Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Lenten Poems 2022

Lenten Poems 2022

Writing Lenten Poems was a tradition I began during silent retreats at St. Francis Church, writing a poem a day during Lent.  It's been over a decade since.  While away for spring break this year, Shirley and I talked about what to give up and what to take on.  For the latter, I suggested a daily poem, sometimes taking an image from what is around us, to reflecting on a passage from the daily lectionary that gave me pause.  So here are a sheaf of poems from Ash Wednesday to Easter.  Some are a bit odd, some not very good, but as William Stafford once said when asked what he did on days he was not so good, “Well, then I just lower my standards.”  To write anyway, is a freedom we can ill afford to discard.




Ash Wednesday


The frozen bay

with its dusting of snow

reaches to the horizon

if the color of ash were white

we would be immersed

looking out I am reminded

of my insignificance

the dust to which I will return

and yet I will wring

meaning from these words


yet moved by the beauty

of something not seen



Wed, Mar 2, 2022




Driving into the snow


The falling flakes are determined

to go in the opposite direction

as if they are saying don’t rush there

it has the look of jumping

into hyper-space

in an old star trek episode

with the surprise

that when you arrive

you are not quite sure how


With a steady hand

I follow the tracks in front of me

and hope the driver

somewhere up ahead

has made all good decisions.

what are the chances?

there are no lines

in the snow

just the occasional feel

of the rumple strips

to let me know I’ve gone

too far left or too far right


As I journey

through this life

I imagine God

nudging me

a rumple to the hands

when I can’t see far ahead

to color inside the lines

and sometimes risk



Thu, Mar 3, 2022





On a two-lane road

in the northern woods

straight as an arrow

to the horizon,

for twenty miles

a gray sedan

is tailing me

but he keeps his distance,

I check the mirror

each quarter mile

to be sure,

though I am going

plus five

he keeps the rhythm

and the twenty yards back

until I relax,

then on a hill

with a rare passing lane

he accelerates to plus twenty

passes to my left,

and I wonder

if that’s

how evil operates,

keeping its distance

but matching stride for stride

until we think it’s safe

then striking,

taking the lead from us

and watching us fall behind

in his mirror


Fri, Mar 4, 2022






Feeder's empty shells 

where black seeds have been plundered

the crows have moved on


Sat, Mar 5, 2022



"The haiku is a Japanese poetic form that consists of three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. The haiku developed from the hokku, the opening three lines of a longer poem known as a tanka."


haiku | Definition, Format, Poems Example, & Facts | Britannica › ... › Literatures of the World,






There are few ways of saying glory!

that are clearer than this trumpeting flower;

it arrived a trimmed bulb

during Advent.

We watched its daily journey

with growing anticipation

it was coming soon

long green finger-leaves

spread its open palm

to give its gift

first one, then two,

then three and four

in sequence played

the triumphant air

saved for such times

then bowed so the next

could shine

after their piece was done

they clung to the stem

to life

to the memory


Sun, Mar 6, 2022




Boi Cavalo*


The chef in Lisbon

told us that if anyone saw something new

in the market,

they must buy it

and find a way to cook and serve it.

Today I read in the Propers

"The fear of the Lord is clean"**

and I am stuck on the newness

of fear that is more than cleansing,

it is clean

not in itself

but by its object

So often we read in the text

"be not afraid"

that other fear

that is not the fear of the Other

but the fear of myself

of losing myself;

but if I am found

I shiver in the majesty

of His seeking.

Is that the fear that is clean?

So, I must bring this to the pan

add some oil

and stir

until the sweet fragrance

rises to my nostrils;

If I am puzzled

then I am open

to being cleansed.


Mon, Mar 7, 2022


* Restaurant Boi-cavalo,

** Psalm 19:9,




Looking for signs

Isaiah 55:6–11

"Seek the Lord while he may be found,

call upon him while he is near"


I tell my students

that the contract is like a safety net;

you may never need it

but it's always there.

I thought the same about prayer

God always listening,

wasn't that one of the Omni's?

I thought I was the one side

of the conversation that needed to draw near.

But now I wonder if God has His seasons

I am looking for the signs.


Tue, Mar 8, 2022



Second chances


"Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish… When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it. --Jonah 3:1-10 (excerpt)


God may relent and change his mind

and then God does,

is there any doubt in whose image we are created?

