Lion and Lamb
By Cora E. Cypser
Published by KIM PATHWAYS, 1992
Seek and You Shall Find
Lord, be with these hands
that they may write
only what is so.
Be with this mind
that it may think the truth
and reason out the truth.
Guide me in wisdom
for with all my heart
I seek to find you.
On this knoll rising
out of the infinite
the Lord has set a feast
for all peoples
a succulent word of life
of meaty thoughts
a banquet ushering in
the reign of love
We here can see
the shining of each other.
The plague of death
is gone forever
banished by that which hosts
the banquet table!
Yahweh, I am your guest
in your house, earth
and I partake of all the bounty
at your table.
All good things
you dispense with lavish hand.
But what of those
the beggars at your door?
Please let them in
that they may share with me
and know you
for the generous host you are.
Must I play host for you
and leave my favored place
to draw them in?
Why, I am but a puff of wind
a thimbleful of spirit.
How can I act for you
whose deeds declare forever?
When they ate the produce of the land
there was no more manna.
God feeds us
until we can feed ourselves.
God supports our bodies
until our spirits can live without bodies.
Roadway for The Ruler
Make way in the desert
a highway for our God!
There are winds of change blowing
the sands drifting, stinging
It is frightening
but the ruler is coming.
We must clear the sands
and lay stones for a highway.
Gather your white robes tight
over your faces
friends, sisters, brothers.
Pass the round worn rocks
from hand to hand.
Make the highway!
From Competitive to Cooperative
It’s time to take a jump for young mankind
a new direction, a new focusing.
Look how he runs,— competitive!
The race is to the swift.
The laurels, to the wise.
The gold is to the brave.
Are you a winner
or does anyone win
in all these races?
The winner is the loser—
jealous associates know him as fallible.
His run is criticized, his gait, his wind.
The others are too close behind.
It’s only chance that sends him
splitting tape, across the line.
Let’s cut these races and cooperate!
To Bless or Blunder?
Why did God make us?
To fail and blunder?
Through the hot summer
to lose our sense of wonder?
Where is the cool breeze?
The long iced draught under the trees?
Did God make us
that we might know sin and disease?
Where is the bond of brotherhood?
Always coming soon?
What good is it to live?
To live for what?
To touch the moon?
What good is that?
What good to fail and blunder?
Through the hot days
our sense of wonder.
“I made you all to laugh
So laugh and bless!
It was a difficult task
to make a laughing life
and tie it in
with such a dangerous
and majestic world.”
Whistling in The Dark
It is dark
and it is scary.
This whole world
is kind of hairy.
So I praise
the God who made it
ask, I not be
afraid of it.
So I whistle
in the dark
like a silly
by the moon.
I hope I whistle
the right tune.
On Lions and Lambs
where the lion lies down with the lamb
is the place
where the oppressed and the oppressors
into concerned and respectful communication
with each other.
It is a secure spot where each agrees to listen
and where each
is guaranteed a hearing.
The Purpose of Gods
We make gods out of need.
You can explain so much with gods
who won’t explain their ways to men
but merely show their power.
You can explain the earth
made by some crazy god
who threw his weight around.
It helps to keep our sort in line.
We placate gods so they won’t go berserk.
Who needs bolt-throwing gods?
Give us some gentle folk
who’ll teach us how to love
how to control ourselves
so that there won’t be cast-off lepers
rapists, and nuclear disasters.
The wise men and the scientists
grew great in their conceit.
They said, “We’ll cure disease.
We’ll conquer space.
We’ll grow vast quantities of food
so none can starve. We’ll check our offspring
so that every child will be a wanted child.
This world will be a wonder world
with all the universe to grow in.”
They said, “We have no need of God.
We can create our heaven without a God.”
With these words they killed God in their hearts.
Just to be sure they had no need of God
they briefly looked for God
and since they could not find God in their hearts
concluded, “God is dead.”
Then they proceeded to the business at hand.
They knew so much and were so very wise
the lesser people of the world looked on in wonder.
They learned to cure some cancers
but a strange thing happened.
A young girl they had agreed no one could cure
was cured by love.
They learned to fight disease
but another strange thing happened—
as soon as they would cure one virus
another group of wise men
would invent another virus twice as bad
and set it on a shelf to save for some day
when their hate was strong enough to use it.
Still they insisted, “We do love.
We wish that all the people
were as wise and fortunate as we.”
They proved their kind philosophy
by going out into the world
performing great conversions with their science.
They made elaborate weapons
and forced these in the hands of lesser men
and said, “You fight for truth and freedom.
Shoot to kill.
Who disagrees with us is better dead.”
Perhaps they were right.
Where is this better world
our heaven-reign home?
Godless we roam
through a scorched, burning world
love, all unknown.
Churches are burning.
Schools have been blown.
Birds have stopped singing.
Scientists, men of wisdom
take away your world built on men’s pride.
What have you left us but the passions of men?
We need God. We need love.
We need the gentle deed
the self-effacing hand.
We thought we were giants.
We thought that we could make the world perfect.
For this presumption forgive us.
Forgive us, Lord. We thought
that since we touched the moon
that we were gods.
We forgot that we were only
Yes, perhaps some people
find asylum here.
Some cannot find
asylum from their tortured minds
in all the earth.
there is no resting place
When death and hell
at time’s own end
will these receive release.
I beg you, God
my God who made
these stumbling feet
these flashing eyes
surely, you’ve made the love
to help and heal them.
The Womb of God
God’s womb is the universe
and what does God produce
in this vast cavity?
God produces God!
The earth provides the setting
from which the spirit in humanity
gives birth to love.
To Anyone In Authority
you in the chair
cut the matter clean.
Strip it bare.
Make it square
if you care.
Bow to you
because you have this power
for such a little hour?
I should bow?
