Thursday, May 26, 2011

the account (1 Peter 3:13-22)

(9:17 a.m.)  while dropping off
       the kids at school, the youngest
   held on to the door handle, her backpack
         pulling her out the car, as she reminded
     me about the spring play's dress rehearsal
            later this afternoon, her voice relying
   on my answer, which came at its usual
                              rush pace,
       'if i get that report done;'

(1:33 p.m.) turning the corner
                   a little too much in a rush
           to get back the office (and the
       couch), i just about trip
              over the fellow sitting against
           the building wall, his handprinted
        sign clearly an appeal to the good
               conscience in those passing by,
          and his eyes turn hollow as i shake
                           my head from side to side,
    while pushing the handful of bills deeper
           into my pocket;

(9:59 p.m.)  as we shuffle the papers into
      neat stacks of reports showing the
          challenges we face, and we
    try to let the babeled words of
        the out-of-touch dreamers slip
                 from our consciousness,
       the group turns towards me (is it only
                     my imagination?) watching
          to hear if i might dare to assure them
               God isn't done with them yet,
   but i fall back on my meeting-ending mantra,
'any more business we need to conduct?'

at the end of
      the day, filling out the columns,
        jotting down the details,
          i wonder why they don't add up
before putting that ledger marked
    back in its place on the shelf.

(c) 2011  Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, May 19, 2011

the stonemason (1st Peter 2:2-10)

we hand you the design
     the committee has come up
  with, so that the wall will
           be layed out in that dogmatic,
           unwavering line (no doubts or
                      deviations) we expect,
        but after a quick glance,
     you simply place it in the back
             of the truck and start
  to work;

where we would toss
  those who have
     have been skipped haphazardly
              over the world's waves,
        they become the tiestones
     to hold the sections together,
  while those wearied from
           their struggles shape the
      soft gentle curves;

untying the bandanna from around
        your head,
  you quietly rub the dirt
     out of the nicks and crevices
     caused as they have been ignored,
            you gather up the children
                and youth,
        pouring them into hollow spaces,
  as the aggregate to hold
             us all together;

when we expect to
     be the pride of your
  you quietly pick up the
        broken, the chipped, the left-over
    slivers we kick out of our way,
       placing them as the capstones
  on the dry stone wall
  you are building in the

(c) 2011  Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

potluck (John 10:1-10)

at one end of the table,
i can find the meatloaf
  slathered with catsup
     (the directions for which are
        tattered and grease-stained,
        held in the recipe book by
  the cracked, clear plastic

in the middle,
i come across the
        carrot-and-raisin salad
  the 9-year-old boy learned
  how to make
     from his great-grandmother,
           before she went to the hospital
  (what proved to be her last)

years ago,
having tasted the lemon pie
     created by the Shakers, Maud
  went home and experimented
        until she created a
        near-perfect copy
     (only without all that
  and she places it lovingly
  on the dessert table, next to
     the pitchers of cold milk,
     the coffee perk-perking along,
     lemonade for the little kids
       and water for the purists.

if it was only
me, i'd simply peel the plastic
  back from the corner of
    the frozen meal tray,
           zapping it in the
      microwave until it turned
  into heated sludge,
but you invite me to the
    where i can pile my plate
       high with the rich variety
  of your grace, and go
     back for as many helpings
         as i want of your
abundant life.

(c) 2011  Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

(Luke 24:13-35)

i take
a shortcut just
  down this alley,
where anger
  and agony come
tagging after me;

i explore the wide avenues
of the world,
  whose hope
  has been potholed
     with despair;

  i glance at the map,
and stumble down
the next street,
  only to find sin
  standing in every
enticing me with its
fingers sticky
        with temptation;

then we turn down
Emmaus Road,
  where the aroma
  of fresh-baked grace
wafts out each window,
and, tapping me on the shoulder,
     you shout, 'go!'
  and race me

(c) Thom M. Shuman