like a firecracker,

Grover watching like some stricken, besotted
lover holding his mother’s tatted lace, singing along,
“And all the voices shut you up
-Someone put a brick in your coffee cup.-“

until the show shut down and the last sound
he heard was his own, as the carnival packed up
and the stars in the big west Texas sky, one by one,
lit up with all the wideness of a father’s arms

and the transport of a mother’s smile, spelling:
who? a geek; where? here; what? endless mystery;
when? now; why? where’s your notebook, you’ve
a new story to write, past the strophe and into the epode.


Click here for lyrics to “Walk or Ride” (2004)
See Shay/Fireblossom's "Word Garden Word List #3 (Grover Lewis)" for challenge and prompt words. In researching for this post, I read "Grover Lewis: An Appreciation" by his friend, Dave Hickey, written for the Los Angeles Times in 1995. It and Katy Vine's "Return to Splendor" really gave me a great appreciation of who Lewis was, the man, the journalist, the poet/writer.
I'm sharing this with dVerse's Open Link Night #305 December Live Edition, our host Björn. Click on Mr. Linky and join in!

The Necklace

It was coiled and glowing in a single ray
of light, speaking of treasure maps

and I am there when she gives it to you,
the thin gold filigree weaving delicate

through coral one after another, jostling
into the tender skin of your palm

cupped like a boat that had sailed too far
to be retrieved by a golden hook

that cut into the bark of heart and home
but landed somewhere between reality

and the wound that never heals:
“I’m leaving it with you,” I hear her say

to you. And you look at it like the sum
of all mysteries and said to her, to me,

“Where will you go? Can’t you stay?”
and I said, she said, “It’s no more use to me,

maybe for you,” and you tore the coral off
your neck and your hands bled for a season

and a day, until you drew its poison out
of your body and praised the Light that stayed.


Image credit: Amrita Sher-Gil, "The Little Girl in Blue" (detail; 1934).
Merril at dVerse asks us to "write about a historical artifact…You may write about any object—a family heirloom, a museum piece, a monument, or a palace. The choice is yours, but there must be some link to history and the past. You can write in any form or free verse."

Second Sunday in Advent: Light the Candle of Peace

The Sign of Peace

King Ahaz was a jackass
And a murderous one at that
The faithless shepherd of Israel
Who roasted children before his gods.

But before his Assyrian enemies he shook and cowered,
and the prophet Isaiah came with a strong word from God:
“If you don’t stand firm in faith, you will not stand at all.”1

The LORD had determined to protect
His people from the Assyrian wolves;
He told wicked Ahaz to ask for a sign
And false-hearted Ahaz refused.

Isaiah 7: 14

Yet the LORD was committed to His purpose of peace
And gave Ahaz a sign foretelling a birth then and hence
A maiden would give birth to a child, Emmanuel, “God with us”2:
“If you don’t stand firm in faith, you will not stand at all.”

Now as we celebrate our Savior God’s birth
We light a second purple candle to remember
A virgin’s journey to Bethlehem to bear Jesus,
Our Emmanuel.


1Isaiah 7:9(b)

2Isaiah 7:14

On Reading Flaubert’s Madame Bovary: Fragments

Sta viator. Stop traveler.
Amabilen conjugem calcas.
Tread upon a loving wife.

“I’ve never read it myself.”
“Tell me.”

On an island
a mahogany bed
shaped like a boat

The extraordinary in
the ordinary: love
in language

Flaubert writing Emma,
who’s trapped
in a familiar broken cauldron

The ordinary in
the extraordinary: language
in love

Only lies of happiness
and unhappiness
(I read it after all)
meet expectations

I am the girl –
the book is the wolf –
believe me

image prompt: sunday muse
Shay/Fireblossom's The Sunday Muse, weekly picture poetry prompt
Laura at dVerse: "write a Modernist/Post-Modernist Fragment poem"
Sammi's Weekend Writing Prompt, 79 words, "familiar"
Punam's RDP Saturday: "the extraordinary in the ordinary"

What Child Is This? (A Haibun)

Aristotle wrote that women are incomplete men. I was raised on this with my mother’s milk. What is a girl when your firstborn could have been a boy. In my mother’s eyes, shame. In my father’s, disappointment, shame. Flawless would be a boy. Flawed would be me.

