Monday, October 31, 2022

Awesome or Awe's Sum

Beauty burgeons and brims, even in the rain
The vault of earth and heaven's hymns overflows with refrains  

The beauty of the heavens and the earth awakens awe
Where short-lived showcases of birth soon yield to nature’s law
Where, like the train of God’s robe, glory’s fringes spill and brim
To fill the temple of the globe with ‘Holy’ holy’s’ hymn

The beauty of creation is made plain for all to see
Four-season celebration of Divine Authority
Where we are granted glimpses of a Better Timeless Place
While masterpieces of God’s love astonish human race

Beauty and brokenness cohere in breath stealing display
A mosaic of smile and tear, of warm gold and cold gray
Where the bliss of beholding cannot thwart the fundament
Of farewell’s kiss enfolding what no sigh can circumvent

Where beauty’s bowers thunder with the evidence of He
Whose miracle in wonder is perfect humility
As we fix our gaze on Him rather than selfish aim
As earth and heavens coffers brim with glory to His name

The beauty we behold on earth on That Glad Day will dim
As our mortal death gives birth to an immortal hymn
The miracle of wonder’s perfected humility
The pure worship that thunders throughout all eternity

The beauty of creation is the whisper of yon cast
As stuttered exaltation finds love’s perfect words at last
As broken hearts are mended and as Eden is restored
The blood-washed soul ascended and forever with the Lord

© Janet Martin

Of Goodness and Mercy

 Surely Goodness, Surely Mercy -Shane and Shane

God’s Goodness: what delight this confidence bestows
His goodness does not shift like shadows through life’s highs and lows
But, steadfast and secure in spite of creature care
The full assurance of His goodness combats dark despair
Where we who trust in Him, and His goodness unfurled
Are part of His Goodness, to bring hope to a dying world
To cheer the suffering, to bear their burden too
To be a ready offering of His goodness run through

God’s mercy: what sweet joy and consolation bless
No foe or trouble can destroy mercy’s kind faithfulness
Sin’s pardon has been won. No other fete achieves
What mercy grants to everyone who repents and believes
Where we would deserve death and hell, grace sets us free
His mercy fills Final Breath’s knell with shouts of victory
For through death’s valley, He will walk with us, so near
To overthrow the enemy so that we need not fear

Goodness and mercy, oh, let endless praise begin
His goodness for our want and woe, His mercy for our sin
Wherever life may lead, whatever may befall
Goodness and mercy intercede to help us through it all
Where so unworthy we, heirs and joint heirs of Christ
Benefit from the agony that Jesus sacrificed
To draw all men to Him, the Perfect Prince of Peace
Where His goodness and mercy brim from founts that never cease

The glass through which we peer does not reveal the whole
A darkly, sorrow-scarred veneer enshrouds the deathless soul
Where what we see in part often vexes our gaze
Goodness and mercy’s works of art above our thoughts and ways
Because the cruciform of faith and hope and love
Must bear the testing storm its authenticity to prove
But, whatever betide, of grief and pain and strife
Goodness and mercy will preside all the days of our life

© Janet Martin

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not [a]want.
2 He makes me to lie down in [b]green pastures;
He leads me beside the [c]still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will [d]dwell in the house of the Lord

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Of Paling Autumn-tide...

Tucked between stunning sunrises and sunsets
a week of busy, beautiful autumn days and fall foliage farewells
whirled away...

Of senses steeped in heavens heaped with bottomless azure
Of hunger held where moments meld to moments like felled leaves
of awesome blaze of autumn days, no awed gaze can secure
of joy and grief as leaf-by-leaf earth gathers final sheaves

of happiness and loneliness in autumn’s madrigal
of dappled skies as lullabies are loosened from the limb
of mellow, yellow bliss in the felicity of fall
of landscapes glossed with leaves of frost as lofty tapers dim

of garnet, gold, and umber soldering of farewell’s kiss
of tattered music sheets scattered like fleets on leaf-tossed seas
of vain attempt to circumvent the haste of What Yet Is
of precious days soon blazoning a maze of memories

of hearts beguiled by art run wild in unrivaled release
of brooding blues and dazzling hues in myriad shades of red
of purple hills as morning spills its molten masterpiece
of worship’s woo as winds undo bronze buttons overhead

