One night I was very ill and out of nowhere, it seemed, the vision of this poem came to me. I thought of the woman in Luke 7 who anointed Jesus’ feet. And it just came to me like never before that, in Jesus, God was physically present in our world and to people. I like this story because of the physicality of it. Christ is truly present to us.
A Sinful Woman Who Loved Much*
My tears made mud on his dusty feet.
My hair caked with dirt paths he trod.
My sighs rode the wind of the air he breathed.
My hands touched the face of God.**
His eyes entered mine to unlock my grave.
His feet didn’t shrink from my touch.
He smiled like a child,*** held the love I gave.
How did he forgive so much?!
(This poem is extracted with permission from the GLIMPSING GLORY : Poems of Living & Dying, Praying & Playing, Belonging & Longing ©2020)
*Based on the story in Luke 7:36-50.
**Jesus was the “face of God” given to humankind, making God personal, approachable, and knowable for each of us.
***As the Child (or Son) of God, Jesus was innocent, pure, trusting
This post appeared at GodSpace on February 13, 2020, slightly revised.
In her fresh, almost-breathless style, Mary designs the title as the first line in most of her poems in PRAISE! POEMS. She employs sometimes startling images and reversals. Read and meditate on these poems that praise, adore, and celebrate the Christmas Child.
Worthy to Receive Glory
Made to honor, we give fealty,
We seek true north like a needle.
But to look for your king
in a pulpit, disappoints;
in a government, fails;
in the mirror, distorts.
Look instead with the eyes of your heart
to the Wounded who heals;
to the Throne that is true;
to the Lamb who was slain,
Christ the King.
In Revelation Chapter 5 Christ the King is depicted as a Lamb who had been slaughtered. Yet all the magnificence of Heaven bowed down and worshiped this lamb.
In Isaiah 53 we are told “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”
Then why do we continually seek the pretty, the popular, the powerful, the persuasive, and the polished to emulate, venerate, and follow?
Photo: “Thanksgiving” Stained-Glass Windows used by permission of Library of Congress
Autumn Walk Along the Poudre River Trail
I go down by the river in autumn breeze
that quakes gold leaves on craggy trees
and skitters dry ones at my feet.
The chill breeze hints of snowy peaks,
lifts cricket songs, soars hawks on high,
sails wispy clouds across clear-blue sky.
I see Kingfisher, Yellow-legs, bright Magpie;
hear squirrels chatter, Red-tails scream,
and splashing fish in sparkling stream.
God said that all He made was good;
and surely all these things are good;
and everything He does is good.
My senses and soul exult in our God
who made seasons of change and decay
to display His unchanging glory.
Excerpted from Remembering Softly: A Life In Poems
The glory, sorrow and unquestionable beauty of life are encapsulated in Catherine Lawton’s Remembering Softly. Lawton’s prose gently captures, like coaxing a firefly into the palm, the indescribable joy of simply seeing nature and the world in action. Sure, there are vile things out there, but there are precious things which overcome them and are worth living to witness. When misfortune passes, the memories of goodness will be everlasting.
So begins a just-published review of my poetry collection, Remembering Softly: A Life In Poems, reviewed by Realistic Poetry International. They seem to have “caught” and understood my poems. The review continues:
Remembering Softly is a personal and inspirational collection with Christian themes. The poems span several years of Lawton’s writing and experiences and are richly emotional. Reading it conjures a feeling of great creation, like seeing the kaleidoscopic glimmer of sunbeams through the fire reds of autumn woods, or perhaps one of those pure winter days where the sky is an unblemished white like being just beneath the floor of heaven.
“Shadows” stood out to me, as did “Glory” and “A Walk at Dusk” as strong points of the compilation. “A Walk at Dusk” in particular is a thought-provoking and fearless piece….
Remembering Softly is truly a beautiful book, and it’s hard to find anything to dislike. If I absolutely had to choose something, some of the personal poems addressed to certain people may not be as resonant to a new reader, though it’s obvious that they were written out of love. The illustrations are a charming touch, and fit well with the poems.
I would recommend Lawton’s collection wholeheartedly, with a 5 out of 5 stars.
My thanks to Realistic Poetry for their reading, evaluation, and recommendation of my first volume of poetry. You can read their entire review HERE.
