Some January Poetry

Winter © Molly Lin Dutina 23-1-8

Gloomy grays and browns
Grass looks winter burned
Clouds packed solid black
but wait!
The sycamores are all spangled
With seed balls moving in breeze
Winter in southwestern Ohio
I grasp at any sign of hope and 
Future joy in the next season.

Another ride on a winter afternoon brought this.

Gray Clouds Roof © Molly Lin Dutina 23-1- 18

Corn field stubble alternates
Ivory and beige, ivory and beige, in rows
As we speed past on highway
January wind rattles barn walls
Livestock not to be seen from my window
As gray clouds roof each farm

Can you imagine this? Would you be able to praise like this? We read in Daniel 3:16, 19 and on that the King wanted absolutely obedience to himself. “King Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face was distorted. He ordered the furnace heated up seven times more than was customary, and ordered some of the strongest guards in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. So the men were bound, still wearing their tunics, their trousers, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the furnace of blazing fire.” While in this furnace the men began to praise God, knowing that He was more powerful than the king ever thought about being. Here is a portion of their praise.

“Bless the Lord, all rain and dew;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
65 Bless the Lord, all you winds;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
66 Bless the Lord, fire and heat;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
67 Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
68 Bless the Lord, dews and falling snow;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
69 Bless the Lord, ice and cold;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
70 Bless the Lord, frosts and snows;
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Daniel 3:64-70 NRSV

They were eventually saved from the fire. This reading comes up often in the Daily Office and Canticles of from the Book of Common Prayer. There are times I wish my current church would use those to remind us of God’s power and glory! As you drive about this winter remember that all the seasons and elements are called to praise the Lord. We are, too!

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

I have been reading the above book at the suggestion of the Rabbit Room. If you have not heard of the Rabbit Room here is a little introduction.

The Rabbit Room was conceived as an experiment
in creative community.

After author/singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson’s first visit to the Oxford home of C. S. Lewis, he returned to Nashville with a conviction that community nourishes good and lasting work. The Rabbit Room, the name of the back room of the pub where the Oxford Inklings (including Lewis, Tolkien, and Charles Williams) shared their stories, began as a simple blog of contributing authors, songwriters, artists, and pastors. Over the years, with the help of Andrew’s brother A. S. “Pete” Peterson, his manager Christie Bragg, a growing staff, and encouragement from the loyal Rabbit Room contributors and readers, the Rabbit Room has grown to include podcasts, a thriving music and book store, Rabbit Room Press, a yearly conference called Hutchmoot, regular events like the Local Show, and a physical home in a 150-year-old farmhouse called North Wind Manor.

The Rabbit Room (squarespace.com)

The site goes on to say the book is ‘not an ideal portrayal of the Christian community’, yet it is a rather accurate and compelling portrayal of human community. I admit since I began reading it I have trouble putting it down when I should be going to sleep! I checked it out in eBook format from my local library.

One quote I copied last night read:

“I was going along, not listening but just hearing, not looking but just seeing, not thinking anymore of where I was trying to go or even of how I was going to find something to eat, just setting one foot in front of the other.”

Jayber Crow

I have often written about the form of meditative prayer described above, meditative walking prayer. Just look. Don’t think. Just listen. Don’t interpret.

This morning I found myself delighted as I was yesterday during my prayer and reading time by the sliver of moon out the window next to my prayer chair. It caused me to write the verse below.

23-1-17©Molly Lin Dutina  
Glimmering sliver of moon 
Veil of clouds fold and part and undulate between us 
Wind moves them along to show your reflected light 
Then to cover you over completely 
Your glow is not always seen by me 
Yet you shine even when brightness of sun 
Obliterates your visage

As I type this I can almost hear my husband saying, “Move it along, Molly. What are you trying to say?” I asked the Lord what He would have me write about and post for today. And this is what came together. I want to show you that waiting and listening, watching and observing can lead to prayer and inspiration that you did not plan. This morning I also listened again to part of the John Eldredge One Minute Pause.

The point I heard was that the love of God is something we are to experience more than explain. We are to experience the love of God though it is too great to understand fully. Experience that love.

