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Joseph E Bird

Let's talk about reading, writing and the arts.

Glory

This from poet laureate of the Shelton College Review, Larry Ellis.


Psalm 57: 8

Awake up, my glory; awake psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.


Think of David as he lies on the mountain

He looks at the night sky

Unending, unfathomable, unreachable

The diamond stars

The firmament that declares the glory of God

And he aches

His heart panting like the hart after the waterbrook

At his side are sword, spear and bow

His body is cut from oak, his skin like leather

His mind a blade itself, with razor’s edge

He breathes the open air and the day’s tension dissolves

He rests in the shadow of the wings of the Almighty

.

This man who killed the giant

And tens of thousands

Hears heaven’s choir and plays on his harp

Songs that soothe the savage breast of Saul

His poems are those very psalms

That have charmed and inspired

Over millennia

And he aches

.

At first light, at first rustling of dawn

He turns and shakes away sleep

Here is a new day

He rises, believing the promise

“Awake up, my glory”

.

What is his glory?

One more win in bloody combat?

Or is it that unknowable thing

That all men share with him

That desire beneath all desires

That lesser men have long since forgotten

And forfeited to the unrelenting fates

That lesser men are afraid to confess

.

Does David wake early

Expecting glory in bloodshed

Or does he crave

That his righteousness will shine like the dawn

And the justice of his cause like the noonday sun?

Does he crave that gift, that grace, that dispensation

That is his and his alone?

That unspeakable grace promised to him

When he first came to know himself?

.

Is the difference between him and me

That he believes it will happen

And maybe this very day

And so he wakes early

And takes in hand

Psaltery and harp


Copyright 2017, Larry Ellis

Wisdom from Sharon Lyn

We don’t hear from Sharon Lyn often enough. Great words of wisdom here. I was listening to a Radiohead song when her post popped up on my WordPress feed and it seemed like the perfect soundtrack to her words. Go to the link and read the entire unsent letter to her son. Radiohead is optional.

Life is full of petty irritations – people who say and do rude things, forget your name, seem to exclude you in or from gatherings, or generally fail to remember your own humanity. Let it go. Things are not always what they seem. People often have problems going on in their private lives that we know nothing of but would explain their apparent self-involvement. Try not to judge. Let it go.

via Unsent letter — Sharon Lyn

she sings

she sings
a soulful song
in a minor key
of trials
and overcoming
and faith
and perseverance.

she sings
and reads
the music
with her fingers
as her guide
sits dutifully
at her feet.

she sings
and her voice
is strong
and her spirit
is strong
and her will
is strong.

she sings
and we marvel,
as if singing
while blind
gives her
special grace
to share.

she sings
and she is
ours
and she is
always there
to sing
for us.

but

she sings
no more
and great
is her pain
and lonely
are her days
in darkness.

she sings
no more
and friends
talk with her
and friends
pray with her
and be with her.

she sings
no more
but she
will have faith
and will persevere
and will overcome
and she will sing.

she sings
and we will
lift her up
and we will
thank our God
for every
remembrance.

she sings
and she
will always
sing
and bring joy
to all
who hear.


copyright 2017, joseph e bird

 

running and writing

If you’re a runner, you know the feeling.

Every now and then, it all comes together.  You’ve trained just enough, you’ve found just enough rest, your legs feel fresh, the weather is just right, and you’re running as if you’re weightless, moving fast and smooth, and as the miles click off, you never slow down and you wish you could run that way forever.

Not so much for me, lately, as I struggle to get back on the road.

Writing has a similar zone, one that I haven’t felt for a while.  It’s been a rocky year and  I’ve had difficulty in finding a rhythm. Just the ordinary trials of life that we all face. The week of Thanksgiving our furnace was out.  It was so cold in the house I couldn’t put two words together. Then there’s work (the paying job) and work at home (the basement remodeling project) that have been conspiring against my mind and body.

But Sunday morning I found it. After a tenuous start, the words started to flow. Just enough training, just enough rest, my mind felt fresh, the room felt right, and I was writing as if I were weightless, so fast and smooth, and as the words clicked off, I never slowed down and I felt like I could write that way forever.

truth in fiction

“The consolation of imaginary things

is not imaginary consolation.”

— Roger Scruton

a cold winter’s night, and all that jazz

fog for web

yeah, here we go again.
another season change.
cue the poets.
oh, this is a good one.
dark and brooding.
chilling winds and
grey clouds.
lonely days.
lonelier nights.
let’s talk of the promise of spring.
hope in the future.
if we can just hang on.
look, do we really need all the jibber jabber?
maybe what we really need is a good nap.
maybe i’m just speaking for myself.
wake me up when it’s over.


copyright 2017, joseph e bird

across the room

she smiles at him from across the room.
she means nothing.
well, of course she means something,
because she’s the kind of person
whose heart can do nothing
but smile,
because she’s the kind of person
who cares and loves and can do nothing
but smile.
even at this young man
who is a stranger who she will
never see again.
and because he is there,
she smiles.

