Friday, November 29, 2013

Still the Same Jesus

He loves us so; His truth transcends these corridors of earth
As angels told the shepherds in the hour of His birth
A Savior has been born to you and He is Christ the Lord
The Shepherds did not understand yet took them at their word
And hastened to the place to see this thing the angels said
Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus in a manger bed

 I wonder if the angels came to me one silent night
Would I in haste forsake my post so that faith would be sight?
Or would indifference and unbelief cause me to scorn
The thought that the Messiah in a stable would be born?
The Shepherds did not question; when the multitude had gone
They said, let us go now and see this thing the Lord made known

He loves us so and did not seek a throne, this Son of God
This Holiest of Holies chose the lowliest of sod
The utter humbleness of Him who came to earth to die
Fills me with thoughts I cannot pen, though ever I may try
He loves us so; and fills with grace that debt we could not pay
With His own blood, the Son of God washed every guilt away

…and when I see the manger now and think on why He came
I tremble at the joy and peace we find in Jesus’ Name
For just as in the days of old He loves each one of us
The story that the angels told is still the same Jesus
God is not dead; oh, let our praises fill earth’s stricken slope
And let the Reason for this Season be our Living Hope

© Janet Martin

I Like the Tender Thought of You

I like the tender thought of you
My dear, soft in my heart
The whisper of another year
Preparing to depart
Reminds me that we cannot know
Within its phantom pull
Who will remain and who will go
When this year’s cup is full

I’m glad to know that you are always
Just a thought away
And often there I cherish you
And often there I pray
The tender thought of you is like
A smile that does not dim
You wrap its song around me
In a sweet and sacred hymn

I’m glad a thought can be enough
When you are far from me
This is the wonderment of love
A splendid mystery
But in its miracle of hope
It sets the spirit free
I like the tender thought of you
To keep me company

© Janet Martin

Ether Art

He dipped His brush in pastel pink
Then stenciled on the wall
A silhouette of ether ink
The Aftermath of Fall

© Janet Martin

So It Will Be

 Another awesome sky morning...

Write a commercialism poem...

He does not need commercials
To draw our eyes to Him
His wonder fills the morning sky
And spills from every limb
When He speaks none can silence
Beginning and the End
I AM declares and so IT IS
Forevermore, Amen

© Janet Martin

The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen. Isa. 14:24

We Need More!

 For today’s prompt, write a commercial poem.

The latest plastic gadget amplifies a futile thirst
Beneath a cry for more and more it seems that we are cursed
And when the thrill of new wears thin we turn to search again
For something that will satisfy the growling void within

They scream for our attention with a ‘don’t pay now’ control
Commercialism drawing innocence into a hole
As greed and need are misconstrued in colors that appeal
…an eighty-inch home-theater to watch a third world reel

Are colored balls the answer to our hungering for more?
Is happiness a promise that we purchase at a store?
…or better yet, don’t leave your comfy chair, but simply sign
Our life-savings into the air; now we can buy on-line!

This credit-craze is Holidays; the Christ-child has no part
For He Himself was Heaven’s gift to satisfy the heart
And only He can quench our thirst; though merchants ply and plead
Peace, joy and love, His gift to us is all the More we need

© Janet Martin

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,

Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isa. 9:6-7

Thursday Thoughts...on Friday

To labor is sweet and its task no rod
When done through, by and for
Our God


May thankfulness not be to me
Something to munch upon
Lest I stop singing joyfully
When the last crumb is gone
But may it be a humble song
In all that life imparts
May praise be more than words of tongue
But measures of the heart


Blow, little breeze, though the birds are all gone
And morning is starched silencing
Winter, in all its white bliss will move on
Bird-song will return in the spring


My daughter likes to tell me
In her wisest, weary tone
Not everything in life composes
Parable or poem
Someday, I pray she’ll ponder
An echo from her past
And realize that poetry
Spins every stitch we cast
And Providence will use
Life’s meekest, ordinary things
To weave lessons Eternal
With Time’s temporary strings


The pulsing heart, the warmth of flesh
Is one half-breath
From present-death
Then we will see The Great Unseen
There is no ‘somewhere in-between’


The utter silence of the night
Should render not a thing to hear
But longing has an appetite
And silence has a hungry ear


There’s something ‘bout the gentle glow
Of midnight moonlight on the snow  
It seemed to me the way it shone
That Heaven left its porch-light on

Oh, sweet and blessed truth
When all my storms are braved
He will not judge me by my guilt
It is by grace I’m saved


