the poem that is You

The Poem that is YOU: How Will it End?

The sun rose and lit the horizon out my window with fire and flash.

But I almost didn't see it. I'm a little dizzy. A bit unsure of where I am, and soon to leave again. Fish camp is over (already?). The

Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop

 is done (far too soon).                      This first week back in Kodiak I'm trying to house train a deadly-cute puppy whose spiritual gift is piddling in every wrong place.


Oh WHY  oh WHY did I say yes to a puppy?? Because my two youngest sons are just too persuasive? Because God made puppies [and children] with instant pull-cords to our ridiculous mushy hearts??


Then the mail came, and 

Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers

 showed up at my door again----this time in Chinese.  

And Micah (youngest son)and I have just started Godspell rehearsals, which gives us a huge nightly shot of gospel joy and dance.

Sunday I leave for radio interviews with Focus on the Family (and more) in Colorado Springs.

But Saturday. Do you know what happened on Saturday? Besides offering a poetry workshop that only three people attended. (Oh, the suffering of poets!) But more----a poem was planted above a beach, overlooking mountains and sea.

With Corey Pederson, the amazing photographer who took the accompanying photo.

I read it aloud to the stalwart crowd, into the cold blasting winds that amplified my words.

Later, that night, Wendy and I walked back to the beach at sunset, and marveled. 

(The amazing Wendy Erd is the founder of the statewide "Poems-in-Place" project.)  

The land and sea itself echoed the photo, and the words . ...

Since the poem was chosen months ago---I have not been allowed to share it. Until now. May I share it with you? 


Across the wide bay, fin whales feed,

  great sinking ships.

Wind lifts ocean to lace.

Mountains wear their own sky,

Volcanoes fume.

The dizzying spruce sway shadows across the sun.

Under the bay, red corals grow houses

like veins, hearts.

  And here, along the tideline, fragments of it all---

whale bones, ash, lost trees, homes.

Each time I come here with you

the continent’s shelf tilts, empties, delivers

to our hands and feet this surplus.

And gathering these pieces 

I am already generous,

      forgiving breached promises, lost homes, broken hopes.

I lay these weights down

on the beach,

now small and light 

as the coil of red coral

I rest at your feet.

This is where poems and words belong (and Wendy knew this before  any of us.) Out in the light of sun and sunset. Out where they meet us when we don't expect them. Out of closed books and four-walled classrooms. Out where we walk and sing and cry and pray and pick up shells and spruce cones and driftwood as though collecting friends. 

Just simple words to you all this week: 

I want to send you out. Out in God's glowing and Fall-bright world. Maybe for an hour you will lose yourself. Maybe for those minutes you will see the largesse of God in a flower cup, the particular love of God in a swallow's flight, the revelry of God in a colony of raucous gulls. 

       Maybe, under such a sky, He will break your heart and make you generous again, as you used to be. 

      I want this, too. 

      It will happen. Because do you know what God sees when He sees you walking on that trail, by the sea; when He sees you head-up in the pines, dancing in that flower garden?

          He sees a beautiful poem. There, among his glorious Creation He sees you, His "poeia," one of the loveliest poems He's written.  He has spent so much on you. And He will not stop, just as He will not stop breathing out beauty in this world. Do you see it? Do you feel it? Do you know it?

Be generous again. As He has been with you. Be generous with others. Walk your beautiful poem-self straight out into broken homes, lost hopes and sad people. Lay down that piece of your heart at their feet. 

And now, your poem will end just as God wrote it.