Friday, December 30, 2022

The Poet's Yoke


A waltz with words that waft and twirl across a ballroom floor
The laughter of a little girl drifting from worlds of yore
A sense of imminence immersed in steadfast, common care
Of workaday and bills to pay and suppers to prepare

A sentimental ballad slipping through matters of fact
The art of bearing verses while keeping façade intact
And balancing the beckoning of worlds in want of ink
With sensible responses like cleaning the kitchen sink

To siphon from life’s thrum the rolling of a sort of sea
Rife with glints of spent summer and tomorrow’s mystery
Requires tireless patience while panning for lilt and rhyme
(This is not for the faint of heart, the art stealing time)

The poet’s yoke is made of air yet weighs a whisper-ton
With lyrics waiting to be snared and tamed and poem-spun
From brooding skies and sparkling eyes, from goodbyes and hellos
Each day unfurls a paradise of poems to compose

The merchant laughs and stuffs the chaff of trade into his sack
The maiden blushes; hopes he looks while she is looking back
The traffic rushes, the rain hisses underneath each wheel
The poet smiles and gathers manna for another meal

The poet's yoke is lily-soft yet claws the cloak of souls
With merciless persistence because always death's bell tolls
And who knows when the pen may fall prey to its solemn chime 
As the poet turns to behold the Giver of the rhyme 
Oh, pray they serve with honor the onus of pen and page
Because the life of written word survives from age to age
And who knows who will pause to read the stuff of wrangled ink
Therefore, the yoke should weigh enough to make the poet think

© Janet Martin

Okay, that's all for today, folks!
Wow! and maybe this year!
 Depends how tomorrow goes!
With much love, 

Wishing for us all, for 2023
 a fresh awareness of God
and a deeper reverence for Him,
 from whom all blessings flow

A Little Lilt of Everlasting Praise

A little end-of-year reflection of thankfulness
and worship that pray, has barely begun!

Life is a collection of moment-pixels!
Give thanks! 

I confess its a bit of a Poem-blitz today...
a way to keep the wick of gladness trimmed and hope's flame lit, 
where so much sadness threatens to permanently snuff it, 
without reminders of why it never can! 

Thank-you for sin’s redemption paid through the blood of Your Son
Thank-you for full forgiveness for the wrongs that we have done
Thank-you for Your sweet promise as confession’s sorrows pour
When You forgive our sins, God, You remember them no more
Thank-you for the Lamp of Your Word to light the path of life
Because the throughway to Your throne is full of grief and strife
Thank-you that we have access where the temple’s veil is rent
To come to You, not through a priest but through Your covenant
Thank-you that what this world can never give, You will supply
Your wellsprings of goodness and love will never drain or dry
Thank-you for more than we deserve because You love us so
And nothing here is greater than the grace that You bestow
Thank-you for the true beauty of hope’s unmerited worth
To crown the countless beauties lavishing heavens and earth
Thank-you for what creation spills before our wond’ring eyes
Thank-you for what salvation seals, revealed in paradise
Thank-you for holy purpose in what would be commonplace
But love turns into worship’s joyful gratitude for grace
Thank-you for the gift of Today; where no two are the same
Thank-you that You hear everyone who calls upon Your name
Thank-you that You abide and that You work for our good
And that what we confide in You is always understood
Thank-you for eyes to see and ears to hear, thought to recall
Your precious promises and bounty's blessings great and small
For feet to walk and hands to tend to tasks or fold in prayer
Thank-you that whatever we ask, we know you hear and care
Thank-you for friends and family, for home, sweet home and such
For faces in our memory, we can no longer touch
For Your faithful companionship as we take up our cross
For the gain of your comfort in the pain of our loss
Thank-you that You are with us thus we are never alone
Thank-you, for every stumbling block, there is a stepping stone
Thank-you for food to eat and clothes to wear and work to do
Thank-you that You are absolute, omnipotent and true
Thank-you for what we learn through the bitter rue of mistakes
To humble wisdom's crown we earn as pride’s countenance breaks
Thank-you for gardens out-of-doors or on a windowsill
Thank-you for pups and kittens, for the birds that flit and trill
Thank-you for the raincloud that pours Your answer to our plea
For the wee baby that restores joy in humanity
Thank-you for soft sunshine that warms away cold winter’s gloom
Thank-you for seeds instilled with miracles of bud and bloom
Thank-you for toil’s gracious reward of slumber, sound and deep
Thank-you for vital vim restored after a good night’s sleep
Thank-you for a pricked conscience to rebuke the erring mind
For the refuge of perfect peace that all who trust will find
For Your green pastures and still waters, when courage obeys
For Your goodness and mercy to follow us all our days
Thank-you God for your faithfulness transcending time and place
For hymns made possible because You love vile, human race
Thank-you, oh God, that nothing is impossible with You
No matter what, there is nothing too hard for You to do
Thank-you that You have proven by what death’s tomb could not stay
Your power and Your glory and Your Kingdom now for aye
No army you can defeat You and no evil overthrow
For You have overcome the world, in spite of trouble’s woe
And all who repent and believe, fight a most worthwhile fight
For You will be the One they/we see when faith is turned to sight
Thank-you that You are slow to anger, abounding in love
And for your patient kindness as You chasten and reprove
Thank-you for living hope to spur us onward until we
Together with You Lord, thank you through all eternity

