My own poem from last year…I do really favor this one.
it looks the same to you
whether you stand
in winter or summer
…the gate of my heart…
Source: ever Spring, ever Autumn
My own poem from last year…I do really favor this one.
it looks the same to you
whether you stand
in winter or summer
…the gate of my heart…
Source: ever Spring, ever Autumn
the fog gathers, nesting
over the deep quiet glen
dialing down sunlight
damping every sound
in this gloam my supple soul
nestles in, gives up control
and ceases struggle to be good,
or important, or subtle
and she feels the fog like still joy.
if you wish to care for the soul
you must decide it matters
more than human life
and simply know…still
I am in the presence
of the royal mountain
I can’t help myself.
I run purple, violet
I feast on fallen blossoms
(somehow the fallen sing more
of loss, of all that comes before
in purple flow).
A recent Barna survey reports only 18% of Millennials find Christianity relevant to their lives. That’s not surprising if we’re honest. After the Supreme Court decision regarding the ruling on gay marriage things got really weird.
“Some Christians put up “straight pride” profile pictures on social media and reminded people of what the Bible teaches (which, just for clarification, the church is currently split over because of how they view the interpretation). It’s a strange practice to ask people who don’t hold the same beliefs as you to conform to your morals because you quoted a book they don’t read.
“My friends that aren’t Christians have never tried to force their morality on me, so this is an odd practice in Christendom. Even Jesus didn’t blame pagans for acting like pagans. Yet, many Christians insist their beliefs apply to the culture at large even though most don’t share the same beliefs. With the Supreme Court ruling in Oklahoma, Christians raged about how the government was “forcing their beliefs on them and how they were no longer allowed to have theirs anymore.”
“Well, no, it was Christians who forced their views in the public forum by putting the 10 Commandments there first (if we look at it objectively). And never mind that as of late, many evangelical Christians care more about keeping refugees out of the U.S. despite what their sacred literature teaches.
“What we need to face is that public perception has shifted. We live in post-Christian America where we’re no longer relevant to the culture at large.”
“You see friend, if what happens in that building doesn’t renovate what happens outside that building, you’ve failed. If your church were to close down today and the neighborhood around you wouldn’t profoundly feel the loss, you need to change how you do what you do in that building. If the only people who would grieve your absence are the people already in that building, you’re not doing what you’re called to do. You are hoarding blessings from people who need and deserve to be blessed.
“Worship is not really what happens in that building. That is just songs and words and stories and prayers. It is religious activity, well-meaning and helpful as it may be. Worship, is a life lived changed by faith in God and burdened to reflect the character of that God to others. If the songs and the words and the stories and the prayers today don’t move you out of the building and into the paths of hurting people in a way that alters those paths—it’s all been wasted time.”Source: Today, Outside the Church Building MARCH 19, 2017 / JOHN PAVLOVITZ
My friend John Palovitz says these things so very well!
“To be honest, I’m not convinced that many of these Republican Christians want their Government or the Church to lift people in need. I think they’d prefer to live with the fictional narrative that poor people are poor because they’re lazy, that those in need, are so because of some moral failing or bad decision. This story allows them to keep the stuff they have, to ignore the call to love their neighbor as themselves, and to feel morally superior in the process.
“Jesus says that whatever we do to the poor and the hurting and the hungry—we do to him. That should be a terrifying proposition to supporters of the President who claim the Christian faith or call the American Conservative Church home. This Administration and the many Christians who co-sign its actions toward those who are the most in need of compassion and mercy in these days, are saying with great clarity: “Move along Jesus, we don’t give a damn about you.”
“This is what happens when the least are treated as less-than. This is what it looks like when the Church abandons its namesake and tells him to fend for himself.
“Forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Source: The Church That Abandons Jesus
there, in clouds and nothing but clouds
above and below as I…walked? Or did I
swim, or fly, and in the distance
hearing songs of you…and clouds
obscure and yet they also part
and thru the silver mist She came…
Her Heart and Ears and Eyes (the singing)
stilled and still and still She came Singing
and in this cloudy parting is the only knowing needed
that I am Her child, Her emissary
sent to bend what thinks itself straight
and straighten what is broken, bent.
Me the paper, pen and ink
Mama, unsayable, beyond the think,
the clouds, the parting, emerging and wordless
song…and She the emerging and yes
the clouds parting
when words are written here
the beauty of a tree;
in fiery flurries
dance the branch
Reposting a poem from last year…any good poem applies at a number of different levels, some known and some unknown and waiting to be discovered…
I moved away while you weren’t watching
(it was easier than I thought it would be,
escaping past your X-Ray eyes
that look for flesh and blood
and thus missed my exodus)
I live by the sea, now…
Source: My Exodus
A poem from 3 years ago…seems appropriate in light of the marches!
Source: Miriam’s Song
Ohhh CONSTANCE!! I have been transcribing this poem for a friend, the lovely Michelle Terry (Hi Grl!!)…and I fell in love with it again. Aaauuggghh!! I LOVE THIS POEM.
It’s about an evening that plays out between two hearts, two souls…it plays out between The Earth and Space…it plays out between waters and land, and heart and bodies…it plays out between Love and Lover and back again…it plays out between the carnal and the ineffable…desire and Desire…
I like my metaphors and use of them…I like the references and hints dropped. I like the movements, from Prelude to Finale. It is sensual and spiritual all at once, and it still feels really good.
Some critics have told me it is too long…perhaps they are right…but I allus ask them what do they expect me to do about that?? For I have about as much say over how long it is as I do how tall you are!
If you’re a new reader and dabbling, I hope you will take a run… ❤
There is an indigo bunting
outside my window singing
in the moonlight streaming by
a million miles an hour.
