Poetry

A Ready Artist


We want, need, must create.
Writers wording for truth,
defining, and refining
to find their order—
a safe place in the family.
Painters fused in color
all blurred together,
brushing, blending
for what the texture wants to say.
The musician
bellies melody and harmony
fighting for air,
one nameless line at a time
demanding its song.
Blank, white, quiet sheets
wait submissively for us.
When we’re ready to speak,
so are they.

 

Made Free

Born under a law
I could not keep.
Desperate for a father
to just love me.
I stumble about the earth,
unable to find
attention, direction, protection
for my mind.
Bound by lies,
I hate myself.
Void of value,
I forfeit wealth.
Your word stoops down,
grabs hold of my soul,
executes my past,
revives me whole.
Up from the grave
and into Your Son.
No more a prisoner,
You and I become one.
Each new day
is my chance to see,
who You are…
reveals me.
My mind above,
my shame died.
My life now hidden
in Christ with God.
(Dedicated to my brothers
at the Life Learning Program,

Cook County Jail.)

A Writer's Marriage

Keep writing.
Work your words out,
like a lifetime relationship
to an immature spouse.
You’ll start out with lies,
cause you’re new at this,
shootin for gold
and all that bliss.
They’ll start to turn
and anger will form.
Don’t give them up,
they’re building a storm.
They have to come,
have to blow,
have to break,
need to flow.
You’ll get to the door
and want to leave.
You’re done with them all,
sick of their grief.
Let go of those drafts,
rewrite the view.
You’ll love them all
when they’re nothing but true.
(2018)

Prayer Is…

Where doubt ends
and faith begins.
Where regrets die
and forgiveness lives.
Where tears stain
and the soul is washed.
Where weakness is torn down
and strength built up.
Where dreams are born
and laughter breathes.
Where hatred is bridled
and love set free.
Where battles are surrendered
and peace is won.
Where hopes are shared
and miracles spun.
Where pride descends
and humility climbs.
Where the Holy Spirit dwells
and the human soul flies.
(1996)

The Lord Is My Knight

One day You will come to my rescue,
steal me from all sadness and grief.
You will whisk me away to Your kingdom,
dress my spirit in relief.
Love, received and given,
will be my only belongings brought.
The most important possessions I had
were the simple things You taught.
The perils of this land are temporary.
Through each one Your armor more bright.
Until, at last, on that appointed day,
I am embraced in the arms of my Knight.
(1995)

Ageless

My body ages.
Each passing year
bones more brittle,
lines of time are drawn.
Nothing fits like it used to.
You can tell my age
by looking at me.
My spirit ages now.
Each passing day
I am renewed.
Stronger in wisdom,
my mind reforming.
Nothing feels like it used to.
I no longer count the years
but the days
I have with You.   

(1995)

Baby’s Farewell

I’m sorry I went so soon today.
I left without so much as a kiss.
I am told, though my stay was short,
I am already missed.
I want you to know
I’m safe and sound,
that my spirit lives on in peace.
I am grateful for the chance you gave.
I look forward to the day we meet.
My gifts were the purest paths of life,
never having stepped foot on land.
Arriving in the warmth of your womb,
departing in the palm of His hand.
(1997)

Going Home

 Today you cross the finish-line.
The checkered flag is waved.
You have fought long and hard,
there’s much to celebrate.
So gather up your trophies of love,
your medals in sweet charity,
pack your ribbons for faithfulness,
your Purple Heart for bravery.
Leave behind your broken pieces,
the bruises you have known.
There isn’t space for suffering,
today you’re going home.
(1995)

The Adopted Child

God delivered me to earth today
in the form of a tiny seed.
He heard you could not carry me,
so He disguised me as a weed.
He said I would bring many tears
of heartbreak and delight.
He said I was the prayer
of a chosen man and wife.
Your eyes are the source
of my unveiling,
the blossom I was meant to be.
I was born for you,
and you were joined for me.
(1995)

Sisters

The little girl who’s just like me.
She sounds like me,
looks like me,
even sometimes acts like me.
We shared our first doll,
first day,
first date.
She knows my deepest secrets,
brightest moments,
favorite place.
You share distance no one else has been,
laughter no one else finds funny,
stories no one else can tell
 when you're sisters.
(for Karen 1997)

Walking the Wall

I came to tell you, thank you,
for that priceless gift you gave.
I wanted to finally meet you,
and touch your noble name.
I sense your heroism around me,
as I walk the long still wall.
Pausing at the sound of the trumpet,
as it plays its sobering psalm.
The sacrifice will not be forgotten;
your life cut in half.
I am not the first to mourn you,
nor will I be the last.
(Dedicated to the Vietnam Veterans
1995)