All prayer seems based on this,

that the God of the Omni's

can intervene in God's ways,

a hardened heart

can become pliant again

and kindness shine

from inside the egg

and burst forth,

do we hope (and pray) for less

from our fellow human traveler?


Wed, Mar 9, 2022



Fear and Trembling


“Put eloquent speech in my mouth before the lion…” Esther 14:12-14


Before the lion there is first the fear,

the silent trembling,

will he smell my weakness?

When I worked as a guard

at the corporate gates,

I faithfully signed out all the after-hours

comings and goings.

One working the evening cleaning crew

was leaving earlier than he should,

and I dutifully marked the clipboard;

He saw and jumped out of his car

storming into the guardhouse screaming

“You are messing with my income!”

A quick look to my fellow guard

said not to confront him.

So I was silent in my fear

until he left

then felt the shame wash over me.

There were no words of eloquence.

When the lion paced back and forth

and I was speechless,

unable to imagine what the Lord

would have me say.


Thu, Mar. 10, 2022



My soul waits for the Lord,

more than watchmen for the morning, *

more than watchmen for the morning. –Psalm 130:5


I would think many times

that nothing was sweeter

than achieving a goal,

working hard

and getting there.

My father taught us

the virtue of sweat

out with the toxins,

in with the good,

the stained, wet t-shirt worn

as a badge of toil.

But the creative moment

never came by striving

it only arrived when pausing,

waiting for the sweet words

of peace washing over me

like the light coming

over the horizon.


Fri, Mar. 11, 2022



Oh, that my ways were made so direct *

that I might keep your statutes! –Psalm 119:5


I remember

my priest saying

two decades ago,

“God draws straight

with crooked lines.”

John cried in the wilderness

with Isaiah:

‘Prepare the way of the Lord,

    make his paths straight.*

In a place of wandering

could there be a straight path?

It does not look that way

at the beginning

of our journey;

looking back

seems to pick out

the taut thread

among the wrinkled fabric.

I think rather the Lord

has aligned my crooked paths

and wrought meaning

in the chaos.


* Mark 1:2-4; Isaiah 45:13


Sat. Mar. 12, 2022





The robins have returned

in the mid-March snow,

have these beacons of spring

got it wrong?

They gather in the crab apple tree,

puffed up redbreasts,

their pride a dashed contrast

in their hunger;

The dried fruit has hung on

for this harvest

and one by one

they yield to the pull

of these proud ground hunters,

their glory

buried ‘neath the vestiges

of winter

in the north.


Sun., Mar 13, 2022



A pause in Lent

for this is a feast day

and feast we have.

to say my life has been enriched

would itself be in need of confession

for it does not reach

the height nor depth

that your love has wrought—

   “worked into shape by artistry”

   “elaborately embellished”

   “deeply stirred”

sometimes the purveyor of meanings

is poetic.

My life has not,

will not

be the same—

when I met you,

when you met me,

when we met

and became the banquet

of three.


Mar. 14, 2022, written after the Sunday feast, for our 7th wedding anniversary on Monday

Definitions by Merriam-Webster,




“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;

remove the evil of your doings

from before my eyes” --Isaiah 1:16


The pre-op instructions

take two pages of notes

that I write furiously;

take this, not that

it reads like the “thou shalts;”

the washing is with special soap,

once at night

and once in the morning,

and thou shalt not apply lotion!

I follow the rules to the letter

in the hope that my passage

through the OR

may be acceptable.

The room is pristine

as they strap me to the table

like a sacrifice

all is sterile

all is white

all blurs

and wiped clean

the evil excised

until I respond

and am moved.


Tue., 15 Mar 22




“So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.” – Jeremiah 18:1:3-4


The refrain of the old spiritual

rings in my head

“He’s got the whole world

in His hands,

He’s got the whole world

In His hands…”

Jeremiah is sent to watch

the potter mold the vase

then start again,

mold the vase

until it’s right

“He’s got the whole world

In His hands…”

How many times

do I seek His word

and it’s right here

In the everyday work

my whole world

in my hands,

My Master

at my shoulder



Wed., 16 Mar 22






“They shall be like a tree planted by water,

sending out its roots by the stream.”  -- Jeremiah 17:8


My wife is growing oyster


the fertile log

is in a moist terrarium

in partial light;

she checks it daily

and marvels at its rapid


soon there will be

an abundant harvest

and I imagine the culinary

creations she will make


I keep a diary

of all the places I have lived

and worked;

it is long and the travel


there seems little time

to put down roots

for the oak and maple

yet each has been called home;

the places I have sown

less memorable

than the people

I have become

The river runs through it all

And I am nourished.


