Poetry

some word-smithing

An Odyssey of the Sirens

DSC06567They appear to offer you

more than you have,

but give you less

than what is yours.


Sextant and plumb-lineDSC06567

sink in the horizon-fog,

charting songs of fatal lethargy,

to forget their native land and home.


The whale-path is unattended,DSC06567

latitude misaligned and overthrown,

as pride becomes a blinding-venom,

its own adder-poison.


This world is not alwaysDSC06567

what it appears

when it seems

to have nothing you want.

This world is not

what it appears

when it is all you want.

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Apostle Islands (May, 2017)

  1. The barges

As clear as the sea,
pebbles from the world
unfallen,
countless years
hidden in the mists,
within a certain doubt,
as we drove the old Ford
down the gravely hill
towards the shore-line,
its gear of sails and masts
cluttering our view for miles.
Alone in the wreckage of steel
barges and broken hulls and pelicans
in migration towards a better place
than this one.

The love, the beauty, the gentle surf
shifting its debris about
like a gambler shuffling a deck
of old and worn cards,
playing its hand of fate
against the many faces on its surface
in large ships crossing to other places
thought to be better than this place.

A spatial re-arrangement
of its contents, though in a new place,
this sorting of detritus,
the surf-scum and litter
below deck where we wait it out,
watching to see,
hoping that time will tell us
what we want to know.

2. Lake Superior and Madeline Island

On the ice-road
across the lake,
at least once a year,
someone falls through,
or gets stranded
on the wrong side,
never to try crossing again.
One time, an entire house
broke through to rest on the bottom,
to nurture its subterranean gardens.
Two long winters in a row
there was no ice,
no path out
of the boredom of rain, fog, and cards,
waiting with Anglo-Saxon curiosity,
where the whale-path
is yearly encrusted under the ice-road,
and where wagons and fragile wreckage
of human lives
rumble over in hope,
sorrow and its likes
left behind
on the other side.

  1. Questions on contentedness

Bayhead Beach town
with a deli
open at 6:30 a.m.
and run by a man
from Bombay
with no Mercedes
but serves excellent coffee
and bagels at 7:00,
the sea and lake
are calm this morning,
the breeze is tantalizing
and soothing, considering
how near the frost is still,
the many perfect lives of mansions
fortressed against those days
that come unraveled
as the ancient dung-beetle
in the desert sands
rolls up the sun in hope.
What is wrong with me
to rise so early every morning
to ask all these questions?

 

All the Way Back Home to Shalom

To read the whole essay click here: All the way Back Home to Shalom by Stephen HagueMarch snow 2018


For Julian and Marcus upon their return home March 10[really the 7th], 2018 in hopes that home will always be with, behind, and before them.
And for Lucas who made traveling to Mexico and back home a joy I will never forget.
♥   ♥
In memory of the Contes’ family home (which burned down the day I finished this essay), and which did not destroy their home nor their memories of it.


“Homemaking, like world-building, is a world-ordering enterprise. To turn space into place is to establish normative boundaries that bring a certain kind of order to the life lived within those boundaries.[1]

What if I was to ask you what is the word that most warms your heart, touches on your deepest longings, evokes your riches memories? For me, that word would be HOME. Home to me is the essence of our earthly life, the center, the focus, the foundation of life in this world. And, this is coming from one who loves to travel, and often “get away” from home! “Home” may not be the word that comes to your mind, especially if you had a painful or tragic home-life as a child, or do at present. There is also the feeling, or reality, of homelessness and displacement prevalent in our times. Yet, if you have painful associations with the concept of home, let me suggest for the moment that you put aside those pains and fears and allow yourself to consider the beauty of this word “home.” That is, I suggest, the pain of those who have suffered through childhood is in fact particularly acute because we have an intrinsic understanding of, and longing for, what home should be, for as we are made in God’s image he has made us for home. Therefore, I believe all humans that have ever lived can understand and relate to the pictures I am going to present here on this theme.

To read the whole essay click here: All the way Back Home to Shalom by Stephen Hague

[1] Prediger and Walsh, Beyond Homelessness, p. 53.

COTTAGE1

Despair and Hope

Despair                                  Hope
don’t hope                              don’t despair
don’t wait                               don’t let
for hope                                  despair arrive
to arrive                                  to bind you
with its                                    hand and foot
hands tied                               don’t run
behind                                     to hide behind
its back                                    its back
don’t wait                                wait
for waiting                               for hoping
is conceding                            consigns death
to hope                                    to despair,
that is                                      that is,
already                                    before it’s
too late.                                   too late.

And the Desert Will Be Glad

DSC07290

If mountains worship God by being mountains and stars worship God by being stars, how do humans worship God? By being human, in the full glory of what that means.”
R. Middleton

And the Desert Will Be Glad

Awash with the sweetest
scent of magnolia
magnificent aroma
as the blueberry and strawberry crepes
sizzle on the griddle,
that antique iron one
your grandmother left to me
to remember the many times
of chess and Life
and checkers before the fire-place,
the one which set ablaze the chimney
a number of Christmas mornings
to which the firemen said
we must get a sweep.
The cat and dog sit to wonder why
but why is not their question.

