Bereft

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.

Not What

Who spoke into being
lily, sparrow,
redwood tree
and galaxies?

Who lavishes light
upon our eyes
and deepens shadow
for rest at night?

Who cries out wisdom,
the way of love?
Who liberates 
the heart with law?

Who calls each one
by our secret name
that none but Him
has ever heard?

Who is and has
the first and last? 
Not what, but who.
Undying Word

Photo of Triangulum Galaxy (M33) by NASA/Hubble

Father

Fathers in nature

Fathers who sing

Fathers by nature

Fathers unsung

Unknown fathers

Absent fathers

Abusive fathers

Patient fathers

Founding fathers

Church fathers

Fathers of faith

Foundling fathers

Father of Light

Father of the Son

Father always with me

Our Father, the One

3 Haiku by Kobayashi Issa

       Children imitating cormorants
are even more wonderful
       than cormorants.

       Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house
       casually.

       Mother I never knew,
every time I see the ocean,
       every time

These haiku are among my favorites by Issa. Robert Hass, author of The Essential Haiku: Versions of Bashō, Buson, & Issa, (HarperCollins, 1994) is an excellent editor and translator. Background material for each poet is so comprehensive, I’m walking and observing alongside them. Every precious moment and memory feels familiar, whether I’ve experienced them or not. It’s comforting to know not every haiku they wrote was great.

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) “. . . has been described as a Whitman or Neruda in miniature, probably because his poems teem with creaturely life. . . His main English translator, a Scot, compares him to Robert Burns. . . And in other ways Issa’s sensibility resembles that of Charles Dickens—the humor and pathos, the sense of a childhood wound, the willingness to be silly and downright funny, and the fierceness about injustice.”

Neotropic cormorants by Alan D. Wilson @ Nature’s Pics Online

Haiku by Yosa Buson

Field of bright mustard,
the moon in the east,
the sun in the west.

Yosa Buson (1716-1783) was equally esteemed as a great poet and painter. Initially I misread one of my favorites as saying ‘moon in the west’ and ‘sun in the east.’ I thought his bright yellow field was illuminated by moonset and sunrise. Buson actually described the field beneath a sunset in the west and a moonrise in the east; equally ethereal and otherworldly. I’ve seen both phenomena but not the field of mustard plants in glorious bloom. Until now.

Light emanates from all three—the mustard flowers, the moon, and the sun—and paints an inimitable image unlikely photographed anywhere. Nevertheless Buson painted with words and thus elicited such a moment. I was unable to find a photograph to illustrate its splendor, obviously. These two great lights trading their soft brilliance on opposite horizons and revealing the self-glowing, allegorical mustard seed are painted with a palette of words.

Haiku translated by Robert Hass, The Essential HAIKU: Versions of Bashō, Buson & Issa, HarperCollins, 1994

Photograph found @ Pixabay