© Janet Martin

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Thoroughfares of Retrospect

Our mind is the control tower of our life~
Charles Stanley

As we look back on another year almost spent
we traverse thoroughfares of retrospect, don't we?!
My, oh my-oh-my!
What a showcase of mistakes and mercies!

Sometimes it appears technology has
reduced attention-spans to tik-tok sized snippets!
How much is lost at great cost!!
Listening to a message like the one below 
means taking the time to turn off distractions
in order to fuel thought with good counsel!
So worth the time it takes!
Will you join the millions and millions who 
have taken the time to listen to this message?

And if life does not allow the freedom right now to listen to the whole of it,
The first two minutes offer SO much to think about, 
until you have time for the remainder!

In retrospect we realize what matters does not change
Where guests that the mind entertains proves who we love the most
And though we cannot keep so much of what the years estrange
We can take careful charge of thought’s dinner-parties we host
And prepare with a wary heart, the table where Thought lolls
Before the hand reveals that part that the mind first cajoles

In retrospect we find what wise and fool's proof  cannot null
Who we love most is soon exposed by time’s tender romance
Who we revere and hold most dear is clearly visible
By what we choose and how we use the blessings that God grants
Where Thought is like a banquet table laden with buffets
Where so much good and so much bad can capture our gaze

In retrospect we see how swift time’s subtle shuttle flies
While tears and laughter spill, while we are often filled with awe
At lifetimes woven with the threads of dawn-to-dusk’s demise/disguise
Where thought is like an evil god if left to its own law
And ignorance is like a noose dangling from gallows where
Time’s subtle shuttles fly while Thought offers Fresh Thought a chair

In retrospect we oft admit we did not do our best
To bid Thought to pay sacred, meeker, and more earnest heed
To what God says rather than what Well-meaning Thoughts suggest
Where holiness, not happiness should be Thought’s primal greed
Because the lot of the undying soul is undeterred
Thus Thought should feed its dinner-guests with counsel from God’s Word

…where Thoroughfares of Retrospect spread out a humbling feast
For Thought is always hungry and the Tempter always near
And we concede at best Thought is a needy, bumbling beast
Subject to err without God’s Word to gird and commandeer
Therefore, no matter what befalls Thought’s menus to arrange
In retrospect we realize what matters does not change

© Janet Martin

 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

What is the Use?

I got a mega-reality-jolt as I lined up the calendars of years flying by!
Reminding me of this verse!

James 4:14
What is your life? 
You are a mist that appears for a little while 
and then vanishes.