Why and how?
You are human
You will see.
Tell them all
before they fall
on bended knee
that you are only man.
Then if you can
stir the matter
so only truth
rises in ferment
above the sediment.
Peace is not necessarily calm.
It is not a swan resting on blue waters.
Peace is a riot of color and movement
held in place by concerned love.
Sixteen geese at twilight swooping
cavorting in concert across the full moon,—
who is richer than I with such an expression
of God’s creativity? Suddenly I know
why the human was made—
we are the mirror that reflects
God’s wisdom back to Mystery.
Peace is creative action in community
such as this arc made with myriad wings
in the deep blue radiant sky.
Peace is not taking yourself too seriously.
Peace is the turmoil of the ocean
and the boisterous wind being used
by the human free will
to further the progress of a boat.
The lion will lie down with the lamb
when a creative human
controls wild nature
and another creative human calms
those who are fearful and trembling.
It was June when we came
a golden June
with the daisies dancing
and the birds in tune.
My little son
wished to see the crosses
not knowing the meaning
of sorrow and losses.
It was June when they came
a darksome June.
The night was black
and without a moon.
The noise was fearsome
when it came
with points of fire
and bursts of flame.
They clambered up
through ooze and mud.
From the hill to the beach
was red with blood.
Today there is
willow-oak and pine
where roses intertwine.
I ask my heart
“Do they rest in bliss?
Will we ask other lads
to climb hills like this?”
Never my son
on such a raid!
such a hell man-made!
Yahweh speaks in the heart—
but loudly. God’s word
echoes across the heart’s chambers
like July fireworks
bam bam bamming back and forth
across the hills of celebration:
Do justice! Bam!
Do righteousness! Bam! Bam!
Deliver from the hand of the oppressor
the one who has been robbed.
The farmer in Peru
why should he farm another’s land
and give another profit?
The kameen in Pakistan
why should he haul the sewage
forever tote the refuse of some priest
whose insides are no cleaner than kameen’s?
The echoes roll across the world:—
Rulers, you must not wrong
the alien in the land.
Good God forbids all violence to the alien.
Those who are roused to boiling point
to throwing stones
talk with them softly.
Listen to their gripes.
Never respond to stones with stones.
Never shed innocent blood
Care tenderly for widows
and the fatherless.
God speaks loudly in the heart.
Those who have hearts
can hear God’s message.
Let me go out and work for you in the world
God of Love
where lesser nations spew their sins
on blood washed shores.
The answer came back clear.
“This is the most evil spot in the world. Work here!”
Yes, you are right, God of Love.
This land is evil.
The blackened trees with their branches dry
reach beseeching, thirsting to the sky.
This country is the one to fear.
The answer came back loud and clear.
“This is the most evil spot in the world. Work here!”
Where, God of Love?
In my home, where we have named you ruler?
You find it not just that we should have much
while others starve for food and warmth and love.
Then send us out to spread our cheer.
The answer came back clear.
“This is the most evil spot in the world. Work here!”
Where, God of Love?
In my heart?
Yes, it is so. I have built up walls so I could not see
the evils seeping out of me
walls that could hide the wild strong will
and the lack of love and the loss of joy.
Help me rend the walls that blind my eyes.
Make me into a garden, Lord
where hearts may rest.
The Dove Waiting To Fly
What do you want
white dove, in your cage?
You have feed and drink
a clean perch
music to sing to.
What more do you want?
Freedom, you want?
What is that, white dove?
She waits there poised
with winnowing pinions spread
impatient to be off and out of sight
her jeweled eyes begging you
to aid her flight
oh, God, to bear her up
where star lights shed
dartles of dreams
above the cloud and storm.
All cast aside the cracked protective shell
eager she waits
ready to serve you well.
What blackness can be cut with that white form!
I think of doves who set out for the sun
only the sun, the moon
such near-by things
that I must fret for her
on egg-wet wings
dreaming of nebulae.
oh, God, is praising you
is reaching far.
Let her gain I beseech you
at least one little star.
I like to watch men lifting boards
and heaving stone, and making things
rippling their muscles
in the sun of early day.
I like to watch men destroy
the old decaying structures
blasting in the sides of buildings
with great machines
unmasking centuries of rot
exposing the damp mold
to the face of the sun.
I like to watch men working
doing good with their hands
getting a little nearer to heaven.
a shoeless girl child wriggled onto
the velvet footstool before the white jade Buddha
and said a gentle prayer.
Did the Buddha’s enigmatic smile
increase ever so tenderly
as he reclined there on the edge of eternity?
We each need one good enemy
to keep us on our toes—
yet good enemies are few and far between.
Most enemies are bad, and scarcely worth
our being annoyed at them.
Comparing enemies, I’m lucky to have you.
Everyone needs death
to become a whole person.
Without death there would be
not much point to life.
Death makes us stand up
and use our assets.
He keeps us from getting complacent.
Dear enemy, as enemies go
you’re similar to death.
Your knives are never in the back.
You are disarmingly straightforward.
You operate without
benefit of antiseptics or anesthetics.
Opportunities to Love
That’s why Jesus said
to love our enemies—
he knew there would be
people like you.
He gives us
so many opportunities
to love one another.
That’s why God said
the world God made
Life is all about loving.
Love is the important quantity
that oozes from all this
air and dirt and water.
It really stirs
the molecules within
to love an enemy
who is cutting your heart out.
We humans have it made.
If we choose to love
all those who flashily inflict
their cruelties on us
we rid their ids of sores
by rubbing them on us;
we turn hate energy
We turn what’s bad to good!
every new today
is a fresh opportunity
to forgive those who have wronged us
and those who’ve hurt us.
Blessed Are The Poor
How blest in spirit, the oppressed!
Rich yearnings for what is Yahweh’s
burgeon within their treasure chest.