of pure delight footloose, in spite of ties that snare and bind
of heartstrings caught in every thought besotted by fall’s bow’r
of senses keened by tresses weaned, to what is soon behind
of season spent and reason bent with remnants of lent flow’r

of wisdom earned by lessons learned of what no one can stay
of now and here hinged to a sphere of ages out of reach
of you and I beneath a vault of sky, crowning today
of urge and whim soft burgeoning with what remains to teach

of ‘love-you-so’ and letting go and ‘oh-don’t-leave-me-yet’
of weathering the tethering of dusk-bathed countryside
of cherishing the precious perishing leaf-pirouette
of ships that sail upon a vale of paling autumn-tide

of glint and glance of dizzy dance of leaves across the yard
of taking stock of tick and tock’s inevitable claim
of shadows thinned by a cold wind raking a boulevard
of wooden wicks like candlesticks snuffed of life’s little flame

of scarves of smoke draped on an ochre ambience of death
of days undone by ways common to man since Time was spun
of a rag quilt, pieced, stitched and spilt with every sacred breath
of silver ilk, like milkweed silk snagged on a ray of sun

© Janet Martin

Friday, October 28, 2022

The Believer's Awe

1 Cor.13:7-8

Love...bears all things, 
believes all things, 
hopes all things, 
endures all things.
Love never fails.

Love makes worthwhile and beautiful the oft-not-glamourous 
And fills each would-be-common-task with sacred happiness...

Love, for the Lord our God
Oh, may this ever be
The driving force that stays the course
Of faith’s fidelity

Love, humble, kind and true
As earth and heaven meet
Self, sacrificed, the cross of Christ
Enough for joy complete

Love, transcending time’s tide
Where trouble oft dismays
Though woe assails, love never fails
For God is love always

The doctrine faith defends
Anoints love’s altar call
As we embrace the truth and grace
For Christ, love’s all, in all

Do not despair, though love
Must suffer many tears/fears
Beneath its pain the sacred gain
Of soul’s salvation cheers

Then, with Reason renewed
Until the end of days
May Mercy’s Rose of love compose
An offering of praise

...and fill us with delight
In spite of much amiss
God's Spirit of comfort and love
 Instills us with His kiss

Love, the Divine decree
Love, the Redeemer's law
Love, the True Light, faith's pow'r and might
Love, the Believer's Awe

© Janet Martin

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

For Bearers of Hurts and Disappointments

So much of faith's fight is fought in the hidden battlefield of the heart
where often God alone is witness of its tender triumphs and death-defying defeats!
God's call to faithfulness is not for the faint of heart nor for half-hearted endeavors!
Faithfulness is an all-in fight to the finish
often riddled with hurts and disappointments.

1 Cor.9:24-26
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize?
 Run in such a way as to take the prize. 
25Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. 
They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable. 
26Therefore I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight like I am beating the air. 
27No, I discipline my body and make it my slave, 
so that after I have preached to others, 
I myself will not be disqualified.

This poem began when dawn dripped from coral eaves...

Now the day is almost done awash with rain and leaves...

Where hurt and disappointment rakes relentless talons through
Where we wrestle with sacred stakes witnessed by only You
Where we are often tested by the fires of dismay
Our motives tried and tempted by the liar’s merchant sway
Where touch cannot make manifest, nor visage intervene
The substance of hope’s hidden quest of evidence unseen
Where the strait gate which faith is warned to press and strive toward
Bids us to endure hardness like a soldier for You, Lord

Bids us to put on the full armour only You supply
Bids us to be on guard for the Charmer of cunning ply
Bids us to lay our all upon altars of sacrifice
Bids us to heed the call without aversion to the price
Bids us to bear love’s cross in faith’s response of gratitude
Where what appears as loss on earth is but Heaven’s prelude
Where hurt and disappointment clings to grace that will not fail
While we wrestle with Reckonings that Your face will unveil

Grace crowns the law of Moses with the law of love’s decree
Knowing Your love that chose us is the law that sets us free
That the gift of salvation no mortal creed can undo
There is no condemnation for all who are found in You
Knowing You are not mocked; and that we will reap what we sow
Knowing not how we talk but walk is the fruit that will grow/show
While hurt and disappointment undo and refine the part
That only You bear witness to; the throne room/war room of the heart

