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Poems and a Story

to Encourage and Overcome

"Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles."

Isaiah 40:31

 

Poems written by Steven Du Pre from Northern California (originally from Colorado)


Contents

Aspen Song

Wonder

Night Rain Rockin' Party Time

Singing Waters and Delectable Delights

Why?

Statue of Liberty Sign Waver

Jubilation at Jenner by the Sea

Blast of Blue through Triumphant Oak Trees

After Spring Rain

Wild Things in the STARBUCKS Sign

One Jazzy Spring Morning

10 Tanka ("short song" in Japanese) Poems

Stopping by the Food Co-op One Starry Night

Joy Overflowing

The Breaking

They will not be denied

Mockingbird, Our Premier Party Animal

Shining Pathway

Mockingbird Painting the Night Sky

Watching the Plum Tree in Winter

New Day in the Mohave

Can I Get an Amen? Yeah!

On My Way to that Place of Sweet Release

Priceless

How about You?

Exploring the Oaktree Top to Bottom

Kokanee Salmon

Hummingbird Dancing in the Dawn

Hummingbird Love

Tableau: In-Line Skaters Delivering Fliers Door-to-Door

Ode to Strawberries

Slow Down and Listen to the Music

Cinnamon Celebration

Concert of Laughter

Let's Dance!

Psalm of Thanksgiving for the Family of God

Psalm to God Who Brings Light into Darkness

Haiku Poems

The Cracked Pot: A Story from India (author unknown)

 


 

Aspen Song
(late summer, Colorado Rockies)


ever listen to the rustling edge
of a sudden rainstorm
through aspen trees?

how they bend and turn,
the wind strumming
a bracing new song of grace
 


 



 

 


Wonder

searching for your nesting place
and there on an island in the oak tree's wide arms
surrounded by bursting river currents,
your large gathering of twigs and sticks

now you stalk fish in the shallows
long yellow bill flashing
while Mallard ducks calmly flow by through the marshes
as I await that moment,

and then---
you, white wonder,
unfurl the splendor of your bright wings
as you sweep forward over the waves,

for an instant,
as you take up your shining tambourines
you rise into the rapturous dance
at the joyous dawn of creation

 


 


Night Rain Rockin' Party Times


through my kitchen window,
I see the overflowing creek
spreading out into a wide river of joy---
time for the nightwalk under heavy rainclouds
roaming through extraordinary trees
to celebrate this break from drought,

when suddenly,
high above the clouds

come cries of camaraderie---

flocks of Snow Geese
on their vivacious virtuoso migration,
searching now for an evening stopover,
a place to strut their stuff,
this classy crew dressed in their convivial
white-with-black-wingtip finery,
they take their festivities to the marshland,
savor a super-green smoothie
and toast the watery winter night.
I give thanks for these triumphant intrepid pilgrims,
happy they are now warm floating serenely
in their feathery homes,

dawn skyways

arcing into

their dreams

 


 


 


Singing Waters and Delectable Delights


(along the Bear River in September)

downstream fishermen are catching rainbow trout
and I admit they can be mighty tasty.
But right now, I致e got blackberries on my mind,
the dark juices covering my hands and all over my clothes,
as I scrabble through sharp brambles, scraping my arms---

and I知 relishing every moment---

you see, I知 all lit up by the tempo
of these refreshing white-water rapids
as they play their snappy rambunctious tunes,
their dazzling jazzy dance over the rocks
while I pick blackberries.
This bear paw of my hand reaches in
for the delectable dark-honey-wine of September
to toast the new day with gusto and pizzazz!
Every once in a while I値l sing praise
for the luscious heavenly gift on my tongue,
the rushing, effervescent river, and the strength
to ramble this incredible planet that we inhabit.

All this exciting water music and blackberry blast
sure does put some zesty salsa zip in my step!

 


Why?

They asked me why I kept right on wearing my costume
for several days before and after the Fall Fun Fest
Reason Number 1: when I知 rollicking around town in this outfit,
I get jolted by the yelping, jumping up and down children,
and the delightfully hilarious looks on their faces,
especially when I rush up and say, 的ronman to the rescue!
So much glee sends me laughing right through the amazing new day!
And after all that big-time livin it to the max like a little kid,
in the evening, I jump into the car to go up into high mountains,
to watch the sunset firing up the wide sky
and later I get stoked by the unending stream of stars, especially on a moonless night.

You see, sometimes it痴 good to let it go for a little while
that is, from those slammin YouTube song videos and all that email and texting,
you know, that skyrocketing through cyberspace.

Now don稚 get me wrong---
I知 oh so happy to be here at a time when I can explore and learn so much surfing the Net,
watching hilarious videos and sharing jokes with my Facebook posse,
plus view those dramatic photos from the Hubble telescope,
Yet with all these fun activities, I still thirst for those enduring moments
when I seek out places of quiet waters, you know, where I can sorta refuel my soul,
a place where my spirit can find peace and the freedom of forgiveness.

Oh, and I almost forgot, Reason number 2 why I keep on wearin' my costume
is when I'm walkin'toward a couple people lookin' down at their phones,
and I say a big 塗ello and they do this huge double-take,
when they see what I知 wearin'!

