Poetry and Images from a Christian

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In Remembrance of the 9/11 Tragedy

I wrote the following poem for a church service on 9/11 this year. The theme for the service was finding God in the events of the day. When I was preparing to write this I thought the theme was something like, "How did the tragedy of that day change us or make us better people?" I did not really have an answer for that, but God knew what the theme really was. I made a few notes about the ways I felt called by God to act in response to the tragedy. I live very far away from New York and Washington and Pennsylvania, so I felt I hadn't much to offer God, but I offered it to him anyway. I had no idea what I would write. Amazingly, when I laid pen to paper the thoughts started to flow very easily. I felt God taking my very little and making something special out of it. When the poem was finished, I offered it to the worship committee and they decided to use it, and ultimately the poem was shared in two worship services that day, once at our church and once at a church in another city. When we offer our little bit to God, we never know what He will do with it.  

Jesus Calling

Twin towers and a pentagon,
Hi-jacked planes,
Clouds of smoke,
Powder and ash falling like rain.

Suffering, death, injury, trauma,
Pressing grief
Falling like rain.

Still God.
Still calling, "Follow Me."

Acts of bravery,
Acts of love,
Acts of service,
Words of faith
Flooding darkness and disaster
With love and light
At the center,
In the spotlight,
On the site.

Even here, far away
We hear His call,
"Follow Me."
Pray for these lost, these injured, these mourning.
Love these enemies; pray for their salvation, their transformation, their good.

Thank Me for the good you see.
Thank Me for new heroes
And Godly examples.

Open your hands;
Give to these who are in need,
Help these neighbors.

Go, go into public places
Do not hide in fear.

Does this one resemble your enemy?
Could this one be your enemy?
Meet his eyes with compassion,
Smile, nod,
Greet him with kind words.
Remember how I love him.
Remember how I love you.
Follow Me.
Love him, too.

Still God.
Still calling,
"Follow Me."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Poems for My Little Boy

When my little boy, John, was a baby, I decided to write some nursery poems. He was wonderful inspiration then, as he still is today.

Pinky Dinky

Pinky Dinky, a little gray mouse,
Came as a Christmas present into John's house.
She has big round ears, all pink inside,
White wiry whiskers,
And a tiny pink nose.
She is stuffed with soft fluff
From her head to her toes
And she's ever so sweet
To hug in one's sleep.

My sister, Joyce Cole, drew this fine picture of Pinky a few years ago. When John first received Pinky, I named her Mr. Pinkney, but as soon as John could talk well he let me know that her name is really Pinky Dinky and she is a girl. Joyce and I stand corrected. Pinky now sometimes flies and loves to have long conversations with John, when an adult is willing to give her a voice.


Mr. and Mrs. Goldfish swim baby into dreamland
With night-lit bubbles and watery sound.
Then rainbow hued butterflies
Flutter round and round,
To meet his drowsy morning gaze,
While kittens just finding their mittens await on the wall
Right below Mr. McGregor's garden gate in paint.
Nice things for baby's musings---

John, the Adventurer

John, the adventurer, takes to the lake.
He crawls through the cottage
Like lightning on knees.
He delves in the toy box
For pull cars and blocks
And sand pail and rake.
He splashes in pan-baths set out in the sun,
And babbles and squeals with excitement and fun.
He dons bright blue swimmers
To challenge the lake.
In his own yellow float,
He rides on the waves,
Kicking and giggling,
With Mama real close.
He eats all manner of interesting new things
That aunts and uncles to the table bring.
And when he grows tired,
He sways to and fro
On a carriage seat swing
With his Nana, who sings;
She sings all about John,
John on the water,
John on the lake,
John, the adventurer,
Out riding the waves.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Many a beautiful stained-glass church window has somehow spoken to my heart and lifted my mind from considering ordinary thoughts to being aware of God's presence. I never stopped to analyze why this is so, until I was discussing with a friend some lovely old church windows that, regretfully, had to be left behind when our congregation moved to a new site. I was not present then, but I empathized with the sense of loss this must have created. He pointed out that there was nothing sacred about those old Victorian floral windows. Happily, the new site was outfitted with lovely, newly created stained-glass windows that tell the stories of the Bible.

I remember driving along one night and thinking, praying, "Why do those windows touch us so?" And then this thought came to me...

