To make Comments write directly to Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org
This poem grew out of seeing the sliver of a new moon, suspended in the night sky shortly after sunset. Net time you see such a moon, try reciting this poem out loud to it.
Hail to thee, silver crescent in the sky.
Tell me what you think you are.
Are you the universal sickle --
whetstoned symbol of seasonal harvest,
a harbinger of hope
that reaps the plainest grains,
to feed the famined millions?
Or are you the scimitar of Saladin,
white-hot steel tempered in the algebra of zero....
Tags: moon, crescent, Saladin, Damocles, sickle, scimitar
A friend is going through a deep depression. I tried to imagine myself inside his skin, and out came another poem. It begins
Dimness descends like a curtain.
Murk buries me, plugs my nostrils,
seals my ears; I hear nothing,
not even my own thoughts.
I wallow in my private pig-sty.
I want to move, but my muscles
have turned to water; every step feels like
wading in molasses....
Tags: Depression, misery, despair
“The fog,” Carl Sandburg wrote, “comes
on little cat feet.”
arrives on kitten paws,
This poem when my friend Arlene Erickson, hearing about what ministers have been taught in most seminaries since the 1950s, demanded, “Why haven’t we ordinary people been told any of this stuff?” Something about the content led me to put it together in lines vaguely resembling the discipline of iambic pentameter.
“Behold,” he said, “thy path unto salvation.”
“What path?” I asked, “for all that I can see
are thickets of incomprehension; thorns
that reach to snare unwary travellers,
quicksand salivating for a sucker,
roots that rise to trip my thoughts; and tigers
burning bright, crouched to leap with tooth
and claw upon my slightest flaw.
Tags: Traditional theology, progressive theology
Like many of the Psalms of lament in the Bible, this poem combines disillusionment and hope. Rather than the psalm format, though, I have chosen to locate it in the pre-Jewish myths of Zoroastrianism.
Ahura Mazda kneels in the sand
Patiently building a castle.
Grain by grain it rises.
Towers of trust.
Gates of welcome.
Living spaces lit with laughter.
Banquet halls full of sharing.
that a single stomp
can reduce the castle to rubble.
Tags: Ahura Mazda, Ahriman, good, evil
I have never been able to meditate the way some others do. Either I fall asleep, or my mind races. So I wrote about it.
Silence is a pool, deep and green.
I sink into its welcoming womb.
I empty my mind
thinking of nothing
nothing at all
but nothing abhors a vacuum....
Tags: silence, words, meditate
It’s easy to say what I don’t believe in anymore – an all-knowing grandfather God who sits on a cloud somewhere up there, out there, distant but keeping an eye on everything, delivering rewards and punishments,, and upsetting things here on earth with what we call “acts of God.” But then people ask me, “So what kind of God do you believe in?” And I find prose can’t do it; poetry at least comes closer.
Faces talk around a table
knees warm around a campfire
voices sing in a circle
hands clasp in the darkness
and in between, among, around them
hovers a shining....
Tags: God, shining, presence
Two matched verses, connecting two natural events.
clings to the edge of an abyss
with its fingernails....
An old man
clings to the edge of an abyss....
Tags: death, waterfall, mortality
I’m not sure whether this is a poem, a meditation, or an experiment. And I almosthope you find it confusing. You see, we all know what pronouns are. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines them as “a word used instead of a noun to designate a person or thing already known…” In theory, then, a pronoun is simply a stand-in. But a pronoun is also a word in its own right; the choice of pronoun has its own implications. It conveys singular or plural, gender, and even the closeness of the relationship. So how, I wondered, do the pronouns we use for God affect our perceptions of that, umm, whatever?
...Can one still be one when two are one?
Now I am We, and They are I
And He and She are You and Me—
And I don’t know who I is anymore.
Tags: God, pronouns
Water bombers roar low above the treetops.
Smoke billows black against the sky.
Flames flicker up trees.
Pack up --
just do it.
How many days’ underwear will I need?
Tags: Forest fires, evacuation orders