But it is not the window
on my mind tonight…
I keep returning to that door…
Source: In Arpeggio Miles
I just strive so hard just to remember,
just remember what I just now said,
just remember what I’m gunna say
and just said and just say and just said (and just say).
and your mind just strains hard to recall
what you’ve said, what you just mean to say
and then just reaches forward so quickly
to grab onto what you’ll just say next.
Mem’ry just pulls against expectation
twin sisters just trapped within time
like quick pagan twin versions just jumping
just like virgins, or just like Three Graces…
they just melt in our faint grasp completely
fleeing ere we can touch them, just gone
in that moment just blooming, becoming
we just clinging tight to a mere echo,
to a faint rumor lurking, just lingering
an arroyo called ‘Just Vanished Self’
and that rumor just leads me to moments
of kindness, just unmeasured time
elemental unfettered just kindness
that settles, in just quiet knowing
just a knowing so gentle and tender
of my heart’s every deep just desire
and a time of just tears just like rivers
rushes just to the ocean of being
just to wash mem’ry, anticipation
(they’re just one and the same all the time)
I just witness my fiery capacity
to just love but it just strains its tethers
to long splintery docks, just grey time
that prevents me from leaving, just sailing
on that lake singing just of the ocean
of just being…being..just in time
just unbound, just free in my just joyful
the short period
during which all
the years of groaning,
from that first fatal blow dealt
by selfish egocentricity to the
entirety of creation…
which turned off the Divine Light,
are compacted into one designated
not “long”, but “longish”
and full of longing.
Waiting for the most part is experienced as obdurate dull hunkering down and drinking from the cracked teacups of platitudes…ingesting such sops as “everything happens for a reason” and “this too shall pass”…yeah no…those things will not cut it, to get us thru this night, this absence of Divine Light that lays over all things, this utter darkness of the ego dictatorship.
Waiting…true waiting is become for us an empowered marking of events as they flow, infused by a knowing confidence that we wait for something certain and substantial…we wait for something coming and yet already here…we wait for the joy that veritably strains at the gates of birth to come forth!
We wait for someone…Someone…and every year that Someone comes fresh and new…and full of the very Presence that fits the absence of our existence like a Hand in a glove, like a key in a lock.
The Ultimate Mystery of Existence is the Incarnation: that joining of Creator and Creation into one full and harmonious miracle of Being…a joining that was planned and executed before even the foundations of the earth were laid, long ago sometime in eternity past when God in communion with God manifested the Eternal Sacred Heart in Passion Absolute and took up residence forever at the crux and core of all things, all rays, all paths and promises…that begotten presence which chose to be called Son climbed that tree and hung…hung…hangs…and hangs…
behind, beneath, above, within.
In every single cry of horror the cross is at the center.
In every single laugh of promise the cross is at the center.
In every single expression of wonder, every single nightmare of despair
at the center
And in the most central and deepest Intention is that Union, at the center of which the cross veritably pulsates!!
It is the Mystery of the Incarnation…which is spoken of most plainly in the lowly caterpillar…or is it spoken of most darkly in the mystery of the Chrysalis? Wait…it is spoken of most clearly in the emergence of the butterfly.
We are that caterpillar, our lives a Holy Chrysalis of Dark Promise, and our becoming the butterfly whose wings we feel pulsating within our breast, that activity of Wonder which flutters in heaving convulsing implications that there must be Something!!
And so this morning, I wanna talk about that…the activity.
During Advent, we can look at the various “actors” in the Christmas Story to take our cues and understand our path forward, onward, higher/deeper, inward/outward…
Let us start with Mary.
She is the type for each and every one of us.
Each of us is a potential “Mother of God”,
a “blessed among all women”,
a chosen and fit vessel to carry the Child of Promise, the Messiah!
And Mama hovers, draws near, and watches…She waits too!
Did you know that God waits?
That every single day of time is God’s Advent waiting?
But back to Mother Mary…back to you…who if you will, can choose to “be” Mother Mary. She said to God “Be it unto me according to Your Will”, and “my soul does indeed magnify God”!
OH! The shockwaves of that declaration continue to ripple still! And she did indeed receive the Child into her inmost self, and God took up residence there and joined Themself to humanity forever and always, and the butterfly was born…the God-human, the human-God…that indescribable uncanny union of the Divine and the human, which is spoken of as “the new creation”.
And Mary brought forth that Child…after a 9 month Advent of gestation…and that Child is the Deliverer of Creation.
And this is the first phase of Advent Activity…and your first task. Make room within your being for the Child to come and be implanted within…and bring forth that Incarnation of human/Divine life into this world in everything you do and say and think and are…you yourself in a very real sense “Mother” God…birth God…and it is your divine calling…no…your Divine RIGHT to birth God this Christmas, this year.
And what exactly would that look like, to bring forth God in your life?
Well…who is it that you want God to be for you?
That is who you must bring forth to the world.
It is the activity of Advent as an individual to birth and bring forth the Divine presence that only you can bring forth.
Oh Chosen Mary, blessed among all humans…search yourself, and make room…for the Incarnation within to come forth…
Out in the cold, living in fields…Looking after animals, in the dark of night…
Lonely, stiff and cold, hungry, sleepless and miserable, surrounded by slumbering insensate beasts who couldn’t even begin to give a crap about anything except their own comfort and care…full bellies and security from wild beasts even if it meant being captive to their comfort and thus forever doomed to the dust-life…and never a dawning of even the beginnings of wondering what is Wonder…
…it is there we meet the shepherds…who are aware…ALL too aware of these things.
I mean, c’mon!
The story tells us they were living out in the fields!
They had no homes.
They had no place to lay their head.
