On Poetry

Photo by Robin Spielmann on Unsplash

As a believer in Christ, I struggle often with what feels like the split personality of faith, what Paul described aptly as “a body of death.” I do what I don’t want to do, and I don’t do what I want to do. I am flesh and I am spirit, I am old and I am new. In parallel, as the body of Christ (the church), we are so frequently broken, unloving, impatient, afraid, and reliant on outside systems to provide our security. We know our name but we don’t act like we own it. My struggle to find a place in this often unhealthy body, to love it and call it by name even in its brokenness, mirrors my struggle to accept my name as a child of God in the face of my own daily brokenness.

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Stranger At The Gate

Photo by Marco López on Unsplash

The second time I saw the aged gentleman was at the gate where my wife and I were waiting to board our flight back east. He had been pushed there in a wheelchair by a muscular sheriff, equipped in full gear and accompanied by a social worker. I could understand the social worker’s presence, but a sheriff’s? Law enforcement did not fit the scene I had witnessed the first time I saw the fragile but well-dressed figure, an hour earlier, standing unsteadily in the queue at the airline’s check-in counter, just ahead of me and my wife.

He was alone and should not have been. Shrunk down with age, he was standing alongside a rolling walker as if he were balancing on thin ice. He would inch a tentative step or two closer to the walker and then slightly stoop to grab support from one of its handle grips. The walker sometimes wiggled on its small wheels as he moved like this. Then as if having second thoughts, he would release his grip and stand as straight as his frail frame allowed, for as long as possible – never for long.  

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Save the Date

For quite some time now, we at Foundling House have been interested not only in putting worthwhile words together with discerning readers, but serving up art of many kinds in order to encourage people as the Holy Spirit draws them to Christ. Thus, we are making foray into concerts. Some of you may recall that we have done this before. We spent a winter night two years ago feasting on food, company, prose, and music at an event called Echo Hill. Plus, we’ve put on a house show or two. Now, more ambitiously, we’re attempting to make this a regular thing.

We’re introducing two concert series:

Live at the CORE and WORD + SONG.

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In the Wake of Miscarriage

We found out we were unexpectedly expecting in April. I’m ashamed to say that I was not at all glad about this; me, mother of five wonderful humans. I was near to turning forty. The morning I took the test (in a Target bathroom, the family one), I’d gone with my oldest daughter to enroll her in high school. Stephen had lost his job right around the time of the positive pregnancy test, so the timing was horrible.

Turning forty is weird. Jane, the youngest, would be starting Kindergarten. What would I do with myself all day with no little ones at home? And since Jane had come along, there’d been no other babies, though we’d been open to more. I had settled on directing my aging self into becoming one of those older yoga ladies in the Athleta catalogue. Mornings, I’d be the Athleta lady, all yoga and zen and slim-ness, and in the evenings, I’d be more like the ladies in the Sundance catalogue, all tan and fresh and western and artsy. The idea of me, forty, looking too old to be pregnant, sporting a big belly on my approaching birthday, and then lugging a car seat not long after, took some getting my head around.

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Two Poems by Devon Kelly

He Will Make the Bloodroot

He will make the bloodroot
Blossom underfoot,
Flowers white, unfolding
Wherever you have looked
For thistles and for thorns.

The ground that used to mourn,
That cried with Abel’s blood,
Is laughing even now
    With Christ’s.

Pink Magnolia: an Ode

The magnolia, burdened with beauty,
      Palms open to heaven,
Cups her hands to drink
From the warm and golden stream.

Every flower a saucer,
      Translucent, a globe of light,
Waits to water the earth
With petals in her death.

The magnolia, weighty with glory,
      Boughs heavy with beauty,
      Eyes saucers of dawn,

Has been welcomed into the dance.

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Loss and Gain

Seasons in life are rarely solely about what you think they’re about.

Last August, I had just gotten through my first year of being totally self-employed after eleven years at a salaried job. I left that job to pour my time and effort into the music I create with my husband. When I surrendered my old career, though, I lost a lot more than my salary.

I lost part of my identity as a teacher.

I lost the confidence of knowing how to do my job.

I lost the familiarity of routine.

I lost daily human interaction. 

I lost coworkers to laugh and commiserate with. 

Later that year, I lost harmony with my best friend.

I lost my perception of reality surrounding my family. 

I lost the ability to process all of these changes and stresses myself.

I lost the illusion of success.

I lost my hustle. 

I lost the bubbly parts of my personality.

I lost the feelings of excitement and joy.

I lost the will to get out of bed some mornings. 

When God wants to rebuild your heart, he doesn’t just focus on one part. This renovation went after much more than new paint colors and carpet. It stripped me down to the studs. 

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Island Memories

I’m longing for a place. My island home away from home. It calls to me as it always does when it’s time for me to return. Visions of its beauty and happy memories dance through my mind. It feels so far away. It’s just a small island. I know there are many islands and beaches in this world and frankly it’s gotten way too busy for my taste in recent years, but it’s an old friend to me.
My family has been blessed to return to the same spot for family vacation year after year. Driving across the bridge to the island after a long car ride was always a moment of excitement and joy while actually feeling the cares of the world slip away a little.

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