This wealth is manifest in eyes
catching ours in magazines, TV
gracing our souls with plattersful
of that which really matters.
The poor grow Jesus in the womb
of their tears, toils, and troubles.
They birth the righteous God
in the stable stall of rubble
where there are feeble few
of the foul foibles that distract
as in the palaces of kings.
How flourishing in spirit
those with peaceful seeings
nourished with I-Am Being.
Yahweh, wash us of worldly yearnings
that we, too, may feel support
from gentle, minute things
like hovering bluebird wings!
Woe to him in wealth
who builds his house
and his upper rooms by injustice
who makes his neighbor
serve him for nothing
and does not give him his just wages.
If the debtor nations
refuse to pay foreign bank loans
God justifies them
if they have already
paid back the principal.
Wiley men contrived exorbitant interest
which God condemns.
All that is owed
in God’s eyes
is the principal.
All else is of men.
If those who had foreign debts
refused to pay
would the banks fail?
Would the banks pass on the unpaid debts
to those of us in wealth so that
we could no longer run our motor cars?
Then we might see
that our exports of militarism
have not benefited anyone
but only served to bind
and to lead to famine.
The end result may be
that our allowance of the sin of militarism
will fall on our own heads.
The wealthy will go hungry.
The collectors of exorbitant interest
will have no shelter from the rain.
The Three Times of Buddha
A molded golden poem
with three stanzas
flowing into one another
the great Buddhas
of Past, Present, Future
together sit in crafted majesty
on lotus leaves in Yong he Gong
willing artifacts, substantial things
which lead our minds beyond material.
The message of the Buddha on the left
is that the wise creative spirit
has been with the living world
before forever. It is not touchable
but yet the source of all we touch
of all our being, all we’ve done
the understander of our past mistakes.
The healer of present human errors
the helper in our everyday distress
are symbolized by the middle Buddha
raising up his hand to bless
the wisdom possible in our todays.
Love is a splendid spender
and love will spend for us
and shield us day by day.
The Buddha on the right reminds
those worshiping that future, too
will flash with Buddha Spirit
with they themselves the giving ones
whose duty is to permeate the world
with caring love and noble thought.
The wisdom found when meditating here
is much more valuable than many statues.
This brittle egg-shell case
that holds my soul
so carefully preserved by me
handled with care
when will it hatch the bird in me
with golden wings
that will go soaring off
my God knows where
leaving a broken shell?
Of what use to a bird
is a broken shell?
Reflecting God’s Word
If I were a house
on the hillside
would catch the glass
of my windows
with flaming gold
so that those
in the darkness of walls
in the depth of the valley
at the glitter
of what they behold
at the marvelous
of the cascading caldron
burns from of old.
On the edge of hell
one loses perspective.
A people subjected to holocaust
may be temporarily blinded
as to proper treatment of others
because they are confronted
with the large hideousness
of what has happened
Thus the molested child
frequently becomes the rapist
when he grows older.
The horror in his mind
finds release in this fashion.
God, work through all of us
to help persons and nations
realize their tremendous worth
in your plan for the earth.
The Size of God
My God is bigger than this church.
God loves beyond the confines
of these doors. God acts and comforts
in all times and places, encompasses
the world, covers the stars
and all that is, yet still can fit
into a tiny corner of my heart!
St. Therese, Priest
She thought of herself as having many vocations, the priesthood included: “And at the same time I want to be a priest; how lovingly I’d carry you in my hands when you came down from heaven at my call; how lovingly I’d bestow you upon men’s souls.
I am a priest
ordained by God, not men.
I carry Jesus in my soul
How can you
call me anything but priest?
A priest is one who gives
of God to people.
This I must do
and you must do it, too.
We must reveal God
to each other.
God hides in his transcendence
beyond our vision.
Only in those who walk beside us
facing after him
can we catch glimpses
of reflected light.
I am a priest to you
and you to me.
You carry Jesus in your soul
and with your open hands
give him to me.
Jonah and Others Such As Myself
My friend Jonah went to Ninevah.
He was a good prophet
but not a very loving man.
He could preach fire and brimstone
with the best of them.
“Turn and repent and love one another,”
They saw sense in his words.
They shook in their sandals
The Lord said
“I will be merciful to them.”
(That’s the way the Lord is.)
Jonah didn’t approve.
He forgot all about loving and said
“How embarrassing for me, Lord
to say you will destroy this place
and then you don’t back me up.
Folks will say I’m a liar.”
God laughed as only God can laugh.
God said, “You’re no false prophet, Jonah.
Go to them in love.
Take my love to them.
Say that I have heard their prayers
and that I will be merciful.”
(That’s the way the Lord is.)
Paying My Way
Thank you, whoever made the earth and me.
I value dearly all that you have given.
I take with joy all gifts that you provide
but I insist that I must pay my way
to show my thanks. I’ll push myself
to do a kind deed every day to pay my way.
Today my achy bones give this long drive
starting before the dawn, to pay my way.
You have rewarded me with silver moon
sparkling the frosted February trees
etching the cat tails in a reedy gulley.
What possible return can pay for that?
Like this, the morning’s coursing moon
you go before me, colorful and blessing
the world that meets me and recedes. You rise
too, in the sunrise blossoming behind me
which reaches up its tolerant hands of light
to tousle tops of mountains still before me
where the moon settles to rest
comfortably on a pile of blue clouds.
How can I expect a heaven when life is done!
This is enough of joy and overcoming
a very fair exchange. Just let me say
how glad I am to pay my way.
If we could create
we would want to create
creatures more perfect
(Witness how we chide
and guide our children.)
As we learn
the problems of creation
we see that it must proceed
along certain natural lines.
We start with the problem
of how to get life in a test tube
(just like God did).
