Monday, December 30, 2013

Mark Goad- Two Poems


You must believe in your greatness
even if it is as little as admiring
a golden leaf for its glory.
There was room

in your heart for this at least, a quiet
nativity in you. 

Do you want something greater than
this?  How empty can you
afford to be?

In the inn
there was no room.

Who Will This Temple Cleanse?

If God’s temple, I –
and why should I such grace be given? –
better to get to cleaning house – and soon:

Miserly old wretches, lechers,
grumblers, the impious,  
vicious, vengeful,
devils of every kind
have made a home under God’s roof.

Who, Lord, will drive them out?  Who
will overcome what little I have been?  Who
will this temple cleanse? 

Mark Goad is a poet now living in the Boston metro area (USA). Born in Ohio, he has lived and studied in Chicago, Geneva, Switzerland and Boston (with sojourns in Connecticut and rural Nebraska). Undergraduate and graduate studies have been completed in English Lit., German language, theology and philosophy.  His work has been published previously in Assisi, BAPQ, epiphany, bluepepper, Decanto, Big River Review, Extracts, Crannóg, Ayris, The Wayfarer, Contrary, Christian Century, Calvary Cross, Poetry Salzburg Review and other literary journals. 

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

What If Mary Had Chosen Otherwise

You see the oddest things at Christmastime in America. The bigger the city, the stranger the sights.

I was driving downtown to buy gifts for the family and enjoying bouquets of beautiful people bundled in big coats and colorful scarves. They were clustered on corners and shopping in good cheer amid petals of snow dancing in the sun. 

One of the people was a beautiful young lady who had stopped to take issue with an old woman in a shawl picketing Planned Parenthood. The old woman was picketing on a motor scooter designed for the elderlyShe held a sign bigger than she was and kept motoring back and forth. She was as resolute and granite-faced as my Aunt Polly who had been renowned for protesting any injustice she had perceived

Saving the seals wherever human beings might be clubbing them to death had been very important to Aunt Polly. She left all of her money to an organization devoted to saving the seals.

On this day, however, the beautiful young lady who had taken issue with the old woman on the motor scooter was livid. She marched behind the scooter and yelled at the old woman, pounding her fist into her palm and screaming things I could not hear. The old woman appeared oblivious to the chaos in her wakeMaybe she was deaf, I thought, like my aunt. That can be an advantage when loud people disagree with you.

The letters on the sign were huge but I couldn't read them so I drove around the block and found a spot at the curb. It was then that I realized that the sign said, "What might have happened if Mary of Nazareth had been pro-choice?"

Now I understood why the young lady was ranting and raving and why the old woman kept motoring to and fro. At Christmastime in America people get excited, more so than usual.

When I got home I hid my packages and told my wife at supper what I had seen. I also told her that if Mary had chosen otherwise, I wouldn't have had to go shopping today.

That's obvious, she said. 

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Heather Browne- Two Poems

The Garden Beckons 
The garden beckons.
My Father is calling me.
But where is my voice?
I try to clear this cemented plug.
It’s been here much too long.
The cork that wants and needs to pop.
That’s its purpose really.
To hold in ‘til ready and then explode out its flow.

I just need to find my courage and my voice.
And so I sit.
And wait.
I am hidden here.
Behind the big fruited tree.
On the soft, gentle, quiet grass.
No breeze.
Not cold.
Not warm.
Just here.
Just me.
I question my stomach, but it isn’t hungry.
I question my spirit, but I think it’s asleep.

It’s dark here.
Not really scary.
But I see no light.
And I wonder and wait.

I feel the stillness in the air.
The wait on anticipation.
The wait for something.
On something.

The garden beckons,
My Father is calling me,
But where is my voice?
I try to make a sound
and all I do is

Let Me Come

Let me come.
Let me dance in your garden.
Where you’ll plant the seed of words you long to sprout.
Where your flowers bend and sway your scented songs.
Let me hear your gentle voice upon the wind.
Calling me.
Calling me in.
And I laugh,
That I waited one minute more.
One minute more than now.

