NPWM Day 27: Bees and the Foxglove Tree

The bees come to worship at the foxglove tree.

They pay homage at each purple-blossomed shrine.

Hiding their faces in the blooms,

they breathe deep the holy air

and collect pollen like manna.

Only enough for today–

no more, no less.

And they, fed by the foxgloved hand of God,

want for nothing.

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.


The Fight In Me


The days stretch on–

a blurred line,

a slow succession

leading into mist

which never parts.

Is everyone’s future

so unfathomable?

Or do some see it

stretch before them

like a bright river,

carrying them, all anticipation,

swiftly onward

to their destination?

These days and days and days

take out all

the fight in me.

I shouldn’t be so tired.

But where there was fire,

there are now only embers

smoldering, cooling, waiting

for some sweet breath

of wind to blow

and coax

them to a warmer glow.

I dare not hope for a blaze.

And yet, in this haze,

this march of days,

I find a quiet, bending strength.

And maybe the fight in me

hasn’t died; it has learned

a steady stance.

Perhaps the fight

isn’t always flame and spark.

Perhaps it’s standing, enduring,

even through the dark.

Even now I find

that day after day,

the fight isn’t a battle.

It’s the will to stay.


In these lean hours of respite

these quiet moments between

When I allow myself to wait






and listen to the rhythmic rush of blood

in my eardrums

counterposed to the ticking of the clock

on my wall

(my own heartbeat

striving relentlessly

against the current of time)

In these moments

I slow down my racing thoughts

my frantic fears

my desperate wishes

And it is enough


to rest in this transient calm

to know that all is well

and will be well

Tomorrow will come

with its dizzying demands

and I will face it

and surely fail

to meet all its myriad requirements

But the steadying truth

is right here in this silent stillness:

It is well.

Ebenezer: A Stone to Remember

Build an altar

Raise a stone

Dig a well

Do something, anything,

To alter the barren landscape

Of your heart

The monotonous stretch

Of your memory

Make a mark

To disrupt the linear, unchanging path

Of your trudge through the wilderness

So that when you look back over your shoulder

As you dig your toes into the soil

Of the Promised land

You will remember

Who brought you this far



In the desire to be strong,

it is easy to become hard,

and vulnerability

often feels like frailty.

How humiliating it can be

to admit that we need–

That we aren’t able to keep going


That we are desperate to know

and be known.

Even now I hide behind this word:


when, if I’m being honest,

I mean “me.”


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: Nothing Is Wasted

Every day I stumble

On the road to somewhere

My knees are bloodied

My palms scraped raw

But nothing is wasted

Every embarrassment

Every hesitation

Every doubt overcome

Every ounce of pain

And disappointment

It is all transformed

And used for my good

Nothing is wasted


Every day I push myself up

On the road to somewhere

A moment of fortitude

An exertion of will

And nothing is wasted

Every unseen victory

Every unspoken hope

Every secret generosity

Every well-done task

And unrecognized potential

They are all accounted for

And acknowledged by God

And nothing is wasted

NPM: A Poem To Myself

Write something good today, I determined.

Something good:

like a sunset bleeding crimson and gold

over gently rolling hills of blue grass

Something good:

trees bending graceful in the wind like dancers,

like a lover bending to his beloved

Something good:

a baby’s first smile, a mother’s fierce pride

that rises so strongly and suddenly that it chokes her up

Something good:

the smell of rain on rich, dark earth

when the plants are just beginning to bloom

Don’t write of sorrow, or loss, or regret

Though those things help us love

all the somethings good

Today, take only the beauty

Only the bliss

Wrap it up in spun-silver words

Pass it on like a gift

And expect nothing in return

Give it with joy and thankfulness

And remember to fight for it

every day of your life

Resist greed and apathy,

Because something good

is worth fighting for,

Even if the battle is never-ending.

Things I’ve Learned (And Am Learning)

Sometimes, it is wiser to be silent, even if you feel you have something to say.

Don’t be afraid of thinking and questioning.

It is easy to regret words rashly spoken. It is also easy to regret silence when something needed to be said.

Tradition is important, but it can still be wrong.

Some well-intentioned people may discourage you from expressing your questions, thoughts, or doubts. They may make you feel guilty for having them. God is not one of those people.

There is so, so much we don’t understand. Don’t be quick to say you do.

Pride is your worst enemy. Sooner or later, it will absolutely humiliate you.

Think boldly; speak carefully.

You don’t have to go on a life-long search for significance. You don’t have to “make something of yourself.” Your life is already significant by default. You matter, no matter what you do.

To be continued… (for the rest of my days)