Thu., Mar. 17, 2022



The Turn in the Plot


“The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone” –Matthew 21:42a


Watching the masons

quickly fashion a brick facade

they toss aside the imperfect,

what they expected a brick to be.

I imagine a poor and needy person

who lost their home in a mega-storm

searching through the scraps

finding this misshapen brick,

putting it in his backpack

with a smile

and saying

to himself,

“I will rebuild”,

even if a stone at a time.

Our faith

may be called the Great Reversal,

the unexpected,

the surprise,

the turn in the plot

that calls into question

our safe and sure assumptions.

If the first will be last

and the last first,

we may need to rethink

most of the dark castles

we’ve built in our minds.


Fri., Mar. 18, 2022



Feast of St. Joseph


“Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day's journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety." He said to them, "Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.” -- Luke 2:41-51

Today is the feast of Saint Joseph,

and I am tempted to ask

like the Sicilian in The Princess Bride,

“Who is that guy”?

He is barely mentioned,

and when Mary says,

“Your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety”

the son answers,

“Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?”

Inconceivable! says the Sicilian.

What 12-year-old gets away with this?

Afterward, Luke says,

He was then “obedient to them.”

Unwritten words must have been exchanged.

Foretelling “they did not understand what he said to them.”

Wasn’t that the story of much of his life?

It did not gain the full meaning

until afterward,

as the high priest says in another movie

confronting the inconceivable tomb,

“Now it begins.”


Sat., Mar. 19, 2022

William Goldman, “The Princess Bride,” 1987
Franco Zeffirelli, “Jesus of Nazareth,” 1977


Naked Feet


“for the place on which you are standing is holy ground” –Exodus 3:5b


After the snow melted,

I walked through the garden

among the old fallen leaves,

and a piece of metal grabbed the sunlight;

I reached to pick it up,

a chrome hook from one of the feeders

that I thought was lost,

but here it was shining

in the late winter sun;

this ground which was familiar ground,

cold and damp and covered,

revealed itself

like what I imagine the ground

around the bush

was and became

to a startled Moses,

holiness among the common

that became uncommon

and worthy

of only naked feet.


Sun., Mar. 20, 2022

A Stillness


“As the deer longs for the water-brooks, *

so longs my soul for you, O God.” –Psalm 42:1


In the hills above Hanover

walking the blue-blazes that branch

from the Appalachian trail,

I hear the callings

before seeing them:

the chickadee,


and squirrel;

only the deer practices


a stillness that is the hope

of not being found;

but it is hope I have

on this path

made firm through the forest,

hope that the words will come

and find me

with a calling that demands a stillness.


Monday, Mar. 21, 2022


“The word "waterbrook" is, apparently, an archaic form of "brook," which, apparently, means the same thing (a small, natural stream of fresh water).”  --




“Show me your ways, O Lord,

and teach me your paths.” –Psalm 25:3


On the long trail

through many states

I’d look for the white blaze

to continue ahead,

or the two for turning right

or left.

Sometimes the distance was long

and I’d wonder if I had made a wrong turn,

sometimes I’d double back

and start anew

from the last place I was sure,

sometimes I’d have to admit

I was lost

and call for the signs

of north or west

to lead me off the path

and hope to cross a road

or stream.

There are few times

more jarring

than to lose

a sense of direction

and hunger for the familiar

way through the forest,

to summon the faith

that I will get out

and the hope I will be found.


Tue, Mar. 22, 2022


Blessed Ambiguities


“I will open my mouth in a parable;

I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.’ –Psalm 78:2


I read that the One

who speaks in parables

often leaves the listener guessing,

and I wonder

if the mystery

invites a search

for meaning

and that these moments

may be blessed



Wed., Mar. 23, 2022


Stiffened Neck


“yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention,

but they stiffened their necks.”  --Jeremiah 7:26


My chiropractor

has a Lucite, protractor-like device

that measures how far I can turn my head

left or right;

it shows what the adjustment improves,

though I suspect Jeremiah is thinking more

about an attitude adjustment

and the “stiffened neck”

as a failure to look left and right

to see which way the Spirit blows,

mindful of the gap

that needs crossing.