We rise up
through fishes and land monsters
(just like God did).
get a man-type creature
(just like God did).
And then we have to be patient
(just like God is)
until man fulfills himself
how to perfect himself.
The Idol Maker
I am what God created.
I must not take created things
to represent my God
as if I thought
I could carve out a God
from my surroundings when in reality
One Mystery has made all things
and authors all.
We can’t reverse the roles that way.
Official idol makers would like to think
they have control of God, of earth, of destiny
as their idol has sprung
from their work, their hands.
The powerful and rich, religious, firm
affirm, “God speaks through what I made!
I have designed a faith
a government, an economic system
through my power.
Those who would be on my side
on the side of power
worship with me!”
But God, you made us.
That’s the way it is.
You speak through what you made.
You speak through us.
Yes, Maker God, your voice
speaks through our voices
because you made us in your image
capable of love.
How can we reflect your love
and yet divorce ourselves from idols?
Rag Man in The Park
The dogs are friends with unknown dogs.
If he were dog, the dogs would rush
upon him wagging friendly tails
and mouth him with a friendly mouth.
Since he is man, he has no friend.
If he were dog, we’d throw him bread
and pat his shaggy rumpled head.
Since he is man and stiff with dirt
we leave him to his ragged thoughts.
What Is Man?
Lord, what is man?
It is time we should know
and no one here can tell us.
Are we strange devils
mutants on your globe
or have we evolved
with the evolving earth
to care for earth
and praise you?
It sometimes seems that we are rats
ready to run
the hawser onto land
knowing the ship we’re on
has rotted in its hull
helped by our constant gnawing.
If there were shore to run to
we would run
but we are far from safety of a harbor.
The three small monkeys sit upon the ledge.
Wee See-No-Evil does not see bombs fall
but does he feel himself slide near the edge
as the ground sends up vibrations that shake all?
Imp Hear-No-Evil does not hear the sighing
of the mothers and their young in pain and fears.
Even grown men across the world are crying.
Soon he’ll be floating on a flood of tears.
Wise Speak-No-Evil has no word to say
but one can tell for what high thoughts he stands
like— “We here who can never go astray
defend the good and noble in all lands.”
How well and thoroughly each deceives himself!
How long before they tumble from the shelf?
All The Living
Though our throats are quite parched
it is true
we can sing and be glad.
come more loud
from the hearts
that have known being sad.
Mansion Thoughts for Everyday
The Buddha built himself a house
with widespread wings upon tall turrets
and flew to passive peace.
Christ urges active peace and busily
prepares for each a marvelous manse
depicting a delightful domain
reigned over by our God-Companion-Parent.
Christ cordially invited me to lay
wild weapons down, forget foul fears
and thus unburdened, follow on
to where God has a pleasant place
special for me
with golden scriptures graven on the walls
bright clarified by many a light filled pane
a gabled, crannied, fairy spot
where I can entertain
the oppressed poor
the hampered lame
broaden the view of the short sighted
a mansion fine
with brocade hangings
polished woods, pure porcelains
sweet seats beside fast dancing fountains
a structure quite superb
containing all I want to do and be
where pulsing Spirit penetrates the halls
a holy spot where wrongs are righted.
Who could turn such a palace down?
But we must help God crystallize God’s dreams!
We must assist each other to these places.
In such a manor we possess
both Christ’s and Buddha’s peace.
We Must Do
Our deeds must sing Glory
to the parent God
apparent in all creation
and to the offspring of God
found among us human beings
and to the God blown spirit
that breaks into our daily living
from transcendent heights.
Surely, we can swing across great chasms
with such a triple braided rope of faith
for our support.
No Time for Tears
For myself you need not sorrow
though I’ll see your face no more.
I have learned to view tomorrow
as a kind of opened door.
Passing through, I put behind me
what was pain in yesterday
and the future still will find me
with some trust for the new day.
For myself you need not sorrow
though I’ll see your face no more.
I have learned now how to borrow
love from life, and how to soar
up above both grief and madness
to a sphere of joy and rest.
Through a disbelief and sadness
I have learned my lesson best.
On Being Jesus
The message of God
has come down to us in two ways.
One way is
in the form of a human being.
A second way
is in a treasured book.
It is much easier to cry out
from the pages of a book
with the title of God’s word
attached to you
than it is to stand
or on a street corner in
beseeching the troubled
to love each other.
It is simpler
to donate Bibles
than to mouth God’s word
in a city prison full of druggies
where no one has faith
in healing hands or hearts.
May God’s word
be in every woman and man.
May it find its way
into every crevice and corner.
He stood in the boat and rowed
old and stooped.
His arms moved slowly on
and his gray head drooped.
He saw us not
looking out at him
on his morning way
but toiling over his oars he sent
sun to our day.
His wet oar shone like a silver flash
to our beach-side view.
His wet oar mirrored the morning sun
and he never knew.
For Faith Growth
flush us with victories
flash us with star power
gash us with godly joy
We don’t want to be lap dogs
feeble barks of fright
into unholy night.
Let us grow
as a deep rooted tree
by the living water
shooting out green tips
till we touch heaven
Thou shalt not kill”—
the hordes went forth to war
and those who took the sword
have perished by it.
There was not one stone left
upon another in the
“To him who smites you
turn the other cheek.”
Those who preached
grew hot with their religion
and Holy Wars were started
remained in unholy hands.
“Love your neighbor.”
We are neighbors, one and all
on this small globe
and so we choose to disobey.
We devise new ways
to destroy peoples and nations
and kindreds and tongues
and the world.
I see you as condemned to life
life different from mine
from all of us.
How do you see yourself?
Do you weep at evening?
In the morning do you grit your teeth
combing your hair before the mirror
condemned to life
But I have seen you laughing
singing, making others laugh.
