Poetry - December, 2011


Stocking for the storm

I can hear thunder grind against the earth,
vibrate with imprecations. Nature's
tossing down her gauntlet,
promising extended sieges,
threatening to lock us in tragedy
the way she locks a fly in amber,
so I flee to the store, wanting to lay in
plenty. Entering the bright
delirium, I harvest cans of gumbo
and chowder, embrace beets
and turnips who've repented living
as fanged roots. I gather wheat
in tiny wheels of pasta, while a stock boy
wipes his hands on his blue apron
and reaches crackers for a child,
and the scarf lady summons me
to read a label. Mark this,
the inauspicious aisle where
we have met. I say, build an altar.
Let the sideshow of breads praise
our communion. Let chèvre
and camembert commemorate
the place where we say to one another,
Three inches! We're in for it now!
and other liturgies of festive panic.
Because soon enough the thunder
will take back its fulminations,
black clouds break from their huddle,
wheel and gallop off, leaving us shy
and silent, wondering what that holy
moment meant, what this altar signifies,
the brief joy strangers gave to one another.



From the cave of darkness
    a baby comes to light.

In the nick of time,
    eternity tonight.

In a world of error
    a perfect child is birthed.

In the midst of terror,
    peace arrives on earth.

In the chill of winter
    dawns this blazing son.

To a world of sinners
    comes this sinless one.

In a land of chaos
    speaks this single Word

whose voice can raise the dead,
    whose promise can be heard.

Even as he cries
    sleepers stir beneath the sod

for nothing is impossible
    with God.


A small poem

To say thanks for reading this poem,
And all the other ones I've inflicted
Upon you over all these years. I did
Think, many times, of your gracious
Acceptance of that which you didn't
Ask for, and perhaps did not actually
Want; but I never said thanks, did I?
So I do. I wanted to . . . I don't know,
Connect, somehow, though we don't
Know each other; maybe that is why
I so wanted to connect, so often with
Just a little poem, like this. It matters
To connect, in some sweet holy way,
More than we can gauge. My sincere
Thanks for the gift of your attention;
Witness is our great work. You knew
That, I know—I'm just reminding us.