Click here to see all of the poems in The 55 Project.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Poem 018

Going forth and returning

Listen carefully and eat what is good. Isaiah 55:2

My first saskatoon pie bubbles over in my oven-mitted arms.

The berries grew along our path to St. Malo beach where my daughter mixed a seaweed cure for sadness.

I know a woman who hears God speak. He showed her a sea of women, white as stone, missing souls.

As I filled my pail, a girl from the next campsite peppered me with good news: a painted turtle by the bathroom, a swallow’s nest, baby bunnies under that bush.

St. Malo’s name means “beautiful captive.”

My thoughts rise to the sheltering oaks, the falcon circling. I will never hear what moves her.

Sometimes I dream I’ve lost my way. Other times, I’m falling.

The camper before us backed over a pine sapling. My son dug it out to nurse to health outside his window.

Some teens were singing hymns around their campfire. Through the brush, I could hear the music, but the words were muffled.

My husband got sick on frozen blueberries as a child. He can’t taste the difference.

After God showed the woman the vision of stolen souls, her father sent a photo of a holocaust memorial. The faces were the same.

Some of the berries grew so deep in poison ivy only the deer and her fawn could reach them. They looked at me, but I didn’t understand the question.

Every year, my son’s pine will grow three inches.

When I was small, the church choir sang “The valleys stand so thick with corn that they laugh and sing.” My Oma pursed her lips around the valleys’ irreverence.

I left the mountain of wet beach towels and dusty sheets in the entrance to wash my berries. Preheat the oven.

My son has a bellyache and won’t eat anything but dry bread. I don’t like to eat alone.

I ring the neighbours’ bell to see if they’ll share a slice. I wonder if God told me to. Last time I gave a neighbour pie, the husband said “It’s her birthday, apple is her favourite, she’s dying.”

This time, there’s no answer.

After the woman who hears God saw the photo, she prayed for the girls in her life to know true beauty. To be free.

The rain falls on me like a word. Then a story, soaking in.

When I open my front door, my daughter is at the piano, singing “as long as thou lendest me breath” to her own tune.

The berries rush to fill the gap my first slice leaves behind.

In winter, almost all of our tiny pine will be invisible. Except the crown, pointing up.

A camp counsellor once told me the Trinity is like a pie: three equal pieces, one fluid filling.

I cannot put a finger on my soul.

Sweet juice traces a path to my chin. Repurples my tongue.

Angeline Schellenberg of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is a copy editor for the Mennonite Brethren Herald. Her poems about autism and childhood appear in Prairie Fire, CV2, TNQ, Rhubarb, Room, Geez, and The Society. "Going forth and returning", as can be seen in the epigraph, comes forth from Isaiah 55:2.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Poem 017


Riddle, rhyme, and rhythm play
to catch some and turn some away;
to forge—inscrutable the plan—
back into shape the mind of man;
to separate the wheat from tare,
the reprobate from those who care,
and think upon dark things of woe—
vast, mystic things that we should know;
embrace so freely without thought.
Things in the fiery furnace wrought.

Come to the Water as a child.
Come to the Fountain meek and mild.
All gifts of God, sacred and kept
for those who have seen Christ, and wept.

Scáth Beorh of St. Augustine, Florida is proud of his Ulster-Scot and Cherokee ancestry. He has published several books, including the novel Black Fox In Thin Places and the story collection Children & Other Wicked Things (both published in 2013). Seraphyre is, in part, forged from Isaiah 55:1.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Poem 016

Turn, Turn, Turn

Earth now turns on its axis
but soon no more—
slowly clock hands turn
like tides and seasons.

I turn to my Lord
every day made new—

to get what I need,
a clean slate that fills
with fresh and recycled sins—

for even my best days
are marred by mistakes,
decisions blurred by
various vanities.

I will live the life
I’m called to
and give what I’m given
not just keep for myself.

Yet I drink from the cup
the world gives me,
deeply as an unquenchable thirst.

He will not change my circumstances
until He changes me,
until I let Him change me.

Patrick Connors of Toronto, Ontario is the author of the chapbook Scarborough Songs (Lyricalmyrical Press, 2013). He is a manager for the Toronto chapter of 100,000 Poets for Change."Turn, Turn, Turn" comes out of Isaiah 55:7.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Poem 015


Are you inviting me? I want to come.
On a hard wooden pew, she twirled her white eyelet dress,
And clicked the buckled, white patent leather shoes.
She pined for Jesus, requested bread and wine.
Adults scold, "You're too young for this party."

Are you inviting me? I want to come.
On her banana seat, she flew down the road making a party all her own.
Sparkled handlebar tassels blew in the wind.
She breezed to the shoreline to fish out cobalt ferry glass,
Battered and smoothed by Lake Michigan.

Are you inviting me? I want to come.
On her stomach, she rested under large tented pines.
Her eyes glued to clues in Nancy Drew mysteries.
A rolled up paper tied with string, a pencil, a blanket, and water to drink.
She rested from the thorns, thistles, and prickles inside.

Are you inviting me? I want to come.
Huddled friends promised not to laugh,
If she sang aloud.
As that Carpenters' record spun
They snickered at her voice

Are you inviting me? I want to come.
She emptied her purse, gave everything,
Lavished Jesus with all she had,
Gave parties, honored friends,
Aching for love

Are you inviting me? I want to come
The shoreline rippled a beckon, deeper than thorns, thistles, and prickles,
A harboring, well within.
Come sit with me.
Bring nothing.

Jennifer Oosterhouse of Dutton, Michigan is one of the members of the Festival Circle where this blog was first introduced. Besides being a Policy Advocate for Farmers Insurance, she is a student at Cornerstone University. "Invited" is drawn from Isaiah 55:1-6.