On Mother’s Day

Measured like fine sand in an hourglass
Your life poured time-space-gravity
Spanned dimensions of dreams-desires-duty
Ebbing to a diminishing close of expectation
Then sand-breath-light fighting your will
Until all ceased.

Tracked like footprints on ragged shores
Your life followed heights-valleys-seascapes
Ambitious, sacrificial service to home-church-community
Fording rough currents, plans laid, brought to their knees,
Hopes met where rough tides pass over to erase or salvage
Until a glassy sea.

But what of the immeasurable you, the wind that blows
Then shifts like gusts to whirl, embrace, bounce up,
Throw down, then surrounds like a garment of perfumed silk
Warmed by a light unquenchable-tried-tested-indomitable,
Or a cool breeze on a fevered brow from an unseen land that calms
Until the break of day.

Continue reading “On Mother’s Day”

Cloud of Glory

Roll over me, Cloud of Glory, majestic mountain of Light
Clothing the enthroned Godhead!
Touch me with the Fire that no Promethean labor avails
To impart but the Love-enflamed Spirit!

A spark from Thee to this dry timber of my heart
Would burn wiry vines of Satan’s lies, noxious fears,
Corrupted roots, and leave unharmed the tender growth
Of life reborn, fed by living water and the Word,
To fruition of Abundance, a banquet of Life Eternal
Before the Most High God!

So Thou has promised, so let me receive
The fulness of Thy outpouring
Grace upon grace
That loosens tongues of gladness
And sets free faith
Till Heaven opens
On this child of the King!

Plead for Me

Our family devotions have centered around the book of Job for the past few weeks and considering the upheaval of plans and difficult transitions for each one of us in different ways, it has been fitting and it has been a blessing. 

There are passages of time where the universe seems to collapse into the cramped space of one’s own trials. Those are the times when our conversations with God are not only intense & often wrought with a sense of overwhelming frailty, but also liberating as worship leads us upwards into the infinite, omnipotent throne room of our heavenly Father.

In such a place of holiness and sovereign love, our weaknesses, our fears, our impoverished faith are of no account. There we can freely ask the immortal, invisible God to do for us what we cannot. I wrote the following in deep wonder at the truth rediscovered time and time again that, in Christ, we can even ask Him to plead for us.

Plead for Me

Holy Savior, plead for me, a crippled sinner, lame of tongue
Ill-begotten in the night, a rebel to Your sovereign power.
I would throw off the shackling chains that curb my pride,
Restrain my steps, and lead to humiliation’s lonely way.
Yet here I see Your riven form, the crown of thorns,
The nail-pierced flesh. Here alone I hear the cry
That tore the temple veil in half as One forsaken
For my sins bore the wrath that I deserved.
Where then is shame, where then is grief
If not borne by You for love of me?
So all my fears shall be dissolved if You, my Lord,
Would yet plead for me.

A Patient’s Prayer

When sickly sorrow settles like grave-dust
Do You, O Lord, quicken me with light,
That septic darkness spreading its malodor
Can no longer bury me, cold and sightless
To Your presence as pain and grief alone
I see — O, hear my cry, attend to me,
An earth-bound sinner, Spirit-compelled
To shed mourner’s garments for robes of grace,
In faith to dwell by streams of gladness
And taste the riches of Your providence.

Continue reading “A Patient’s Prayer”

Porch-sitting on Wishes

He sat on his front porch, listening:
behind him, the sounds of Corigliano
spun slowly out into the road before him –
Fantasia on an Ostinato – spinning round him
with the centrifugal trauma of gathering desire
inevitably aborted, the weight of a shudder
passing through him like the blunt edge
of a Mamet play: he gripped his arms
to steady himself against the onslaught
of thoughts and impressions, and, yes, wishes
that fled as fast as they appeared, ghostly archipelagos
rolling like gravel out the leaky corners of his eyes.

Corigliano: Fantasia on an Ostinato

Why Are You?

I want to start my journey here, while the tide is in, where
the sun’s light glances off the crest of little waves
so that a thousand little lights sparkle
like stars just off the surface where the winds swirl
and I wonder as I gasp at the beauty given to me, Why am I?
Why are you? Why do we breathe in and out in these shells
of our being looking out through blue, green, brown, black,
grey eyes to find stars afloat on spindling breezes
and babies in our arms and lovers to melt into?
Was it for this moment? Or that: when flesh tore or the heart
burst like an open wound and no one knew but you
where the blood was spilt and how it continues to run?
Why this consciousness of jumbled desires and conflicting needs
treading time past, present, and future like a traveller
with a destination, a place to get to from God-knows-where?
“Where are you going, and where do you come from?”
The grave. The womb. The zygote and the worm. Understand?
Now ask me the real question that burns at the root and spit
of me: Why am I? This me that recognizes me like a stranger
in a mirror. Was I really a twinkle in an astrologer’s eye that fell out
by the force of gravity in a mother’s bed-time tale?
But when I look at the stars on the lake and in the night sky,
I don’t think of meiosis and compost, just eternity
as if I were born with it like a note left on a child
swaddled on the doorstep of life here and now, but a note all the same,
written by an infinite Being who alone had the power to birth my being,
to delight or grieve over me, to find and save me, to give me life,
to know Him through sparkling stars and bursting hearts
and love that never ends.


poem and audio reading of “Why Am I?” ℗©2020 Dora A.K

Ecclesiates 3: 11: He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

 

Wingless Phoenix in Wal-Mart

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A wingless phoenix in Wal-Mart
By Special K and Quaker Oats
Stands mid-aisle, stock still, face pinched.
His eyes shift blank and stare
At a nightmare in the lightning flashes of his brain
Even with the doctor’s little pills, Franken-Berry,
Untethered chemistry, synaptic discord
A conflagration he could barely control
Or it would blaze into fiery immolation

As it was doing now
Had done a thousand times before
But for the clenched claws
Would knock down the hazy stupor of the day
Into wide Tartarus.

Storm-flash gone, he lifts his hand
Past packaged heads, past canned voices
Past paranoia, past schizophrenia
For the Lucky Charms
Broken bits of childhood psalms
Crayon memories
Of a Man walking on water
Leading him home
A child of God by name.


Nota Bene (June 10, 2021):

I wrote this poem some time ago but it remains my favorite, not least because it deals with a subject close to my heart: children and adults who deal with various forms of mental illness ranging from autism to schizophrenia. If you yourself or someone close to you suffers in such a way, you know that life is a daily obstacle course in ways we can barely understand. This poem is dedicated to them and those who care for them. May God’s grace be their strength and their stay.

Job’s Wife Speaks

Inspired by the Georges de La Tour painting below, the following poem attempts to give an added voice to the expressive eloquence of Tour’s work by “unmuting” Job’s wife. As a character in the book of Job, his wife is not prominent but, perhaps, delivers the most bitter blow to Job. Through her, we hear the voice of Satan speaking most directly to Job when she asks,  “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die” (Job 2:9). In the midst of his sufferings, I believe Job’s greatest challenge was to withstand this voice and choose to trust God.

Job Mocked by his Wife Georges de La Tour (17th c.)
Job Mocked by his Wife
Georges de La Tour (17th c.)

Continue reading “Job’s Wife Speaks”

The Gingko’s Tale

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Leaves like little fans
Or green butterflies settling on stems
As sunlight on bright wings
Yesterdays that flutter past
My window.

Startled Heraclitus in streams of change
Sees Parmenides grasp a stolen current
Where languishing wings can’t decay green summer
Held fast in the eddy of my gaze
Caught in rivulets of pain
Till You, my Lord, come again.