Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Kittens

you promise
to be with me
when death takes my hand
to lead me into life . . .

but how will i know . . .

when i sneak down
the shadowed alleys,
hoping to find
that quick fix
for my broken dreams. . .

when I look up
from the muddy bottom
of desolation's ditch,
wondering where are my friends
who promised
('we'll be there!')
to pull me out. . .

when my addiction
to every sales pitch
i see and hear
trips me up and i fall into
greed's gutter . . .

. . . that you are with me then
and there?

i only need to look behind me -
and there are Goodness & Mercy,
those two stray kittens who follow me
wherever i go,
wherever i am -
just waiting for me to pick them up
and welcome them
into my heart.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Get Up!

my burdens, struggles,
worries and doubts
lie on the floor
where I scattered them
last night
as i crawled into bed;

most mornings,
with tottering trust,
meager mercy,
and no hope to spare,
when i cast out my life,
it seems
i only pull in
despair's emptiness.

but there you are
down in the kitchen:
flour all over the counters,
dirty pots stacked in the sink,
juice poured,
tea steeped,
hollering up the stairs,
"Get up, lazy faith!
Breakfast's ready!"

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, April 08, 2007


morning came:
i put the least on Sadness
and took him for a walk in the rain;
i put the kettle on
and watched my hopes steam away;
i stirred my life
and gorged on its bitterness.

morning will come:
the job will shove me
out of bed;
the dirty laundry will trip me
on the way to the shower;
TVs talking heads
will remind me how terrible life is.

but this morning?
this morning:
daffodills spread their petals
for the one who comes weeping
for her Lord;

this morning:
angels laugh
as death is kicked out
of the tomb;

this morning:
Jesus does cartwheels
through the graveyard,
splashing through
the puddles of our tears
and into our hearts.

Alleluia! Amen!

(c) 2004 Thom M. Shuman

Easter Garden

this Word
who squeezed
the vowels of chaos
into this rough world,
who spit
and filled the oceans,
who wrote on the ground,
carving the Grand Canyon;

lift their faces to
this Light,
while grass races
toward it
like a wave;

cup their leaves
to catch
this Water,
clapping with delight
at the rich banquet;

this playful Poet
who gives
whiskers to kittens,
skipping hearts to lambs,
canticles to frogs;

this Breath
blowing into
our grandparents' nostrils;

this One. . .

is the Gardener!

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Holy Saturday

what were they doing today?

Cleaning toilets
trying to forget
their dreams
draining away?

maybe Peter wished
he was hom
eating warmed-up
passover food
trying to forge
a way out
of his

did Joanna
have her Saturday list:
groceries to buy,
errands to run,
kids to a soccer game,
a full honey-do jar?

perhaps Herod and Pilate
nursed hangovers
out too late last night
hitting every pub
on the Street of Tears
till they got
thrown out of the
Last Station.

were children
being shushed by
fear-ridden parents,
to stop playing
'soldiers and messiahs?'

did the angels
around heaven
to speak
too loudly
what with the Word
God was doing
that rolled stone?

what were they doing today . . .

before God
yanked the legs
from under

(c) 2001 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, April 06, 2007

where once

feet that danced
through the streets
of Jerusalem
welcoming the Messiah
now softly pad
the back alleys
in search of shadows;

hearts that leapt
with joy at the sight
of David's true son
are thrown out
with Golgotha's

hands that wrapped
a new born son
in bright bands of cloth
now shroud
his broken body
and lay him
in death's manger.

where glad hosannas
rang out
there is now
the silent

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

if he had spoken

no one asked him . . .

not the chief priest
or his bought judges,
fear would
have deafened them;

not the governor,
political options
his decision;

not the mob:
pockets full of nightmares,
stomachs full of poverty,
voices brimming with bile
no goodness or mercy
flowing over
in their cupped hands;

no one asked him
(but don't you think)

Jesus himself
would have said
(maybe he whispered it
to himself):

give them Barabbas!

(c) 2001 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, April 01, 2007

in the closet . . .

hmmmmm . . .

what shall i wear?

that blouse
has a wrinkle in it;
this tie
still has that gravy stain;
these pants . . .
just a little bit out of style.

what shall i wear?
how should i look?
will people notice
the 'presentation'
i try so hard to make?

but you,

snatching at the chance
to be stained
by our sin;
not minding
the wrinkles
of our aged foolishness;
to bring us
back into fashion
with God . . .

take off
your glory,
hang it in the closet,

and put on

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Of all the people

Rock star,
pro athlete;
of all the people
you could have been,
you chose to become
a servant -

for us.

of all the privileges
you might have grasped,
you chase to take hold
of a cross -

for us.

Los Angelies;
of all the roads
you might have taken,
you chose the one
running through Jerusalem -

for us.

of all the pople
you might have died for -

you did . . .


(c) 2004 Thom M. Shuman