Christmas with a baby at the center just turned up the drollery of fate. Each year’s gift whispered, “Be a man. Someone notable. Do that for us and we will love you.” How unkind to have only a girl child to celebrate the birth of a King!

What child is this? Daddy asks. Mummy echoes, What child is this?

I ask, Dear God, What Child is this?

“What Child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?”1

Now Christmas comes to a woman whose hair is thinning, whose hands and feet are deformed with disease, whose gait is slow, whose back is bent. Not under the weight of shame. She sees the One in the manger born and wonders that Love came down into the muck of a world where children cry themselves to sleep and no one hears or cares. Jesus, You came a long way. And so did I with You.

This, this One died lonely
tree-hung to save a girl child
from pitiless hands

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

Philippians 2:5-11
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

1What Child Is This?

What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping,
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?

(Refrain)This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce him through,
The Cross be borne for me, for you;
Hail, hail the Word Made Flesh,
The babe, the son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
Come, peasant, king, to own Him!
The King of Kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him!

Raise, raise the song on high!
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy! joy! for Christ is born,
The babe, the son of Mary!

William Chatterton Dix, “What Child Is This?” (1865)
“What Child is This” – Violinist: Lindsey Stirling
Donna's Go Dog Go Cafe’s Inaugural Haibun Wednesday
Eugi's Weekly Prompt: "notable"

I took a tree for a chapel

Thank you, Bjorn, for your fearless leadership of dVerse and your unflagging encouragement to those of us who gather at the dVerse pub from this most appreciative admirer of your poetry. Here’s to you and the ancient librarian! Cheers!

I took a tree for a chapel
I took a bird for a priest
I ate a heart out of ginger root
Its enflamed sighs my prayers

Out of my back a tree grew one day
Sparrows fluttered in my blind branches
Until feather-gorged down a smooth-skinned maw
One soundlessly disappeared

Out of my ginger-rooted chest
A giant water bug starving crawled
To pierce into liquefaction
A spring peeper, sun-warmed frog.

I dreamt there was no heaven
I dreamt there was no rest

No sunsets that spoke of design
No kindness that spoke the divine

I fancied stardust my homeland
And entropy was my life

In the scheme of all that’s unholy
This is what I wrote

“Everything is fine”

Lillian at dVerse asks us to "write a poem that includes one line and one line only, from the lyrics of ABBA’s Dancing Queen. The line must be word for word." I chose to use the line, "Everything is fine." Click on Mr. Linky and join us!
photo ©dorahak

When Daddy Hollywood Died

When Daddy Hollywood died
They harvested his organs
His heart from Marilyn Monroe
His brain from Jerry Lewis
His lungs from John Wayne
His eyes from Bette Davis
His liver from Humphrey Bogart
His bones from Rita Hayworth
His soul from Citizen Kane

They put him in the same coffin with Lenin1
To ward off decomposition atheist-fashion
A resurrection team of doctors and make-up people
And an engineering crew to keep Daddy cool

The day the summer lilies bloomed
we went to visit him:
the empty head
the caved chest
the refrigerated pump
the sightless sockets
the rotting fingertips
the foaming skin
the mouth whispering “Rosebud”

In the souvenir shop
they sold snow globes
and Jayne Mansfield t-shirts
next to the exit
and the Dr. T. J. Eckleberg sign2


1“The job of maintaining Lenin’s corpse belongs to an institute known in post-Soviet times as the Center for Scientic Research and Teaching Methods in Biochemical Technologies in Moscow. A core group of five to six anatomists, biochemists and surgeons, known as the ‘Mausoleum group,’ have primary responsibility for maintaining Lenin’s remains.” Read more here and here.

2The billboard eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleberg in The Great Gatsby seem to symbolize many things, including the loss of moral vision:

But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic—their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground… I followed [Tom] over a low white-washed railroad fence and we walked back a hundred yards along the road under Doctor Eckleburg’s persistent stare… “Terrible place, isn’t it,” said Tom, exchanging a frown with Doctor Eckleburg.

F. Scott Fitgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)
Shay/Fireblossom's "Word Garden Word List #2 (Plath)" asks us to write a poem using at least three words from a list of words taken from Sylvia Plath's writings: I chose to use "Daddy," "exit," and "lilies."