Thu., Mar. 24, 2022




“He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,

and has lifted up the lowly.” –From the Magnificat, Luke 1:52


The mallards have returned

their exile to the south has past

now busy with the work of spring,

They march from the pond

to the east

to the one to the west

like the day casting shadows.

I set a ground feeder

on their path

so I can watch from

my office window,

she, leading the way

and he, following behind.

When she stops to eat,

he keeps guard,

his green regal head

looking left and right

then at the King behind the glass.

She scoops with her bill

munching quickly,

swallows the seeds whole,

an array of millet clinging to her

like a toddler’s mustache of milk.

Then she is off, picking up speed

as he rushes to catch up.

She is on a mission

and knows there soon

will be little ones

and all this lowly metaphor

will rise up with meaning

in the midst of Lent.


Fri., Mar. 25, 2022




“The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit;

a broken and contrite heart” –Psalm 51:18


In the company of friends

when I heard you speak

of your illness,

though you used the past tense

it still struck as a hammer,

by your words

both redeemed

and shattered anew;

how am I to be

but troubled?

When the water glass

was cracked

I could not drink this cup,

still it held the cut orchid

that blooms

again and again,

and I am ever grateful.


Sat., Mar. 26, 2022





“…he was lost and has been found.” –Luke 15:32


I remember my father’s funeral

we were each asked

to say some words.

Before I read a poem,

I introduced myself

as the black sheep of the family.

Later, at the reception, a parishioner asked,

“Why did you describe yourself

as the black sheep?

I gestured around the room

And said, I’m probably the only one

here who did not vote Republican.

Startled, she said, “but why?”

I had come home to mourn

not only my father’s passing

but our differences.


Sun., Mar. 27, 2022


The Golden String


“I give you the end of a golden string;
   Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate,
   Built in Jerusalem’s wall.”  --William Blake


My mother passed this day last year.

It was Palm Sunday then,

so appropriate that she rode into heaven

through Jerusalem’s gate.

Today I remember Blake’s line

that Stafford had pinned above his desk.*

I am ever following that string,

riding through the gate of the poet’s words

and in my mother’s footsteps.

Mon., Mar. 28, 2022

W. Blake,
* Robert Bly, The Darkness Around Us is Deep, p. vii.





“My Father is still working, and I also am working.” –John 5:17


I wonder if on the day of rest

God is still listening,

adding to God’s to-do list,

ready for the Monday

at the office of Creation.

The troubled and thankful heart

likely says more on the Sabbath

then other days,

perhaps making this

an intercession

rather than an intermission.

Which, I wonder, is more holy?


Tue., Mar. 29, 2022





“yet I will not forget you.”  --Isaiah 49:15


I try to forget

the old moments of pain

and sorrow,

but they are with me;

they have made me

as much as the seasons

of engagement

and elation;

and yet we read

that the Lord forgives

and forgets,

that my evil

and brokenness cease

to exist.

No wonder the Holy One

Says again and again

“You are set free.”

Will I dare

to become the better self

that was always there

and not forgotten?


Wed. Mar. 30, 2022





“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” —BCP


A family patriarch

in his nineties

once told me

his meetings

with old friends was more

and more as pallbearer,

such is the blessing

of outliving all

your friends.

We are reminded

with each passing

that we are somewhere

in that queue

asking, “who will carry me?”


Friends come and go

but families endure,

there are children,


and great-grandchildren

to be proud of,

marvel at their youth,

thankful I will be carried on.


Thu., Mar. 31, 2022



At times, a feast day must be taken in the midst of Lent.  That is what the 7 Sundays are in Lent that make the 47 calendar days 40 in the wilderness.  To that, I add a personal feast day, celebrating Shirley’s birthday, to whom this poem is dedicated.





I think you may be happiest

when there is something

at your fingertips

that is growing

or about to grow

even in the long winter

that is Michigan.

When you opened

the Lion's Mane kit

you were wrapped up in it

with a look of determination

and sheer joy

that are among the gifts

you make to those

around you.

As when you create

a splendid dish,

there is this opening-up

of your spirit

as if you are blooming

from the mist

of anticipation

and about to share

what you imagine

with the rest of us.


Fri., Apr. 1, 2022



Made a fool


“Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee” —John 7:52


I sometimes wonder

if the basic bias

is to decide where to search

and not to search,

it is not an openness

to find only the expected

rather than what you don’t expect;


Don’t we learn as budding scientists

To assume we are wrong

until proven otherwise,

to become the fool

at the opening of the play

rather than be made a fool

before the hero saves the day?


