How do you line the limbs with silent frost

so cold it stops the steps of crocus shoots

who yearn for light. I feel within my dormant

soul a yawn—a wandering for wisdom warm

to break the bands of winter’s clutch, a subtle

movement toward the dawn. As coldness melts

and slides along the walls that fence my fears,

I pray this frost soaks far enough to fissure

frozen veins; that sap may run from root

to canopy and fatten fairer blooms, form

finer fruit to nourish passersby who

stop to stare in wonder at the silver limb.

p.s. sometimes in my technical inabilities I do funny things like accidently hit a trash button. 🙂 So the post is reposted. 🙂

I Am

I asked God for a picture the other day, and He said, ‘Here, have a poem.’

I Am

In a world that ebbs and flows

like watercolor pastels

I Am.

When the snow turns to rain

and the rain to ice

I Am.

When the phone call from ocology

shatters your calm on the couch

I Am.

When allegations quit your co-teacher

wrench your right arm out of socket

I Am.

Should the Mississippi convert course

converge on Minnesota or

the San Francisco Bay invert

I Am.

I have been, I will be,

I Am.

October Frost

Joy stole in with October’s frost,

Its crystal stems pierced the ache in my throat

While icy air froze dawn’s pink flow.

I turned to embrace the chilly morn

Remembering that seasons come and go

That songs mellow in Autumn’s gold.

I went to Newfoundland

The place where cod and cliff and cove

kiss fog and fisherman, where humpbacks blow their

watery horns and puffins dance on peat and locals invite

you to the hearth to warm your damp soul in July

where crumpled piers dot the rocky shore

alongside each fishing shack

and each b’y pulls his dory to dock in the dusk

when the capelin and lobster are done.

The place where crab and sea arch

play tag as the tide serves salmon or

halibut cheek at the Twillingate

theater, family lore lights the stage

peals of laughter are washed down with wine

while Jack was Every Inch a Sailor and Saltwater

Joys are accompanied with Gary’s accordion,

Chelsea belts forth in Newfoundland gusto

guests wipe wet cheeks and notes fade on the

Labrador Sea, Will the Circle be Unbroken?

Southe’n Bones


When you tell me Guys Mills is beautiful, I just want to say,

Honey, yo’ must have eyes like a grasshopper for yo’ sur’

aint never been to Virginia where the mountains run up

one of side of the forest and down the other and where the

curves twist the roads around boulders and across chortling streams,

where hay fields and vineyards border market stands piled with

sweet corn and tomatoes and melons. I don’t blame yo’ if you think

the golden rod colors the swamp lovely, what with the geese flying

over the sumac and a cream moon shining down, there was a moment

to pause. It must be all in perspective, I suppos’.

Must be somethin’ about knowing

Barbara Hudgins that lives in the trailer in the woods with seventeen cats

and first hearin’ then barely seein’ Nick go by on his bike.

Must be more about the peepers and the wide blue sky

fog steaming off the James River hazing an early morning drive

more about Boutetourt and less about peach ice cream and a paycheck.

Are your grasshopper eyes up for grabs?

Cut Down in Spring

Riddles were not shaped to die young—

a hurricane that rips through an apple orchard in May

shreds trunks, shrivels roots, splits hearts,

scattering limbs that leaves

blood spilled on grass and shoulder and tarmac.

People were created to kiss, to dance, to laugh,

to grow old like the live oaks in Georgia

that weather the storms and branch out to each other

supporting, holding an arm, twisting together

never to be undone.

Malachi Martin met his Maker on August 19. To Lucy, my dear sister, and Daniel, we grieve with you. May the Father continue to carry you.

“How is your grandmother?”

Today’s guest post comes from Marlene, who gypsies about the great white north, where she rescues abandoned books and grows poems. And I might add, who lives about eighteen hours closer to the North Pole than I; the type that thrives in Longer Colder Winters and Blissfully Sunny Summers amongst pine and moose. Thankyou, Marlene, for allowing me to share this piece; it has ground itself into my gut.

