The tea kettle whistles A moth flutters and dies Your mask shatters to pieces A madman explodes the moon A butterfly flaunts a human face You dream of a lion’s rest Birds in-choir in a priest’s robe You fire a revolver on the run
The key to the riddle — Masquerading as fun To the gibbering wags Deaf to the last gong’s sound — Hides like a promise In your broken heart
For image credit please click hereon Carrie’s Sunday Muse #245; Shay’s Word Garden Word List using three of twenty words; and Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt #297 using “key” in prose or poem of 71 words.
I walked this life – lonely – Aware of shame – only – Chiding Your apathy – to me – I saw myself – painfully – alone.
In Your light I see – suddenly – Always You are – with me – Walking me home – lonely – Never having left me – painfully – alone.
Psalm 35:4-9 (NIV): Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.
It’s just this way, she agonized, and I won’t end where I’ve begun. It’s the dream I’m waking up to.
I wonder, he antagonized, what if today becomes your cannibal past tomorrow, feeding on today’s life, keeping itself alive, demanding its pound of flesh?
She knew his aim. It was to lead her in circles, to origins, not beginnings.
But each cross-road meant progress, a royal one, or common as a pilgrim on a well-worn track, peculiar as a dream
singular as a vision, a glaring blaze of glory, immense as a grain of sand sparkling in the New Jerusalem.
A three-prompt medley is the tune I'm playing off with Rochelle's Friday Fictioneers photo prompt & 100-word challenge, dVerse's Poetics: Visionary Poetry, and GirlieOnEdge Six Sentence Story ("lead"). Join us!
“It was a stark surprise of loss,” she wrote, and then she stopped, her hand stilled on the backlit keys her eyes glued to the screen
where suddenly the lines misted, metamorphosed in rain, the world becoming watery, a deluge full of pain.
She wiped her cheeks, she rose, she paced, she spun about the room, though memories of a dream-like shore outran her pleas for peace.
Into her words she’d poured her heart, into the poems she wrote but from them she no longer found the comfort that she sought.
None came but one, a fiery flare that lit the distant sky as if it came in search of her, a foundling lost to claim.
“What joy is this, what Guest on high has chosen this black night, to show His love, to set alight my dark and stormy heart?”
She cried, and in her joy she found a new theme to set down by psalm-borne winds she softly sang of things divine, unseen.
Old and New Year Ditties by Christina Rossetti(1830-1894)
New Year met me somewhat sad: Old Year leaves me tired, Stripped of favourite things I had, Baulked of much desired: Yet farther on my road today God willing, farther on my way.
New Year coming on apace What have you to give me? Bring you scathe, or bring you grace, Face me with an honest face; You shall not deceive me: Be it good or ill, be it what you will, It needs shall help me on my road, My rugged way to heaven, please God.
Watch with me, men, women, and children dear, You whom I love, for whom I hope and fear, Watch with me this last vigil of the year. Some hug their business, some their pleasure scheme; Some seize the vacant hour to sleep or dream; Heart locked in heart some kneel and watch apart.
Watch with me, blessed spirits, who delight All thro’ the holy night to walk in white, Or take your ease after the long-drawn fight. I know not if they watch with me: I know They count this eve of resurrection slow, And cry, “How long?” with urgent utterance strong.
Watch with me, Jesus, in my loneliness: Tho’ others say me nay, yet say Thou yes; Tho’ others pass me by, stop Thou to bless. Yea, Thou dost stop with me this vigil night; Tonight of pain, tomorrow of delight: I, Love, am Thine; Thou, Lord my God, art mine.
Passing away, saith the World, passing away: Chances, beauty and youth sapped day by day: Thy life never continueth in one stay. Is the eye waxen dim, is the dark hair changing to grey That hath won neither laurel nor bay? I shall clothe myself in Spring and bud in May: Thou, root-stricken, shalt not rebuild thy decay On my bosom for aye. Then I answered: Yea.
