Tuesday, December 30, 2008

For the Keeper of Our Days

When summer's dawn upon us shines,

And rest and mirth both rule our days,
We sing Thee, Father, Love divine,
This joyful hymn of grateful praise.
Thy gracious hand hath sent us light--
For this, our God, be glorified;
In salty spray and child's delight,
Be lifted up, be lifted high.

In autumn's sunset colors, Thou
That painted skies with crimson stain
Did give Thyself and show us how
Thy strength is stronger in our pain.
Jesus, our Lord, who gives us life
And bids us come to Thee for bread--
Thy blood has healed us from our strife
And raised our spirits from the dead.

And blessed ever be Thy name
In midst of winter's chilling death;
When all the world does coldness reign
And forests draw their fleeting breath,
Thou our great King did come to earth--
Emmanuel, yes, God with us--
And we, rejoicing at Thy birth,
Glad tidings and great grace confess.

In springtime's gladness, Son of God,
Thou climbed up Calvary's broken hill
And on the serpent's head did trod
Through sacred blood which Thou has spilled!
You gave new life to those who trust,
You made us new in spring's bright days,
And for Thy gracious love we must
Lift up our voice in grateful praise!

Oh Keeper of our pilgrim days,
Of seasons, weeks, and months, and years,
Thy mercy with us ever stays,
And Thy name only calms our fears!
And whether good or evil comes
To us, all for Thy glory flows,
And while the sand of time still runs
Our humble praise to Jesus goes.


I had a dream once, too, Dr. King, and you

Were in it--only, and here is the miracle,
That early morning, April 4, had never happened,
And you had lived on to a venerable old age,
A silver-tongued, silver-haired preacher of peace.

And here's the thing: You walked into Cricket's
With all those Southern gentlemen you wrote from your
Birmingham jail, just like the beginning of a bad joke
My subconscious was telling me (some preachers
And a rabbi walk into a bar, and...)

And even though you were all men of the cloth
I brought you a round of drinks and proposed
A toast unsolicited but welcomed: "Here's to the
End of all thing's not eternal."

Then all you old men dreamed your dreams and
Saw them come to pass--every gesture of
Reconciliation, every brown-skinned boy with
A blue-eyed girl--no longer apathetic, no longer
Afraid of what was behind your fences.

So I brought around the bread and wine like you asked
And you feasted the feast of deliverance.
Then I woke up--winter morning, January 15,
and I remembered, and gave thanks.

Tongues of Angels

“I was in love with sound,” you told me, like 

A man speaking of his lover that he should never 

Have let go, like you nearly ached for her 

Embrace, to hear the whisper of her voice 

In your ear again, but you let her go, broke her heart 

And now it’s your heart that splinters as 

You remember her touch. 


You were in love with sound; you were in love with 

Language, speaking in tongues of angels 

With no need for an interpreter; 

You read her letters, shredded her phone bills, 

Kept the mix tape she made you the night you broke up. 


You let her go, and would pursue her once again 

But for the loss, for the fear that the space 

She left behind, a quiet so loud it makes you 

Scream, can never be filled by the memory of her. 


So in her wake I put pixel to screen 

And try to paint her picture for you in black and white— 

Not the same as her kiss, 

But enough to make you write her one more time.  

Jesus, I

Jesus, I my cross have taken

And sanded it down
And wiped off the blood
So I could wear it underneath my shirt
And not offend anyone

Jesus, I my cross have taken
And stripped it of its splinters
Made it a child's plaything
Juice and cookies for body and blood
The stuff of puppets' tongues

Jesus, I my cross have taken
And beaten the dignity of others
To a bloody, broken pulp
And then passed them by
Like a Levite, not Samaritan

Jesus, I my cross have taken
Up one to many times in the name
Of causes You never died for
And yet You died for them all the same
So all my fond ambitions might perish

Daylight Girl

Oh, my lovely, where'd you get those daylight eyes

Did you come down to the city in the arms of the sunrise
Don't you know that all your tears can stay with me
And you know those glimmering gates swung wide
To show you all the angel trees dug deep inside
For your open arms to take and keep for free

And if I could give you anything
I'd want to give you everything
And the world would tell you that's not enough
Daylight girl, won't you shine on me

Oh, my lovely, where'd you get that raincloud smile
That could wash away all my stains for a while
Don't you know that you have made me new again
And the angel trees dug deep did start to grow
Toward the sky blue sky and the fire below
And their voices started blooming into ten times ten

And if I could bloom like flowers do
I'd dig my roots down deep for you
Just to let you tell me that you knew the truth
Raincloud girl, won't you fall on me

Oh, my lovely, where'd you get your rainbow arms
That embraced me with the prisms of your rainbow charm
Don't you know that I'd come looking for your gold
Even if it cost me the rest of my days
Even if it cost me your mysterious ways
Just to hear you tell all those stories left untold

And if I could see your colors grow
Like flowers down beneath the snow
I'd die breathing a sigh of relief
Rainbow girl, won't you shine on me