Are you content to sit with God, love Jesus, use words to express your heart through the Holy Spirit and know that all of that pleases God? Will you use minutes of your life every day to listen for the voice of the Holy speaking to or about you? The Trinity is not interested in what we can do for the Kingdom as much as our relationship to the Trinity Community. Just as the veil of the temple was torn in two when Jesus was on the cross (Matthew 27:50-51), the Kingdom of Heaven has been opened to us by His resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Remember when you had to interpret poetry in English class? Some of you hated that. There were times when I too just wanted to enjoy the poem. Below is my interpretation of what was moving in my soul this morning.

we reflect the light of Christ 
entering the Kingdom we shall see clearly,
until then with the veil of clouds we see dimly
the wind is a symbol of the Holy Spirit
I do not always see Christ at work
yet the Trinity is always moving in and through our lives.

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made us understand that it is the brightness of his glory that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4: 6 TLB

No there is nothing between us and God. However we do not “see” clearly yet. We do not always interpret correctly what we do see. By staying in community with the Trinity and having fellowship with believers we are more likely to experience the love of God. Experiential knowledge is something no one can take away from you.

Prompts

I have been pondering my Advent poem and wondering where it took you prior to and during Christmas?

Self as Manger   HERE AM I © 1993 Molly Lin Dutina 

Here am I, stuff of earth
But by the Spirit's power rebirth
has brought me receptivity.
Fill me with Yourself.

Molded by Your Holy Hand
I wait before You
Cupped and ready,
cleansed, atoned
eager for Your radiant touch
Virtue compelled to enfold Your own
the vessel of Your making.

Here am I, stuff of earth
yielded for Messiah's birth
be it unto me, O Lord,
as in Your word and will.

The Great I AM
dwells in my heart
there to impart the power,
courage and propulsion for
His dream to be fulfilled.

So ‘stuff of earth’ did you yield for Messiah’s birth? Are you asking for His indwelling?

Many of the things I read or subscribe to with daily posts provide me with prompts for writing the blog. Here is one from Grateful Living: “In the bigger scheme of things the universe is not asking us to do something, the universe is asking us to be something. And that’s a whole different thing.” – Lucille Clifton

In God we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), thus God is our universe. What is God asking us to be? Maybe a confidant for one who is hurting? Perhaps His witness among the lost and hungry souls?

Writing Prompt 2

This year as my body seems to be deteriorating more I will likely be the one who does not do so much anymore, but holds the Light for others. I believe holding the Light is more than shining a flashlight upon a hard to see object. Holding forth the Light of Christ is accomplished through being His. There has always been a struggle in American society as to whether it is more important to Do or to Be … which leads to DO-BE-DO-BE-DO. If rebirth has brought you receptivity and you are filled with Him, BE-ing His reigns over any other accomplishment.

Another writing prompt

What if we hold to His power, courage and propulsion and allow Him to fulfill His dream in and through us? To do that we will need to be still (Psalm 46:10). Yield to His plan this year and see how 2023 ends for you!

When the Forecast was BIG STORM

If you can, play this song while you read the poem. As I wrote I heard this melody, not for the first time. I really like it. Yes, our Redeemer helps His creation.

A Big Storm, Possible Blizzard Predicted © Molly Lin Dutina 2022

When my bladder wakes me
I must check outside
2:45 AM the blizzard made drifts
Inches high along the sliding glass door
Windows framed in ice at their rims
Daybreak shows leaves
As they tumble over the snow-pack
Streets have one lane cleared
Snow removal men made a plow pass
Spreading salt in their wake
"No sense doing anything else,"
Weatherman told us, 
“It is just going to blow all over the place today”

The wild birds are grateful for the full feeders
Little birds welcome red-bellied woodpeckers
Big beaks are able to loosen frozen seeds
Below zero temperatures 
Wind chills double digits below zero
Make us all bundle up
Hurry outdoors for a moment and then back in

Jack Frost is not merely painting today
He will likely destroy flesh if it
Lingers out of doors
Mourning dove not moving 
Out bedroom window as I dress
Mourning dove wing feather
Ruffles in the wind
Or did it move?
Same mourning dove not moving out kitchen window
Is mourning dove dying in bitter cold?
Should I bundle up and get the shoe box
From the garage and bring it in to thaw in garage?

I am about convinced to get boots, hat, coat, scarf, gloves
My breakfast hurriedly eaten
Errand of mercy or folly
Help that helpless bird
And I notice it has moved a few inches up the garden hill
I watch with bated breath
Will it live without my help?