We tried every summer
to strain the soil to grow our salad,
soil that had been used to cover the town dump,
shoes and bottles every season sprouting
with the lettuce and potatoes.

The sons of Zebedee
wanted their glory early,
before the cross, but learned
his cup was their cup also.
The earth hums.

All day long it was
one of those days
of expecting someone,
but none came,
expectant and hoping
content to wait, anticipating.

This week the pastor’s sermon
touched my son’s heart,
on having the ambition of the kingdom,
not to power and prestige.
These words
are hard ones
rock-like
break-your-teeth-on-them
kind of words.

Peeling the potatoes
the texture and sound
of scraping its rough dirt-like skin
to the pulp, moist with white starch,
as the cool-sharp-blade
slices the core and bangs
against the cutting- board
with a thud.

It is a sweaty-hot day
of heavy, slow clouds
hazy-large on our horizon,
barely a bird is singing
and the day is long
but it is so sweet
with the ordinary,
in which God delights the most,
and when the rocks of the hills
and the rivers
break into singing,
and the grasses with their
fragrance of creation
clap their hands
for his good pleasure.


For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. Col 1.19-20

The wilderness and the desert will be glad,
and the Arabah will rejoice and blossom;
Like the rose.
Isaiah 35:1
יְשֻׂשׂ֥וּם מִדְבָּ֖ר וְצִיָּ֑ה וְתָגֵ֧ל עֲרָבָ֛ה וְתִפְרַ֖ח כַּחֲבַצָּֽלֶת׃


Yada: The Wound of our Knowledge

Yada: The Wound of our Knowledge (in appreciation, for Steven Garber)
“If you know, you care; if you don’t care, you don’t know.” S.Garber

  1. Does theology matter,
    or do anything?
    Or mean anything
    to matter
    to anything
    or anyone?
    Do we need it
    anyway
    for anyone
    to mind it
    at any time?
    Does it do anything?
  2. Since so much
    depends upon
    the nexus
    between knowledge
    and responsibility,
    knowing and doing;
    since our survival
    depends upon
    our truths being true
    to the way the world
    actually is,
    why we continue
    even when everything
    that might be done
    is still undone,
    and why when words
    become flesh
    we step in
    and begin
    to know
    and finally see
    what love
    will ask of us,
    and to find
    it is more
    than we are able
    to give.
  3. To know is to care
    to remember
    the telos of life
    to do what we know
    in love.
  4. I am not
    what I could be,
    nor will be,
    until He makes me
    as he wills and is.
  5. Our names
    are hidden
    on the inverse
    curvature of the earth’s horizon
    which disintegrates
    with each stroke of the rower’s oar
    whose name is not known.
    A Great White was tagged
    and named Mary Lee
    and was spotted near our shore today.Ever-receding
    with each [shudder] of strength and oar
    the alphabets of our names
    tumble with abandon
    seemingly random re-organizing
    across the rim of visible space
    spelling catastrophe
    of immeasurable magnitude
    when these waters covered our earth
    our home our names
    now rewritten in a cursive
    of love we do not yet know,
    names written on a stone
    hidden in the heart of the sea
    beyond the cold arc of the sun
    burning like white steel
    hot and blinding letters
    too scorching to touch or say
    we watch for when
    they will be known
    letter by letter
    pronounced with thunder and rain
    and with no more sorrow nor melancholia.
  6. I longed
    for my children
    to know the world,
    but also to care.

The Polarities of the Little Prince & the Pragmatist

For ever-curious Julian who asked, what do you think is the meaning of The Little Prince?
For Marcus who marveled with and loved The Little Prince.
For Lucas who so much lives like The Little Prince.

 1. “Unless you become as little children . . .”

Innocent as doves
Wise as serpents,
In undying friendship,
Boundless creativity
And imagination,
Open to the immensity,
The stars of the heavens,
Mysterious and mundane.
Trust, love, responsibility,
And vulnerability.
Matters of significance,
Not necessarily consequence.
What is significant
Is not necessarily
Visible to the eyes.
Wells in the wilderness
Hope in faith,
Possible beauty.
Childlikeness,
not childishness.
To see what is, as it truly is,
Not what we vainly imagine.
Wonder and awe,
The uniqueness of each person
And their loves.
To return to love,
see with the heart.
In death properly faced
There can be new life.

2. “He who tries to save his life . . .”

Will blinded be
By appearances, power-politics
And pragmatism.
Forgetfulness
And growing up
Into vanity,
No wonder
Nor trust, no love, nor
Responsibility,
Selling the galaxies,
The Objectivist utility
Of others,
Awe-less and Serpentine,
Beauty-less and thirsting,
Machinations of consequence
And denial.
When all is said and done,
A barren wilderness of heart
And mind without purpose,
A futile business
Of practicality
And expediency,
The drought of death
In a garden of infinity,
Drowning in the sands
Of insignificance,
Without water in a desert,
Closed to its potentialities
And possible destinations.

[In reality, we are a mix of both the Prince and the Pragmatist.]

pdf: The Polarities of the Little Prince and the Pragmatist