Category Archives: Poetry

Gurgles and Claps

This post is part of JusJoJan. The word for today is “gurgle.” It is a lovely word. It makes me think of a stream chuckling to itself – especially since we went to the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens last week and I enjoyed again the burbling river and the roaring waterfall.

I’m not particularly good at descriptive writing, but I do enjoy reading it. I’m listening to an audibook by Laura Ingalls Wilder and I find her descriptions delightful.

The bible is shot through with compelling imagery. Below are some examples I enjoy.

You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12 NLT)

I love the image of trees lifting up their branches and clapping their leaves together.

The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. the voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. (Psalm 29:3-9 NIV)

Somehow those words evoke an emotional response in me.

I think it is necessary to read scripture with my heart as well as my intellect.

Please share some other imaginative scriptures that have been meaningful to you.

My Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for the power of words and for the talented wordsmiths You have created. Thank you for my imagination and that You can speak to me not only in words but also in pictures and emotions. Amen.

Pandemics and Plagues

I read an interesting piece on our church’s website this morning called the Plague of Plagues by Michael Philips. It is quite long but thought provoking and very biblical and it turned my thoughts once more in the direction of viruses and sin.

I am a microbiologist by training and I learned a bit of virology, as well as a bit of bacteriology, mycology, immunology, biochemistry and assorted other -ologies. I have often linked in my mind sin to some kind of infection so let’s play and pretend sin is a virus. Unlike earthly viruses, this one infects the soul as well as the body.

Patients zero were Adam and Eve. The virus quickly spread through mother to child transmission as well as contact with other infected people and now everybody has got it.

The symptoms are obvious. Paul gives a list in 1 Cor 6:9-10. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? He then goes on to list some of the symptoms:- sexual immorality, idolatory, adultery, theft, greed, slander. There are other symptoms and they all fall into the category of ignoring God, His commands, His gifts, His love. Instead people want to do things their own way making themselves into gods.

Society down the ages has done their best to treat the symptoms, just like we might take decongestants for our cold. It will not cure us, only take away the symptoms. The Ten Commandments were a set of laws designed to treat the symptoms in society and model what cured people might look like. Other societies have laws and customs that do the same. With varying degrees of success they try to limit murder, theft, and antisocial behaviour with punishments which deter many from giving in to the tendencies which are symptomatic of the infection.

There is a cure. Think of it as a blood transfusion. …and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7b NIV)

Adapted from a Image by Ahmad Ardity from Pixabay

If we get a blood transfusion with blood that contains antibodies to the virus, we will slowly get better as the virus is neutralised. It doesn’t happen overnight, but slowly we get better. This is a once off treatment. However, to be totally clear of the virus and to prevent re-infection, we need our bodies to make more antibodies. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit to enable this process. We become sanctified. Again, it is a slow process and some of the symptoms take a long time to disappear because of damage that they have caused to our bodies and spirits.

John goes on to say in verses 8 and 9, If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Imagine if, at the time of your blood transfusion, the doctor gave you a certificate saying you were no longer infectious, even though you might still have a symptom or two. This certificate could give you access to places you could not normally enter as an infected person. You could go through the screening processes with impunity. You could even have access to the Kingdom of Heaven which has a very strict anti-infection policy.

I’m sure trained ministers and pastors would pick holes in my analogy, but I had fun. Hope you did too.

An encouraging verse to leave you with as we all think about viruses, infections, quarantines, lockdowns, prohibitions, economic collapse and the like.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NIV)

Meditations on Sunshine.

Sitting in the sunshine this cool autumn morning, I enjoyed the touch of warmth on my skin. I thought of it as an embrace of love from God. I meditated on sunshine and love.

Sure, the sunshine was warm and comfortable like warm fuzzies. However, sunshine also has power. We all know the danger of sunburn. I have a solar cooker. I have potatoes cooking in it at the moment for lunch later. The sun has sufficient power to cook food. It can heat water for bathing. My daughter and son-in-law have a solar geyser. Sometimes it gets so hot steam comes out of the escape pipe. We haven’t got to the stage of electricity from the sun yet, but many households have. The sun is powerful.

Likewise, love is powerful. It is not only warm comfort. Sometimes it can hurt. Love kept Christ on the cross. Love for us. For me. A line from a hymn came to me, “strong as death.” I battled a while to find it on the internet because I incorrectly remembered the three words that came before the phrase. Finally I got it and I thought it was worthwhile posting it here. It was written by William Cowper in 1768 so it’s not surprising that some of the words are a bit archaic.

 Hark, my soul, it is the Lord;
’tis thy Saviour, hear his word;
Jesus speaks, and speaks to thee,
‘Say, poor sinner, lov’st thou me?

2 ‘I delivered thee when bound,
and, when wounded, healed thy wound;
sought thee wandering, set thee right,
turned thy darkness into light.

3 ‘Can a woman’s tender care
cease towards the child she bare?
Yes, she may forgetful be,
yet will I remember thee.

