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Archive for April, 2012

Lazy Labels

I started writing this a while ago and just came back to it today. I feel like it finished itself sooner than I intended, but oh well…

 

The idleness of priests
Is to savour the smell of the offerings,
To delight in anticipation
Of a holy family barbecue.

And they lift the lid,
Watching the flesh turn to dinner,
And accept the serenity
Of waiting for things to come.

The contemplation of scholars
Is to favour us with their theories,
To assist in our stipulations
Of what we boast is truth.

And they lift the cover,
Watching the words turn to sentences,
And accept the necessity
Of long hours spent in thought.

But the stillness of mourners
Or the apathy of widows…

The silence of the ones He called
“the poor in spirit”

Are the mockery of the saints.
To shame the deliberation
Of despair that offends their God.

And they lift their noses,
Watching for shame to yield repentance
And acceptance of the sinfulness
Of long hours spent in bed.

 

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He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

 

You know all those movies you’ve watched or books you’ve read, when the happy ending seemed impossible, but still happened anyways…somehow…?

You know all those times you’ve walked outside and been smacked in the face by the sunlight…sunlight you’d nearly forgotten after a really long and grey winter…?

You know those people who say that true love never happens like it does in love stories…? Well, they were wrong. And all these feelings…the really really good feelings…well, they just serve to remind us of our world’s own story of redemption…and how the good and the right and the beautiful aren’t just the stuff of fantasies.

This is the best story…the best TRUE story ever told: LOVE WINS!

 

Take that sadness.

Take that pain.

Take that angry hurting and bitter despair.

You may win some of the battles, but you have lost the ultimate war!

 

He is risen!!!!!!!!!!

He is risen indeed!!!!!!!!

 

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The Darkest Hour

This is the darkest hour,
When you can’t hear my heartbeat: you’re breathing too loudly…
When you don’t know what warmth is; your shivering’s subconscious,
And you’re waving your hand to yourself in your face…
It’s too dark, you can’t see it, you can’t taste the morning,
Not even that lingering, dry, rancid aftertaste,
Not even a hint of the light on your pallet.

This is the darkest hour,
When you can’t hear my heartbeat: you know it’s stopped beating,
When you know it is true, but you won’t yet believe it.
And you’re hugging your knees, and you’re rocking in silence,
It’s too dark to be sure, but I think you’ve stopped crying…
Yes, your tears got too tired to keep fighting the madness
That creeps through your mind like a wild cat gone prowling.

This is the darkest hour,
When I give up my Spirit to take on this atonement,
When I give up the light of my own Father’s face.
And when hell in its fullness rises up now to meet me,
Like the wind of an oven that’s been opened too quickly,
It’s too dark, I can’t see much…but lost hungry faces,
And three days yet to pass before light guides us home.

This may have been more appropriate yesterday, but I felt like I had to write it out now. The light is coming soon… Thank you, Jesus.

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I know that I have finished a meaningful piece of poetry when I begin to hear it inside myself, looping through my mind with an infinite repeating cadence, like a song you’ve known since childhood that gets stuck in your head. But it doesn’t just happen with my own poetry, of course. Lately, whenever I start to feel an urge to write something, or begin to think about something even remotely inspirational, I hear the refrain of T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men begin its beautiful rhythm…

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

Why does that happen? It’s like we are programmed to recognize and repeat beautiful or meaningful rhythms. If someone was to play for me on a keyboard or any other instrument the three simple notes that composed the closing door sound of the TTC subway doors…I would immediately be mindful of the many hours I spent on those subways going to and from work or family outings downtown…or reaching even further back, of our missions trips to TO when we were teenagers. But I wouldn’t make that connection if it wasn’t for the specific rhythm of the tones.

One

Two

Threeee…

Or something to that effect… The rhythm is what draws my mind to those places, not just the melody. And I believe that this is why poetry is capable of touching me on such a deep level. A beautiful piece of prose you remember mostly for the meaning of the words used. I’ll always think that prose should have a bit of rhythm too, but that is where poetry shines and why I love it so much. I love to write prose to communicate something profound or to have more freedom of description…but how much more beautiful and meaningful is a poem that communicates and describes the same thing. How much more work to write it, is really the issue…but it truly is a work of art in the end at that point, and not just a blog entry…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love novels…and they are most definitely artful. But they contain many many more words (normally) than poetry, and hence their ability to communicate themes and develop characters is something that just can’t be memorized and recited. What poetry does is take a multitude of words and strip them down to their bare bones through the use of rhythm. And what you’re left with, if it’s done correctly, is a piece of art that becomes a background rhythm to your life…a reminder of beauty in the other day to day rhythms we experience.

I’ll be walking down the sidewalk. Right foot, left, right, left. This is the way the world ends… Right, left, right, left. This is the way the world ends…

And of course, many people have discovered the Psalms or other scripture to be meaningful in this way. Sometimes the simplest way to “pray without ceasing” is to find a piece of spiritual poetry that you can go back to over and over again throughout your day. My favourites over the years have been Psalm 23, 121, and even parts of Revelation or the gospels at certain times.

The Spirit and the Bride say “Come.”
And let the one who hears say “Come.”
And let the one who is thirsty come…

What rhythms are marching through your brain space today? Take a second to notice them and make sure they are helpful, beautiful truths that can get you through this crazy world with a sense of wonder and thankfulness. This is what helps keep me sane, anyways… 🙂

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