Except in the fields…with the beasts they cared for…and their own sense of wonder…wondering why the rich sat at ease in their cedar lined homes…wondering why their bellies were so empty when the refuse cans of the rich were so full of excess and waste…wondering why the stinking Romans had authority to take and break and dictate…
wondering why God was silent, absent, insensate, indifferent…
and into that dark and lonely discomfiting despair came a Divine breaking in and breaking thru!!
In the midst of the darkest, most silent, most still, most absent of hope, most slumbering unaware time…came Heaven’s declaration that a Child had been born! A Child had been Given!!
And His name was Wonderful!
His name was Counselor!
His name was Prince of Peace!
He was The Everlasting Father (yet an infant, meek and lowly)!
He was the Dayspring, the Bright and Morning Star!
Ahh…Morning Star…that Star that presages that night is drawing to a close, is ending.
And then the shepherds were given His core name, His Heart-Name…
God with us. God with us.
God is with us.
Go to the lowliest place, for that is where God chooses to appear! Do you not realize that everything you wish God to be God IS in the revelation of Advent? He chose the lowliest, the weakest, the most foolish…and in that place was born…in a feeding trough…a manger.
You do get that, don’t you? The Bread from Heaven was laid in a manger (another name for trough from which cattle eat)? And broken there for us…to “eat”…to “ingest” and have Him become one in essence with us?
The shepherds were told to go and see the baby, and then to go, and tell it on the mountains, tell it in the valleys, tell it everywhere there were hungry ears…that EMMANUEL HAD COME!
And they did.
Thus we see the second activity of Advent: you are called, as a shepherd, as one who is aware (regardless of whether you are full of hope or full of despair…either one is the sign that you are an “aware one” and thus are chosen and blessed)…to go.
Tell it on the mountain.
Tell it in the valley.
And keep your eyes open to spot the Child! You shall find Him in your neighbor…that “asshole” down the street that drives by you everyday, eyes fixed forward and exuding anger and frustration…that “airhead” in the cubicle next to you who is seemingly obsessed with her makeup and her dating life and fashion…
You will find Him in that hopeless one next to you on the subway whose beautiful incredible skin is the wrong hue in this culture and whose shining incredible heart is so wounded and bound by the hatred of others…
You will find Him in the transwoman on the street just trying to live in her skin…in the homeless youth whose vision is more obscured by their hair than it is by their heart…
This is the activity of Advent for the shepherds: find the Christ Child…in all His mangers…and proclaim that Child’s Name:
Emmanuel: God is with us.
In a foreign land, early.
Not early in the day…or even early in the year…
…but early in the Kairos of Significant Appointed Time!
And with Open Eyes…there waited Wise Men…who watched the skies, looking always upward for the arrival of…SOMETHING…they knew it not, what they sought, but they knew it had to be…because of the ache inside and the absence of something that caused the ache.
And then…there it was! A star appeared in the sky, and in that quadrant that allus presaged SIGNIFICANCE!
And as they watched intently, behold! It began to shift! And as it shifted, so too within them something shifted, something began to be drawn…something…SomeONE…was tugging at them, pulling them.
And they left their homes, their places of comfort and familiarity…and began the road trip of all road trips, one that some scholars theorize lasted a couple years!
Do you see this?
The incredible events of Advent that happened within the scope of 9 months for the principle actors and happened in one night for the shepherds…
…began as much as two years earlier for the Wise Men!
Talk about Active Waiting! Their waiting involved a journey as well!
They passed thru many lands, and as they were men of means and wealth and influence, their entry into the various kingdoms and lands thru which they passed created a stir, even consternation! But only because it was…odd…strange…unusual.
Until they got close…to the land for which such things held great import…that land governed by an evil and malevolent pile of egocentricity. In “The Fox”, it was as if all of the original assertion of ego which extinguished The Beginning Light was concentrated and distilled…and this small, infected and diseased pus-ridden pimple of a human being who was so full of hate and fear that he even killed children in his attempt to maintain his power was jolted by the arrival of these men and the implications of the Star, and the shockwaves that were about to break.
He was cunning, unctuous, viscous and smooth of speech like a cobra hypnotizing its prey…but the Wise Men were, well, wise to him…and they held him at bay with deference and deflection…and journeyed on after giving him the impression that they would indeed abide by his word when in his land…
and then they at last came to the place over which the Star pulsed and danced…
a baby…in a humble hovel stinking of beasts and despair…and their open eyes beheld Him.
They gave Him Gold…because they saw He was High and Royal, above all beings.
They gave Him Frankincense…because they also saw He was a Priest above all Priests.
They gave Him Myrrh…because they saw something hidden, from all others…until it was manifest…
…they saw that this Baby was simultaneously there, in that manger, and also at the crux of all, and hanging in agony, in Passion, and that His blood was the Spring that watered the very roots of the Universe…
and the Myrrh was burial spice…for by His death our life is.
They knelt…and worshipped…and were changed…by Emmanuel…the Incarnate One.
After awhile, they chose to depart…but did they obey “The Fox”? Did they come under the rule of government?
No…they had been changed forever, and they now were serving the Agenda of heaven and they resisted the intention of the earthly…and they departed in “civil disobedience” in order to preserve the life of God With Us.
And that is the activity of Advent declared to you in the story of the Wise Men.
Part Conclusion: https://charissagrace.com/2016/12/19/advent-reflections-the-activity-of-advent-conclusion/
You must find the way that the Child calls you to live a life distinguished, transformed…changed after your encounter with the Incarnate One…
Encountering Emmanuel first within yourself, and bringing Him forth in the manger of your life…
Encountering Emmanuel next within others…and telling those who still languish in darkness that Emmanuel has come…
Encountering Emmanuel then in the World…and living in a way distinguished and different, resulting in the establishment of His Kingdom, the government on His shoulders, and His never-ending rule of Justice and Mercy Kissing…
This is the lesson and activity of Advent for us…may it be Living Bread for us.