Sat, Apr. 2, 2022




“Then was our mouth filled with laughter,

and our tongue with shouts of joy.”  --Psalm 126:2


It was after my mother’s funeral

the three siblings and spouses

went to lunch

near the harbor


and laughed,

not at her passing

but at our living,

the crazy things we did

and said as kids;

it is this humor

that has been passed on

to us and our children;

my youngest granddaughter

once exclaimed to her mother,

“Today we are going to have

more fun than flamingos!”

And they did.

The joy that is passed on

is seeing the joy

in those who come behind us

the laughter

is from the laughter

that rolls from their mouths.


Sun. Apr. 3, 2022




  “He makes me lie down in green pastures *

and leads me beside still waters.

  He revives my soul’ –Psalm 23:2-3a


We go to the backyard

after the sun sets

and lie face-up

on freshly mown green grass.

The stars

on a Swiss night

are sharp,


There is no twinkle here.

It is mid-August

and we are waiting for the first

Perseid meteor,

a so-called shooting star

making its mark on the vast heavens

that arch above us.

It is a long wait

our voices still,

gazing left and right,

then “There!”

a fleeting presence

that warms

our souls

hungering for

for the touch of awe.


Mon., Apr. 4, 2022 





   “For the Lord looked down from his holy place on high;

from the heavens he beheld the earth;

   That he might hear the groan of the captive

and set free those condemned to die” --Psalm 102:19-20


Isn’t that all of us?

“Those condemned to die?

As Hubbard mockingly said,

“You surely will never get out of it alive.”

The closer one gets to the end

the more we groan,

especially when getting up from a sofa

too soft to help.

The chairs for the aging

should be spring-loaded,

a booster seat for the retired.

I can still hear my father’s voice

Booming in the morning

“up and at ‘em!”

When I figure out the “up”

I will have to ponder the “at ‘em.”

Perhaps then

I will be set straight.


Tue., Apr. 5, 2022




“Glory to you, beholding the depths;

in the high vault of heaven, glory to you.” –Canticle 13, Benedictus es, Domine


Standing near the base

of the Burj Khalifa

the Lotte World Tower

the World Trade Center

it was a strain

to see the top,

and the journey

to the observation decks

was an ear-popping ride;

standing at the window

and looking down

to the depths below

was an exercise in vertigo

that one stepped back from.

Lewis reminded us

that “the highest does not stand

without the lowest”

and Tillich wrote of the “shaking

of the foundations.”

Over a score ago

the towers fell

and it was ten years

before I could go to the site

and stand at the edge of the fountain.

You ask me why the depths

and the vault speak to me;

I will answer,



Wed., Apr. 6, 2022

From the Tower of Babel story: “And the Lord said, “…this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” --Genesis 11:6



A Face That Is Not My Own


“Search for the Lord and his strength;

continually seek his face.”  --Psalm 105:4


As I grow older

and see the strength of my youth

slip away

I seek to delay and defer;

surely there is still

a child hiding in the shadows

who makes an appearance,

like the cedar waxwings

we saw landing in the crabapple tree

to feast on the winter-dried berries?

But then they were gone,

left for a northern spring

and I am searching

for a strong grasp

for a face that is not my own.


Thu., Apr. 7, 2022


The Enticement


“O Lord, you have enticed me,

   and I was enticed;

you have overpowered me,

   and you have prevailed.

...then within me there is something like a burning fire

   shut up in my bones;

I am weary with holding it in,

  and I cannot.” -- Jeremiah 20:7a, 9b


My priest talked about

a nudge from God,

the whisper in the ear

to go and ask,

and he did.

How could I say no?

It has traveled with me

and when I feel the heat

from the stirring in my bones

how could I forget

his story?

I reach anew

for the pen

and trust that there is

always more than

just these jottings

on the tablet

that nudge me

to listen to the enticement


Fri, Apr. 8, 2022



Rope Bridge


“Will you not give us life again,

that your people may rejoice in you?” —Psalm 85:6


Inevitably in the story

is the rope bridge

with missing and shaky slats

of splintered wood

strung between one ridge

and another,

fear and destruction pushing from behind

and hope, milk and honey

pulling from the other,

we must make the crossing

and find this tenuous bridge

is not one-way,

we are drawn

to the profane,

and as the wind turns,

we yearn for the holy

again and again

each story my story,

into the exile of captivity

and then into the promised land.