Is this the burden you have taken
upon your stubby shoulders?
Did God whisper to you
that we are all unequal
all short changed, all weak
all full of problems that we cannot solve?
Is this the reason you can joke
and why you try to make us smile?
Christ has fondly let you climb up on his knee
and is using you for his mouth piece.
There is something out there
that can be in here
if I will open myself
and let it in.
I can be more than me.
I can be charged with Majesty.
Oh, Profundity, enter!
My welcome mat is out.
I have a God who loves me hard and fast
with rhyme and reason
across the bridge of race and creed and caste
and time and season.
I have a God, a Universal God
a First Great Cause
who holds me not with sweets or lifted rod
or threatening clause
but with her love for that which she gave birth
by her own plan;
whose spirit fills the emptiness of earth
and mind of man;
the God of Brahmin, Arab, Indian prayer
Catholic and Jew
the God whom all who seek, will find is there
I have. Have you?
To Cardinals Who Act Too Seriously
If I were cardinal
I would not wear a long red cape
that swished and swashed
as I went striding by.
I cannot picture Jesus swishing cape.
I would not let the lowly kiss my ring
or bless benignly with superior grace.
There are no lowly lower than myself.
I have no better blessing to impart
no grave position, honor, to uphold
but only friendship with equality.
I stood on the vast plain
and watched them die
the old, the toddling child
the cursing warrior, the sweet faced girl.
I cried aloud in fright
in horror at the agony.
My guts melted. My legs froze.
Who made all these to live
only to have them die?
What cruel fiend
made me to watch this hell?
Hell stood there loud yet voiceless
but answer came
back through the red-black night
to reassure my reason—
“Who can wisely choose
between heaven and hell
who has not seen them both?”
The Size of Man
I tried to convince the important monsignor
that to visit those in prison was a Christian act
but he did not want to hear.
“At least,” I pleaded
let me talk to the parishioners.
Let them make up their own minds
on this humanitarian subject
as responsible individuals.”
“No,” he said firmly ,“we care for our own folk.
That is enough to do.
What have those evil prisoners to do with us?”
Bias and Basketball
Quiet, he stood for a moment, with a cat’s cunning
Then he reached out his long rippling arm
and sent the moon spinning.
His sudden run was leaping lightning.
The moon was by his hand again
small next to that giant hand
and then its golden orb was flashing
straight at the sun. Others stood back in awe
small next to that giant.
There stood the Colossus.
They made him to be that great one
Apollo, young, beardless.
He slew the wild python with sunbeams.
He was a man wiser than others
son of Jupiter, gifted, player of the lyre
averter of evil, bringer of help
punisher of crimes
with cubits of muscle
rippling in sunlight and sea wash.
He stood there seemingly flawless
ready to love life
and ready to be loved by life.
A flabby brown slug crawled listlessly
by his glistening heel. Being small,
it could see the weak spot. It chortled—
“He is black
so the white world is forbidden him.”
The Colossus heard the small voice
and shook violently.
The quake sent him sprawling down
into the curling Aegean.
To serve you, God, God of the jostling throng
God of the just and right, God of the wrong
God of a million worlds that push and press
through time and space that think not
of you as they whirl and race
across the star-hung void
God of a wealthy church
that hoards its gold
that lives in splendor
as its heart grows cold
as nations starve
as man treats
as love is
to serve you
if I could
The Armor of Faith
He gave up faith for charity last night
in a warm fire-lit room.
I watched him wondering.
It was a wise move.
His faith was made of steel bands
more to protect
than draw to God.
His faith would never step aside
until last night.
His faith would never question
a “who” or “why.”
It was afraid of answers.
Faith like that is merely a convenience
a little wall we build around our minds
to protect them from life’s wild winds.
But I have grave concern for him.
He may not be quite strong enough
to meet the world unarmed.
He will be very small and scared
in the dark night
without his armor.
To The Galilean
I do not know the way you traveled
through the dim woods.
I do not know the path
but only know that where you passed
the grass grows more softly
and the trees stand more proudly.
I do not know the way you traveled
but I follow
feeling, if not seeing
the greatness of you
as I go searching
but never catching up.
Always there is only nothing
but this strange feeling
of being on your path
for if I do not follow
where you seem to lead
the leaves rustle too boisterously
and the little green plants seem to grow
without any aim of being beautiful.
So I shall ever follow
tripping over stones that moved for you
and catching on rough tree branches
that bowed themselves out of your way.
I can never hope to be as you
but someday, perhaps
I shall catch up with you
in a golden meadow
and there I shall find out why I followed
for I shall know what the sun looks like
when the trees do not hold it from view.
The Dream of The Messiah
When I dreamt alone
it was only a dream.
When I brought you into my dream
it became reality.
Now all these people
are dreaming my dream with me
so it becomes truth.
Stretch forth your hand,” he said.
I stretched it forth.
I wrenched it from its crooked grip
against my side.
feeling it creaking from disuse
seeing its spastic twitches
from the corner of my eye
as I watched his face.
“Surely he’ll wince to see this mangled limb,”
I thought. But, no
there was no horror in his glance
like other folk cast constantly my way.
“Now use that arm to aid your fellow man,”
he gave command.
I hardly heard him for the joy
that surged all through me
like crashing cymbals.
To sense the Lord!
Oh, there is joy!
To early rise
and seek God’s face
to find God
in the temple place
to fill me
with abounding grace—
yes, that is joy
to meet the hidden God.
you spoke the word
that sent me there
to search and seek.
a waveless, ripple sea
yet how deceptive!
Somehow it’s like
We think it loving calm
a pure placidity.
But with the sea
the waves rise up
and hurl the beach stones far across
the Highway of The Palms at Nice.
Then we know this is no cozy scene
this azure earth spinning in space!