Church Windows

What is it about church windows
That speaks to us of God?
There is nothing sacred in them,
Just glass and lead,
Dark and cold,
'Til God-made sunbeams
Flow through
Dazzling witnesses below
With purpose and meaning,
With radiant color,
And streams of light.

Why do human spirits sense the Presence
In a light-flooded, jewel-toned spectacle
Arranged in Gothic portrayals of saints
Or Victorian florals
Or modern undulating, geometric shapes?

Unspoken intuition or soft-spoken Spirit
Bathes us in hope-filled affinity...
In our kinship to the glass.
We, too, are cold and dark,
We, too, need God's Christ-Light
Flowing in and through
Before we come to Life,
We, too.

Sometimes one poem leads to another... this time about the windows of the very first church I attended as a small child.

Jesus Windows

Jesus windows:

The royal baby sleeping in the manger.

The good Shepherd
Carrying the errant lamb.

The Savior standing on water,
Pulling Peter
From the waves.

Jesus praying in the garden.
Jesus dying on the cross.
"Father, forgive them,"
Unfurled below.

The once-doubting Thomas
Touching Jesus' wounds,
Worshiping at His nail-pierced feet.

The living Lord
Knocking softly
At heart's door,
Waiting to come in.

The durable story rendered in fragile glass---
Silently singing.
Simple representation,
Pictorial telling,
In lush detail
For all to grasp
At will.

Translucent panes,
Brittle, liquid, temporal,
Splendid by sun
And firelight,
Flooding darkness with
Color, story-glory
And all this---
Merely a shimmer
Of the Christ-love reality

God reaching out through
Artful hands,
Scientific minds,
Generous hearts,
Faithful voices,
The church combined,

An invitation

I love you.
Come, come to Me.
Come hear the Word.
Come read the Story.
Come find the Way.
Come see.
Come live for Me.
My instrument

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Creation Speaks

God uses nature to speak to us in so many ways. Sometimes it is the beauty of color, line, and texture. Sometimes it is the awesome power of wind or rushing water. And sometimes the message comes through what isn't said, drought, for instance. The poems that follow all have to do with nature speaking to the soul. Summer Sunday was written in the midst of the drought of 1988 (makes me feel  a tad old to think how long ago that was now), and Rain was written during the storm that ended that drought and brought such welcome relief and much rejoicing and thanksgiving.

In Harmony

Your voice, it moans and moves and soars
In low and hallowed tones,
While I, your captive audience,
Find happiness in hearing,
Drowning in a harmony
Of song, and sound, and thought.

Crashing on the shore,
Gentle---falling leaves,
The trickle of the rain...
Your voice, my soul,
The music.

Summer Sunday

It was a summer Sunday,
Hot and dry as too many before had been.

The choir sang.
Announcements were made.
We turned to the Word.
With each reference came
The turning of pages---
The gentle shower
Of whispered impression
"I have food of which you do not know."
"Ask Me for living water."
And then we prayed.


A maze of tiny trenches carved by sunbeam heat
Fill and fall and flatten.
Roots rise to meet their sustenance.
Roses droop as tiny weights collect.
So quiet falling my ears ache.
Suddenly the sound BREAKS and CRACKS,
Startling, gratifying,
And then resumes the quiet,
Drenching the land drop by drop,
Low, constant, cool, soothing mercy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mixing It Up With Some Oldies

I hope your New Year is going well. I am jump-starting mine today by looking back at some of my older poems---ones I really like. I think it is wonderful the way looking back on good moments can fill us with energy and sometimes inspire new projects.

He Helps Me

Kneeling now before You
Surrounded yet by color, with closed eyes,
I offer up to You---by spoken word, by silent thought
What small portion You have given to be mine.
Conscious now of You---and then the color 'round,
Some memory, some shame,
Then again to You with speed and gravity and hope---
You will surely meet me with Your wholeness
And with Your Word, forgiving,
Present my portion full.

Watch the Comet

Watch the Comet
Burning through the dark, it seems,
Passing by her friends, the stars,
As seen by man, Romantic.
Still she is an icey one,
Covering her core with a coat of light
She borrows from the sun.

Watch the woman
Moving only for the day light,
Too cool and too composed for nites,
Un seen by man, Romantic.
Still she is a burning fire
Covering her core with a cloak of modesty
Which was a gift to her.


Blue porc'lain and tea,
Author's bridge of blackened leaves;
Far away at home.
Magic silk screen images,
Never real, nor ever fade.