And then the third reason is that I get to catch the quizzical looks
from people I meet as they wonder,
的s he really tryin to be Iron Man
or maybe some kind of Medieval knight like Don Quixote de la Mancha?

and that brings me to my fourth and final reason:
wearin this costume keeps me flowin in childlike wonder.
In fact, now my favorite newspaper is called California Kids!
Yeah, that痴 Kids with an exclamation mark!

No, I知 not plannin to walk that way of darkness.
I知 movin toward the light! I知 gonna shine! Yes, I知 lit up,
and the fun times are gettin brighter and brighter every scintillating new day!



 

Statue of Liberty Sign Waver

always bouncing and whirling at this busy corner
between two large shopping centers
this dancing lady glides along the avenue
in turquoise green robe and liberation crown,
a red sash crossing her body with company name,
earbuds splash iTunes to shake off all traffic noise,
the large white sign she's waving in front of drivers,
in big shouting letters: 50% OFF---
you see, her employer is Liberty Tax,
and they池e making their pitch at this bustling spot by their office
beckoning us procrastinators with a tempting price.
Oh, and I must tell you,
I think she's blessed with quite delightful brown eyes,
but I may never know
because like the majestic Statue in New York Harbor,
she fixes her gaze out over the crushing waves of taxation,
arm lifted high to proclaim freedom
for those far and wide seeking refuge
from meddling greedy fingers of intrusive IRS oppressors.


 


 

Jubilation at Jenner by the Sea


racing from the car up into the sand dunes
now abundant with wildflowers in their passionate array,
bounding with bright joyful strides along the beach,
jumping away as the waves break into the shore,
the ocean playing their wondrous tambourines
as they surge right through you, reviving the spirit

the brisk air, the dancing clouds,
fancy flyin Seagull and Pelican
drinkin all this beauty in and gettin into the flow
like the river rollin into the sea,
kickin up sands to celebrate with delight
these precious gifts of river and ocean,

and then the excitement of watching
three young children frolicking
their way across the wide beach,
every acrobatic move the body can make---
backward somersaults, cartwheeling, zigzagging,
tumbling to the edge of the river, sliding down the bank

but wait! looking up the shoreline,
the coup de grace, the finishing flourish---
a young man lifts his girlfriend into the air
twirling her round as she wildly kicks her legs
and they joyously embrace each other---
the ocean air singing jubilation songs

 



 


 

 

 

 

Blast of Blue through Triumphant Oak Trees

  Blue Jay, that raucous robber extraordinaire,
who plunders eggs from the nests of other birds,
and loudly proclaims its territory or silently flows through the forest
looking for the opportunity to pounce on its prey.

I have wondered what good these wandering bandits bring to the table.
But then, I discovered that as they gather their supply of acorns
and bury the excess of their harvest in the soil
surrounding the forest for a future feast,

you guessed it, they oftentimes forget
where they have hidden this bountiful treasure,
and so, upon the open ground, the grand oak tree forest spreads out
into a wondrous source of food and home for hundreds of creatures

the wide arms of Oaks serve as a spacious home for Egrets and Herons,
And Chipmunks, Whitetailed deer, Warblers & Woodpeckers love
the choice nutritious buffet of this original native California cuisine,
chock-full of insects & caterpillars to put some zip in acorn pancakes,

I guess we can say Blue Jays unknowingly give back
much more than they have taken from this forest community,
so now, sitting under the glorious branches of this magnificent Oak
I can with gusto sing praises to Blast of Blue.

And here痴 a toast with a glass of Cabernet to each triumphant
new Oak tree now being born in the ever-expanding resplendent forest
and the abundant wild ones who are nourished
and embraced by the wide life-giving arms of Oak tree nation

 


 



 

 

After Spring Rain

  the oak and alder trees near the creek
are shining with sunlight after the rainstorm---
right now, the leaves are even glistening
with this watery gift in their hands
and they turn to offer this beauty to us,
brothers and sisters, and all we need to do is

embrace them
just for a few moments
and accept this bounty from above---
new bright leaves like joyous children
bounding into the resplendent spring day
with bouncing adventure and abandon.

Oh, and these marvelous flowers
along the rivers and over the hills of California,
they池e ready and waiting
to share this magnificent spring---
lift your eyes to gaze at these precious ones---
like a river of delights.

How about we start the day tomorrow
by stepping out to enjoy fabulous orange California Poppy,
stunning Purple Lupine, dazzling yellow Blazing Star,
or how about the lavender-blue Fiesta Flower,
and let痴 not forget, Mango Tango Hummingbird Mint
for those tiny dynamos dancing through flowers of Rio Sacramento

Okay, the springtime feast is spread out in abundance,
the fragrance is refreshing,
the colors are magnifico,
our cup of gladness is full
and all we池e waiting for

is you

 


 



 

 

 

Wild Things in the STARBUCKS Sign

yesterday at the expansive business complex
where the large letters of the STARBUCKS sign
are prominently displayed on the front of the building,
I see Sparrows bringing in twigs and dry grasses for their nest
inside the lower opening in the letter B of STARBUCKS

ever since then I致e been giving thanks for the new day
and the treasure of wild things by placing seeds
out front near the table where I drink my morning brew
and observe these sparrows and the ever-changing clouds
painting the canvas of the sky with exciting new designs

and now I知 ready to see what our Creator wants to build in me today,
where the Spirit of the Living God wants me to be
like a waterfall overflowing with joy
to someone who needs lifting up,
who can be aware that there is a Way that is bubbling over with childlike wonder

bouncing in the current of riverflow
and then skyrocketing through the stars
Hey, let's shine like the galaxies
'cause just around the corner, our God awaits us
in His vast new creation of exploding joy and love!


