Saturday, December 17, 2011

the worth of a soul

December evenings linger long past dusk:
the streetlights have been trading their watch since before suppertime.
below them, a man pulls cars off a transport and into the dealership lot.
snow falls upon the toque his girlfriend bought him,
filters through tree house rafters across the street.
within the house, three brothers are fighting for bathtub space;
their mother has baby oil and pajamas at the ready.

over on the first concession,
a farmer stretches his toes inside a fresh pair of woollen socks,
rakes calloused hands through hair in need of a barber.
his wife's fingers undo the bow at the back of her apron
as they have every evening the same;
punch faded numbers onto a telephone keypad;
reach toward a jar of balm and the music of a daughter's voice.

it's a night just like any other in December: cold, dark, wintry.
yet each moment -- every place -- is teeming with humanity:
scarred by the day, brimming with hope for the morrow;
loving and wanting and resting and toiling,
all conflicted and radiant.
each person is writing a new story.
every person is working toward a goal.

but what does it matter if the car guy saves to buy his girlfriend a ring?
does anyone care if some farmer's daughter gets to chat with her mom?
old tree houses and fresh haircuts and warm socks and wet bathroom floors --
they don't amount to much.  everything we know is so small.
(even those shiny new cars getting snowed upon.)
...carved into a hillside, long ago and far away,
stood a stable where a baby was born.

because his mother was rejected and his father was acquainted with grief,
he had no better place to lay than a feeding trough filled with hay.
yet every star in heaven held its breath as angels shrieked their amazement
at God Himself, tucked inside a poor girl's arms.
His life would show us the power of the Spirit;
His death, the depths of evil;
His resurrection, the height of glory.

but in that little hillside stable, the soul felt its worth.

this was my Christmas reading the other night... i'll bring it to emily's, too.

Monday, December 12, 2011

onward, Christian Soldier!

my dear Christian Soldier,
have you ever had a doubt?
or is virtue what's guiding you
to sit, and frown, and shout?

could it be your heart's unsettled
at the things you preach?
might the pledge of "faith alone"
be a little out of reach?

our world's two thousand years removed
from Mary, James and Paul.
your friends are asking whether those folks
ever lived at all.

if that thought hurts your comfort zone,
then this one might explode it:
your neighbours haven't read the Bible;
don't even know who wrote it. you?

you weren't there when Earth was formed;
never saw Christ with your eyes.
didn't help Luke write it down;
haven't seen a dead guy rise.

how DO you know your Bible is
The Book of Authority?
are you SURE Creation happened
in one week... literally?

if these questions irk you,
here's a good way to get even:
DON'T shake your head, walk away
and say, "you need prayer, heathen."

doubt is not the enemy;
it's here to challenge you!
do some research -- look around --
discover what is true!

tell me, which worldview best explains
mankind's depravity?
his conscience?  need for song and art?
respect for charity?

get to know Science.  he's a friend
of those who wish to know
how old the rings of Saturn are;
how peacock feathers grow.

"childlike faith" ain't mindless:
it asks until it knows.
then, once hard work yields its fruit,
you'll have a peace that shows.

now onward, Christian Soldier!
rise up and take a look.
you've quite the task ahead of you...
it's time to hit the books!

...will you?

(you've probably guessed by now... this letter is addressed to me)

there are lots more letters here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

skyscraper sigh

i live in a world of smokestack elevators --
the glory of man, scraping a sky he longs to control.
borrows recklessly and lends like a villain, that ugly man does.

i live in a world of soggy stilettos and lipstick cigarettes --
the beauty of woman, cellophaned and stocked upon shelves.
consume herself to death, that poor woman will.

the voice on the line calls me "Valued Customer,"
but i can't make out her name, half a world away
and getting paid far less than is legal around here.

i'm told, "Spend Less. Live Better," then i'm phased out.
the signs say, "Shop Local" and, "Made in China,"
and, "Do Not Pay* 'til 2013!"  always, an *.

i sigh.  i sit.
i sit on my couch -- just over a year old, splitting at the seams.
i sit on my couch's expired warranty.

i sigh.

think i'll sit on emily's couch instead.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

in the dance

the poplars groaned even as they swayed;
leaves ablaze with sunset embers

and the hail fell hard upon seeds tucked deep
'neath heavy grey skies, rolling thunder

it turned my head and it grabbed my arms
and spun me 'round and 'round and 'round

it kissed me hard, the glory of
this clamour between life and death

and my steps fall weighty upon waiting earth
as i start to learn my part

in the dance

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

three years ago

i mailed my Christmas presents and
took my last Diclectin (hallelujah) and
shaved my legs and
fasted for thirteen hours (never do that) and
nearly passed out while Ms. Nurse-in-Training tried to find a vein and finally,
hugged a pillow while a big, fat needle penetrated my spine and
went numb from the transpyloric plane down.

the anesthetist surveyed her work and
the nurses counted tools and
i counted nurses (seven, but one was a guy) and
the doctors discussed decking and
then you came along,
peed on a nurse and
wouldn't shut up.

the snow started falling
and never let up.

you never let up, either, do you know that?
(you peed on your dad yesterday -- ON PURPOSE) they make epidurals for moms of three-year-olds?

taking a break over at emily's.

here's dad's take on the incident.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

oh, grate

noontime sun sparkles through champagne leaves,
runs a finger across filigree letters,
giggles at the door.

the Little Inn looks marvelous today,
dressed in her sunday best
and filling up with guests who impress.

"table for two?"
"we're with the party."
"ah, yes. right this way."

we stride across polished floors
to the room at the back, which glows at its hearth
like lipstick and silk scarves and well-kept shoes.

we sit amongst bookcases and lean upon pillows,
hug eternal blondes and ageless silvers,
inhale leather and cologne and a log gently burning.

just the kind of day to lose yourself in, so i do.
an hor d'oeuvre, a chuckle...
a sinking feeling.

my shoe is stuck in the grate. jammed right in.
suddenly, i'm the center of the party
as we all band together to save my clearance-shelf pump.

the very first time i ever wear heels.

fall in.
(why won't this format to the left? oh, well.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

so cold

the time came for me to run,
but i could not.
so cold.

i turned aside --
on the cement beside the mall window,
a sparrow.

i held on while it fought,
broken -- one last flutter
before stillness settled in

and all around
the very air we gasped
brought the chill of death

and beneath our breasts
the heartbeat of every broken child
thudded into silence

i realized my eyes were warm and wet.
i realized my head was wet and cold.
i said good-bye through the rain.

i turned aside.
so cold.
i ran, and ran, and ran.

it's warm at emily's.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


people who were hurting, You helped.
people who were listening, You taught.
people who were waiting, You encouraged.

the repulsive, You touched.
the weak, You defended.
the lonely, You loved.

those self-righteous jerks who had it all wrapped up,
You yelled at
and kicked down from their sacred inordinations.

people who heard the story, glimpsed the plan,
and worked hard to be a part of it,
You stayed with.

stay with me, Lord Jesus.

stay with us a while.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

my hero

when the greatest problem facing me is lack-lustre floors,
my children lie tucked in their beds,
and thursday waits beside the stairs with a good-night kiss,

while all around you, the floor rises up to swallow your hope,
your child lies in her bed, sleeping and quietly trusting,
and tomorrow looms fierce and fearful and oh-so-tiring,

while we talk together of plans
and of pain, of love
and of remorse,

i don't know what to do
but pray that somehow,
i can be your hero, too.

Monday, October 10, 2011

the light

promises tucked inside rounded bellies,
secretly wrought for beauty

tiny sprouts shoving through Earth itself
just to be touched, held by the sun

almond eyes fluttering focus, peeking through
dark locks for love of morning

paper-barked trees reaching, stretching white
against mud and time for a chance to grow

women standing silent by kitchen sinks,
drunken with summer pouring in

golden bees with soft apples,
kissing open-mouthed upon the grass

withered men bent under the world,
rising up to face the light

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

you (for jelly bean)

lashes long and thick -- like long, thick lashes.
hair so silky-soft, it's like silky-soft hair.
you've got me at a loss.

you wrap around me like a koala;
kiss my neck with rosebud lips.
it's all been said before.

artists and poets and choirs of mothers --
they've all sung the praises of their beauties.
video-taped and scrap-booked up the wazoo.

but they haven't got you;
only i do,
and i can't shut up about it.

sweet time (for jelly bean)

well, you've eaten the head off your Scorpion cake;
i hope you're proud of yourself.

five years ago yesterday --
no, the day before yesterday --
my body thought it could handle you.

boy, was it wrong. and sore.

forty hours and one operation later,
a nurse handed you to your dad.

took you back, wiggled you a little,
had you cry the pink into your toes,
and handed you back.

you always do what you want.

in your own frigging sweet time.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

september rain

her red van pulls away from the school yard;
grass-caked sneakers dangle from booster seats

they try to recall whether they've finished their lunches;
hazel and blue watching streets trickle past

sixth-grade hoodies slosh along the sidewalk:
happy orange-yellow-green and soggy

his thoroughbred grazes along chain link fence:
lead slack and dripping silent silver

highway cars pass the church gym;
puddle spray echoes along the wall

she sees her porch reflected in driveway puddles:
gold, with plaid curtains and an open door

it rains all friday long:
a week's worth of cares slip down the gutter.

coming to emily's?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How to Reach One Hundred

Tips gleaned from the life of Great Gramma Gladys.

One: Travel to the other side of the world on a huge boat filled with children, without any parents. If you can thrive there, you can thrive anywhere.

Two: Work out daily, following such regiments as the long-distance, dual water bucket relay... while expecting... each of your five children.  Climb stairs every day until at least ninety-seven years of age.

Three: When each of your five children are born, and you've got cloth diapers to contend with, potty train rigorously. Like, wake-'em-up-at-midnight-to-pee-in-the-commode rigorously. Seems insane to us, but I bet it prevented them all from losing their minds.

Four: Brave the cold. It increases vitality and cuts down on heating bills. It also makes you a great mitt-knitter. (Anyone who's ever worn knitted mitts knows: there are good mitts and there are bad mitts. Great Gramma's mitts were warm. And anyone who's ever knitted mitts knows: warm mitts are hard to make.)

Five: Eat nutritious food. Always trim the fat from your steak... so that you can savour every delicious bite of it. "The fat's the best part,"  she always said.  Never miss afternoon tea.

Six: Watch your portions. When restaurant staff pre-cuts the lemon meringue pie into sensibly-sized pieces, take note.

Seven: Be assertive. When restaurant staff pre-cuts the lemon meringue pie into sensibly-sized pieces, pick up that knife and cut your own huge slice.

Eight: Don't be shy. While cutting your own huge slice of lemon meringue pie, announce to all by-standers, “Those pieces aren't big enough.”

Nine: Go to church. Whether you find yourself riding the Sunday school bus, tuning into a televised sermon, or cheering on your great-grandchildren at a nursing home, go to church and listen up.

Ten: Indulge in simple things. Pink carnations are a good choice.

Eleven: Be content. Content in long, cold winters; content knitting mitts for five children and their kids; content with pink carnations. The key to contentedness? It's in the last two tips...

Twelve: Love much. And...

Thirteen: Trust Jesus, and talk to Him every day.

Yeah, that was thirteen tips. Great Gramma wasn't superstitious.

sharing this tribute at emily's place

Monday, September 12, 2011

trouble spelling

you make me wanna
blog, baby
all true stories and shocked gasps and belly laughs --
who could resist?
you're the real deal
and you have trouble spelling

he's totally imperfect prose!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


he wets the bed, four year old
an evening sullied

he draws a bubble bath, his daddy
love poured warmly

i scrub the mattress cussing, his mommy
annoyance overtired

he is Christ to a four year old, his daddy
not i, tear-streaked knocked-down

i dry my porcelain face
to kiss his

be honest.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

giant maple

at eventide the old maple
sighed, stretching
shadow toes

i climbed that giant until
my own shadow
sprawled soft

and three dirty rascals
begged their way
to conquest:

whilst sunset crowned
the true champion
beneath our giant,

brian miller's post still has me thinking trees.
emily's been meditating about wheat.

Monday, August 22, 2011

when a tornado hits

there's nothing but wind --
wind and family,
rushing to the deepest places.

hold on tight
while everything else blows away.

as life returns to this town:
chopper blades and sirens,
generators and chainsaws

felling trees,
dropping our guard,
knocking down pretense.

step outside and meet the neighbours.
everybody needs
to see, to help, to know

pain and sadness,
and gladness,
as we become human again.

my sister and brother-in-law lost their apartment;
we lost our trampoline
and ate some hail.
here's the official scoop.

neighbours, gather at emily's

Thursday, August 11, 2011

dream chaser

if i were a dream chaser,
every year i'd see
rows of pre-planned holidays
circled red for me.

if i were a dream chaser,
from time to time i'd be
sipping an island mojito.
gulping a turquoise sea.

if i were a dream chaser,
i'd make my dreams get caught.
but here's the sad reality:
a dream chaser i'm not.

instead, i'm often close to home
with my family.
there always is a lot to do,
waiting for dreams to catch me.

they always come. never know when.
and never know quite how
my Lord will rain a dream upon
the place i'm at right now.

there's magic in this standing soft
and letting the wind blow.
the Spirit gives and takes away
until i truly know

that life and all its riches
are best shared along the way.
some dreams of mine will have to wait.
some come true every day.

waking up in a forest.

good, old-fashioned meals i didn't cook.

a four-year-old who played without toys all weekend long.

catch a dream.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

our coming song (for andrea)

i have no words of wisdom,
no cure to end this pain;
i only wish to be with you
and cry into the rain.

but where i stand, the earth is dry;
the sun will not relent.
i search the empty sky until
my energy is spent.

i'll cry my tears and let the wind
carry them to you;
then when the rain does come,
we'll feel heaven crying, too.