Grace

What is this thing…
grace?
Is it a prayer,
a sacrament,
a religious mandate?
Someone said it was free;
a gift of some kind.
Hard to believe
something I didn’t work for
could really be mine.
They say
that’s what makes this gift
like no other.
Offered to any human soul
in need of a Savior.
It’s written, God came to earth
just like I did.
Offered Himself as payment
for all my sins.
They say there’s nothing I can do
to deserve such a prize.
Only by believing
can God open my eyes.
Perhaps this purpose I search for,
this emptiness I can not name,
is found in this Jesus,
and the gift
of His grace.
(2000)

A Wealthy Man’s Prayer

Help me Lord,
that I might see
all the man I was intended to be.
Give me hands
that reach toward others,
never to hoard or betray another.
Give me legs
that bend in gratitude,
remembering all I have comes from You.
Give me feet that children can follow,
each tiny step toward a better tomorrow.
Lend me a voice filled with truth,
a tongue driven to bear good fruit.
Give me a spirit
that climbs above the earth
when the world mocks
an honest days work.
Give me a heart
which beats a song,
to Whom I depend,
to Whom I belong.
(In honor of my husband 1996)

Beauty

Thank you, Lord
for making me see
that You are the beauty in me.
No makeup, or hair,
or latest fashion
can satisfy
this misguided passion.
To have and hold
the perfect self
is not obtained
from upon a shelf.
But by my hope
in Christ
I inherit
the unfailing beauty
of a gentle,
quiet spirit.
(2004)

Marriage Is…

When a promise is planted
in virgin soil,
and the hope of a harvest
firmly coiled.
The willingness
to sit
so the other may stand,
exposing our frailties
with open hands.
When unforgiveness
will be retired,
and the vows to self
set on fire.
How the ridiculous
splits our sides
when all modesty
begins to hide.
Ears collecting
our daily words,
lips extinguishing
momentary fears.
Broken vessels
becoming
one work of art
on a stage
that models
the Creator’s heart.
(for Jacob and Kelli 2014)

Mother In Me

Cradling you
I’ve come to know,
I’m not who I used to be.
You have seized
a corner of my heart,
and made a mother
out of me.
Now, forever,
I look toward tomorrow
to see
what life holds for you.
I plan to catch
every tender smile,
and bandage
every wound.
We’ll hold hands
and sing songs,
and you’ll tell me
all you want to be.
As for myself
I shall never be the same,
since you made
a mother out of me.
(1998)

A Daughter Is...

A model
of simplicity.
A lesson
in sincerity.
Strength
I never knew I had.
Direction
toward a straighter path.
Desire
for simple truth.
Fire
that ignites my youth.
Anticipation
of a glorious day.
A reason
to want to stay.
Appetite
for what is right.
A source
of sound insight.
A voice
where love is prompted.
A friend
I’ve always wanted.
(2001)

Death’s Lie

Death, why do you call me
as if to comfort me?
You beg me to ask,
Is death better than life?
Look at me;

my body taut,
my head reeling,
my eyes fogged with tears.
Surely, you are no comfort.
Death does not come to me.
Death beckons me.
Life comes to me.
Settles my flesh,
stills my head,
and clears my eyes
to the horizon.
(2004)

Seeking Soul

I lean toward His mindful ear
with all my sins exposed.
Though I am hidden from humanity,
He sees…He hears…He knows.
I have no strength to point a finger,
my hands are hiding my face.
There is no one to curse or accuse,
I have made my own mistakes.
I grieve for a soul
in most need of repair,
the dirtiest one I can see.
I'll put my life in the hands of God.
The One who washes me clean.
(1997)

Your Hands

My tiny soul
was sent from heaven
hoping I will return.
To the Father
who sent me to you,
to mold, shape, and learn.
Within these walls
you’ll teach me
about faith,
the colors of life,
the pink and the gray.
You’ll set me on a path
of compassion and truth.
And bathe me in love
all the days of my youth.
And when I step
beyond these doors
I’ll remember the hands
that led me
were yours.
(1998)

 

Between Here and Home

There's always something missing
from this cluttered place.

Every time I think I've found it
it's just more empty space.
I press on to fill the hollowness
that taunts my very soul.
I've come to the conclusion
this must not be my home.
This ache that lives within me
only God himself can close.
This search for perfect wholeness
rests in Him alone. 
(2002)