Song of the South: Two Poems about Weaving the Golden Thread

To picture our connection to this golden thread that runs through our lives, I thought it would be fitting to share some poems I’ve written recently on this theme.

I hope they bless they you and would love to hear what they bring up for you.

Your progressive redneck preacher,

Micah

 

Life Weaver

seamstress 2

I see her, needle and thread in hand,

knitting away her fear and sorrow

for the little one laying before her,

knitting away the losses that lie

at the root of each fear

with more precision than I,

knees and hands caked in dirt,

ever can pull up my weeds by their roots

in my own garden,

yet also knitting hopes and dreams,

as if each new strand

creates a brighter future

for this child of love.

And perhaps it does.

They say our intention, when deeply held

in meditation,

in prayer,

in concentration,

has some quantum power

to shape our world.

The story is that water,

placed under microscope,

differs.

When people speak in anger

tightly held in focus over it,

the lens shows such water

will have a chaos, a fury, a lack of order

which water under the same lens

frozen instead as words of peace, joy, and compassion

are spoken over as the heart’s true focus.

I am no quantum mechanic.

I lack the toolkit to tinker with fate,

let alone determine if such claims are true.

Or do I?

For this young woman seems certain,

her eyes tightening and hands furious at work,

certain that the only tools she needs

to shape the web of life,

these quantum threads of fate,

for this littlest of ones, are

her needles, her thread, and her heart afire with love.

Who can say she is wrong?

I have upon my mantle

a worn yet welcome scarf

woven by such a woman,

a weaver not young but threadworn,

battered by her years.

When I touch it, my fingers come alive.

I can almost feel some unseen flame dance,

setting my whole soul to tingling.

Is this not why mother

baked cakes with care

to give to the mourning we knew,

that they may be nourished

not just by some crumb of bread

but by the taste of human kindness?

Is this not why the preacher raises bread and cup,

muttering ancient words,

why each sacred eve words of kaddish are spoken

by chosen people before meal,

why Sufis spin,

and some pilgrims bow five times

toward the East upon their mats?

In truth, is this not also why,

taking pen in hand,

I too weave my strands of stories,

each word a gem,

hoping to craft my own worry beads

upon which I can join

my muttered prayers

or, better yet, weave

some ornate blanket

to warm not just myself

but others against life’s winter chill?

 

A Golden Thread

koinonia farms qA tattered web woven of gold and dust

Warms my soul

Threaded with grandpa’s sweat

Summer sun on his back

Toiling tobacco fields

Crying out for rain

Defying drought with the same words

Praying for safety while dodging

The Kaiser’s bullets and bombs

That golden thread intertwined with grandma’s cry at night

That paw paw come home alive

Her prayers of praise on his return

Her many late nights praying for her students

At the little school room in rural Carolina

In which her work whittled away at time

seamstressThat gold thread was woven

In their long night prayers to have a child

And their surprise at God’s answer

For a little girl born of another’s body

In need of love

Yet woven in its midst is the dust

Of a man returned from war

Whose promises, broken as deep as his spirit,

Left their little girl to be and her mama without home and hope

So she might need to turn to them

The dust of a time in our dear south land

When such a mother was filled with shame

Treated as a disgrace

Rather than embraced for the strength she showed

The dust of a time that painted but one family picture

Wiping out the glorious complexity

Of loves as truly lived

gold threadWoven too in this gold is the red dust of Carolina clay

That left my little fingers as a boy

As red as Lady Macbeth’s

Who never could wipe off the blood

A dust woven into my spirit

By the land these good hearted ones

Could farm and rear

Only because their great great grands

Stole it from those whom they called ‘Red as that clay

The fruit of which even in my and pa’s times of prayer

Was kept by force

From those of darker hue

Woven in this web of soul

Is the gold thread of daddy’s faith

Born in preaching like an earthquake

Under Georgia tents

The roar of wind and rain

Causing bulbs to burst in sync with the thunder

A faith he instilled in me

On fishing trips and bike rides

The thread of mama’s faith that there is more than this

Which led her to speak against

Dust upon the gold

Of male chauvinism in the name of God

And the heartache it brought in women’s hearts

Never naming her own pain

And to push against it to return to school

Putting her gifts to the healing

Of children as forgotten and broken as she once must have felt

I am warmed by this rich blanket

Of shining thread

I too must take needle in hand

Knitting thread anew

What dust shall I shake out?

What golden threads weave in?

What mire of my own become part of the pattern

lady wisdom 3Weaver Woman God

Who knits us in our mother’s wombs

And weaves with us the patterns of our lives

Help me make my pattern

Stronger, warmer, and more alive with light

That those you send in answers to our late night prayers

May be warm through life’s winters

And find the springs of soul with you

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