 


 

One Jazzy Spring Morning

(for Marisela Vazquez)

sisters and brothers,
I didn稚 know I would be hip-hoppin it
into such a jazzy spring day
when I dropped by the downtown art gallery
and met Marisela working on her oil painting at that moment,
but then, oh, let me tell you,

I'm doin' a spacewalk through the spiralling galaxies
as I gaze at the magnificent design of her painting ---
for now, let痴 just call it 笛ubilation Riverflow of Jazz---
you see fun-filled musicians in New ORLeans, or is it New OrLEANS. or as they say--哲awlins,
people dancin like in a parade with trumpet and drums through hot red and orange rhythm,
moving up through purple with joyous painting of bass fiddle and guitar,
skyrocketing through turquoise-blue song notes.

It痴 hard to imagine
stroking the oils on this canvas
with such creative finesse and grace---
so, I give thanks for her Maker and Marisela's heart, hands and eyes
that brought to birth such a bright bracing landscape of music,
the deep creative mind and soul to celebrate
Duke Ellington, Alice Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie

Is it any wonder I was dancin with delight
and in my imagination,
jumpin right into that painting?
my feet jivin to the jubilant upbeat heart-pounding tempo,
I tell you, it shakes you all up inside
and you're swingin your way
through the breezy afternoon

harmonizin, improvisin, liftin your heart
into the wide spacious skies
oh, hermanas y hermanos, vamos a bailar,
brothers and sisters, let痴 dance,
let痴 shake this place, times a wastin,
let痴 spring forward
into the shining new moment we致e been given


10 Tanka Poems


 

8 Tanka Poems

Tanka is a Japanese short poetic form (meaning "short song" in English) that has existed since earliest recorded Japanese literature. Tanka has been considered the most important form and the oldest style of Japanese poetry. It dates back to the 1300s. This verse consists of 5 unrhymed lines of 5, 7, 5, 7, 7 syllables whose intent is to focus the reader's attention on a single event, or image and the mood that is associated with it.



Tanka for the Great I AM

sharing this moment
tidal waves of new love songs
to the One I call
Creator of perfect joy
shimmering with adventure



Spring Hiking Tanka

Yuba River sings
rushing whitewater rapids
stir up the pulse beat
new wildflowers at each turn
hearts surging with ecstasy




Tanka for Matcha Green Tea

vibrant zesty sprouts
lift us through spring adventures
invigorating
prancing like deer through wildwood
light steps over rolling hills



Tanka for Matcha Green Tea #2

cells of our body
greet magnificent green tea
with gleeful tastebuds
then hearts springing up to dance
arm in arm with loving friends




Tanka for flutist Cathie Apple

her flute taking flight---
snow geese cruising the wide skies
winging their way home,
hearts leaping with joyous song
through the spreading galaxies




Tanka for Yasuko

unfolding flowers
blossom in her long black hair
her bright eyes shining
with love of her LORD Jesus
embraced by Enduring Arms




Tanka for Hummingbird

bright spinning dancers
luminescent dynamos
flowing through blossoms
swirling pulsating delight
skyrocketing daybreak star





Tanka for flautist Cathie Apple
bright wings of her flute---
snow geese cruising the wide skies
joyous songs leaping
with scintillating delight
through the spreading galaxies




Tanka for June Lake
light laughter and stride
like a playful-hearted child
yet having wisdom
to choose ways that please the LORD
Maker, Savior, Counselor



Tanka for Wakame Salad

from tidal waters
deep green seaweed treasury
with sesame seeds
powering ocean fuel
to ride endless flowing waves


Stopping by the Food Co-op One Starry Night


(for Pari which means 登ne with wings in Persian)

I don稚 know why
the air is stirred up and bursting with joy
when I speak with the young woman
ringing up my array of zesty,
toned-up, ready-to-roll taste treats,
but then, as she痴 packing my grocery bag,

I see her dark festive eyes
and that her name is Pari---
the skies open
and with angels we all take up our tambourines
and go out to dance the starry night
with oh so bright wings!






Joy Overflowing

(for Harshitha at Dell Premium Support)

I知 not jivin yuh.
I just now discovered the joyful fasttrack
to solve pesky computer complications
that gum up my Net navigation---

yes, I gotta tell yuh, this superhighway
I知 talking about is one cool techy family
in India called 泥ell Premier Support,
so I知 sure we are about to break free
and confident voice of Harshitha,---
I quickly sense her deep base of knowledge
and yes, we step gracefully into cyberspace---

that zesty pathway toward the Promised Planet
with the nerdy name---迭estore Point,
that magical place in the recent past
when my voice recognition and Google were going strong,

my laptop navigating around rocky outcrops,
let痴 call it 塗opsteppin it over hidden traps,
all this performed by shrewdly steering
around hotspots in spiraling hyperspace,

while waiting, I was dreaming of sharing
the adventure of peace among sisters and brothers,
treasuring each other痴 unique gifts,
eyes lifted up to the starry galaxies and walking in unity and grace.

Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks forth, 典hank God Almighty, free at last!.
And then later, back online, we can get rollin' with those fun relationships---
do you hear those riptides of laughter?
That痴 my crazy, cavorting Facebook posse,

those irrepressible, prowling pursuers
of hearty belly laughs with crazy videos and photos,
sweet release
splashing endorphins over the shores of our brains,

and of course, those precious poems commemorating my adventures
recovered from my faltering hard drive.
And, oh, I almost forgot---
from the ancient Sanskrit language comes the name,

seems like dance music to me---
Harshitha, which in English means 屠oy overflowing!


The Breaking

(for Sandy)

after I leave her hospital room,
I step out under a full moon night--
and there, on the passenger seat
a solitary plumbago petal
fallen from the flowers I had brought---

carries my mind away to brighter times,
hiking by Blue Polemoniums on high
mountain ridges under the wide sky---
and then in the night, our hearts thrilled
by our place in the resplendent spiralling galaxies

still, the shaken corolla---
this breaking of the body
engraves a pathway
for the boundless love of the Great I Am
to bend down bearing Bread

 







One Day In Time

today we springing into the Sierra mountains
to listen to riversong
and revel in the splendor
of wildflowers on the slopes

stopping to open pearl-white satin Globe Lily blossom,
following the maroon pathway that guides
the bees carrying pollen
into the mysterious birthplace of seeds---


yes, to go slowly enough to see the delicate
hand of God in creation


just now a whirling stream
of irredescent blue Hairstreak Butterflies
go surfing over waves of purple Lupine---
Oh, the richness of God in the simple things

to see the joy in my wife's eyes at the unfolding spring,
the mountainsides blooming and afternoon sun lighting
the river as it plays a delightful sonata---
all these make the soul dance with satisfaction.


 




They will not be denied

(Sacramento River Valley, January)


three straight days boxed in by valley fog,
but on my stroll by slumbering oak and liquidambar trees;
high over the sky-reaching branches,
a small band of crows,
like the dark vanguard of hope,
winging their way home,
cutting the grip
of this gray, somber morning with their strident
yet somehow festive clamor of calls

they will not be denied their steady advance
toward the sun
yet unseen in the distance






 

Mockingbird, Our Premier Party Animal

how Mockingbird loves to party!
a rich virtuoso serenade
that cascades through moonlit nights---
a waterfall of celebration songs
from high perches in the landscape

a repertoire drawn
from blue jay, mourning dove, meadowlark;
to each migrating flock,
Mockingbird proclaims:
"Play me your tune and I'll sing it till dawn."

my neighbors complain about this all-night show,
but I stand outside and applaud as they bob and bow,
set free a stream of musical watercolor,
then sail on from high wire stage to stage---
a trail of songs illumines a new and joyful way --

you see, I like to imagine Mockingbird painting
the night sky to lift up those with disabling
disease--yes, I can see and hear it. can you?---
even with one broken wing
the soul can catch wind currents, can soar and sing








Shining Pathway

in the early evening,
drinking red wine
and eating strawberries
in the corner of the courtyard
under the giant Redwood trees

the captivating tune from a trio of Red Finches
bursting into the setting sun
how refreshing to enter the evening
by feasting on the joy of music
specially composed for our delight

a shining iridescent pathway
pulsating with the promise of rivers of living water
into hearts craving this cleansing forgiving love
that comes only from above
through the Father of lights








Mockingbird Painting the Night Sky


Let痴 celebrate the Magnificent maestro or maestra Mockingbird
coming on stage right now at the midnight hour!
These musical painters open the program
with a jivin jazzy Redwinged Blackbird jam session
then, on to the passionate song of White-crowned Sparrow
I invite you to give this artiste your full attention:
it'll be riversong currents cascading through the silvery night---
then unleashing waterfalls of Meadowlark delight all this while atop a power pole---bravo, bravissimo!

Hey, people, this gig is gonna happen and you may be dancin
when Mockingbird raps a tune with jubilant joy,
and how about some humor? Mockingbird cracks us up
with the new edition of 鉄ounds of the Day---
鉄hrieking Cat Cry to bring enemy Blue Jays to a screeching halt.
努hy, you ask, and Mockingbird jauntily replies:
Laddies and Lassies, do you not know?
We've got a nest nearby and Blue Jays are robbers in this neighborhood.

but wait, Mockingbird is just now sending a text message:
it says: 鏑isten up, you flocks of fluttering wings.
Play me your tune and I値l sing it till dawn."
I know, the neighbors complain about this all-night show,
but we choose to cheer them on as they bob and bow.
let痴 celebrate these flamboyant painters stroking the starry night sky
They'll set you free with their leaping soaring musical watercolors


 






Watching the Plum Tree in Winter

 

stark as branches of winter trees,
the losses from this disease
have stripped so much from me.
You can even scan the passing
clouds through my barren limbs.

One thing I have learned though,
sitting in this solitary place,
here watching the flowering plum tree in winter

I see dancing bands of Goldfinches and Oregon Juncos
come flying in for their banquet
of wine-red plum tree buds.

