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Entries in Poetry (37)

Sunday
Jan062019

Holy Sonnet 1

In the fall, I bought a book called The Soul in Paraphrase, which is edited by Leland Ryken. It is a collection of devotional poems. It really is a lovely book. I hope to share some of my favourites over the course of 2019. John Donne (1572-1631) is one of my favourite poets, and in January, I plan to share four of his Holy Sonnets.

Donne followed the pattern of a typical Italian Sonnet. Yes, the language is old fashioned, but if you read the poems aloud, and follow the punctuation, they are much easier to understand.

Holy Sonnet 1 is called "Thou Hast Made me, and Shall Thy Work Decay?"

Thou has made me, and shall thy work decay?
Repair me now, for now mine end doth haste;
I run to death, and death meets me as fast,
And all my pleasures are like yesterday;
I dare not move my dim eyes any way;
Despair behind and death before doth cast
Such terror, and my feebled flesh doth waste
By sin in it, which towards hell doth weigh.
Only thou art above, and when towards thee
By thy leave I can look, I rise again;
But our old subtle foe so tempteth me,
That not one hour I can my self sustain;
Thy grace may wing me to prevent his art,
And thou like adamant draw mine iron heart.

Saturday
Aug042018

The kids who haunt my dreams

When my kids were teens, my husband and I were very involved in the youth group. That was by design. We wanted to be part of our kids' teen years, and we wanted to build bridges with other kids they knew. Those years were some of the richest times in service. Just a couple of week ago, I had one of those teens, one who was best friends with my daughter in high school, come and share a wonderful visit while he was home visiting his parents. 

One of those kids was brought home by my son. She had a single mother, and there were issues. We took her into our circle and our hearts, and for a while, she was the extra daughter. I worried for her, prayed for her, loved her, laughed with her, and rejoiced to see her growing. But things began to change when she began to have doubts.

I could see it coming. During the last year she was at Bible college, I could see the growing frustration. Questions. Doubts. She was a thinker. Sometimes, other Christian kids don't like those kinds of people. They may not have the same questions and such questions can cause friction. And she felt isolated, I'm sure. When it was finally at the point where she basically rejected her faith, she stopped by the house with a box of things that belonged here. It was such a small box, and the farewell was oh so civil and polite. And when she drove away, I texted my daughter to tell her. And I burst into tears.

On my Facebook memories this morning, an exchange came up between the two of us. A funny little exchange. There are similar ones every now and then. And when they come up, I wonder how she is. It's easy enough to find out, but I don't look. I wonder if she ever thinks fondly of our family. I wonder if she knows that every time I make apple crisp, I think about her. I wonder if she would care.

Four years ago, I wrote this fairly bad poem about her. I still feel the same way.

I knew a girl
and I loved her like a daughter
and I watched the light of Christ dawn in her eyes
but
as time went on
the light was choked out
by the cares of the world
and behind her eyes was rage

she returned my belongings
in a carboard box
and she was gone

though she is out there somewhere
her eyes occasionally interrupt my dreams
and I pray
and though she is not mine
my heart aches
for a child lost 

how much more
does the heart of God grieve? 

There are other kids whom I think about. Some I know have walked away. Some I see regularly, and I see how they are growing and serving. That is an encouragement. Some of the others haunt my dreams, and I wonder why it worked out the way it did. But ultimately, God knows these things. Part of submitting to God is being willing to acknowledge that we are only a small part of his plan. We serve him because we love him, and we leave the rest to him.

Saturday
Dec202014

Nativity

Nativity
John Donne

Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb,
Now leaves His well-belov'd imprisonment,
There He hath made Himself to His intent
Weak enough, now into the world to come;
But O, for thee, for Him, hath the inn no room?
Yet lay Him in this stall, and from the Orient,
Stars and wise men will travel to prevent
The effect of Herod's jealous general doom.
Seest thou, my soul, with thy faith's eyes, how He
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie?
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.

Friday
Aug012014

Peace

Peace

My Soul, there is a country
       Afar beyond the stars,
Where stands a winged sentry
       All skillful in the wars;
There, above noise and danger
       Sweet Peace sits, crown’d with smiles,
And One born in a manger
       Commands the beauteous files.
He is thy gracious friend
       And (O my Soul awake!)
Did in pure love descend,
       To die here for thy sake.
If thou canst get but thither,
       There grows the flow’r of peace,
The rose that cannot wither,
       Thy fortress, and thy ease.
Leave then thy foolish ranges,
       For none can thee secure,
But One, who never changes,
       Thy God, thy life, thy cure.

 

Monday
Jul282014

I knew a girl

I knew a girl
and I loved her like a daughter
and I watched the light of Christ dawn in her eyes
but
as time went on
the light was choked out
by the cares of the world
and behind her eyes was rage

she returned my belongings
in a carboard box
and she was gone

though she is out there somewhere
her eyes occasionally interrupt my dreams
and I pray
and though she is not mine
my heart aches
for a child lost 

how much more
does the heart of God grieve?