Blessings of the Birds

Bless the LORD, o my soul,
and forget not the One
who instructs your heartbeat
by the pulsing dance of starlings.

Bless the LORD, o my soul,
and forget not the One
who teaches your soul
in the stillness of the great blue heron.

Bless the LORD, o my soul,
and forget not the One
who calls you to rest
with the summer whippoorwill.

Bless the LORD, o my soul,
and forget not the One
who finds you hiding
though you like the junco lay low.

Bless the LORD, o my soul,
and forget not the One
who defends you
as a cardinal against intruders.

on Psalm 103:2-3

Leprosy

Stay away, God.
There is no sin here that you have not seen
and it is embarrassing to have you look.
Truly there is no need
for you to draw near:
you would only add to this
humiliation — your touch would
sting like salt on this wound that is
my spirit, broken down and
contrite for its failings.
Better for you
to remain unsoiled or at least
to be messed by the likes of more alluring
matters of life: love and faith and
children’s laughter and the
beauty of creation —
not this pollution of despair
not this erosion from wholeness
that hasn’t loved itself since the angel first
cut Eden’s gate into pieces with a flaming sword.
But you are still in the garden finding
new things to name and even
in your moments of holy
grace for the pathetic,
it seems best
to honor the sword’s divisions
and keep the distance as it stands between us.
No worries, God, and no
hard feelings.

on Jeremiah 23:23

Summer Storms

You surprise me, Summer Storm —
though I saw you slowly building in the west,
suddenly you descend amid upturned leaves and
clouds piled high across the face of the sun.
I know better than to fail to keep
a watchful eye on your coming
but no matter: you are here now and I am
wrapped up in you, twisted about and turned around
in awe of your power to break through a stalemate,
a stifling of life and spirit, a gridlock betwixt
sun and earth in which time
was held captive (as was I)
but now with the pounding of this Summer Storm
the air breaks and bends and makes way for life to move
again, for birds to sing again, for feet to dance again
while I am drenched in goodness and mercy.
Yes, God — by your Storm I am
drenched in goodness & mercy.

on Psalm 148:8b