Lord, there is nothing hid from You; nothing impossible
Where hurts and disappointments rue, You work the miracle
Where transformation’s work is wrought, not on a bed of ease
But in the thick of what is not according to our ‘please’
As we yield fear and dread and doubt to faith to undergird
And do not take one step without reliance on Your Word
Where hurts and disappointments hone the heart, so oft betrayed
To fix its hope and trust upon the Cornerstone You laid

© Janet Martin

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Beyond the Gold and Blush of Dawn...

Ah, look! The book of days reopens to a spotless page
A wellspring of love’s wonder beckons us to center stage...

Behold, the gold and blush rampart where dark of night abates
Where more than welkin works of art fling wide dawn’s gleaming gates
But rather, like an altar call, to all of humankind
To love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind

We are His workmanship; in I AM’s sacred image made
His word alone fit to equip us not to be afraid
For He is always with us our ‘Onward’ to attend
He watches our footsteps for He is a faithful friend

All hail the hope that the Creator mastered in His plan
Where truth is not bespoken, catering to whims of man
And love is not a fashion statement pleasing vanity
But unselfish and patient with modest humility

Ah, love commits to daily dying to learn how to live
Its law guards against gods defying the command to ‘give’
It sees beyond the bond of duty and earth’s brief reward
To precious, promised beauty of 'forever with the Lord’

Ah, look! The book of days reopens to a spotless page
A wellspring of love’s wonder beckons us to center stage
To perform acts of kind compassion and obedience
To live out this life’s ration, mindful of the recompense

What waste, the sorry hasting to fill this world’s transient trove
Or hunger bent on tasting what is never quite enough
But what joy beyond measure when we yield our heart and soul
To He who grants the treasure of the faith that makes us whole

What pure and glad assurance mediates anxiety
As we run with endurance to the joy that waits to be
Beyond the gold and blush divide where dark of night abates
Where gates to endless day swing wide where God in Heaven waits

© Janet Martin

After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, 

1 Thess.4:16-18
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, 
with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, 
and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise. 
After that, we who are alive and remain 
will be caught up together with them 
in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
 And so we will always be with the Lord.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Ode to October (literally and metaphorically)


When season-end baskets and bowls
Cradle final gleaning that tolls
With future gardens gathered in...

When garden gourds are gathered in
When woodland awning starts to thin
When Jack Frost takes a predawn stroll
Across each frond, pond, nook and knoll
When landscapes start to don the hues
Of purple, umber, bronze and blues
When nature is like a lodestone
Drawing us from work to be done
When the wind’s kiss pinches and nips
Ears, noses, chins, and fingertips
And sunrise skies are stark and sheer
We know October’s end is near

When like a gush of waterfalls
Hearts bear a rush of madrigals
That beg for brushes, ink and page
And yet no artwork can assuage
The bittersweetness of the sense
Of bare feet shod with recompense
Driving the wearer of dues wild
With whispers of Forever’s Child
Because for all that time does steal
It leaves behind the kind appeal
Of happiness’s eager joy
Akin to a hungry schoolboy

When a brisk broom nobody sees
Chases a brood of laughing leaves
Across the stubble-stippled lea
Of summer’s silenced symphony
When apple orchards don the pall
Of Bygone’s quiet, hallowed hall
Where voices danced, drifted and rang
As pickers bantered, jived and sang
When market stands are heaped with fare
That busy, calloused hands put there
When harvest-bustle dwindles down
Turning earth into a ghost-town

When rustle-fell and footsteps merge
When want and wonder taunt and surge
When echoes stir the settled dust
Of pretty, petalled wanderlust
When joy and sorrow intertwine
Like buds betrayed by brittle vine
When golden tapers start to dim
To labyrinths of darkened limb
And front porch lights dapple the dusk
Like warm welcomes against the brusque
And brooding, lowering of eves
Awash with rain and wind-tossed leaves

