The trouble with language is the language:
its lack, its want, its suffering—all the fire
I have worshipped morning and evening.
Took far too long to know I had stopped living
and begun wearing my life instead.
_________Lyme, Connecticut, 3 July 1815 Nor’easter and calm shine, high tide and neap, combined lives shuttled between births and deaths, from baptisms to funerals, amen. Mehitabel, Uriah, Moses, John. Robert, Elihu, Azanaha, Love. Wakes, marriages, fallings-out and laughter, arguments, broken hearts, betrayals, guilt: thus time shaped a community of faith. Jerusha, Wealthy, Esther, Hepzibah. Moses,…Read More
A child sees inside the stained-glass window the pride of the garden that came before the hand that raised this smoke, this corpse, this rose. His mother signals him to pray with those who come to kneel beneath the candle fire. The child sees inside their stained-glass window the petals of the wound that cannot…Read More
Neighbors, Strangers, Family, Friends Four Artists Reflect on Charis The traveling art exhibition Charis—Boundary Crossings: Neighbors Strangers Family Friends features work by seven Asian and seven North American artists. The show grew out of a two-week seminar in Indonesia sponsored by Calvin College’s Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity and the Council for…Read More
Your name, Jesus, is childhood in the body, at times a single malt upon the tongue, Vivaldi to the ears; your name, Christ, forgiveness to the heart, acceptance to the flesh, a troubled joy across the soul; at ever my very best I will plead to you, closest to me, for kindness. Perhaps the silence…Read More
When did my life become the past? When did our new world, the new creation, the fulfillment of everything, become patience? We worship patience now. This island effaces with endurance, our lives that grow into longsuffering. A smile to notice how an island’s stony perimeter is much like the end of the world. How the…Read More
Some of the things I was not doing at the age of twenty-two: learning the Latin names of flowers (or even their English ones) living abroad recording music with the intensity & abandon you hear on every single cut of At Last! on which Riley Hampton’s orchestra’s a tame & obliging brook under storm-spew’d sheets…Read More
She is a mother first—in every church she lights a candle for her harrowed son. One already lit supplies the match. Today San Stefano, above her stretched a heaven of dark keel vaulting. Here an icon, Byzantine, true presence in the church of the second Eve, the mother she beseeches. She gives a euro to…Read More
When everything has left you, at the end, the world will come down to a few old words you will see new because you’ve chosen to. Your last breath will be like my first today. So I start here, in that extremity— or is it just simplicity I’ve earned by learning to be, the page…Read More