Do not stand idle long
But just to hear the song
Of Nature’s praise and Heaven’s grace
Do not stand idle long


I must go
The night has bent
Tomorrow to today
And soon the little night that’s left
Will softly melt away


Thursday Thoughts landed on Friday, it seems
Goodnight and sweet dreams…


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Of Those Things We Say...or Forget To

We say, please put your things away
And, did you brush your teeth today?
And will you do ‘that chore’ this way
Like all the times I’ve shown you?
We say, ‘it’s going to snow again
And, will you bring the laundry in?
Or, try to do the best you can
And, who wants fried bologna?
We talk about all kinds of things
The news that life’s misfortune brings
The intricacy of heart-strings
Or mood of skies above you
But in our smattering of speech
As we debate, laugh, learn and teach
Will we, before day’s end is reached
Say and repeat, I love you,
I love you,
I love you too...

© Janet Martin

Tonight the ‘goodnight, I love you’s’ touched me a-new. There are some things that just do not grow old. Suddenly I recalled the above scene from The Waltons…although they do not 'say' I love you, you can hear it:)

It Snowed Last Night...

It snowed last night; the kind that fell kiss-soft as feather-down
Until each fence-row, tree and house was tucked into its gown
And earth, once tan and bronze and green, like nature’s patchwork quilt
Is transformed to a sparkling sheen of silver-sequined silk

Existence is a sea of stars; the world a foreign strand
Above and all around Time is a white-washed wonderland
And we, the wondering creatures gaze to where the old is new
And once again we are amazed at what our God can do

Each hilltop is a pillow and each hollow is a bed
Each barren field a ballroom where the breezes pirouette
It snowed last night; the kind that wrapped the earth in heaven-fleece
Each diamond-flake a miracle and stunning master-piece

Sacred and still its silence speaks;  and everyone may know
Though our sins were as scarlet we are washed as white as snow
And no one here can wander past the reaches of God's grace
It snowed last night; a mercy-mantra mantling every place

© Janet Martin

 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isa. 1:18

The Part of Her...

The part of her that’s mother
Must cheer, rebuke and teach
She holds them close and let’s them go
But not beyond prayer’s reach

The part of her that’s daughter
Gleans from her long ago
Some memories to empathize
With present ‘yes’ and ‘no’

The part of her that’s wife
Must be passion’s pure flame
A kind and patient confidant
Lest home-fires slowly wane

The part of her that’s woman
Must have friends, dear and real
To share, over a cup of tea
Things only women feel

The part of her that’s girl
Ah, that will be the key
To living out her other roles
That life calls her to be

© Janet Martin

There are days I need to search hard to find her,that last one, then suddenly the sky is filled with snowflakes; I look up, up into the dizzy air, open my mouth to catch a flake or two, and suddenly she is there...walking in from the barn after chores, lugging a milk pail but stopping to listen to the cold and to twirl in the whirling free-fall of fantasy.


PAD Challenge, Day 28; For today’s prompt, write a bird poem. Pick a bird, any bird, and write a poem about it. Or just write a poem that happens to have a bird somewhere in it. Or, well, you know the drill by now–use your imagination!

They sit in the bushes content to wait
Thirsty for blood or a head on a plate
Not unlike the cat who sits all day
Ready to snare unsuspecting prey

© Janet Martin

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Re-mix...

November PAD Challenge; day 25

For today’s prompt, take a poem from earlier in the challenge (that you’ve written) and remix it. You could take a free verse poem and re-work it into a villanelle or shadorma. You could re-work multiple poems into a new one. You could take a line from one of the poems and write a response poem to it. Or you can take it in an entirely different direction.

  prompt 22 re-vamped to a sonnet

Earth, like an umber casket
Has cradled every bloom
November mourns, its heavy robe  
Enshrouds each stricken plume
For nature’s fairer filament
Has fallen; flow’r and leaf
Slumbers where wretch and prince preside
Bound for its steadfast sheaf

Moment folds over moments
Ephemeral eclipse
Of petals, poems and parting
And then its present slips
Into the crypt of ‘bygone’
An unrelenting plot
Of had and held remembered
And none exhumes its lot

The remora of hours
Does not release its prey
It drinks a field of flowers
And turns raven to gray
November’s stark procession
Bows where its laughter fell
Its dirge, a somber silence
Beneath Time’s evening bell

