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"

Mark Goad- Three Poems

The Question

If, as seems possible, what is not given
will be taken away,

a certain generosity of heart is advisable,
the problem being

you have to want to give those very things
you don’t want taken away.

It is a serious puzzle and largely unsolvable
by rational minds, minds

given first place in a feeling, irrational world,
grasping, clinging, holding on. I

ask again the question of grace, of losing one’s
life and finding it again.

Surprised, Amazed

How surprised Jesus was by Judas’s kiss
he’d been expecting
all along.

How amazed we were:
God’s supreme accomplishment
is forever being surprised at himself.


Is it true – do you think? –
that God can’t resist our prayers,

hearing them?  As when you can’t
draw your eyes away

from a rose-purple sunset, marvelous
surprise of the common

but bitter, too. Is there relief
for a brokenhearted god                                

who can’t stop listening
to our wounding cries?

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 and other literary journals. 

Wilda Morris- A Poem

Halt here.  Take off your shoes–
     your inattention,
     your casual forgetfulness–
this is holy ground.
Their cry has come to me–
     the hurt and lonely,
     the poor and sick and sorrowful–
to them I send you.
                                                                But they won’t understand.
                                                                     I cannot speak well.
                                                                     Surely you could find someone
                                                                better qualified.
You speak well enough now–
     making excuses,
     copping-out on those who need you
because they need me.
Say, “the Lord has sent me.”
     I will give you words
     and strength for every task.
Go now. I send you.
Published in The American Baptist in December, 1979.
Wilda Morris has been writing and publishing poetry for a number of years. She leads poetry workshops at the Green Lake Christian Writers' Conference and elsewhere, and presides at a monthly poetry reading sponsored by the Illinois State Poetry Society. 
Her blog at provides a monthly contest for other poets.


Lela Marie De La Garza- A Poem


Someone said again
God is not true;
Not by His hand
The myriad planets grew;

No miracle did bring
This earth to be,
Nor carved the mountains,
Poured the shining sea.

Someone said again
God is not real;
There is no power to
Which we should kneel.

Understanding nothing,
Talking still,
They do not know their lips
Move by God’s will.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Linda M. Crate- Three Poems

my best friend

such an unfathomable flood
forgiving everything in me unforgivable
taking away all my struggles and fears
showing me a compassion
no human could
He is my portion
our Maker
loves us for who we are (not who we'll be)
He forgives our mistakes if we admit them
tells everything we need
never lets us hunger and thirst
catches us when we fall
when sin is about to crush me all i have to
do is call on His name,
and He is there
because He never forsakes me
like even the best of human friends is apt to do
even accidentally
He is always there when i need a shoulder to
cry on or someone to laugh with
or someone to set my path straight when i stubbornly
turn away from His ways;
how awesome is our God?
He that controls the tempest in the eye of the storm,
guides each thunderbolt to the earth,
stores hail and snow in the clouds,
forgives murderers and adulterers?
He is my best friend,
and i will love him always.

save yourself

emblems of your faith
won't save you
only God can do that
but he doesn't talk to you a lot
anymore because you've gone your own way
fell prey to satan's trap
and unrepentant and uncaring of all the hearts you trampled
you pressed on, but your pride will kill you
should always this path you walk;
why can't you admit it to yourself to Him
that you don't know what to do?
He'd help you
should you call on Him,
but you won't you're too comfortable in your sin
prove me wrong,
and i'll applaud you, my brother,
but until then you can't call yourself my kin
for you are not like Christ
He would never have cut me to pieces
or admonish me for loving Him
punish me
from seeing my favorite people again;
how can you think you're great?
you're only a man,
He reigns;
and it's to Him you'll answer
for every heart who you've shattered into stained glass
including mine,
and i don't envy you
turn your eyes back to heaven
He will make your paths
straight, make you the david with a heart
like his own;
don't continue laying
with another man's wife
one day he'll kill you
so turn from this wicked path save yourself like you
couldn't save me because He is your portion
as well as mine.

His glory

when i'm a crumpled lily
He restores my petals
when i'm a bird whose lost her song
He puts a new psalm into my heart
when i fall down
He restores me to a better glory
than i'd ever known before;
when i cry
He dries my every tear
when i am cruel and wicked
He makes my path straight, and admonishes
me in a way that will prolong my life
from the pit of sheol
so i look to His guidance always
when i bleed
He heals the wounds
when nothing goes right
He carries me  through the tempest
when i need to hear His voice
His whisper is always kind
when i fear
He chases away my every doubt,
and i will forever praise
His glory.

