Archive for the ‘Poems’ Category

Eternal Beauty   1 comment

The white-capped, jagged peaks
Catch the clouds and collect them,
Draping them like scarves across their shoulders.
The sun dances between floating puffs,
Painting the canvas below with light and shadow.

It shocks my heart with joy each time,
This ten thousand year old sculpture,
Always new, never changing,
This staging ground of life and death
Against which every disaster obliterates itself.
As the world remains whole.

This unshakeable frame of history
Breathes into me its strength,
I will fail often and fail at last,
But in our failing, the world endures,
Folding us into its story,

Its beauty and goodness echoes in my soul,
The glory within resonating to the glory without,
My joyful agreement, invitation, oneness
With all that is good in the universe.
I am an indispensable character in the eternal drama.


Posted April 3, 2022 by janathangrace in Poems

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Turning Pain into Poetry   3 comments

I got choked up when a friend posted this John Milton poem to my page, a poem written as he was losing his eyesight.  It so perfectly reflects my own present struggle that it resonated deeply with me in a way it never had before.

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Posted July 4, 2016 by janathangrace in Poems

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It is night after a long day.

What has been done has been done;

What has not been done has not been done;

Let it be.


Posted February 24, 2013 by janathangrace in Poems

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Sharing Life   Leave a comment

From one of my new favorite blogs:

What’s that in the Pool?

 Parts of the Rocky Mountains look like

algae bloom out in the Indian Ocean.

Parts of me look like parts of you

and here we go with oneness

being nothing more than

pattern recognition and optical illusion;

though I hope there is more to it than that.

My hurt might not be your hurt,

but I have a sense of it.

Likewise your hope may not resemble mine,

but it cheers you just the same

and we are all the better for it.

We needn’t replicate each other

or attempt imitation,

but recognition is a kind thing

and art is what we all have to share.

Posted December 11, 2012 by janathangrace in Poems

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Disapproval   Leave a comment

Kimberly and I were visiting her relatives in Arkansas for a week, and some days after that, my laptop died.  It is much easier for me to pick up my laptop as I sit on the sofa and begin to compose, but now I must come into our office and sit at a desk to compose, and it takes away the spontaneity and ease (and requires coordination with my wife).  So I’ve been missing.  Kimberly read to me this morning from a book written by the father of a boy with disabilities.  He quoted a poem by Wendell Berry that I appreciated and so will share here:

You will be walking some night
in the comfortable dark of your yard
and suddenly a great light will shine
round about you, and behind you
will be a wall you never saw before.
It will be clear to you suddenly
that you were about to escape,
and that you are guilty; you misread
the complex instructions, you are not
a member, you lost your card
or never had one. And you will know
that they have been there all along,
their eyes on your letters and books,
their hands in your pockets,
their ears wired to your bed.
Though you have done nothing shameful,
they will want you to be ashamed.
They will want you to kneel and weep
and say you should have been like them.
And once you say you are ashamed,
reading the page they hold out to you,
then such light as you have made
in your history will leave you.
They will no longer need to pursue you.
You will pursue them, begging forgiveness.
They will not forgive you.
There is no power against them.
It is only candor that is aloof from them,
only an inward clarity, unashamed,
that they cannot reach. Be ready.
When their light has picked you out
and their questions are asked, say to them,
“I am not ashamed.” A sure horizon
will come around you. The heron will begin his evening flight from the hilltop.

Posted June 5, 2012 by janathangrace in Poems, Reading

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Mending Wall   Leave a comment

One of my favorite poems:

Something is there that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.                                                         The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbours.’
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something is there that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbours.’
– Robert Frost

Posted March 5, 2012 by janathangrace in Poems

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We Cannot Be Whole Alone   1 comment

I love the picture of our interdependence expressed in this poem, though our need for others can also be a frightening thought.

Each lifetime is the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

For some there are more pieces.

For others the puzzle is more difficult to assemble.

Some seem to be born with a nearly complete puzzle.

And so it goes.

Souls going this way and that

Trying to assemble the myriad parts.

But know this. No one has within themselves

All the pieces to their puzzle . . .

Everyone carries with them at least one and probably

Many pieces to someone else’s puzzle.

Sometimes they know it.

Sometimes they don’t.

And when you present your piece…

To another, whether you know it or not,

Whether they know it or not,

You are a messenger from the Most High.

–Lawrence Kushner, Honey from the Rock

Posted July 12, 2011 by janathangrace in Poems

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The Last Hope   Leave a comment

For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able

to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. –2 Tim.1:12

Against what day?

The day of great temptation

When powers of ill,

Subtle and strong, would overwhelm the fortress

Of mind and will.

Against what day?

The day when sudden anguish

Crushes the soul;

When ruthless pain and cold, relentless sorrow

Take bitter toll.

Against what day?

The day of swift destruction,

When in a day

The slowly-garnered treasures of a lifetime

Are swept away.

Against what day?

The day when Death’s grey angel

Crosses my door,

Blotting out life’s sweet song and golden sunshine


Against that day,

That day of dread,

When strong heart faileth

And hope is fled,

Day of life’s direst need

Or Death’s dark sleep,

I am persuaded that my God is able

My soul to keep!

–Margaret Clarkson–

Posted July 4, 2011 by janathangrace in Poems