Prayer

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a community of writers from around the world who post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt provided on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog. This week’s photo is by B. W. Beacham.

Photo Copyright B.W. Beacham

Prayer

by Jan Brown

The Shoreline Mission Shelter was destroyed by the hurricane. I wept when I witnessed the first responders removing Father Paul’s lifeless body. Most of the residents survived. But they still hadn’t found Lanie. Only her shopping cart was there, upended on what was now the beach.

Three days later, they found part of the structure a mile away, half buried in the sand. And under the heavy wooden beams—Lanie! “Where’s Father Paul?” she said in a hoarse whisper. “I need to thank him. If he hadn’t stayed and prayed with me these past few days, I couldn’t have survived.”

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NaPoWriMo 26 – Song of Angels

The NaPoWriMo challenge for April 26th is to write a curtal sonnet, a form invented by Gerald Manley Hopkins, an English poet and Jesuit priest. This is shorter than a regular sonnet, having only six lines in the first stanza, four in the second, plus a “half-line” at the end.  Meter and rhyme, if any, are left to the poet to decide.

Song of Angels

by Jan Brown

◊◊◊

If we left this earthly plane, if soul took flight

If we could shed our form and dance as light

If we could signal thoughts with just a blink

If we could forego sleep and drink the night

And let our white hot energy delight

Then life would be mere spectacle, I think

◊◊◊

So let me go, and do not hold me tight

Resist my pull, and we can float away

We’ll sing the song of angels through the night

And watch the stars wink in the Milky Way

…one eternal Light

NaPoWriMo 25 – Mother

Last night I learned that my friend’s mother passed away, and I can’t even think how to write a poem today, unless it is a poem that honors her and her life. I am not well myself, so I am of little or no help to anyone, but what I can do is write, and pray.

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem using anaphora. The Poetry Foundation defines anaphora as the repetition of a word or words at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or lines to create a sonic effect.

It is sad that we are so close to Mother’s Day. But I think the idea to use anaphora is perfect, because it helps to emphasize her role, her experiences, her impact.

Mother

by Jan Brown

She is the one who was born into beauty
Who lived through the ugly pogroms
Who gave birth in the displaced persons camp
And still carried on

She is the one who brought children to the new world
Who struggled in a strange land
Who grappled with a loony language (English)
And still made a life

She is the one who worked hard hours
Who created a home for her husband
Who gave life to her family
And kept it going

She is the one who loved them
Who loved them when they went to war
Who loved them when they were flawed
And when they were perfect

She is the one who loved them
Who loved them when they went to college
Who loved them when they were sick
And when they held on

She is the one who cooked perogies
Who made kapusta and babka
Who taught us to make the holidays flavorful
And made us smile

She is the one who loved and lost
Who suffered that loss that no mother should
Who grieved her son, not yet fifty
And still held up

She is the one who loved and lost
Who grieved her husband, together so long
Who carried on, alone and lonely
And still loved him

She is the one who is reunited
Who is greeted by husband and son
Who is greeted by saints and angels
And we will always love

Beyond the Event Horizon

death stood on my chest
lungs and fluids burned
I closed my eyes
through darkened lids
I watched my world implode
screamed silently
without air
sliding into a black hole
no way back

◊◊◊

limbs, useless
flailing, grasping
stretched to oblivion
elastic that will never snap
echoes of DNA strands
splitting apart
hurtling shapelessly
through the jet stream
moment by moment

◊◊◊

molecules dissipating
melding with the darkness
and memories of light
that body, that woman, is gone
the kernel that remains
is but a seed spewed out
onto the hard, cracked earth
of another planet
waiting for the rain

black hole - image credit NASA-JPL Caltech

Leonard Pitts: a universal explanation for religious atheists

I loved this column, which was shared by one of my fellow Friday Fictioneers. The column is a brilliant and amusing look at our constant lame attempts to categorize ourselves and others. Enjoy!

Leonard Pitts: a universal explanation for religious atheists – Leonard Pitts Jr. – MiamiHerald.com.

Amazing Grace, Amazing Voice

My wonderful cousin Freddie shared this video with me.

This young singer is both inspired and inspiring! I hope he shares his gifts of music and joy with the world for many years to come.

This is a modified version of “Amazing Grace.” I think you will enjoy the beautiful lyrics of the “hook” (chorus) and the last verse, which appear to be new. The song is even more joyous and uplifting, if that’s possible.

Enjoy!

Rain

to the farmer
a promise
a relief
a cause for prayer
celebration
and yet
to the citified cynic
merely
depressingly gray
and unusual–those large
dark clouds
against the brilliant blue
they hold back
as I start my long drive home
then, suddenly
let their contents drop
like a suitcase being opened
while held upside down

to the east, I see
impossible mountains
over the lake
snowcapped peaks
like stiffly beaten eggs
gorgeous white fluff
against it, skyscrapers
Dali-like, bright, shining
standing tall
even in the clouds

by the time
I reach my destination
the sky has metamorphosed twice
from blue
to gray
to irridescent orange
the dread of wet-weather travel
disappears
and is replaced by an ancient
awe
of the infinite
power
and ultimate creativity
that is God

Psalm of Arthritis


The last few days have been particularly painful. During these times, I try to remember that I am not alone in the experience of extreme pain. I often turn to the psalms of David, who also (apparently) had arthritis. His psalms are peppered with references to it.

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony.
– Psalm 6:2


My back is filled with searing pain;
there is no health in my body.
I am feeble and utterly crushed;
I groan in anguish of heart.
– Psalm 38:7-8

David’s relationship with his pain is a recurrent theme in the Psalms. He sometimes viewed his pain as a punishment for sin, primarily his relationship with Bathsheba and his involvement with the death of her first husband. He sometimes viewed his physical pain as part of his political and family struggles. (I imagine the pain of arthritis was worse when his son tried to overthrow him, worse when he fled certain death to hide in a cave.) David also viewed his pain as a metaphor for the broader struggle of the people and nation of Israel.

Despite the pain, David usually ended each psalm with praise for a God who listened to his cries for help. I need to remember that. It’s comforting to know that others feel your pain, but even more comforting to experience their sense of hope.

I don’t know what else to say than: Amen.

more than a haiku

she experienced
God’s grace in the hospital
holding His strong hand

When I was in the hospital with six bags of assorted medicines being pushed through the intravenous thingamajig, I felt like I was on my last chubby leg (and I actually was).  The two female pastors who visited me during this time were amazing, and along with my two BFFs, they kept me physically and spiritually alive. One was a petite elderly lady who spoke softly and had personal conversations with me.  She asked me if I had ever read Paul’s letter to the Philippians, especially the closing.  I’m sure I had read Philippians at one time, but it was years ago, so she refreshed my memory by reciting the promise of Philippians 4:19.

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Then she held my hand and prayed. Her voice boomed with such a surprising volume that it must have reverberated up to the heavens and beyond!

As she prayed, she repeated Paul’s promise, and I felt God’s power in that moment. Hearing the voice of the pastor, holding the hand of God.