and he will think of her
in the days to come
and will visit the coffee shop
again and again in hopes of catching
her smile
once more.
and he will think of her
in the weeks and months and years to come
because one day she made him
feel worthwhile
and he will love her
forever.

ok.
maybe not forever.
that’s a really long time.
and it’s not really love.
but, he thinks,
given the chance,
it might have been.
because he can’t help himself.
anything is possible.


copyright 2017, joseph e bird

she wasn’t supposed to go there by herself

leaning headstone b&w for web

she wasn’t supposed to go there by herself.
up the steep gravel road,
through the woods
to the clearing
where the old grey headstones
were covered in moss
and leaned toward the earth
as if they were too tired
to stand up straight,
for so long they had stood in testament to
the forgotten lives
of those whose names were
were worn from the stone
by the unrelenting and unforgiving
passage of time.

she wasn’t supposed to go there by herself.
because there were snakes
and yellow jackets
and maybe bears
and at night
across the hollows
voices and laughter and music
and now and then
a gunshot
would echo
from neighbors unknown,
and though the graveyard
was close
it was no place for
a little girl alone.

she wasn’t supposed to go there by herself.
but with the grey, rough tablets
of ancient men
and their wives
and their children,
were smooth slabs
of curved and polished marble
with praying hands
and crosses
and Bible verses
written in script,
and names her grandmother knew
of this cousin and that uncle,
and her grandmother’s husband,
the grandfather she had never known.

she wasn’t supposed to go there by herself.
under the deep shade
cast by towering oaks and maples
where grass wouldn’t grow
and moss and lichens
clung easily to the old stones
and left her grandfather’s grave
untouched by nature,
save for the pollen in the spring
that she would wipe with her finger
from the smooth headstone,
that also promised
that her grandmother would
someday
rest with him.

she wasn’t supposed to go there by herself.
but her grandmother worried too much,
she had never seen a snake
and stayed clear of the bees
and the idea of bears
just seemed silly,
and it was peaceful
always peaceful
and she would talk to God
and ask why other kids
teased her,
though she knew
it was because her clothes
were old and
she was poor.

she wasn’t supposed to go there by herself.
and she sat beside the grandfather
she knew only from photographs,
and read Psalms
from his old Bible
and drew wisdom from the words
that would stay with her
all of her days,
and give her
comfort
through her pain,
and strength
through her weakness,
and courage
through her fears.

she wasn’t supposed to go there by herself.
and when she saw him
she knew her grandmother
had been right,
and she had been foolish,
and as he came toward her
he took a drink
from a bottle
and wiped his mouth
on his sleeve
and laughed,
and she knew
that he had come
from the valley
of the shadow of death.

she wasn’t supposed to go there by herself.
but she would fear no evil
and she always carried a staff,
for walking, she thought,
the iron pipe
from her grandfather’s workshop,
and she stood
and gripped it in both hands
and drew back
and stepped toward him
and swung,
and he screamed as it struck
against his ribs,
and his bottle dropped,
and she ran off the hill.

she wasn’t supposed to go there by herself.
she didn’t tell her grandmother
and she didn’t sleep
for days,
and when the kids
teased her because
she had to tape the soles
of her shoes,
and because she lived
in a shack with her grandmother
because her mother had
killed herself with a needle,
she cried into her pillow
softly,
so her grandmother wouldn’t hear.

she wasn’t supposed to go there by herself.
and it was weeks before she went back
to find her staff,
her grandfather’s iron pipe,
which had given her protection,
and to find the peace
that had left her.
but it wasn’t the same.
she couldn’t read
she couldn’t pray
she couldn’t close
her eyes
because he might
be out there
still.

she wasn’t supposed to go there by herself.
and though she was afraid,
she still went there by herself,
because it was there
she learned of
comfort and strength and courage.
and she would grow
and live far away
from the hollows,
and the kids who teased her,
and she would become a woman
strong in her will and
strong in her faith
and when she was alone
she went there by herself.


copyright 2017, joseph e bird
photo copyright 2017, joseph e bird

tomorrow will come

sid-on-porch-for-web

tomorrow will come, and i’ll sing an old song
and think of the day, that the words came along
i didn’t know then, that song was my last
i didn’t know then, that time flies so fast

tomorrow will come, and i’ll look toward the sun
and remember the spring, when i went for a run
i didn’t know then, that it was my last
i didn’t know then, that time flies so fast.

so remember the day, of all that was good
when youth was forever, we’d play when we would
remember the day, of life with no fears
tomorrow is coming, and with it the tears

.

tomorrow will come, and i’ll think of my friend
and read all the words, that he took time to send
i didn’t know then, that they were his last
i didn’t know then, that time flies so fast

tomorrow will come, and i’ll hear her sweet voice
and laugh at her jokes, her spirit rejoice
i didn’t know then, that her smile was her last
i didn’t know then, that time flies so fast

so remember the day, of our one last good time
when I touched your face, and your hand held mine
remember the day, and when we would dance
for tomorrow is coming, leave nothing to chance


copyright 2017, joseph e bird

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