Uncentered, my grandfathers loiter
by Florida orange trees blurred by wind
beyond the narrow camera's view.
As if knowing they would not see
the new decade's finish, neither smiles.
No pictures record the rest of the day,
but I can guess what came next:
One drove home to his photography
and pacifism, traveling toward the day
he was attacked and killed
by his weak but kindly heart.
The other walked back into his watch shop
to work on gears and motors,
not seeing through his jeweler's glass
the night he would fall asleep
and slip into silence like a clock
someone forgot to wind.
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
John Newton: Perplexity Relieved
I'm still reading John Newton off and on, and today I was looking through his Olney hymns and found many that I really like either in part or whole. The one below is one of my new favorites because it reflects my own experience struggling with sanctification and the daily slog through sin, guilt, and self-absorption. The title is "Perplexity Relieved."
Uncertain how the way to find
Which to salvation led;
I listened long, with anxious mind,
To hear what others said.
When some of joys and comforts told
I feared that I was wrong;
For I was stupid, dead, and cold,
Had neither joy nor song.
The Lord my lab’ring heart relieved,
And made my burden light;
Then for a moment I believed,
Supposing all was right.
Of fierce temptations others talked,
Of anguish and dismay;
Through what distresses they had walked,
Before they found the way.
Ah! then I thought my hopes were vain,
For I had lived at ease;
I wished for all my fears again,
To make me more like these.
I had my wish, the LORD disclosed
The evils of my heart;
And left my naked soul, exposed
To Satan’s fiery dart.
Alas! “I now must give it up,”
I cried in deep despair;
How could I dream of drawing hope,
From what I cannot bear!
Again my Savior brought me aid,
And when he set me free;
“Trust simply on my word, he said,
And leave the rest to me.”
Thursday, September 13, 2012
If you are like me, you struggle with contentment. You believe your current situation is God-ordained. You believe that God is intimately involved in every part of your life. You are grateful for what God has given you--family, health, vocation, food, clothing, housing, and a thousand other gifts that you recognize in passing everyday. You know that God possesses all things and could give you whatever he wished, but you kick against the limits he has placed on your life: you wish for more money or leisure time, different geographical location or job, perhaps a wider scope for what you believe to be your good desires. You spend time indulging in daydreams about your ideal life.
Thomas Watson, that sound old Puritan has good words for us from his book The Art of Divine Contentment. Hard, convicting words, but words we would do well to ponder.
"If the thing we desire is good for us, we shall have it. If it is not good, then not having it is good for us. Resting satisfied with this promise gives contentment."
"Discontent both eclipses reason and weakens faith. It is Satan's usual policy to break over the hedge where it is weakest. Discontent makes a breach in the soul, and usually at this breach the devil enters in by a temptation and storms the soul. How easily can the devil, by his logic, dispute a discontented Christian into sin!"
"The way for a Christian to be content is not by raising his state higher, but by bringing his spirit lower; not by making his barns wider, but his heart narrower."
Thomas Watson, The Art of Divine Contentment
Monday, September 10, 2012
Monday, September 03, 2012
Here is a copy of "Monster Minds," one of my poems recently published in St. Katherine's Review.
“. . . the earth sustains on her bosom many monster minds—minds which are not afraid to employ the seeds of Deity deposited in human nature as a means of suppressing the name of God.” --Jean Calvin
Maybe I’m that mind,
an astronomer hoisting data
like a fish testing water mass
with cataract’s plummet.
I strain numbers none have read,
declare disaster for dead galaxies,
then fall asleep to the garble
of background radiation
battering through time.
Morning will see me trampling
fall’s Pentecost of leaves,
prying into heavens emptied
of all but bare branches
and crossed only by cumulus.
Or maybe you’re that mind,
a naturalist, muttering
“felis catus,” over tiger tracks
near a creek bed where
crayfish molt under leaf rot,
and honey bees sip in the shallows,
balanced on water’s moment
like waiters’ wine carafes--
all items in your research log,
except for the stone rolled
across your path: nothing
but erosion chewing granite resistance.
You return samples to the lab
to spend years, analyzing.