03 July 2014

Tight Mystery, Furled Up

A Tight Mystery, Furled Up

Mist draws back
in a morning 
packed with possibility
Hills are God’s gift to our imagination

I confront the workday
     an endless tan prairie, unbroken. 
A door sticks,
     not quite open, not quite shut. 
Finally I settle on 
"Oak summit 
       long panel gray" 
St Ignatius shuffles back in the dust, 
          in the heat of the afternoon
 Who can say what lies on the other side of a hill? 

At night as I sift
through still photos
of men, of women 
       long and gray 
they speak to me 
        in questions 
I potter, 
neither up nor down
the insurmountable, 
        impassible mountain of 
what they asking. 
Stuck, holden by their eyes--
they ask, they beg: 
          "why did anyone love me?"
           "where are they now?"
 -2014, Charity Johnson 

14 June 2014

A Prayer for the Mephibosheths

A Prayer for the Mephibosheths
Don’t we all have the name Mephibosheth?
Begun perfectly formed
but a hurried and incautious
        dropped and maimed for us life
at too young an age.
And yes, truth is stranger than fiction:
    all of the maimed live
          in this strange, exiled place
where no certain balm is.
These lame limbs
we make more lame by
walking on,
     not knowing we mistake,
                          we confuse,
profession and belief.
Don’t we all have our own Good Fridays–
too many to count:
   we worship so
   we can get our own way,
   we need people to like us,
or, we just want
   that shirt?

And there is a darkness,
it stalks to kill –
til we believe in death more
than we believe in life.

When we dare
      on some clear day
we'll see
where the light strikes the shallow bottom
      in our pool of profession.
And we'll breathe this out:
no living death is too deep for resurrection.
- Charity Johnson, 2014

19 April 2014

Dandelion Puffs For Tali

Dandelion Puffs For Tali

Tali runs
towards dandelion puffs,
her mouth agape:
A single puff with an entire world

Good Friday’s gust
strips the stem
leave a bare uprooted
  lone tree
  standing out around petals
of spring.

Tali's tears dry as mama shows
her where hope
In all those seeds
  up there
  carried on the breath
  of spring
  wherever it wills.

Good Friday’s tree
  stripped bare
  its seed fallen to earth.
Yet the seed
still sails through
our universe,
  and no fence or wall,
  no army or ammo,
  nor silence or need

can mar the spreading
eternal golden glory.

-Charity Johnson, Spring 2011, 2014 Virginia