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I’m on a Spy Mission for Advent

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This December I’m on a hunt for truth and beauty. Not the bendable truths and digitalized beauty of the world today, but truth seen through the filter of God’s word and beauty that reveals a hint of God’s everlasting glory.  A friend recently said, “I want to learn to see.  In art and in life, I want to look for God moving through the background.”

I’ve lived on a particular kind of beauty and truth these last many years, often wrapped in a cloak of painful situations.  Certainly God’s love has been revealed throughout that time and in that revelation there has been beauty, but my soul desperately needs to notice some other aspects. These have more to do with sunsets dipped in apricots hues and the pure, ringing laughter of a four-year old, both reflections of God’s truth and beauty.

Not only do I want to seek them out, I want to share them as well; with my children, with you, and many people I know who sit in an all too familiar darkness.  The darkness we see is not darkness to God and He calls us to be be windows of His light, so others can see a glimpse of His glory.

Here’s a beautiful poem crafted with the truth that our Savior left his throne and came down to a smelly, sweaty stable for you and for me.

 

Mary’s Song
by Luci Shaw

Blue Homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot naked star
fallen into my arms. (Rest…
you who have had so far to come.)
Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies
whose vigor hurled a universe.  He sleeps
whose eyelids have not closed before.

His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world. Charmed by doves’s voices,
the whisper of straw, he dreams,
hearing no music from his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes,
he is curtailed who overflowed all skies,
all years. Older than eternity, now
he is new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught
that I might be free, blind in my womb
to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended,
I must see him torn.

 

(I’m thankful to the friend that brought me to Luci Shaw’s poetry this summer.  This poem came from a book called “Accompanied by Angels: Poems of the Incarnation”, a great read for this month.)

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Hutchmoot in Verse

If you don’t know what Hutchmoot is, click here to get a little more confused about the whole idea.

For those of you who have been to Hutchmoot, I hope this bit of verse glimpses a familiar moment, even if your moment happened in a different seat with a different set of characters.

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My pencil records that
which should not be forgotten
as another quote takes its place
in the cramped apartment of my brain.
I shift and shove furniture around,
wondering where to put all the guests,
while my hand scribbles on and on.

By the time the bell rings,
my head is heavy with new occupants,
and I navigate the crowds, avoiding questions.
How was your session?
people are eager to ask me,
but Dillard is still unpacking,
while Chesterton fixes a cup of tea,
and Plato sits in the corner sulking
at his motley crew of flat mates.
Lewis and Rawlings are
fighting over who gets the
window seat for supper and this
din of musical chairs,
has left me breathless and dumb.

Arriving at my bench I invite
the time-traveling tenants
into the wide-open stretch
and they heed my call,
climbing out onto tree limbs
reclining on slides and swings,
giving us all a little room to breathe.

Later, when it’s time to
collect my thoughts,
now dusted with earth,
October leaves askew in L’Engle’s hair,
I notice they’ve settled in nicely,
clearing space just in time
to make room for the residents,
of the post-lunch session.

 

Rabbits, any suggestions for a title?

 

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Writing Poetry about Writing Poetry

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been meeting with a friend to talk about writing.  The first samples of work I showed her were about my Dad and they were in verse form.  I didn’t call them poetry, I just said “that was the way my thoughts and feelings came out”.  I figured out over the next week that I simply didn’t want to call the work poetry because to call it poetry meant I had to acknowledge poetry rules and etiquette.

A whopping clue came when my friend asked me, “So who are your favorite poets? Who are you reading right now?” I calmly explained that I wasn’t reading poetry because I wasn’t writing poetry because I was just “writing however it came out”.

Once I accepted that the form of my pieces did fall under the heading of poetry, and once I started reading poetry, I realized how far my apple fell from the wind-sculpted tree. Last week, as I found my intended thoughts slipping through the lines of my poems, I decided to vent my frustration by, of course, writing some poetry about those feelings.

Here are two poems about writing poetry.

A Better Way to Poem
There’s something I want to tell you,
but with every new draft
the words twist themselves
into a puzzle that I can’t solve.
If only I had Dumbledore’s Pensieve
and could pull my thoughts
into a thin, blue whisper of smoke
and swirl them into the stone basin.
Then you could place your face in my poem
and sitting in a blue chintz chair,
understand everything.

 

Dear Final Draft    
I liked you better
the first time I wrote you,
with your dangling participles
and your mixed metaphors,
at least we understood each other then.

Now you’ve grown distant
with your fancy synonyms,
too good for me with your verses
purring like Milton and Yeats,
instead of stumbling over syntax,
waiting for my help.

It may be true
that you don’t need me anymore,
but I’ll never forget when
I was the romantic poet,
and you were my first draft.

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Momma’s Day: A Glimpse

For my Momma, I made this little painting (it’s 5×7) of my kitchen window.  When she was visiting a few weeks ago, she made the curtain with the sweet birds from a towel I found at the thrift store.  As I sketched, inked and painted this cheerful piece, I pictured my momma’s smile when she reached into the mailbox and opened the envelope.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

My own Momma’s day was lovely. It began with chocolate chip pancakes in bed.  You would think that might be the height of the day and it could only go down from there, but the day soared.

From my twelve year old I received a poem.  Not too long ago she wrote a poem about herself entitled “The Shape of Me”, and it perfectly descibed the inner heart of my oldest child.  Here’s the poem she wrote for me (she says it’s just a draft, but I like it just the way it is):

The Shape of Momma

She is full of squiggly ideas,
waiting for the time to share them.
She is a gentle tangle,
reaching for everyone at one time.
She is a sculptor,
forming blobs
into beautiful works of art.

As a Momma I often feel like I’m seen only as the “food dispenser” person, the “drive me to that place” person, the “has to say no” person.  This poem reveals that as she watches me in the daily tasks of motherhood she sees a woman striving for grace, love, and beauty. It’s a gift to be seen as the Momma I aim to be, if only a glimpse.

My ten year old gave me a handmade card with a list of things we do together that are special to her, like reading favorite books, doing art together and snuggling.  Again, the gift is letting me know that I get some things right.  There are plenty of days when I go to bed full of doubt.

My 8 year old boy gave me hugs and kisses. His expressions of love are always accompanied with full-body force and heart.

My 4 year old daughter began wishing me “Happy Mother’s Day” on Saturday and repeated the sentiment with sincerity and smiles at least 14 more times by Sunday afternoon.  She left a small pot of roses outside of the bathroom door for me to find, and as she said goodnight she told me, “I enjoy you”.  We also had a little date to the park and a bite of ice cream.

And together, they all gave me this little natural habitat of beauty.

Most days I think about the hard parts of being a momma, today I was reminded that it is a privilege and a gift just to be with these fantastic, miniature human beings.

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