Suddenly it flies off into the trees!
How do they survive this frigid weather?
Even the fur covered dog is unhappy
And yet, those feathered birds
Both large and small
Are out there all day and all night
Temperature last night was all the way up to 4 degrees
Dog and I together with all my winter wear
Likely could not have survived it.

Father, Your wonders of creation continue
And continue
And continue again to amaze me!

Christmas Ornament

Kim’a’aits’a Acoma Signed Pottery: New Mexico art clay handpainted piece. Traditional native made pieces are all made from hand dug clay. These native made pieces are highly collectible and sought after. Clay digging is as follows. The seeming ease of a finished pot made in the traditional way belies the enormous amount of work and skill, of intuition and hard labor, that has gone into its creation. First, the clay must be mined from the earth at sites a considerable distance from the village, and often accessible only on foot. “You can’t drive all the way,” says Rose Chino Garcia. “You have to walk in, and dig out the clay, and then carry it back to the truck, sometimes a long way, five miles or more.” In its original form the clay is rocky and slatelike, and large chunks must be broken up to manageable size. If it was damp when dug, it must be left to dry for many days in the sun. When dry, it must be cleaned thoroughly by sifting and winnowing to get rid of all unwanted matter, such as twigs and pebbles. With a stone, it is crushed and pulverized. Temper, in the form of clay potsherds, sometimes hundreds of years old, is hand-ground to a fine powder, and added to the clay to bind, strengthen, and prevent it from shrinking and cracking. A vessel made from tempered Acoma clay is very strong, and enables the potter to make the characteristic thin walls of traditional pottery.

When we visited Acoma Pueblo with our friends, Dan and Betty Cooksey, we purchased an ornament with a ‘Storyteller’ or ‘Singing mother” inside with her child. I like to think of it as Mary rejoicing to God the Father as she holds Jesus the Son. I do not place it on our tree for fear it will get broken. It sits on the top of the china cabinet with the Nativity scene during the Christmas season and inside the lighted china cabinet the remainder of the year.

It is recorded in scripture that Mary sang this. (Luke 1:46-55). Is it poetry or a song? Does it matter? The truth is the same. If she sang it once I believe she sang it most of her life! I rejoice with Mary, John Michael Talbot and millions of believers who have followed Christ Jesus my Lord.

Do you sing to the Lord? Is it a song of worship? Do you sing it only at Christmastide or throughout your life? If you do not sing to Him, perhaps you can begin in 2023!

Advent Began November 27 This Year

Christianity.com offers these quotes:

“The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-advent.html

“God of hope, I look to you with an open heart and yearning spirit. During this Advent season, I will keep alert and awake, listening for your word and keeping to your precepts. My hope is in you.” ~ Matthew Kelly

https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-advent.html

If you go to the website mentioned above you will read that this church season is a time to prepare our hearts for Christ but also a time to prepare our hearts for the RETURN of Christ. The author speaks of both looking back and looking forward, “balancing the two elements of remembrance and anticipation.”

I made the sketch below showing myself in the form of a manger. Each year at this time I return to my Advent poem from 1993. HERE AM I ©Molly Lin Dutina

Here am I, stuff of earth
But by the Spirit's power rebirth
has brought me receptivity.
Fill me with Yourself.
 
Molded by Your Holy Hand
I wait before You
Cupped and ready,
cleansed, atoned
eager for Your radiant touch
Virtue compelled to enfold Your own
the vessel of Your making.
 
Here am I, stuff of earth
yielded for Messiah's birth
be it unto me, O Lord,
as in Your word and will.
 
The Great I AM
dwells in my heart
there to impart the power
courage and propulsion for
His dream to be fulfilled.

My prayer for you is that this season you will wait for the Lord to fill you with His power, courage and propulsion that His dream will be fulfilled in your heart. We can gift ourselves to Jesus this year. Have at it!

May the words of Matthew Kelly keep your heart on track: “I will keep alert and awake, listening for Your word and keeping to Your precepts.” Amen!

Sun Poetry

We have had so much sun lately since the weather has been ruled by these mostly drought conditions. I made a note to myself to “finish the sun blog.” Now I wonder what that meant!

Late October ©Molly Lin Dutina 22-10-29 
This morning the sun graces remaining leaves 
Barren trees now have a glow on their trunk
Knowing there are gloomy days ahead 
I want to store up this sunshine in my heart 
Perhaps like manna, that is not possible? 

