Friday, May 31, 2013

Where I Come From...



 My 4th Birthday

I come from wild flower fence-rows and grass rural routes
From clover-sweet meadows and muddy barn-boots
I come from co’-boss calls and farm-life joys
From ‘I’m the 3rd of ten children; five girls and five boys’

I come from Daily Bread mornings and evening prayer nights
From ‘listen to your parents’; ‘many-hands-make-work-light’
I come from itchy stockings and worn hand-me-downs
From everybody’s talking while the food’s passed around

I come from learning how to flute a pie-crust
From piled in the station-wagon ‘in God we trust’
I come from hard work and front-yard baseball
From a two-cookie rule or the cookies ‘is all’

I come from ‘Everyone needs to do their part’
From a hymn-singing mother with a gentle heart
I come from a Daddy who taught us of God
And whistled while he tilled both souls and sod

I came from God’s country; I was sure of that
As the rooster crowed early and the dog chased the cat
And the grain turned amber in the summer sun
As did care-free children in the pasture pond

I come from a quaint, two-room country school  
Eight grades of book-learning and the golden rule
Cartoons were pictures and words in the paper
And television was something we once saw at the neighbor

I come from sister-spats and singing four-part harmony
As we husked mountains of sweet-corn beneath the willow tree
Oh, I am who I am not by some fluke ho-hum
I am who I am because of where I come from

© Janet Martin

"What are sister-spats?", asks Victoria, my youngest daughter as we read the poem together. "Well", I said, "I guess it's like little fights".
"Oh Mom",she replied, aghast! "You fought with your sisters?! I didn't think you ever fought" ;-0

This is the time of year I always ask myself ‘How did my mother do it?!”  The four oldest in our family are celebrating our birthdays.
Oldest daughter, June 16 1964,
Oldest son, May 30,1965,
Next daughter(me) June 7 1966,
Next son, May 28, 1967,
after that 3 more daughters, then 3 sons!
While we grew up we were ‘the four oldest’, ‘the three little girls’ and ‘the three little boys’. I remember Mom saying my youngest brother had six mothers. This past Sunday I attended a 40 year school reunion. The two-room school is now a three-room school but wow, what a trip down memory lane.  Tonight while I was washing dishes and watching the rain fall suddenly ‘where I come from’ washed over me…









Life's Miles



   




Life has many glorious miles
Where winds are kind and sunshine smiles
Where grass is soft beneath our feet
And flowers bountiful and sweet

Life has many grueling miles
Of hurt and dirt and sorrow’s trials
Where fears and tears torment, bequeath
We chew the grit between our teeth

Life has many merry miles
Where mercy’s tender touch beguiles
Filling our mouths with melody
And happy hearts with charity

Life has many lonesome miles
Robbing the lips of laughing smiles
As twists and turns would make us fall
But God is faithful through them all

© Janet Martin

No Halls of Fame in Heaven





There are no halls of fame in Heaven
The ground is level at the cross
We employ the gifts He's given
None are greater than, or less

We serve, not for vain recognition
But with humble heart and soul
Knowing God knows our ambition
He can see the unmasked whole

There are no halls of fame in Heaven
Though the enemy suggests
To us that there might be a difference
God loves each of us the best

The inheritance of Heaven
Is for all who will believe
In the gift of God’s redemption
As His mercy we receive
 
Jesus died for every person
Each must strive for the reward
There are no halls of fame in Heaven
Where all glory is the Lord


© Janet Martin

Sometimes it's easy to look at someone else and think their service is more important, more honorable perhaps...

"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

...for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Rom.10:13


The Prize




How soon we become distracted
By what impedes our view
To keep our eyes upon the Prize
Is not always easy to do

Lord, help us to be faithful
With love’s humility
And keep our eyes upon the Prize
In spite of what we see

Love never fails though often
We cannot understand
With earth-dimmed eyes we seek its Prize
Held in Love’s nail-scarred Hand

This world is torn and troubled
Yet we must journey on
Keeping our eyes upon the Prize
When life’s short race is run

Within this broken turmoil
Abides both hope and grace
Lifting our eyes toward the Prize
Beyond life’s little race

© Janet Martin

 

Knowledge and Wisdom




We may have knowledge
To cover the earth
But it’s what we do with it
That measures its worth

***

Knowledge on its own
Is not of much use
Knowledge without wisdom
Is like a tree without roots

***

One may absorb a world of knowledge
Yet be unprepared for the strife
Of living, for wisdom is not found in college
But in the lessons of life

***

Knowledge without wisdom
Is like a ship without a sail
Its hold is full of luggage
At the mercy of the gale

***

Knowledge is a hat
Wisdom is a crown

© Janet Martin

(I began this as a 'Thursday thoughts' post, but Thursday ran out of hours:)

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Prov. 4:7

Scripture teaches us the importance of knowledge and wisdom and understanding.

