The Wise Men of old beheld a star,
Named and ordained
Light years of old.
They divined a birth.
The years of faces buried in tomes
Of great lore, mystic meditation,
And in skies of wonder,
Led to epiphany.
Behold! A new heavens and a new earth.
And we, in this brave new world,
Do seek our enlightenment,
As we too, with faces buried
In skies of wonder,
Of starry pixels,
Dotted across the expanse
Of black screens
Of plasma and plastic,
Behold the new heavens.
Should we look up
For a moment,
We would lose sight
Of our cosmos, our creation,
Our flesh made word;
Disincarnate; reality made virtual,
Heavens made space,
Space made cyber.
Behold the new earth.
Bring your gifts from afar
And rejoice in the constellations
Of individuals networked,
In ethereal formations,
Of thumbs up and thumbs down –
Those five fingered
Keepers of orthodoxy.
But where do they point?
To heaven or hell?
At the end of a pregnancy, all fears abated and a healthy baby;
At the end of school, hearing a bell or framing a diploma;
At the end of a day, working to see the clock strike whatever;
At the end of a week, working for the weekend;
At the end of pain, a broken bone mended or bad part removed;
At the end of stress and distress, feeling sweet relief;
At the end of a life, few regrets and many memories;
Nothing is as joyful as the words, ‘It is finished;’
Live in joy, for those words have already been said.
Do not end with ‘It is finished,’ but there begin.
I walk through a teeming mall;
No one knows my name, my life;
I sense obscurity; my countenance falls;
Then I see my wife.
The mass of people fades,
Becoming a loud background.
For one in a thousand says
My name, and I feel that I’ve been found.
Unknown to masses all around,
yet I feel love and personality.
For at least one in the crowd
Knows everything about me.
So it is with all that is unknown,
forgotten, and obscure,
If they know the One
Who knows their name and numbers their very hairs.
I will write of myself and sing of myself.
I will breathe of myself and dream of myself.
I will celebrate my self-centered yawp,
And reap my self-thinking crop.
All assume my assumptions and grow in this soil,
And are anointed with the same self-oil.
As I sit down to write, I find myself a hero.
As I lay down to sleep, I fancy I’m Nero –
King of my castle, and Lord of my empire,
Holder of destinies and all that inspires.
My thoughts run steady on their track,
And always find their way back, to this cul de sac.
When will I make the circle, and learn the blessedness
Only when I find a more worthy object for reflection,
Will I know the expulsive power of a new affection,
And find a song not of myself,
But of mental health, and love itself.
It was jacked up, that old van,
Was there ever a time when it really ran?
Perhaps there was, but no one remembers.
It had been jacked up for too many Decembers.
It was jacked up, that old van,
Rusted out like an antique beer can.
The engine hanging out, the tires all flat,
A bird’s nest in the passenger’s seat, wasps’ nest in the back
It was jacked up, that old van,
But then along came a wonderworking man,
Who took a fancy to it for reasons that defy,
And gave up his fortune to make it fly.
It was jacked up, that new van,
remade, at great cost, by the wonderworking man,
With a new engine, still held up and on track,
But this time by a different jack.
I saw the Evening Star tonight.
This wouldn’t have meant much to me in years past.
But I have learned more about the vast
Night sky and its lights, and in turn have opened my eyes.
I marveled for a moment
That I had never really noticed her before,
Venus of myth and folklore,
Moving through the heavens, posing as she went.
I thought the thoughts of old –
Of celestial deities and love and mystery.
Of her dance at the wedding of Psyche
As Pan took his horn to blow.
Ah, but now she is just a planet
A ball of rock and gas and ice and mist.
And indeed that is of what she consists
But it is far from what she is.
For though I had not noticed her before in the sky,
The thoughts behind her have been with me
Each night for years as I have blessed the three
Souls God has placed in my life – my children and my wife.
And what’s more, this Star of the morning,
Who is the greater and true God of love,
Has dawned in my heart below from above
And shown me that Venus is but a sign.
And so I look, and so she shines.
A cemetery flower, a real cemetery flower, not man-made,
Looked on as the mourners gathered around a grave.
He was a young flower, perhaps a bit naive and green,
But he could not understand the sight he had just seen.
As the men and women placed the casket in the ground,
Many were sobbing, weeping, and all were wearing frowns.
The flower wished that he could find a way to communicate
His own reasonings about what was taking place.
He thought to himself, ‘If I could only tell them about me,
That a short time ago I too was only a seed.’
An old piece of cloth that had become quite frayed
For years in the dark of a closet had laid.
It served no good purpose, but only collected grime and dust,
As it laid and decayed in the dankness and must.
But then one day amidst its blight it saw an unfamiliar sight,
‘I do believe’ it said with fright, ‘this must be the thing called light.’
Someone indeed had opened the door
And removed the rag from its familiar store.
‘This rag is old and dingy and torn’ said the one who had removed it,
‘I do not think I can clean it up, but perhaps I can renew it.’
The remover had quite a skill for making old things new,
And the old rag had been quite changed by the time that he was through.
The new old rag now hung on the wall in the light as decoration.
But he could not believe a rag like him could experience such transformation.
And sure enough, as he had feared, the darkness came once more.
The dream was over, back to the lightless closet, as it had been before.
But the sun rose next day and he found he was not in the closet at all.
He was still a new rag who lived in the light and hung upon the wall.
‘And can it be’ he said with joy, ‘that the dream is not a dream?
For this great thing called morning comes each day and I am still the new me.’
My daughter and I went to the art museum today.
They have a special exhibit featuring Monet.
But I was mesmerized by the self-portrait of Van Gogh,
And a bunch of people talking on cell phones.
They move on from one portrait to the next,
Not raising their eyes, as they send their texts.
A girl sitting before the likeness of the crucifixion of Christ,
No need to look, the pictures on her Facebook app sufficed.
As I explained to my daughter, my parental duty,
That portraits are illustrations of human creativity and beauty,
We critiqued each one, admiring shades and hues,
And wondered what these painted men would say if they could.
They’d probably say, ‘Get off your phone,’
And let out a groan.
There’s only one thing more awkward than being stared at when you’re beautiful,
And that’s being ignored.
Not my best poetry, but true nonetheless.