When little cakes and cups of tea
Adapt an ache of luxury
And books, like patient, paper friends
Wait, where winter will make amends
When season-end baskets and bowls
Cradle final gleaning that tolls
With future gardens gathered in
To box, or bag, or crocks, or tin
As jar upon jar testifies
Of Bounty’s mercy-laden prize
And gold and green turns bare and brown
As Autumn lays its glory down

When pots simmer with supper soup
And contentment is like a troop
Of hungry helpers warmed and fed
With soup and cheese and fresh baked bread
When The Poet wrangles to rhyme
A very precious sense of time
...we ought to take to touch and taste
What none can keep yet none can haste
But simply treasure as it rolls
Like sea-song across hearts and souls
To listen to its lyrics played
Before its notes of color fade

When Mother Nature claps her hands
With final no-nonsense demands
We know October’s end is near
Ah, time enough to shed a tear
After the pangs of what must be
Become pictures in poetry
After the hatches of the land
Are battened down by a firm hand
Tucking the town and country lane
Beneath a downy counterpane
When hearths flicker, crackle and grin
While winter softly closes in

When, with the turning of the sod
We trust the providence of God
Who cups the crux of season-strains
In law and order He maintains
In the beauty that He designs
In the goodness that He refines
In the perfection of the plan
Above the ways and wiles of man
Then, with the deaths that Autumn brings
We do not fret the Yet of things
Because the Love that tolls time’s bell
Instills hello in each farewell

The appetite of hungry clocks 
Insists we put on shoes and socks
Insists we turn the other cheek
For rebel-rousing rogues to tweak
Insists we yield; futile to fight
The fortitude of day and night
Insists we learn how to let go
Of No Returns that we love so
Insists on pressing crease by crease
The telltale signs of Autumn's Lease
Insists on teaching us to dress
Our naked wants with thankfulness  

© Janet Martin

When apple orchards don the pall
Of Bygone’s quiet, hallowed hall..

Friday, October 21, 2022

Because of God Who Loves Us Faithfully

 With glory, pouring out the morning sky...

Isaiah 30:18
Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
 therefore He rises to show you compassion, 
for the LORD is a just God. 
Blessed are all who wait for Him.

After a stretch of no sunrises,
the glorious colours of today's dawn 
were welcomed and beheld with eager joy!

Because of God who loves us faithfully
And hems us in with Hands no foe can wend
With Knowledge far too wonderful for me
With mercy, more than thought can comprehend
With glory pouring out the morning sky
With goodness spread like a lavish buffet
Before the sorry likes of you and I
With steadfast joy no sorrow can dismay
With grace, the only grace that breaks death’s curse
With hope that anchors the immortal soul
With awe that He who tends the universe
Indwells us with the faith that makes us whole
Compelling us to love’s devout reply
With deeds that bear faith’s witness undeterred
With self-surrender’s humble ‘here am I’
With earnest heed to all that we have heard
Without reserve, to let our longing be
Fulfilled by what the cross of Christ has won
Because of God who loves us faithfully
And in our sorry stead, offered His Son
To be the sacrifice for our sins
To pay its debt no mortal could defeat
To prove hate, death and darkness never wins
To rise again, salvation’s work complete
…and nothing can annul what He has done
While generations rise and fall like waves
The Mighty Cornerstone of Christendom
Abides, astride earth’s girth stippled with graves
That harbor dust and ash of toil and strife
But not the Soul, returned with tender care
To He whose love will search the Book of Life
To see if the soul’s name is written there

...Because of God who loves us faithfully
Because of the cruel cost/cross His dear Son braved
We need not dread Death’s dismal certainty

© Janet Martin

And in that day it will be said, "Surely this is our God; 
we have waited for Him, and He has saved us. 
This is the LORD for whom we have waited. 
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation."

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness,
 but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish
 but everyone to come to repentance.

John 3:14-19
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Where Autumn is Life's Sister...

This morning I asked Victoria to take a picture as a keepsake of the sacred commonplace...

Of countless times in our 34 years of marriage,
Jim realizing, he could arrange his route to come by the house
to grab a coffee and breakfast sandwich etc.
giving me a heads-up call when he is almost here so he can just pull over,
trade empty containers for full ones
and carry on with a thank-you and see you in a few days...

