Friday, June 22, 2012

My Story

My Story

A man in a damp, wood-gray coat
walks onto the first page of my autobiography.
He climbs onto the year of my birth,
plops down, and lights a cigar.

The wind of my youth flutters
the legs of his baggy pants
and lifts an ash from the end of his cigar,
carrying it onto the page

on which I have recorded
the events of this afternoon –
lying asleep in a green field
next to a pile of dry maple leaves,

which are now smoldering and
beginning to curl at the edges.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Bone-Shaking Image

Once in a while, we read something that seems so common to us but has a new sense of power or a renewed image. It happens when we come across a description or a statement that is is pretty ordinary, but strikes us this time with a different potency. Just such a thing happened to me the other day when I read for the whoknowshowmany-th time about the lake of fire. This time, the image of a physical body of flames struck me and created a powerful image in my mind, and it inspired this poem.

The Lake of Fire

Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. 
- Revelation 20:15

I imagine someone standing on a boat,
gently rocking the soft tide,
when the palm of a hand strikes them
between the shoulder blades – in
that place they can never quite scratch.
They fall forward, unexpectedly tumbling
face first into the lake, gulping a mouthful
of sulfur and ash upon impact,
white coals and soot as black as a smokestack
filling all the crevices of their face.

They flounder silently in the flames
as the engine flickers to life
and moves the vessel forward,
leaving only loveless waves
lapping at their screaming soul.