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Showing posts from 2012

his family

Daughter of wrath, wait
for your father to return.
Point no finger
at your mother's unclothed back,
for you deserve the same;

you've grown into your own name
        and so have we
                --have I.

Stranger-son, watch
your father working in his fields.
His blood could not
run through your veins without
burning you now;

you've exchanged it for old ashes
        and so have we
                --have I.


Take someone else’s name, children,
and someone else’s blood:

join your mother in her sanctuary,
where Lo-ruhama is given mercy--
               Lo-ammi is called “my own”--
                    Gomer is betrothed again, forever.


The farmer strides into the wilderness,
        clears the land and sows it generously.
Unfaithful runaway hides herself
        beneath his cloak and follows him home.
The field slowly grows tall,
        waiting for the harvest.

One More Year

Safe haven for quick-expanding minds, I
won't want to leave you. Outside they
look at me harsh, outside before inside.

Outside twilight flees swifter, sooner--
smaller sky-fire before night. The trees have
grown their own shimmering flames by day.

Colorful walls keep out the cooling wind
and rain, though storms churn in here any-
way (I mean: brains--ask, disagree) while

outside clear skies give way to grey that
hangs there forever, promising snow to
clothe the naked limbs of blackened trees.

I'm afraid like dandelions in the greenfields
we'll scatter too far apart. Outside is
so much bigger, how will I find you again?

Outside the sun sheds its white cold mask
to thaw the ground with softer rays, urges
trees to stand taller--too fast, too soon! I

tell the crocuses underground to stay, to
rest a little longer, I ask the buds on the
trees to stop, and they obey: Spring pauses.

(The butterfly waits to break free. The
songbird falters in its northward flight.
Nothing fully wakes from its winter sleep.)

But then I wonder if
we can be content,
dreaming so safely here.
Not with summer stretching
at the limits of my fear,
swollen with this waiting, waiting,
loud with promises of more:
warm rain, hot skies,
greening life unfolding like the eager morning light.

Shelter for my childhood thoughts,
could I leave you behind?
I must, I must--
Outside the years race on. 

Easter Present

He put the glowing bundle in my hands.

'What's this?' I said.
'My life,' was the reply.
    'Yours now.'
(I stood dumbstruck.)

'List of things inside,' he went on:
        never lies to Mom. never talks back to Dad. Yours.
        never speaks an unkind word. Yours.
        never gets annoyed with anything. Yours.
        always makes the right decision. Yours.
        always has complete self-control. Yours.
        pure thoughts. Yours.
        family relationship with Creator of all,
        stubborn love in the face of hatred,
        absolute, utter perfection--yours, yours, yours.
        more, too, if you keep looking.

'Mine,' I repeated. 'Mine?'
'My gift to you,' he said, smiling.
    'All yours.'

I'm sure I saw

a miracle:
two glimmers like tall candles
reached each other across a black expanse
(found you, found it--)

astounding how contagious
smiles can be.

Who could tell?
You were just as new, but cold.

: The black exploded into blinding white

and rising sunlight kissed the ashes
like it could wake the dead
(found you, found it--)

was so bright and beautiful.
It did.

Life found you found Home.


dances like a mosquito
just out of reach,
hard to corner,
slipping out of your hands
with ghostly wings
and an eerie disappearing hum.

bites when you've
forgotten to look,
then itches and itches
and itches without stopping,
until you've fairly gone insane.

Constant Companion


I will not
flee from the sun with you,
for you would only
leave me trailing behind.
I will not
walk into the dawn with you,
for I don't know
what you do at my back.
When I've turned north,
then I will take you with me,
as your steps match
exactly with mine.


outside i wonder what you play on rainy days
what hands and feet you follow then
and what rays shape your blurry frame
but in my house i can still see you
creeping around the corners back to me
and i don't have to wonder anymore.


I dreamed that
darkness swallowed you,
set you free to wander,
and wrenched your fingers
from my own--

perhaps at night you
skip up to the clouds
and make a game of
hiding from the stars--

but don't forget
that when daylight returns,
you must flicker down to me
and once again be mine.