The plum tree seems to be gaining strength
as it patiently waits through stormy days,
long stretches of fog covering,
quiet nights communing only with stars—

yes, I believe that plum tree is on the move
just as sure as the food from its flower buds
quicken the flight of migrating birds

winter can strip the branch,
bend it with fierce winds,

yet, flowering embryos break forth,
there is sweet birth in the secret place
and wings beat with the light springing
from pulsating plum-trees.

------let us rejoice in this new life
relentlessly breaking forth!
God's light at the heart
of blooming flowers made visible
and flight feathers of this invincible
dance of love expanding,
lifting off into high mountain wind currents

 



 


 

New Day in the Mojave

 

two pinto horses ready for adventure,
right now cavorting and dancing around the corral
both of them fiery, nostrils flaring,
all primed to lunge forward into wild desert
this dazzling spring morning.

ther're already springing forward as we jump into place,
their hearty spirits leaping with adventurous delight
wheeling and whisking over the dunes
like a gust of wind rushing past the open arms of Ocotillo cactus and Joshua trees
bursting over every rising crest of sand

just ahead, aa cascading rainbow of wildflowers,
the expanding horizon paints while the expanding horizon dances with the nightsky--
our horses with the horses with their tails flashing,
their necks arched with excitement,
charging forward into every fresh challenge---

is there a better way

to break into

this breathtaking new day?








Can I Get an Amen? Yeah!

 

(Written for Life with Spice women痴 group at Christ Community Church)

from the prophet Isaiah, chapter 40:
鍍hose who wait for the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles

Hey, sisters, and a few brothers out there.
We not only have rivers of living waters flowing within us,
as Jesus says, welling up to eternal life,
but we can also soar on wings like eagles
when we embrace with our whole hearts
Jehovah Shammah, the God Who never leaves us.

But let痴 back up for just a moment to where it says
努ait for the Lord, you see, in Hebrew, this word 努ait
refers to 僧aking rope, I think you see the image,
as you and I weave the strands of our hearts desires
into His glorious design, we catch the flow of the Holy Spirit.

And do you remember Moses song where he describes the LORD
as a mother eagle hovering over the nest
so the young must venture out into the strong wind currents
or how 礎out when the LORD needs to move us out
of our holding patterns and back into His adventurous plan.
And if we start losing altitude, He swoops beneath us
sharpening our strength so we can be all we were meant to be.
Now, it痴 full tilt into bright wondrous expeditions
with the LORD of lords
dancin with the GOD of overflowing joy,
and remember Isaiah gleefully hollerin: 鉄ing for joy, O heavens;
rejoice, O earth. Break into song, O mountains!
For the LORD comforts His people
and will have compassion on His afflicted ones.
I知 sure you all have marveled at the deep treasure
of the LORD壮 comfort and compassion.
Seeing you here right now is a world away from the lost anxious eyes
I see in people around town who are unanchored,
who have no peace in their hearts.

Yet when harsh winds lash against us and we feel like castaways
in the wilderness, we remember our God saying,
鼎an a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your broken walls are ever before me.

Wow, so let痴 give thanks that we can soar
above the mountains through wind-currents
like eagles with eyes blazing,
locking our gaze onto His mission for our lives-
sharing words of wisdom and grace with wandering souls we meet.

Finally, this from Scottish pastor Robert M団heyne:
擢or every look at yourself, take 10 looks at Christ.
Such infinite majesty. Live much, live much in the smiles of God.
Can I get an amen? Yeah!






 

On My Way to that Place of Sweet Release

 


(dedicated to Dr. Aria, Biofeedback instructor, and my fellow mindful classmates)
(4-7-8 is an empowering tool to center and quiet yourself and be more mindful, and it consists of this:
4 diaphragmatic breaths, then hold to the count of 7, and breathe out to the count of 8)

my new shelter in the time of storm
my new playful mental trampoline in the midst of traffic
my easy flyin way to lift my mind up above the tumultuous turmoil

Check this out:
4---breathing the mountain air as I step out for a day hike
7---stopping my river rapids and waterfalls to get into the flow
8---walking under pine trees listening to songs of Warblers and Western Tanagers
or how about this:
4---revving up the plane痴 engines
7---accelerating down the runway as I let it all go
8---soaring away into the sky as my mind and body
settle into the sweet release of that peaceful place
down deep in my soul.

Just minutes ago, I was up against a tense situation
where I needed the 4, 7, 8 to settle my mind.
So, In the midst of conflict, I was already traveling to that quiet place
and there I remembered this proverb from King Solomon:
鄭 gentle response turns away anger and wrath,
but a sharp tongue stirs up a temper flare.
Then, I scoped out the situation before I turned and said....




 

Priceless

 

(for all the young people sold worldwide in the exploding sex slave business)

in our own backyard, priceless children.
Wondrously crafted creations of God are right now
being sold multiple times into the hands of darkness---
those willing to pay for their sex slave for the evening.
Not very long, because you see, these average age 12 to 14 year old children
have a quota, according to their pimp, that needs to be reached,
or there will be no food, no water and maybe a beating or two
until they reach that nightly quota,
and if the young girls or boys show any sign of wanting to break free,
then the pimps will call all their fellow pimps together
to gang rape this young girl into total obedience.
Can you imagine? This priceless one,
woven into existence by the hand of the Most High God,
being crushed into paydirt for pimps---
listen to this: these young girls have an average lifespan of only 7 years
after being taken, swept away, broken, held captive,
sold as a slave, a sex slave, undressed and undone.
Does this sound like something a young child would choose as a profession?

