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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Poem 023


“An angry prayer is stronger.”—Adam Zagajewski, “Smoke”

I have been torn by illness, worn my scars
like furrows that will never again sprout seed.
I’ve shaken out the corn from the bag,
have waited for God to part the thornbushes
that imprison my plundered body at all sides.
Where is the joy that I’ve been promised?
I sweep each floor looking for its glimmer.
My days of fullness are over:  I weep
for juniper and myrtle, for clapping hands.
I search for a corner in which I can crouch,
where I’ll find a pitcher of milk, a finger of wine,
on those days when I’m tired of my parched self,
of this sickness, the scans that glow so brightly
on the screens while skies above grow dimmer. 

Anya Krugovoy Silver of Macon, Georgia is the author of two poetry collections, The Ninety-Third Name of God (2010) and I Watched You Disappear (2014), both published by Louisiana State University Press. Visit Kingdom Poets to find out more about her."Sweeping" came from her reflections on Isaiah 55:8. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Poem 022


Come, dip a scallop shell into the font
For birth and blessings as a child of God.
The living water rises from that fount
Whence all things come, that you may bathe and wade 
And find the flow, and learn at last to follow
The course of Love upstream towards your home.
The day is done and all the fields lie fallow
One thing is needful, one voice calls your name.

Take the true compass now, be compassed round
By clouds of witness, chords of love unbound.
Turn to the Son, begin your pilgrimage,
Take time with Him to find your true direction.
He travels with you through this darkened age 
And wakes you everyday to resurrection.

Malcolm Guite of Cambridge, England is the author of two recent poetry collections, Sounding the Seasons (2012) and The Singing Bowl (2013) both from Canterbury Press. He is an Anglican  priest, chaplain, teacher, poet, and singer-songwriter. Visit Kingdom Poets to find out more about him."Upstream" flows out of Isaiah 55:1. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Poem 021

The Called

I sit beneath the tree where he saw me
Planted by the rivers of water
Eating my lunch of multiplied bread and wine

I hear the spirit-rustled treetops move
And cock my head listening for the call
To get up and go wherever the wind blows

I am not a twig, nor even a fluttering leaf
But a whirligig whose joyful fall
Makes a carving place for lovers' names


Kenneth O'Shaughnessy of Simpsonville, South Carolina is a Christian of the Orthodox faith. He writes poetry, song lyrics and children's books. His latest project is Climbing the Ladder on Trochaic Feet. "The Called" comes from Isaiah 55:3 and 10-13. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Poem 020

A celebration of weeds

For I am considering, before I grow very old, too old
to drive, how gloriously the grasses ornament the road's
verges, its ditches, flowing then across the fields, waves
of green, meadows that dance to the fists of wind. Weeds,
all and every, long and lovely and lush ( Hopkins'
language rings wild on the ear). All feral stems, each
a primary act of God, sing the hymns of air, his persistent
garden in spite of our ravaging machines, resilient, needing
no fertilizer to flourish where cows crop, cool in oak shade.

The car snakes along the dirt road--a scar on the body
of earth—and now I consider yarrow, how its white, starred
cloth is draped over this next meadow. And now a low
forest of fire-weed purples through the windshield, nothing
I haven't seen before, but in this moment, extraordinary.

I am tuned to the anthem of herbs growing, a haze
of salt hay decorated with grasshoppers, those pale jade
phenomena that leap continually in God's imagination--
or brambles and thrusting blackberries, their glowing fruit
there for the taking. How his spirit animates all blades
and glades with pure daylight! How his stalks gesture
and bow, saluting themselves in the clear stream that flows
under the bridge! Clovers' trinity leaves. Buds, bursting
into their particular selves, then melted by vision into a
fusion from this generous confusion. And the dandelions,
small sunbursts on every bank, wanton and innocent,
without evil intent, uncanny in their abundance in noon
light, feeling no need to justify their existence.

And tonight, in the dark, flower heads will fold into
themselves, stems lengthen, rising after rain, or seeded
by stars and a moon as yellow as a midday buttercup.
And it is all good. All good. God said it.

Luci Shaw of Bellingham, Washington is the author of eleven poetry collections, including her newest poetry book, Scape (Poiema Poetry Series/Cascade Books). Visit Kingdom Poets to find out more. "A celebration of weeds" grew out of Isaiah 55: 9-11.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Poem 019


I come. I've been working my way to this
Since the womb. But leaving is hard,
Emptying my pockets of wallet and passport,
Leaving the bright lights, leaving the sights.

-----Pre-advent tamaracks show the way,
-----Exploding from green to gold, bursting
-----Into flares marking the way home,
-----Laying down, needle by needle, gold carpet.

I grew up on conifers,
Evergreen fir and pine and spruce.
Tamaracks are an annual surprise,

-----Opening the woods to winter light,
-----Invitation to a less that is more.
-----I loosen my grip, slow my pace, coming home.

Eugene H. Peterson of Lakeside, Montana, is professor emeritus of spiritual theology at Regent College in Vancouver. He is best known for the Bible translation, The Message (NavPress). Visit Kingdom Poets to find out more about him.The poem "Homecoming" may be found in his new collection Holy Luck (2013, Eerdmans) and came by way of Isaiah 55:1.