we'll share this sorrow as we make
our journey, ever long;
for present pain adds tender notes
to our coming song.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

in the morning (for jessica)

lands apart
neither guessing what this day will hold

oceans wide
brimming salty tears as sun makes its slow pass

clock unrelenting
seconds, once expired, now beat upon hearts

moon glowing
a memory and a promise only sisters can know

sleep quietly
and in the morning, hold her tight

a little bit of the story

come here for more stories

Friday, July 15, 2011

in your eyes

when water gets
in your eyes
i hold my breath
wait to find
what your heart
needs this time
will you laugh?
will you cry?
jump in again or
hold me tight?
my world shines back
there's so much light
when water gets
in your eyes

old ollie told me to re-post this one, so here goes.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

let's call the sitter

soup pot emptied;
five chairs askew,
tabletop cracker-crumbled

hum-a-long sweeping songs;
billowing curtains
and rays skipping up the wall

little fists clutching
fuzzy blankets,
books and sippy cups

book bag slumped on the floor
of an empty studio;
canvas half-painted

a hankering for gelato;
silver moon taking over
the roofs of town square

let's hold hands

Monday, July 11, 2011

wave knockin'

you are BIG
you are WET
you are COLD
you are teeming with all manner of FLOATIES
you are rocking and rolling and WAVING AT ME

you taunt me.

i am not afraid of you.
i will ride you like a little girl's pet pony
and i will OWN YOU.

you are MY lake.

(my lake -- not my photo.)

rural king

the jingle jangle of bells
heralds our conqueror
high upon his mighty steed

polished and proud
his convoy proceeds,
parading the booty

trailer chains bouncing behind
a shiny black pick-up,
lawn tractor in tow

Saturday, July 9, 2011

"it's a party!"

sitting between home and highway,
thinking of you.

reflecting on coloured lights,
smiling for you.

thinking how dark this porch would be
without you
to string old christmas lights
from bike to door to cafe table,
plug them in,
and light up
as you invite me to our party.

(i put them higher, where your little brother can't reach them)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

show and tell

if you didn't already know,
what could i ask you?

if you didn't want to see,
how would i show you?

if you weren't up to listening,
why should i tell you?

but i want to.
i'm dying to see you.

come with us

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

letters from my sons

dear mommy,

now that i'm six, i know that i want to run through
the waves in my spider man shoes. i don't care if
they still light up. i'm sure.

love, j.

dear mommy,

thank you for carrying me around the grocery store tonight.
four is the bestest number, but you made me feel
like your baby again. i like that.

love, b.

dear mommy,

in both my years, i've never met anyone i'd rather
look at than you. turn around! i want to kiss you!
please, mommy?

love, j.

(i wrote them to remind myself)

Sunday, June 26, 2011



light flickers on, door opens
floor creaks under heavy load

break rank
grasp ankle

oh, alright!
you can be the one to hang my new dress.

Monday, June 13, 2011

He comes

jostled awake,

wiping noses and
meeting teachers and
licking envelopes and
piling laundry and
stirring suppers and...

lonely for the girl,
rolling chalk between fingers,
i do not find the self portrait that i wanted.

i cry out,
"come to me,"

and He comes to me wrapped in
these little ones
and cries through them,

"love Me."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

like sand

we play
in waves
and are small
like grains of sand
under swirling tide
of noonday sun
so bright
Your light
the thoughts
You think toward us
like grains of sand
they give us life
make us warm
and we smile
we play
in waves
and are small

Friday, June 3, 2011

mother's touch

the cool-smooth of tile under throbbing feet

the rumble of dishwasher caressing hands that hang down

the sweet dew of brow atop cartooned pillowcases

the mumble of love, the kiss of neck

this is a mother's touch,

my love

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

this is my life (for dan)

i hung with a librarian today;
she proctored my exam.

i took my mom out for lunch today;
i'll never stop owing her.

dialogued with the Artist of the Year; a philospher-king student-professor...
did you know modern-day medical students are taking Ritalin?

talked with a convicted felon today;
he's a pretty good guy *.

listened to a few maniacs today;
boy, do they have a lot to say.

my best buddy ** was hungry;
he ate one of the burgers my wife made.

my other best buddy feels sad;
he's borrowing my bike for the night.

cleaned an apartment with, golfed the links with,
fell asleep tucking in each of my boys.

kissed my wife today;
watched a movie on the couch together.

Blogger offered me three sign-in options:
"male", "female" or "other".

this is my life.