A sonnet
Earth, like an umber casket holds each bloom
for all things living are bound for decay
November mourns; its solemn robe of gloom
enshrouding brittle plume in brown and gray
The fairer filament of countryside
is stripped of fawning fern; of flow'r and leaf
They slumber now where wretch and prince preside
before we too lie in its steadfast sheaf 
The ticking clock offers no hint or clue
To tell us when That Great Roll Call is due 

Moment folds over moment; soft the lips
of Time part to exhale another hour
Future, present and past in sync eclipse
Man's days are like the wind-blown grass and flow'r
The crypt of bygone, an unyielding plot
yet every half-breath moment resides there
where no one can exhume its tethered lot
or beg a refund for its squandered fare
There is no Time with He who holds our script
and none can tell how far The Scale is tipped

The remora of hours tips Time's flask
A week, a year evaporates like rain
This pioneer does not release its clasp
nor turn the snow-white lock to gold again
November's stark procession bows its head
Where summer's laughter fell now all is still
Save for a dirge of wind-song for the dead
Beneath Time's evening bell day yields its will
We pause to reminisce, somber, astute
for soon each one of us will follow suit


Gossamer Change

The other day as Emily left I realized, now that she’s married some things are the same; I am still mother, but suddenly we relate, not only as mother and daughter but as wives…

I could only half-sense then
How life changes with ease
Well-wishers fading to the night
Like laughter on the breeze
And memories tucked tenderly
Into thought’s treasure-trove
Change wears gossamer subtlety
Her fingers brush the grove
With echoes where our summer fell
In leaf by leaf descent
As hours from an ether well
Unveiled their mute intent
And Change, disguised as dinner-times
Or duty’s endless noise
Exchanged those goodnight nursery-rhymes
And boxes full of toys
For other loves and interests
Through fleeting touch they pass
A swift and soundless earnestness
In living’s hourglass
While firesides still flicker
Bells peal for joy and grief
And every year is quicker
Change is such a silent thief
Yet gives within its taking
If we pause we will see
That Change is ever shaping
Those things still meant to be

© Janet Martin

Change...oh, what a quiet constant.

In my tidyings this morning I smiled at this memory…
When I returned home yesterday afternoon after coffee at a friend’s house the little guy I babysit was tired so I wrapped him in his ‘blankie’ and sang nursery songs and rhymes and read poetry. He loved it turning his face up to touch mine every so often with a big smile and instantly I was transported to tender ‘long agos’…

His 4. yr. old brother Nicholas keeps me in constant laughter. Years ago I sewed a few rag dolls when my girls were little and as we were sorting through some toys yesterday I remarked that ‘we really need to get rid of some stuff, there’s too much here’
‘Oh, I play wiff evwee-fing, he said then paused suddenly and gingerly picked up a rag-doll by the hem of her dress, ‘actually, you can get wid of dese, I don’t play wiff dem!’

Of Sorrow and Sovereignty

Down the road in a bed for two she sleeps, when she can
Somehow, on a night like this when I hear the wind grovel
And moan
I think that lonely is lonelier and the dark night darker
…more cold
And I think of that widow who wonders how she will bear her grief
Until she is old
Then, I shed a tear and plead to One who knows each sorrow
And each grief
And I pray that somehow He will hold her now and let her
Find relief

© Janet Martin

Please, if you care, pray for this widow with a large family. Often I think of her, but even more so when the wind is screaming and tearing at the night.

Isa. 61 begins with the good tidings of salvation...
 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,…Isa.61:1-2

And Then, oh Then

PAD Challenge day 27

For today’s prompt, write a local poem. By local, I’m thinking of something that happens or has happened in your neck of the woods, but you know, I’m never against poets bending and/or breaking my rules. So feel free to play with the concept of local however you wish.

We cavorted awhile beneath
her clear yawning cerulean sheath
before it fell away to gray
and things foreign to middle-May

The buxom stem and heady green
are caught beneath a silver sheen
and all that lingers of that crown
are stems, stiff, petrified and brown

 The color of the wind is stone
as he wanders bereft, alone
And honey-gold of August's noon
has turned to sugar on her spoon

We pour our morning cup 'o joe
gazing to world's all wrapped in snow
where not so long ago we laughed
barefoot down summer's garden path

This overture of silver sheen
ushered from ether tambourine
will play its piece and then, oh then
it will be flower-time again

Janet Martin

It sounds as though 'wonderland' is in for another topping;)

Life Never Stands Still


PAD challenge; day 24

For today’s prompt, write a poem that responds to a statement.

