Category Archives: The Pen


a disconnect no not just one
but wires frayed all the way through
the system breaking at the edges and
the center isn’t holding
we yell our politics into the void
and pray to unrecognizable God
and sparks are dangerously close
to arid hearts in need of rain
too filled with pain to look
to listen to the cry, the scream, the dream
that spins out into space
erase the differences
it’s all one sound, the music lost
we tossed it out with I don’t even know
the question never mind the answer
the only thing for certain
is whatever is behind the curtain
isn’t what we think it is
isn’t filling empty spaces
isn’t making joyful faces
we argue while the hope is burning
pouring fuel upon a fire hungry
for the world won’t be enough
it just keeps on and we are blinded
by explosions, to the tiniest of candles
our hands too small to handle
the switch is stuck in on position
hand to flame, our own volition
smothered heat, a cooler vision
put an end to cruel derision
drop the weapon, no more stones
we can’t do it all alone
different notes, a softer tone
unplugged machines the noises cease
a slower walk, a finer peace

Church Garden

Yesterday, I sat in the church garden
on a concrete bench in front of the cross
there were birds singing
and I smelled flowers
I closed my eyes and lifted my face and felt
surrounded by light and heat
from Christ (though some would say the Texas sun)
but with my eyes closed,
He was still there on the cross
not held by nails or with thorns on His head
but by his love with a royal crown
ruling from the weakness of the cross
and as those thoughts moved through me
I felt a sting on my foot
and just like that, a fire ant
reminded me that I am still in the dirt,
and I smiled up at Jesus
knowing I would be back

Rainy Nights

ground shifts memories sift
like so many grains of rough sand
once upon a life soft, comfort and warm
til time breaks edges and darkens
what was clear and easy now smudged and torn
and scattered like broken glass
boldness melted puddles
truth swirls like smoke wrapped around
hard to grasp but knees locked and
eyes closed so if the edge is near
it will be unseen and real as faith
jerky steps stumble through
and stick the landing

In the Evening

Sometimes when the problems of the world
are too big
all we can do is climb a tree
and bear witness to the light
perched on a skeleton with feet sunk
in the mud
we can tiptoe out to the very edge
toes clutching tiny limbs
where wings can spread
and let the sun paint us asleep

Photo by Nelda Zamir

Lake Evening

as the trees hug the shore of the chilled lake
a lone tree bears witness to the sinking sun
twigs reaching for the last rays of warmth
orange fades to gray, blue fades to black
rooted and nourished, drinking deep from rain to lake
to tree to sky and round and round like earth and seasons
spinning sun to night and come the morning
all begins anew

Photo by Nelda Zamir

Covid Reflections

The sound of the drill
as screws are driven into boards.
the plink of a dropped screw hitting concrete
a cardinal sits in the tree complaining
as though we are infringing on his territory
the sun reflected on the living room wall
after tree limbs were trimmed

masks hanging off the shifter in the car
our new normal
as grocery shopping becomes
an adventure
discussed and prepared for
instead of a taken for granted
weekly chore

roped off pews and covered faces
choir loft empty, hallowed places
Facebook comments, dropped amens
lonely blessed praying faces
carry memories through halls
seasons passed and cold winds shiver

shaggy uncut hair
doctor visits online
no hugs
choosing what social activities
are worth the risk
of not knowing
the anxious feeling of being too close
to strangers who used to be friends

waiting for the spring to come
hoping for reprieve
to poke our heads up
like tiny shoots of grass
through cold leaves
who will we be?

The Field

I wander in the field
tall weeds catching on my clothes
you can’t walk here
without taking some of it home
hitch hikers, stickers and burrs,
bits of pollen, a dead leaf
each needing something
even if it is just
to walk with someone for awhile
and the sun is warm
as my fingers brush the plants in passing
bits of husk and seed float away
on the fall breeze
I wonder what will take root
what will feed and what will become
pieces of nesting
to cradle next years infant birds
for the moment, I just breathe
that is the gift.

Lent Musings 32

From the archives:

Bible study this time is John, the Gospel of Light and Life by Adam Hamilton. Excellent book, each chapter covering part of the gospel of John. Tonight’s session was all about Jesus’ last words to His disciples. It reminded me of a poem I wrote in 2013. We need to serve each other, every one. we are filled with the spirit, only to pour it out on others and glorify God. We need to feed each other.

The pond must know a secret,
it fills a hollow place,
beauty mirrored in stillness,
quietly waits in grace,
weathers drought with patience,
faithfully refilled.
The pond must know a secret.
How did it get so skilled?

