A place for whimsy, art, and exploration
Friday, February 18, 2005
Footsteps in the Jordan - Poem/Hymn
So many sandals mask the sky
From soil and grass, while passing by—
The union of above, below,
Disjointed where we humans go.
Which blades were bent whereon he trod
Whom heaven named the Son of God?
Who can descry a mark or stain
That shows the whole world’s weight of pain?
Did angels footsteps leave a trail
From riverbank to cross and nail?
Where is the mark of holiness
Amid the crowd, the noise, the mess?
If he was consubstantial then
With mortal women, mortal men,
Would cosmic ripple shiver stars
And rock and sand show sacred scars?
Is it unfaith that dares suspect
Creative Word in flesh bedecked
Was truly human, weighed no more
Than any other on the shore?
Is truest sign that God is here
The lack of signs, the doubt and fear,
Uncertainty and sometimes dread,
And destination with the dead?
Which sons of Adam or which daughters
Of mother Eve can enter waters
Yet not be claimed as heaven’s child,
Or bear that Spirit, fierce and wild?
From dust and clay the Image, warmed
By God’s own breath and formed
To manifest Immanuel
From farthest reach to deepest hell
Cannot be lost, against all odds,
For it is named, and it is God’s.
We each and all behold the dove
Descend in fire and grace and love
To claim us and declare that we
Too bear that Word, and also see
In ordinary things of earth
God’s own true self come forth in birth.
O Holy One of mercies sure,
Whose truth and justice shall endure,
From whom the galaxies are sprung,
In whom all life is ever young,
Help us to see your presence here
In time of misery or cheer;
Your hour as now, and we your folk,
Today the breaking of each yoke.
Reveal your children, one and all,
And rend illusion’s deathly pall
Cast over eyes and minds that we,
May serve you—whole and strong and free,
Anointed as your Christ, and one
With him who is our Source, our Sun
Of Righteousness, our Light,
Our Peace and Joy, our soul’s Delight.
With Jesus in the flood we go,
With him arise, and with him know
Your will and pleasure, sin’s release,
The world’s redemption, heaven’s peace.
Renew each galaxy and quark,
Let light eternal dance with dark,
Let all creation flourish, sing
Your praises, let the cosmos ring
With everlasting Hallelu!
You dwell in us, and we in you,
The Source of all, the Word of love,
The blessing-bearing gracious Dove,
The glorious Trinity of grace,
God of each moment and each place,
Present wherever we may turn,
Whose love in all shall ever burn. Amen.
13 January 2003
This world is sown with heaven’s seed - Hymn
This world is sown with heaven’s seed
Text: Paul E. Strid, © 2002
Tune: The Eighth Tune (Tallis’ Canon)
This world is sown with heaven’s seed,
Like star-cast bounty, splendor-filled,
Yet cast on earth amidst our need
With God’s own life and love free-spilled.
Here in the soil of daily life
It grows and spreads with vigor sure,
Yet with God’s peace there springs up strife
And weeds for which we find no cure.
Our wisdom is too frail to sift
The good from evil, life from death;
We know too well the painful rift
Between our clay and God’s own breath.
God, you alone know false from true,
And you alone within one space
Can hold them both, give each their due,
And reconcile our fallen race.
Bring all creation into flower,
Let all fruit flourish, all things grow
Into their fullness, by your power,
And help our feeble minds to know
That all creation comes from you
And you alone are goal of all,
That when you sift the false from true
And free the world from death’s sad pall,
Then may we know the weed’s own role,
The value of each pest, each trial,
The worth of each beloved soul,
Your grace to save and reconcile.
To you be glory in the field
Of earth and heav’n and of our heart;
May all creation praises yield
And sing the Gardener’s gracious art!
Interstate-5 - Poem
Ribbon unrolling under my wheels
straight gray path in the desert
sealing the soil of my birth beneath me
lest it touch me, reveal its secrets
lend me its strength, mysteries mighty
root me here, rivet me, keep me from passing.
Here perhaps, somewhere, my afterbirth buried;
this is my land, my source, my place.
I feel nourishment rising from fields to my fingers—
bearfeathers? maybe, and this is my valley.
Holy Joachim, God’s loving grandfather,
you are my ancestor, I am not peopleless.
Roots have I, here and in places my heart has loved;
home have I always in hearts that have loved me.
I may be pilgrim and palmer and quester,
yet all of my wanderings safely are circumscribed
by palms that sustain and always protect me—
there is my name written always and ever.