What is the use of passing years
If at their end we find
When its last moment disappears
We are still no more kind

What is the use of each year’s cast
Fastened to ‘how time flies’
If when its final day has passed
We still are no more wise

What use is time’s swift no return
Gifted in day-to-day
If  love's lessons we ought to learn
Have not taught us to pray

What is the use of good intent
Of resolution's dare
If we are, at the old year’s end
No better than we were

What is the use, when looking back
With sentimental heart
We blush to see that we still lack
What we did at the start?  

What is the use of  all we chase 
Like a red, rubber ball
If God's goodness, mercy and grace
Have not changed us at all

© Janet Martin

Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

See then that you walk [e]circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
  16redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 
18And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; 
19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
20giving thanks always for all things 
21submitting to one another in the fear of [f]God.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Frameworks of Farewell


The framework of farewell is filled with moments spilled and spent
Into a little locket frilled with laughter and lament
Where what we argue or reject, or believe and embrace
Becomes part of the retrospect that farewell’s frames showcase

Sometimes it seems I almost see Father Time tease my sigh
With a fedora jauntily pulled down over one eye
He tips his hat and with the other hand touches my cheek
‘There, there, you know I understand the words you cannot speak’

Sometimes I think I sense him wink as one more year becomes
The latest, stationary link of soldered cookie crumbs
And sums soft-shook from flowers that we plant, then pluck and press
Between books filled with hours of love’s hopeful happiness

Where bittersweet, an echo-fleet embarks upon a sea
That surges with the thrum of bare feet lost on Bygone’s lea
Where frames of farewell gaped while hellos rang in the New Year
From thresholds barely shaped before their doorways disappear

...into the mist of faces kissed and arms that ache because
We cannot gather back the vista of The Way/Day That Was
Where the New Year that tolled a bell dangling from midnight’s skies
 Is stilled in frameworks of farewell with now Old Year’s demise

Darling, (dear, Father Time, forgive my bold intimacy)
But you perplex the poet's rhyme without apology 
And vex brave fantasy with fact; darling, then hold me near
And I will hold your hat while you kiss away yesteryear  

© Janet Martin

With Love that Never Fails (As Surely as the Morn)

But as for me, I will sing of Your strength;
Yes, I will joyfully sing of Your faithfulness in the morning,
For You have been my refuge
And a place of refuge on the day of my distress.
17 My strength, I will sing praises to You;
For God is my refuge, 
the [t]God who shows me favor.
Psalm 59:16-17

We can so easily get caught up, attracted and distracted by what we see
rather than what we know is so because God said it!
The One who constantly awes us with masterpieces
of morning sky and nature's my-oh-my,
He is our refuge and strength!

Though so much seems to fail
Never The Hand that draws
The break of day across the vale
That groans with mercy’s cause/laws
And unfolds in the palm
Of grace, the molten sky
And parts the wingspan of the dawn
Like a new butterfly

Where we, creatures of dust
And mist/must of numbered days
So often fail to fully trust
The higher thoughts and ways
Of He who never fails
Is spite of what some say
Even while mercy’s Hand unveils
And grants another day

Where morn-to-morn unfolds
(a twinkle in time’s eye)
Exteriors that man beholds
Beneath fringes of sky
Where so much seems to fail
When weighed by what we see
In worship’s hour of travail
Before eternity

Consider this, dear friend
Before we shake a fist
And curse He whose mercies attend
Both saint and atheist
Who makes the rain to fall?
Who does love emerge from?
Who paid sin’s ransom, once for all?
And calls on all to ‘come’?

He knows each creature care
And suffered every one
Because Love did not choose to spare
The status of His Son
A manger met His birth
A cross displayed His death
Where no one could fathom the work
Fulfilled at his last breath

Then, though so much seems loss
Remember, we behold
As they who stood beneath the cross
But fringes of the Whole
Where, though thought’s logic fails
Never the Hand of He
Scarred with the imprint of the nails
That set death’s captives free

He is the King of kings
He is the Lord of lords
Who bore salvation's sufferings
Beneath the thrust of swords
With love that never fails
As surely as the morn
The landscape of life's path unveils 
His mercies are reborn 

© Janet Martin

As surely as the morn
The landscape of life's path unveils, 
His mercies are reborn 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Of Glorious Winter-tide

This week its the snow!!!