These all three go together and speak of the three aspects that we impose and make regarding time
Close your eyes
Like one who wakes
from a long sleep
Listen to the
trickle of time it’s
a sylvan sound so sleek
and flowing around you over
you and below you, above
you and in you and
in you and in
you in time
Open your eyes
Look up into
a clear sky
Try to see just
How high or deep
is a hundred feet
or a mile long
It’s just you in time
(you know) and time
in you (know time)
and never the twain
shall meet or part
It’s over there,
that small merry curve
duck your head, Dear
and be knighted
by mischievous holy
into yearning twitchy
as you walk
thru the Sacred Arch
on your way back home
in the snowy reach
there on the
Last Deep Forest
those happy fringes
a quiet roaring
that horror harms
rises up thru jade velvet
moss dark and pungent and drawing
thru silent silver
Enough of the certified baby so boring,
our “gentle Lord Jesus so timid, meek and mild”,
enough of the muffled mage soft-spoken and sage
who wouldn’t say shit even if He’d a mouthful!…
In the Big Books
of my longing
(fresh bread fragrant,
full, and beckoning)
speak of other
days and other
worlds hung in
where Winter walks
in sleighbell slippers
and flashes snowflake
teeth in starlight,
in teeming flurries
frivolous and fancy
reaching to me
inside my room
in the Big Books
of my longing
and pages rustle
like wrapping papers
and chestnuts pop
tsk tsk tsk…
in furs of hearth
and home, underlaid
with ermine fires
liquid gold, furs and
white hot coals inside
Her Heart so cold…
It’s just outside
my window pane
in the pages too)
in the big books
of my longing…
Look! And see how
even in Her Presence
(Her very Presence!)
In Her Presence
at that name called
and quacky laff and
swing a wiggly waddly tail
and burst in shattering wings
that break the pond-limit water pane
once so still and now awash in
ripple-tizzy ripple run
tum tum tum
my window pane
laff at regal
floaty moon so
swimming thru still night
and singing all Her praise
and shining gracefully
on gliding wings…
in the Silent Singing Snow
my window pane
and the Big Books
of My Longing
a weighted invitation
a hush emerges,
a sunlit drop
sharp green leaf,
capturing the sun
and the moment
a silent arrow
that sharp and hollow
point piercing, sucking
hope and fear alike
in one fell
noetics fall away
yield the moment
away with the gimmicks
we’re done with your crap
the lies that you laid down
the manger a trap
we want a tradition
that’s living and free
and songs of thanksgiving
and fresh liturgy
that’s ancient and yet new
and still relevant
so profound, so simple
the Eucharist true,
sending out, gathering,
preaching Good News
Restore the New Baby
the Time Bomb in time
the Bread come from Heaven
the Living New Wine
away with the gimmicks
the scripts and the lies
So faith, hope and love can
come open our eyes.
I have not forgotten beauty
gleaming in the rim of gathering dark
sounding in the crying of the snow geese
hiding in the cross cries of the storm
and rain races thru the air
in darts and stinging slaps and snaps
to light upon my eyelashes
to kiss my tippy nose
and I hear deep within the earth
the sighs of slumber, sleepy breath
and turning from this seeming death
when winter races strong
(and yet cannot
NOT be beautiful)
and so I walk the edges here
between the sea and sky and sand
and look for that pink glimmer
of that shell, that alabaster
moment, that holds
and does not break
at least not yet,
for I have not forgotten beauty.
It is looming, dark and leaning in, this Winter
and its ancient song echoes in blood and bone.
It pulls down Blue from frozen skies…
While perched nearby a wizened crone…draws breath
and throws her gleeful cracked chanson in cackled tones
that run and roll like casting bones…that dance and then…still
and winter, song, blood and bone and ancient crone…are one.
These are vulnerable, slinky damp days
exposed by the scalpels of fear.
So steady yourself in your bones, the bones
of the grey granite cliffs and the mist
of the dizzy array of events
that are reeling like carrion crows
while the weak light fast forwards
Stay deeply centered, just stand
in yourself as you engage a world
that seems to despise its true center.
Remember yourself, be that point
that is present, for you and for others
in the mushy immediate world
that’s careening and swirling
Ravenous tides of malevolence
thirst for your blood, your breath and your song
and would drain you dry, crumple, discard you
and destroy your rock steady sereneness.
You must simply refuse to be buffeted!
Shine brightly and stay softly confident
in your hard commitment
Stand strong, and keep your eyes open
to see who can stand with you, who can’t.
In your stillness be free to jump higher
and to mount up on wings in the long winds
and rely on the ones who just love you
with great tenderness, keep you in check,
cus we all need the tension
There is no need for undeserved compliments
and a great need for unrestrained love.
Know whatever your loved ones experience
will affect you, yet is not about you!
so keep orienting yourself towards
your truth, and keep letting that truth
shine through all that you are and
“April is the cruellest month…”
T.S. Eliot said…
he simply wasn’t paying
the steep cost of attention.
It’s in the brown pits of November,
when we lie in hopeless wait,
in limbo stuck there in between
the stupid and sublime…
stuck in that old and barren hollow,
wedged between a grease congealed
KFC bucket called Autumn
laying in dead crackly leaves
and its winter-shadow-self
approaching in uneven shambling
gait with cutting winds, harbingers
lurking in its fraying heart.
