Foxhole Prayers, Talisman’s and Lucky Charms

Foxhole prayers,

those prayers that come

when we’re stuck in the mud

when the slime and grime

of the world has worn us down,

we pull out our talismans

that special rabbits foot

the four-leaf clover

reciting that charm

we learned so many years ago.

We pray without words

to some unseen deity 

even when we don’t believe, 

when all is crashing down

suddenly finding ourselves

seeking that miracle 

when all along that miracle

is well within our reach

if only we open our eyes

to see that we were never alone

even in the darkest part of the tunnel.

There are those who bluster

claiming they have all the answers

they don’t need any prayers

their answers lie in their facts

until that moment when it fails

their certainty eludes them

as they stand knee deep in their foxhole

looking out on a no man’s land 

of their own making

cursing that which they don’t believe 

wanting that which they don’t believe

to come down and save them

in their moment of need.

Woke this Morning

I woke up this morning

and that should be good enough,

yesterday is gone 

like a brief wind

now it’s today,

and the whole day lays open

to whatever is possible

to one like me,

who seeks no fame

or that one great poem

content with living 

into the brief moments

that I have been given

that could turn to dust

as quickly as I woke this morning

Anniversary

Okay, Wendell Berry says shun the electrical wire

find a quiet place, a place of solitude and peace

there, in the quiet let the words flow out from you

write them down as you picture the projected scene

capturing the sights, sounds, smells and textures

remembering the feelings that each evoked.

The sweetness of that first tentative, nervous kiss 

the birdsong that emanated from the meadows and fields

as we walked along hand in hand, warm sun shining

remembering how the heart felt when love entered

into the very depths of my soul and made me yours.

Sitting here now in the silence, in solitude, remembering

I write the scenes I see on the screen of my mind

trying to shun the electrical wires and mechanical noises

that drown out the soft sounds that lie deep within the heart

sounds of the Spirit that sighs too deep for words,

the still small voice heard in the deep silence

the mystical root connecting me to you and you to me.

Poets 

Surrounded by poets

from ancient psalmist

to modern prophets

their words echoing

in the heart and soul.

This is my safe place

where imagination and dreams

are free to roam 

along the edges of the mind,

seeing the colors of the world

in the words they use.

Beauty

in the ugliness 

that surrounds our lives.

Shedding light

on the darkened corners.

These poets speak

their voices cannot be silenced

their passion never dimmed,

their hearts overflow

as the words spill out

watering the garden of life

with tears of joy.

Bread

Bread,

it sits on the counter

wheat bread

cinnamon raisin

white rolls

gluten 

gluten free

low fat

high fiber

heart healthy,

Bread

the staff of life

feeding 

nourishing

slathered with butter

toasted golden 

jelly’s 

jams

strawberry

grape

cover the bread.

Bread

vast acres of wheat

swaying 

as the breeze passes

under the sun

kernels

ripen

machines reap

gathering 

into the barn

crushed

pulverized

mixed

baked

sold

into our bodies

feeding

Bread

broken and shared

Bread 

the gift of God

Bread

manna

life

in the desert

we inhabit.

Evening Prayer

Here in the twilight, 

I sit, the air is warm, 

the sky beginning to change, 

red and orange as the sun sets. 

A cooling breeze whispers 

as the calls of night creatures 

begin their song and I pray.

Lifting my heart up,

unburdening the soul

from the pain and confusion

wrought by demons

desiring death over life.

Seeing in the waning light

those first glimmers of stars

whose light shines

despite the darkness

giving hope to a troubled soul.

A Spring Cleaning

Bits and pieces lay scattered

on the pages of my journal,

nothing complete

a sentence or two

of poems or prose

that I started long ago

the words lying there

as lifeless as dry bones

waiting for the fire,

that moment of creativity

that will bring them to life

giving them vibrant colors.

These bits and pieces

reflect the tattered shreds 

of my own mind,

thoughts and memories

that lay scattered 

littering the landscape.

How does one choose?

It’s like cleaning house

in the spring,

what gets kept,

what gets tossed?

Each word,

each phrase,

each incomplete sentence,

has a unique beauty 

that is hard to ignore.

So maybe it’s time

to open the windows

let in a fresh breeze

to clear the mind

and set the spirit free,

to air out the winter doldrums

giving new life 

to these words I write.

The Paths We Pave

People can really hurt,

some get all oily and smile

just before plunging in the knife.

They will tell you anything

even invite you to dinner,

without you knowing

you’re the main course

to be carved up and served

consumed while they joke.

They claim to be holy,

good Christian folk,

who pray on Sunday’s

sacrificing nothing,

only to prey the other days

devouring the sacrificial gossip.

They carry their idol

in wallets thick with manna,

breaking hearts 

as well as bodies

to reach the heavenly heights,

only to find along the way

the paved path into hades.

I AM

I am no sound 

just a whisper,

a slight breeze

tingling your neck

in the soft kisses

lips meeting

in the twilight.

I am the blade of grass,

sitting among the flowers

stretching out of the ground

towards the noonday sun.

I am but a plain man,

another face in a crowd

indistinct from the others.

I am your lover,

in the secret spaces

of the heart.

I hold you close

as our bodies cling

shutting out the noises

of a world gone mad.

The Harrowing

Oh, to write an ode or poem

to set down in words

the deep love within

showing the scars

on the landscape of the heart

left by travelers along the way.

Oh, to write of my life

in all of its intricacies,

the threads I have weaved

in the grand fabric of my world,

some tattered and worn

others new and complete,

each a different color

each a different texture

the complexities of the human soul,

upon which he bore the wooden beam

whose love carried the weight of grief

high above the city gate,

as the veil is torn

to reveal the grace

of loves true light

upon the darkened landscapes

that dwell in the depths

as he harrows the hardened heart

bringing peace to the wearied 

and life to the dead.