Friday, March 25, 2005

Fear Not

March 25, 2005

I sit corrected. Apparently, Gabriel is not a seraph. Thus the edit. My apologies, Gabriel. I did have fun imagining you as such. And I will not allow the chubby, naked, winged babies to take up residence in my mind under the glorious name of "angel."

Have you ever seen an angel dance?

Come to think of it..
have you ever seen an angel?

Not the chubby, naked, winged babies
adorning postcards and calendars..

the beings of such frightful glory
that Balaam's donkey
was moved to speech
at the mere sight of one of them.

I, for one, know that I have not.
(Six-winged, many-eyed,
ever-burning, unconsumed..
I beg your pardon: That's a seraph..

And yet, I am certain I would remember
the aquaintance of one
who dwells in the presence
of the seraphim
and of the Most Holy One..)

However, it occurs to me
that I think I know someone
who has seen an angel dance..

Can you imagine?
Thirteen, fourteen,
give or take..
minding her own,
spinning holy thread,

And suddenly,
this winged messenger
tumbles- mind you, tumbles
into her presence..

For how else would you imagine
he came to her,
but dancing with delight?
For of all the messages he had borne
to the children of God,
none could compare
with the tidings he bore
from the Light of Heaven
unto her..

I see him,
all undimmed glory,
all excitement unbound,
forgetting for a moment
that this girl
upon whom he has gazed
from his dwelling
in eternity
has never lain
her two soft eyes
upon his.

Yet as she turns
to flee his presence,
so returns his wisdom
and compassion..

"Fear not.."

Fear not.
For from her womb
would spring the One
in whose image she herself
and all mankind who came before
and followed after,
were created.

Fear not.
For He has longed
throughout the ages
for this moment

here with her..

To unfold the mystery
of incarnation,
of redemption,

of who He is,
of who we are..


And she said yes.


And I see him,
dancing away from her,
back into the presence
of the seraphim
and the Most Holy One,
weeping for joy,
weeping in awe,
and singing..

"Fear not.."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Black & White

March 22, 2005

It all really is black and white for you,
isn't it?

I'm in or I'm out.
I fit or I don't.
I'm right or I'm wrong,
and forbid that there be
any space in between
for a moment to weigh
the possibility...
no, the probability
that something more exists
in between.

Did it ever once occur to your
satisfied mind
(maybe in quieter moments,
with day put to bed and distractions depleted)
that between black and white
there just might exist
shades of gray?

"That's a slippery slope.."

Then I guess
I can hardly fault you for missing
cerise, coral, flax and jade..
turquoise, azure, cerulean..

or even just blue.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Holy of Holies

March 21, 2005

We welcomed a little one,
into the family of the Faithful..

Awestruck, Father took the baby boy
and walked about the Nave;
into the Sanctuary
for the first time.

Something holy there was in this.
Something good and right..

This child, so fresh from God,
belongs in the Holy of Holies;
a sort of birthright, redeemed..
Creation recapitulated,
captured in this
simple, sacred symbol,
returning this Christ exemplar
to his proper place, cooing
softly in blue satin.


We welcomed a little one
into the family of the faithful..

Reverently, Father took the baby girl
and walked about the Nave,
humbly, gently, reverently
mindful of her holy charge;
unworthy hands now
carrying her infant innocence;
the trust entailed within
her femininity..

He did not enter the Holy of Holies.

For in his arms,
in our midst,
the Holy of Holies was sleeping
softly in pink satin.

Sunday, March 20, 2005


March 19, 2005
11:56 PM

I do not know
what it means for you,
that I have crossed your path..

But I know
that I will never be the same
for having known you,

and the space between
the time before
you came into my life

and now
is proof enough for me
that we are given,
each to the other,
for the sake of redemption.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


David J. Nightingale

March 17, 2005

Inspired by
Sheldon and Jean Van Auken

Alabaster schooner,
sails tipped with ebony,
with mystery,
with longing for the Journey,
sailing seas of cirrus,

Free to follow
cloud-capped, windy waves
wherever they may lead,
into the Undiscovered Country,
beckoning the sailor
to weigh anchor
and discover
the Unknown.

"Undiscovered Country" taken from
Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act III, Scene I.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


March 15, 2005

Marvin Ellis "Red" Pope
June 19, 1918-March 9, 2005

Undulating grass upon a hill, now gone to seed,
glistening, embraced within the morning’s early breeze,
awaiting consummation of the ever growing
ardor of spring.

The tall grass danced for him..

Ever have those gentle waves of green indwelled my soul,
like bonnets, blankets, brushes, just beneath the surface,
soon to spring from emerald depths beneath cornflower skies
to paint the slopes.