I listen hard, I strain my soul
in this insensate endless month
for a song, a sound…anything?
maybe a last, desperate word
Reeling, I go through the gates
of death that loom large in the night
aware that I may well be robbed
of all this nothing left to me,
of all the rest of my short years
aware the grave cannot give praise,
that death cannot sing elegy
and I know, finally, that we
are sick for life, and desperate cling
to this nameless shining thing,
a fountain sealed, we drift toward
our edges, there below revealed
in such familiar frightening
familiar numb-ed anguished sting
shared just by one Incarnate One
a weak and beaten broken man,
a God defeated, crying in
the quiet weeping freezing rain
falling slowly in the black
and cloying plummeting sloe dark
that’s darker than our darkened world
blacker than all blackened loss
blinder than all senseless hate
and bleak as splintery bloody cross
and it is there our questions cold
fall limp…just like the rain itself
and like His sadly dripping tears
(Himself a rain so red and warm)
and here His tears mingle our own
and here His blood flows from His side
and there the final faint quick spark
flickers within His ruined hide
His broken heart amidst the dreck
of our lives brutally played out
in this tragic blind senseless wreck
where light lays down, and breathes its last
and mourns all dreams of futures past.
our only hope a hang-ed man
become the lowest of the low
embodying every despair,
He gives a cross to cling to, know
a hang-ed man, His own self there
insistent Incarnation fair
drinking the deep cup of despair
and promises that it is Done.
(Many thanks to Kathie Whitesel for her amazing piece used above, and her generous allowance of her art to be matched with my poem…it is the perfect image for that part of the poem. Kathie I am so grateful!! ❤ )
I have come, like Hagar returning home…
back from the dark side of the moon
and I am full of wisdom gleaned
from sun-baked wanderings
across wide bleak and barren lands
and Beautiful Bedouin Deserts
and all the way to that distant shore…
the edge of my soul-wound.
I have faced the edges of myself
I have faced that Gulf of separation
and I have headlong heedless SWAN-DIVED
pure…and I survived
I have crossed over…that gulf
I have TRANS-ED!
And now I run
returned to you, same-sided ones
My CIS-ters dear and precious-rare
marooned and longing for The DARE!
You still stuck on that Lost Coast
of desolation waiting at the long deserted
service station called same old
same old same old old old SIDE
Ohhh Sarahs! I have heard such secrets in
the red-reed voice of Sirocco winds
Oh the things I know, winnowed by that
wind and winnow-stick of courage
from the shifting Sands of self…
I have sifted and been sifted
by the heat and cold and light…and
the dark that knows what sleeps alone
the dark that knows what it knows not
(and nought, ahhh, yes, the dark knows nought)
the dark that knows what it knows nought
and it has taught me Love Notes…
on the dark side of the Moon
OHHHH MY MOON!!!
You see, she is stuck too (just like you, Sarah, just like you)
in his orbit circling and one side shining one side dark
her endless pasted happy smile while growing thin and desperate
and starved, ravenous in the night
Oh Sarah, remember you laughed, back then!
Well, I could teach you a thing or two about Laughing NOW!
Cus from your chuckle sprang a promised child
who grew into a nation dusty rusty red?
But I…me? Hagar??
From the Womb of my laughter
springs forth The Children of Her Promise!
I!! The Outcast ME!!
My Laughing womb brings forth
the very Rose Behind The Sun!!
We are two wombs, two moons, Sarah…you and me
But I’m a moon that got fed up and broke away
and learned to spin and twirl and dance!
I learned how to gladden this close Dark
I have understood how to please the Light
as I spin and twirl and turnturnturnspinstepspinturn
I am your Hagar! Outcast and returned
here in your hour of great need!
I stand before you, with you
with my wand of Cedar freedom waving
and my book of Mama-Conjuring!!
Ohhh Dearest Sarah, can’t you see?
That you are the same as me?
Look past desert veils so long ago assigned
Peer deep beneath this hoary hated hide!
And see the vital fertile oceanic sea…
Ohh Sarah, I see you! I was you…
languishing in bitter wounds of old
I see you in your hurty night
your tear stained grief
and darkened dreams
I see your Crystal Mountain Rare
now Shattered in Indifferent air
and Chasm shards!
And I have come to midwife you
from the womb of your true self
to the mercy of your real True You!
I will help you see with eyes unblinking
thru your tears those canyons riven
by erosion bit by bit from
your most treasured self!
STAND! Leave behind the CIS-ter lands
and join me, we’ll reclaim OURSELVES!
Finally forever truly SIS-TERS
For in truth?
Our destiny is one.
To be exultation light-filled
and spinning wildly,
Joyful in the Night!
flitting forward in fits
and starts and swings
and strong enough
for a thousand miles
swimming down, out
far away and then again
up, and in, deeper
against the broad current
and into the rushing froth
back to beds of spawning time
and what seems captive
here in time
and two dimension
takes on depth
and height and breadth
and Spirals ever outward
So I wanna give a lil glimpse to how I weave poems into poems…this is Sands and Shadows and Pearls, but taken apart into its strands…you can read each strand, and then go back and look at how I juxtapose to create Poetic Harmonics…this should create some depth and distance in the metaphors and implications of waking, dreaming, shadow, sun and what casts the shadow.
I hope you will work with it some… ❤
I do shed tears, these days
I also shed dreams too
I dreamed, last night
I also shed tears too
I dreamed that I walked lands crying
and my tears fell on red sands glistening
my tears on red sands sizzled
because I had no shadow,
they had no shadow
and then in that glaring sun unbridled,
that staring star unfiltered
they became pearls
of My Mother,
the Mother of Pearls
and then I saw,
Her, walking there,
sowing in tears
and reaping in pearls
with nary a diamond
and She turned to me,
She bid me pick them up
and take…eat…and I did
and where they lay
the sand was gone
and green grass jumped lush
into my eyes with verdant glee!
And the pearls tasted like honey
and the pearls
became glory within me
and I rose up on glory,
I rose up in glory,
glory within me
and glory in the air
and I saw my shadow,
distant and crumpled
and pinned to the ground
for always by arrows
and spears and the knives
of those children
of red sand and shadows.