Passing away, saith my Soul, passing away: With its burden of fear and hope, of labour and play; Hearken what the past doth witness and say: Rust in thy gold, a moth is in thine array, A canker is in thy bud, thy leaf must decay. At midnight, at cockcrow, at morning, one certain day Lo the bridegroom shall come and shall not delay: Watch thou and pray. Then I answered: Yea.
Passing away, saith my God, passing away: Winter passeth after the long delay: New grapes on the vine, new figs on the tender spray, Turtle calleth turtle in Heaven’s May. Tho’ I tarry, wait for Me, trust Me, watch and pray. Arise, come away, night is past and lo it is day, My love, My sister, My spouse, thou shalt hear Me say. Then I answered: Yea.
This poem was originally published in Goblin Market and Other Poems (Macmillan, 1862) and appears in The Complete Poems by Christina Rossetti (Penguin, 2001). It is in the public domain.
I wrote the top poem in honor of Christina Rossetti whose poetry stirs readers and poets alike with their psalm-like appeal, as “Old and New Year Ditties,” on the cusp of a new year. Join us at Denise’sSix Sentence Story (using prompt word “surprise”). To my blog visitors, have a Happy New Year, one full of love and peace.
She’ll be singing, “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” But I won’t hear it Her voice so dulcet Her face pink, all aglow.
To God she’ll give the glory As her heart attuned soaring Sings out its praise Sad hearts to raise To Him our Savior and our joy.
Somehow I’ll know, my spirit sense The words when she is singing Rejoicing knowing In Christ she’s growing And that makes all the difference.
Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith– to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Romans 16:25-27 [NIV]
Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming (15th c. German, trans. Theodore Baker)
Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming From tender stem hath sprung! Of Jesse’s lineage coming As men of old have sung. It came, a flower bright, Amid the cold of winter When half-gone was the night.
Isaiah ’twas foretold it, The Rose I have in mind: With Mary we behold it, The virgin mother kind. To show God’s love aright She bore to men a Savior When half-gone was the night.
This Flower, whose fragrance tender With sweetness fills the air, Dispels with glorious splendor The darkness everywhere. True man, yet very God, From sin and death He saves us And lightens every load.
This long November day unravels, filaments of self unthreaded spin in disarray seek a coalescing glance from Thee, my soul’s desire.
This long November night defeats, malingers yesterdays that moon in shallow doorways guilt-shadowed, hammering refrains that only Thy voice can silence.
Hasten to send Thou, Oh Lord, Thy Word, Thy Light by day, by night, my sight unblind, my thought overspread, unroll yard by yard Thy seeded spring in frozen heart by Thy Spirit’s warmth.
And then shall November night become as day, November day as night unfurled in Thy blanketing love, and like a traveler who spies a bridge o’er torrents harsh, I’ll race to cross encircling time, and so abide in Thee.
Clothed in the armor of Your light We walk by faith throughout the night As darkness fades, so all earthly fear With the long-awaited dawn, when You appear.
All the prophets spoke was true All that they prophesied of You We knew it then, we know it now That every knee before You one day will bow.
In the fullness of time You came As babe in manger, Jesus by name Now ascended King, when You departed You left us not alone, but the Holy Spirit imparted.
Yet out of our sight You reign on high Until that day when You again come nigh The dawn of that day we will shout and cheer Not an eye will be dry when You, O Lord, draw near!
Now, Father, keep us faithful and strong Singing ever onwards the Gospel song Knowing it is the power of God to save By believing in His Son whom to us You gave.
Romans 1:16 (NIV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Galatians 4:4-6 (NASB) But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
*A bibliopole is a person who buys and sells books, especially rare ones.