Arabesque Avalanche



The flowers walk past me while I’m standing still
The moon climbs the stairs to its heavenly hill
The moments that held such mystery and appeal
Fall into the fairway of history’s seal
It seems to happen while I’m standing still

The babies that held me are taller than I
Someday perhaps they will teach me to fly
It happens so quickly, the ebb and the flow
Over, beneath me, holding, letting go
Now my babies are bigger and braver than I

Arabesque oceans of hours and years
Surging in memory over thought’s phantom piers
Am I standing still while Time rushes ahead?
For I see a lifetime unravel its thread
In shimmering laughter and tears

© Janet Martin

Remember twirling on a rope-swing, spinning, spinning, then stopping while the world continued to tilt and twirl...that's what it feels like sometimes; Life, twirling by while I feel myself in slow-motion, trying to take it all in!


Moments are like bubbles...as we catch them they disappear.



Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wanderers...



 

We never know where we will wander
Over the misty morn
Or back to the days of childhood
Where memories are tarnished and worn
Together we traverse the rafters
Of midnight; the moon-garnished sea
Drinking the hope and the laughter
Of echoes or what yet might be

The pathway of thought and desire
Suffers no boundaries
We ruffle the hemlock spire
With longing’s languid melodies
Deeds are the dust that we reckon
Words are the letters we blend
But now silver-soft eons beckon
Where only a thought can transcend

We never know where we will wander
When Muse spills her enchanting font
Giving permission to squander
White whispers of wishes and want
Beyond blue horizons we ramble
Reaching for perception’s vague ken  
As thought and I freely amble
In search of a poem to pen

© Janet Martin




Wednesday, May 29, 2013

As Daylight Closes its Doors





Dandelion halos gleam pink in the dusk
As daylight closes its doors
The air heavy-laden with mist-silver musk
Wafting from shimmering shores
Over the meadowland drifts the sweet swell
In lyrics of vesper and lark
As God breathes a masterpiece of fond farewell
Beneath the soft-stilly dark

Somnolent beauty in sable surrender
Where does the twilight begin?
Over the landscape in deepening splendor
Somewhere the night settles in
Against the emerald indulgence of noontide
Somber tones snuff shades of day
Draping a shawl over slumbering country-side
Ebony, charcoal and gray

Into the archives of never-returning
Dawn’s darling diadem slips
Gone is its pithy allotment of yearning
Erased by God’s fingertips
Dandelion halos fade into oblivion
As daylight fades into the deep
And all we have left of its azure pavilion
Are love’s tender memories to keep

© Janet Martin


We are at the time of year when the sun sets at the end of the highway... one never can tell where the light stops and the dark begins; it moves in deepening, deepening but how, we cannot tell!



What Makes a Successful Marriage?



 


For all the words written, repeated and referenced
For all the books gathering dust on our shelves
Marriage must be a constant endeavor
To put the other before ourselves

‘Easier said than done’, that’s a promise
It seems that Self is a dominant voice
Subtle and always eager to be noticed
Willing to be our soothing first choice

Two become one but with two opinions
Two become one in new love immersed
and Marriage will be a beautiful union
Only if each puts the other first

Alone it is hard to apply resolution
The tie that binds two hearts near and dear
Must be secured by a Third divine portion
God will enable us to persevere

© Janet Martin

Love-lessons in marriage are endless! On Monday hubby and I, Lord willing, will celebrate 25 years of learning! The analysis of what I have learned is this;

Two selfish people= disaster.   
One selfish person= abuse.  
No selfishness= Happy marriage
(or instead of no selfishness perhaps simply; each seeking selflessness)

We have experienced seasons in each of these categories.




It Must be May...