The gardeners think they have repaired 
Water pooling in our yard 
Unless the drought breaks 
We will not know 
If drainage is corrected

And earlier than that on October 13, 2022 I wrote ….

Grandeur of Sun ©Molly Lin Dutina 22-10-13 

The black cloud perfect backdrop
As sun clears the trees in east
Lighting up treetop to west
Blazing red, swirling gold
Under layer of green
A momentary glimpse of autumn
Grandeur rarely seen 
Marvel of God’s handiwork
How was that even possible
That I looked up
Just then to see it?
Camera could not catch it properly
Totally gone now
Just gray rainy day
Orang-ish maple
No big deal
A few chirping birds
Patter of drops on fallen leaves
Applause of the crowd fading
“Camera could not catch it properly” see blaze of gold above the roof

Perhaps First Drops After the Drought?

We have had some surprising weather recently. We went from the 70s to the 30s. Here is a poetic reflection upon those changes.

Rain At Last © 2022 Molly Lin Dutina
Steady pouring rain this morning
Delight to our drought ears
Stunning to the parched ground
Cannot pour too much for me

Landscape errors highlighted
By pools of water
They misjudged water flow
“One more thing” husband declares

Yet the trees declare, “Bring it on”
Long ago fallen leaves
Ground up by machines of men
No longer have a voice

Next years foliage will have to be
Voice enough for them
As flower beds gulp and sigh
A desperate cry of “Finally.”

We volunteered for a food distribution at church one morning a few days later. At least we knew about weather change a few hours in advance and could dress appropriately! Surprise!

The snow collected upon the canopies and had to be cleaned off lest the canopies collapse under the weight! So the folk lore begs the question, since it snowed on November 12 will we have 12 snowfalls this season?

Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
    stormy winds that do his bidding,

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
And he has raised up for his people a horn
    the praise of all his faithful servants,
    of Israel, the people close to his heart.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 148:4, 8,13-14

Seeking Restoration After Wounding

Still, glassy pond, photo by me

Walking along pond hoping for reset and restoration, invisible frogs jump from the bank and glassy surface of pond begins to ripple. I remember this poetry truth.

Prayer © 1979  Molly Lin Dutina
A prayer 
Prayed in truth and faith
Through the Blood of Jesus,
Is as a drop of water
Upon the river of life;
Sending out endless
Ripples and waves
Throughout creation.

As the prayer is said
The answer begins movement.

 
Free internet image – “drop of water upon river of life – answer begins movement”

Trying to release that person to the Lord and get my focus back on Christ. I was told that if we have difficulty forgiving someone, we should pray for that person for 30 days, asking everything be given to them that we would like for ourselves. I began to pray that.

Continuing to walk about the pond with Lucky we saw three deer standing still looking at us. OH! Father, Son and Holy Spirit, dwell with us I prayed. One deer was intensely curious and began to approach us. Lucky just sat down to watch as she usually does with White-tailed deer. I suppose this was the mama and her twins that we have seen from time to time all summer. Now they are BIG deer.

Standing in awe of their majesty and the fact that the Lord would let me see them this morning, I noticed for the first time a bright white chin strap they wore! Guess I usually note other things about them when I come upon them.

From internet
Must have been the angle! My photo of Trinity of deer.

I was glad Lucky was calm. They are SO big I wondered what I would do if they approached us at a run? Did not happen. They browsed their way into the shrubbery.

Recalling the poetry about prayer, being blessed by the wonders the Lord let me experience, walking with this little beagle, I found I was restored and refreshed. All glory to God for His wonders and blessings.

Some October Poetry Musings © Molly Lin Dutina

The weight loss emphasizes
How the years wore paths
Upon her cheeks
The wear and tear	
Of aging show in
Sharp delineation from
The chubbiness of her youth
Yet her beauty and tenacity
Hold on in her eyes
A smile that brightened any
Room or hallway

California coastal breeze has its own unusual ambiance
Is it a fine mix of salt air after it crosses the bay
Multiple blooming trees and shrubs
Mixed with major eucalyptus tones 
Practically indescribable 
So unlike Ohio

The Air B & B was clean 
Mostly quiet
Safe though subterranean
Noisy only when the sump pump 
protested kitchen sink usage
Yet that too provided a loud temporary
Rhythm of life after breakfast