4 ‘Mine is an unchanging love,
higher than the heights above,
deeper than the depths beneath,
free and faithful, strong as death.

5 ‘Thou shalt see my glory soon,
when the work of grace is done;
partner of my throne shalt be:
say, poor sinner, lov’st thou me?’

6 Lord, it is my chief complaint
that my love is weak and faint;
yet I love thee, and adore;
O for grace to love thee more!

Love Sonnet

This month’s challenge for my writers’ circle is to write a love sonnet after the style of Shakespeare. This is my attempt.

SONNET 1. The Rising Sun

The rising sun in all its radi’nt light

Is but a shadow set besides thy face.

The panoply of stars, all blazing bright,

Is merely trim thy glorious robe to grace.

 

When all the birds on earth with song rejoice

And waters roar and thunders clap with glee,

Combin’d they’re just the echo of thy voice,

My ear is dull ‘till thou addresseth me.

 

Thy touch upon my skin is dearer, far,

Than first sweet sunbeams after days of rain.

In thy embrace my heart glows like a star,

And gathers strength to conquer every pain.

 

When hearts forget to pump, or eyes to see,

This truth remains. Thou died for love of me.

Sonnet – my last Poetry assignment.

Today’s assignment, and the last one (sigh) is a sonnet about pleasure, including Apostrophe, which is not what I thought it was.

Unearthly Joy

You are, O God, my Father, all my Joy,merle-552070_640

My everlasting fount of all delight,

You give me gifts, like birdsong to enjoy,

And music makes my burdened soul take flight.

When Earth’s great bounty overflows in Spring,

And Jasmine, roses, blossoms strew my way,bee-104628_640

Your overwhelming beauty pleasure brings,

Like fiery sunsets at the close of day.

 

Yet best of all the love of family and kin,

Those sticky grandchild kisses on my cheek,generations-462134_640

My husband’s warm embrace upon my skin,

My children’s love and interest in my week.

Yet life itself is knowing You, my God,

And Jesus Christ, your Son, my only Lord.

star-437519_1280

Poetry, Day Eight — Flavor, Elegy, Enumeratio

I am behind on assignments.  Yesterday’s was to write an elegy about a flavour, using enumeratio, which is just a list.  My favourite aspect of birthday  parties that my mother used to throw for me an my brother were chocolate frogs. The came in creamy white, pale pink or pale green.  I can’t remember any birthday cakes, perhaps one that was a doll in a bowl shaped dress, but no others. When I think of the trouble my daughter goes to to make that special themed cake, and my mother is certainly one who would have done the same, it makes me rather sad that I can remember so few of them.

Anyway here is my

Elegy to a Chocolate Frog

I don’t remember the weather, was it a sunny day?

I don’t remember the party guests – those children who came to play

but I’ll never forget those chocolate frogs, creamy and silky and sweet,

And melt in your moth, and stay in your mind, where flavour and memory meet.

green chocolate frog

Neighbourhood Ballad

Today’s poetry assignment is to write a ballad about our nighbourhood. I didn’t use the traditional ballad meter but a slight adaption. I was inspired by “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyles.

Ballad of a Johannesburg Suburb

The moon is a silver sickle, reaping the leaden skies,

The road is a glimmering serpent with streetlight splotchy eyes.

The house is a silent sleeper untroubled by night bird cries

Outside the gate, lie crouching, crouching, crouching,

Outside the gate lie crouching armed men in their black disguise.

 

 

They wait for a minute in silence, watching with eyes stretched wide,

Then creep to the gate frame and grab it, two on either side,

They lift it away from the runners and carefully lay it aside,

And the neighbourhood stays sleeping, sleeping, sleeping,

The neighbourhood stays sleeping while they silently slip inside.

 

The new Mercedes glistens as the movement sensor lights,

The big Rottweiler twitches as the darkness seems more bright

Then he wakes with a start and listens and his nose picks up the fright

He makes no sound but charges, charges, charges,

He makes no sound but charges with his jaws all set to bite.

 

A shot rings out in the darkness, the panic button’s pressed,

The silent alarm activates and summons the city’s best,

But the dog lies slowly dying with a bullet in his chest.

The flying squad comes screeching, screeching, screeching,

The flying squad comes screeching ready to face the test.

 

Over the gravel they grapple and grab in the bright headlight,

They tackle two men as they’re running and a third ones’s taken flight,

But the forth man’s taking aim and his gun explodes with light

And the policeman shoots as he’s falling, falling, falling,

The policeman shoots as he’s falling on that fateful August night.

 

Noise, confusion, panic, the night has seen them all,

Ambulances blaring and sirens sound the call,

And gun smoke lingers cloying, deathlike, like a pall.

The children are all crying, crying, crying

The children are all crying into their mother’s shawl.

 

They take away the bodies, They take away the men,

They take down all the details with their black unfeeling pen,

That little happy family won’t be the same again.

They always will be fearing, fearing, fearing,

They always will be fearing another night like then.