Friday, March 29, 2019

Week 3. John 8

Written during the week of March 18-23

Monday’s Quatern:
Come into the temple at dawn
find the illusive rogue teacher
Paparoa in the morning
who sits down and begins to speak
words richocheting thru the crowds

Pharisees and teachers of law
come into the temple at dawn
seeking the troubling rogue teacher,
woman in tow for his judgement.

Gathers crowds and writes in the sand,
infuriating leaders who
come into the temple at dawn
stones in hand, overwhelmed by fear.

I hold my breath watching him stand,
navigating their challenges.
Testifies, sent by his Father
come into the temple at dawn.

Tuesday’s Nonet
it began innocently enough
changed water to wine at Cana
fed five thousand on a hill
but he says I am bread
he says I am light
he says “I AM”

Wednesday’s Haynaku
am light
for the world
time has
not yet come

never will
walk in darkness

am not
of this world

Thursday’s Landay
discovered and dragged from deception
in dawn’s breaking light she was damned alone before them

bitterness rising within her breast
biting her lip till she tasted blood of the broken

his silence pushed her beyond the fear
accusations fading to a silent scratching in the sand

shuddering, blood pounding in her ears
waiting for judgement to rain down on her betrayal

still the silent scratching in the sand
whispering through the dust rather than gathering stones

Friday’s Sonnet
Shall I compare thee to a brilliant light,
A light so full that it casts no shadow
Nor shall I find darkness, though it be night.
(And still, what shall I do with my sorrow?)

“Where do you come from? Where are you going?
These are the questions no one is asking.
These are the things they think they are knowing.
If not Galilee, what needs unmasking?

His light casts their certainty into shade.
So, swiftly they turn to frame light as dark.
“Not from Father, but from demons you wade.”
Cornering, fighting his words till they spark

within them a rage and they reach for stone.
He slips into shadows ‘ere one is thrown.

Saturday haiku
temperature rising
water is not yet running
spring is breaking thru

temperature rising
gathered people now turning
kingdom breaking through

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Week 2. John 7

Little Levi and big sister Elena break into the writing like spring ...
written during the week of March 11-16.

Monday Nonets
Brothers knew him well but did not know
this one thing, from the beginning
He was one of them, yet not.
So familiar was he
that they scorned his claim
to be water
for all time

Levi curls forward tight to return
to his accustomed position
undisturbed by hungry cold.
Eyes tightly shut he wills
himself back to sleep
Elena kiss
Mama kiss

Tuesday Quatern
“This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.”
The wedding wine was running out
His mother knew some hidden pow’r
And called him out before his time

Now sarcastic brothers taunt him
“This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.”
Like them, but strangely unlike;
Didn’t give them what they wanted.

He has stirred up things around him
Something has shifted in this town
“This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.”
Anger growing, wonder spreading.

Accept healing-not the healer.
Accept the food – but at what cost?
Slipping in and out of trouble
This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.

Wednesday Haynaku
is of
the utmost importance

Thursday Landays
Wind blasts snow across icy dirt roads
Little Elena stands on the ice looking for deer

Morning snowflakes drift past the windows
Levi opens new eyes to Sapton’s bright winter’s light

Pines and aspen, birch and ivy vines
Still wave, still stand as buffer to the winter’s sharp sting

… and back to John 7
Jewish religious festivals merge
Into sound and color and all saturated senses

But not this feast of tabernacles
Jesus of nowhere walking free as though nothing mattered

Friday’s Sonnet
You fall asleep and leave me unattached.
So silently I slip on coat and boots
and walk into the forest paths unmatched
by summer’s warm beckoning leaves and fruits.

Papery bark peels and curls from birches
Red willow dances with spruce and aspen.
Chickadee, red pole and nut hatch perches
on winter’s silent sleep, stillness grasping.

Yet cold is cracking, winter losing hold,
rivers slowly rising in the sunshine.
The turning moment may not be so bold
as those who, well fed, still asked for a sign.

Nicodemus stands by.  Now Galilee
links him by day to his sanctuary.

Saturday Haiku
five thin birches grow
around one decaying stump
round dance from their roots

Friday, March 8, 2019

comfort shaken by bread

March 8 Sonnet
Shall I compare thee to my daily bread?
How can that be, for you are friend, father.
Stone oven bakeries by flames are fed,
my kitchen’s loaves of wheat and oats offer

no small promise of sustenance rising.
Bread in our home, or to the ground falling-
while Israel wander’d, recognizing
not you in the feeding, in the watching.

And standing there like teacher, brother, friend;
you also walk on water, multiply
the smallest gift and laws of nature bend.
Comfort shaken by bread, we stumble by.

Safe little baby, all swaddled and warm…
this Christ of the mountain takes me by storm.

bread and fire

Bread and fire spread on the mountainside
Bread in our mouths and fire in our hearts, so we ran from him

Landay is a couplet, or running couplets with a 9/13 rhythm.  I fell in love with this form - it invites you to speak with an edge of grief, or anger, or displacement.  Used by many women in regions where I have not walked, have not lived, to speak of things I have not experienced.  Found myself taking the perspective of those who walked away from Jesus in these difficult conversations.

broken and shared on the mountain

from john 6

Broken and shared on the mountain,
the boy’s bread and fish did not end
till all who were foll’wing feasted.
a boy’s 5 loaves and 3 fishes.

Hungry and thirsty they listened,
Broken and shared on the mountain
was bread unexpectedly giv’n,
words unexpectedly bitter.

Manna supplied in the desert
like Jesus supplying their need.
Broken and shared on the mountain
-they could not face this allusion.

Many then fled from the spectre
of Joseph’s son somehow their food.
Finally even the 12 left him
broken and shared on the mountain.

(from Wednesday)
4 verses, 4 lines, each line 8 beats 
the first line slips down a line each verse till it is the last line in the final verse 
no rhyme schemes

Friday, March 1, 2019


Shall I compare thee to a winter’s moon?
You hold more warmth in morning’s dawning light.
Cold, still, the air that wraps life in her womb
and winter’s grip through endless months holds tight.

So short; the sun’s swift journey ‘cross the sky
leaves long and darkened edges to our day.
To sleep succumb, and hibernating cry
we - eyes downcast – forget horizon’s way

of playing with our light at morn and eves. 
Late sun casts cool pink carpet as she breaks
and breaks and breaks and circling, dawn retrieves.
But long before, the winter’s moon awakes;

companion trails through cold night wanderings,
holds sunlight trapped, then fades in the offerings.


Getting ready to write poetry for this next season.  I stumbled into this practice last year as I started into the gospel of John, wrestling with the reality of the infinite God becoming finite, the Creator taking the form of his creation. So I decided to severely limit the form of my writing.  A very small way to experience succumbing to the limit of form.

I thought I would post more of them last year, but found the process far too raw ... exposed wrestlings and "accidental" or form-driven phrases that surprised me.

This poem is anchored in the sight of the winter moon that hovers and shines over the western horizon just before the sun rises.  Or as it rises on a cold dark evening and shines across the south Saskatchewan river along the Meewasin trail. Short days mean that the moon has more time.  Its cold white reflected light reveals the night in a completely different way than the obliteration of the yellow sun.

Also - it is a brash riff from the sonnet master, Shakespeare.  Why follow only a definition of a sonnet when you can improv off a sonnet with long life?
So.  There are many variations of a sonnet - it has had centuries in which to morph.  This follows a form like Shakespeare's:
14 lines
each line has 10 beats
beats are in iambic pentameter
rhyming scheme is ABAB CDCD  EFEF  GG

So.rigid.  "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"