charleston

thank you for restoring me
in cedarwood and cypress
hand poured wavy windows
undoing what is lightless
thank you for your fix its
the paint and fitting textures
forgive me for the tilting frames
and all that’s been neglected
thank you for your gutting
away what’s rot and weakened
making room for banisters
to floors and floors of meeting
you, the expert carpenter
with wonderworking skill
who takes me by the arms each day
and teaches me to build
thank you for your faithfulness
to this project as it was
meant to be, unbroken me,
before this world was flawed
be with me as I persist
to bolster beam and board
to free more space and holy place
worthy of my Lord

carpenter

For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. 2 Corinthians 13:9

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He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:3

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22

to meet you

the few block walk
brimmed with expectancy
and recalled other autumns
to mind
past, but still part
my chest faintly ached
with nostalgia
in the cool apple air
and a grief-like need
to possess 
the saffron mums
and Cinderella pumpkins
on neighboring stoops
filled my throat
the leafy sidewalks,
burnt orange and soft yellow,
kept my course
and pace
as I longed for old falls
mint in memory
with fictitious ease
and for some minutes I lingered
there, pining
until I passed through
and put longing away
and I was awash
again
in present promise
so when I arrived
to meet you, old friend
ordering chai and warm spices,
my heart was already
quite steeped
in October

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The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us. Psalm 67:6

‘All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’
from The Hound of Heaven, by Francis Thompson (1859–1907)

love poem 1:10

repeatedly
in barracks deep
I hold an easy
hearted me
and I instead
succumb to blitz
stringent steps
affection missed
my testy ears
can’t hear the words
touch is tempered
warmth deferred
and labors hard
that could be soft
abandoned for
impatient thoughts
repeatedly
I pledge to change
with vow and hope
I rearrange
my mind and so
the malleable me
can surface from
the barracks deep
repeatedly
I blunder back
lose my way
and fall off track
repeatedly
I fail my vow
but wonderously
your love allows
forgiveness,
so I seek your ease
and try again
repeatedly

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Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:13

Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords And strengthen your pegs. Isaiah 54:2

So that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10

image: watercolor by Louise van Terheijden

wasp

a flagging wasp,
compromised due to accidental indoor entrapment,
flew up her shorts.
she didn’t feel it just then, dancing about the porch,
the wasp likely clinging to her swinging jersey knit.
it wasn’t until a few minutes later
in the dining room,
still romping with late day energy,
that she sensed the small alien’s location
and quickly batted at her thighs,
hollering full mouthed sobs of horror
at the sight of the assailant
and the thought of what might of been.
nothing was, by the way,
to be,
for as I’ve just explained
the bug was beat,
and no fuel remained for flight or sting.
as it was, he fell beneath the breakfast bench
with what I imagine to be a microscopic thud,
and listlessly awaited his finish by flipflop
or rolled up recycling.
it was the former.
the girl could not be calmed for some time,
plagued by the remembrance of his tiny feet
and the minuscule gust of his cellophane wings
near her knees.
alas, for turmoil endured:
homework could not be attempted
and the clean up of day’s amusement, quite impossible.
vows of morning courage were swiftly pledged.
quick too was I to comfort and agree to terms,
though quietly bewildered at her panic
and resulting disability.
I searched for empathy, but found less than total.
it wasn’t, after all, a spider.

Artist: DAIM | "DAIM TCD wasp" | acrylic on canvas | 70 x 50 cm | 1996

image: DAIM TCD wasp

again I aim

again I aim
to not neglect
my unsealed cracks
and vice correct
to flip my flaws
and sew my hems
to fracture set
and start again
I’ve faint ideas
behaviors grim
are rooted in
unhappy whim
and wounds of youth
and poor resolve
from loss, and plans
that don’t evolve
the blistered self
of culture burns
and gutless doubts
that stall and turn
away, and yet
rebounds my hope
with sunup light
I’ll better cope
and mend what’s frayed
subdue the din
let barren cycles
cease to spin
again I aim
each day anew
for hope propels
and promise too

woman-sewing-alma-dankoff

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:1-4

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.  1 Timothy 1:15

You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.  James 5:8

image: Woman Sewing by Alma Dankoff

sorry

fatigue invades
and fibers fail
tissue hesitates
unweaving at the edges
I have no bounce
and my bones groan
I cannot wake them
from their sorrow
I am not myself
and maybe it’s chemical
or stress finding chink
to sink in
or grief
but I could give a damn,
for relief outruns me
and cheap words rise to mind
I’m sorry for myself.

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Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:12-13

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

image: Waiting by Connie Chadwell

wilderness

wilderness true
awakening space
would you draw me nearer
to a spiritual place?
would I be advised
by mountains atremble
there, do the angels
prepare and assemble?
do deciduous trees
or pines with their needles
improve the acoustics
of praise from the people
to an alpha that’s fearsome
omega, and all?
will the fear make me shudder
and marvel, and fall?
if I camp near the water
can I cool there each day?
and fish with the fishers
of men by his grace?
and when I am weary
will my tent prove its worth
with aluminum poles
and spikes in the earth?
if not, will the pillars
of fire and cloud
descend thru the darkness
and around my heart shroud
protection and mercy
despite my poor skills?
his fierce holy love
in the true wild hills.

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Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. – James 4:8a

And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. – Exodus 33:14

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.  – Psalm 34:4

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
    which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
    and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them,
    and there is nothing hidden from its heat.  – Psalm 19:1-2

Image: painting by Mandy Budan