Poppet

Happy New Year!!

It’s hard to imagine that the year 2015 is here! Last year I spent this day exploring Salzburg, Austria, and although this year’s festivities were much more laid back, I am blessed to be surrounded with the people I love most in my dear good old hometown. A year brings a lot of change, but I am thankful for it and a lot more hopeful about change now than I have been in the past, which is another thing to be grateful for!

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Today’s poem is sort of dark/deep for such a holiday, but it’s something I’ve had on my mind lately. Here is 

 

Poppet

 

Come dress me up,

for I am your doll.

Put me in pin curls

and cinch me up small.

 

Come paint my face

with talc, kohl, and clay.

Make sure my lashes

curl, last all day.

 

Come dress me up,

in all the fine gowns,

wrap me in silver

and give me a crown.

 

Come grace my neck

in glittering gems,

put me in spike heels

hid under my hem.

 

Come dress me up

and pose me just right,

I’m just a doll;

I’ll be here all night.

 

I think about the women on magazine covers, the ones robed in the latest fashions with airbrushed faces and perfect figures; and about the models that saunter up and down runways, wearing bland and sometimes angry expressions, devoid of personality like walking billboards; or even the actresses in films, curated like the finest gardens in order to appeal to the masses. Sadness tinges my soul, because I realize that to the world they are only dolls.

I don’t mean to shame women who choose those careers. It would be fun to get to play dress up and get paid for it, and the majority of these people choose to do it. They are not slaves. They are not forced. They are not exploited. 

But something in me still recoils, even minimally, because I see where the seemingly innocuous world of glittering lights, fashion and beauty becomes a way for us to make dolls, playthings, poppets out of our fellow human beings. As people, we love beauty. But when we find it, just enjoying and appreciating it is not enough for us. We must perfect it or obtain more of it. Beauty is a drug that helps us to forget the world’s ugliness. An actress on a magazine cover, no matter how beautiful, powerful, smart, kind, or influential she is as a person, remains an image to us, an image we see over and over again in magazine after magazine, film after film. She is stripped of her humanity and becomes something pretty to look at. Our quest to obtain beauty becomes ugliness. 

What are we to do, then? I think the answer lies in remembering who we are as human beings. The Bible says that we are created in the image of God, and therefore each person is precious and beautiful. To God, beauty is not just in a person’s image. We are told that “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b).

Foolish people that we are, we usually assume that outward beauty is the sole definition of beauty, but it isn’t. Many people are physically beautiful but internally grotesque. If we valued internal beauty as much as we value the external, I believe that we would learn to see that girl on a magazine as more than just an image, more than just a doll to play dress up with. We would see her and each other fully, looking beyond the outside to what is truly valuable within. We would see the complete person, not just her image digitally collected, manipulated, and printed onto some paper. 

So if I could challenge you (and myself) this year, I would urge you not to treat your fellow (wo)man like a doll. Look beyond the outward appearance to the heart. You may not always like what you see, but at least you will see the people around you for who they truly are. I guarantee that along the way you will find beauty, and you will become better at recognizing what beauty truly is. 

Happy New Year, friends. God bless!

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(Not Another) Love Poem

One thing that bothers me about society is our obsession with love, and yet for as obsessed as we are with it, there is still so little of it in the world. Every book, movie, TV show, and song describes our quest for true, lifelong love, specifically romantic love. We talk about finding love and losing love, falling into it and falling out of it.

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We tend to see love as a fated thing; either we are destined to love someone or we are not, and if we are not, we have no control over whether we fall out of love. In our minds, we are at the mercy of fate. That thought is terrifying, and yet it is captivating. We can’t wait to be under the influence of a destiny so wonderful and so terrible. We give up jobs, our hearts, and other relationships in pursuit of that one, destined and fated love that will perfectly satisfy us.

Some of us spend our entire lives looking for that perfect love, and when we can’t find it, we become disillusioned and cynical of the world and the people in it. Or we do find it, or think we do, and someday we wake up to realize that this one, perfect person is a real pain in the neck sometimes. And we start to wonder if this love is true. Then we believe is isn’t, and never was, and we throw away what we had to go on to pursue that one elusive, perfect love, certain that if we could just catch the tail end of it, all of this would be worth it.

I propose a different concept. Cynical as it my sound, the truth is that we will never find perfect love in another human being, because human beings are not perfect. Sometimes love does seem to be destined; I’m not sure how that all works, but I do know that meeting someone you love is only part of the equation. It takes work, lots of really hard work, to keep love strong. We are not at the mercy of love or at the mercy of fate. Circumstances may bring us together or pull us apart, but it is our responsibility, if we choose to love someone, to keep loving them, even if they do end up being a pain in the neck.

Sometimes there are exceptions. Sometimes the person we love ends up being just a really bad person. But I’d venture to say that more often than not we throw at promising relationship away because we have a wrong perception of what love is. We think conflict and imperfections and a departure from all our hopes and dreams shows weakness in the relationship, when sometimes they are just obstacles that need to be loved through and that will make the love stronger when they are overcome.

So that’s my two cents. I’ve outlined them in two convenient stanzas, poetically. And they are much more succinct than the above ramblings, but it’s something to chew on :o). Enjoy.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8 NIV).
 

(Not Another) Love Poem

 

Disbelief, luck, and blessing,

grins and sparkling eyes.

Jellied knees and pounding hearts,

so this is love.

 

Stubbornness, pride, and crying,

prayers and giving grace.

Humble words and knitted souls,

So this is love.

 

Square Pegs

Hello everyone!

