God has His favorites:
we now who mourn,
the orphan and widow,
those lost in the storm,

unloved, unadored 
by kindness withheld. 
All promptings ignored,
the moments repelled.

“Lord, when did we see you,”
abandoned, unstrung?
We straddle two worlds.
Where do we belong?

Kingdom without us.
Kingdom within.
Kingdom of Jesus.
Kingdom, begin…

Photo is in the public domain.


Author: Mary Jo Malo

Christian, mother, grandmother, and poet of occasional worth.

40 thoughts on “Bereft”

  1. We do indeed straddle two worlds. Excellent poem. On the Dorothea Lange photo, you found an original without the thumb in the lower right retouched out. WPA photos were not supposed to be altered in any way. However, the thumb of the person holding the flap open really bothered Ansel Adams so he retouched it out as you can see in this more common version of her photo:

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      1. We are certainly a bowl of dust out here these days. The WPA photographers produced brilliant work. Walker Evens is one of my favorite WPA photographers.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, “we see through a glass darkly.” I recently heard this quote from JRR Tolkien which really moved me: “There is a place called ‘heaven’ where the good here unfinished is completed; and where the stories unwritten, and the hopes unfulfilled, are continued. We may laugh together yet.” As for the next chapter, I expect to be surprised!

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        1. You are welcome, Martina. In Søren Kierkegaard’s Works of Love he revisits the ancient ‘command’ to love our neighbor as ourselves. He says it’s the ‘duty’ to love which secures its eternal quality. Very thought provoking.

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    1. Thank you. This is quite astute, Liz. The tension isn’t spelled out overtly but lies between the giver and receiver, the sufferer and the comforter, the kingdom to come and the one among us. These borders often seem permeable.

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        1. If it’s formal, it’s surely by accident. A quartet of quatrains?! 🙂 I usually don’t punctuate, with my terse style, but it might help with the read and perhaps clarity. Meter and rhyme is a challenge after so many years of reading and writing free verse, which I still also enjoy. I doubt this one has any formal meter. Contemplating big ideas perhaps requires a small format, which is why haiku and other short forms can be deeper than they appear.

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  2. “Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self” (Mt 16; TM).
    Bereft means to lose, to sacrifice. In His Kingdom, the bereft are the mentors. I love them!

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  3. Interesting that you should mention, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mary Jo. Today, in 1973 he passed away and yes, “We may laugh together yet.” Belonging is that sense we are together and yet, we know that there will be times that we will walk alone, usually in shadows and darkness. As you know, I recently read “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” by Patti Callahan Henry

    This had me looking into the writings of C.S. Lewis. (Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have overheard the discussion between J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis that occurred at The Eagle and Child?!!!!

    “Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is…. “. C.S. Lewis

    Thank you for a wonderful poem to consider as we enter a new month.

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    1. I did not know about today and Tolkien. 🙂 The friendship between Lewis and him was quite interesting, with its ups and downs. But yes, to be a fly on those walls! What a beautiful and relevant quote, Rebecca. The eternal world begins now, and those who suffer and those who comfort get a glimpse with each kindness offered and received. Hugs+++

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  4. Haven’t been on here in a while but your poem is a welcome return. It expresses the wonder between the here and the (not so) far away. Also the potential regret of missing the connections completely. You are a deep soul Mary Jo. Thank you for this beautiful post💕

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