True Christian thought requires
our hurling justice at oppressors.
Man Should Love God
God sits weeping in a corner
under the weight of the creation.
Depression haunts God.
“I have made this miracle of stars and moons
and possibilities of love.
Who sees it all as something more
than hapless atoms thrown together?
the purpose of it all?”
Belief lies only in the human mind.
Christ understood God’s love.
He saw the immaterial, the spiritual
the river flow of energy
accompanying the mud and stone of earth
the workings of the process God.
Clearly Christ calls—
“Come from your corner, Abba God!
I’ll do your will. I am your way!”
Christ, be in us
that we may comfort God.
What grows in mud
hard baked by sunny sky?
when minds that teach
are stiff and dry?
Sun-gold God-man brimful of truth
swing walk across
the flowering meadow
and love gaze
the crippled boy
till he ups and dances after.
Blood-red man brimful of body agony
battling for broken breath
through bleeding lips
why has your father
lonely for him?
Every morning we awaken to a new day
a change in weather, wind, or wave
within our outer world
the same sun apparently rising
but shining on different circumstances.
We must also recognize changes within.
After each night of rest or restlessness
we rise to a new self.
The variations may be subtle
but we are always different, always new
always renewed. With what awe
should we respond to these new days, new selves.
What tremendous awe should waken
in our collective heart
when we realize that the past is done
that all humanity, whether lion or lamb
has a new day with new opportunities.
God and The Individual
It was night when you said
“Seek my face.”
I heard you, God, with all my being
and I said, “Your face, God, I will seek.”
The moon splashes gold on the night.
The sun nourishes the day.
Day or night, where shall I seek?
Shall I seek in amongst the people?
How can all these people
be known by you, oh, God
house after house of people, town after town
that the moon splashes gold on by night
that the sun nourishes by day?
How can you know all these people, oh, God
all these millions of them
when I cannot even remember
the faces of those who live on my street?
How can I seek you in all these people?
I am drowning in people.
How can I measure you by myself
when you have made the universe
and I have done all things imperfectly?
Still I must ask, “How can you know us?”
But I know that you know me
as the moon splashes gold across the night.
How can I know you?
How can a feeble human know total strength?
How can one discover her maker
in this noisy place called life
where the sun nourishes the loud day
and the moon crashes across the busy night?
Through the pea soup fog that shuts me in
I hear echoes of voices
Feeling my way in the damp darkness
my groping hands bump rotting flesh.
My mouth hanging open in the thick air
tastes dregs of truth from the cup
of humanity’s springtime dreams.
Intermittently a lightning flash
reveals the panoramic landscape
where trees are lesser Christs
reaching up mutilated boughs
to beseech heaven’s torrents.
can transform night to morning
where bright trysting birds
proclaim in burgeoning trees.
In The Fire
What energy, what warmth
is released from the wood
when the licking flames
What love, what spiritual force
is released from our bodies
when the fire of God’s love
takes us in death!
Catering by Women
We women often cater to the men
because we’ve been subdued
We accept patriarchalism
due to our low self esteem.
One example is women accepting
that authoritative methods of operation
when kindness and gentleness
are vastly superior in God’s eyes
Often we find women
who think they must be domineering
to be successful.
They jealously copy the traits
of their oppressors.
Both the oppressed and the oppressors
must be gentle with each other.
We are such fragile carriers
of life and love.
Come to Me
Just to brood
on our cares
like a hawk
hovering high o’er the plain
will not bring
a release from our sins
or a surcease of pain.
Return to The City
After twenty years we found it
a deserted city with abandoned tenements
the fine old brownstones
crumbling, blackened, bruised
the windows all barred up
if there were windows left at all
the burned out hulks
the stores with iron gates
no longer selling merchandise.
We found a fortress town
with garbage-ridden streets
a playground all enfenced
yet, children playing there, fenced in.
Near-by, a school with all its windows shackled
to protect it from the street.
Emblazoned like a banner bright
across the front door of the school
reads the design
“The truth shall make you free.”
I tell myself that even
can be transformed
The Things I Knew
I knew. I knew.
The things I knew
were terribly real and terribly true.
They lived with me through busy days
and proved themselves in countless ways.
I thought them through long nights of care
when death was near and fear was there.
“Be true, we must!
Be kind, we must, for God is love
but God is just
and death’s a friend who visits all.
We must be ready for his call.”
But then one day I chanced to go
to a gathering I did not know
and found their thought
was not my thought
and they did not seek
the words I brought.
They lived in joy
and showed no fear.
The things I knew, they would not hear.
Gently they smiled like it didn’t matter
and my wisdom was just foolish patter.
Their audacity caught my breath.
They would not even speak
For them to seem so sure at heart
could they, perhaps be right, in part?
They had no fear of God’s being just
but I had lost my childlike trust.
“They Shall Not Worship Me On Any Mount
But In The
You said, “Clean up my church!”
and we said, “Yes.”
We took our dust cloths, vacuums
we took our willing hands
and eager hearts
and went straight to the task.
The dust was easy.
The gravel underfoot
but where to stop?
Should we tear down this cornice
on the altar
that crumbles all to shreds
and varnish up the blemish?
What’s necessary, here
to worship you
The Shy Christian
I have a pocket
in a velvet shirt.
I keep God there.
If I’m with friends
who will not laugh at me
I bring God out for air.
We Are God’s Delight
Why did God make the world?
Would God do the unnecessary?
We must somehow be important
to the scheme of the creator God.
God is love. To exist as love
does God need someone to love
someone who can turn to God
or who can spurn God?
Forced love is not love
but a cruel exercise of power.
Love compelled from need
is a self-serving thing.
True love frees those it loves.
Both God and we must be free
to leave and to destroy
or to turn delightedly
to what we love.
Knowing this our God
has made us free
created us in joy.
