The Symphonies of Heaven

Moonlight pools in the furrowed fields. 

Each grain-topped stalk reaches up

To caress the dark sky’s face.

A hush has fallen over our common earth,

But the heavens are alive with song.

The stars pour forth melodies, harmonies,

Endless arias, spiraling refrains.

Their silver voices sing clear in the night.

Who but God has ears to listen?

Who but God and his legions of angels?

If we could hear but one chord of that song,

We would never again doubt the beauty of existence

Or the perfection of eternity to come,

Wrapped in the symphonies of heaven. 

NPM: Tattoo

I wrote God’s name on my arm 

In permanent ink, tattooed beneath my skin

But it’s only as permanent as this body

Which is dying day by day

So the commitment is not so long

The permanency doesn’t concern me really

Since God wrote my name on his palms

And his body is much more permanent

Than mine

NPM: Call Me Mara

Do not call me Naomi. 

I am no longer pleasant.

I’m Mara, I’m bitter, I’m empty.

I was filled, but I’ve been hollowed out.

I’ve lost the sweetness of the rose.

I’ve lost the flavor of food.

I’ve lost my love and my legacy.

I’ve lost my faith and my trust.

Do not call me by my old name-

The name that, when on his lips, 

Meant promise and future and passion.

It is a bitter reminder of who I was, 

Who he was,

Who we were. 

Naomi died with Elimelek, Mahlon, and Kilion.

Call me bitter. Call me Mara. 

NPM: Stain to White

Evil must be stronger than good 

Why else can one drop of poison

Turn the whole well?

One cruel person

Shatter countless lives?

Why is it so easy to break,

Yet so difficult to mend?

Surely evil is stronger

Or is it that

The difficulty

The impossibility

Of turning dark to light

Deepest stain to white

Is the monumental task of a God

Who we would not know we need

If we could do it ourselves so easily

NPM: Bitter Brother

Bitter brother
Scowling at the dirt
This dirt which nourished his crops
Watered with the sweat of his brow

Back-breaking labor, wrestling with the thorns
And thistles of his father’s mistake
Fighting the land, no longer a garden,
No longer yielding abundant fruits
But like a scorned lover
Jealous and withholding
Resentfully providing growth
Only when the full payment of labor had been received

He brought in his harvest
And set aside an offering
To the God who cast them out of paradise
But like a scorned lover
Jealous and withholding
Resentfully bringing his obligatory gift
He gave his hard-earned spoils
And was rejected.

This betrayal, more personal than any prior punishment,
Stung him deeper than the thorns and brambles.
And his shame was emblazoned in stark relief
Against the favor shown to another

Bitter brother
Scowling at the dirt
This dirt which stole his joy
Now watered with his brother’s blood


Still Searching

In knowing him
My heart is satisfied
My soul is justified
There is nothing more I need
And still I’m searching for something
If I really knew him
I would know peace
Would know content
But all I see of him
is a blurry silhouette

Every glimpse I’ve had of him
stirs my heart
But glimpses aren’t enough
to sustain deep, abiding love
I need to stare, to watch,
to study long and hard
this one whose beauty
captivates and mesmerizes
if only looked at truly

A Holy Moment

I lay in the hammock,

Limbs heavy and sluggish in the

Cloying heat,

And it is a holy moment.

The slow summer breeze

Carries pollen as incense.

Above me rises the blue dome of this cathedral.

Solid oak branches form

Criss-crossing arches,

And in their upper reaches,

Angels perch and sing like swallows.

Amid their chorus,

I hear the low whisper,

Soft and gentle and desperately dear:

The reason for the vault of sky,

The angels’ piping strains,

The incense of the flowers and trees.

His whisper, his voice,

So quiet you could miss it.

So small you could mistake it,

And think instead that

He was in the wind, the earthquake, the fire.

NPWM Day 18: Humility

A snake, a lie, a tree
A fall from grace, humility
A gate, a sword, decree
A banishment, humility
Blood from a brother’s jealousy
An outcast mark, humility
Rebelled, enslaved, unfree
A people’s cry, humility
A plague, a death, a plea
A broken “Go!”, humility
A staff, a stone, a parted sea
Deliverance, humility
A gift, a calf, idolatry
A desert path, humility

A crown, a throne, a need
A choice to go, humility
A crown, a thorn, a tree
A choice to die, humility
A stone, a grave, empty
Life over death, a victory