Exodus 3: 4

 

Photo: galleryhip.com

Photo: galleryhip.com

God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.”  “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is Holy Ground.”

Exodus 3:4

Whatever happened on the way to life?
Waiting to finish this or that until
the moment that was then, is now, is gone.

Look closely at your world:
the way the light shines through
the beveled glass,

breaks into prisms and colors
the morning quiet, livens the dew
hidden inside a trembling leaf.

Taste the burst of sweetness
when you bite into a summer plum
or sip the nectar of a lingering kiss.

Listen to the music of your child’s
first word, touch her skin and revel
in the silky texture of her hair.

The scent of rain on steamy earth,
the call of crickets or the mournful murmur
of the dove, do not ignore them.

Your senses call and you respond,
Here I am.

Photo: kathytaughinbaugh.com

Photo: kathytaughinbaugh.com

The Potter

Photo: gentlemint.com

Photo: gentlemint.com

Potters

The day wind felled a weary oak,
we donned old clothes and boots,
took pails and spades in hand.

We ventured out into the brumy cold
to scoop red clay, harvesting Earth.
That night we sat around a fire.

Faltering flames dispelled the cold
that seeped through dense stone walls—
walls caching sacred secrets of a century, or more.

We worked the clay for days,
extracting grit and stones—
Gaia’s grainy cells

that would, ignored, destroy
our own creative efforts.
Tediously, we toiled for perfection.

And when the day arrived to mold
and fashion terra-cotta worlds,
figures formed of toil and imagination,

We discarded clods of mud
still clinging to our hands.
Yet now and then we’d find a pebble.

Photo: solarpoweredkate.com

Photo: solarpoweredkate.com

This poem is based on a memory. In the early 1970’s I lived in France as part of my training as a member of a religious community. I’ve always struggled with perfectionism–still do (to a lesser extent as I come to realize that the “work” I try to do on my own has already been done for me.) The small image below is where I lived, in Brittany.

 

Photo: La Tour St. Joseph St. Pern, France Maison Mere, Ptes. Srs. des Pauvres

Photo: La Tour St. Joseph
St. Pern, France
Maison Mere, Ptes. Srs. des Pauvres

Beginnings and Endings

 

BbeginningsBeginnings and Endings

The day before Christmas, the lifeless body of a robin
lay, supine, among clods of frozen dirt
in the bare, raised bed of our vegetable garden.

His breast, striated with not-quite crimson plumage—
plump, yet breathless, lay still, where only weeks ago
plump crimson tomatoes prospered, awaited harvesting.

I cradled his body in my hand, resting in the folds
of a plastic bag that, just yesterday, held apples,
tied it tight before consigning it to a barrel caching autumn leaves.

That night we sipped champagne, feted birth,
celebrated promises fulfilled again each day,
awaited the coming of light that would dispel the darkness.

Originally blogged on Victoria C. Slotto, Author

The Dark Night

Image: drariadne.com

Image: drariadne.com

The Dark Night

When night is bathed in ebony
and even stars are wont to pierce
through veils of clouds,
you stumble forward,
grasping crumbled walls
that close you in.

Bleak thoughts now pummel you
like angry fists that rage against
injustice. You breathe oppressive air,
musty, stagnant, born of rank suspicion
that your need shall never know
relief, that hunger rests un-sated.

Today there is no morrow—
only haunting memories of days
unfolded without joy, Your faith
betrayed, you open wide your hand
and watch hope slip out between your
fingers, free of empty promises.

Tonight you stand alone,
shrouded by the chill of winter,
without clear vision. Death stretches
out his hand; you reach to take it,
but not before the nightingale sings.

This seemed to me like an appropriate poem for today, the beginning of winter, the solstice, the longest day of the year. Most of us have been through spiritual dark nights. Let’s never lose hope in the song to come.

