Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Crossing the Bar*

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar*,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home**.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell;
When I embark;

For thou' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far**;
I hope to see my Pilot*** face to face
When I have crossed the bar.*
---Alfred, Lord Tennyson

*Sandbar; when a ship leaves the deep water to go towards shore, it can actually be hazardous and perilous
**After a long-life's journey, some of which may unfortunately have taken us further away from God at times, the Christian longs to "go home to God"
***A nautical pilot guides water craft safely through harbors and to shore; Jesus is that pilot

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Word

THE WORD
". . .became Flesh and so-journed among us. . ." (John 1:14)

THE WORD was spoken at Creation
And all things came into being.
In the beginning,
All Nature resounded with THE joyous WORD.

THE WORD
was recorded by the prophets,
God's Holy Men of old.

"In the beginning was THE WORD,
And THE WORD was with GOD,
and THE WORD was God.
This One was with God inthe beginning." (John 1:1-2)

THE WORD
was spoken to the Virgin Mary,
And she received THE WORD by the Spirit's power.
She conceived and bore a Son,
For in the fullness fo time,
God sent forth His Son to be born of a woman.
Whe wrapped Him in Infant's clothes
And laid Him in a feed trough,
For there was no place else for Him.
Shepherds heard THE WORD from Angels,
So they themselves came to examine THE WORD for themselves.
THe gave thanks for THE WORD
and spoke THE WORD to others.

Wise men came to view THE WORD,
Led by their star's bright light.
THE WORD gives me wisdom,
For THE WORD is, itself, WISDOM. (Proverbs 8)
The Wise Men gave THE WORD gifts,
But THE WORD gave them greter gifts.
Though they left Bethlehem,
THE WORD never left them.

THE WORD has been handed down now
Through countless number of ages.
But THE WORD still stays among us,
Speaking as plainly to people as ever.
So, we, too, have seen His glory,
The glory of the One-and-Only-Begotten from the Father,
Full of grace and truth. . .
"Your WORD is TRUTH." (John 17:17)
THE WORD still illumines the walk of the saints,
As it has from time immemorial. . .
"Your WORD is a Lamp unto my feet
And a Light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105)
THE WORD brightens and cheers the walk
And leads us to Himself.
---C. Marie Byars, 1989
St. Louis, Graduate School
(original Bible Translations)

The World is Too Much with Us

[Technically, the poet doesn't write this one in a Christian vein. He even borrows pagan mythology. But Wordsworth was Christian, and this is a great commentary on modern materialism.]

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune,
It moves us not. ---Great God! I'd rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn.
So might I , standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn."
William Wordsworth

Clouds & Scripture

"See, [Jesus] comes with the clouds,
And every eye shall see Him,
even as many as pierced Him;
And all the tribes of the earth shall mourn." (Revelation 1:7)
"See, He will advance like the clouds,
And His chariots like a whirlwind,
His horses are swifter than eagles.
Woe to us, for we are plundered!" (Jeremiah 4:13)
"You have clothed Yourself with a cloud
So that prayer cannot get through." (Lamentations 3:44)
"'I [God] have swept away as a cumulus cloud your offenses
And as a cloud your sins.
Return to Me,
For I have redeemed you.'" (Isaiah 44:22)
---original translations

The Spirit & Nature in Scripture

"By the word of Yahweh were the heavens made,
And all their hosts by the Spirit of His mouth." (Psalm 33:6)
"You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the earth." (Ps. 104:30)
-----original translations

Fairest Lord Jesus

Fair are the meadows,
Fair are the woodlands,
Robed in flow'rs of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer;
Jesus is purer;
He makes our sorr'wing spirits sing.
---ancient hymn text

Mountains in Scripture

"I will lift up my eyes unto the hills
From whence comes my help." (Psalm 121:1)
"Great is Yahweh
And greatly to be praised
In the city of our God,
The mountain of His holiness." (Ps. 48:1)
"In [His] hands are the depths of the earth;
And the height of the hills are His." (Ps. 95:4)
---original translations

The Call of the Desert

Ah. . .
I can laugh,
And my echo laughs back with me.
I can run,
And only the wind runs with me.
I can leap,
And I can land gracefully.
I see beauty:
A beauty I always see.
I am alone,
For I came to be free.
The earth speaks,
And I hear, for it's a part of me.
Who am I
That God should open my eyes to see
The deep beauty
Of what imperfect earth can be?
The thorns poke,
But even they cannot stop me;
For I laugh,
And You, O, LORD, laugh back with me.
---C. Marie Byars, 1985
New Mexico

From Sea to Dark Dead Sea

[This poem is about the modern American mindset and its influence upon the Church. It does not reflect a crushing depression on the part of the poetess.]

