Hanging Rock

Earth’s straightened spine
is mountains reaching for the sky
and trees rising up on tiptoes
to kiss the mist of Heaven’s heights.

(photo credit: Charlotte Hughes)

 

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Eyes of Love

Melanin, Cartilage, Curves

Genitals, Wrinkles, Nerves –

they’re categorical words,

not the treatment one deserves.

They’re not traits people earn,

but they’re worth fighting to preserve.

They’re pen strokes that occur

impacting our hopes and concerns.

They’re flashes of light in a darkened room,

that barely allow us to see or to move.

They’re what we observe and what we assume,

utterly disregarding so much of the whom.

The surface is telling, but never enough

to recognize the soul beneath its make-up.

For the colors we paint on ourselves and each other,

stifle the truth: we are all sister and brother.

Blood has been the ink of human legacy,

but moving forward, it doesn’t have to be.

We can become our ancestor’s wildest dreams,

if we only let love teach us to see.

In the Aftermath

Creator of the wind and waves,

Keeper of the sea

though you did not land the blow,

the blow struck hard and deep.

May you descend upon the destruction.

May your hope and peace overwhelm the flood.

May your comfort and endurance strengthen people

who have lost their homes, loved ones, and livelihoods.

Provide food for hungry bellies

and shelter for those with none.

Provide time and space to grieve and mourn

what cannot be undone.

You not only see the brokenhearted,

you sit beside and catch each of their tears.

You do not abandon them amidst the wreckage;

you pull them close to breathe life where there is fear.

Pour out your spirit upon this situation.

Begin rebuilding hearts in the aftermath.

Use this disaster to reveal your loving kindness,

for it is the last thing the brokenhearted have.

Little Moments

Tumbling toddler,

tipsy and tough –

tirelessly trying

to stand straight up.

Though weak knees wobble

and ankles give in,

each failure compels her

to try yet again.

As eyes monitor movement

smiles radiate pride,

but it isn’t for them

that she tries and she tries.

Something within her

prompts her to stand:

for she was created

to run, play, and dance.

Oxford

 

No matter where you are in the city —

you’ll find:

church bells can be heard upon the hour,

belting out their songs, each trying

to out chime the others.

 

You’ll find:

libraries of all shapes, sizes, and subjects

bustling with students on silent streets,

camouflaged amongst castle-like colleges

and spires that stretch above the rooftops.

 

You’ll find:

stone towers peering down, looming

above glass-fronted shops

and black iron fences buried beneath bicycles,

leaning layer upon layer;

forcing first arrivals, to leave last.

 

You’ll find:

the scent of coffee and fresh pastries

drifting out of the street corner bakeries and Prets,

summoning the rain-chilled students and tourists

to revive themselves on caffeine and sweets;

as they leave – satisfied – the aroma wafts out again,

enticing the next bunch passing by.

 

You’ll find:

scholars with loose black vests flapping at their waist

and polished shoes pattering against the cobblestone

as they hurry along to academic lectures.

They shake raindrops from tweed jackets and vanish

through gold-plated gates gaping open

and massive wooden doors built into lonely old walls

yellowed by time’s constant drizzle.

 

You’ll find:

cyclists who swerve in and out of double-decker buses,

avoiding pedestrians flowing like the Thames,

pooling in some places; the Sheldonian, the Ashmolean, and the Bodleian

steadily admit their eager guests as they attempt to separate

student from tourist.

The line in Blackwells winds up the stairs into the Costa Café on the second floor.

Customers shuffle along, struggling under the weight

of their thick, freshly printed books.

 

You’ll find:

the great privilege and heavy burden

of knowledge.

Sea of Galilee

On your stony shores

sit cities

who witnessed and worshiped

the wonders of His ministry.

Holy water

fed by the Jordan –

whose second son,

the Dead Sea,

is polluted with salt

so thick it forces floating.

You, however

welcome people

to dunk themselves

beneath your surface

swimming with life,

baptizing them

in a massive mikveh.

You broke nature

at the command

of your King creator:

you quieted

when he asked,

held him above your waves

as he wished,

and supplied fish

that ripped nets

because he knew

you could – you would

always obey.

You are the disciple

we all aspire to be,

a home, a heart

of mixing cultures

cultivating faith–

never full,

yet continually being

filled.

 

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Packing

I started with a list

bigger than my room

and that wasn’t even

including my shoes.

Who knows what I’ll need,

maybe this, maybe that.

Should I bring my umbrella

or my polka dot hat?

 

After cramming and smashing

in all that I own,

I yank at the zipper

busting seams, veins, and bone.

Yet the lips of my suitcase

inflexibly refuse to kiss,

pressuring me to rethink

packing all of it.

 

I pull everything out

to start over again,

piling precious possessions

to feed this hungry friend

mouth gaping open,

teeth ready to dig in,

to consume all I’ve collected

through Life’s many whens.

 

I rummage through sweaters

selecting my favorite few,

dwindling my scarf collection

in order to make room

for a crumpled drawing

from a long-distance friend

that did its own traveling

before reaching my hand.

 

A few favorite photos

of those I hold dear,

and the worn, yellowed T-shirt

from vacation one year,

with stained pits from sweat

and sweet memories

of a week spent with Grandpa

before cancer’s victory.

 

An old diary, reread

hundreds of times,

written at age 8

through sleep-heavy eyes,

hardly comprehensible from

profuse spelling errors,

yet pure in its portrayal

of my young heart’s prayers.

 

I am not my possessions –

but some possessions are me,

and I choose to make room

in my suitcase for these,

these precious piles

perfect and precise

in their disorganized

representation of life.

Walking the Halls of History

These halls full of history

are haunted by ghosts.

They echo with the faint whispering

of secrets passed from guest to host.

Their shelves hold jeweled crowns

which rested on royal heads,

and their hooks hold masterpieces

of famous artists now long dead.

These halls attended marriages

and the celebration of male heirs,

gravely tracking the orderly procession

of Henry’s wives by trial and error.

They endured the exchange of the kingdom

from one generation to the next,

standing in silent observation

at titles bought for the price of a neck.

These halls have painted eyes

and frowns in heavy frames

of historic figures from long ago

with eternally remembered names.

How different must their lives have been

from those who walk these halls today,

who place their feet on worn down stone

and gawk at the splendor on display.

These halls have seen more history

than history books can show.

Even now they still stand watching,

allowing their knowledge of the world to grow.

 

44420990_714243158945971_3952579718707937280_n.jpg(Photo: Hampton Court Palace)

 
14317348_10202097448394539_6696766982095619803_n(Photo: Portrait of King Henry VIII)