*Life never stands still so wait and see what will unfold, my dear
Today the cloud that hides the hill by dawn may disappear
And where the tear that dims the eye may drive us to despair
Time may unfold a field of gold or flowers for your hair

Life never stands still and soon what is will softly dissipate
Eventually my dear, all things will come to those who wait
And then you'll see the irony; laughter and tear alike
Soon whisper where we stand and stare at echoes in the night

Life never stands still; both good and ill will fill our cup a bit
Before its spills to weighted quills or simply where we sit
And thus we learn; we love, we yearn, it is the way of men
But never will a day return to fill our cup again

 Janet Martin

*From Larkrise to Candleford

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


 When the night drapes gray-blue, over valley and bluff
snuffing tree-spiked horizons from view
or chimney flutes; save where streetlight puffs
sallow halos on November's scuffed shoe
and the shroud of dusk unravels from skeins
frost-tinged before dinner is done
while the wind wanders over tattered remains
of autumnal threads and chapters spun
And as the hour crawls to day’s zenith and then
In one breath morrow becomes today
And today slips into that ether glen
Of never again and yesterday

...we bow our heads and thank the Lord
that He abides, changeless and sure
in spite of Time; we trust His word
and praise the Love that will endure


While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.~Psalm 146:2

Of Ink and Paper Storms...


I love the feel of paper page
Between my fingers; parchment stage
Where centuries of old unfold
Or fantasies of future-age

I love the smell of books, old, new
I quite enjoy the smell of glue
And ink; the kind that makes you think
Or evokes a tear or two

I love the rush; word touching word
As sense of time and place is blurred
And I am he or they or she
In every emotion stirred

I love the sound of ocean-roar
The salt-breeze as it pounds the shore
Of Scotland cliffs; I love the tiffs
Twixt man and woman, rich or poor

 …when spun upon a paper form
A gale of ink can rouse a storm
I love the touch of books and such
The wind howls, cold; Venice is warm…

© Janet Martin

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


   File:An Evening With The Hyena Man (2203295676).jpg  

There, where the brother slipped and fell
They lick their jowls and leap with glee
To pounce upon his misery
Lapping and tearing at his shell
Formed of like-dust, temptation-prone
Glibly they hurl stone after stone
Skulking-like hyenas they
Consume their fumbling, stumbling prey
Indignant at his sin, they spit
And jeer and point with judgment’s hand
Unlike the One who stooped, quiet
To write His verdict in the sand
They loom above his corpse with pride
Quite unaware of how he died…

© Janet Martin

 But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.…John 8:6-8

It is sickening to see the fodder for press and gossip sucked from struggling, stumbling fellow-men.

I Like It Here...

I like it here among the cheer
Of pots and pans and such
Where love of family and friends
Fills everything we touch
I like the way the little day
Slips by on common wings
Yet in its wake it cannot take
Life’s deeply valued things

I like it here, seasons and years
Paint pictures on its wall
And though we cannot hang them up
The heart can hold them all
We draw them near; laughter and tear
A juxtaposed finesse
Of paint-chips, prayer, rooms in repair
And heaven-happiness

I like it here, home; simple, dear
A launching pad it seems
As to and fro we come, we go
Chasing life’s care and dreams
Yet at day’s end the highways bend
Toward its humble dome
A fortress of faith, hope and love
And precious home sweet home

© Janet Martin

Sometimes all one can do is laugh at how quickly living’s love-touches fill shiny sinks and ‘garnish’ carefully arranged vignettes…

Monday, November 25, 2013

Worshipping Thee


Let us come Lord, to Your manger
Bow before your Majesty
For we know, unlike the shepherds
What Your call on earth would be

Let us bow in humble worship
Bring You gifts; thanksgiving, praise
‘Unto us a Son was given’
To redeem us from sin’s ways

Let us come as little children
Let our wonder be renewed
As the love of Baby Jesus
Fills our hearts with gratitude

Let us shout, ‘Lord, You are worthy’
Author of mercy and grace
Came from heaven as a baby
Suffering as human race

Let us seek in earnest fervor
As the wise-men, on that morn
And as we behold You, Jesus
Let our joy thus be re-born

Let our love and hope within us
Swell to heights not known before
As be bow before You, Jesus
Worshipping Thee Savior, Lord

