Parables of Earth – Part I

Before he plants, the Farmer tills his field.
This is one of many steps that must be
taken if he hopes for his land to yield
a good harvest. Imagine, though, that he
chose to delay the tilling and instead
lived each day for merriment. If pleasure
became his greatest aim: if meat and bread
were laid out for all his friends like treasure,
Then for a time laughter and song would fill
his house! But then when the leaves began to
turn colour, he would be faced with the chill
realization, “there’ll be no crop for you!”
Farmland that yields no crops will bring no mirth
Hard packed sun-baked dirt is of little worth

~~

This is the first part of what will eventually become a fifteen part sonnet cycle on the theme of “earth”. Click on “The Elements – Sonnet Cycles” tab up above I’d you would like to see either of my completed cycles on water and fire.

Linking to dVerse on Jun.27 for Open Link Night

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Storm

The sky was brass that year in spring, there was no rain in sight
Old Sol burned fiercely in the day, cool did not come at night
The townsfolk spoke without much hope, for there was little doubt
That with the land so parched and dry, this year would be a drought

The farmers planted, knowing that they sowed their seeds in vain
Unless things changed and changed real soon, the fields would grow no grain
Town Council rationed water, for they had to draw the line
If anybody had green grass, they’d have to pay a fine

Then fin’ly in July the clouds came, white and tow’ring high
And at the top they flattened, making anvils in the sky
The children laughed “now we’ll have rain! We know that it can’t fail”
But those who had more years said, “go inside, we’re in for hail”

The kids were right: the rains came down in buckets and in sheets
and chunks of ice like baseballs fell on houses and on streets
This rain was not the kind that folks had wanted on their ground
For though the rains had fin’ly come, now all the land was drowned.

~~

Written for dVerse, where quatrains are being explored.  I have written a poem in the style of a “fourteener”.  Each quatrains follows an AABB rhyme scheme.

Silence: a Ghazal

My pen has been silent these last few months
While I took a break from poems

Burnt out from writing, rhyming, rhythm
Even though I still feel love for poems

And now that I desire to write again
I struggle to find words for poems

I fear that I’ve misplaced my muse
Where is my inspiration for poems?

This question burns within my soul
When will it end: this drought from poems?

~~

Sharing this with dVerse. I’ve been absent from this on-line poets’ pub for far too long.

Seven Words from the Cross – Part VII

Today is Good Friday…and so I thought it a fitting day to post the final sonnet of my “Seven Words from the Cross” series.  This sonnet ties together a few different scripture passages, but the two passages that I am focusing on are John 19:30 (from which the seventh statement is recorded), and Luke 23:45b which speaks of what happened to the curtain that closed off the Holy of Holies in the temple.

~~

A curtain blocked God’s earthly dwelling place
none but the priest, and he but once a year
could enter into this Most Holy space
for any other, death if they came near

The Life, the Truth, the Way he claimed to be
the one who’d lead us to the throne of God
But now the Christ was hanging on a tree
it seemed for all his claims he was a fraud

The ways of God, though, aren’t the ways of man
The path to life would come only through death
Christ was no fraud! He had a different plan:
one which he’d follow til his final breath

“It is finished” Jesus said: the price was paid
The curtain ripped in two: a way was made

~~

In my Seven Words from the Cross series, I have attempted to show glimpses of what happened at the crucifixion, but there is far too much to fit it all into 7 poems of 14 lines each. Please read the crucifixion accounts from the Gospels to get the whole story…and speaking of the whole story…Christ’s death is certainly not the end of His story!  (It may be Friday now…but Sunday’s on the way!)

Seven Words from the Cross – Part VI

Before my poem, I would like to briefly discuss the final two words (sayings) of Christ from the cross

The last words of Christ from the cross as recorded in the book of Luke differ from what is recorded in the book of John.  Luke 23:46 says,

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”When he had said this, he breathed his last.

John 19:30 says,

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Why are there two seemingly conflicting reports?  Did Jesus say one, or the other, or both?  The discrepancy can likely be attributed to the fact that each is from a different eye-witness account.  It is probable that Christ made both statements, but which came first is impossible to say with certainty.  I have chosen to use Luke’s account for Part VI of my series, and I will use John’s account for part VII, as I feel that “It is finished” is an appropriate phrase for the conclusion of my series.  And now, here is the poem inspired by Christ’s words:

~~

He took our guilt upon himself that day
the cross’s pain eclipsed by pain of sin
He wore our shame to take our shame away
a torture greater than his broken skin

He loves us, so was willing to submit
to torment that the world had never known
“Father into your hands I now commit
my Spirit,” he called out with a loud groan

A loving Father’s arms and strong embrace
are where an anguished child longs to be
The death that Christ died that we might know grace:
how could there be a greater agony?

Even in death he kept his eyes above
Upon his Father, trusting in his love.

Seven Words from the Cross – Part V

What god in guise of human flesh would dare
allow his godly strength be stripped away?
What Greek or Roman deity might care
to be a human each and every day?

The One True God alone became a man
with body prone to pain and even death
as part of his redemptive loving plan
to offer humankind eternal breath

“I thirst” he cried out from his cross of wood
no god not truly man would be so frail.
No man not truly God could be so Good!
for through this “weakness”, Hell he would assail!

In strength he chose to give his life to save
he has a mission far beyond the grave…

~~

This statement from Christ can be found in John 19:28. Part of the inspiration for this sonnet came from the poem “Descent” by Malcolm Guite.  Malcolm contrasted the vanity of  the “classic gods of old” with the self-sacrificial humility of Jesus.  I hope I might have captured a touch of that idea in my poem as well.

Seven Words from the Cross – Part IV

Of all the things Christ said from the cross, I think the one that impacts me with the most force is this one. I’ve done what I could to capture the story of those words in a 14 line sonnet, but this poem barely scratches the surface of the meaning and impact of this word. Jesus quotes from Psalm 22 (and if you read all of Psalm 22, you will find other items in that psalm that point directly to the crucifixion too!). This word (saying) can be found in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34.

~~

While God in Heaven turned his face away
the crowds looked on not knowing what they saw:
more than a man was on the cross that day –
the substitute for all who break the law

Though Pilate found him guilty of no crime,
the crown insisted that they murder him
that was the darkest point in all of time
when sinless man bore all of mankind’s sin

Eloi, Eloi lama sabchthani?
In anguished Aramaic Christ cried out
My God, my God, why’ve you forsaken me?
all Heaven must have trembled with that shout!

But for that moment when God hid his face
we could not know the power of his grace