Spun and Spent

 

How quickly our days are spun and spent

like the string of a kite

caught on an updraft,

the spool held in loose hands,

spinning fast and faster.

 

To slow the spinning

is to stop the climb–exultant, liberating.

To wind the string back onto the spool

is to move backward, to sink, to stunt.

How should I live these unraveled days?

How can I rise and yet

come back down?

The spool, its frenzied turning,

burning my hands.

 

I am afraid.

 

The days spin on, uncounted, uncontrolled,

but soon, before I know,

the string will catch,

the spool will slow.

 

Oh help me live these kite-string days!

Truly live them, spinning and wild,

and I, a breathless child

with burning palms and

racing heart,

will hold on lightly, lightly.

 

I will trust the wind that carries me

to the place where earth and heaven overlap;

knowing the string, however long, is short,

and, once spent, will surely snap.

 

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A Child No More

I’ve always wanted to be brave

To face my demons unafraid

And yet I’ve always waited on

Someone, something, far beyond

But there are wolves outside my door

And I’m a child no more

 

Throw open wide this shuttered heart

Let in the light till shadows part

Gaze straight into the the truth of me

Embrace the facts unflinchingly

Unlock the gate, unbar the door

For I’m a child no more

 

I swell beyond these strict confines

Overflow my precious lines

Past the margins, I am free

Expand to the periphery

Plummet down or rise to soar

Either way, a child no more

Samaritan

The well flows with water

but it’s empty for me

My parched lips touch the cup

And I drink long and deep

But it never fills me

Never satisfies

It’s not water that I need

But where is mercy liquified?

I keep drawing from the well

Hoping something new will rise

But it’s always just the same

And the longing never dies

Oh, come bend down close to me

Tell me everything I am

Lay bare my secrecy

So I can no longer pretend

That this water is enough

That my life is not so rough

That my heart is pretty tough

Tell me that you know

Every gross indecency

Every hidden part of me

Voice it plainly since I won’t

And set me free

Living Water, speak and say:

“Messiah – I am he.”

NPM: Siren Song– Denouement

I am a siren still

And I sing the only song I know

Tenuously suspended

in a liminal space

Part woman, part bird

Flighty, I abhor a cage

And my sharp eye

and flitting bird-heart

Fear its confinement

But perhaps I have shed

A few of these feathers

and become more wholly

a person, not a fable

I sing and hope

for one who knows the perils

and dares anyway

to approach my jagged coastline

To take my hand, taloned as it is

and bear my flaws

Lead me not to a cage,

but to a horizon

And hear me, truly

hear me

Because I sing the only song I know:

My own.

 

NPM: The Fire’s Heart

Far under the cracked and dying earth

the molten fire had given birth:

a thing of light, almost too bright

it sparked with joy and mirth

 

The fire’s child pushed up through rock and sand

and climbed toward the surface land

The darkness deep, it could not keep

the bright fire child within its hand

 

The child broke into the open air

expecting worlds both rich and fair

Its laughter bright, filled with delight

rang out, fell soft, grew silent in despair

 

A shadow of the glory days of old

A ruined waste none had foretold

The fire child’s glow was dimming low

Its warmth did wane, its heart grew cold

 

There still remains upon that barren ground

the crater where the child was found

and all alone, a glassy stone:

the fire’s heart at last unbound

Unmade

My clothes smolder

My hair is singed

I have stepped close to the fire

and it burns sweetly

I taste the tang of metal and heat on my lips

Is this the taste of holiness?

The shimmering air sears my throat, my lungs

I breathe deep

Burn, burn

The past is gone

But the memories are strong

Move forward, into the flames

One step, two

I am a coal-walker now

And the memories begin to slough off

I shake my shoulders, toss my head

And they’re gone

Free

I rise, a spark swirling into the night sky

Free

I am no one

Free

I am anyone

A new creature, reborn, remade!

 

And then I wake

I am myself

All of me, still here

And the memories sit heavy on my chest

Look down into my bleary eyes

And laugh

America the Free

This nation certainly has its flaws (as does every individual within this nation), but as I reflect on this Fourth of July, I am supremely grateful.  Not just for all those who sacrificed comfort, home, and life for our nation, but for the fact that I can worship freely without fear of recrimination.  I recently watched a documentary called “Love Costs Everything,” in which the persecution of Christians worldwide was unflinchingly examined by both Christian and secular parties.  The persecution of Christians has increased in unbelievable proportions during the last decade, and as of right now, Christians are the most persecuted people group in the world.  My brothers and sisters across the globe face torture, rape, bombings, and death every day for the sake of Christ.  In America, I have no fear of being martyred for my faith, and I am thankful for this.  But I do not believe that many of my persecuted brethren would change places with me.  For them, it is an honor to be counted worthy to suffer alongside their savior, Jesus.  When talking with his followers, Christ guaranteed that such suffering would occur.  In John 15:18-20, Jesus says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”  When the disciples were flogged by the Sanhedrin after Jesus’ ascension, they rejoiced because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for Christ’s name (Acts 5:41).

In America, I am free.  Free to worship; free to pursue any career; free to marry or not marry as I choose; free to travel; free to speak out against the very government that protects my rights; free to stand up for the underprivileged or oppressed.  I am free.  But if those freedoms are one day taken from me, may I be found faithful and worthy to suffer for what I know to be right.  May I be willing to suffer and die for the One who suffered and died for me.