© Janet Martin

 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. Luke 2:15


You smile and then the afternoon
Is but a sparkle in our thought
The twinkle of forget-me-not
Of lilac bloom and emerald June
Amalgamates with holly-hock
And golden-rod and milk-weed swoon
For nothing can escape the wheel
Affixing moments on its reel

…as summer’s lithe and buoyant breeze
Musters a deeper, darker tone
Mumbling in colors of a stone
Filling the air with stormy seas
And fantasies of things to come
A catalyst of memories
As leaf falls from the orchard where
We strolled as blossoms kissed the air

A child, splashing through innocence
And dandelion-fields and dreams
Could not evade your silent streams
And melodies of imminence
Soon stilled in retrospect’s requiems
Of battle and deliverance
The morrow spills its chalice to
Adorn some thought-wrought avenue

You smile and then another day
Climbs up into your winsome hold
The boy dreams wild, reckless and bold
Then wonders why his locks are gray
While seamlessly you fold, unfold
…Time, you are predator and prey
Pronounce-r of our days and years
You spin the thing that disappears

© Janet Martin

On Being the Youngest of Three Girls...

Blue hat, green scarf
Purple mittens, there she goes
I watch and chuckle at her style
In her sister’s cast-off clothes

Sister-sweaters, sister tops
‘Lucky’ her when sister shops
Nail-polish, perfume, jewelry
Slippers, purses…too many

Extra wallets, teddy-bears
Scarves and flowers for her hair
…what happens when you are half-grown?
You get big sister’s hand-me-downs

© Janet Martin

Victoria seldom/never complains but yesterday morning as we were trying to find a suitable top she stated, ‘Mom. Some of these clothes are so old I think they were old  from before Emily and Melissa’s days…’

As she headed out to school this morning I couldn't help but chuckle a little at her 'rain-bow' style. 

Guess who might be getting clothes for Christmas;)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Winter's Wonderland

Yesterday was a see-saw of flurries and sunny breaks all day long...

When winter wends her way to earth from regions far above
She decks the drab and ragged girth of hollow, hill and grove
And now the landscape beams once more; its robe of diamond-gem
Transforming nature’s stricken shore to glorious diadem

The laughter of each boy and girl is wafted on the wings
Of argent angel-canticle and Christmas whisperings
Up, up we look into the swirling, twirling filigree
And suddenly we too are whirling on earth’s starry sea

Softly she spreads her dazzling quilt across the country-side
Where green and gold of summer spilled before its evening-tide
Now we don hats and mittens; take our loved ones by the hand
As we all become children in a winter-wonderland

© Janet Martin

Why is it? Asked Matt yesterday after returning from scraping the ice off of the truck windows, ‘why is it that in the summer all we think about is the good things of winter?’
I told him my dad would say it’s the same reason we can look back to ‘the good old days’. We have a way of forgetting the unpleasantness.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I Shouldn't Be Here...

November PAD Challenge; day 13

For today’s prompt, write an “I shouldn’t be here” poem.

you do not throw a welcome mat for me to wipe my feet
I know I shouldn't be here but somehow it seems we meet
at the most unexpected times; I wish it wasn't so
You always leave me feeling like a masterpiece of woe...

You decorate the halls with doom and gloom and raw regret
and you like to remind me of those things I should forget
but in your disregard you spare no punches as your jeer
and bring me second helpings of your appetizer; fear

I really shouldn't be here, but I am against my will
You thrive beneath my faithless frown and ask, 'want a re-fill?'
Then every shameful failure sneers and rakes its claws of doubt
across my insecurities, ah, I want a way out

I cannot see an exit sign and its so dark in here
This room of 'what if's' has no window and no easy chair
Panic begins to set in; is there no other way?
But then I re-remember and close my eyes and pray


Friday, November 22, 2013

This Love Thing

‘Tis heavenly and hard
This love thing, my darling
This intricate balance
Of hold and release
And I never knew
In its early beginning
The finesse of love
Is both beauty and beast

Why is it, my darling
That those we love dearly
We hurt most deeply
In spite of intent
This having and holding
Is a kind, brutal molding
Compassion and courage
Comfort and torment

To love is to bear
Life’s most beautiful sorrow
We cannot love
And escape living’s grief
And yet, not to love
Is the saddest of longings
Love, a kind shoulder
And sorrow’s relief

‘Tis roses and thorns
This love thing, my darling
It's awesome heart-holding
A ruthless romance
And I never knew
In its early beginning
Both beauty and beast
Must learn how to dance

© Janet Martin