Untitled Number Nine

Gentle Reader,

Participated in a craft fair this past weekend. Managed to sell more books than I gave away, but none went for consistent prices. (Never go into business with me). The experience has got me both looking through old, unpublished poems and beginning to scratch out new ones. I reveal not which the following is, for half the interest in poetry is in the interpretation.

While all art is contextual, tied to a specific place and moment, it is also universal, transcending boundaries and speaking the language common to all. And the truth is, we suffer. We battle.

Plutarch wrote, “Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” May the following conjure up a clear image in your mind. May you find Jesus there.

What do you do
When you’re trapped in a storm
That nobody else can see?
What do you do
When it takes all you’ve got
To stay afloat in the sea?

Arms wrapped tight ’round
Center mast of the ship
Feet continually slipping
Gales pasting hair to face
Filled with howls, screeches
A voice, against faith chipping

There is no meter to capture
The scene playing in mind’s eye
Nor prose that’s fit to express
The beating up of the heart
The bruising of the soul
The ever deepening distress

God, I pray You grant perception
To someone with grace to move
To walk in steady love
To be the hands and feet of You
Just as was designed
On mission from above

Because, I can’t stand on my own
Just one push away from falling
Hands already bleeding
From hanging on for dear life
Oh, Lord! Please, I beg,
Respond now to my pleading

…the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…

– 1 Corinthians 12:25b-26a

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Five Minute Friday: Weary

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

With little fanfare and even less introduction, I follow Kate and dwell on: weary.

Go.

I wrote these words long ago. Scribbled across the margin of a Bible study workbook. Among the first studies I ever did. Among the first poems I ever penned as an adult. They rise up from within my heart today. I am tired. I forgot to take my new medication last night, the one that helps my stomach to not hate me, and so I’m nauseous. I can’t decide whether to keep my bangs or grow them out so they’re in that really awkward phase that all women know about. Churchill’s black dog keeps trying to entice me to come and play. I am drawn. Beaten. Weary.

Edge of Defeat”

Sometimes I feel like a

worn-out boxer

I have no fight left

within me

The weight of my load

is too great to bear

But the fear of giving it up

is greater still

For who would I be?

What would I miss out on?

Is letting go where

true freedom lies?

I should rather be master

of my own life!

But in my weakness

I know I’m not

For this sin, this cloud

has beaten me into dust

Has sapped my strength

consumed my mind

Yet for all the pain

it causes

This is my bosom friend

whom I loathe to love

I want to hide – O, God!

Please turn away!

Don’t look at me –

let me have my secret shame

I beg of You – just let me go!

For this cannot be worth Your time

If I really loved You

I’d have beaten this by now

Kicked the habit to the curb

KO’ed my shadowy opponent

Emerged victorious from the battle

Isn’t that the truth?

Alone in the corner of the ring

Head lowed, knuckles bruised and bloodied

I accept my loss, bow to my enemy

He moves to overtake me

Wicked grin spread cross his face

Eyes that gleam with hatred

Tears fall down my battered cheeks

How could I fail again?

Suddenly, that thing, that fright

that cursed enemy of souls

Flung away, vanished!

Conquered by an unseen hand.

Clear, cool water pours over me

cleaning my wounds, restoring

Still my head hangs low

For I sure know Who is standing there

Blinding light takes place of dark

I cower even farther – try to shrink in size

I know You saw! You know I blew it!

Where can I run to now?

You gently tip my chin up

I cannot meet Your eyes

I know You must be disappointed

I’ve fallen, yet again

You step away with whispered word

Dry the tears from off my face

Fight!” You say,

and smile on me

For I know one day you’ll

surely win!

Because of this – and this alone

Your tiny faith in me.”

It may not seem as if it’s true

But have I ever lied?

So fight, my daughter,

I’ll bandage your wounds.

I will restore, prepare, make new

You have no secret shame

Nothing of you is hidden from me

And you can never fall too far.”

You do not fight this war alone

Though sometimes you try!

Lean again, trust again,

And with wings spread you’ll soar.”

How can this Man love me so?

How can He save me once again?

One look in His eyes, all questions gone

I’ve all I need to know

The fight bell rings,

I rise – steadied, sure

One two punch, I’m in God’s hands

And I’ll be whole again.

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)

Musing for a Monday

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com (2)

Gentle Reader,

A Contemplation in the Valley

“Just a closer walk with Thee,”
Is how the lyric goes
Yet I often wonder, Lord,
Why more ebbs than flows?

Mountain peaks and sun so bright
Last but a moment – then
Here comes another valley,
Racing ’round the bend

I do not understand
Why I must battle long
When others raise a toast, a harp,
And sing the joyous song

Could you not, Lord, teach me
In a field of ease?
Could I not be molded
Without this tug and tease?

Must my hair be knotted?
Must my face be stained?
Must I trudge through swamps
Made the worse with rain?

Must my hands be bloody?
Must my skin be bruised?
Must my clothes be tattered?
My aching joints abused?

The storm, it swirls around me,
The Enemy laughs with glee,
This war that I am waging –
I think You alone do see

And so if that be true, Lord,
Mind this beating that I take,
For if this is Your plan,
On this my life I stake:

I know not why the valley
Is my home down here
But I trust that You, O God,
Ever-hold me near

I trust that I don’t travel
This broken path alone
I trust that You are with me
No matter winds that moan

I trust that in this moment
With fight so fierce and pitched
You give me strength for every step
And all my wounds do stitch

I trust that somehow, God,
Made of one and three,
That this – You have ordained
For a closer walk with Thee

My journey to faith. (15)

Five Minute Friday: Good

But He was wounded for our

Gentle Reader,

Stepping into the soberness of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday with my beloved brothers and sisters of the Five Minute Friday crew. Gracious Kate provides the space. We contemplate: good.

Go.

By no means do I consider myself a poet of any real skill. Nevertheless, this week’s prompt called to mind the following words I wrote years ago:

The Death That Should Be”

The blows to

Strike me down

Knocked my Lord

Upon the crown

The insult designed

To hurt

Threw God upon

The dirt

The streets that

Ran red

Came from Him

Instead

The blackness,

A terror

Enveloped Him,

But no error

The death that

Should be – me

Rather experienced

By He

The pain, the loss,

The separation

All our inglorious

Damnation

Heaped upon

The One

Who created

Shining sun

Who calms the

Storm

Comforts

Forlorn

Struck fire on

Mt. Carmel

Every day –

A marvel

The Lord, the God,

The Master

Replacing me in

This disaster

Do I even

Really know?

What it would mean

To take such blow?

I think I have

No comprehension

Of this Heavenly

Condescension

How can it work

That I am free?

From the death

That should be me?

Stop.

Thank you, Jesus.

My journey to faith. (15)