This Dream recurs — I am the Bird — Neither the Darkness — nor the Light — Ranging over Estates of books Endless — See one Book — now Ubiquitous — contains Life Lights the Path —while others Sound Characterize Reflect Darken Never overcome the Light
A recent post by a fellow blogger1 awakened me yet again to issues of abuse. Extremes of reaction and behavior caused by past abuse. Impossibly high standards it engenders. Unrealistic expectations. Childhood scars that reopen and bleed. Shedding these old habits of thought/behavior and clearing our lungs of them by achieving moderation does take time … but particularly time in the word of God. Diving deep and long, letting the Holy Spirit fill our lungs with His love so we can breathe more easily in our own skin. Theology is not a luxury but a necessity that God alone can provide through the special revelation that is His inerrant and infallible word. Through it we come to know that He is the Rock that is higher than all others, as the psalmist puts it, a fortress of peace, stability and safety. But more: He gives life, abundant life, His own, by uniting us with Himself, Emmanuel, God with us, the incarnate God, Christ Jesus. Finally, union with Christ is God’s divine life poured into us by His Spirit and we become a new creation, leaving the past behind, following a new path that leads to life eternal, and pressing on “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”2
Psalm 119:105 (KJV) Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2Phillipians 3:12,14 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. … I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
I hear the call, Eternal, sound in my heart and in the stars. Is it timeless or infinity itself? Is its Voice a song? I do not question, so much yet to understand and I am not able.
I only respond in gratitude, though one-legged in faith still hobbling, letting go finger by finger my pride, and taking up, hand after hand, my cross of self-denial.
For this Eternal is Love.
By Purgatorio, Canto 11 of the Commedia, Dante the pilgrim has exited Hell and entered purgatory by permission of the angel at the gate who uses two keys, one silver (remorse) and one gold (reconciliation). As he and his guide, the poet Virgil, enter they are warned not to look back at any point in the journey up through the terraces of purgatory to the Garden of Eden. In Purgatorio, Canto 10, Dante had seen examples of humility. Now on the first and lowest terrace he sees souls of the proud bent over by large stones they carry on their backs, due penance for their sin of Pride, of which there are three kinds: pride of family, pride of art, and pride of power.
Purgatorio is filled with the prayers of souls as they ascend the terraces. And Canto 11 opens with the only complete prayer which is really an expanded version or gloss of The Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6: 9-13; Luke 11: 2-4).
“Our Father, You who dwell within the heavens
but are not circumscribed by them out of
Your greater love for Your first works above,
Praised be Your name and Your omnipotence,
by every creature, just as it is seemly
to offer thanks to Your sweet effluence.
Your kingdom’s peace come unto us, for if
it does not come, then though we summon all
our force, we cannot reach it of our selves.
Just as Your angels, as they sing Hosanna,
offer their wills to You as sacrifice,
so may men offer up their wills to You.
Give unto us this day the daily manna
without which he who labors most to move
ahead through this harsh wilderness falls back.
Even as we forgive all who have done
us injury, may You, benevolent,
forgive, and do not judge us by our worth.
Try not our strength, so easily subdued,
against the ancient foe, but set it free
from him who goads it to perversity.”
Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio, Canto X1, lines 1-21, transl. Alan Mandelbaum
The Commedia ends with Paradiso where Dante receives the beatific vision: “The Love that moves the other stars” (l’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle). As Giuseppe Mazzotta notes, Inferno and Purgatorio also end with stelle. “So when Dante says that love moves the sun and other stars, what he’s really doing is placing himself immediately right back on earth, back at the beginning of his quest. He’s here with us looking up at the stars.”
Under cover of his darkness, I walk. And night walks with me.
As a child, I mistrusted him, hiding under the crisp linen covers, fearing transmogrification of dust bunnies under beds.
Much later, worries, imprisoned by the day’s demands, would spring free and trouble me to insomniac madness with night’s seeming acquiescence.
Now my life closes in on its last chapter. But I’ve learned night’s secrets. His is not the darkness of despair or torment, the deceit of his doppelganger. His the sweet nourishing knowledge of his Maker, the sustainer of souls looking to Him in childlike trust.