When the whole world is washed with green
And splashed with lilacs in between
Indigo heights and emerald tray
Then I think that it must be May

When latticework of scrawny limb
Is traced and graced with leaf-lace trim
And sudden showers come to play
Well, then I think it must be May

When sparkling brooks laugh through the land
To chatter over sludge and sand
In ribbons blue and silver-gray
Then I am sure it must be May

...the gold of dandelion rush
The pink of apple-blossom blush
The rainbow of tulip foray
All seem to sing, 'it must be May'

It must be May when all the world
Is nature’s virgin bud unfurled
As earth dons garments floral-green
Where winter’s faded robes had been

© Janet Martin

I am always rather reluctant to relinquish May...

More Than Mouthed Repetitions...



 

I should never want to take
For-granted all the pleas I make...
'Lord, help us seek the true and good
And fill our hearts with gratitude
Lord, keep us safe and watch, I pray
Our thoughts and actions; what we say
And help us this day not to waste
Its moments in dull, heedless haste
Lord, fill with gladness every task
And teach us what we ought to ask'

© Janet Martin

An inexplicable wave of wonder surged through me as I prayed with the school-kids before they left this morning. Often a prayer’s words seem repetitious, yet our needs are new every morning, just as is God’s mercy!

Heart or Mind?



 

Is it the mind that shapes my thought
In images of unformed art
Within this cage of flesh and blood
Or is it after all, my heart?

I cannot separate the two
And yet they bicker constantly
The dreamer and task-master feud
Where mind and heart oft disagree

Is it the heart that drives the mind
Or must the mind persuade the heart?
Often it seems I cannot find
A way to tell the two apart

© Janet Martin

As I studied verses on thought they spoke mostly not of the mind but of the heart. H-m-m-m...here a just a few of those verses.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Prov.4:23

 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Matt 12:24




It Seems the Mind is Filled With Thoughts...



 

It seems the mind is filled with thoughts
Of meager livings toil and spoil
Of mysteries God’s hand allots
Upon this sorrow-stricken soil
The mind; it bears our fantasies
The onslaught of love’s fears and tears
It shapes upon its hidden seas
The hunger of life’s little years

How is it that the mind can bear
The weight of wars that test us so
While hope runs whispers like a prayer
Across its capricious plateau?
The tender turmoil of farewell
Re-echoes through its corridors
And in its alabaster shell
The breakers dash against its shores

The mind endures both joy and grief
The fickle foibles of the flesh
It reels in wordless disbelief
As surrender and strength enmesh
It is the cup where faith and fear
Mingle in contrasting alloy
Spilling into the atmosphere
As hand and heart and mouth employ

© Janet Martin


 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Phil. 4:8

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Of Moments, Miles and Memories



Dream a Little Dream of Me



If we could rearrange moments and miles
And draw back yesterday from ether-blue
So we could bid careless farewells adieu
To kiss and cradle long those parting smiles
We would; but we cannot retrieve one sigh
Nor force into the bud the unfurled bloom
How swift the flower spills its fragrant plume
And bleeds its perfumed petals to the sky
Mingling with mortal merriment and tear
A flicker on this tiny blue-dot sphere

Passion and parting rend our inner deep
Moments melt into nothing, like the snow
An hour has no reins, its lilting flow
Shaping the miming memories we keep
The tempest of its echo stirs our tears
Yet there is no merit in looking back
Weeping for yester-years unyielding track
For even now this moment disappears
Leaving its little love-line on our face
And in our hearts a memory to trace

Moments of love, longing and loss converge
Future, present and past; they coalesce
To ravage our thought, keen and noiseless
Stealing our breath within their potent surge
Yet, thought is powerless to rearrange
The days that murmur twixt our cooling touch
As the expanse of moments, miles and such
Compile to shape the ache that comes with change
Sometimes I wish that I could shift those miles
To kiss and cradle long love’s farewell smiles

© Janet Martin

Take the time today, to kiss and cradle loved ones within reach
Tomorrow, today will be washed away like a footprint on the beach
And none of us can say who will be here; who will be gone
So take the time today to hold and kiss and cradle long…

J~




My Almost-Poem





Snuffed, like a candle by the weeping wind, your tendrils drift
Unchained, unwoven, melody of mist on silver sage
Un-etched in ink against a blotted page
Where do you rove, oh, dear and darling wisp?
The echo of a moment almost kissed

Have you found for yourself a home, sweet home?
Do you fly now; free as a kite with no string
Or did you plummet to the dirt like a bird with a broken wing?
Will you be a vagabond, forever to roam?
Are you happy; my dear, darling almost-poem?