Good beginnings are only
exciting because of the
beautiful endings
they promise,
which an author sets up
carefully, so the reader
will be satisfied in
some way. 
Funny that something so
simple as an ending
can be so very
satisfying the writer as
well as the reader,
setting down
her pen,
saying to herself, yes, this
will grasp their hearts
and hold them
yet only the best tales can
transfix us like that.
I think I know
one of them:

It is finished,
wrote one author,
just beginning my story.
I'm reading eagerly until the end.

Can't Remember

Last night's dreams seem
to sleep in my pillow
as the sun runs
from dawn to dusk--
then reenter me as
I lay my head in bed.
For fleeting moments they
cast their last

dim images
across my closed 
eyes, then die.
Come tomorrow, they'll be
swept away in the day,
when tonight's dreams
lie silent in my pillow, too.


If Scripture is God-breathed,
then maybe as we read,
our souls are mirroring His action.
Do you doubt the power of that air?
Remember: His breath brought
the first man from dust to life--
from simple earth to life!

Breathe in, redeemed one,
breathe in until you taste
His words sweet on your tongue,
filling your lungs and mouth with
His life and love,
so you may rise from the dust
with His strength in your feet
and His mercy glowing in your hands.

contrived nonsense

I stand and watch the growing gloaming
glowing bright, more brilliant than a fig.
Imagine: somewhere beaches foaming;
elsewhere, pigeons balancing on twigs;
still elsewhere, elephants arising
early, when the sun's still cherry-red--
and last, a spiky fruit surprising
some poor soul by dropping on his head.
The world is split up much like pie,
and you may only have one slice for now,
but that's why I would like to fly,
so I can see it all at once. Look, a cow!


I know the fire hurts you,
when the flames are gnawing
on your flesh, like red-hot demons
clamoring to devour you whole.
It burns your skin and clothes
away, until you're left
completely bare before me.
You're crying for someone
to save you, but
I have not forgotten you.
I know the fire hurts.

O golden child of mine,
keep walking through the flames.
They shall not touch your soul,
but only dance across to polish
and to purify--
then leave their brilliant shadows
pressed upon its surface,
and you will come to me
shining brighter than the fire itself.

True Friend

You and I have always known,
and we are both aware
that Father brought our spirits close,
and Father knit them there.
So then, together we will grow
with love and grace and prayers--
and of His light our souls will glow
within His sovereign care.


Above the night, hazy stars
are gazing down at me and you.
This wide dark widens my eyes,
holds me still, and consumes my heart.
Do you feel as small as I do?
Perhaps we are not real at all.

running out of time

If the world would end tonight,
would you be coming home with me?

If the sky was pulled apart
and stars and moon fled
to farthest corners and trembled there,
would you be frightened
to find what glory lay behind?

If you saw a King coming down to us,
would you want to hide, or
would you want to run into his arms?

I'm shaking with the promise of
eternity, and you'll be shaking too.
I hope you know if it'll be fear or joy.

When you stand at Heaven's gates,
will you be looking at your home--
will you be going there with me?

In January

deep greys and blues
snake cold and bitter down
my open throat, tails scraping
where the slender starlight
cut my tongue in two.
grey-blue swirls into my lungs,
poisoning the warm fog inside
until frozen feathers barely tickle
at my heart,
which swells in the chill as if
it'd shatter my bones.

I swallowed valiantly,
silent and wide-eyed,
or perhaps it swallowed me.

dusty white creeps slowly
through my toes and soothes
like honey, though I know cold
could never thaw itself.

cold drizzle

From Death in Winter's cages springs
a bitter twilight weeping--
and freedom once taught you to sing,
but like a dove with tar-tipped wings,
you're silent in your Sleeping,
so Death in Winter's cages brings
a bitter twilight weeping.

get your gun!

A ghost came to your window
very late last night;
I don't know why you let it
give you such a fright.
That ghost was really just the
other half of me.
(The disembodied half, you'll
understand.) And we
together make up one old
person who is dead,
but she has got the "heart," and
I have got the head.
She is more like Granny dear
than I will be again,
because she'd rather talk to you,
and I just want your brain.

Haiku Conversation

This happened on Thursday night.

Haleigh, 9:20pm:
The night grows short and
my patience grows shorter still.
Post, you poet, you!

