Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Leading with my chin

Leading with my chin               

As an old man now, I aspire
to be somebody who can take a punch –

not a speed bag’s wobbly pummeling,
mind you, but a stolid heavy bag full of grit,

eye-bolted solidly through a ceiling beam
and not in some gymnasium for anyone

to try but maybe a garage or cellar,
collecting dust in the corner but still intact.

Somebody who can take a punch if need be
and absorb the blow from any angle,

any adversary and not be moved
more than an inch or two off dead center.

Going through life then, leading with my chin,
not from haughtiness or spunk but with poise

and a quiet faith, bearing the blows of whatever
rough-housing opponents may cross my path. 

To be somebody who can take a punch,
take a punch, take a punch and not hit back.

O child of God, aspire to the love that allows
an innocent man to turn his cheek for just one more.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

A divine opportunity

A divine opportunity           

When the razing began, I thought
the garden walls would go first,

(romantic that I am) a flood of love
upending my unkempt grounds,

exposing a long-hoped-for, hidden eden   
but You began with the house,

my shelter, dismantling it down to the bare slab,
leaving intact my walled-in seclusion

and me too numb to foresee or care anymore
what subsequent half-structure

I’ll take to my grave, simply trusting it will be apt.
This ruination holds neither hope nor shame.

Like any other death, of spirit or flesh,
it’s merely a naked possibility, a divine

opportunity for something to be built beyond
the outmoded purpose of the original structure.

O child of God, approach your undoing
with the God-given composure of faith.


Monk's garden

Monk’s garden                    

Somehow it’s good to know
I haven’t a prayer.  Like old Job –

no say-so in the winding up,
the unwinding of my own affairs.

God is in the details
and I’m merely one of the details,
 
hoping to serve by a studious abstention.
I weed my monk’s garden, encouraged

by the yield of abeyance and abrogation.
The old urgency has deserted my legs and lungs

in mid-stride and the pace, this late
in the game, has slowed considerably;

enough to where it’s more comfortable
to take His hand and follow His lead;

enough to relinquish a bit more, the irresistible
compulsion and illusion of plotting my own course.

O child of God, settle in as best you might
under the vast foot of the elephant.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Reason for love

Reason for love  

There’s no reason for love.  
Get used to it.  Go ahead –

work up a few doddering explanations
for your unruly behavior.

Something to make you linger longer
outside the charnel house.

The trick is that love is never sure
and is thus impossible for the wary.

But what if this time, you ally
with someOne besides your timid self?

SomeOne Who might, perhaps, strip you
of motive and prudence, and at the same time,

stir you to sacrifice
all you know and think you are

for the simple reason
that there’s no reason not to,

nothing worth holding back or onto
and nothing else at all worth doing.     

O child of God, cast yourself without cause
into that ultimate, impenetrable mystery.