“How Is your grandmother?”
do I know? How
can I answer when I do not think
she has been very how for a long time? How
can I tell you how she stares,
how she stumbles, how she
How can I tell you how
she asks who I am and why I came, then immediately says
she misses my dad?
How I drill her
on her parents’ names, her children’s names?
How can I tell you
how she feels when she never knows
what time of what day of what month of what year it is,
who is at her table,
why I make her wash after going to the bathroom?
How can I tell you how she claps
and sings “Jesus loves me” all wrong?
How can I tell you how
she still plays Scrabble, pieces quilts, sneaks cookies?
How can I tell you how I miss her, how I’m mad at her,
how I mourn her?
How can I tell you how her querulous voice
softens and lifts
when she reads aloud the
Sermon on the Mount? 

Autumn Dance

Frost and sunshine dance in autumn

When October winds blow wild,

Sunrays beckon, balm, enchant us.

Chilly winds chase summer’s smile.

Golden fields await the farmer,

Harvest days sway cool and peart.

Bring the combine—gather soybeans,

Winter watches summer flirt.

Child Training

One’s mind goes in a multitude of directions when the sermon title is along the lines of child training. If you’re a young person you may think, not for me. I wonder if parents feel very preached to and squirm in their pews. Singles may tune out, unless they are teachers vying for answers as well. I find the truth of the Word so guiding and comforting. Anyway…

Recently I wrote a tribute to my dad since I think one should do these kind of things this side of the River; and I put it here in honor of the child training of which I was once a recipient.

Sixty-Four Lines

On Your 64th Birthday

You teach like a champion,

Explain with simple illustration,

Demonstrate truth like Jesus did with

Objects common to nature—geese,

Rhythm, the body, our brain!

We celebrated when you turned forty,

Had a party at school in the basement!

I like sixty-four better. Your hair is whiter,

Thinner, rooted deeper in wisdom.

You’ve endured a lot. I wonder if the

Court trials the days you were pinioned

On the witness stand held a candle to this

Past year when covid collapsed your normal

And you suddenly ground gears with brothers.

I think it has stretched you more than

The year you went into service with

Twenty-three dollars or was it two hundred three

In your pocket and the Little Green Duster

As your only collateral.

A recent sermon you preached on harmony

Versus unity struck a tremendous chord

With me. We are all so different.

A kidney, an eye, a toe, or a lung.

If only all would understand it’s more about

Following the Director than singing their own line!

I remember how you used to sing in the

Shower. I’d waken to hear your rich

Melodies, and I still am amazed at your

Energetic tenor every time I sit in the same

Auditorium! I want my children to know

Every song in Praises We Sing. That must

Have been your philosophy back when we

Sang through the books in family devotions.

Speaking of philosophies, I was thinking

Lately of how you taught us that tardiness

Affects others exponentially for when you

Slide in one minute late, but there are ten

Around the table, you have just stolen ten minutes!

You also believed in frugality and switched off lights

As you made your way to your spot at the head.

I guess our family dynamics were more

Enormous than some. That didn’t

Dampen your adventurous spirit of

Driving grandparents and a wife and

Five children to Belize in Nineteen Eighty-Seven,

Or leave behind seven littles but fly the

Three oldest to the other side of the world

To stand on the equator in Two Thousand. I’ve

Been permanently changed because of that trip.

Vehicles are to be driven, not idolized.

Mornings are golden, why squander gold!

Church is for participation in the bride of Christ.

Why miss out? Strangers are unknown friends.

And dogs are for revenue. Thank God.

You told me once how God took you from

The farm – like David from the sheepfold.

How it’s not so much about skill but

Availability, a heart in tune with the Father.

Your prayers are practical because Christian

Living is where the rubber meets the road.

It’s why you don’t need to slam the trunk,

But maybe why you should lift up your

Voice when you speak. And then sit down

When you are done – without circling three times.