Chuck

Sunset, Izmir, Turkey 2019. Photo by John Palmer Gregg

It doesn’t seem odd that you’re gone from the world;
Rather, it seems impossible that the world exists, here, without you in it.
Here are these preposterous trees, plants, conducting photosynthesis
Tiny animals being born,
Children learning to read.
For some reason, major media outlets continue
To report the news, as if
Anything new could happen now
Or human history could continue to progress
Without you.

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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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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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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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On the Verge of Turning 40

I teach high schoolers
On the verge of graduation
So-called “seniors”
Who were children just the other day.
Intoxicated with the weightless gravity
Of their newfound independence,
They drive, and vote,
And use the restroom
Without taking the hall pass with them.

Can you remember?
What it was like
For that fleeting moment,
The sensation you were standing on top of the whole world
The universe stretched before you, full of
Endless possibility
You could do anything, be anything
You could get a tattoo of your favorite internet meme
Immortalized on your backside
Without parental permission.

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Lamentations for Today

This is a collection of laments I wrote for a worship service I led with a friend in my church. Modern worship is a bit too positive sometimes, but biblical worship makes room for disappointment, frustration, and mourning. Modern worship usually praises the singer as much as the Sung To, while these laments—written topically for those things that get us down —remind us that He’s God, we’re not, and that’s okay. Really, it’s okay. Even when it totally is not okay, it’s still okay. Or it’s going to be. The ship may totally go down with all of us on it, but it will still be okay. Okay?

ABUSE OF POWER
When those enthroned usurp
Sanctity from those in their care
And when the lowly seek status
In yet more enthroning –
Lord, have mercy on us.

THE AGE OF DISTRACTION
When deep-rooted wisdom is pruned by short-cutted data,
When the senses are dulled by the sensual,
When Creation is blurred by the created
And the created grow bored with Creation –
Lord, have mercy on us.

UNRESOLVED HOPE / UNANSWERED PRAYER
When we listen in chambers of silence,
When we search through tunnels that grow,
When we hope against nature, believe against science,
And stand firm in the face of a daunting approach –
Lord, have mercy on us.

BREVITY OF LIFE
When we count our days like apples
Dropping from the brittle branches of drought,
When a child goes with more unrealized tomorrows
Than remembered yesterdays,
When our bodies no longer carry or recall
Or agree to nourish our weight –
Lord, have mercy on us.

LACK OF PROVISION
When the cupboards we maintenance
Are as bare as brand new,
When the fields we tend
Yield nothing or less,
When a paycheck is the substance
Of things hoped and unheld –
Lord, have mercy on us.

APATHY
When I simply cannot be asked,
When tragedy holds harmony with gossip,
When I prefer screens to windows, sleek skin to whole hearts,
Pabst Blue Ribbon and pumpkin spice
To pouring out spirit or providing sanctuary,
When the nation, the state, the city, my people
Can all go blank-verb themselves –
Lord, have mercy on us.

IN ANXIETY / DESPAIR / DEPRESSION
When sleep beyond rest,
When obscurity be my bed,
When the locust devours my ties to the truth
And when I open the window for his return –
Lord, have mercy on us.

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