Friday, February 21, 2020

Open Hours
Shrinking interludes
expanding horizon a
present challenge
Time shrinks
between waking
and sleeping
endows existing
slowness for a
world on speed
Spending time
to practice
Feeling the contours of
a moral and
spiritual life
I can't keep up
read what everyone
is reading
Know what
everyone is
Fear of being left
behind stresses
the spirit
Revisit the intermissions
remove the
stumbling blocks
Egress from
a season of
To a chance
to embrace
And find new
ways of
growing up

Contrary to conventional wisdom, I contend time does not move in regular intervals. To be true, circumstances may determine the amount of time we have, but each one gets to decide for ourselves how to use the time we have. One year when I called Dad to wish him a happy birthday, my mother answered the phone and told me Dad was out back planting walnut trees. She asked me to wait while she went to get him. When he got to the phone I asked, "Dad, you're 80 years old: are you planting the trees for the nuts or the lumber?" He answered, "I've got time." When he died, 17 years later, the trees were bearing and could have been cut for lumber, but that, of course, was not the point.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

A Penitent's Prayer

I pause on
the borderline
of prayer

My soul
simmering in
sorrow and joy

Searching for
a place to
push off from

Prophets of quietude
distracting with
empty phrases

Declaring love is
justice and

Grace does not

Replace the counterfeit
with fresh and
honest words

with the substance
of hope

Linking transcendent
myth and
reasoning truth

Tools I can
use to repair
my story

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Prized Possession

I told a
story well
with humor
His hungry
heart said ummm
is that all
A compound
fracture left
Let me
Funny as it
is life is
no joke
Answers without
questions don't
nourish the soul
The serious may well
lean toward
story refreshed
A holy man (aren't we all)
finds a
precious ruby
Freely gives to a dispirited
pilgrim who
They part company
reunite years later the
pilgrim still heartsore
He pleads give me now
what allowed you
to give me the ruby
there is
And the way out is not
the way
we came in

*This poem was inspired by a response to a Sufi story I once told to a group of college students who had gathered for worship. I asked them to imagine what happened after the pilgrim and the monk reunited. I waited but there was no response. After awhile I said, "I'm serious, I would like for you to help me complete the story. Any ideas?" Again I waited. Time passed. After several more minutes, I noticed that a young woman sitting on the front row was starting to cry. I said, "What's wrong?" Her voice was hardly above a whisper. "We're not supposed to think, you are supposed to tell us." Later when I was alone, I cried..