This page features my original poetry. Some of the poetry may be found in my weekly blog posts, while others may be unique to this page.
Beauty for Ashti
They say she started as a seed.
Funny how a sprout finds its way to the light,
Pushing through the surface, the barrier,
The very thing that protects it from the elements.
Its leaves appear to be carefully brushed with a fresh coat of paint.
What was once wrapped in a glossy shell, now reaches,
Expanding toward the warmth of the sun.
Her days were spent leaning into the breeze,
Becoming stronger with every bend.
The tree saw many good days,
Finding pleasure in many a passerby.
But winter came.
An icy layer coated her.
The tree, though, had learned to endure.
As summer came, much like this summer,
Her roots longed for the moisture they once had.
Not even a morning dew came to quench their thirst.
She had stood up to the harshest climates,
But nothing could prepare her for this.
Surrounded by dry brush,
The tree’s leaves and bark built up a heavy wall of debris,
But the blaze could not be defeated.
Her rough exterior quickly bubbled under the scorching flame.
Her still-young limbs withered and became brittle.
When morning came there was only a heap of ash,
Smoldering and chalky, a cloud hung low over her.
No longer was the light to be seen.
The heat continued to fester beneath the surface of ash,
Until one day, just as the spark had been swept up,
The skies lit up and roared with thunder.
Not even the chalky ash,
Blowing in the fury could escape this storm.
She remembered her resilience, her fortitude,
Slowly the smoldering ceased,
And the powdery mound transformed into clay.
As the winds spun over and around
The clay was molded into something extraordinary.
No longer could she be threatened by drought or by flame,
But the very thing that appeared to destroy her
Now brought restoration and strength,
For she was no longer an ordinary tree,
But a divine sculpture
Designed to overcome all hardship.
She did not always live a happily-ever-after life,
But she now knew she was mighty.
She and the Woodsman
Thump, thump, shoes treading across linoleum,
The golden tan sheet of rubbery flooring
Trodden with tar-like mud.
One foot lags behind,
Slapping against the floor
Over and over again.
A towering figure makes its way across the kitchen.
A rusty hand wipes his brow.
Through his deep blue eyes
It seems he’s done nothing wrong,
For the earth is part of who he is.
How could thick, wet dirt do harm
When it is the life pumping through his veins,
Veins that push against leathery skin
Bumped and bruised,
Thick, coarse hair interspersed with sunspots?
His bald head covered by a cap a couple decades old.
He removes it to reveal a glistening bare head.
Beads of sweat drip down from where the hat once was.
A bleach white handkerchief wipes it all away.
As he settles into his cushiony seat,
As if in one motion feet are up and back reclined,
Remote quickly switching on the tube.
Immediately news is blaring in every ear in the house.
A toothpick not only makes for good dental hygiene
But also entertainment during the local headlines.
Not a moment too soon a woman’s harsh voice
Echoes from the other room, “Hugh!”
She appears at his side, “Hugh!”
Still silence except for the screaming of the TV.
After sawing and chopping and splitting all day
This is the definition of peace,
Not silence or solitude but unadulterated, meaningless noise
Gaining the attention of the one who’s been by his side
Every day for 60 years.
This is the life of one lucky man.
His Calling in this Moment
Fairy tales paint my childhood memory,
Not in black and white, but vivid color.
With age the colors seem to fade
And fairies disappear into the clouds
That transform our tales into life stories.
It seems all too apparent that this journey
Called life can wind up and down and around
As if there is no destination
No final purpose, no reason for being
However pastors, preachers, priests, teachers
They all tell us that there is purpose
And a unique plan and reason for each life.
You can choose to toss that idea out the window,
Or you can wait for that plan to be revealed.
But there is another technique for identifying
Your unique calling.
Looking for it.
Unlike in the movies or what religious leaders might tell you
Sometimes, most times the blindfold of human nature
Will not magically be pulled away,
Revealing a divine purpose that all at once shows you
The story of your life end to beginning
But what if as you are looking,
The eyes of your heart refocus
And bring about a perfect moment of meaning
Of purpose to touch even a single life?
Wouldn’t that make all the other uncertainty worth it?
Often I get so wrapped up in the thinking,
The wandering, the working at a purpose
That I forget that my purpose could be staring me in the face
With long beard, sad eyes, worn shoes, cracking skin.
I fail to remember that Jesus found purpose in every step
Every thirst, every broken person.
What makes me think I am above that?
So today, I make the usual call to my mom as I walk to my car.
I look down to find a crisp ten-dollar bill lying at my feet.
I pick it up, sliding it into my pocket.
It feels so smooth against the pocket lining.
I reach into my other pocket,
Which reveals I already had ten dollars there.
I’m reminded of the things I take for granted.
I complain that I have to go to the store to get more lunch foods.
How can I complain when there are people starving a block away?
As I exit Target I see Panera Bread in the distance.
My mouth waters, longing for my favorite broccoli cheddar soup.
Strangely, even though I am tired from my long day at work,
I decide to walk across the parking lot to Panera for a bowl of deliciousness.
Out of the corner of my eye I see that man,
The one that looks so much like Jesus I have to stare,
And at that moment he stares back.
Our eyes are locked, but I’m not scared.
I pull that crisp, fresh ten-dollar bill from my wallet,
Place it in his hand and say “I found this.
You need it more than me.”
I wait briefly for a response as he looks down at the bill.
There isn’t a smile, a “thanks”,
Just utter speechlessness, a look of shock.
“God bless,” I say as I walk into the Panera distance.
Perhaps he was just a homeless beggar,
The kind Jesus tells us to serve,
Or perhaps he was Jesus in a not-so-good disguise.
Whichever he was when I got to Panera and turned back
He was gone, as if vanished in his disbelief.