The other week the ice left us speechless with awe!!

Now is the time of cheer
Of cozy countryside
Tucked beneath white starlight veneer
Or the veil of a bride

Now is the time to pause
From plant and harvest toil
While earth receives the wild applause
Of gales and sparkle-spoil

Of snowflakes swirling round
In dizzying descent
Until the land is grandly crowned
With frosty filament

Now is the time to ling-
-ger longer in a book
And let the days of winter bring
The days summer forsook

Of bowers bent with leaf
Of flower-befringed walks
Of glad tidings of golden sheaf
Of rose and hollyhocks

Of looking back to where
We find ourselves today
Before we turn agape to stare
At worlds melted away

Where now is the sweet time
To slow our hasting stride
And revel in the crystal clime
Of glorious winter-tide we combat the cold
That keens our appetite
With supper hour dipped in gold 
Of gentle candle-light 
© Janet Martin

A Love-ly Light

Let your light so shine before men,
 that they may see your good works, 
and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Don't you love
the light of love
in loved one's eyes?
Esp. children!!
don't you love the way they shine
with love without disguise?
and don't you hope and pray that we,
God's precious girl and boy
look at our Daddy lovingly
then shine and shine with joy?!!

Love does not scorn its charge
Nor loathe its perfect law
But lets the grace of God enlarge
Faith’s diligence with awe

Love, the Light of the world
Has pierced sin’s darkness through
It is God’s evidence unfurled
To shine in me and you

…to glorify the Name
Of He who came to save
And live God’s goodness to proclaim
For the gift His love gave

It is impossible
To confess ‘Christ in me’
Without love’s candle visible
For all the world to see

Then pray the Lord to keep
Our love from growing dim
Lest unawares, we fall asleep
And cease to shine for Him

Lord, let our light so shine
So that all men may see
The evidence of love divine
Bringing glory to Thee

Oh, what a lovely Light
The love of God instills
Where until faith is turned to sight
His glory spills and spills
© Janet Martin

This is one of the songs the choir hoped to sing at our church on Christmas Eve.
Though we were disappointed to cancel the service
NOTHING can cancel the true believer's joy and or the Light of the World!
Sing Hallelujah!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Winsome Woo

The magnitude of the snow-majesty we are enjoying is impossible
to capture with a camera-lens!

It rouses within a winsome woo words cannot capture quite...

Now woos a winsome sense of blues. Of golds and grays and greens
Impressionistic avenues woven through wafting scenes
Of unfurled hues of joy and strife’s herculean highs and lows
Where morn to eventide rolls rife with all that life bestows
And season-song cuts like a knife where so-long ebbs and flows

The catalyst to letting go can shield us from the sum
Of touch and taste and holding’s holy showdowns yet to come
Where youth soon dons truth’s tinges; it is futile to rebel
Where summer’s flashy fringes deck the halls of autumn’s knell
Where hello always hinges to the framework of farewell

Because beginnings always end and ‘end’ always begins
Now woos a winsome sense of friendship through what always thins
To Old Year almost over where the New Year waits to spill
Both knee-deep dell of clover and steep, courage-honing hill
New worlds yet to discover and blank pages yet to fill

Now woos within the stark, dark imminence of vast unknowns
A sense of golds and blues that mark the ‘Thence’ of Steppingstones
That ultimately lead toward That Single Certainty
Of face-to-face with Christ the Lord and of eternity
Thus, therefore, no one can afford to ignore what will be

Where we are lavished with what slips through fingertips with ease
To leave behind the winsome fellowship of memories
Where heartstrings bind the ties of love, of hope and hunger too
Around impressions of a glove filled with the winsome woo
Of what is never quite enough of love’s green-gold-gray-blue

© Janet Martin

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Let Joy Ring Through the World

I hope you all had a wonderful day...
Here it felt like it went from morning

... to night in no time at all!!