Today I have a rather raw poem to share with you. It came from a very personal place where I experience a lot of anger, sadness, and frustration.

There is this kid I know and really care about who is on the autistic spectrum. He’s the most darling, sweet, and hilarious little guy you ever met. Of course, he can be very hard to live with sometimes. He has the ability to create a lot of frustration. However, this frustration is magnified by other people’s inability and unwillingness to understand him and the situation he is in. I don’t want to be too vindictive of the general public, because I know we all have a long way to go in accepting and understanding people who are “different” than us for whatever reason.

But I also know that we could do much better. Autism, its varieties, and a range of other disabilities – not to mention the entire spectrum of mental illness (another point for another time) – are documented medical conditions, and yet we as a society are very judgmental of those who deal with these things and the people who care for them. They are square pegs who do not fit into our round holes, and so we ostracize them by designating them as “special” or “bad” or “difficult”. And yes, maybe sometimes these monikers are true. This kid I know is very special, he can sometimes be really bad, and he is often difficult. But ultimately, he is a blessing. He causes me, and anyone who will learn from him, to feel, to see, and to taste the world and the people in it in ways I never would have thought to otherwise.

So the point of this poem, I suppose, is not to be so quick to judge. We really have no right to label our fellow human beings or to put them in boxes that make us feel more comfortable. To do so is grossly arrogant and, indeed, blasphemous. God made us all in His image, in His likeness, and we have no right to deem one image as more acceptable than another.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

Thanks for reading! Enjoy.
 
 

Square Pegs

 

Does this, someone belong here?

Can we, trust him to know the rules?

He strange, different than most here,

Don’t care, as long as he turns out cool.

 

Does this, someone belong here?

Can we, trust her to get it right?

We all, walk a tight rope here,

Walk straight, before you get tossed aside.

 

This world is so complicated,

Square pegs don’t fit in round holes,

So let them fall through the cracks

(and maybe in the end)

We’ll meet our goals.

 

Long days, shut in from the outside,

Long nights, making up all the work,

Deadlines, fear and frustration.

Bruised hearts, taking their share of hurt.

 

I think, they don’t belong here,

In this, world of twisted pain.

Vain pride, my way or the highway,

Can’t see, who we hurt on the way.

 

This world is so convoluted,

We cling so fast to precious goals,

Don’t let them fall through the cracks

(and I know in the end)

We’ll be whole.

 

Allegheny Autumn

Happy Thursday folks!

Today I wanted to share yet another Autumn poem. You must be tired of those. But honestly! I could write forever about the richness that is Fall. So here is

 

Allegheny Autumn

 

The sky is gray like dirty ice

and mars the sunlight into something

pale and pure and gray.

 

Rain falls as it may care to fall

and settles on the leaves of trees.

Emerald turning yellow.

 

The smell is crisp and peppery,

the pleasant scent of petrichor

rolling through the green.

 

The air is cool, but warm beneath

unlike the spring, when roles reverse,

back again in Autumn.

 

The sky is gray like dirty ice,

a conq’ring king soon to invade

pale and pure and gray.

 

Black Hole

Hello everyone!

I’m sorry that I didn’t post over the weekend; the week was exhausting, days just slipped by and I needed a bit of a break by the time Saturday rolled around! But I hope you all had a relaxing weekend!

Today I wanted to share a rather unusual poem that came from another misunderstood class assignment (it happens to me a lot apparently) in which we were supposed to describe a black hole in metaphors. So naturally, I went and wrote a poem instead. It’s a little raw, but you know, all writing is a work in progress, so here is

 

Black Hole

 

A black hole

is not so much something

as it is

nothing.

 

It is a void

collapsing on itself

like a heart

full of fear.

 

It is gnawing

like an empty stomach

just before

breakfast.

 

It is black

(as its name does suggest);

an eye socket,

a snake’s nest.

 

It is empty,

yet filled to the brim with life

once lived,

with memories.

 

It is a window

with the glass knocked out, a

volcano, emptied

of magma.

 

It is the death

of birth, and the birth of death.

Such is that,

a black hole.

Death of a Christian

Hey all! Happy almost-weekend!

This poem I’m sharing today is one I wrote as part of a class assignment in which we were to describe the emotions of an elderly Christian fearing death despite his or her beliefs about life after death. An interesting concept, to be sure, but I misunderstood the assignment. We weren’t supposed to write whole poems about it, just jot down a few metaphors to describe the situation.

So this poem, which I actually really like the end result of, sits in my notebook never to see the light of my professor’s desk lamp (if he even has a desk lamp; I forget). To me this is a shame, because I really tapped into my inner Emily Dickinson for this one. So I thought I’d share. Without further ado, here is
 

Death of a Christian

 

I had a dream that Death had come

to steal me from my bed.

I fought it, kicked it, socked its brow;

I woke up drenched in sweat.

 

The dreadful thing is, Death is near,

and I who won dead souls

now shudder, wishing I’d more time

to fan to flame the coals.

 

I told them they were guaranteed

to taste the bread of life,

that sin was nailed to the cross

to never be revived.

 

But oh! what different tunes I sing,

me! shaking like the ground

when finally the freight train comes

and drowns us in its sound.

 

Death whispers to me like a friend,

assures me of my fate,

that I am yet a child of Him

Who’ll meet me at the Gate.

 

And I believe, yes, in my heart;

I know it in my brain.

But something in my bones still quakes

to hear Death’s drum refrain.

 

“No guilt in life, no fear in death”,

my favorite hymn does sing.

So why I am I still full of fear,

for I shall see my – “