Me, 9:35pm:
i'll write a poem,
but i have one calc problem
left for me to do.

Haleigh, 10:24pm:
that wasn't a hai
ku. If you'd said "I will," it
would have been one, though.

Me, 10:30pm:
what? Haleigh Swansen
says that word as "pome" instead
of "po-em"? how strange.

Haleigh, 11:02pm:
people who say it
that way say "poe-UM", my dear.
That's not right, either.

Me, 11:10pm:
I stand corrected
on that second syllable,
but there are still two.

Haleigh, 11:16pm:
I just read the link...
OK. I'm the faulty one.
You are free to mock.


He shaped me before I had form;
molded me with great eternal hands;
taught me how to breathe
and my heart how to beat.
He took my little soul up
by the arms and showed me how
to walk; fed me, gave me strength.
He loved me like no other
ever would or could,

and still I ran away. I learned
to worship at another altar. Turned
the mirror into my sky and forgot
he stood behind it. Said
"My Lord," to the things I had done
and looked to them for all my help.
Loved myself and only me.

What a child you are, he said.
The more I call, the more you turn away.
I loved you, and you lusted after
everything I gave to you, though
you deserved nothing. Therefore
my anger burns, and justice
must be made,

but when I roar, take heed:
come trembling back, because I
love you still.

And like a lion he devoured and
poured his wrath until that righteous
burning anger ran completely dry.
Not one bit of it reached me.
I stood and watched, because
another took my place
that I might tremble
and return.

Come child, he said,
and do not fear. What have I
to do with idols? It is I
who answers and looks after you,
and I who has healed you,
and I who will make you grow
strong in my shadow.

Come to me, he said.
I love you freely.

A/N: Hosea 11-14


Hello to all the dear readers of this blog!

As you may have noticed, the title has changed. This is because it is no longer the lives of three in poetry; instead, it has become the poetry of one. Ellie and Mia have officially resigned from contributing to this blog. From now on, all new posts will be mine. (Although, if you've been following for a while, you will realize that this isn't a particularly large change in posting schedule.)
Thank you all for following TLOTIP through the years. I hope you will continue to read and enjoy my poetry in the future!

God bless,


Sometimes When It Rains

Sometimes when it rained,
they turned the lights out,
sat and stared up at the ashen sky,
lost themselves in shadows
and the earthen smell of ancient
wooden floors and windowsills.
They savored every ache
of cold and dark and
clouds between them and the sun.

Sometimes the heavens
wept so much, they thought
the world might end.
Alone, they might have
wept along for fear, but
as they were, they sat and stared
and let it come.
They never spoke a word
because the rain was singing
loud enough to wash
the rest of life away.

Sometimes when it rains,
they steal away together still,
and hold hands in that
darkened sanctuary where
the shadows draw them in
to rest beneath
the water's gentle melody
that plays across the roof.


the river's
cooler than the air,
but not as clear.
the dirty darkness might be
a little heavy in your lungs.
rivers were always
for crossing and everyone does,
i wonder what mine is like.

(have you heard the sound
of a star exploding,
because i think it
could be magnificent.)

white cracked like toothpicks
between his powerful jaws;
stuck in his teeth like them too.
he didn't mind because that reddish
life was warm as it went down
his throat. brown feathers lay
crushed under his paws.

(i heard it's like sleeping,
only the dreams are better
and the nightmares are worse.)

autumn holds more significance
than it should. after all,
new leaves arrive every year.
consider the ancient oak
that stood tall for years, but
withers in the summer heat,
finally falls across

rivers that were always
for crossing, and i will someday,
smiling. my house and father
are on the other side.


1867. Important, new,
communication revolutionized.
Flung joyously in the air.

2012. No one even
Fallen, trampled,
left in the dark as we all
rush to 'the next best thing':

technology's brand-new shine
never lasts for long.


credit to: my dear blog-stalker, who faithfully reminded me to post today and gave me inspiration where i had none. i use some direct phrases from that inspiration in this poem as an act of homage and true gratitude.

Yard Sale!

Born free of conformity,
yet into a world of rule -
a land of regulation
I open my eyes,
I see the shadows
My mind, once a vast emporium
of thought, of concept,
of idea,
now advertises only falsity and fear.

Could Have Been

I never memorized
the stretching of your mouth
in either direction,
up or down;
quiet couldn't find a
comfort in the gaps between
our speeding words and laughter;
my breathing never
missed its rhythm,
just to match itself with yours.
Your absence tore
no gaping hole into
the fabric of my heart...

yet a tiny corner tingles
bittersweet as I remember
meeting you next to
that open door, when I
first made you smile,
when everything inside me
spoke of what could be--
but now,
what only could have been.


Butterfly found Moth on a bush,
just waking up at twilight.
"This is terrible," she said immediately,
fluttering up from the ground. "I can't
fly well at all,
and nobody will help me.
I tried talking to

Bee, but she was too busy.
Gnat was scared of my bigger wings, and
Dragonfly was jealous of them.
Wasp didn't care;
Mosquito just made fun of me."

Moth said, "That does sound terrible."
"You have no idea," said Butterfly.
"I'd help you," mused Moth, "but
we're hardly awake at the same time."

As if to prove his point,
night fell and the moon rose.
"It's time for me to go," said Moth.
He patted Butterfly on the shoulder
and flew away.

Butterfly felt abandoned.
She settled in the bush and
closed her eyes, but didn't sleep at all,
and she didn't move when morning came.
The whole day went by as she
huddled in that bush.

She would have
stayed there forever,
but twilight brought the gardener
as it arrived again.

"Butterfly," he said, bending down,
"what are you doing out here?"

"I can't fly," she sniffled, and began to cry.

"Oh, one doesn't learn to fly
all at once," said the gardener, smiling
and wiping her tears with gentle hands.
"You must keep trying."

Butterfly frowned and said,
"But nobody will help me. I'm
beginning to think that
I will never fly like the others,
that I will only ever flutter along
in the dirt."

"Come to my garden, then," said
the gardener. "I will teach you
how to fly. I have a special place
for you to rest when you get tired,
and I will always be there
to catch you when you fall."

He lifted her in his palm
and looked her in the eye,
waiting for an answer.
Butterfly drew strength from the warmth
of his skin and thought to herself,
Perhaps I will soar in the sky

So Butterfly got up,
shook her wings out,
and followed the gardener home,
one faltering flight at a time.

More Midnights

These bluey grey-toned memories
were quieter than how I wrote
of them, but also more intense.

My breath kept catching in my throat.
My back assumed a crooked bent
beneath the starry heaven's weight.

A wind assaulted every sense,
my insides curling tiny (wait!)--
I looked into eternity.


A light switch might just be
itself--that is, until you filled the
room with stories that turned
real before you even told them.
Then darkness was not for sleep,
but for mysterious worlds built
to be explored by spirits almost
like you three, yourselves.

A lightning bolt might strike
men and trees, or it could strike
up memories of slippery grass
and sleepy laughter. That was
not the first time you spoke, but
when secrets were shared in
low voices, trust put out a root
in an unlikely place of places.

A light-hearted comment might
so easily be dismissed, but you
saw the clockwork of a quick mind
beneath the words. As you slept,
you remembered, and had an
answer ready on the morrow. No
wonder you, on equal footing now,
said 'twins' with such a smile.

A light touch on the shoulder
might mean nothing. But after all
these years, it might mean that
some part of your soul crawled
its way into somebody else's
ribcage and sits there. It might
mean that you are precious, so
I whisper: sleep well tonight.

see you at christmas

My back yard will be
carpeted twice: once with fallen
fragments of Autumn's brilliant death,
and once with blank and quiet hush
of Winter's soothing blankets,
before we meet again.
I wish you all the blessings
that a quarter-year can hold,
and hope to know you
just as well,
when you and holidays return.


teeter-totter on the edge of sleep
until i slip and fall
back into bed as morning's greying light
pulls my heavy eyelids
like my gasping mouth that's
hauling air inside to soothe
reality's cold ache;

reach back for floating fragments
from the fringes of a dream,
still warm
and full of hope that crushes
all the more as morning's greying light
pulls the glowing strands
leaving me so that
i cannot help but tremble with
the ache of cold reality--

( i saw you well
  i saw you smile
  i saw your body whole,
  that you had food and clothes
  and life and health and joy,
  i saw you love
  i saw you smile
  i saw you well )

--clench my sheets around my fists
and twist them to my eyes
i will not cry.

rise because i must,
to toil with these hands
until they ache,
to war against the cold and darkness
clinging heavy to this world,

remembering that
morning's greying light will
one day turn
to gold.


I'm born of wind and water,
rising slow against
horizons restless with my brothers.
The ones who go before me
die, and fall back silent, flat,
and I must crawl atop
their ghostly tugging, crying to me:
go back if you can!

and still
I fight to reach the shore.

I'm tall for just a moment--
then I break in half,
crashing down
My roar against the ground
is quickly but a whisper,
and the churning of my dying rage
melts quickly
into spots of foam.

I tug around your ankles,
calling to you:
come with me if you can!

but you will only stand there firm,
a smile on your face,
your burning feet cooling
in the remnants of my pain.

Lost at Sea

Of bitter memories I drank too deep
and found cold comfort in the acid taste.
There, bare-faced ghosts were open in their haste
to let our friendship sink into death's sleep,
as if I'd yield a treasure (theirs to reap)
but after harvest, naught to them but waste.
--Your smile widens on a stranger's face,
whose laughter echoes somewhere far from me.

I wonder if I made a grave mistake,
when I into my bitter mind withdrew
and held those past unspoken rules as law:
That smile's true enough to swell the ache
in my heart's dusty corner (kept for you),
and something frozen in me yearns to thaw.


Raindrops pouring from
my fingertips
and thunder rumbling from
the keys below,
beat for beat
my music matches nature's,
as the notes drop heavy
on my hungry heart,
and the storm outside is raging
on the thirsty ground,
soaking in and in
and in.
This night is wearing thin,
but my fingers fly like lightning,
coaxing color from
the black and white,
and I don't


I am made of two,
one old, one new,
one stone, one clay,
one walking with sure feet,
one running far away.

I am torn by two,
by what each wants to do:
they fight as if to own me.
They'll fight until one dies--
and though the elder frequently
controls my thoughts with fear,
the younger's battle cries
are clear.

Each struggle might go either way,
but since redeeming work is done,
my war's already won,

and I am longing for the day
when I am made of one.


My father owns the stars and sea
        and gathers children in his arms.
Because he told the earth to be,
my father owns the stars and sea
and holds the mountain's majesty,
        yet cares to shelter me from harm.
My father owns the stars and sea
        and gathers children in his arms.

hasty words

spit or swallow you

are poison
burning on my tongue
threatening to scorch me
all the way down

are snakes of flame
licking every corner of my open mouth

are greedy for destruction.

the fire's easier to quell
where other tongues don't
sweep the conflagration higher,
where burning words might sting,
but only me
and only for an instant--
so i bite my mouth

shut, and swallow you.

The City's Lullaby

I am the crowds and trickling cars
Humming, humming, near and far
My murmured heartbeat, strong and deep
Humming you to sleep.

I am the bones of steel and light
Humming, humming, through the night
Of sidewalks long and buildings tall
Humming you to fall.

I am the streetside's neon glow
Humming, humming, soft and low
I'm casting shadows of the day
Humming you to stay.

I am the home where you belong
Humming, humming you this song
My murmured heartbeat, strong and deep
Humming you to sleep.

Dust to Dust

I whispered,
and the fleeing wind would
rip the whisper from
my mouth until I bleed my heart
into the dust,
for rain that carves a river
in the burning sand,
for life that cries itself
to sleep at night, but rises
with the dawn.

Begin again
they asked of me,
so bury both my lungs
into the dust,
and let the crystal air inside
bring gentle breeze and sunlight
in caresses on this storm-torn land,
anew with every breath I've ever
freely drunk
of brighter skies.

Just a little more.
And I will pour my love
into the dust,
not caring if my body shrivels
when the last of water flees
from where my eyes and fingers
used to be.
Dust to dust
is how I run, but
life must rise again before
the cycle is complete.

Thomas Never

Thomas can't
really hear the music, but
while the party dances on, it
keeps on buzzing in his chest,
like hornets searching for his heart
and shaking everything beneath
his ribs.
Thomas can't
really breathe, not the same
thick air they do, even as he
settles in this lonely couch,
forgotten stains like yellow flesh
on faded white beneath
his fingertips.
Thomas thinks that maybe
he should go back where they are,
but he's afraid
their noise would chase away his soul
and twist his body inside-out,
so Thomas never does.

Thomas wants to ask them all:
    why are you so loud, and
    how can you be sure that
    what you're calling love
    is so,
    and in the night's dead stillness,
    have you ever felt that
    sorrow smolders in your bones,
    waiting soundlessly till it can
    burn through paper skin?
(Thomas thinks that someone, somewhere
has to have the answers)
--but when
his heart and mouth are open,
eyes and ears are always
so Thomas never does.


[written for class]

Quiet Stranger,

You’re not like me.
Your hair is golden
and your eyes are
light green-blue,
while I am brown and brown,

and in a crowd
your smiles are silent
and you hardly speak,
while I am louder than I’d like to be,
and I am not like you.

If I could sit with you alone,
perhaps your quietness
would trickle out,
and I could break
a piece of it, and take
that bit of you
with me.

sun shower

quick wind is bearing
warm and forest-scented rain
while clouds are still streaked
bright with sun.
earth is drinking in both
light and water,
and I am waiting here
to watch a rainbow's birth.

[A/N: Springtime is the best.]

Obsession's Villanelle

I need to find this faint reality,
for I have fallen deep into my mind
and phantom dreams are more than they should be.

Your glowing eyes are everything I see,
consuming every glance, so I am blind
when grasping at this faint reality--

and strangled by my thirst till I can't breathe,
so peaceful rest's impossible to find,
and phantom dreams are more than they should be.

Yet would this dark night seek to rescue me,
my senses pulling at me from behind?
I'm laughing at this faint reality,

endeavoring to set my being free--
for 'round my heart your arms are closely twined,
and phantom dreams are more than they should be.

Your smile will drive me to insanity
unless, until your every thought is mine.
I must escape this faint reality;
my phantom dreams are more than they should be.


The sun sinks into the sea
Thoughts swell, abstract and free
He is the king of solitude
His vision hazed and tears blued
Couragous only to the extent of convenience
The craven, our familiar acquaintance


my dear neglected Friend:

I don't know why
it's been so long
since I last talked to you.
asked you for help, yes
asked you for blessing, yes
asked you for care, yes
but I don't know why
it's been so long
since I last talked to you.

are you a wish-giver,
that I should demand from you?
are you a slave,
that I should command you?
I know you are
Delighted Father,
Beloved Friend--
yet I thirst and hunger
to know more.

shall I tell you everything?
it's been so long,
I don't remember where to start.

God, I want to see
your blinding beauty
and there fix my gaze
God, I am helpless--
do you watch me,
do you see what I have done?
I can do nothing good
on my own.

I am tangled in the mess of life.

My soul cries out
More love to thee, O Christ
More love to thee
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
I know this while I sing:
Thy love to me, O Lord
Not mine, O Lord, to Thee
Can rid me of this dark unrest
And set my spirit free.
Lord, I want to see
your endless love
and gaze therein

you alone
can satisfy my longings--
so I don’t know why
it’s been so long
since I last talked to you.

Father Speaks

Why do you stand far from me?
O my children, do not fear--
Of my goodness taste and see
Come, my son, draw near.

Fear no demon, fear no man
Life and strength await you here
Find your comfort in my hand
Come, my son, draw near.

Child, child, do not despair
Let me wipe away your tears--
You are safe within my care
Come, my son, draw near.

Why do you stand far from me?
O my child, let this be clear:
I am all you'll ever need
Come, my son, draw near.


The deception of reality,
a sea of doubt glossed over hesitation
I've slipped further into belief of my disbelief,
a numb and accepted sedation
Beguiled by my own thoughts, I thought.
A distant captivation
The disillusioned whisper,
bleary and suspicious
But there was no trouble,
no injury,
There was no story to tell
No truth afterall.