Songs of Discovery

I thought I would share a few poems on discovering our deepest selves, which connect with the themes of Psalm 103 we are discussing.

 

Secret Passage

big sister“There’s a secret passageway in grandma’s old room,”

said my same older sister

who once whispered to us tales of ancestors

who came not from the poor pig farmers

on daddy’s family tree

but instead born of a long forgotten prince

who gave up his rich palace for love

leading him to settle on Carolina shores.

secret passageLike those quickly disproved fairy tales she weaved

my heart leaped with wonder on this story

imagining my own private wardrobe door

with which I could transport to a world of magic wonder,

my own personal Narnia.

I searched under bed, in closet, and by every wall crease

for light from this secret pathway

until, frustrated with my efforts,

daddy showed us the door which lay

high atop the closet’s ceiling

popping our shimmering bubble of childlike dreaminess

with his ever brooding realism

“There ain’t nothing up there but insulation.

It leads nowhere but the attic”.

secret passage 2It took years to realize,

though her facts were off,

my sister’s promise was true:

all along I carried such a door with me,

my own personal transport to new worlds.

I found it on that day my world split open

when tumbling I like Dorothy fell through the rabbit hole

my eyesight gazing deep within.

The well to wonder that opened

to places bigger on the inside

and more full of light

was the shape of the spiderweb of cracks

which had spread

across the shattered glass of a broken heart.

Truly broken places

birthed the light of beauty

beckoning me within

where I discover daily

vistas of glory unimaginable.

 

Recovery Festival

Like trumpets of war I heard rough southern drawl

echoing across the pine wood skin

hellfire preaching

and a fist hammering the untarnished face

of a podium in a storefront southern church.

“Are you saved brother?” he cries,

“The altar is open. Come on down,

we have room for more”.

I remember hearing that cry

amidst thirty verses of “Just as I Am”

feeling my heart pulled like metal scrap to lodestone

though to me it was already clear

Jesus I knew

and Jesus knew me.

 

Yet I found myself

feeling damaged

broken asunder

like glass upon pavement

shattered glass.jpg

now adrift on rainbowed pool of oil,

beautifully tragic beyond all cleansing,

by that preacher’s siren song.

 

That was not the day I gazed deep

beneath what others saw,

plunging beneath the waters

ocean

salty with tears

and cold with fears

that lay beneath

the splintered mirror

of my soul.

 

It came far later

amidst momma’s scattered boxes,

crates of jewels and receipts

gathering dust

after her manic shopping sprees

revealing my content, as well as their own–

my memories of hiding

6410-001172

little and alone

from the rising tide

her waves of emotion brought

the feeling of hands covering my ears

from shouts that rose

like the rhythmic shaking

of military bombs on Fort Bragg streets

when daddy lifted cups of “special punch”

to his not quite ever parched lips.

 

That salty wetness

rising from my own tears

was my baptism

which cold and crisp

against my skin

woke me anew.

anabaptist baptizin

In that moment I knew myself,

and began a long journey to wholeness.

 

His echoing shouts of salvation,

Gospel truth be known,

now taste like ash on my tongue.

Angry-God

His calls causing me to recoil

carrying still with them

the lingering smells of brimstone

hanging like a sulfurous cloud

calling me to my imminent end.

 

I find instead

beneath the wreckage in my soul

piling high as some abandoned lighthouse

abandone lighthouserising just like those paint brushes, glue sticks, and cut fabric

borne of her creative projects dropped mid-stroke

and get rich quick schemes gone wrong.

 

Beneath an edifice that feels as high as the long-leaf pine,

I find

shuddering

squirming

miraculously alive

a sparkling treasure as yet unseen

more precious than the fabled gold

I am told

pirates left hidden off Carolina coast.

Shining like such

long-lost piles of coins

found resting

upon Ocracoke or Hatteras beach

lit by summer sun on Atlantic waves

mother holding baby 1I find him,

radiant and shining —

a baby boy

somehow untarnished amidst the pain,

unbroken as when he emerged

aglow with the Spirit’s bright fire,

Her original blessing still upon him

like dew resting on the cool grass

of Appalachian hillside in spring.

 

That plunge beneath

one fateful April morn

led me to this fated find

the treasure of myself

not shattered beyond all fixing

like he with thunderous voice proclaimed

but

inner-peace (1)myself as I was before being broken,

as when Spirit breathed me forth

glistening with the starry hues

of divine essence

my only swaddling clothes

floating into daylight from Her

like some glistening bubble lifted on wind

from sudsy tub.

 

So, keep your words of salvation, sister.

I’ll go with recovery anyday,

recovering who I am

hamsaand have always been

in my Maker’s eye

as I learn

to make true the maxim

that “the eye with which I see Godde

is the eye with which Godde seems me”

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