Poet as Picker

Anne Moore

The poet is a picker
rummaging thru the barn
of a farmer too stubborn to die
his Depression expression
Fix it or do without

We pore over words
like tinkerers poking thru
nuts in old MJB coffee`tins for
one that fits our rusty bolt
with stripped threads

By sunset all we have
is a fly`wheel the farmer
had taken off his tractor the day
of his stroke   Every part
right where it’d fallen

An anvil & hammer
can come in handy if words
don’t want to fit  If the grammar
needs a drop of machine oil
to speed alliteration

“One other moved there, an old Chinaman
     gathering seaweed from the sea-rocks,
 He brought it in his basket and spread it
     flat to dry on the edge of the meadow.
 Permanent things are what is needful
     in a poem, things temporally
 Of great dimension, things continually
     renewed or present.” ~ Robinson Jeffers, Point Joe

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The Peace`Maker

Federico Gallo

“You have made your people
        suffer hard things;
  You have given us wine to drink
        that made us reel.
  You have set up a banner
        for those who hold you in awe
           to rally to it out of bow`shot.
     Give victory with your right hand
              and answer us,
           so that those whom you love
                 may be rescued.” ~ Psalm 60:2-5

At every border
the lines lengthen
families wanting to leave
families wanting to enter
old soldiers spent
combat widows

Children’s eyes
mirror the terror
uncertain of who’s friend
uncertain of who’s enemy
cattle at auction
they go as told

It’s been said
each child a sign
God’s not yet worldweary
God does not ever give up
on peace`making
tho we might

This poem marks the end of my reflection on the 2nd set of 30 Psalms.
For the coming month I will be taking my prompts from a series of four
more modern poets in search of the ways Life thirsts for Resurrection. Blessings!

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Night Terrors

Daniel McClendon

“But I will sing of your might;
     I will sing aloud of your
        steadfast love in the morning.
  For you have been a fortress for me
     and a refuge in the day of my distress.
  O my strength, I will sing praises to you,
     for you, O God, are my fortress,
        the God who shows me
           steadfast love.” ~ Psalm 59:16-17

Each night
the dogs return
as if they smell my sleep
my sheets damp
with sweat

Wild dogs
once domesticated
turned feral after neglect
reclaimed retrained
haunt me

They growl
with my own growl
nip at my heels as I snap
at strangers in words
sans mercy

Each night
the dogs await me
just behind sleep’s portal
they catch me just
as I wake

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Political Arena

art therapy techniques

“Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?
        Do you judge the people fairly?
     No, in your hearts you devise wrongs;
        your hands deal out violence on earth.
     People will say, ‘Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
        Surely there is a God who judges the earth.” ~ Psalm 58:1-2,11

The gods of the land
gather in their marble councils
weighing the needs of the people
weighing the rights of the people
who should be above the laws
who should be beneath

Those clad in crimson
insist each man is on his own
let free markets be unregulated
capitalism brings its own cures
lower the taxes of the wealthy
The poor will always be

Those clad in marine
pursue the welfare of the state
let liberties belong equally to all
let prosperity belong to workers
tax wealth as a cure for poverty
By diversity discovery

Like champion teams
the gods do battle in the arena
gaining a few yards on one cause
sacrificing a few yards in another
meanwhile the nation ponders
if there’s a God or not

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Singing the Day

Salvador Dali

“My heart is steadfast, O God,
           my heart is steadfast.
     I will sing and make melody.
        Awake, O harp and lyre!
           I will awake the dawn.
    I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
          among the peoples;
     I will sing praises to you
           among the nations.” ~ Psalm 57:7-9

In the darkness
I watch for first light
the silhouette of the ridge
emerging from night
under the stars

On the Straights
the fishing boats fire`
up their big diesel engines
murmurs like morning`
prayers of monks

Who can say
what the day will bring
The mystery makes the day
worth the living Night
worth sleeping

With our nets full
or empty we will return
When daylight slips again
beyond the far horizon
I’ll sing`in the night

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El Camino de Emaus


“You have kept count of my tossings;
         put my tears in your bottle.
     Are they not in your record?
     Then my enemies will retreat
        in the day when I call.
     This I know, that God is for me.” ~ Psalm 56:8-9

They move around us
shadows with fading light
hoping we will not see them
as they buy milk & tortillas
off the market shelves

Most will shop at night
when the rest of us sleep
By daylight they are working
in the fields in the dairies
they’re our day`laborers

