Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Commandment revisited

Which command in holy writ
has most ‘small print’ embellishment?

number four
Remember the Sabbath day

is there enjoined 
for ox and camel
goatherd and garment maker
spindle down
each to their ease -
to bask 
reclining in shabbat shalom.

To break Sabbath then 
it seems
is to oppress
to steal hope 
to rob health
from a woman in the next tent
who stitches a new shirt for Moses.

And who stitches my new shirt?
She seams in China - Honduras - Bangladesh.

Ask me tomorrow if I give her rest.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Marion, your face at 60

Sure I see you as you look -
a loosening of flesh
with lines written by a procession of worries
from life’s stories you’d rather not have known
(though you possess a persistent sort of beauty
unique to women aging well)

Still the face I see is inescapably smoothing
de-lined by memories' images accumulated
year upon year since first I saw you
seated and still in a small hall, Sunday
at Stones Corner 40 years past.

In those early months you cast
your Song of Solomon eyes toward mine
soft pomegranates budding
from beneath your loosened shirt
I have the photo still
among my treasures.

No need though
or for those other snaps
from years stored in shoe boxes

To see
four decade’s
cultivated sources
like rejuvenating lotions
infusing your face at 60
- all the fullness of you.

Those early faces present still
resembling perhaps your timeless self
as I shall see it in the Kingdom we long for.
Intersecting identity particles
making up the true and constant you.

Connecting the Dots

above these three small
pearls . . . hangs a wordless space -
like companionable silence . . .
suffused with the unspoken . . .
a weighted space
between old friends
in conversation started long before.

See trinity
in god-scape redolent of unspoken words
companionable silence
. . . before the world was spoke to life
. . . before the Word
on dusty feet

comes calling out to Lazarus.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Celestial GIF

In deep of night I see
                                a meteor streak
                                                       as though shot
                                                                             from Orion's bow.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

No need to thank me...but hey, for my boy...

2 Samuel 17:27, 28; 19:31-40

King David's somersault career
includes him leading a straggle of loyalists
parched, starved, weary, and on the run
from traitor son, Absalom.

Later he's rescued in the wilderness
unpacking an emergency drop
from friend Bazillai the Gileadite.
Rations so generous
so succulent
a three thousand year old
manifest records

beds - sleep
basins - bathe
earthenware pots - drink

wheat & barley & flour  - bake
dried grain - snack

beans & lentils - simmer
sheep - roast
cheese from the herd - savour 
honey & curds  - bon appetit

At episode end
Bazillai turns down David's
thank-you invitation to Jerusalem
pleads that 80 is much too old to
savour delights at the king's table
or hear the high notes from
singing men and singing women
with music from the psalms.
But hey, says Bazillai how about you do for my son instead -
whatever seems good to you.
Not so, says David, in the gracious repartee of ancient kings,
I'll do for him what seems good - to you!

Topic Taboo

No go.
Down shutters.
Default disconnect.

Twenty first century
savvy people
like old tribal clans
have off-limits places,
locations prohibited
by legend and lore

of the tribe.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Moon in Full

Outside in still of dark
the Christmas morning moon
dazzled me
splendid as a new born babe.

Her lustre, gift unwrapped
serving the hidden sun
as in a tiny face
Eternity has come.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Water for Her

Judges is a gruelling book
of blood, betrayal, pack rape
where heroes who escape
fatal flaws are few
and where the ending, oh God
the ending is tragic, macabre and
outrageously unjust.

Get the point that
here careens the nation disobedient
wildly uncoupled from Devine intention.

Yet see attached to chapter one
a vivid snap of Achsah
the guttural Hebrew consonant in her name
not distracting from the sound
like a sigh of longing
daughter of Caleb promised to the warrior
who captures Debir, the ancient city.

Promised her. They were paternalistic times and yet,
and yet, hear the lady plead her own cause
'She dismounted from her donkey.'
the donkey detail
- dismounted to speak her piece maybe
'What do you want?' her father asks, abrupt
like an Israeli on the streets of Tel Aviv
and she replies in kind, 'Give me a blessing
since you have set me in the Negeb,'
(set me up in the stinking desert for God's sake)
'give me also springs of water.'
Her words verbatim from the text
and Caleb her father
see the grin behind the beard
'gave her the upper and the lower springs.'

That-a girl.
Ownership, inheritance and respect from her dad.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Paintings Resemble Their People

Paintings Resemble Their People

like people possess
pigmented skin
supported on a frame.

Pictures cobbled from
work-a-day stuffs
ochre, cotton, timber
dust to dust.

The Ghent Altarpiece
just a few dollars
in panels and paint
tracked to a salt mine,
by ‘Monuments Men’ dying
to find stolen images
and snatch them back
from the swastika troops
at heart arresting risk.

Risk for the hardened linseed oil
skin less than a millimetre deep
on twelve panels
treasure beyond price.

A rescue undertaking
steeped in passion
like the crucified Lamb's.

The image of man watermarks a painting
like the image of God birth marks a man
imago homo
imago dei.

A rock wall’s leaping bison
parlayed from millennia past
Ghent’s wounded lamb
shepherded through time
to join surlier creatures lately come
each beast inescapably tracked
by the watermarks of man
imago bestia
imago homo
imago dei
in twists of colour
threaded like beaded DNA
through countless canvasses
century to century.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

At Cross Purposes

At Cross Purposes

Particulars are grit
rock salt of the earth
like Abe the Chaldean packing his camel
like the Jew Jesus
who signed as run-away Jonah
and made like a fiery snake
lifted up on a pole in the wilderness.

Universals are fog
that subverts edges, makes
one prophet or pretender resemble another.
Jesus Buddha Mohammed
seeming similar in silhouette
until sunlight evaporates 
the mist and glistens in a bloodied
timber’s gritty edge.