Always for All Things

Blow, silver trumpet—lead a loud refrain
Full of the glory of your perfect day.
Let four strong winds carry your song away
Until all worlds repeat its joyous strain.

Throb, golden lyre, with warm and welcome ring,
Through unknown spheres ablaze with cherubim,
The ecstasy of a thrice-holy hymn
Unmatched in time and place by those who sing.

Sing Him to Whom your melodies belong—
Sing Him of Whom their endless echoes cry.
Pour out His praise to infinite extents
Whose smile is twice the measure of your song,
Whose song, coursing through earth to highest sky,
Ravishes tired and tuneless instruments.


Today, for those of you who are unaware, is Canadian Thanksgiving. I’ve enjoyed the long weekend . . . Today I had nothing planned (we had a family dinner yesterday), so I ended up in Chinatown with a handful of cousins. We gawked around for a while, absorbing a little of the local culture, before stopping for a late lunch at one of my favourite restaurants in the area. Perhaps not my typical Thanksgiving Day, though it was great fun.

In any case, I haven’t spent a whole lot of time this weekend in a deliberate effort to feel thankful or grateful, and I don’t habitually do so. It’s a weakness of mine. I’m millennial enough that I take everything for granted. By the time we got home this afternoon, I felt unfocused and disjointed enough to warrant spending some time in Thanksgiving mode.

This sonnet is the result of that effort. It’s the first bound verse I’ve written in I-don’t-know-how-long, and it shows. But I think there’s something in it that’s worth hearing.

Feel free to leave comments!

Kaleidoscope

Our kaleidoscope
is rolling through rural New York,
top down, sun shining, upstate maize tasselling
in the September heat
of this endless Sunday.

A Smokie and a trash fire 
watch the road a quarter mile apart.
We don’t watch them back–
our eyes are full of alt-rock tunes,
sneakers, Pringles, and tangled whiskers.

Cumulus hangs from the blue of the sky,
but we are neither just nor unjust. 

Purple thistles reach from the ditches,
cursed and blessed with life like us.

Our vital lenses
fog from time to time, 
but we’ll push on, if we can hold together,
toward the north, toward the border,
toward God-knows-where.

The Flood

I knew a man once
(not fourteen days ago)
who went down into Jordan, rain falling
down and down, the dirty water
circling, eddying round his breaking
stone-soul, foam-flecked,
baptized into Death,

And the Baptizer stood by, 
beside him in the water, 
scarred feet set firm on the hard
stone of the bottom, flotsam 
caught in his beard, the wind 
whipping his hair in the mist, water
flowing round his belly.

But cold wet Death
burns strangely warm in the cold
circle of the horizon, and the Baptizer
smiles, and a living stone 
floats in the rain.

Reach

New year, new page…

It feels like an age since my last post. It’s been an age, to tell the truth. But here’s a poem (I’ll get back to prose eventually—I promise!) fit for a new year: a poem about life and death, about outer space and inner peace. Enjoy!


Reach, boy,
catch the starlight.
Reach out and up,
grasp blue-cold Sirius, gold Capella,
thrust your hand toward the furnace of Betelgeuse.

Reach, boy, and
touch the hands that hold
stars in place.

Touch them if you can
put your fingers to the holes
from which light falls

So far.
So far to fall. Wouldn’t you rather
earth met sky
black on black, brass on iron, and a sudden spark,
a man at the horizon,

arms stretched?

Day Two

Yes, it’s been almost five months since I last posted. I have few excuses, really.

For three weeks in July and August, I toured Poland with the Hope Singers. Writing about a trip like mine can be hard—how does one accurately and objectively describe large-scale worldview adjustments? But here’s a poem (because who says poems need to be objective? Subjectivity is half their beauty) that begins to describe my tour experience. Or at least, it describes a program on our second day of tour.


Day Two 

have you seen
my heart?         I left it first
in Kolbuszowa, I think, at
the centrum kultury.         have you asked
Craig, the American?         have you asked
his wife?         his kids?         maybe
the lights guy knows

have you seen
my heart?         have you asked
our audience?         those unexpected people,
did they take it like they took
our program— our concert—
our muddled radośćią?         and call for
an encore?

have you seen
a heart full of prayer, and
half-learnt Polish texts, and connections
too vital to be faked?         a heart
full of sandwiches and coffee and hospitality?
have you seen  a heart
drenched,         a Szczebrzeszyn chrząszcz*
in a summer thunderstorm,
in a sudden outpouring of
foreign grace?


*Wół mnie pyta: “Po cóż pan tak brzęczy w gąszczu?”
We’d stopped in Szczebrzeszyn earlier in the day to see the beetle. Plus, Brzechwa’s famous poem remains one of my outstanding memories of tour.

P.S. I love feedback. If you have questions or comments about the style or the content of my writing, leave them at the bottom of the page. Or message me privately via my contact page.

Lead Us In

We will take Your hand,
You will lead us in.
Take away our pain,
take away our sin.
Give us peace around,
give us love within:
we will take Your hand,
You will lead us in.

We will take Your hand,
hand by which we’re fed.
Living water, quench;
fill us, living bread.
Boundless life impart:
Raise us from the dead.
We will take Your hand,
hand by which we’re fed.

We will take Your hand,
hand that brings the light.
Come and touch our eyes—
come restore our sight—
Eyes to see by faith
Day defeats the night
when we take Your hand,
hand that brings the light.

We will take Your hand,
hand that took the nail.
We will reach to You
through the parted veil,
feel Your grasp of love,
grace that cannot fail.
We will take Your hand,
hand that took the nail.

We will take Your hand,
You will lead us in.
There’ll be no more pain,
there’ll be no more sin.
Perfect peace around,
perfect love within:
we will take Your hand,
You will lead us in.