Wildflowers bloomed for him..

Red dwells now within those waves, hypnotic in their dance,
laid beneath a gnarled and crooked branch of fading oak;
sentinel which guards his rest and stands with great resolve
beside his grave.

Aging branch sheltered him..

Deeply bowed, and bending ever lower to the ground
to honor him whom life bent low with toil and blessings
as he worked soil and wood and hearts and everything which
came to his hands.

Mighty oak honored him..

Grass and flower, branch and tree; they wrote his eulogy.
‘Tis fit that this should be for a country boy as he:
That at his death, Nature shed a tear and bent her knee;
marked the moment

when she had lost a son.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


March 9, 2005

Marvin Ellis "Red" Pope
June 19, 1918- March 9, 2005

I always wanted to know you, Red.

I know where you came from,
but where have you gone?
What answers to my unasked
questions followed you
to your grave?

Father to my mother,
and yet I never really knew you,
nor your wife,
nor how you both shaped
the course of my life
through the influence you wielded
in hers.

I know your hands;
the south Texas soil they turned;
the wood they worked
to form a desk, a chest,
a headboard for a wedding gift.

I remember the finger
missing from your hand,
and the stories you told
of how and why and when...
everyone always laughed;
so Red, your tales must have
held a hint of truth;
because I know your wife
is still quite capable
of biting off more
than a finger.

I never really knew you, Red.
Yet when the phone rang,
and I heard my mother’s voice,
I knew someone was gone,
and I hoped it wasn’t you.

I hoped it wasn’t you.

I always wanted to know you, Red.

A Quote From G.K. Chesterton

"The recurrences of the universe rose to the maddening rhythm of an incantation, and I began to see an idea. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, 'Do it again'; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.

It is possible that God says every morning, 'Do it again' to the sun; and every evening 'Do it again' to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore. I had always vaguely felt facts to be miracles in the sense that they are wonderful: now I began to think of miracles in the stricter sense that they were willful. I meant that they were, or might be, repeated exercise of some will."
(Orthodoxy, pg 60-61)

Monday, March 07, 2005


March 7, 2005


"Parsley, sage,
rosemary and thyme.."
each have I gathered
and tied off with twine,
between draughts of bitter
and sips of sweet wine.

Parsley I’ve sought,
yet comfort is scarce;
when found, is fleeting.
Small nosegays I bear
after searching the fields
through years of despair..

Sage is for strength,
found most often
while sifting spare gleanings,
left behind by those
who had no foresight
of the impoverished
who would follow
and seek..

"Parsley, sage,
rosemary and thyme.."
each have I gathered
and tied off with twine,
between draughts of bitter
and sips of sweet wine.

Rosemary; rarest of gifts.
Yet love was not hid
when need was most dire.
In that very hour
was revealed
her poignant truth.

What shall I say
of the courage to walk;
fortitude to breathe
when breath felt like death?
This I found, to my surprise,
as I sought desire to do
the thing which next was
set before my hands:

When opened I my eyes,
I found the fields of thyme
were yet uncut;
the harvesters had left those rows
in search of sweeter herbs.
I had but to make the choice
to pick; to tie; to place in my
tattered pocket; finally to learn:

Courage is naught except
volition toward the road
which fashions fear within one’s heart.

Between draughts of bitter
and sips of sweet wine,
each have I gathered
and tied off with twine:
"parsley, sage,
rosemary and thyme."

"Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme..." taken from "Scarborough Fair," an English folk song by an unknown author, but performed by many; most noteably, Simon & Garfunkel.

Parsley is for comfort; sage, for strength; rosemary, for love; and thyme, for courage.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Eben Ezer

March 4, 2005

In the burial grounds
where the Jews lay their departed
small stones are placed
on grave markers
by the hands of visitors.

It is their custom
this leaving of a stone
in mute evidence that someone
still cares... still remembers...


Where, my beloved Nation,
do I leave stones
for you?

Excerpts from "Bring Stones,"
by Isnala Mani.

Many thanks to Isnala, a Native American
not in blood, but in the Lakota spirit, for inspiration.

The natives of this land
may place their stones
beside the root of any tree,
on the bank of any river,
in the midst of any valley;
for they alone never claimed
to own it.

It never occurred to me
that the land belongs to no one.

Nor that,
by claiming to possess it,
we reduce ourselves
to a small plot in eternity..
the only place
in all of Creation
where we have any deluded right
to place a stone.

George MacDonald

"Home is ever so far away in the palm of your hand, and how to get there it is of no use to tell you. But you will get there; you must get there; you have to get there. Everybody who is not at home, has to go home."

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