Heather Browne is a faith-based psychotherapist and published poet in The Galway Review, The Artistic Muse, Leaves of Ink, and Deep Water Literary Journal and Calvary Cross.  She lives with her husband of 20 years and 2 amazing teens in So. Ca.

John H. Whiting- A Poem

Despite the Puritans
Roger Williams knew the way
To escape from Boston and Back Bay.
He left the colony under stress
to flee oppression and seek rest.
Once safe and far away,
He lived to preach another day
About the right of choice
To speak with a separate voice.
Williams allowed the many and the few
To sit in or avoid any pew.
He created the first condition
for American freedom of religion.

Linda M. Crate- Three Poems


You forgave the world
so i must forgive
even though
my heart is aching,
even if my friends want to
run him over,
even if i'd rather punch
him in the face
i know you wouldn't
want them or for me to do
anything evil—
so i sit here bathed in these
angry soliloquies
praying for your guidance and
help because i'm
drowning in a tide of fury
that seems to flow and flow and
never ebb,
and i can't take this insanity anymore
Father; heal me,
because i can't heal myself—
all these tourniquets
soiled and bleeding strangle me
beneath their folds,
don't let them strangle all the
goodness out of me.


i don't want to be another snuffed
candle in a world of darkness
show me Your promises again, Father,
woeful humans forget the
who lifted them
their Maker to whom they should praise
please forgive me for all the
stains of smoke i've left instead of
healing flames

living for myself is too easy,
there's never going to
be a change unless this wounded world
is healed by Your hand
so give me Your grace and power
Father, Spirit, Son
let me help you heal this world
because your love is the only one that will
scorch this world with the beauty
betrayed it by all the apathy of forgetful humankind
Father please let me remember
all Your words;
that i can tell of Your power,
and bring Your words to light.

let me always love You

i want to love You forever
as You've always
loved me;
want to remember Your
name when the
world forgets
to be the candle of change
that blossoms
kindness into a world of apathy

to lead others to the tabernacle to the
only love that saves,
and the universe that declares
God as their Maker
Jesus as their Savior
Holy Spirit as their Friend;
wish i could sing
Your songs loud enough that their
echo would be etched
in every mountain flower blowing in
the thread of every breath
breathing time
into the tapestry of the world

so let me stop being
a broken
and let me lift my hands in Your
even when darkness descends shrouds
of pain to inflict it's
scars upon my heart.

Danny P. Barbare- A Poem

Found in Transit





Danny P. Barbare has appeared in Doxa, Nebraska Christian College; Christianity and the Arts; Sister's Today; Assisi Online Journal, and numerous other small Christian online and print publication including Calvary Cross.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lela Marie De La Garza- A Poem


The ancient story
Is always new,
The promise given
Forever true.

A wondrous truth
We still can tell,
While waiting for

The shepherds bow
As angels sing
Their newborn King;

Glorious vision,
Night of joy,
Mary rocks
Her Baby Boy.

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

What Me Worry?

Why be anxious?
Why worry?

If you believe  
one day you will die,
what else matters?

Whatever catastrophe
occurs in your life
it's one of many 
that may occur.

If you don't believe 
you will die, that's 
another matter.

But if you know 
you will die, 
one reason 
to be anxious 
is whether 
there's a heaven, 
a hell or nothing.

If you believe 
there's a heaven
but no hell,  
why be anxious?
You're home free.

If you believe 
there's a hell,
you know if you 
have reason 
to be anxious.

If you believe
there's nothing 
after you die,
no reason to worry.
Covet your neighbor's 
John Deere.

The bottom line?
If you die, 
you'll wake up
some place nice 
or not so nice.
Or you won't wake up. 

