Runaway Psalm

Oh God, how my heart beats me up.

Its own rod and staff comfort me not.

My face runs flat with self-control.

My figuring has no end.

My passions, frail, off balance

Lead me beside myself

Where no water is.

 

Then a mockingbird flew silently by,

And I heard a hummingbird remember the lyrics.

A cardinal blushed.

A raven was its own shadow.

The fog lifted my countenance

Enough to see the mystery of You.

The Thou of this I.

 

You suggested I lighten up

As the sun crested a weary scape.

Ah, the light by which I see

You.

 

Then we laughed.

Shelf Protection

The books are listing on the shelf.

Pock marks left, where authors, dead and alive,

moved over to my coffee table.

 

Then there are the bookmarks

tucked in many pages like floss

reminding me there’s something,

 

some thought waiting to get unstuck,

dredged up between ideas

old and new and from old.

 

“Can one, by thinking, add any height

to his stature?”

 

It’s time to shelve and disheveled,

Clear the queue.

Reset the open-faced bindings.

 

Mind the store,

store the minds,

and stand the titles at attention.

 

Once again, my books and poetry

protect me, slipping silently

back into place.

If Tears Were Race Horses

If I release tears like race horses

which one will fall into the lead?

 

The gate opens and they’re off!

Anger gets out at the jump,

with Dissappointment a nose back.

Loneliness makes a run for third,

edged out by Rejection.

Grief settles in between

Laughter and Loss,

While Joy brings up the rear.

The track of the tears

comes alive as dirt and dust

rise in and behind the pack.

They are neck in neck,

cheek to cheek

as the backstretch looms.

It’s any horse’s race but

Joy is on the move,

but not on the outside.

Joy is moving through

the thick of it, jockeying,

bumping bellies,

smelling sweat,

listening as the hoofs

displace earth while

muzzles move air.

The movement is hidden

within at first, but down

the wire Joy overcomes

by two lengths.

 

A Severe Mercy

Of all the seeds which fall,

Catch this one beneath the soil.

 

Beneath the soul

Where darkness blinds.

 

Where darkness binds

A willing confinement.

 

A willing refinement

Until the shell breaks open.

 

Until the shell breaks upon

To push up and down.

 

To push up around

The stem and the roots.

 

The stem and the truths

Of all the seeds which fall,

 

Even one.

 

Indented Doors

Comma’s in

The pedestrian way.

Pauses, like cells

In a monastery–

Call us to pray

Out of the fray.

 

Slip in

The perspective, stay.

Queues in which

To stand when

You can’t stand it.

A momentary huddle.

 

A set aside,

Alone, abide,

Piece of peace,

Space of quiet

Out of the riot.

Would that I try it.

On Prayer

Take us to the safe places,

not free of danger necessarily,

but void of triggers…

those spaces where scabs

fall off, not scrape off.

 

Show us how to play,

how to get absorbed

like a child on the floor,

Let us not worry about

how we’re gonna get up.

 

Help us to trust again,

fearless of reaction,

boundless in hope.

For a long moment

let us reach You.