* here's another pretty good guy
** he's the convicted felon

Monday, May 30, 2011

fade to black

from my bedroom window tonight
the picture changes little --
leaves hanging in a blue-gray heat-sky
that fades to black.

this weary mother's heart sighs;
tries again to un-furrow brow --
but every footstep in the night, every cry
tests what i am made of...

fade to black.
cut to the chase:
this heart so deep, so dry, so destitute --
i only want... I Only Want!

to bear a child is to sacrifice self.
cut that umbilical cord, and a woman dies.
i cry, "i never knew, i never knew..."
here in the dark, i see it's true.

yet i am more alive now than ever before.
three sons bear my names, my face.
all they know is all i've shown...
oh, God!!

set my footsteps. soothe my brow.
pull me from this bed of angst
and turn fear into holiness;
holiness into love...

as i fade to black.

come alive.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


when our crab apple tree is in bloom,
its petals are soft

i pull them close,
hold their perfume inside me

see them fall,
play in spring so fleeting

as they find the wind,
they blow away

when our tree has grown,
its fruit will be firm

play with us!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

get well soon

my child,
a terrible part of this
is having to turn my head away,
leave your room,
wash you off my hands

my son,
the best part of this
is the bravery in your quiet words feed me love
even as you hunger

knowing i'll be
turning my head away,
leaving your room,
washing you off my hands
...this is the worst part, your knowing

i come back to kiss your hair

Monday, May 9, 2011

hospital bed

i held you
in a hospital bed
on a thursday, all night long

i woke you; we learned together how to feed
i didn't know your cry would sound like that

my arms grew tired from holding you close
and my eyes drooped heavy
as i learned you

your face was so soft, i couldn't feel it
i couldn't sing to you; it was all too much

i hold you
in a hospital bed
tonight, for so long

you awake, feel the tape and the tube and the hole it made in your arm
i knew you would cry like that

my arms are strong from holding you close
and my eyes love your face
because i'm learning you

your face holds a few scars; i feel it
i sing and sing and sing for you

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


your craggy breath reeks of infestation.
your hair is matted into damp tangles.
the skin of your neck is hot, and it stinks.
legs thrash, blankets twist and bed creaks.

your little arm flails out --
fingers find my face and grip hard.

thrashing stills,
breath steadies,
grip loosens.

i heave in, ready to sigh for freedom of sleep.
i heave out, but my sigh has turned to gladness for these bonds:

i get to be the Mom.

we're all family here.

Friday, April 22, 2011


fathers forgotten,
nation oppressed,
they built the empire
that broke their backs.

blood spilled,
filled the river
as mothers cried,
"deliver us!"



then, the deepest horror of all.

a choice:
obey, and your sons shall live.
refuse, and they will die.

a new ritual:
choose a lamb. nurture it, place your hands upon it...
kill it.
take it in.

innocent blood will mark your choice --
streaked across your doorposts, for all to see.

Yaweh swept through that night
as the Angel of Death.

passed over the humble,
gave grace to the repentant,
dealt misery to the hardened,
and freed all who obeyed.

all who sought refuge in the blood of the lamb.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

beyond Science

i keep hearing talk about Science hating God.
we've totally disproven Him -- at least had Him declawed.

nothing exists that can't be measured/tasted/smelled/heard/touched/seen
...except this very premise. that's the way it's always been.

miracles don't happen (except spontaneous life)!
we learned this fact when we decided faith in God ain't right.

we've drawn ourselves a life chart shaped like a giant tree.
one lucky little bugger gave rise to all we see!

but parallelisms! homoplasies! convergences galore!
our poor old Philogenic Tree is twisted, and what's more...

our stock is in mutations adding info to our genes.
and yet, increased complexity's a phenomenon not yet seen.

instead, we learn with Kondrashov: per person, per generation,
at least a hundred nucleotides are damaged by mutation.

we check the fossil record and find along the way
creatures more adaptable than ones living today!

but surely we have artifacts just filling our museums
displaying Evolution-Truth where everyone can see 'em?

alas, Lucy was a knuckle-walker who liked to hang from trees.
the advanced brain of Homo erectus helped him to traverse seas.

okay, we've made a few mistakes. but still, the concept's there.
just take a closer look outside -- Evolution's everywhere!!

birds evolved from dinosaurs. they now lack diaphragms.
-- how'd they breathe whilst learning flight? let's give those guys a hand!

flagellum spin as mini-motors thanks to complex coding (???).
giraffes have sponges in their brains to keep them from exploding (!!!).

bombardier beetles somehow learned to control their fiery blasts.
baby birds have an egg tooth that enables them to hatch.

sediment paraconformity. the Cambrian Explosion.
Earth's magnetic field (dwindling). the amount of salt in oceans...

soft-bodied fossils like jellyfish, polystrate tree trunks,
and seashells on mountaintops almost could debunk

all our Long-Age Theory. and who we gonna' call
to explain retrograde planets? -- comets still burning at all?

what of consciousness? charity? language? music in our souls?
Natural Selection hasn't offered answers for any of those.

perhaps we should change our model: an Orchard -- not a Tree --
planted here on this Young Earth to cause us all to see.

into the great beyond...