Lying on my bed, I look up in the street of sky. Night walks scattering poems of a Love more powerful than the stars that light the avenues of time and space.
Tree leaves shiver under streetlights. A thousand golden poems sing me to sleep.
Psalm 19:1-4 (NIV) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
Threads torn from a silk tapestry a nightingale on branch of tree
Belong in other songs and rhymes Of emperors with preternatural pastimes.
I pick my threads from a homespun quilt Of gospel truth that frees from guilt.
It tells of One who died and rose To save from sins and lies expose.
It warns that wealth hoarded in greed Should be shared with those in need.
Here I sit under branch and sky Little to my name, just this tune to ply.
At the end of my days, I’ve nothing to grieve: it’s better to give than to receive.
Acts 20:35 NIV [Paul said,] “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
Feeling a little ambitious today with three prompts for the price of one: Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneer’s photo prompt(100-word story), Sammi’s 13 Days of Samhain (“The Cheek of the Devil”) andThursday’s Six Sentence Story (“Structure”).Enjoy!
“Mom, that lady was rude and you just let her walk without telling her off!!”
Ruth considers her outraged child.
She picks up the broken glass structure at her feet, says quietly, “I’ve always taught you to turn the other cheek, haven’t I? Someone’s got to be the first to take the hate, stop it from spreading, and I can, because Christ gives me that power.”
“But Mom, if you keep turning the other cheek, it just keeps getting bloodied!”
Matthew 5:38-45: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
He gave me starlings, dark dowry, Hidden betrayals in gardens, Houses muttering in the rain, Hoarding secrets in rosaries.
Then sent he catbirds three, to kill True love, their mimicry like The day’s news, veiled, shifting half- Truths, eyed over coffee and tea.
Crows by the murder he hastened, Choreographed in gothic, Cawing incessant, evil Conniving to see my end.
Bedeviled, accursed, he must then Bequeath me bats, like foreigners Bearing plagues, designed to cause fear— But now I’m more deadly than he.
The above poemis in response to Shay’s Word Garden Word List (inspired by poet Dave Kelly) and is the first of two as I experiment with a new (to me) poetry form: the Traditional Mongolian Meter. This form requires quatrains written in lines of 7 to 8 syllables, each line head-rhymed with alliteration being a prominent element of the form. Grace at dVerse explains a head-rhyme as being “the first consonant of each line matching. However, while still alliterative, with the matched consonant heading the line, it is often seen as the first syllable in each line rhyming with the first syllable of the ensuing lines.”
The wine that Jesus made runs sweet To quench my thirst like rain in spring That falls on ground which hardened lies Till it yields to softening streams.
No Cana wedding had I to go Nor hear His mother’s firm request Nothing but His love for me Nourishing remembrance brings.
See wine in cup and bread on plate Speak His body and His blood Shed upon the Cross for me So from guilt, from sin to free.
Jesus is my God and King Joy unspeakable He gives Just to know He loves me so Joins my heart, my soul to Him.
A babe sat in the green grass bright Fast held in a predator’s sight. Is it that of a man or that of a beast? One’s intent is murder, the other’s a feast.
In what universe would a mother bereft Of her bonnie babe by its sudden theft Feel her piercing grief constrained the less Were it a man for its death to so confess?
Something’s broken, someone’s dead Something’s taken, innocence fled.
Then is there no evil, no good to pursue Just the surreal, “to thine own self be true”? Don’t lose the story, oh, don’t lose the plot It’s death that’s the enemy, one thing we’ve all got.
Nature or nurture, priest, pagan, or not Don’t you see we all share the same rot? In a cave or in a palace, the calling card’s the same One way or another, we’ve lost the grand game.
Something’s broken, someone’s gone Something’s twisted, death has won
Death robs us of meaning, or would were it the end Since deep within we sense something round the bend; Death is still the crucible, our evil we can’t mend Till upside down is right side up and earth made new again.