And this sex slavery is growing exponentially,
it is now the biggest illegal moneymaker worldwide,
recently skyrocketing past illegal arms sales and drug sales for this dubious title.
Now drug sellers have turned to the sex trade,
after all, they can sell these young girls over and over
during their short but profitable lifespan.

Now let痴 get down into our own north California streets:
In this corridor between Sacramento and San Francisco
flows 75% of the vicious, revolting sex trafficking in the US.
So, back to where we started, no, not in our own backyard,
in our own front yard, priceless children enslaved.

- On my way home tonight, I値l be driving by a dark section on Howe Avenue
where pimps on bicycles hand out room keys to sex customers
for the nearby motel and 2 brand-new hotels on Auburn Boulevard,
the girls behind the doors waiting to be sliced and diced,
used mercilessly until some, (O, may we be the light in this darkness),
may we stand up and break down their chains, offer them a hope and a future.
A pathway through the long healing of body, mind and spirit
into the freedom of loving care, the freedom of forgiveness

Here痴 breaking news of the extent of the slavery
and yet how we can endure and overcome ---
a large house in Cambodia recently brought to light
and put out of business by International Justice Mission,
who notified local authorities and revealed to them
how their young people are being exploited.
You see, this place was used for cybersex,
children from age 2 to age 12 (you heard that right葉wo years old)
were placed in front of a computer screen using Skype
and forced to commit barbarous relentless unending sex acts
so the customers in some faraway land
on their computers could revel in this atrocity.
Some children used so brutally and so many times,
that they bled to death. Hey, no problem,
plenty more children for use across Southeast Asia and this world.
Such is the life of a sex slave.
No light, only vicious, malevolent darkness and never-ending rape.

But we池e getting equipped in our minds and spirits to break down this darkness,
to bring light and hope and freedom.
We池e going to the root of this evil to cut out this heart of darkness.
Yes, we値l walk with these rescued young boys and girls
through the long healing process from castaway
to those who can embrace freedom at last!
Sheltered safe in the arms of caring people and the arms of God.

No more more walking or driving past unaware,
this exploding sex slavery has even surpassed
the ugly transatlantic slave trade that took place back then,
both in size and scope. You all get the picture.
We致e got some glorious God-empowered work to do,
But let痴 rise up in this day with confident trust
like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. rose up in Washington DC in 1963
and claimed victory when he shouted, 鏑et freedom ring
from the northern California corridor to the streets of New York.---
We look forward to that day when all God's children walk arm in arm proclaiming
擢ree at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, free at last!


 

 


 

 

How about you?

(Pacific Crest Trail in early August)

after the wondrous winter rain and snow,
the mountain wildflowers are resplendent
on this side trail I found
on my way back off the rocky crags of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Feels like you do when you open your arms wide to embrace a loved one,
makes your heart sing---
and yes,I got to see my personal favorite---
Shooting Star that always dazzles at this high elevation.
and not even a sudden rain and hailstorm could silence the music.
I waited out the 20 minute storm under overhanging rocks
surrounded by 7 kinds of wildflowers singing their songs---
this is music that makes you dance down the trail with delight.
Such a rich praiseworthy array of colors
and gloriously designed leaves and flower petals,
and later when looking through a microscope
into the depths of each flower,
our minds explode with joy as a whole new shining universe rises into view,
reminds us when we look out into the starry galaxies
through Hubble telescope images of the most distant star in the universe,
100 times farther than any other stars,
flashing turquoise and red light rays shining out of the glowing, vibrating center.
All this is ours for the taking
let痴 savor every fresh inspiring splendor.
Each step is special,
and we値l never run out of heart-soaring
trails, flowers, trees, mountains and galaxies to lift us up.
I just now mapped out my next hiking exploration. How about you?

 

 


 

 

Exploring the Oaktree Top to Bottom

foraging headfirst down the oak,
hooks on claws
catch any crack in the bark

exploring secret caverns,
savoring acorn
and leaf beetle cuisine

 


 

Kokanee Salmon

(Kokanee–“red fish” (Okanagan); Tahoe–“big water, lake of the sky” (Washoe)

for years Kokanee salmon search
the wide waters of Lake of the sky
until that autumn day
when the call comes to that sacred place of birth--

with steady purpose, they move against the current,
hurtling forward over rocks
and snags to gravel beds in Taylor Creek,
where they awoke in the flowing Sierra snowmelt

silvery blue Kokanee
turn blood-red on their death and life journey
to bury the harvest of luminous eggs—

are we searching with clear
vision the waters of our years,
listening for the call of our Maker?

there is rebirth,
in this blood-red passage,
a crossing from death
to this radiant, life-giving path

 


Hummingbird Dancing in the Dawn
(Black-chinned Hummingbird and Anna's Hummingbird in Northern California)

