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Age of Anawim

Princess Anawim, four years old

You were born to overthrow me

Terrible in all your beauty

And endless in your energies.

 

Made of music and sharp white teeth

Hair that streams like banners behind

Blazing eyes fixed on tyranny

That you very nearly deserve.

 

Princess Anawim I’d throw down

The crown of my paternity

If I thought I could bear to see

My daughter rise a tyrant-queen.

 

But your prostrate future subjects

Would burn my bones and curse my name

As he who brought their doom to pass

The endless age of Anawim.

 

So I’ll hold the throne against you

And keep your glory in its place

Just long enough for you to learn

A crown is for the casting down.


Donkey-Work

Walk the path a thousand times

From the kitchen to the well.

Sweep until the dirt is gone

Clean until the chaos flees.

 

Tear down the old corrupted things

Raise up the new creations.

Repair the bent and broken things

If and when it can be done.

 

Put the values in their places

Make the numbers tell the truth

Make a right accounting

Of what was gained, and lost.

 

Cause the little things to grow

And keep the great from tyranny

Make a garden in the wilderness

And a city in the wastes.

 

Feed the humans in your care

Keep their bodies clean

Let them see the world and know

They are the best part of it.

 

Cast the spells you have been given

The songs into the silences

The pictures on to empty space

The names unto the nameless things.

 

And they may call it donkey-work,

The body moving through the day

But we do nothing  on the earth

That is not grace, and magic.


Daylight Savings Time

I thought that time was on my side

The ticking progress of the clock

The westward passage of the sun

Every minute brought me closer

 

To naptime, bus time

Screen time, bedtime

When my time

Would be mine again.

 

But there are things that I forget:

That time goes one way only

That ticking clocks are counting down

And after day comes night, and endings.

 

The end of play for its own sake

The end of eyes-wide wonder

Of when my arms could carry them

Of when they called me Daddy.

 

And one day I will watch the clock

In the twilight of a silent house

When all my time is mine alone

Though I’d give it all to share it.


On The Last Day Of The Year

Jesus come and find me

On the last day of the year

Ragged, worn, tattered, torn

Older now, and full of fear.

 

Still the racing of my thoughts

Ease the terrors of my heart

That have hunted, haunted me

To the ending from the start.

 

Come and count my hairs again

Count the bones beneath my skin

And knit me back together

Where the seams are opening.

 

Jesus come and find me

And make your dwelling here

In the empty place carved out

By the passage of the year.


Residents

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I awaken in the night

Fifteen years and far away

With your face before me

And that song playing in my ears.

 

I see your face but I know that

You don’t look like that anymore

Or listen to that music

And I guess neither do I.

 

But I awaken in the night

And for just a few moments

All the distance goes away

And all that came between us.

 

The years of madness come and gone

The years of marriage and divorce

The years of confidence unshared

Ellipsed, eclipsed and gone away.

 

And for a moment you are

As close to me tonight

As when we lived all of our lives

In those same shared stories.

 

When we wandered the same halls

And found each other in the night

To share the possibilities

Of our brand new lives.

 

I awaken in the night

And think that I am there.

But they tore down the old residence

Two years ago.

 

But if the Finder of Lost Things

And if the Mender of the Torn

Is what we knew Him to be

In those lost days, than

 

I will awaken in the night

To make my way to a

Bright and common room

And find you gathered there again.


First Day Of School

Four years is not a long long time

But it’s all the life you’ve had so far

And so far I have got to be there

For all the life you’ve lived.

 

Seeing each new thing you saw

With you as you saw it

Hearing each new sound you heard

With you as you heard it.

 

When you were born

I could hold you in one hand.

But you grew and grew until

No strength of mine could keep you here.

 

Now your long strong legs

Will carry you, out the door to where

Red lights flash on a yellow bus

And the glass door comes between us.

 

Now you’ll live, and I won’t see it

You’ll see and I won’t share

You’ll sing and I won’t hear it

But you were never just for me.

 

Four years is not a long long time

But I got to be there

For all the life you’ve had till now

And so I will be grateful.


Institutions

This is a house for the haunting

Full of silence, full of groaning

Of cries that can’t be understood.

And questions that can’t be answered

 

This is a house for the leaving

A door the neighbors hurry past

Where the letters do not arrive

And the telephones are silent.

 

This is the house of wasted time

Of aimless days and weeks and years

Of lives robbed of their purposes

And stories that have no meaning.

 

Here in the room no home contains

Defended by my protocols

I patrol the paperwork wall

‘Tween me and them, and beg You be

 

The light sent unto her blindness

To be the song his deafness hears

The firmness ‘neath her trembling limbs

The loudest voice his madness brings.

 

Oh God if You are here tonight

You came in quiet as a ghost.

But if this is not a haunted house

Then Your temples too are empty.