And just as I began to wake
I realized that ever
would they gather there,
around that shadow
pinned and empty
of all save their vitriol and hate
while I walked free but achy
across the red sands,
with no shadow
and that stark sun
except for the glory
that’s given by pearls
plucked from green grass
so verdant that used to be
red sand so hot
on which was shed precious
tears without shadow.
So I wake, each time
I wake and realize
I do not need a shadow
to stand between me and the sun
and some something
to tell me that I am, I am.
I just need those tears
shed on sands red and glaring
become pearls from my Mother
to wrap me in glory
and glory wrapped in me
and no shadow my shadow
(and nights…it is strange
to wake and find the wet
residue of sorrows dried
and digging at the corners
of my eyes),
(last night…it is strange
to wake and find the dry
remnants of dreams moist
and pressed, pushing into
the spaces between me
and my pillow)
(my tears glistening,
not the sands, they lay leering,
skulking, glaring flat and angry)
(the ones in my dreams,
the ones with no shadow)
(the tears and me,
not the sands and dreams)
(like the armpits of abalones,
who also learned to live
not the abalones,
or the red sands,
or the shadows)
(born of tears shed on red sands glaring,
tears glistening and without shadow)
(not shadows or sands)
(because diamonds have shadows
and slinky songs and glittery platinum
brittle best friends)
(the pearls, not
sands and shadows)
(like shadows flee daylight)
(and clear thirst-quenching
(and the pearls of my Mother,
not the sands and shadows)
(not to day,
not in night,
I wake to me)
I am Charissa Grace
and not your dumb head case
I’ll muss your hair, throw off your pace
and maybe even kiss your face
I overflow permitted banks
and needle apoplectic cranks
cus I unsettle everything
I am wild WILD WILD thus I sing
of mountains dancing, winds untamed
and my heart free in Mama’s Name
“Edge places fascinate us, because at heart we too are seeking the edges, the places of risk and unknowing. We long to embrace our own wildness. We feel alive when we live from our wild hearts, breaking out of the boxes of convention and expectation, and growing in trust of ourselves and the deep wisdom that emerges from our bodies and the world around us.”
— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Class ~ Earth as Soul Care Matrix: The Wild Heart of Ministry
Where are the edge places in your life? Where are the places of risk and unknowingness where you experience both fear and joyful anticipation simultaneously? How might you set your wild heart free?
She paces Pharaoh’s estate,
marble steps, the bristling tops of trees.
She is restless in her routine.
Couples arrive. She scans their faces,
and the oil stains under the Pharaoh’s SUV.
Every day the headlines scream
plagues, locusts. Another naked child explodes
himself in the market, a frog croaks,
startles soldiers armed to the teeth.
Asiya sits at Pharaoh’s dinner table
with the neo-conservatives nightly.
Why do they hate us? A mystery.
Asiya twitches, passes the pâté.
That they slave to build us pyramids
is only free market forces at play.
The salmon is delicious. We
are entitled to the treasures
of the desert, and to dine in peace.
Asiya fidgets with her blue earring,
lapis lazuli. What is wrong with me,
she thinks. She slips away from husband,
guests, to the back porch by herself,
and scans the blue shining serpentine
river for a twitch, a movement,
for a basket in the reeds.
– From “Hagar Poems” by Mohja Kahf
I take a picture
think about it)
(the shutter shudders)
(the lens blinks)
and a reduction
becomes a memory
Last year a wolverine broke loose, came slashing and gashing, ran up and down
canyons and cliffs and crittering quick up tree-trunks with such fierce red claws…
Snarling and yowling the haunting roar raged, moaned and cursed with such
hunger, such fury, that flurry of wood-thirsty teeth insatiable, free from hiatus and
running heart birthed straight from Their Great Altar There which purifies
all things with Holy Fire so freeing, so cleansing…wafting austere like pure Incense
arising, in billows and plumes and ash, ASH, everywhere and in perpetual
Wednesday, marking the Cross on all things there…within.
the fire had time to make up…
One Hundred and Fifty years to turn…and it was said to be
A Great Mosaic Burn.
At last to feed its need to cleanse a forest fat with care, beneath the watchful eye of
Moses there, beneath his rod extended, as if the sun stood still again, and trees grew
up and great in grit and girth like Children of the sun, see how fat they had
become…See them, their indifferent eyes unblinking, safe, satisfied and
self-centered and all together, such a stand of forest land, secure, untouched…
so sleepy, nodding off with rusty Time’s tock-ticking Heartbeat softly crooning
to ossified great forest stands so very grand that didn’t know they needed
Severe Mercies to come with fire and hot kisses from the Phoenix.
It had not chosen cleansing
It did not know it’s need
for resurrection, for refining
For fire comes to cleanse and make new everything it can consume and challenge all
it cannot touch to understand that TRANSFORMATION’s the destiny
of every-thing with the courage to crawl out from underneath the letter and run
from the rod and leave behind the tyranny of the typical to the flames…
and walk away from Moses, into freedom in liquid-gold fireworks,
free from the cares of the world that cling so fierce and so easily entangle us,
choke our lives in hoary growth and lullabies lulling us fast to sleep,
a Sleeping Beauty Bride on her bower of soft and easy privilege.
She like an eye unblinking
safe in her cloister so fair
deaf to Her loud Divine Dare.
And (just like that forest or Sleeping Bride), there amidst that red hot bloody conflagration set another eye, a forest eye, unblinking sightless eye and
woke up wide awake in terror tribulation, hushed in dread anticipation and fear and with helpless petitions arising, not like incense but like signals…smoke signals…
to Moses? To God? To the Universe Fire come down to feed? Protected by roads
cut with care and foresight, that Eye Unblinking sat there in fright…
and Holden its breath and leaning against a wolverine dread come at last to
consume the dead, to rip that forest wide open and slash the woods to crimson rags
dripping bloody with flame and red flurries…
wrapped in silver sheets reflective, shiny
(or were they merely space age burial shrouds?)