The pond must know a secret.
See all around it grows.
It’s silence sings to living things,
even the marsh grass knows.
The trees are fed and cluster near,
cradle nest and fruit and seed.
The pond must know a secret,
made to be fed and then to feed.

Goodnight folks. Love each other.

Lent Musings 19

This morning
since church was canceled
due to virus concerns
I watched churches streaming online
my pastor posted the text of his message
and I read it
I “went to church”
more than I would have
if I had
well..went to church
maybe that is the answer
to a question
we don’t even know to ask
how to get through
this peculiar and unsettling time
read your bible
check on each other
talk to each other
pray for each other
because no matter the media
no matter the worry
drawing closer to God
and to each other
(though not in large groups please!)
is good.

Lent Musings 16

I am afraid fifteen didn’t amount to much. I have shingles and day before yesterday was the worst (I hope). If you have never had shingles and you are old enough to take the vaccination, I encourage you to do so. This stuff is painful.

So much is broken these days
Elijah lived in a broken time
He fled to the wilderness
and angels found him
They had a message from God
Elijah, you need a nap
the way is too long
They had another message
You need to eat, Elijah.
Elijah was in need of a sabbath
Maybe in broken times
we all need a sabbath
instead of buying up
toilet paper and
hand sanitizer
maybe we need to take a break
eat a little chocolate
have a nap
Practice a little self quarantine
It’s worth mentioning that after the nap
and a good meal
Elijah got up and took a trip
to a mountain where he would meet
God in a surprising way.
He thought God would arrive
with parades and trumpets
storms and drama
turns out the creator of the universe
doesn’t need fancy hats like a royal wedding
Just a quiet whisper
Elijah was so gobsmacked he hardly noticed
that nap time was over
and God gave him
his next assignment
something to keep in mind
After this mess, there will be work
for all of us.

Lent Musings 14

In the book of Mark
there is a story about a man
named Jairus
whose little daughter was sick
before he got to the house
people came to tell Jairus that
she was dead
Jesus went in the house
and people ridiculed Him
the bible says after He had
put them out
He took the child
by the hand
and she got up
sometimes some things
have to be put out
before you can get up

Lent Musings 13

It rained today
and brought a memory
a conversation with a friend
the bible says God sends rain on the just
and the unjust
I always saw it as
rain being a punishment
forgetting biblical geography
I try to remember
that perspective
affects my theology

Lent Musings 12

what it must have been like
when You lit the sun
with a word
just moments
before light breaks
a lone bird
is perched on the back porch
chirping the sun up
he worked so hard that
when it finally broke through
he hushed in awe
and I said a prayer
of thanks

Lent Musings 11

I smelled spring today
working in the yard
and I wondered
how You could have put
so much thought into creation
that the changing seasons
have their own smell
the light is different
the birds know
and plants start to poke up
tiny new shoots
a promise of new life
Your fingerprints are

Lent Musings 10

You have a starmaker
living in your heart
the creator of the Pleiades and Orion
speaks to you, speaks FOR you!
cares about you, died on the cross
so that you could come home

you have music
living in your heart
the creator of songbirds
sings to you in wind
that whistles in trees
where those songbirds
make their nests

maker of stars,
singer of songs
make your home
in me
let my life
be your song

Lent Musings 9

your feet walked
in pastures I long to see
your breath gave
the gift of life to me

my sin grew
and darkness hid your face
still I hear your voice
a song of love and grace

a hungry lost child
I stumble through my days
help me find the path
please teach me your ways

interrupt our thoughts
wake us from this sleep
call us from this shallow faith
baptized in waters deep

to love how you would love
to see how you can see
not who we are left on our own
made new in you and free

complete what you began in us
we sing your praise like living stones
you breathe on us and change our hearts
you bring life to these dry bones

until your kingdom saturates
this ground of weeds and thorn
let us be salt, let us be light
til resurrection morn

Lent Musings 8

it’s crazy
at a deep level
we have a need to journey
back to you
we arrive so very vulnerable
and spend our lives trying to be
not that
we stack up the blocks
decide what rules
will make us feel safest
and crawl into our forts
strong, independent, adults
we say we need you
but the walls are thick,
the rules are comforting
and yet
you have ways to get
to us
if we pay attention

Lent Musings 7

Teach us kingdom thinking
help us keep our hearts from sinking
we are needing more not less
you bend to us in our distress
Your spirit lives in jars of clay
we long to hear what you will say
but all around there is the sound
of broken people, sin abounds
and masks the message you would give
to love, to heal, to feed, to live
we think we have the truth to hold
we beat it, mash it, fit the mold
but you would choose to die for me
the gift of grace that sets us free
how an it be? how can it be?