I would have held and shaped you, sweet shadow-thought
But you slipped away beneath my glance
Melting to the brawny breeze, now you dance
Far from my touch; or have you perchance been caught
And by the pen of another poet, taught?

© Janet Martin

Life-song or Dirge?





This rain-song spilling over hill and plain
Or hissing beneath tires on the street
And gathering in puddles on the lane
To taunt the eager tread of childish feet
Is it the merry melody of May?
This canticle of silver eighth-note splurge
Heralding the dawn of a new day
Is it a life-song or celestial dirge?

Minute eclipses wash in moment-tides
From shore to shore; we live, laugh, love and learn
For who can see the brink where we collide
With mystic fathoms from which none return?
The flower lifts its cup to heaven’s draught
We lift our hands to partake of an hour
Before its filament dissolves to naught
Within the triumph of mute moment-power

Time is a drop tipped from a phantom grail
Its pier a grain of sand held in the clutch
Of ever-after’s infinite exhale
Where none escapes its everlasting touch
Who can translate the lilting doggerel
Of rain-song as it falls, a silver surge
Of pitter-patter greeting and farewell
Is it a life-song or a solemn dirge?

© Janet Martin

This morning the rain falls like a love-song…gentle and steady. For some of us it is merely a stanza in our life-song, for others a farewell dirge.

Live, laugh, love,
Dance in the rain,
For this day will never
Pass by again!

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14

Monday, May 27, 2013

Of Motives and Men





Lord, may our motive ever be
Not to out-do our fellowman
But simply, with humility
To be the very best we can

We all are creatures formed by You
Shaped differently yet much the same
Our motive in all that we do
Should be to glorify Your name

Forgive us Lord, if foolishly
We seek to gather praise of man
But help us to strive honestly
For You, to do the best we can

© Janet Martin


It seems track-and-field brings up the opportunity to speak of rejoicing with those who excel and if we happen to be one of those, then not to boast but to give God thanks for the ability.(the same applies academically, right?) In life's contests it really is about being the very best we can and then we have nothing to be ashamed of!
 I was so proud of Victoria as she graciously accepted mostly blue ribbons after 6 years of gleaning red. She has a class-mate who grew tall, lean and strong in the past year and this girl was beaming from ear to ear.

Rejoice with those who rejoice...even if there is a sting of disappointment.

Monday Morning in North America




 May we never forget those who fought/fight for freedom to enjoy  'a hard hat and a hammer'!


He grumbles that the food was cold
The price too high
And portions small
He fumbles for loose change
His cell phone rings
He takes the call

Outside the door the sunshine pools
In golden puddles
On the walk
The crossing guard waves from her post
A morning fixture
On the block

The laughter of a little child
And mother lingers
On the air
‘Fill ‘er up’ and ‘hey, what’s new’
‘My, how time flies’
Tongue’s common fare

We punch the clock to pay our bills
And marvel at
How swift kids grow
And no one thinks about a field
All lined with crosses
Row on row

© Janet Martin





Sunday, May 26, 2013

Of Perfect, Ordinary Days...





Years from now I won’t recall
How the sky draped, an azure shawl
Against the hills of emerald sweep
Or how a bud unfurled its deep
To grace the lowly lilac limb
With purple starlet diadem
In moments embraced near and dear
Against the back-drop of a tear

…or how the glimmer of an hour
Untwisted from time’s mystic bower
Pleased, teased, appeased thought’s hungry touch
Then slipped to naught within its clutch
Where filaments of this fine day
Like morning mist melted away
Anchored within gossamer glow
Where myriad forerunners go

And years from now I won’t recall
The tug as apple-blossoms fall
Pink fragments of an afternoon
Shaping Time’s soft, insistent tune
As love and longing’s harmony
Composes a sweet melody
Slipping into the silver haze
Of perfect, ordinary days

© Janet Martin



Saturday, May 25, 2013

We Will Never Be Alone



 

Wherever life may lead today
Through meadows plush or fields of stone
Though skies gleam gold or glower gray
We will never be alone

Autumn may snuff the boast of spring
Beneath Time’s weight of truth we groan
Yet in spite of what life may bring
We will never be alone

Though loneliness clenches our hearts
And pricks the core beneath our bone
Cling to the comfort Love imparts
For we will never be alone

