Wednesday, April 29, 2009

canticle 23

with you at my side,
i am not poverty-stricken:
finding rest in your lush love,
stilling myself by baptismal pools,
dipping my frantic feet
in the cool waters;
you add zest
to my fading impishness,
you carve your name
in each paving stone
set in the path.

when fear, sickness, doubt
crook their finger at me
from the shadows,
i can lean on
your walking stick
to make my way to
that table where
my rivals are seated;

you pour healing oil out
for dipping the bread of life,
the cup of grace spills over
staining my hands with hope.

Shirley, Goodness, Mercy
(friends from childhood)
and I play follow the leader
till we end up
on the front porch,
you welcoming us with
wide-open arms of joy.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, April 24, 2009

canticle 4

how long . . .
will i play tag
with the idle idioms
on my street,
or buy a front row seat
at the con artists' convention,
buying their latest
self-help tomes?

not long, for . . .

your joy delights
my palate
more than the
oldest single malt;

you pick me up
and lay me
in the deep downy
mattress stuffed with grace,
pulling the Spirit's
peacemeal quilt
up under my chin,

sitting by my side
until morning comes.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, April 16, 2009

springtime of doubt

as my frozen heart
thaws bit by bit,
and the brown lawn
carpeting my soul
begins to green,
they appear:

they push up
through the tangled
roots of my belief

their bright heads
dazzling in the light,
the softness of
their caresses
inviting me to pause
(just for a moment),
to lie down and
contemplate their beauty,
to stay in their midst
a little while longer;

you come along,
gathering them up
into your arms,
appearing a little
while later,
a luscious salad
tossed from their leaves,
the petals pressed
into a chardonnay
(with a hint of
of peace),
all placed on the Table

a part of the feast
you have prepared
for us.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, April 13, 2009

the day after

on the second day
of the week:

Salome spent nearly
three hours at the
doctor's office
with a croupy kid;

Pilate and Herod
had their troops
out searching
all the dumpsters
for the missing

11 ordinary looking
guys joined the
ever-growing lines
at the local
unemployment office;

and Jesus played
hopscotch with the kids,
using the stone which
had sealed his fate
to mark his place,

then waving bye,
he danced through the streets,
high-fiving all those
ear-budded teens
the good news
to their networks.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, April 09, 2009


at twilight we gather,
to remember:

a basin of water
will baptize
our trembling hearts
in your warm grace,

you will fill it
with your salty tears,
handing us
the cup of hope
to slake our
parched spirits;

a soft linen towel
will swaddle
our weary souls,

wrapping it around
the still-warm loaf,
you tenderly break the bread
(with hammer-and-nail
callused hands)
passing on
your passion for God
to us.

at twilight's end we will depart:

a towel,
a basin,
a loaf,
a cup

all we need to love
and serve
one another.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


when peace sweeps
the cobwebs of our fears
out of the corners
of those tombs
we carve into
our hearts;

when death is left stunned
at the open grave door,
the empty shroud
dangling in its hands;

when grace gently
bathes the scars
with God-tears,
swaddling them in
bands of compassion;

when joy
takes our breath away,
and we can only stand,
in awe and alarm;

when hope races
ahead of our doubts,
waiting to welcome us
when we return home,
wrapping us in
the tender arms
of love . . .

morning has come
with unexpected

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

the circus is in town

gazing in the mirror,
you scoop up a gob
of greasepaint,
smearing it all over
your face,
adding the candyred
gumdrop nose,
dabbing multicolored
stars and moons
on your cheeks;

you pull on
the polka dotted suit
the baggy sleeves
stuffed with grace,
sticking the seltzer bottle
filled with living water
in your back pocket;

you pull on your
scuffed shoes
and squeeze uncomfortably
into the kiddie car
disguised as a

waving and honking
the big-bulbed horn
you drive through
our lives,
calling out:
'wanna see Jesus?
. . . follow me!'

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman