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.”

Speak Into Silence

Your pain rolls off you
Like the deep rumble of thunder
Across flat, wind-whipped fields.
As I sit across the table from you,
My own heart feels the reverberations.
And if I’ve ever longed for eloquence-
For my words to act as healing balm-
It is now.
But as I look in your eyes
And see the bleak despair,
The tinge of betrayal,
I am struck dumb, mute.
No words of life.
No comfort.
I wish I could speak what you need,
But it’s not my voice you need to hear.
And until He speaks
Gentle and low into your silence,
No other words will help.
So I sit and listen with you,
And together we can wait
Until we hear… something.

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: Endures

I cannot stop loving the stars

Though I have never

in all my life

seen them fill the sky

They have always been

partially hidden

by smog or clouds

or city lights

But I dream of how they look

if I only had the eyes to see them

and they are glorious

swirling through the black emptiness

a sonata of energy

galaxies spinning, expanding

colors so vivid

they can’t be real

And perhaps it is the fact

that I have not seen them–

not gotten the chance to

get accustomed to the wonder–

perhaps that is why

my love for them endures

NPM: Not Yet

Let me not be satisfied

to the point of apathy, lethargy

It is the wanting that beautifies us

The longing, the dreaming

The hunger to be more

to be greater

to be filled

These are given us by God

to pull us out of ourselves

and into eternal joy

An endless pouring out

only to be replenished

This beautiful desire

for the glorious

will be fulfilled

But not yet

Not yet

NPM: Jack and Joy

Inspired by C.S. Lewis’ “A Grief Observed,” in which he chronicles his own grieving process after losing his wife Joy to cancer.

 

A grief that feels like fear

The tight fist of a heart

The sudden cold sweat

Short, shallow breaths

And the edginess of being pursued

The awful moment of waking up in the night

And wondering why the world feels so wrong

That confusion then being eclipsed

By the horror of remembering, realization

 

 

Colors really are flat

Friends once thought charming really are dull

Conversations that might have been interesting

Are now so much empty, grating air

Full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing

Because when you left,

You took it all with you

 

 

It terrifies me to think

I might regress to the

Pitiful creature I was before you

Before I knew what it was

To be loved by you

And what it was to love you

Even now I feel the creeping thought–

“Maybe it won’t be so bad.

See? You almost felt normal for a moment there.”

Not so bad without a beating heart

Without sight or taste

Not so bad to float in a numb haze,

Only periodically pierced by a thousand hot knives

 

 

I let myself remember you,

But your face is a blurred smudge

How could it be otherwise?

I saw it from every angle,

Gripped with every possible emotion

One image in memory

Could never capture it

Your eyes– I can’t quite recall the color

Only the feeling

And that alone reduces me

to a whimpering child

NPM: Run

Some days this world makes you want to keep on running

and never stop till you get somewhere better.

The same words endlessly repeated on the nightly news:

“Senseless”

“Horrific”

“Violence”

“Terror”

Are these the themes of our stories?

It seems so.

Our narratives have become senseless,

and we write them in blood.

Some days the voices of deranged, broken people

are the only ones we can hear

because they’re screaming the loudest and longest

and they punctuate their tirades with explosions.

Must we always harmonize with their cacophony?

God, I’m sick of this song.

Change the station.

Change it all.

When I think of peace

the word feels so hollow

so distant

Where is the peace that was promised?

“My peace I give to you.”

Is it simply inner peace?

I’m sorry, but

a lot of good that does

when the world is on fire.

But then I’m reminded to “look for the helpers,”

to dream of a world where there are

“no more hurting people.”

And despite our own wickedness, that world is coming.

It is a seed planted deep, already growing,

soon to break out of the soil.

And no matter how hard we wish

how loudly we weep

how bitter we become

how vengeful we act

how strongly we pray

we cannot make a plant grow before its time.

We can only wait.

And I know it’s worth waiting for,

but some days I swear

this world makes me want to run.

NPM: The Stringless Violin

The streets of Vienna are gilded with frost
as a gentleman moves through the night.
At first it would seem that the man is quite lost
till a door cracks and spills out some light.

The man whirls around and laughs loudly and clear
then hurries toward the threshold.
He embraces a woman with thick raven hair
who bids him come in from the cold.

The man shakes the snow from his coat and then turns
to find the hearth merrily blazing.
The woman is bustling around the small room
and he can’t keep from furtively gazing.

Her hair is as dark as the day they first met.
Her lips are the color of wine.
Her eyes dance and laugh when they rise to meet his,
and her smile just for him is divine.

Though his fondness and longing seem so evident,
his manner becomes more reserved.
For their history’s filled with unspoken desires,
and through silence their friendship’s preserved.

The woman has noticed his sobering mood,
and with a sad smile she collects
the item he came for, which she had procured,
though it’s nothing like what he expects.

A case lined with velvet, with clasps made of gold
opens to reveal a violin.
Its wood simply glows, but its shortcoming shows
for there’s nothing where strings should have been.

The man looks confused, though the instrument’s fine,
he had thought it would be more arcane.
But the lady still smiles and brushes the neck
of a violin far from mundane.

At her feather-light touch a sonorous note
rings out with a tremor so sweet
and the room fills with music so achingly pure
the enchantment it weaves is complete.

The man’s eyes fill with tears as the notes harmonize
for the music is tender and sad.
It sings of a love unrequited for years,
and a future that cannot be had.

He buries his face in his hands as he sighs,
then feels a light touch on his wrist.
“This song is ours,” the woman reveals,
“It’s the story of all that we’ve missed.”

He kisses her palm, holds it tight to his cheek,
then rises and closes the case.
He moves to the door, turns the knob and looks back
for one final glance at her face.

And as their eyes meet, an affection untempered
passes between, multiplied.
And still to this day, the violin plays
the theme of a love that never died.

NPM: Luna

You once compared me to the moon

Pale, pristine, and alluring

And said you were the earth

and that though technically

I revolved around you

My true allegiance was to the Sun

whose greater force holds all things in motion

You, oh spinning earth, were jealous

Because though I was close to you

I was unreachable

You were more right than you knew

I am the moon

Cold, distant, barren

Always circling

Never approaching

A wary thing

Unsullied only because

I never let anyone in

Not anymore

And at times I wonder

What if I had circled closer

and hung low and full over the horizon

Powerfully present

With no clouds to obscure my face

and no lightyears between your heart and mine

NPM: Into the Inevitable

Something is ending

Something is gone

Haven’t I known it

all along?

Gather round me,

those I love,

one last time

Say we’ll be fine

Give me courage

Lend me strength

Help me hope

that what I feel is not true

that the taste of autumn on my tongue

isn’t really there

That this isn’t the way we end,

the dry curling, the quiet fall of leaves

Make me believe

That we don’t walk forward

Into the inevitable

Tell me this is no goodbye

I won’t believe you

but I will try