The Challenge of Light

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

The Challenge of Light

i.
advent is not about the coming
of a sweet baby.
it is not about sentimental,
trumped-up emotion.
advent challenges us
to an adult acceptance
of the kingdom of god,
to social imperatives,
to self-forgetfulness,
to letting go,
to a deliberate emptiness.

ii.
we like to make the Christ
into a perpetual baby.
we can cuddle a baby,
a baby asks nothing of us.
the Christ is so much more demanding.

iii.
advent doesn’t just happen
the four weeks leading up to Christmas.
our lives our one huge advent.
our lives are about bringing light
into this dark world.

iv.
in advent and winter we wait for light.
do we forget it’s up to us
to be light in the darkness
of a world that is
confused
stumbling
blinded
afraid?

v.
it’s easy to get hung up
in religion,
in practice,
in institutional think.
it’s easy to feel complacent
because we go to church,
because we give money.
the litmus test
is giving of ourselves,
is embracing mystery.
advent is not just a passive waiting.
it allows that we are responsible
to be light-bearers.

Thank You for Those Little Things

Thank You for Those Little Things
An Acrostic List Poem

Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto

 

Giving Thanks

Green grass, each blade dormant now, sending roots below;
Icy patterns on the panes, nature’s graceful art;
Virgin snow upon the plains, blanketing our world;
Indigo—God’s nighttime sky, sheltering our sleep;
Nesting birds and buzzing bees, harbingers of spring;
Goodness in an aging heart, gently touched with grace.

Turkey, gravy, yummy food, shared with those we love;
Hedgehogs, chipmunks, furry things, living by the river;
Avian beauties in our yard, feeding on the seeds;
Nasty winds and pounding rain, steaming tea or coffee;
Kites and bubbles, children’s toys, keeping youth alive
Silent moments, solitude. Blessing so abound.

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Can We Remember This–Can We Believe?

“We are God’s work of art, created in. Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up our way of life.”

Ephesians 2, 10

Image: pathoflifeblog.blogspot.com

Image: pathoflifeblog.blogspot.com

When I write–whether poetry, fiction or even these blog posts–I find myself lost in the process. The same happens when I engage in painting, photography or any sort of creative effort. The most powerful thing occurs when I go back, for example, to a poem or the novel that I’m in the process of publishing and can’t even remember having written the words I discover. Art takes us outside of ourselves.

Is that what it’s like for God when the work of the Holy Spirit takes hold of us, when grace enters in and fashions us into a Masterpiece in God’s own image? Have you ever asked yourself, “How did I get here? Who did this for me, in spite of myself?”

Thank you, Divine Artisan.

Potters

The day wind felled a weary oak,

we donned old clothes and boots,

took pails and spades in hand.

We ventured out into the brumy cold

to scoop red clay, harvesting Earth.

That night we sat around a fire.

Faltering flames dispelled the cold

that seeped through dense stone walls—

walls caching sacred secrets of a century, or more.

We worked the clay for days,

extracting grit and stones—

Earth’s grainy cells

that would, ignored, destroy

our own creative efforts.

Tediously, we toiled for perfection.

And when the day arrived to mold

and fashion terra cotta worlds,

figures formed of toil and imagination,

We discarded clods of mud

still clinging to our hands.

Yet now and then we’d find a pebble.

Copyright: Victoria Slotto, 2011

(This poem is an account of an experience I had while living in France in the early 70’s.)

Bleeding

Photo: D. Slotto

Photo: D. Slotto

 

There is no greater love than this, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John, 15:13

All the glory of fall—
cloudless blue skies to complement
the orange-red-yellow of the maple
that drops her leaves
on my shoulders and head as I

crouch in cool grass,
slowly stroke stain on thirsty
redwood. The color trickles in rivulets
till I sweep it with my brush.

Life is textured like this wood—
creviced, split, dry,
oh-so-dark in places.
I water it with pain(t).

Here, in my almost-backyard
(not Newton or Columbine or
Virginia Tech),
but here, a teacher and a boy
have fallen, like the leaves,
into a pool of crimson tears.

A year ago, tomorrow (the 21st), we experience a school shooting in our community. A courageous and well-loved math teacher was killed trying to protect his students. Also, the young, disenfranchised shooter died, taking his own life.

In memory of  8th grade teacher, Mike Landsberry, who gave his life a year ago today protecting children at the Sparks Middle School shooting, and with thoughts for the young boy who felt so desperate. Prayers for all those who were affected. 

Photo: KTVN News Channel 2

Photo: KTVN News Channel 2

Poem originally posted on my poetry Blog: http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com  10/21/13