He does not tie us down
with abstinences and negations.
Society Condemns The Convicted
You confined to prison, crawling worm—
you know you are a worm.
You know your place
is in a tunnel in the ground
Someday we will let you out—
what then, worm?
You must not expect
sunshine and fresh air;
that is for ants.
Perhaps if you wither up and die
we ants can gain a bit of sustenance
from your carcass.
We’d better keep you in your tunnel, worm.
We ants need someone
to look down upon.
Saving The Oppressors
The spiders wove a web of lies
and sat there waiting for a prize.
A thud, a tug, a cheer— Hi Ho!
They’d caught a fancy fly named Joe.
They felt him over carefully—
he was so big a guy—
was he some sort of spider type
or just another fly?
He tight-rope-walked along their strands.
He bowed quite low and shook their hands.
The question raged along the web
“Is he a spider or a fly?
Should we poison him
or let him go?”
Joe said, “This whole web is a lie
so the truth is—
I am not a fly.”
Those of you who are in the know
had better place your dough on Joe.
I think they’re going to let him go.
It takes a charismatic guy
who understands the spider’s needs
to counteract the spider’s deeds
and liberate the oppressed fly
to save oppressors from themselves.
The Moses Men
The young men are like Moses.
They murder the oppressors of their people.
Then they flee into the desert
but do they have mountain top visions?
There is a blue robed Medjugorje virgin
on top of every mountain
smiling on us, loving us
if we would only see her.
The young men in the desert
have no faith in virgins.
They barter trivialities of the moment
selling their souls for ecstasies that perish
murdering each other
forgetting the way to the holy land.
Souls and Poems
You prefer souls to poems
you, who are infinite soul
and infinite song.
You would rather find my feet
wandering a thorny path
in search of silly sheep
who fled imagined wrath
than find me plucking on my harp
on some warm hill in the sun
praising your wonders.
Why Have You Forsaken Me?
Your very cry, Messiah
implies you knew God once
that you and God
walked hand in hand
through vistas of aching hearts
and broken bodies
dispensing love together
from the fullness of your comradeship.
I do not know
why God forsook you.
I only know
I envy you
your walk with God.
To be Messiah
to be totally filled
with the message of God’s love
requires that one be totally empty
of one’s self.
Only when one is totally empty
can God completely fill him.
Poetry Is Frozen Music
Poetry is talking to God
something like prayer
like opening a window
to get a breath of air.
To have God everywhere
within my being!
To have only God’s words
burning my lips
like coals of fire!
To dream only God’s dreams
through nights of prayer!
To desire only
what God wants me to desire!
To be full, infinitely full
of God’s great goodness
so that love pours out of me
like some vast sea!
To live, joy, aspire, pray
to be consumed by loving!
To be like Christ!
For this you have created me!
Frightened, I ask
if I am equal to the task.
Our Offering to God
We bring you this water in wooden buckets
pure, clear, dripping from the spring
but to hold this life-giving water
wooden seams must be saturated.
They must be permeated
with the crystal clear liquid
so that the seams swell out
and form a seal.
The buckets must be soaked
in living water
to hold up effectively.
I believe in God—
(God, help me to believe!
Some days there is no time
to think of God
to do good deeds
to rest in God
or even time to grieve.)
God as Almighty Comrade—
(You have placed us here.
Some crowded days
I cannot question why
or think of infinite love
but move only in haste and fear.)
Maker of the heavens—
(Today I cannot even think
if heaven is.
The world shuts in
on every side.
Oh, what can heaven be
And Maker of the earth—
(Yes, earth is here.
That statement I can get a grip on.
Shall I believe in you, my God
because you made an earth?
Some days the earth is all I know
but someone must have made it.)
You have created me!
You have called me by name
and I am yours.
You have made my soul
like a sparkling diamond
and I must not hide it!
You have made us all
to give you glory.
We will praise your name!
You have made us to know ecstasy.
You have made us
that you might dwell in us!
Need and Greed
The prosperous American
entrenches himself in his castle
armed with security systems
tied to police stations.
Why is he so fearful?
Does his innermost mind suspicion
that it is unfair for him
to have so much
(that he doesn’t have time
to utilize effectively)
when others are denied
food, housing, and respect?
The Price We Pay for Order
When Abraham gave his tithe of battle
to peaceful Melchizedek
was it an attempt to justify
the strife arising in his soul
from his taking of another’s goods
and ending of another’s life?
Surely he could have saved his nephew Lot
in a less violent manner.
When Melchizedek received the tithe
from Abraham so graciously
was this righteous, peaceful ruler
accepting for all future generations
of those who gather tithes from the imperfect
a measure of their greed and bloodletting?
Abraham involved the just
in his revengeful act.
The lion needs the lamb
to dwell in order.
The Price We Pay for Freedom of Religion
of religious worship to his empire
the gentle and oppressed
trusted his motives
and gave their unsuspecting support
to an un-Christian social system.
The lion often needs the lamb
to maintain power.
Squandering Induced by Social Systems
We have wasted so many centuries
when we could have been loving
arguing about things like whether to use
‘debts’ or ‘trespasses’ in the Lord’s prayer
when Jesus never said either ‘debts’ or ‘trespasses’
as he spoke Aramaic.
We have killed women with warts on their noses
for being witches instead of empathizing
with their pain at ugliness.
Jesus would have advised
that only those with no imperfection
could throw stones on other souls.
We have confined the angry, violent insane
to solitary or disruptive prisons
instead of giving them counselors or friends.
Jesus was willing to listen to and console
those full of devils of his day.
We have self-importantly theologized
about the words just war, instead of seeing
small Iraqi children dying in the arms
of those who would have protected them.
Jesus invited children to the home of his heart.
