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3.5.17: Community
Every Riven Thing by Christian Wiman


God goes, belonging to every riven thing he's made
sing his being simply by being
the thing it is:
stone and tree and sky,
man who sees and sings and wonders why
God goes. Belonging, to every riven thing he's made,
means a storm of peace.
Think of the atoms inside the stone.
Think of the man who sits alone
trying to will himself into a stillness where
God goes belonging. To every riven thing he's made
there is given one shade
shaped exactly to the thing itself:
under the tree a darker tree;
under the man the only man to see
God goes belonging to every riven thing. He's made
the things that bring him near,
made the mind that makes him go.
A part of what man knows,
apart from what man knows,
God goes belonging to every riven thing he's made.

3.12.17: Compassion
There For You by Leonard Cohen


When it all went down
And the pain came through
I get it now
I was there for you
Don't ask me how
I know it's true
I get it now
I was there for you
I make my plans
Like I always do
But when I look back
I was there for you
I walk the streets
Like I used to do
And I freeze with fear
But I'm there for you
I see my life
In full review
It was never me
It was always you
You sent me here
You sent me there
Breaking things
I can't repair
Making objects
Out of thoughts
Making more
By thinking not
Eating food
And drinking wine
A body that
I thought was mine
Dressed as Arab
Dressed as Jew
O mask of iron
I was there for you
And death is old
But it's always new
I freeze with fear
And I'm there for you
I see it clear
I always knew
It was never me
I was there for you
I was there for you
My darling one
And by your law
It all was done
Don’t ask me how
I know it’s true
I get it now
I was there for you

3.19.17: Conviction
The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere  
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst  
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.  
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out  
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert  
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,  
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,  
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it  
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.  
The darkness drops again; but now I know  
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,  
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,  
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

3.26.17: Courage
Touched By An Angel by Maya Angelou


We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

4.2.17: Confession
House Arrest by Catherine Bowman


I confess to these feet,
tethered to the earth,
pulled down by force
every time I jump or try
to fly. Like you, an old tree
sentenced us, keeps your wings
under lock and key
so we’ll bicker with the birds
over scraps of weather
and the privilege to sing
or be seen. In the dark,
we scavenge midnight,
make chains out of stars
and bracelet shame.
My biggest crime, I could
not trust. I confess, I shut
myself off from the one
I needed and loved most.
I confess, I could not be
woken or accept myself
to the river’s basin to be washed.
I’m dirty, scratching love notes
on the wall. Tonight, outside,
winter, subzero. Too cold
to snow. The neighbor
next door shooting phantom
deer with a handgun,
his beagle tied to a tree.
Over wooden bowls,
we count, we’ve become experts
at counting. When did we
make each other serial?
The keys froze in the ignition:
tonight the moon rises
from a ravine, a spice drawer
of pickled ferment to feast.
For us it’s only surveillance:
under surveillance we interrogate
each other’s mouths, pursue
every laugh and cry as they twist
and turn through our time,
as we investigate and ransack
our dog-rabbit-wolf shadows,
the half ones, the whole ones,
and cross-examine every intent,
put hidden taps to choice
appendages. In the basement,
we de-crimson our one last apple,
cut a tunnel through the core,
truss ourselves in aromatics,
climb in and out to the garden:
among the capable trees,
the not-degraded weeds,
the flowers released,
arrested in light, we stand
on strong enduring feet,
confess, captives of earth,
to the heart, aflame, the source-
across this iced plain-
the only material witness.

4.9.17 (Palm Sunday): Commintment
The War Horse by Eavan Boland


This dry night, nothing unusual  
About the clip, clop, casual
Iron of his shoes as he stamps death
Like a mint on the innocent coinage of earth.
I lift the window, watch the ambling feather
Of hock and fetlock, loosed from its daily tether
In the tinker camp on the Ennis-kerry Road,  
Pass, his breath hissing, his snuffling head
Down. He is gone. No great harm is done.  
Only a leaf of our laurel hedge is torn-
Of distant interest like a maimed limb,  
Only a rose which now will never climb
The stone of our house, expendable, a mere  
Line of defense against him, a volunteer
You might say, only a crocus, its bulbous head  
Blown from growth, one of the screamless dead.
But we, we are safe, our unformed fear
Of fierce commitment gone; why should we care
If a rose, a hedge, a crocus are uprooted  
Like corpses, remote, crushed, mutilated?
He stumbles on like a rumor of war, huge  
Threatening. Neighbors use the subterfuge
Of curtains. He stumbles down our short street  
Thankfully passing us. I pause, wait,
Then to breathe relief lean on the sill  
And for a second only my blood is still
With atavism. That rose he smashed frays  
Ribboned across our hedge, recalling days
Of burned countryside, illicit braid:
A cause ruined before, a world betrayed.

4.13.17 (Maundy Thursday): The Strength to Continue
Drums Mark the End by Don Blanding


I had expected drums to mark the end.
Drums rolling,
Bells tolling,
Strong drums and mourning bells to send
The message forth… “Love… love is dead…
Dead…
Dead.”
I had thought a star might snap the slender thread
That bound it to the sky, and as it fled,
Trail plumes of dying fire where it sped.
Instead,
I looked at you with unbeglamoured eyes
In strange surprise
And knew
That we were through…
Through.
That love was dead.
And it was all as dull and flat
As that.
No drums!
I lie. I heard a heavy muffled beat
In rhythms solemn as the trampling feet
Of conquered armies marching in retreat
A broken beat as harsh as strong men’s sobbing,
My heart’s sick throbbing.
Drums marked the end.

4.16.17 (Easter): Resurrection 
19 by Leonard Cohen


You let me sing, you lifted me up,
you gave my soul a beam to travel on.
You folded your distance back into my heart.
You drew the tears back to my eyes.
You hid me in the mountain of your world.
You gave the injury a tongue to heal itself.
You covered my head with my teacher’s care,
you bound my arm with my grandfather’s
strength. O beloved speaking,
O comfort whispering in the terror, unspeakable explanation of the smoke and cruelty,
undo the self-conspiracy,
let me dare the boldness of joy.