August 23, 2002
Here, Gentle Reader, you may find a usage of "bearfeathers." The etymology lies in my mother's use of the term "horsefeathers" when she did not want to say horseshit in front of my delicate ears (I guess). Since Bear is my totem animal and I am undeniably ursine, bearfeathers became a phrase used by my beloved ex and me whenever I was spouting something of questionable veracity.
Claire's Blessing - Acrostic Poem
Sunlight angles down the building faces,
Thin clouds dissolve in the summer morning.
I sit after late breakfast, observing strangers peopling
The avenue, thinking of friends old and new. A
Chained bicycle and I, motions paused—what roads
Have my wild, worn treads touched, what winds felt?
Each day a new stage of unpredictable journey,
Rife with detours, delights, disasters, discoveries.
Sound, sight, smell all pattern each moment—
Oh, the syrup scent in the Red Tractor! Traffic, voices,
Wind-rippled bottlebrush—the other faces
Eyes cannot see but projected in my mind, layering
Realities together. That time I looked at the false Cézanne
Mirrored in the glass of the “Orchard” print, citrus
Arranged casually on the counter, and securely
Kept at a distance, the unruly eucalyptus—
Energies, solid things, representations all at once
Reflecting light—sun, earth, the soul in interchange.
Dappled vision of shifting stuff, what depths and heights
And far-flung reaches penetrate my narrow moments!
Now I sit, poised amid these layered forces, wondering.
Chance and choice and universes will go into my next moment.
Entry to paradise: this moment, each moment—
Raw matter woven into eternal now and boundless bliss.
Oranges and cookie jars, walnut trees, blue tiles,
Farnesi windows, gum trees, fir window frames—all
Laced within each other, lover’s knot—place and
Infinity—sweet, sad singers of life’s song—
Fresh hopes, old aches—all this and
Everything reflected, held, expressed in my heart, and God’s.
August 16, 2002
The text of Claire Creese’s card to me on the occasion of my last birthday:
“Paul, Stitcher Sower Maker Dancer of Life” (signed) C.
Beside Each Other - Poem
Beside Each Other
Remember that second night?
We were too tired for lovemaking,
both of us exhausted
(so many nights of unfulfilled yearning).
We kissed, cuddled, and crashed.
That night I did not hold you in my arms;
we lay beside each other—
free, happy, unafraid, content—
nine long delicious hours.
This morning, recalling
that night of utter peace
I unclasped my arms
from the beloved pillow,
lay beside it, my cheek touching,
Better not to control
so I rested
imagining you resting
and I breathed the morning air
grateful for the time
our hearts made love
as we slept.
August 25, 2002
The Last Fingers of Leaf - Acrostic Poem
Tell me, do waves tickle the land when their
Heavy froth splatters on the sands, dissipating
Energy as they wash the shore, dissolve, subside?
Wavy lines of seaweed, traces my fingers carve
In the golden sand, curves in the silhouettes of posing gulls—
Now Phoebus smiles on skin, where are my night thoughts?
Dancing surfers court the ocean, miniature Poseidons on
Chariots driven by spumy steeds, soaring, sinking—
Rocks melt before water here, asking me silently,
“O fellow mortal, what are you? Your world?”
Susurration of unsubdued power, song of the ceaseless
Sea, pulse in my veins—gliding birds
Echoing my free-flying thoughts—pilgrim on the
The West is the direction of water, cleansing the
Heart, yes, and dissolving all things, each and
Every, self-knowledge and letting go.
Black wetsuits briefly shield young bodies from the cold,
Racing the tide and that ultimate dissolution—
Orgulous, fearful, exhilarated by turns they
Wind among the shifting waters,
Now in the hour of their lovemaking.
Lightchild, I knew from the beginning that
All these words were about us,
Near or far and journeying apart,
Dreamers, dancers, surfers of the heart.
Undulate, shifting forms, sand hillocks collapsing,
Next, I suppose, the sand castle will
Hurl itself into my imaginings,
Ever taunting as it rejoins the waters—
All is change, no form abides.
Right it is for our beach architecture to fade;
Do I have the courage to be a castle?
Montara State Beach
August 20, 2002
The river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf
Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind
Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.
(Opening lines of “The Fire Sermon,” part III of The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot)
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Welcome to BearFeathers
I established this blog as a place to post poems, photos, artworks, and miscellaneous flights of fancy. No unifying theme, though it may be interesting to see if any themes emerge as time goes by.
Unless otherwise noted, all poetry, art, and photos on this blog are copyright Paul E Strid. Works by others will be credited.
Enjoy, and feel free to comment.