How we have wasted opportunities
down through the centuries! We have discarded
pyramidal heaps of human souls
creations that God made and loved
creations so discouraged from our treatment
that they could not even love themselves.
When St. Therese saw souls drifting to hell
she was seeing all the souls that social systems
have ignored and thus given over to depression.
Listen! God Is Speaking!
Through whom does God speak?
oracles spoke through cracks in temple walls
giving godly advice to the troubled.
Sometimes these voices were from women.
The loving goddess Isis might sound rough
or domineering using the voice of a man.
was a wise woman
who could look into hearts
and see their longings for the future.
both priests and priestesses were servants
of the local gods. The famed Melchizedek
may have been either man or woman.
Today, what change has come about
that men are thought to be
the mouthpiece for the worshipped God?
Has God changed
or have human beings changed?
Because Jesus said, “I am the way,”
are we never to listen to a woman?
We Are All Called
to raise the world
I Heard God Call
I answered out of my comfy bed
“Where are you, God?” and God said
“I am out on the cold night plains
with the bare sky wheeling overhead.”
I cuddled down in my warm cocoon.
“Where should I go? What should I do?
Must I leave my nice, warm room?
Answer me, God!” God said, “Be true!”
I crawled from out of my cozy spot
to seek the truth in the chilly night.
“Send me love to keep me warm.
Be present, or I’ll die of fright!”
I march, I march on the cold night plains
seeking our God out where God said
with others stumbling along the path
and the bare sky wheeling overhead.
I march, I march, and I try so hard
to sing and serve and be unafraid
to be true to the One who called me out
to love all those God made.
But it’s cruel out on the cold night plains
with the bare sky wheeling overhead.
I long to dream in my cozy room
but, “Be true!” is what God said.
Fear has driven us close together
fear that there won’t be enough to eat
fear that the stars will crash at our feet
fear that there won’t be a world to greet
when we rise up one of these mornings.
As we come nearer to one another
we find that we like each other’s faces
that we can enjoy different creeds and races.
We are close enough to help and smile
to share a load for a weary mile.
Then love takes over and binds us closer
Soothing the fears in each tumultuous breast.
Hate from color, sex, creed will come to rest
For the God of surprises has saved us the best--
this time when we all can work together.
The Need for Community
God doesn’t want
one of us
to know everything
we would be
We need each other
The crowd cries, “Heal me!”
and God hears their cries.
he sees them suffer
and he knows they hurt
but first they need to pray
to rid themselves
of what’s within them
that is hurting others.
When they forgive
then their debts
When they cause no one wounds
their own are healed.
Fishkill prison stands on a hill
and there is no hunting allowed
so the birds throng there.
The small pond is filled with ducks.
The pheasants strut on the road
confident as chickens in a hen house.
Small birds flutter about the cell windows.
One day a lost parakeet flew
between the bars into Joe’s room
and stayed there like Joe was St. Francis.
Joe loved him and named him
and was his friend and provider.
Everyone needs someone to love
Pool of Glory
There is a plunging
of the cleansing dew from heaven.
It is raining rites and rubrics
with offerings from swords of sacrifice
with symbols which can sanctify
the whole sweet earth.
Just look around.
Behold the rainbow halos glinting
glancing their many colored lightings
from heads of saints and sinners!
See, here is Jesus
there is Buddha
temples in the hearts of people
temples also found in places
earth made holy by the tread of people
spots made pure with precious tears
with years of inner-outer healings.
See the deluge
raining, plunging, pouring
all into a pool of love, oh Ancient One
all into your pool of love!
Believing in Reality
Is it reality
that loving spirits lean
tenderly over us
that Jesus lives
in spite of death
that God is love
that evil comes from
man refusing God?
Do we believe intangibles
hold us in cozy arms
like nursing mothers
Can we accept
that God sends angels
to protect us
sends us joys and trials
to fulfill us?
Reflect Like Water
Reflect like water
blue where it reflects the sky
sunshine from the sun.
Reflect like water
green where it reflects the trees.
Absorb the darkness.
Reflect like water
gray where it reflects the clouds.
Conceal the evil.
May I make sunshine
for others to reflect
and hide my sorrows.
To Choose Not to Fear
Infinite Mind, I am afraid
and I am programmed
to knot up my stomach
and make fists of my hands.
Help me to lift my hands
in prayer and praise.
I thank you for creating me
to know this futile fear
for it can teach me
what lies beyond.
how could I know the light?
If I choose not to fear
then I learn trust.
The road that turns away from hate
leads to love.
How Is It So?
We, weak and cringing
scurrying, comic, we
a part of that great Spirit
that great One
all the universe!
How is it so?
Rape of The Moon
Time was when the moon was a riddle
a goddess benign, yet unfathomed.
We have trampled her virgin hills.
We have eavesdropped
on her secrets.
And what of you, Alpha-Omega
great Spirit of Life who upholds us
Beginning of all beginnings
will we violate your sanctuary?
The leaves blow up together at the touch
of November wind molded by it into
some small whirling wheeling cyclone shape.
The migrating birds chatter together
on dogwood trees with red berries.
Then all rise together from the breath
of some energy which we do not understand.
Us, too, poor humans, busy
at our small tasks
move in concert
reacting en masse to the furor
of a riot or a revolutionary.
What wind stirs us?
What God Is
I cannot know what God is.
As soon as I know what God is
as soon as I possess God
then he is no longer God
but something I have dreamed up.
If he is something I have made up
if he is a creation of mine
then he is an idol
and I may offend the true God
by worshipping what I have made up
(unless the incomprehensible God
is not so easily offended).
The Land Is Filled With Wisdom
Must I always be questing?
Can’t I ever know?
Doubting, searching, arguing
must I ever be so?
How can I be so petty
when God lives in you and me
and fills us overflowing
as the waters swell the sea!