Monday, March 28, 2011

saturday morning (for scott)

sun rising
fire raging
floor caving
-- four men down.

walls looming
darkness pressing
pain clutching
-- mayday called.

heat glowing
smoke invading
panic rising
-- seconds melt.

water pelting
sunlight piercing
stretchers creaking
-- hell empties.

read all about it

Saturday, March 26, 2011

if we were like You

the fatherless would be defended;
the homeless, find a place;
more parties attended; songs sung with gusto
as we reflected grace.

buildings would mean so much less;
neighbours, so much more;
family hardships, divided by
our blessings laid in store.

there'd be cold water given;
there'd be seeds, planted deep;
manly men could stand and fight,
and cuss, and pray, and weep.

women could sit down and learn,
then rise, and change the world.
their works would praise them in the gates;
no slander would be hurled.

children would feel free to ask;
adults could question, too;
pride rebuked by fruitful faith
...if we were like You

let's play Church.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

redemption secured... with packing tape

Castle Guard tromps past in sock feet.
he is making his rounds.
i am the Queen; he is my Guardian.

he spots an Intruder (likewise in sock feet).
toy handcuffs enforcing castle law,
Little Brother is taken captive.

plastic snaps and the Intruder escapes.
Queen Mommy is tickled to death.
Toddler-Prince flees for his life.

King Daddy scoops up plastic pieces,
proceeds toward the kitchen cupboard.
a shameful defector's death awaits.

the way is blocked.
with five-year-old hands outstretched,
the Guardian reclaims his broken toy.

picking at the end of the tape,
cutting with safety scissors,
he reflects a new image.

blue eyes beneath furrowed brow,
pink tongue between bared baby teeth,
Castle Guard transforms into Redeemer.

packing tape and a little imagination
hold swapped parts firmly in place.
mission accomplished: redemption secured.

Friday, March 18, 2011

brussels sprouts
green, leafy explosions of vitamins
death to the tastebuds in a pot

Sunday, March 13, 2011

peter's testimony

wouldn't have left it all to follow anyone else.
i'm not like that.
you just have this way of proving yourself to me.

right -- to -- me.

you know me better than i do;
let me tag along anyway.
it means everything.

more than life.

i saw what they did to you,
knew the place where they left you.
felt so sure we all were next.

then you were gone...

that place was empty -- all of a sudden,
you're eating broiled fish, cooking us breakfast.
staring straight into me again.

you know you changed me.

listen, everyone's gonna know about this.
they don't wanna hear it, but i'm not stopping.
this kills, but i'm yours.

who can deny You now?

i'm just another disciple.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

two sisters (for jeh)

i have a little sister...
she likes the colour red.
this should tell all you need
to know about her head.

i don't mean her hair colour,
for that is blond enough.
i just mean the way she thinks --
her attitudes 'n' stuff.

she is ever passionate
(such a good thing when she's wise)!
she can sometimes make me cringe
and sometimes roll my eyes.

truly, i am stubborn, too
(you must know that by now.
but if you don't, you've surely seen
my art-fart side, and how

i blabber on and on in my
own narcissistic way).
i need my sis to level me.
i thank God every day

for her little lip-curl
(it means "i'm on a roll"),
and for her left eyebrow arch
(it means "you're rather droll"),

and for the way she sits
when i've got something big to say --
she's listening and knowing
all the things along our way

that led us both to where we are.
you should ask us sometime.
we'd be more than glad to tell you --
we'll even make it rhyme!

oh yes, i love my sister.
oh yes, you know it's true.
and one more thing you need to know:
we'll lick you at Taboo.

we're here!
we're illiterate!
get used of it!

(sorry -- i just had to use that old joke of ours) :P

Monday, February 28, 2011

sweet and salty (for virginia)

this morning i

tore the top off the jones bottle you gave me
heard the seal break with finality

watched bubbles rise like childhood hopes
through blue, true as friendship

remembered rainbows upon window sills
rimming spring peepers and thunderstorms

raised the glass to my lips
swallowed soda, sweet like river dreams

ripped the picture off the empty bottle
read my fortune: "lady luck will soon visit"

felt a tear slide
tasted salt

toasted cheers to you, kindred spirit
to love

kindred spirits, we.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

winter drought (for serge)

craggy breath forms
vapour clouds that
freeze and fall, freeze and fall --
another snow storm

pale hands reach
for sun, grasp shadows,
wipe up today's mess,
flick off the light

dry eyes squint
up at this empty barrel,
down, at no more rope,
over, at the cover of my Bible

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

winter toes (for ruthiey)

good morning, toes!

you're looking very "Temperamental" today.

