Rough Draft No. 3 - Answers Without Answers

"What does that mean, Mommy? 'Yahweh'?"

How to explain the unexplainable?
The One who Was and Is and Is To Come?
How do I explain I Am,
  the One who has scattered stars
  and molded lives,
Who writes each story with infinite grace,
  In all its pulpy rebellious mess?
How do I explain the One who destroys decrepit homes
  and rebuilds them into castles,
  who sees promise in barren wasteland
  and makes of it a prosperous garden?
How do I explain the bark of a tree,
  rough and protective,
  or the roots,
  those invisible providers?
What does it mean, I Am?
  splintering Healer,
  warrior Shepherd,
  the Searcher, the Fortress.

I have known words and I have known songs,
but I could shift letters into their dappled patterns
and never capture Him.

Rough Draft No. 2 - Holy Contradiction

I want to yearn for You. 

I do.

I want to plug my ears with my fingers
  until You are all I hear,

  a whooshing 

I want to pick my way up
  the jagged rock of You,
  certain of every foothold,

  knowing that my gasping self
  will always find
  its next breath
  in You.

I want to burst into parties —"SURPRISE!" —
  and search the faces for You.

You are treasure.
No grimy coin on the sidewalk,

No quarter flecked with gum,
You are the lottery and I win You every time.
Every time I fix my eyes on You,
and not on others' scurrying feet
or the pulsing lights above.

I want to be the lost sheep
relieved You found me,
and I want to be the 99
never doubting You'd return.
I want to sing of You and keep You to myself
  (a jealous hoarder am I)
  but You are infinite
  and I cannot consume You.

I want to rest and I want to flee —
  but You say
  yoke: easy

  burden: light.

I want to wear out my shoes looking for You
  finding You
  following You.
And when You bloom through Your word

I will gladly exhaust myself
gathering more and more of You
into my already-bursting arms.

Rough Draft No. 1 - Mother's Day

A couple of years ago, I'd gotten in the habit of going to Starbucks daily (sometimes even twice - What?!). After awhile, I decided to assuage some of my guilt by doing something productive with the time I spent there, so I challenged myself to write a poem each time I waited for my drink to be made. Sometimes I only ended up with a line or two, sometimes I came away with a nearly-finished piece. Either way, it was fulfilling and (as often happens when I commit to doing something creative daily) it made me increasingly observant and productive. 

After leaving my job in mid-September to become a stay-at-home mom, my Starbucks budget basically evaporated and with it, my prolific poem-generation. So a couple of months ago, as my younger son and I were waiting in the car for older brother to get out of school, it occurred to me that I could make waiting-for-school-to-get-out my new poem creation time. And I've decided to further challenge myself by posting these rough drafts here. I'm hopeful that this process will inspire me to keep writing and thinking and honing, and that it may inspire some of you to do whatever you do for creative expression. 

Just a reminder that these are ROUGH DRAFTS. They are not finished, polished pieces, though I hope that I will eventually post the final versions as I complete them. Also, I am creating all of these posts from my phone, so the formatting will almost certainly be awry. This drives the perfectionist in me CRAZY, but I've decided to stop letting her stand in the way of actually doing things. So without further ado...

Mother's Day

The sudden-sharp growl of thunder

shook the house 

and before it had pealed itself out

I was padding down the hall,

knowing one would cry out

(and he did)

and one would stumble from bed

(and he did).


I like this about motherhood:

the knowing.

Knowing when to ask about his day 

and expect an answer,

knowing when tantrum

is really just code for lonely,

gauging moods like wind.


I don't know much.

I don't know string theory,

or how to grow a tomato,

and I can't remember 

the quadratic equation,

but I do know

how this one likes his oatmeal

and how that one

likes to be alone only when he's angry.


And I like the knowing of them,

the knowing that,

on days like this —

  skies clouded pewter

  and rain pelting ground —

there is nothing they want more

than to burrow under wool blanket

with their soft jumble of plush friends

while I read 

and they breathe me