Christopher Hitchens 
knows for sure.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Linda M. Crate- Three Poems

my Savior

when sorrows
my psalms into
You make the sun
to shine again
remind me
of Your glory as You
paint the sky
sunset of my heart,
and You make
me smile
when the world
spews vitriol
into my face and heart
You embrace
me with such amazing
grace i cannot
and as i gaze at all Your
amazing and beautiful
i wonder why
You take the time to help
me shine
when i stumble and fall
such amazing love
You've given
the world and me -
love and caring
when i feel shamed and make
mistakes, and i turn away
You assure me
that it's okay that You'll
forgive if only i
and i don't understand how you can
have such compassion
for a flawed
like me
i am the sea creature
covered in oil,
but You see me as a ruby
full of worth and beauty
and purpose -
You tell me
i am beautiful just
the way i am,
and when i'm all torn up inside
You sew me back
more beautifully
together than i've ever been before
so thank you for being my Savior.

singing Your praise

people will reject me
You warned
me of that, but You
never have
You're there to
dry my tears, hold my
hand, to mend my broken heart;
You're there when
it is all
apart around me -
You lift me out of the
darkest mood
put a song in my heart
when it felt
as if all the anxiety
would crush
me beneath it's brow,
and there's nothing i can do
to repay the
i'm in so i'll spend
every day singing Your praise
drinking in the beauty
of Your creation
upon my shores
singing joy to get me out
of sorrow.

the deepest magic

so many lies
i've told myself to
assure myself
i'm not worthy,
yet You tell me those
are only satan's
words, and only true if
i let them be
because You love me
flawed and broken
as i am;
You died for my sins,
so why is it so
hard for me to give them
up? i wish i could just
be pure and holy,
your temple always i hate
the flesh and it's desires
always trying to convince me to
turn from You -
Father, please heal me;
and, Brother, hear my cry,
Spirit mediate on my
behalf, i beg you,
i feel as if i'm losing myself
sometimes to the world,
and You're the only
cause i want to be for because
when everything fades away
all is but dust and shadow and smoke
You're the only thing that matters
because Your love is the deepest
magic, it saves us from the dagger spell
of the world crushing us under the
wrath of it's dagger.

Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh, and raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, reviews, and articles have appeared in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. Her novel Amethyst Epiphany is forthcoming from Assent Publishing under their imprint Phantasm Books. To find out more about the novel you can follow her blog here: To find more of her writing you can follow her on facebook here:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Jeff Burt- Two Poems

Song for the Skin
Of unguents and oils
Lotions and balms
Salves and wraps
And scrubs and smears
To clean ourselves
We thank you O Lord
For water, water
Clear and complete
Removing the self-anointing oils
And making us all common
Dying to one
Rising to another


My soul taps a white cane
one step ahead of uncertainty,
whisking side to side for assurance.
Visionless, it has learned more by echo
than by true line of sight,
pleas and joys mixed
in a stream of inaudible
pings and screams
of triumph, anxiety
and defeat, at times,
like this, not returned,
the searching miscast,
the sonar either absorbed
or cloaked in response.
Like the blind man
who ignored the rebuke
of Pharisees and friends
to continue to cry out
for the mercy of Jesus,
as if by voice his passion made visible,
or like the woman who crawled
through the forbidding forests
of legs and royal robes
of the rich who would deny her
the touch of Jesus’ coat,
so I long to be,
so I long.

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

Another Sinner's Prayer

Long ago Christ bled from every pore, 
died on the cross, rose for all, 
too few of whom now seem to care.

He died for what I'm doing now
and for what I've done before 
and for what I'll do again unless

I drown in a flood of grace,
a flood more terrifying than 
the one that Noah faced

from the safety of his ark. 
I do believe--but I don't behave.
I need to drown in a flood of grace.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Jonathan Bolick- Two Poems

Among the reeds

wading into the water,
she wonders how
she came to this place

how she loves so strong
yet have it be so wrong

This baby,
what shall it be?
a laborer, slave
a servant


not now
not my son

Lord, take him
and make him yours

and mine,
 Coming home

taking what he thought his own
left to find what he had not known
leaving made his sire un-whole
worried about his very soul

unknowingly he went to find
what he felt he was declined
out among the world so cruel
left to fend against the fools

try as he may and struggle so
he became lost and oh so low
lost among friends, sinners pine
left alone to feed with swine

humbly, hungry on the ground
left the swine, homeward bound
as he came his father cried
my wayward son, now by my side

the fatted calf now sacrifice
bring his robe, my ring suffice
let us sing and dance and praise
my son has come, our cups be raised

the father joyful at his child
no more curious about the wild
home at last forever more
from now on lives in bible lore

one reads this story and he thinks
left the fold and in trouble sinks
one can't come back and join once more
but that is what our Savior's for

calms us when we are so weary
dries our eyes once so teary
guides us when we feel alone
lost, He gives us rest and home
Jonathan Bolick has published 5 books of poetry and has appeared in The Red River Review and The Dead Mule.