The Jordan in but never out,
So knowledge takes in me such route
In brackish waters to brood about
The suppression of true freedom's shout---
The Dead Sea.

At lowest point, then, here I sit.
The deepest depression of deep'ning rift.
The deep'ning gloom---and shall it lift?
Integrity's shroud, hides Holy Writ. . .
Apathy.

As just-hatched bird by Nature bred
Lives just to squawk and so be fed
I now by histr'y do so defend
By justified means I reach this end:
The Bland Me.

I lived through day, I lived through night;
I lived through love, I lived through fright;
I turned inside to put to flight
The hopeless failures from crueller sight:
The Dead Me.

Whether by mindless shallowness
Or endless, stale analysis,
In Sophist and in Hedonist
The fear of Feeling here exists:
The fear "to be."

On me they float but can't dive in:
Cannot drown but cannot swim.
Advance in skills. . .Retreat within. . .
A merry-go-round with fatal spin. . .
Technology?!?!

Oh, to be that other sea,
Parted to let young Israel free,
Closed to drown out cruelty,
Fluid with fresh-faced vitality:
The Red Sea!!!

-----C. Marie Byars, 1987

Technorati Labels

Te Deum Laudamus

("We Praise You, O God", an ancient liturgical text)

We praise You, O God; We acknowledge You to be the Lord.
All the earth worships You, O Father Everlasting.
To You all angels cry aloud, the heavens and all the powers therein;
To the the cherubim and seraphim continually call out.

The noble army of the martyrs praises You:
The Holy Church throughout all the world acknowledges You,
O Father of infinite majesty, along with Your true and venerable only Son,
And, also, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

When You took it upon Yourself to deliver humanity,
You humbled Yourself to be born of a virgin.
When You had overcome the darkness of death,
You opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.

We pray You, therefore, to help Your servants,
Those whom You have redeemed by Your precious blood.
Make us to be counted as Your saints
In glory everlasting.

O Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance.
Govern them and lift them up forever.
Day by day we glorify You,
And we worship Your name forever in unending ages.

Poetry in Motion (motherhood)

You will notice most my own poetry is getting kind of old. I don't get around to writing much new stuff these days. But my children are my great "opus." Even at times when a lot of things seem tiresome, dull, or just plain stupid (sometimes they create chores for me that fit this description!), I cannot ignore the sheer joy they bring. They're the cutest things---you'll have to take my word for it, though, because I don't want to publish their pictures on the web. But it's more than a mom's pride that says so. And they're bright, too, But, when all is said and done, I have to give God the thanks for them---even when they drive me crazy!!!!!!!!!!!

My Redeemer Liveth

This isn't very accurate to the Hebrew wording. But it's absolutely beautiful:

"I know that my Redeemer liveth,
And that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy my body,
Yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold,
And not another." Job 19:25-27 KJV

Martin Luther ended this section with: "Ich selbst werde ihn sehen, meine Augen werden ihn schauen und kein Fremder." Or: "I myself shall see Him, my eyes shall look upon Him, and not some stranger." This is a little closer to Hebrew, too, and the "not some stranger" is a really cool way of emphasizing that little ol' me will be put back together from my ground up atoms and molecules to look upon Christ!!!

Wildernesses [for Lent/Advent]

A message envelopes me,
Permeating my whole person:
The disembodied preaching,
The tones of a tameless, timeless wind,
Surge deep into my searching soul,
As if, "A voice of one crying:
'In the wilderness clear out the way of Yahweh;
Make straight in the desert plain
A highway for our God.'" (Isaiah 40:3)

Ridge follows ridge into the horizon,
Their shadows and mountain hues
Growing hazy, at last to melt at the world's watery edge.
Ages old, yet seeming no older than I:
Wind-whipped, scarred and, yet, still enduring.

Forlorn, wild, untouchable seems this place. . .
The lonely sadness of a lingering coyote howl
Harmonizes the wind's haunting melody,
Eerie all but those who know and love such music,
Whose very life and sustenance are this desert:
Ground squirrels and kangaroo rats,
Cacti and sagebrush,
Rattlers, gnarly reptiles and other desert-dwellers
Make peace with this wilderness,
Surviving and thriving.

In such a place settled Abraham,
Blessed by Yahweh, prospering as a tent-dweller.
Through such barrenness
Moses led the multitudes of Israel.
Elijah first retreated to the desert
To find relief from wickedness.

Christ came to the wastelands
To fast His forty days;
Here to be tempted, here to triumph;
Here to prepare His soul
For the rugged ministry ahead.

And, so, a still, small voice (I Kings 19:12-13)
Whispers softly inside me:
" 'In the wilderness clear out the way of Yahweh;
Make straight in the desert-plain
A highway for our God.'"

---C. Marie Byars, November 1986
Ft. Irwin, CA