Let joy ring through the world
The light of life is born
The One the prophets long foretold
Has put on human form

The hope of nations cries
A Babe in manger bed
Unveils God’s face before man’s eyes
As God and man are wed

The heights of Heaven bend
To dredge the depths of death
A gift man cannot comprehend
Has drawn salvation’s breath

Then praise the Name of He
Who saves us from our sins
So death/hell does not seize victory
When End of Days begins

Let worship’s song resound
As we rejoice and pray
Glad tidings of great joy abound
Even unto this day

Then bow with heart undone
Before our God of grace
Because He gave His only Son
To die in our place

...and make God's glory/love's story known
That angels still applaud
The King of kings stepped from His throne
To be the Lamb of God

© Janet Martin

Hallelujah, though colorful cookies are a nice, sweet
celebration treat
Christmas is SO much more!
It is the celebration of mankind's hope 
we tell to our children so they may tell their children!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

My Christmas Prayer

From our house to yours-Merry Christmas!

The plan was to be part of a choir at church tonight at
 our Christmas Eve celebration
Celebration/worship is still happening at home, but not the choir!
Everyone is storm-stayed far and wide due to the 'crippling blizzard'!
May we rejoice as we reflect on the Reason for the season,
and the Reason for the believer's joy!

This poem was also going to be shared tonight at the Christmas Eve service
I share it with all of you now, my prayer for us all,
 as we celebrate our Saviour's birth!  

My prayer for every one of us, for each day that we live
Is that we taste the joy of Jesus, only He can give
The glad tidings of joy angels proclaimed, in days of old
I pray, just as the shepherds did, we hasten to behold

And though we do not kneel, as they, that night at Bethlehem
I pray, that daily we rehearse the day we look on Him
And that the joy of living hope is like a Light unfurled
Because by faith we have beheld the Saviour of the world

I pray the joy of Jesus melts each shadow of a doubt
As we receive the Reason that Christmas is all about
Then, come what may, I pray that nothing in this world can dim
Joy’s Star, as we, like the Wisemen have come to worship Him

© Janet Martin

From me to all of you who faithfully drop by my 'poem-porch',
wishes for a blessed Christmas to you and yours!

Luke 2:1-20
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 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.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.


We are in the thick of a blizzard! 

Stay safe and warm!

Now is the hour of reprieve
When every sprig becomes a sheave
Bent with a brumal burst of stars
When featherdown bedecks earth’s bars
As each snow-swaddled house and yard
Composes a vintage post-card
And every home becomes more sweet
When gales go howling down the street
And happiness is safe and sound
When we are cozy and snowbound

When window-frames are works of art
That only winter can impart
When mugs of steaming luxury
Are like hugs of coffee and tea
When nothing presses to be toiled
When we are awe and wonder spoiled
As nature brushes slopes awry
And swirls the scope of land and sky
With wild beauty, while tempests hound
And rile plans with two words; snowbound

Now books are like frigates unfurled
From fireside nooks, across the world
Because, ink snared in verbal font
Can take us anywhere we want
Like travelers who need no fare
To reserve a room or a chair
Clad in comfy flannel and fleece
As we are filled with joy and peace
While wild winds wail, pummel and pound
The storm-tossed seas we sail; snowbound

Soup pots simmer with five-star meals
Thankfulness bows our heads and feels
A hymn no words can capture, quite
As worlds are blurred with white on white
As we pray for the brave who bear
The elements, for creature care
While we are safe and sound and glad
For woodpiles heaped, feet slipper-clad
While winter wonderlands confound
We who are home-sweet-home-snowbound

Now is the hour of content
How swift the gift of came-and-went
Of so-it-goes, this-too-shall-pass
While we peer through snow-swaddled glass
To watch the birds and then recall
‘God sees the little sparrow fall’
Then to let smiles and laughter cheer
The solace of sweet home so dear
While we are snug and safe and sound
In hours of reprieve, snowbound

© Janet Martin