Heather Browne- A Poem

Look Not Toward Tomorrow
Look not toward tomorrow
it is not yet here. 
My dear sweet son,
Your prayer has been to participate in my sufferings.
And what I want is to be with you in yours.
This long walk of uncertainty before you
is known to Me.
Stand with Me.
I will calm your seas and wind.
I will lessen your trembles and roar.
Know it is Mine to do so.
Not yours.
Be with Me. 
Stand tall My son.

Worry not how you look.
What you don't yet know.
What is changing.

I am your certainty.
Your heart is true.
Your heart is Mine.
That is what you need to know.

Stand tall My son
for I am with you.

I will shift your eyes to see.
I will bring others alongside you and Me.

And as we stand side by side
you will feel Me stronger.
Loving you.

And when the time is right.
When the time is Mine.
We will plant this cross
you and I
And you will feel
the power and strength of
Our resurrection
For I am making you new.

So look not toward tomorrow
look only
with Me.

Heather Browne is a faith-based psychotherapist and published poet in The Galway Review, The Artistic Muse, Leaves of Ink, and Deep Water Literary Journal.  She lives with her husband of 20 years and 2 amazing teens in So. Ca.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

John H. Whiting- Three Poems

The Stable and Beyond

What happened in the manger
To the Christ-child stranger
Still tells the story
Of God’s visible glory.
Drenched in Light,
The silent night
Sheltered the child from harm
With a shield of calm.
Mystery conceived early good news.
Ministry offered later clues
That the man walked the earth
From the cradle of his birth.
Had we been there,
Would we be aware
Of perfection in innocent repose,
Of the Divine in infant’s clothes?

Another Carpenter

The man for whom this cross is meant
Is said to be God’s son and sent
To make this world a state of Grace
In which no seed by birth is bent.
His name I know from some near place
Where once I saw a chariot race,
For he was there among the crowd
That came to see the winner’s face.
Sharp hooves I heard within a cloud
When first the drivers shouted loud.
The champion’s horse with waving mane
Went out in front and I was proud.
My skill was what had brought them fame,
And on that day I felt no shame
Because my wheels were slow or lame.
Nor will this cross hurt my good name.

Capri: High and Low

When Tiberius heard the word
About the carpenter’s death,
He launched aspiring enemies like birds
From convenient towering crests
To celebrate death with death.
For this tyrant, breaking bones
And spirits with public zest
Assured a defense against future threats
While addressing current pests.
Now he is known as the Emperor of bones.

Brief Bio:  John H. Whiting retired from SUNY Orange with the rank of professor emeritus(English).  During his academic years, he served on the editorial boards of literary magazines, including The Hart Crane Newsletter and The Visionary Company, and published poetry in journals like Esprit and  Colleague.  A recent poem entitled “Motion Notion” about the Higgs-boson God Particle will appear in Strong Verse.  Mr. Whiting lives with his wife Patricia in Southport, NC where he does library programs on literary and film subjects.  He is a member of St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Linda M. Crate- Three Poems

rotten ambrosia  

when the ashes of
this world
breathe in me these
menacing fires
cause me to become
apathetic and indifferent
using my words
like icicles cutting through
the wounds inflicted
in me,
You remind me of Your scarred
hands the sacrifice You made
for me so i could
obtain eternal life, and i am
called to be different
than all these embers of words
flecking their hatred and pain into my
soul; a gentle reminder
telling me to better than this because
You know i am a good person
buried beneath all this pain and agony
when all i can see is failure and
perversity and disgusting wretchedness
You remind me that Your love
covers all my offenses
so i'll shine my light won't let anything
cover it again
i'll be a blessing so all can see
Your love shining in this dark and depraved
world dancing it's nightmares around
us, a deep pit of sheol to share
with us the secrets
of the lying prince whose ambrosia
rots their hearts.