(for Ron Finley, who transformed his property in South East Los Angeles from a place where people threw their trash to a gardening oasis with 10 banana trees & 4 apple trees, sunflowers, kale and much more! Ron asks churches to donate their property so people can have fresh produce. Dedicated to Ron because he says he "gets kissed by hummingbirds every day in my garden")

bright shimmering samba dancers on my patio
moving with such grace through crimson Salvia---
it痴 Hummingbird like a whirling incandescent carnaval
sizzling down the avenue of blooming Hibiscus
wings in constant percussion,
feather dance at 80 wingbeats per second

diving into a fiesta of flowers,
Hummingbird reaches deep inside
singing praise for the sweet gift,
then turning into the beat of the music---
snare drum wings
leave a trail of swaying blossoms

aerial acrobat par excellence,
bright iridescent miracle in our midst,
Trumpet vine flowers bending downward---
yet with loose body samba
Hummingbird laps luminous nectar,
stirs up our streets, stirs up our hearts into joyous dawn-spring jubilee





 


Hummingbird_love

 


hummingbirds feast at my tasty nectar bar
hovering at 80 wingbeats per second
then, break away like a shooting star
to the next flower feast, or is it flower fiesta?
or maybe it goes like this:
la fiesta de las flores---
I kinna like those Spanish sounds. How about you?
But let痴 get back to these brightly colored acrobats
who know how to do all the fast dances---
they can do Salsa, cha-cha-cha, big city rap dance,
they can tango with the best in Argentina,
and have you seen them do the samba from Rio de Janeiro
down the avenues of flowers like fiery red Salvia,
striking purple Foxglove, or flavorful Peach Snapdragon?
so, what I知 sayin to ya, sisters and brothers,
is that these wondrous birds in their shining iridescent colors
would love to give you the pleasure of their live performance,
show you their flyin skills and do some exciting riffs
with their supersonic drumming wings.
I’m bettin you値l go home singin and movin your body
every which way to the tune of Hummingbird Love


 




Tableau: In-Line Skaters Delivering Fliers Door-to-Door

 

like a like a gust of wind streaming
through a field of wheat,
two teenage boys on in-line skates
bursting down opposite sides of the street

a storm looms in the winter sky
as they skim up concrete driveways,
toss the “home-sale” fliers onto porches,
then whip away into the breeze

their faces are flush with body heat,
eyes bright as they twist and glide
on their sweep through the neighborhood
just ahead of the galloping, onrushing clouds

 



 

Concert of Laughter

 

step with me under the forest canopy,
soon this garrulous band
with their raucous banter
shake the tops of oak tree
as they gather the bounty of acorns,
hammer the harvest into their granary,
pounce on intruding jay---
see them dressed like whiteface clowns,
listen to their festive
worksongs and mealtime chatter
this team of jesters
and their lapping waves of laughter.
this drumbeat echoing through timeless wildwood---
it is good, yes, it is very good
 



 



Let's Dance

(in memory of John Muir)

鍍his hummingbird of blooming waters"
cruises through cascading rapids with freedom and flair---
dives headfirst swimming with its wings,
able to spy small fish or mayflies underwater
through their specially crafted clear eyelids,
and after savoring these tasty creatures,
they rise to the surface gripping the wet rock with claws and toes,
and then, get ready!!!
as they break into a marvelous, frolicking show--
merrily romping and jamming to the tempo of the current
as their jubilant repertoire of calls
pierces right through this river valley---
the cadence of this captivating one carries us
into the heartbeat of surging stampeding whitewater rapids---
unveiling their bright new riverdance,
bursting with passion, zesty with life---

their mission this day?
to bring exuberant rapturous joy into each precious moment----
no matter the harsh, blustery winter winds!


 


 


 


 

Ode to Strawberries

(in memory of Chilean Pablo Neruda and his Elemental Odes)

advance runners stretch out an expansive canopy
like a tent over a big-time performer,
and there---hidden away as behind a stage curtain
are the ones known for their bravura,
their skill at closing a meal with a grand gesture


these are the red luminous stars of summer,
the allegro movement in a symphony of fruit,
waterfalls bursting over cliffs like a torrent,
so bracing that you want
to dance a sensuous tango,
play a sonorous violin,
lift your voice in song
to the waves of joy
splashing through your body.
Yes, let these bright waves of flavor sweep over you,
lost in the festive flood of celebration with loving friends.


 


 


Slow Down and Listen to the Music

I知 usually in a rush to get things done,
so I certainly don稚 spend any time watching spiders
and their webs around my place.
In fact I usually swing my arm through the strands
to make sure they don稚 make their home near my place.

But this time, as I was leaving my apartment
I was struck by the elaborate, wide-ranging design
stretching from my porch railing up to the stairs above me
with several crossing layers where flying insects get caught in the tangles,
providing me with protection from lots of pesky critters

and since the web wasn稚 blocking the pathway to my door,
I decided to leave it there so I could enjoy
this weaving of rapturous, melodious music,
the sun radiating a rainbow of scintillating colors,
while the arcing pockets of the web take shape

Now, I知 the one who slows down for a while
to listen as the spider plays the filaments of its web like a dazzling violin---
the rolling interwoven tableau, invisible at most angles,
but when we linger in the quietness of this moment,
like a sonata for strings, it serenades our hurried souls!