It never blinked, that Eye, and all was shrouded safe, cocooned within
and underneath the rod and the Letter, striding secure thru the Red Sea Fire
escaping the sharp teeth of wolverine the Eye remained preserved amidst
a work that renovates the face and gives a skin-deep makeover, but leaves
the sleepy years untouched and undisturbed on laurels long gone brown
with age and loss of life though all appearances would say that Holden is
alive and well and safe from that destructive hell of fire and fear…yet
none could name that something still so desperately needed a root canal of flame!
for all the Who’s in Holden sigh
for yesteryear, forgetting that it’s
the thief that steals tomorrow.
And this year, one year later in the same Unblinking Eye I rolled in on the waves
and wind (Charissa, meaning “Grace” but named “Char”-issa, “Ashy-one”) seeking
to drink of the life that flows through a village untouched by anything that fell
outside the Mosaic burn and no longer shrouded outside but just maybe mummy
rags still wrapped so tightly around a heart perhaps long grown so slack, so sleek
and oh so fat just like that forest was last year before God gave a wolverine to rage and feed, and cleanse, renew…I saw History on display and windfall fruit rife
on the ground and satisfaction ruled the day, and familiarity won the race
and wore her shiny tangy plumy purple tinsel crown…
Golden Apples, everywhere and casual and everyone was on the in,
societal, and fire roads cut secure and ohh soo straight.
So I said Hi and reached with blinking eyes that squint into the light,
oft times in fright of storms and lightning flashing forth…and found
my blinking words rebuffed by cool and hooded eyes that had seen it all,
eyes satisfied and cynical cus been there done that, ho-hum…done much worse
I ran aground on fire roads and that Moses curse of long ago still Holden Court
over long hearts that found consuming fire fearful, dreadful and to be avoided
at all costs by any means…and thus She stands this very day…Holden Village
on cusp of…petrification?…or on that hot edge of the Phoenix Way!
Holden, Eye Unblinking, ensconsed
in the forest, last year just as this one,
in a forest cleansed to living bone, and Holden?
I heard the Spirit resounding The Word that Fire must fall upon a village that mirrors the forest that kneels all around…She said that She has a fiery crown and Holden is that forest fat and ready for the Refiner’s Fire, the Cleansing Burn that
resurrects those vital dry bones waiting…but She must choose that fate and blink…
Yes, we must welcome Fire Fate from God and let the dead wood burn,
and blaze, and feed Mosaic Ways to the flame and trust the Good God of the Fire
to keep her safe underneath Their Name and resurrected, cleansed, renewed
and ever delivered from stain and shame!
Let the rod be cast into the fire hot and be consumed!
For Moses died on Southside, short of Zion is his tomb!
And find us Lovely on the Northside, once again the Spirit’s womb!
Letter cannot take us there, nor blaze of past great glory fair
We must eradicate those roads of preservation that we wear!
They trap and capture us and cut us off from Grace unhindered
so we, like the forest, turn dull and dry, reduced to deadwood’s kindred!
I see Holden cleansed by Fire, and crying Holy tears when Holy
Spirit has free reign again to fall in fires that restore
and interrupt Sleeping Beauty’s snore and dead trees gone,
that speck removed and blinking eyes await the Dawn!
And animals can come again now welcomed
and bathe released in Grace and Precious Holden,
His Eye now blinking free and shining fair in Jesus’ Face.
Oh Holy Lightning Strike like Griffin Swift
upon this yearning heart in desperate need
of Your Mercy Severe, Your Holy Gift
Give us Grace to Find the Phoenix-Way!
To rise in faith from Ashes and from death
to self and self reliance, come what may!
On resurrection wings and Spirit’s breath
alive again and all is well this night
that breaks and shatters with the rising dawn…
and not a single fire road in sight,
and what will be well it shall simply be
and what will not be well it will be gone!
Come Holy Fire, we answer Your Call!
and All Reborn, and Love is All in All,
“Someday…someday the snow will fall!”
“Humility invites us to let go of our hold on productivity as the measure of our worth and discover the deeper value of who we are.”
— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD Creative Flourishing in the Heart of the Desert: A Self-Study Online Retreat with Hildegard of Bingen
Who might you become if you stopped defining yourself in terms of what you do, and how productive you are?
“Sometimes when we return to our practice after having left it for several days (or weeks, months, years) we often have a deeper appreciation for what we have lost than if we had not strayed. Beginning again is essential. We fall away, we lose our will to persevere for so many reasons.
“The problem is not with the waning of our inner fire and perseverance, but with not returning again at all.”
— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Class ~ Pilgrimage of the Soul: An Online Art Retreat
The next time you fall away from your practice whatever it is,
can you remember to remain open and compassionate to yourself
and simply begin again, without criticism or judgement?
“When we remember the sacred dimension of the world, we are freed from a life lived primarily from a materialistic perspective, where consumption becomes the primary goal. We no longer need to dominate and acquire more and more.”
— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Class ~ Earth as Soul Care Matrix: The Wild Heart of Ministry
“For the desert mothers and fathers, the monastic cell was a vitally important place.
It was both literal reality, a place where the monks retreated to experience a deep stillness.
Yet it is also the symbolic place within us where we welcome in the fullness of our experience.
Consider holding this image of an inner cell during this journey – the place within where you can
retreat and be present to the fullness of your experience.”
— Christine Valters Painter, PhD The Self-Study Online Retreat ~ Women on the Threshold: The Wild Heart of Longing
“Brigid sees the face of Christ in all persons and creatures, and overcomes the division between rich and poor.
Our practice of inner hospitality as monks in the world is essentially about healing all of the places we feel fragmented, scattered, and shamed. One of her symbols is her cloak which becomes a symbol of unity.
