Jessica's Jottings:

On faith, food, family and frugality

Found Poems

As the ongoing mission to clean my house continues, I found these within the sheets of a miscellaneous legal pad. From almost a year and a half ago, I’m not sure about the context. I only know they are about infant loss, both miscarriage and stillbirth.

 

12/13/14

Earlier I gazed
On Sorrow’s face
Born whole and round
And full of days
Yet no breath he drew
No cry he raised
He went fresh from womb
To final resting place
Oh Sorrow, Sorrow, Sorrow

************************************

When four are whole
And one is dead
Where shall I fix my gaze?
On the living?
(For sure, for there’s living to be done.)
Or on the one who slipped quickly through this place?
The mortal coil did not hold him fast
He had no need to cry “At last!”
No, he passed straight through to final repast.

Where shall I set my wandering eye?
On the ones who lived or the one that died?
This knowledge is too lofty for one such as I
To high for me to attain.

My heart is split
Cloven in two
For four are with me
And one is with You
Will You give me grace
To see me through
Ere to the other side?

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Thoughts on My Uncle’s Imminent Death

Thoughts on My Uncle’s Imminent Death

Memories claw at the corners of my mind,
Leaking out from the corners of my eyes.

You’re dying.

How can this be?

The snapshots I keep of you in the recesses of my brain-
They do not age. How did you?

What is this absurdity?

You are laughing in my head
With your ridiculous sunvisor that comes
Pre-loaded with a quantity of hair that your
Bald pate hasn’t seen in all of the years that I’ve known you.

You are laughing
Or on the verge of laughing, with a beer in hand,
As we, your relatives and party guests, fill your house again
And then, if the weather is fair, pour forth into your backyard.

You are under a car,
Or a truck, working your mechanic magic
On whatever ails your client.

You are at the beach, and your
Only son is about to be married.

And now…
You are dying.

Oh…you were dying before now in
An intellectual sense. As in,
“We’re all going to die some day.” or
“Life’s hard sometimes, but it beats the alternative.” or
“Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Remember,
O Man, that you have been appointed unto death.”

But now…

Now, your family hastens to gather around you,
Hastens to your side to be there for the final hours,
For when the life support that has borne you up
Bears you no longer
And the agony that comes from knowing
Every
Single
Indrawn
Breath
May well be your last.
Hanging onto those breaths
As though they form a rope, holding you here
Holding you close, staving off that
Inevitable, accursed flat line.

___________________________________

And now…I am numb. I have wept, but I have no idea what’s happening in that hospital room or in the hearts and minds of my family. I don’t want to intrude and so I wait to hear from my parents or siblings. My brother called earlier today and he was the one who told me that everyone was gathering for the removal of life support. This was all the more unexpected as the last news I’d heard had him doing decently well on the ventilator after his open heart surgery on Monday. I want to pray, but I don’t know what to pray. Thankfully,

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27, NIV)

My request for you, my dear readers, is to cover my aunt and cousins, my mom, dad, and my mom’s remaining siblings and their families, in prayer. Ask God to comfort them and to draw them all close to him.

Thank you,

Jessica

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A Chronicle or Confession – I know not which

A Chronicle or Confession – I know not which

Children are mileposts in the stream of time.
(Yes, really, Mother!
For sure, Father!
Compare your past and your present and your future with me.)

When I walked alone
(Though not by myself – thank God!)
Time meandered along
Days blurred one into another
As I lived for my (and His) pleasure.

When I married
My pleasure took on new dimensions
Sometimes soaring, sometimes falling,
As the two of us began the beautiful
and awkward act of becoming one.

(Becoming one forced encrusted layers off of me:
Selfishness, willfulness, independence –
All things that I thought myself to be rid of –
These things did rise to the surface
Like trash when the tide slunk silently away.)

Then, children –
O, children!
The loss of our first sank deep claws in my heart –
The fruit tossed before its time.
Despair rode me wild like an unbroken horse
Twin spurs of fear gouged me again and again
When the monthly reminders of my failure as a woman
Announced my lack with a bloody regularity.

And then–
Then Joy was born.
Conceived in Love and carried ‘neath my heart
Through fierce battles of Faith versus Fear.
(Many a prayer was said and sung,
For this woman wages war through worship.)
Before we knew her, held her, caressed her,
Joy was earmarked for her middle name —
For we knew that she would be a harbinger,
A herald, a living proclamation,
“The Joy of the Lord is my strength!”

Her escape from my womb was traumatic,
But the sight of her, the smell of her, and
At last, the touch of her made everything else
Fade
Away.
A vision she was — and a propellant.
(Truly, Mother!
For sure, Father!
Screw up your face and your courage and remember!)

Time, that once gentle river that I had mostly mastered,
(Foolish woman I am, but my day planner bears witness!)
Began to distort in the most curious of ways:
It simultaneously sped up
and
slo-
-o-
-o-
-owed down.
Its rhythm ceased to be such
And turbulence engulfed my perfectionist heart.

Before I could get my bearings
and know my way around this nursing babe,
she nursed no longer,
had a birthday,
and then a sister.
Where did my baby go?

(Pictures tell me she existed,
but my memory –
Lo, my memory sees but through a glass darkly
and thick, gray fog blankets all.
But for the digital imagery tucked away —
It could have all been a whiff of imagination.)

Now, two – an infant and a toddler and
The law of entropy kicked in to overdrive.
Long days, sometimes longer nights –
Months pass by even as time stands still.
A brother joins us and another sister —

And, my Joy is now eight.

I stand in the center –
A maypole
A merry go ’round.
They (these children mine!) spin, dance, cavort
and grow
So fast and yet (!)
Sometimes not fast enough.
(How I long to be through with diapers!)

So fast and,
“Won’t you please slow down?”

“I can’t, Mama,” she sings and dances and grows,
Up, up, and away.
Her time with me, sliding away through my fingers —
If only I could grasp it!

So, I tell you, Mother,
And I urge you, Father,
Look into those eyes.
Look down deep —
See the heart beating within.
A few short years
(“Such long years!” my selfish soul cries)
to teach and impress upon and to lovingly instruct and correct,
Such a short time to lay down your life
For those who come after –
Those grandchildren that you would not sentence to the fate of Hezekiah’s.

Mother, do the hard work now
So the harvest may come in —
Father, acknowledge that you matter.
Model what you want them to be —
that when young ones are grown
With young of their own,
When you have joined in with
That great cloud of witnesses,
You, too, can rejoice with Paul,
“I did not run my race for nothing!”

Yes, children are mileposts
In the non-stationary stream of time.
We rise, we fall, and
More come after – Selah.
Let it not be for naught.

Follow me, young ones,
Follow me as I follow Christ!

 

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“Mama? Mama, tell me a story.”

“Mama? Mama, tell me a story.”

Oh, child of mine.
My story well has run dry
I’m plumb out of imagination.

There are clothes to wash
And dishes to do
And the constant, constant draining needs
Don’t allow for rumination.

My brain is tired.
My heart beats slow.
With promises to keep
And miles to go

Before I sleep,
Before I sleep.
The words of others
Must suffice for stories for you,
my little love.

You ask for memories of my youth.
I can’t remember half the time
(and that’s the truth)
unless something specific throws up a flare
And highlights a memory hiding there
in the recesses of my cranial space.

Then, words pour forth
Like water from the rock
And you soak up your heritage
Like a sponge…

Oh, little one, little one,
Eldest fruit, carried full length minus two weeks
The story of your passage to this world
Draws you in again and again.

So hungry for your history.

Oh, God, Most High, help me love her well.

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A Litany for Today

I woke up with these lines beginning to form in my head. Here, I will attempt to give them voice.

 

Oh God of the wind and the rain,

Help me overcome my unbelief.*

Oh God of mountain-moving fame,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

Oh God who really knows my name,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

 

Oh God who sent His Son to die,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

Oh God who breathed my soul to life,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

Oh God who gives me strength to try,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

 

Oh God who tidal waves my sin,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

Oh God whose strength I can rest in,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

Oh God, please help me once again,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

 

 

 

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Recent Haiku

Now…this is not to say that these are any good. Just to say that they are recent. And that they are haiku. 🙂

The challenge of matching words to a predetermined 5/7/5 syllable format has become a fun (and emotionally satisfying) exercise as of late.  If you appreciate haiku and have any suggestions, please leave a comment. Or, if you’d like to share your own, please leave a comment.

12/24/13

You, rooted beneath
Wintry waves, your branches raised
Like a cry for help

12/29/13

Arm wrestling words
Forcing them into a place
Relieved when they fit

12/29/13

Fire shut up inside
My bones groan and my heart aches
How long, O my Lord?

12/29/13

Clinging to your hand
The water threatens my breath
Trust spreads wide  my lungs

12/29/13

Write down the vision
and make it plain. Make it sing
A constant refrain.

12/29/13

Silent and solemn
Pensive thoughts cause furrowed brows
Folded hands lie still

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