Graphic by Realistic Poetry Intl.
We are a nation of immigrants and descendants of immigrants.
Today, on the 4th of July, the passionate words of the poem below express the heart of a woman who grew up on a “far-flung” island of Scotland and immigrated to America as an adult, with her husband and young family. Author and poet, Alice Scott-Ferguson, writes:
“In a land of deep class divides, my parents were not from the nobility, elite or formally educated. They were people of the land and sea in the farthest reaches of the United Kingdom, the Shetland Islands, where the sun never sets in summer and the aurora borealis dances in the long, dark winter skies.”*
Many of my ancestors also came from Scotland (and Ireland)—but way back during Colonial times of the 1600s. They crossed the Atlantic to the New World for economic opportunity (survival?) and for religious and personal liberty. They settled in and around Virginia and Kentucky, and each generation moved steadily across the expanding frontier, seeking new beginnings and opportunities, until they reached the Pacific Ocean. And now some of us have moved back toward the east. My ancestors include farmers, preachers, teachers, homesteaders, soldiers, and transient laborers. Many generations of blood, sweat, and tears have soaked into this land from shore to shore.
We are America. “This Land is My Land …” we have sung with gusto. Does our subjectivity make it hard—even impossible—for us to take an objective look at our country, our land, our nation? Have we become full of “hubris,” as Alice has penned (below)?
I think the voices of immigrants, who continue to choose to come to “America the Beautiful” to seek life and opportunity and freedom, are voices we need to hear and heed, if we want to “trade our hubris for humility,” as Alice Scott-Ferguson expresses in this poem:
America the Beautiful*
Pilgrim from a more restricted place
to America, the parent
of my progression
land of my adoption.
Country of limitless opportunity
for me and my progeny,
of a re-birth of soul
into a vibrant whole
not of uniformity
but of unity
in our differences
in our sameness
with the world
though still we hold
that glorious space
Wide and wonderful land
open your arms of welcome
let us love one another
let us not fear one another
let us harness the love
and discover fire again.
Let us trade our hubris for humility,
thee and me.
~Alice Scott Ferguson
*(excerpted from Alice’s forthcoming book of poetry, Pausing in the Passing Places.)
Photo credit: Original Oil Painting by Amy Whitehouse © 2018
We look down on Agate Beach before descending the steep, winding trail at Patrick’s Point in Northern California.
On the pebbly-sand beach as the fog clears and tide ebbs.
Larry searches for agates in the sand.
One of my happy places, finding semi-precious, polished-by-the-waves agates glowing in the sand.
See any agates among these pebbles?
Some agates found through the years and polished in a rock tumbler.
Looking for agates on the beach is what it’s like for me, as a poet, to dig into my heart and come up with poems shaped by experiences and observations.
And this is what it’s like for me as a publisher to discover stand-out poets and their glowing poetry to share with our readers. So far, we have searched for, found, and polished a few collections of gems, which you can discover at Agates Poetry.
May Day Baskets
Not as many May first flowers here—
Not as many kind words and smiles—
as times and places I lived as a child.
Then, roses burst, clambered, and climbed already,
enough garden posies to revel in—make chains
for garlands and necklaces, plenty to fill
baskets to take and surprise the neighbors.
Now I could fill baskets with a few dandelions,
chokecherry and crab apple blossoms.
Or I can let my cup overflow with gracious responses,
pick loving words to give as lavish surprises.
(This poem is excerpted from Glimpsing Glory : Poems of Living & Dying, Praying & Playing, Belonging & Longing
My earlier poems are published in Remembering Softly: A Life in Poems,.)
Photo by Enis Yavuz on Unsplash
As we say, as
we sing, Glory to
the King almighty.
Let us sing, let
us say Christ
has risen from
the grave! The
Lord is great,
the Lord is
He forgave us
of our sins!!
—Written by one of my granddaughters (age 10 or 11 at the time) during an Easter Sunday church service as we celebrated Christ’s resurrection. I found this joyful verse written on the back of a bulletin I brought home in my purse. She gave me permission to share it but asked to remain anonymous. This child’s spontaneous expression of faith inspires me anew to praise the One who is risen indeed!