All can dwell under her mantle.”
— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Class ~ Sacred Seasons: A Yearlong Journey through the Celtic Wheel of the Year
“In monastic tradition, there is great value placed on both conversion and stability. I think of conversion as always being willing to be surprised by God. Conversion calls us to remember that we are always on a journey, that we are always growing, that we have never fully arrived. It calls us to great humility, and the more we grow in wisdom, the more we realize how little we actually know.”
— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Retreat ~ Practicing Resurrection through Creativity and Archetypes
“As human beings seeking to live meaningful lives, we hunger for some kind of structure, a set of practices that challenge us and help us to grow. Yet, if our rule is too rigorous, we can become suffocated by legalism.
“The paradox of the spiritual life is that it needs a healthy balance of structure and freedom to thrive. This is the paradox of the creative process as well.”
— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom
“Richard Rohr tells us that when we move through life in a driven way we are being propelled by the ego.
When we allow ourselves to be drawn forward, lured ahead by what shimmers, we are moved by the soul’s desires.”
— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Class ~ Earth as Soul Care Matrix: The Wild Heart of Ministry
scrawled across the
face of old envelopes
poised to pounce
into a pot of poetry
or an essay or
you think, wonder
where the meaning is
in the pot or in
the one who
In the 57 years I have spent on this planet, I have taken communion tens of thousands of times.
The most recent of those times was at Pride in Portland Oregon on June 19th, 2016…served to me by Pat Christiansen while a gypsy troupe danced to insistent almost militant drumming behind us…
I closed my eyes as I took the elements, just as I always do, and looked to Them to see Them, to taste and SEE that the Lord is good…and I saw the Sacred Flaming Heart Icon…pulsing…beating…THROBBING…in time to the militant drums, and I was certain that this is the heart of the Risen Lord who wears the Two Edged Sword and Eyes like Fire…
The Heart was pulsing…pulsing…PULSING…
There was a frame around the Heart, and it was getting bigger…and it was pushing against the frame.
The frame began to splinter…and then at last, the Heart gave a MIGHTY PULSE and burst the frame, shattered it and splintered it, and then grew bigger and bigger until it utterly enveloped me and I knew it was off to the far reaches of everywhere.
The nightclub’s name is Pulse. The city is Orlando…which means “Famous Land, Land of Renown” and lesser meanings of Times of Importance.
I find the entire experience prophetic and insistent…and I wonder…
…are you going to stay inside the frame? The Heart has left, departed…gone outside the city gates.
Are you going to sit and imagine Jesus coming to earth to kick ass on all the people you do not like…yunno, sort of like the Pharisees did and when Messiah showed up and punched them square in the conscience they got so mad they killed Him?
Or are you going to understand that God is stirred in Mercy and Compassion to the point that those things become the consuming fire of Light and Love and each thing they touch responds according to its matrix of being…if it is true it becomes pure and if it is not it simply is consumed.
Stand with The Sacred Pulsing Heart. The time is now.
If you wanna be in the “next move of God”, it isn’t with the so-called prophets and evangelists who seek after gold dust and commit adultery on a mass scale while the crowd has what amounts to a spiritual cluster-fuck.
No…it is in the highways and byways, where Mama compels to come in, and the Heart races to rush out.
I dashed this off…
well, actually it just
shouldered its way
from my soul
and forced me open
and muscled forth.
it is not polished,
or even much good,
but it is insistent
that it wants to be…
just as it is…
on fire and fierce.
let its blood
trickle across your tongue,
down your throat to infuse
you with starfire unquenchable,
with the seeds of birth that come
when nebulas collapse
so that new stars
can be born.
Will you let
in you today!!??
Will you rise
though ye tremble,
grieve and wail
on the mountains…
and drink this philter
as you pour your tears
like rain upon these bloody
sands so desperately needing
the touch of falling stars to ignite
the birth of light again in this dark night!
Carry this fire inside
you, Prometheus returning
to those gods weak and beaten
and frightened in a pulsing night
cowering before their creatures
unfettered and held hostage
to hate and darkness…
bind it to your forehead
bright diadem of Hope
and going past the fallen
crumbled thrones of old gods
doddering and wetting the bed
of their comfort and ease…
to the Halls
of the Risen Lamb
slain and shining ever
in Love, our Sun/Son/Lion!!!
though you be bitter
and seem so final,
you are nuffin to me!
I have fought
thru 5 decades
to get to this
time and place.
Martin and Martin
Susan and Harriet and Joanna…
Joan and Hildegard,
Thomas and Peter
I see them,
a sea of those
pour it out,
TAKE IT UP,
your tears now
jewels of fire
and eat them,
feeding the fires
of new stars
in your souls…
I await you
in the streets of life,
and I shall never
I shall never
stop or waver…
We have come this far by faith,
and we shall not turn back now.
See the enemy posture…
covering that cowering fear
as we loom, our faces bright
and fair with Love
and Mercy and Justice
our diadems and Mama
and Jesus Avatar of Love Eternal
I await you.
This is your time.
Come out this weekend, ye privileged!
Cast your crowns in the gutters
so they can find purchase and grow
and their roots tear down
the walls of Massa’s farm.
I await your sacred steps.
It is the “Beyond”…that place we all know deep down in our core exists…is there.
To argue it does not exist assumes its existence in order to even have ground to stand on ontologically.
It is what I am striving to touch, pierce, and funnel back here in my poetry…and I call it “Poetry” with a capital P…and it is a place and a state and a thing and a flow all at once.
“In cultivating photography as a contemplative practice, the camera becomes a tool to develop our ability to see more deeply, clearly, and truly, beneath the surface realities of the world around us and into the sacred presence shimmering in the world.”
— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice