Monday, December 9, 2013

Thoughts from Hafiz

If God
Invited you to a party
And said,

In the ballroom tonight
Will be my special

How would you then treat them
When you

Indeed, indeed!

And I know
There is no one in this world

Is not upon
His Jeweled Dance


Don't surrender your loneliness
So quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,

My need of God


Poetry of Hafiz
(Khwāja Shamsu d-Dīn Muhammad Hāfez-e Shīrāzī)

Enter quietly into another man's devotion,
slip off your shoes by the door
and feel the rich mandala of the rug upon the floor.
Penitence and prayer, a rich mass well-sung,
the sweetest incense on a golden altar smolders,
triptych panels, or tracks behind the boulders.
Enter and observe, the care, the dedication,
rites and secrets, set man's heart aflame,
and dare not ask, but wonder, what god's name?
To whom are morning matins rising up,
to whom is offered blood in wooden cup?

Is it to God, Jehovah, YHWH, Lord,
who in the form of Christ came to the earth,
and suffered, died, was buried, and arose,
that men who trust in Him may be restored?

Is it to Christ, the Kyrios, King of Kings,
who has revealed his will and asks his own
why do they call him Lord and not obey
but opens hearts, revealing secret things?

If not to God the Father, Son, and Spirit,
what god do men around the earth seek out?
What goodness can their craft and words deserve,
who do not seek the kingdom in His merit?

The beauty that is wrought to no good end
is beauty still, and cannot be denied,
but castles in the sand stand for so long
until erased to nothing by the tide.

Thank God for thought and beauty strewn about
this world, which otherwise would be so spare,
but flee to Christ, not man's inventions,
let that beauty point him out.
    Who has believed what he has heard from us?
        And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
    For he grew up before him like a young plant,
        and like a root out of dry ground;
    he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
        and no beauty that we should desire him.
    He was despised and rejected by men;
        a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
    and as one from whom men hide their faces
        he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
    Surely he has borne our griefs
        and carried our sorrows;
    yet we esteemed him stricken,
        smitten by God, and afflicted.
    But he was pierced for our transgressions;
        he was crushed for our iniquities;
    upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
        and with his wounds we are healed.
    All we like sheep have gone astray;
        we have turned—every one—to his own way;
    and the LORD has laid on him
        the iniquity of us all.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


A barrel-arch of clouds hangs
in the desert,
supporting the crushing weight
of the clear blue sky above
on columns of fine rain
(though small,
they are many).
Above the gray,
above the blue,
beyond the black,
hang stars
huge, hurtling through space,
whirling worlds in their wake,
on some of which hang clouds,
cathedrals of methane,
catacombs of sulfur,
drizzles of nitrogen chilling distant dust;
is there anywhere else
so fine as here?
Green, blue, brown, and gray,
a palette fit for a king,
the King of Kings,
in fact.

     When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
        the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
    what is man that you are mindful of him,
        and the son of man that you care for him?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Time Well Spent

From the window
of my office
I can see
beyond the haze
the mountains
and the days
spent there
on roads
in trucks
through water
and mud
and ice.
We two
and others
friends, family,
food, and fuel,
time spent,
a dent,
good trucks
and bad
exploring God's good earth,
feeling it from time to time
under wheels,
frame rails,
and sometimes
my back and elbows
as I raced
to repair
and carry on.
And you,
a queen
braided hair
beside me,
my friend,
my accomplice and admirer,
now my wife.
No better times
could I ask
than what we had,
and will have,
because our God
conforms us,
reforms us,
hammers out our dents
and tightens our loose screws
as we continue to explore,
on different back roads,
still together,
His good plan
for us
and ours.

Over the hills,
around the bends,
His road is rough,
until it ends.

    A voice cries:
    “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
        make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
    Every valley shall be lifted up,
        and every mountain and hill be made low;
    the uneven ground shall become level,
        and the rough places a plain.
    And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
        and all flesh shall see it together,
        for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”