Sat, Apr. 9, 2022



A Shouting  


He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent,
   the stones would shout out." Luke 19:40


In the silence

is a shouting

that cannot be silenced.

Justice, like adoration,

must be spoken,

said aloud,

so all can hear

and not shrink

from the convicting

that truth brings,

the “even me”

is in his path,

and I am caught up

in the procession

to Jerusalem’s gate.


Palm Sunday, Apr. 10, 2022



From mother to child


Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, *

   and your faithfulness to the clouds.

Your righteousness is like the strong mountains,

   your justice like the great deep; —Psalm 36:5-6a


With outstretched arms

I love you this big

I love you as big

as the whole world

comes the child’s reply.

I love you to the moon

and back.

I love you to the stars

and galaxies

I love you more than

the Heavens can expand

and still we do not

grasp the reach of God

but are cradled

as sure as the toddler

stretches the superlatives.


Mon., Apr. 11, 2020





Listen to me, O coastlands,

   pay attention, you peoples from far away! –Isaiah 49:1


The mallard we named Missy

has come to the ground feeder

as she travelers the yards

from pond

to house to the next.

She sees me in the window

and calls to me as surely

as the wind,

this feeder is empty

and I have stopped in vain!

So, I gather up the offering

in a red plastic pail

and shift it into the feeders

in the hope that she

will come again

and I will hear her voice.


Tue., Apr. 12, 2022





“The Lord God has given me

   the tongue of a teacher,

that I may know how to sustain

   the weary with a word.” —Isaiah 50:4


The weight of the teacher

is wearying;

how will the listener

be sustained?

The student


turns from front

of the classroom

and walks out into

the world.

There must be

a turning away,

a betrayal,

just as the child

leaves home;

even the animosity

must be borne,

a death must occur,

before there is the discovery

that the word endures,

the teacher

given back his life.


Wed., Apr 13, 2022




“Then he poured water into a basin and

began to wash the disciples’ feet and

to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.”  --John 13:5


I read that Muslims

wash their feet

before prayer,

a rite of purification,

five times daily.

Jesus washed the disciples’ feet

as an act of love and service.

“Why the feet,” I wonder.

Are they what grounds us

to the earth?

Yet Moses shed his sandals

before the Voice

because it was holy ground.

And it is into the ground

we are buried.

And from the ground

the crops and souls will rise.

Which way is up?

Maundy Thursday, Apr. 14, 2022

* Maundy – “a ceremony of washing the feet of the poor” –M. Webster



Good Friday

"It is finished."  --John 19:30


We are leaving

the old church

in silence.

The shrouded cross

left on the altar

tied with a purple sash.

She turns to me *

and says,

“I don’t like this service.”

“It’s a funeral,”

I say, as if that makes

it understood.

She is no longer with us

having left

this old journey

in silence.

We gathered in that place

to celebrate her life,

but the sorrow



Good Friday, Apr. 16, 2022

* Remembering Alice Smith



The Hounding


“He has walled me about so that I cannot escape” -- Lamentations 3:7


A friend

must be sedated before

entering the tube of the MRI,

closed spaces

cause his heart to race.

The recurring dream

is often about being chased;

there is no escape

but to wake up panting.

As Thompson wrote,

there is a Hound of Heaven *

and the Fathers remind us

His pursuit is relentless. **

Even the stone walls

of a tomb cannot

keep Him out. 


Holy Saturday, Apr. 16, 2022

* Francis Thompson, "The Hound of Heaven,"      

** Augustine, Luther




The wolf and the lamb shall feed together —Isaiah 65:25


I notice the piece of paper

held on the fridge door with a magnet,

with characters

from another tongue

I do not understand.

She tells me it’s a recipe,

and knowing her

I trust that it will be good.

But I secretly hope

for the lamb.

The old saying

to beware

if the wolf is at the door,

“some danger, threat, or calamity

is imminent, or at hand.” *

But today

we are told the wolf

and the lamb are dining partners,

hope sees fear consumed

rather than consuming;

that is the feast

we sit down to partake


Look, all things are made new! **

if I don’t understand

I can still break bread

and drink wine

with you.


Easter Sunday, Apr. 17, 2022


* Farlex, “The Free Dictionary,”

** 2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV


Most quotes are from the NSRV and excerpts from the Common Lectionary:


All Poems © Copyright 2022, E. G. Happ, All Rights Reserved

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