Some have green cards
likely most of them don’t
many follow the harvests or
prune the winter orchards
most will have children

Today is the Sabbath
We will go & sit with them
as families gather to worship
sing with them their soulful
songs of trust in God

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Manly Friends

Serge Mendzhiyskog

“My companion laid hands on a friend
     and violated a covenant with me
        with speech smoother than butter,
     but with a heart set on war;
        with words that were softer than oil,
           but in fact were drawn swords.
     Cast your burden on the Lord,
        and he will sustain you;
           he will never permit
              the righteous to be moved.” ~ Psalm 55:20-22

In this life
a man will find
many friendships
but not many friends
waiting dock`side
when he retires
from the sea

We do well
with teamwork
joining our hands
to achieve some tasks
names on badges
or numbers on
our helmets

But we hide
behind our titles
Use technical terms
when personal words
could open windows
to genuine manly

When the tasks are done
we’ll find ourselves alone

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The New Virus

Joan Miró

“God, save me by your name,
     in your power vindicate me.
        God, hear my prayer,
        listen to the words I speak.
  Strangers are attacking me,
     bullies hounding me to death,
     no room in their thoughts for God.
  But now the Lord is coming to my help;
     the Lord, among those who sustain me.”~ Psalm 54:1-4 [JB]

A virus is in our midst
for which no antibiotic
has yet been formulated
It is the virus of terrorism
the indiscriminate killing
of innocent peoples for
the cause of an un`god

Goaded by the Imams
preaching hatred’s creed
the infected spread death
as the catechism of despair
martyrdom their salvation
Armageddon the certain
pathway to a new world

For every one who dies
twenty more stand ready
to press terrorism’s cause
Once they were over there
now they are every`where
once diagnosed as zealots
now certifiable madmen

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On Potatoes

Joan Miró

“God looks down from heaven
        at the children of Adam,
     to see if a single one is wise,
        a single one seeks God.
  All have proved faithless,
        all alike turned sour,
     not one of them does right,
        not a single one.” ~ Psalm 53:3-4 [JB]

The last sack
of last autumn’s
potatoes still hangs
from its hook in
the root cellar

In the darkness
they too can sense
the change in season
Firm thru winter
now grown soft

Thru the coarse
mesh of the burlap
their eyes are sending
runners to the light
they cannot see

Soon they’ll be
good for nothing
other than quartering
plantings of spring
for the fall table

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If I Were a Tree

Claude Monet

“But I am like a green olive tree
           in the house of God.
     I trust in the steadfast love of God
           forever and ever.
     I will thank you forever,
           because of what you have done.
        In the presence of the faithful
     I will proclaim your name,
              for it is good.” ~Psalm 52:8-9

If I were a tree
what tree would I be
A peach from Georgia
A Washington cherry
Just let me see!

Perhaps I’d be
a New York empire
A McIntosh from Maine
A Honolulu coconut
A Macon pecan

A Florida orange
A California almond
A Willamette nectarine
A macadamia of Fiji
A Chinese jujube

One thing’s certain
In spring I’d bloom
blossoms to fill the air
in sheer celebration
of God’s generosity

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Unsung Psalms: World Poetry Day


How American
not to bother to know
whom we have come from
from where our roots
What its argot

We speak like
first`generation selves
in words that seem to us
of our own innovation

And we wonder
why our children don’t
understand instructions
we say are plain as pie

Our bouquets
are of plastic flowers
since we have not grown
them or picked them
from the wild

They wither not
neither do they grace
places we set them down
to merely gather dust
Unsung psalms

“We open our mouths and out flow words
whose ancestries we do not even know.” ~ Penelope Lively

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Mercy & Grace


Bénédicte Garnier-Fihey marguerite.artblog.fr

“Have mercy on me, O God,
        according to your steadfast love;
        according to your abundant mercy
           blot out my transgressions.
  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
        and cleanse me from my sin.
  For I know my transgressions,
        and my sin is ever before me.” ~ Psalm 51:1-3

The earth
recalls its abuse
Mercury in the soil
stays for generations
Just as a hydrangea
recalls the nails
Opa planted*

‘I am sorry!’
are among life’s
hardest words for
any man to articulate
Or the easiest for
one who knows
no remorse

The psyche
will remember
wounds incurable
from the distant past
well past forgiving
Grace asks that
we own them

 [*The amount of iron in the soil will determine
whether the hydrangea blossom is pink or blue]

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