Thursday, February 23, 2012

gggrrrooowwwlll (Mark 1:9-15)

my kitten, Apathy,
   settles down in my lap
   as if it were a nest,
       contentedly purring so long
                     that i become
                          there is nothing
     i can
                (or need) to do
        for the brokenness of the

putting the leash on
    he drags me through the
       stopping to sniff
       every place the rich
                      leave their mark,
           sitting at the end of the
                         driveway, looking
              up at the mcmansion,
                   turning to stare at me,
                   with a  look on his face,
    'wouldn't you like to live there?'

Lust, Temptation, Greed
chase each other
                around and around
                the fish tank (like the
                             3 Stooges at work),
    pausing every five minutes
                                        or so,
         to swim to the top, imploring
                  'feed us, feed us!'

oh my!
                             if only it were
   lions and tigers and bears
       i have to contend with,
              but in my wilderness
         they are so domesticated,
                        so every-day,
                        so comfortable,
           that i never notice
wild beasts.

© 2012  Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

reduction (Ash Wednesday)

greed, envy, worry,
doubt, brokenness, grief:
   you take the juices
   of our burnt out lives,
      pouring them into
      the Spirit, setting
            the temperature on low
   as you gently keep stirring,
      you mix in the crumbs
         from the Table,
            adding a dash of
            of the Cup's nectar,
      some sprigs of time,
      a couple of hope leaves, 
   patiently waiting for
         the sauce of
      to emerge;

almost forgetting the place
where you stored them,
         you take the palms you
         had gathered up off the road
      while the crowd scurried
      on towards Calvary,
   and with a pair of old scissors,
   you slowly snip them up into
             smaller pieces,
         and when there is
         plenty, you strike a match
      and set them ablaze, your prayers rising
                like incense,
   singing a love song, as the ashes
           pile up and up, enough
      to baptize us in humble

(c) 2012 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

until (Mark 9:2-9)

we see the faces 
of those tossed into
the world's garbage piles
dazzling bright with 
hope and wholeness;

we respect the prophets
we have been yearning for
in the hip-hopped, doo-ragged
teenagers strutting 
through the malls;

we hear God's sweet
songs of peace and reconciliation 
in the mother tongues
of all we turn
a deaf ear to;

we catch a glimpse 
of you (out of the corner 
of our shut-tight eyes) 
coming down off 
the shelf where we store you, 
to enter our frayed lives;

we should have nothing to say . . .

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Friday, February 10, 2012

when the time is right

speak . . .

. . .aloud
        for those whose voices
        have been stilled
        by all who know best;
. . .in whispers,
        to a child
        tossing and turning
            in fear's fever;
. . .caroling
        the joy of bathing
        in grace's sweet arms.

keep quiet . . .
. . .tongue-tied
        when caressed
        in a seaside sunset;
. . .tight-lipped
        rather than flapping
        one's gums
            in gossip;
. . .muting
        that inalienable right
        to lash out
            in anger.

there is a time to speak
    as well as a time to be silent . . .

may i discern
the right time,
    Word of my heart.

(c)  Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, February 02, 2012

wait (Isaiah 40:21-31)

they pull the curtains shut
             around the bed
   (so we can have "some peace
              and quiet")
       and walk away softly
          murmuring their expertise,
            stick your head in
      wearing that rainbow wig,
      the big red nose that
               HONKs when you push
         those silly oversized
   and, taking your seltzer bottle
            filled from the river of life,
      you squirt fear and worry (who
         had plopped themselves down
         in the bedside chairs) soaking
             them until they run down
             the hall, threatening to call
                     their lawyers;

finding our backs
               up against the goal line,
   wondering if we have any strength left
          after being battered and
                   bruised by that team
             filled with spots on the CT scan,
                bank foreclosure notices,
                   another job application rejected,
                that bully in the schoolyard.

   when the ref blows the whistle
            for the 2-minute warning,
      you gather us around you
          (Spirit going around to each
                             of us,
              giving deep drinks of
        and looking deep into our 
           you simply whisper,
   'have you not heard,
    have you not known,
       have you forgotten?'

(c) 2012  Thom M. Shuman