(as are twenty of my thirty little piggies,
but that's our secret)

now, where are my slippers?

peek at ruthiey's raspberry toes here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

redemption's journey (for misty)

my friend spoke to me
of beige places as maps --
maps tracing toddler discovery

and if so, then oh my,
my world is full,
full of maps

over the cupboards and
up the stairs and
across light switches, door knobs, khakis

each new mark
closer to the ceiling
than the last

...and of redemption's journey,
mapped out by the marks
of my struggles, and i pray:

may each new mark be
closer to the ceiling
than the last.

she spoke here.

there are many others here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


a wick can never drink its fill.
once set aflame, it pulls and pulls
on hot wax until
there is none left within reach.
then, when all hope is gone,
it sputters like a drunken man,
up in smoke.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

other brother

And going on from there
He saw two other brothers,
James the son of Zebedee
and John his brother,
in the boat with Zebedee their father,
mending their nets,

and He called them.

Immediately they left the boat
and their father
and followed Him.

- Matthew 4:21,22

i so would have tried to finish mending my net first.

i'd have gone down in history as an "other brother".

nothing more.

Friday, February 18, 2011

snow castle

there's what's left of our snow castle --
that dirty pile the plow made
beside the parking lot next door.

we would bundle,
round the corner,
follow the prints out back,

find adventure.
awaken this dragon,
transform me into a princess.

every time i went up,
i worked on the stairs
so you three could follow.

on the top
we drank blue-gold sky,
hid from car lights.

every time i went down,
you took your turns
hugging me on our sled.

i don't care that it's melting.
my memories won't.
we'll build again next winter.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

hurry back (for leah)

together we sat
under your picture window
overlooking the highway
that turns at the lights
and winds north out of town

your son was in the laundry basket
or upside-down on the couch
or in the chair, feet on ears
my sister watched him
like it was the last time

i didn't want to touch you
or i would cry
but i'm no buddhist --
i'm going to feel this --
so i did

and i do,
and i will,
but this is getting old
this saying good-bye
this praying see you soon

your eyes brimmed with light
as my feet shuffled down your porch
the paper towel blew off
the food you gave me
i snatched it back

but i can't do that to you

faraway friends, let's meet at emily's

Monday, February 14, 2011

unfolding valentines

never cared much for valentine's day.
come on -- it's just another way
to push long-stemmed roses,
pink bears with red toeses
and chocolates arrayed in a heart-shaped tray.

thirty-five years ago today,
a girl and a guy i know made their way
from the aisle at a church
to the end of their search
for a home of their own, a place to stay.

twenty-nine years later -- the twelfth of may --
their very first grandson came to play.
but when school time drew nigh,
the boy started to cry
as from rooms full of people, he shied away.

then along came the time for all to say,
"will you be mine? happy valentine's day!"
a bag of paper hearts
helped the boy to start
unfolding in friendship -- come what may.

now i sit here and type in my way.
i look at those paper hearts, and i pray,
"thank You, God, for my boy,
for our home filled with joy,
and yes, thanks especially for valentine's day!"

Saturday, February 5, 2011


seeking solidarity
pilfering economy
pilandering ecstasy
philosophising "immortality"

men in prison, enthroned

hovering light
creating sight
owning right
reclaiming night

God-from-stable, entombed

"come and worship,
come and worship,
worship Christ, the newborn King"

and i will

come to emily's

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

a confession (for james and lisa)

my girlfriend,
you are sick today.
this really isn't good.
you can't even bear the thought
of eating yummy food.

my guy friend,
you stayed home today.
you took care of your wife.
your iphone rang and you went running
because she's yours for life.

my friends,
i tried to help you out,
to share with you a token
of my thanks for your friendship...
but now your shovel's broken.

how's that for "imperfect prose"?'s some deep stuff.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

new contacts

oh, look at the world!
fresh, crisp, clear.

oh, slimy little beautiful
things in my eyes.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


respectable outfits

friendly handshakes

budget considerations

maintenance projects

guest speakers

solid lessons

light humour

sober reminders

responsive readings

monthly ordinances

soft accompaniment

firm guidelines

unspoken questions

correct answers

untold stories

weary walkers

saved by table-talks, baby photos, bare toes and neck-kisses

i know my Redeemer lives

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

on a tuesday

the table stands cool and clean
in the basement-dark,
chairs all around.

they are empty,
the kitchen is empty,
the pastor's study is empty.

yesterday, it was all filled and warm --
jo-ann, doug, jim, rod, dan, bethany,
louie, and the other louie --

except for the pastor's study
(he's rod, the guy in the middle).
and we were the Church.

jim plows parking lots all over town.
louie's wife is afraid to fall in the snow.
doug believes in the impossible.

we slurped coffee and soup
from a silver platter,
spilled cookie crumbs and dreams

across the table,
beneath the open doors
and a welcome sign.

we're a family,
and we were the Church
on a tuesday.

emily's got a table full. stop by!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

time, in deed

vision blurry,
body slumped and
thoughts a-flurry

i need fresh air,
i need sleep --
need to try and
work to keep
up this soul which
slumbers deep

oft' times:
clouded sight-lines,
dreams forgot or
stabbed in fork tines

think i'll paint or
think i'll read --
know and show
that i've been freed
and this is borrowed
time, indeed

Thursday, January 20, 2011

bringing a shine

this afternoon,
you begged for icicles
from the school roof.
(single-storey. snowbank nearby. worth a try.)

so i leapt,
fell, laughed,
made children shuffle
and parents say, "come on, let's go."

you took those broken icicles home,
played with them,
and shone all evening long.
(i posted this so i'd remember)

bringing this to my friend Emily's place.
thanking Daniel Jay for inspiring me to change bits to second-person.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

apple trees

we saw your car in the parking lot,
walked into the manor,
found you handing out songbooks

i asked you to check my hair
because you know how it should look.
you said i was beautiful

you were there to sit and sing and listen.
without looking, i knew your face:
placid, taking it all in

just like every morning,
in a comfy chair
with your Bible

tossing your heart to the sky,
catching the good grain
and letting the chaff float away

i've thrown my heart to your floor
so many times -- so many tirades,
sermons i needed to preach at someone

when i inhale, look up into blue eyes,
i see that you've known all along.
however did you keep it quiet?

i wish i were more like you --
beyond the narrow hips, the shape of brow --
down to the heart.

i'm like a tree -- a great, weeping willow,
groaning and swaying and wailing,
"the wind! oh, the wind! everybody fly!!"

you're apples with peanut butter:
nothing fancy. just sweet, sustaining, and real.
my favourite.

(dedicated wholly to my mom.
and in part, to peter, for whom i wrote "face", which is his favourite word.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

the sparkling Mother

what is it that makes a Mother?

it's waking up earlier than you want to wake up. every. single. morning. sometimes you get a cuddle in bed, but it never looks like the commercials -- all smiles and shiny hair and white duvets and eye-gazing talk (think about it... kids get morning breath, too). it's more likely a knee-to-bladder, elbow-to-eye-socket, boogers-on-twisted-sheets knot that ends with mom exploding out of bed, gasping for air and a bathroom.

it's finding poop before breakfast, egg-yolk hair during breakfast, and stuck-on breakfast after breakfast.

it's spending one hour in the grocery store finding ingredients for baked goods, one hour baking, one hour cleaning up from baking, ten minutes adding baked goods to lunch sacks in the morning, one minute removing uneaten baked goods from lunch sacks in the evening, and one hour in the gym working off the calories from those baked goods no one else would eat.

it's learning about anatomy in the most startling, unflattering ways. beginning with your own (you are spared details about the "P" word here -- ask your sister-in-law about her Pregnancy, if you must), right on down to the Circumcision question. high school biology had nothing on motherhood.

it's wrecking your back securing boots and mitts, wrecking your back skidding across icy driveways chasing airborne boots and mitts, and wrecking your back re-securing boots and mitts. and that's only winter. the rest of the year, there are umbrellas and yard toys to trip over, and mud slicks to -- you know, slick through.

it's after Bath Time, Laundry Time, Dishes Time -- finding there's no hot water left at Me Time.

it's waving good-bye to half of your social life as friends realize it's no fun having you and your kids to their place, and almost wishing you could wave good-bye to the other half, which entails keeping your kids from wrecking the places of friends who still have you over.

finally, it's receiving carnations every Mother's Day. i don't know why this happens. carnations require nurturing. we dig out the old vase, prepare a sugar solution, snip off the stem ends and arrange our carnations. we place them on the table and protect them from table-knocks and petal-pluckers. we do this until the carnations wilt, knowing that somewhere, another mother is more adept at keeping cut flowers fresh and has a newer, funkier vase that doesn't tip over to table-knocks. maybe a gift that doesn't require nurturing would be more appropriate for a mother. like aromatherapy socks. or a new vase.

for all this, and more, you will be rewarded with the sparkling title, "Mother". you will never know, until you own it, how much pressure it takes to create this kind of diamond.

but oh, it shines.

offering this roughly-hewn gem to Imperfect Prose for a chuckle and a nod.