Category Archives: My poetry

Poem for Lent

My daughter asked me where the old door went.

The brown door.

It’s still there.

Just gave it a fresh new color with a little red paint.

It looks brand new.

It is, and its still the same door.

We were always image bearers, all of us.

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How to Cut Down a Tree

Tree trunks break out of the snow banks on the Mississippi

Like old soldiers at their post

These men are time travelers, tall

The few left who tell creation’s story

A glimpse of what the river looked like before progress landed on her shores.

Keep watch old men, keep watch

You’re the icon of Eden

A reminder of how things used to be, should be

The power planters

The farm fertilizers

The industrializers are going to cut you down

Can’t see Garden for the trees.

The Recession Must Go On

I went to the bakery on

The wealthy side of town

The one where they put the french onion soup

In a sexy sourdough bread bowl

 

On my way out the door I saw a lady friend

Who had eaten her soup

But left the bowl made of bread

She then threw the whole

Bread bowl

Into the garbage

 

She threw the whole bread bowl into the garbage!

Sixty-two grams of carbohydrates

Three hundred and thirty two calories

Ten grams of protein

With a one way ticket to Gary, Indiana

And that is when I knew

The recession must continue

 

As long as we eat our soup out of a bowl made of bread

Only because its looks nice and is a bit trendy

As long as we possess the lack of conviction which allows us

To dump precious wheat which had been grown by the earth

Harvested by the farmer

Milled by the river

And kneaded by the baker

As long as we loose sight of those who hunger

While we feed our bread to our beloved ravenous dumpsters

The recession must go on

 

So lay your bed in the gutter, lady friend

Put your ear to the sewer

And learn the wisdom of the homeless man

Who has mastered contentment, simplicity, thrift, and stewardship

Who understands the law of abundance

And shares everything he has with others

Somehow trusting God to get him through each hour of the day

While he feasts on used sourdough bread bowls

Consuming our sin before it hits the garbage dump for good

 

Gods grace to those suffer in a recession

For those who are missing their meals

And forced from their homes

Gods grace to those who think they suffer in a recession

For those who are missing their double shot mocha lattes

And forced from their second-home high rise condos

And may each of us look the recession in the eye

And ask the dear friend, “What have you to teach me?”

 

 

*Bread bowl nutrition information courtesy of The Daily Plate.

Floorboards

sanding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandpaper greets the grain

As an honest old friend from way back

The boards have lost their true color

Through years of healthy wear

Holding us up as we

Celebrated birth

Mourned the passing of a friend

Gathered for Holiday

Ate breakfast

The old boards are old and due for a rest

 

The furniture is moved and the floor is bare and naked

The coarse paper setting it free from varnish and stain

The oak breathes deeply, a sigh of relief

Its story told through each ring, dent, and scratch

Of seed, sun and sky

Axe, hammer, and nail

House and home

Finally these boards began to keep our story

Like a vault they enclose our sacred and our secret

Their grain tempering our imperfections

Until the next sanding

Wooden Puppet Eyes

Plump and round, waddling out of the house

Rosy cheeks and a big black belt with a big fat buckle

Bald as a bat and smiley as a salamander

Furry animal companion jolly as can be

Skin white as snow with wooden puppet eyes

 

Wooden puppet eyes and a wooden puppet soul

Waddling out of the house of the black neighbors

Why is Santa man wearing a gun?

Why does he have five clones? and that’s not a reindeer!

And it’s not Christmas Eve!           

 

Five white men waddle out of the black neighbor’s house

Searching for a reason to pull the trigger

Searching for a reason to perpetuate the disparity between

Black and white in a “free society” with “opportunity” and an “American dream”

 

Excuse your interruption, wooden puppet eyes

I know my neighbors and my neighbors know me

But I don’t know you and your hot lead weapon is not welcome here

Excuse your interruption wooden puppet eyes

While we were busy crossing cultural lines and getting comfortable

With each other’s skin

You brought your warrant and your hot itchy gun.

Thanks for the unwarranted reminder

Of white man’s oppression and the scars of our fathers

Of power and control and who’s in control

Of why it’s not okay to trust a white man

Even with plump rosy cheeks and a jolly grin and fury companion

We could have talked about it over dinner

But you brought it to our doorstep along with your hot lead weapon

 

So back to work you go and back to work I go

But listen closely Santa man while I tell a prophecy

Hope will see the end of the hot lead weapon

We’ll burry it deep in the earth and it will join the granite of old

Faith will bring forgiveness and reconciliation

And heal the deep scars of our fathers

Love will see us through our differences

So that we can hold each other’s hands and each other’s hearts

These three, and only these three will remain. And that is our work.

 

*This poem was inspired this morning as I looked outside my window to see five deputies searching my neighbor’s home.

To the Spirit of Lake Mille Lacs Kathio

Come in old Spirit, come in

Come in and heal me

My silence is your invitation

I am quiet while you work

Into the depths,

Into my heart you minister

Your work is a mystery to me

I may never know what gifts you left my soul

So I’ll trust the quiet

As I breathe it in deeply

Your peace is my command

Old Oaks and Pines

A while back I did a solo silent retreat at Mille Lacs Cathio State Park, towards the end of winter, just after a huge storm. Spending time with nature, and letting it work on me for a couple days turned out to be an intimate experience as I rested. For some reason, it was at this time that I began to see trees as more than just trunks and leaves. They became companions, old sages, the magical creation of God providing a sanctuary, forming a natural cathedral of sorts. I especially remember skiing through the forest and being startled at how vocal the trees were!  This time inspired the following poem:

 

The tall trees creak and speak

To each other

Of how things used to be

They moan and laugh

As I pass

And pause to share a story

I stop to listen carefully

As for grandpa long ago

 

The pines, they bend and wane

They bring me to my knees

The oaks, they sing and sigh

Tears well up my eyes

 

Old truth decants from old rings

Their wisdom ancient

Their strength rooted into depths

Of earth and soil and sun and rain

Seasons upon seasons of life

 

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12