Spice Song

Richly roundly smoothly darkly brown
Nutmeg plays the spicey melody
Cloves, spikey and pungent, sound deep soothing bass notes
Long cinnamon sticks, orchestral reeds, lighten and brighten
Nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon:
Rich earthly smells ringing, singing song blankets
To cover tired eyes, wrap worn spirits in
Warmthly richness inhaled comforts
Scently goodness heals
Simply spices

Inspired by Nicolas of Cusa

“In all faces is seen the Face of faces, veiled in a billion riddles.” Nicolas of Cusa

I see the one true Face in every face;
A world’s billion riddles of the divine.
So said Cusa’s mystic of sublime grace
Whose eyes could see divinity’s design.

I know myself blinded by race, by age,
By wealth, by lack of faith in those others.
Scruffy conmen on street corners assuage
My guilt. Surely they are not my brothers?

But how can I, a white American,
Know much of life’s crueler crushing portions?
What does it mean that I attempt more than
Another to see beyond self-absorptions?

Only the love of our divine Mother
Can open our blind eyes to each other.

I Do Not Need

I do not need deep drinks to quench my thirst:
a sip supplies.
I do not need soft songs to soothe my ears:
a chord comforts.
I do not need long looks to please my eyes:
a glimpse gladdens.
I do not need sweet smells to tease my nose:
a whiff welcomes.
I do not need love’s lust to wake my skin:
a touch transcends.
I do not need rare rites to know my God:
a prayer portends.
A sip, a chord, a glimpse, a whiff, a touch,
a simple prayer brings God Herself to me.

Another Psalm-Inspired Sonnet

I feel forgotten now that I am old.
Once, long ago, I felt my life was blessed;
I had no doubts, no fears, no need to guess.
No one but God can save me, I was told.
No warmth but God’s can break cold Satan’s hold.
I planned to make You my heart’s greatest guest.
The nuns who taught me gave You all their best.
From them I learned You were my whole life’s goal.

But now, ah now, doubt freezes my cold heart.
My soul is caught in winter’s icy glove.
I long for You to melt my heart with love.
I long for You to break my ice apart.
Then, warm with Your love’s everlasting fire,
I’ll raise my voice in song with harp and lyre.

In Comfort Smug

[This past Sunday there was a hard rain during and after Sunday Mass. I was struck by the contrast between God’s wild, unpredictable and sometimes dangerous world, and the safe, predictable rites we have created to worship that God. So I tried, with limited success, to capture that in a sonnet.]

Smart lines of cars in ceaseless rhythm come
In careful rows to park as peals the bell
So many hope to shirk the chains of hell
In prudent pews amid the loud and dumb.

Where priestly man who treads the sacred boards
In surplice, alb and stole directs the show
To altar steps the chosen few who know
To bind their god in sacramented cords.

Rise hymns and pray’rs to build the prison strong
Lest god or goddess ‘spite their rites escape
Then havoc cry as gods of war do rape
In church the sav’d in comfort smug belong.

Outside Her rain in downward torrent pours
Immortal God our drab beliefs abhors.

Inspired by Psalm 1

Stand with our Creator, don’t sit with those who sneer
Walk with our Redeemer, don’t stand with those who sin
Run with our Sustainer, don’t walk with those who scoff

Listen to God’s Word
Learn God’s Wisdom
Live God’s Love

Grow tall in faith
Spread wide in hope
Root strongly in love

Drink deeply of God’s mercy
Share generously of God’s good fruits
Prosper fully in God’s care

If I
Sit with those who sneer
Stand with those who sin
Walk with those who scoff

Ignore God’s Word
Lust after foolishness
Live resentfully, enviously

With stunted growth
Bare branches
Withered leaves

Blown every which way
By whims and winds of fancy
Prospering in nothing important

Then my life
Blows away

We lose our way
When we do not walk with God.