Rick Hartwell- Three Poems

                        Holy Day

Early arrivals chatter and chirp, spreading throughout pews;
speakers pop and cackle, musicians unsheathe instruments;
choir members appear, adjust microphone heights –
            testing, testing,
                        test. test. test –

Some younger cannot let go of secular conversations;
choir initiates melodious song to instruct and inspire;
isolated, families with babes presumed to disturb –
            testing, testing,
                        test. test. test –

A first, unofficial reading from the Gospel;
silence and stillness practiced by most;
laggards arrive to sufferance of some –
            testing is over, finally
                        connected with Him –

Ritual and repetition, candles and incense;
entry of celebrants robbed in fine raiment,
unblemished lineaments; earthly trappings
for ethereal entreaties raised to the scene
            and Unseen –
                        still testing.

            Mislaid Letter to a Misled Priest

Priests must go where they are told; usually to a parish;
on occasion to a rehab, detox, or mental health facility.

They are to go humbly, meekly, without question or
hesitation, but militarily obedient to the army of god;
so why question authority in your chain of command?

I set this down as a reminder to the vagaries of life,
guilt, redemption you seemed so hell bent to refuse.

Knowing you as a monk would have been your
greatest gift to me, but cornered, cajoled, lured
to priesthood, perhaps by a call heard by others.

You studied, matriculated and took your final vows
in an elaborate ceremony, shouldering subservience.

New mantles: Priest, Confessor, Eucharist Celebrant
elevating Host and monk to ecclesiastic stature
far from your unassuming devotion in the desert.

Birth to boy, man to monk, priest to death, ashes and dust.

You, an uncommon soul, laid to rest from our wasteland.

Aurora Mysterium, Magnificat

Silken snail-traces across the bricks,
Captive chirps from neighboring cages,
Dew spangled threads from eave to trees,
Inviting wafts of aromatic ground Arabica
Commuter clogged mass of slowing traffic,
Grass sodden with the surcease of sprinklers,
Almost alluring odor of a not too distant skunk,
Slap and skid of newsprint across the driveway,
Pungent meld of trucked oranges and hot brakes,
Lingering animal musk of sexual satiation, and the
Bitter tang of stale cigarettes and lonely, boxed wine.

Mismatched metaphors of splendor,
Invigorating the local environment,
Each containing elements saluting the

Dawn, renewing the body of each day.

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school (remember the hormonally-challenged?) English teacher living in Moreno Valley, California. He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity. Given his “druthers,” if he’s not writing, Rick would rather be still tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon. He can be reached at

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

Stumps in His Cabbage

You would think you would 
love a man who died 
for you and for everyone else, 
even those who will never 
know that he did.
But you don't, not really.  

The monks in the choir
you hear on Sunday 
sing hymns from the heart.
They make fruitcake all week
stoked by the knowledge 
he died for them. 

They love him 
in a way that you 
can only imagine
despite much prayer. 
You adore him, however, 
as well you should. 

You know he's infinite,
omnipotent, without 
beginning or end. 
You hold him in awe. 
No one commands your
respect more than him. 

You follow his will, mostly. 
You tell others about him 
but the love doesn't come, 
gripped as you are 
in tongs that have held you 
since childhood

growing up in a house 
where a man who worked 
long hours, never drank, 
put you through school 
then went nuclear at dinner 
with your mother  

when he discovered 
"stumps in my cabbage, 
lumps in my potatoes," 
a man whose roar rattled
the neighbors and sent 
the dog under the bed.

You would think you would 
love a man who died 
for you and for everyone else. 
But you don't, not really. 
You keep trying to love him 
and your father as well.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sara Bickley- Two Poems

Four Eucharistic Quatrains

From mind to mouth to heart, this Word  but what
Word have I, if my mind or heart is shut?
     Thank heaven any fool can swallow Bread
Which goes from open mouth, to breast, to gut.
For all that I have split my pearls with swine
And been addicted to disrobing wine,
     For all that I have played the infidel,
I am such stuff as can be made divine.
Son of the Father, mothered among men,
Reborne on the inspired tongue and pen,
     Plucked from the page and spoken into fruit:
The Word made Flesh  made Word  made Flesh again.
The incense scatters as we leave this place;
The heavy host sinks deep and leaves no trace.
     Oh, let me keep my purpled lips and lungs
Till I breathe God onto my lover's face!

To My Hat on Sunday Morning

Safari-cop Kato cap,
cigaretted, sueded
polyester unfaded when all of my black
cotton skirts have gone gray,

with your gold-glitter browband,
with sweat and haircuts itching
in the Bruins-hub stitching crisscrossing your crown —
yes, I need you today.

I need something prickled
with memory, battered,
yet sparkling, untattered, to cover my head
when I go down to pray.
"To My Hat on Sunday Morning" previously appeared in Lucid Rhythms in August 2012 and is still archived on their website.

Bio: Sara Bickley is a student at the University of Montana. Her work has recently appeared, or is forthcoming, in Every Day Poets, Paper Crow, and Punchnel's. She is also the poetry editor of The Germ.