rise above this

are the song i want
to sing,
when psalms are
brought to birth i hope my lips
only remember Your name
because there is no god
like my God
He's conquered death
through His son Jesus;
He who breathes fire into the
sun, and life into the
trees; who allows
foxes to run into vineyards
He who makes
veins in the leaves; an intricate
design in a simple life
how much more has He put into us,
but we want to cling to the
simplicity of our sin and our desires;
tether ourselves to the delusion that the
only our needs and wants matter
He called us not to be of this world,
but of His world and so even
when i'm seething
i try to smile kindness in my words
to be the light He's asked me to be because
there's always pain and misery
in the blackened wings of this earth
we've got to rise above it
through His love.

only HE matters

for once in my life
i've opened my
i've seen the monster i can
be, and i don't like it
only He can love this disgusting
creature rippling in my
all this envy, fury, and wrath
burning in my inferno
of my soul
He calms all their bitter waves
crafts me into something
when i allow Him to sculpt me
into something more
than destruction
because anyone can use their words
to destroy, but we need to use
them as He does to build others
up because the truth is only HE is perfect
only He is worth praise; yet we are
made in His image
to praise
His holy name, and the works
of His hands;
arrogant men cannot abide in their pomp
they are like the beasts that
this he taught me,
and so i've swallowed my pride
i will sing His name and praises all my life
because only He saves and He is
my portion even when my
closest friends
have abandoned me.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

April Grisham- A Poem

What You Didn't See

When I was 5 years old
My grandfather died
He was my favorite person
I wanted to run and hide

Then my parents got divorced
1988 was the year
I didn't understand it
That was the first time I felt fear

A couple years then passed
They both decided to re-marry
I then had 2 step-parents
And that was kinda scary

It seemed we all were happy
After everything settled down
I really didn't want to
But we moved out of town

I started a new school
And adjusted right away
I made lots of friends
And my fear began to fade

Then one Wednesday morning
On a cold day in November
Tragedy struck my school
A day I'll always remember

He walked into my school
And shot 2 teachers and my friend
It changed our lives forever
The fear creeped in again

At first I was in shock
Just trying to get by
The next thing I knew
I was getting high

I found relief for a moment
I thought I'd found the answer
Then we got the news
My baby brother had brain cancer

I didn't know what to do
I just broke down and cried
In the Chapel of the hospital
Screaming at God, "Why?!"

"God, isn't it enough
To lose my best friend
For my parents to split up
When will it ever end?!"

So I became very angry
I just wanted to be numb
I didn't want to hurt anymore
I threw my hands up and said, "I'm done!"

My brother went through treatment
And did really well
He went into remission
But my life was going to hell

I was going to be a mom
So I finally got clean
I thought I was done forever
But that was just a dream

Soon after I had my son
The darkness fell again
The doctors prescribed me pills
And they became my best friend

It just got worse and worse
I became empty inside
Screaming, "God, where are you?!"
And still got no reply

Then one day I looked at my son
And cried and hung my head
I knew at that moment
One day he'd find me dead

So, I reached over to the table
And picked up my phone
I finally realized
I couldn't do it on my own

So I went to get help
And get my life back on track
Then we found out
My brother's cancer was back

We all were really shocked
It hurt me to my core
But I stayed determined
To not get high anymore

2 years and 2 months later
And God just spoke to me
He said, "Listen to Me, child
This is what you didn't see"

"I know that it hurt you
When your father left your mother
But had that not happened
You wouldn't have your little brother"

"And when the school shooting happened
I was holding your hand
I had My reasons for allowing it
But some things you just can't understand"

"And your brother's fight with cancer
I know has caused you great pain
But I need soldiers like him
To bring Glory to My Name"

"And I know it has been hard on you
Battling addiction
But I allowed you that battle
To help others with that affliction"

"Child, I know you've been through a lot
But what you didn't see
Is all the pain and every battle
Led you straight to Me"