As I turned and looked at the yard, frigid with first snowflakes
 but clinging valiantly to its glow of gold
like Woman vainly gripping the fraying edges of the garb of middle age,
 the need for this poem of why I love Autumn so much,
 washed over me...

The woo of purple blue scarves draped on skyline filigree
The curb appeal of Today, caped in Autumn’s finery
The holiness of hunger no five-star meal can assuage
The happiness of wonder too epic for ink and page
The glory of the hilltop cascading its color-roar
Like an Artist’s tipped palette immersing the valley floor
The rush of season-splendor undulating, wave on wave
An orchestra of grandeur serenading the cold grave
As sweep of rain song clinches nature’s prey to gray archives
Gold leaves like drunken finches sail from trees in wild nose dives

The sorrow of surrender and its bittersweet relief
Time’s touch, so harsh, yet tender in the binding of the sheaf
The land, a grand portrayal of meager glimpses of He
Who overflows earth’s table with fringes of majesty
The bright October afternoon poured from welkin canteen
In a mirage-collage of June’s peppermint, misty green
July’s gold wheat fields rippling, August’s aquamarine sea
September’s orchards twinkling like glass jars of rosehip tea
The poet, as she grapples with time’s ever-ebbing swell
Of blossoms turned to apples, of hello turned to farewell

The sense of Something Sacred swirling, slipping, tripping by
An elfin ballerina twirling on a splash of sky
A sentimental molding of love’s carousel of crumbs
Of holding soon enfolding what all letting go becomes
An impression of moments caught like petals in an urn
Of girls becoming women in a world of no return
Of murmurs snared from summers sparkling like a bit of brook
Through pages filled with darkling pictures tucked into a book
Where autumn is Life’s sister walking through joy rife with grief
An empathetic whisper unraveling leaf by leaf

© Janet Martin

A Sonnet of Wonderment/Confoundment

‘Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth
by Your great power and outstretched arm.
There is nothing too hard for You.

Time cannot shift the Hand that tunes the tide
That manifests God’s ancient covenant
That ebbs and flows across the countryside
To author amaranthine wonderment

Where we could shout until no voice is left
The height and breadth of beauty to descry
Only to concede mortal is bereft
Of words to adequately gratify

…the thirst that bursts into a hymn of praise
Too grand for script of syllable and rhyme
To God, who never ceases to amaze
Unphased, He proves the changeless ways of Time

And rouses from Confoundment's inept mold 
Agape stutters of 'Ah, Lord God, behold.'

© Janet Martin

“While the earth remains, 
Seedtime and harvest, 
Cold and heat, 
Winter and summer,
 And day and night 
Shall not cease.”

Psalm 40:5
Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders You have done,
 and the plans You have for us--
none can compare to You--
if I proclaim and declare them, 
they are more than I can count.

Great are the works of the LORD;
 they are pondered by all who delight in them.

Psalm 92:5
How great are Your works, O LORD, 
how deep are Your thoughts!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

A 'Sister' Poem


My sisters-left to right, youngest to oldest with mom
(She took the sister-pic) went out today to
celebrate my youngest sister's 50th birthday!
A most, precious day💖

Happy 50th, Baby Sis!

Dear mother... (turning 80 on Nov.1st, Lord willing)

We share a sweet comradery
A bond second to none
Where once upon our mother’s knee
Its beauty was begun

Where once upon a little girl
We could not comprehend
The oyster that concealed the pearl
Of both sister and friend

The forge of home-sweet-work-and-play
And tit-for-tat-and such
Disguised the precious, priceless fray
Soft-tumbling through our touch

Where, in the warp and weave of years
That slip and spill and sweep
The brunt of love and life endears
Us to its flying leap

And to the quirks that make us, Us
For better or worse, oh
We laugh, misunderstand and fuss
And love each other so

And marvel at the way time trips
Through youth and middle age
And help each other come to grips
With each new, untried stage

While sharing books and recipes
And strolls down memory lane
And tugs and hugs and sympathies
With no need to explain

While marveling at what unfurls
Like pearls, caught in a jar
Where we will always be ‘mom’s girls’
However old we are

Where what began on mother’s knee
Continues the fine art
Of what sisters will always be
Forever young at heart

© Janet Martin