 


 



 


 


Cinnamon Celebration

(for a young Cedar Waxwing fallen from the nest)

You, precious one, so magnificently dressed---
silky cinnamon turning gray with bright yellow tail bands,
your head accented with the black mask of Zorro
and crimson tips on your wing feathers
painted by the very hand of God and much cared for,
as Jesus says: 哲ot a single sparrow can fall to the ground
without our Father knowing it.

I gotta say that in the short time
from when you were lifted from the ground
and resting on a small blanket and still alive,
we had already fallen in love with you in your quiet beauty.
You had our hearts 疎flyin with joy mixed with sorrow that day,
and we promise to be watchful of your sisters and brothers.
And with that, we celebrate you--- stylin, on point little friend.


Psalm of Thanksgiving for the Family of God
(after Psalm 133)


How good and refreshing it is
When God's children leap forward in unity!
It is like precious water flowing
from mountain springs and streams,
coming down the high Sierra,
coming down in surging waterfalls,
down in rushing river currents.
It is like the dew at dawn
shining in low branches of pine trees.

For with God, the fresh waters are a new birth,
a wellspring of love and harmony with our Father forever.

 


 

 

Psalm to God Who brings light into darkness

(Timisoara, Romania--December 15, 1989 --"Here began the revolution that felled a dictator."
Plaque on Hungarian Reformed Church)

burned villages, people assigned to cold apartment blocks,
reign of an oppressive dictator---
protesters disappearing into the darkness

one pastor refuses to bow down,
a passion for Christ overcoming the gray dawn,
voices of celebrations singing above Ceausescu's iron hand

when the secret police come to take Pastor Laszlo Tokes,
believers from all churches, one in Christ, do not yield,
hundreds of candles, a shield of light in the night

Praise the God Who stands alongside those who stand against evildoers


(Gulag, Soviet Union prison camp--dissident poet, Irina Ratushinskaya--"Pencil Letters")

Irina heard her teachers say repeatedly,
"God does not exist," and she reasoned,
they must be trying to hide someone very powerful.

Understood the good news of God reading Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky;
when imprisoned for anti-Soviet education--writing poetry,
yet she carved her poems on bars of soap until memorized

words of hope surmounting years of hard labor on the Gulag,
her soul, grounded in Christ Who shared her suffering,
borne up by the bright prayer path of worldwide believers

Praise be to God Whose hand moves through the prayers of His people

(Calcutta, India---Mother Teresa started opening homes for the dying destitute in 1952)

called by God to the poorest, dying in the streets,
holding each one in her arms as precious jewels,
Saint of the Gutter in the flow of Jesus' living waters

mornings begun in communion with her Lord,
then sharing that Bread of Life with hungry souls,
the darkness of their sorrows relieved by hands of love

her prayer: "Stay with us, and then we shall begin
to shine as You shine."---her call to us: "Yesterday is gone.
tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."

Praise be to Jesus Who bends down to care for the abandoned

(Kampala, Uganda--Jackson Senyonga, prayer warrior---abandoned by parents, received by God)

decades of terror and devastation
under the rule of Idi Amin and Milton Obote,
no families left untouched by maniacal murder

but a remnant of believers call out to God in desperation,
gathered in secret places---jungles, caves and swamps
continually asking God to come back to their nation

secret prayers birthing a land that seeks wisdom;
God's hand quelling the specter of Ugandan AIDS epidemic,
a dry wilderness transformed by shining waterfalls of devotion and worship

Praise be to the Holy Spirit Who can turn nations back to the one, true God





 


 

HAIKU POEMS

 

Haiku (meaning "light verse" in English) is a short 3-line poem originating from Japan which seeks to record the essence of a moment keenly perceived, oftentimes in which Nature is linked to human nature. The poems consist of 3 unrhymed lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.

 


Haiku for my Mother
in Colorado
(my mother, Margaret, has late-stage Alzheimer's)

entering her room
her eyes lift up from darkness
focusing on love


cottonwood leaves fall--
on fast-running mountain stream
Mom clutches my coat


leaves strewn on water
by billowing autumn winds
swept away by waves



her sure foundation
in the LORD Who has fashioned
these mountains and streams



one embrace with Christ
opens vistas of splendor
boundless Light and Peace


Football Haiku
(these haiku come from the experience of playing American football)

Victory


close game, clock ticks down
winning team explodes with joy,
high fives all around

Wide Receiver

leaps with outstretched arms
soars high above defender
spears spinning football

Halfback

slashes off-tackle
body stays low to the ground
fakes left, then long gone

Defensive End

pushes past blockers
gets by through last defender---
path to quarterback

Last-Minute Field Goal

kicker's two quick steps---
silence before crowd erupts,
ball splits the uprights

 



Other Haiku

 



high in the blue sky,
hundreds of pilgrims in flight
as my mind wings home



in the bright heavens,
all this never-ending light---
how can we not know?



summer breeze courses
through singing willow branches;
she loosens her blouse



gray squirrel searching
around each branch for acorns---
blue jay eyes each move

 


The Cracked Pot: A Story from India

 

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water, at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one & a half pots full of water in his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection & miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."

"Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?"

"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it.

"I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

Life lessons from the story:
God can take our flaws and turn them into flowers. God can take our struggles and turn them into stars. God can take our greatest pain and turn it into our greatest purpose. God can take what we see as weaknesses and turn them into strengths for His glory and to light up the world with His Presence .

 


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