What God has promised He will do
Dream-dust and tears are soon wind-blown
We cling to His word; it is true
And we will never be alone

© Janet Martin

Morning Celebration Song






Upon earth’s shores of sod we pause
To drink Hope’s wonder in
Dumbfounded in our thought because
Love cleanses our sin

Not love of mankind’s feeble schemes
But love coursing in red
The blood of Jesus Christ redeems
Where law and works fall dead

See how His grace unfolds the dawn
Then soon day’s breadth expires
The bud unfolds to sing its song
Then falls beneath wood-spires

The love of Jesus Christ our Lord
Flows infinite, eternal
From God to man freely out-poured
From Mystery supernal

For hatred, love; for our greed, hope
And for our sin redemption
We bow upon earth’s transient slope
In humble celebration

© Janet Martin

Amazing Grace

 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Of Fairy-tales, Nursery Rhymes and Dreamers...




Maybe there’s a little Cinderella in all of us
Waiting for a prince to come to the ball
Maybe in those poor, lonely, lovely eyes of blue
There is happily-ever-after, after all

Petals, stars, Humpty-Dumpty and tears fall
None can be put back together again
And if the dreamer out-lives the dream
He is miserable above all men

© Janet Martin

Just watched Inside Daisy Clover; some stark and moving scenes!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Still-life Pageant



 Photo

Oh, still-life pageantry embellishing the air
How fluently you come to me
Like whispers in a prayer

Then run those whispers near where I can almost touch
The echo of those days I love
In scenes I miss so much

Though my cup over-flows with laughter, love and hope
I feel the kiss of longing’s bliss
Ravage thought’s hidden slope

And when the day is still or filled with spring’s cadence
Then suddenly you come to me
In tender confidence

Oh, still life pageantry from fathoms silver-blue
I touch your face as I embrace
Those tender thoughts of you

© Janet Martin

This year's spring-cleaning is unlike any other. I am packing boxes for my daughter who is moving out when she gets married in the fall... a separate container with winter things, a 'don't send it to the thrift-store 'cause Emily might want it' box,  etc...Much opportunity for reflection and echoes.

Cherish the moment soon to be a memory!

Sheaves...





So, here we are
Another sheaf of moments granted
 For us to pursue
And we do,
Opening them with coffee,
As morning spills its silver silk
Over the hill
Into the valley
And mercy spills
Its gracious hope
To the heart

So here we are,
On this forward-facing journey
Not to the grave
But to a Gate
As we press fear into prayer
And hope into faith
Sweeping up spilled cheerios
And toast crumbs
With purpose
Because this sheaf of moments
Comes but once

So, here we are
The thresholds of flood and famine
Someday will
Fall away
As faith becomes sight
And treasure chests are opened
To reveal
The measure of our love
And the treasure of our hearts
Proven in sheaves
Of gathered moments

© Janet Martin




Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Quandary of the Spring-steward





Shall we declare this day a day of rest
And set aside our brooms and tools or plows
To taste in full the little wind that blows
Through lilac bloom and pastures newly dressed?

Then will we pause to touch those fingertips
Unfurling green in vast and sundry hues
Or savor purples, pinks and golden-blues
Spilling garrulously from nature’s lips?

Or shall we carry on and strive instead
To drink the cup of blessing midst our toil
Praising the God who nurtures soul and soil
For if we dance then who will buy our bread?

© Janet Martin

Arms of Love




Even as we grumble, stumble,
On this broken road of life
Even as we ponder, wonder
At its thrusts of grief and strife
Even as we clamor, stammer
Stilted prayers to God above
We are not alone but ever
Carried in His arms of love

© Janet Martin

Of Hugs and Holding

 



They draw and hold us near
A cradle in our grief
Enfolded in love’s arms
In tender-sweet relief

Compassion reaches out
Its consoling embrace
Comforts the broken heart
Within love’s kind solace

Lord, hold the suffering
And as our tear-drops fall
May we lean on Your arms
Beneath, around us all

© Janet Martin


  
One thing keeps re-impacting me as I view the images of the Oklahoma tornado; the arms, reaching, helping, holding, hugging...


Arms hold Tim Bosma's widow and child this morning at his memorial service in Hamilton.

Over and over I find myself praying, Oh Lord, hold the suffering and may they feel Your arms around them.

We live in a broken world but God's arms are open wide and He invites us to Him. He draws near to the suffering. "we never cry alone"