To read my blogs – see ‘Poetry’ and ‘Prayer & Reflections’ links above

Guest post from Aotearoa / New Zealand by Ana Lisa de Jong

My friend Maren Tirabassi is worth following. Her poetry always makes me stop and think and gets deep into the heart. Here she has shared one of mine.

Gifts in Open Hands

This poem by Ana Lisa de Jong and the accompanying photograph by Alexander Harding have moved me today, not Sunday, but the Sabbath in any day.

The bird song has broken down
the temple walls,
that the life might stream out.

Sweet bird on a humble branch
delicate and unobtrusive.
Against the great quiet
your morning voice
has caused something to shift.

The birth and death of stars
hardly compares
to your small form,
flitting through leaves
like a dancing shaft of light.

There is something in me
that forgoes the crowd,
that does not anywhere belong,
Though of the great body
I am formed.

But your presence on the branch,
shows me that the walls
are all down.
Broken by creations
propensity to expand.

Life that runs through every
living thing
rises in me like sap.
As like a great living tree
I stand in beams of grace

View original post 44 more words

A Poem: The Secret

Creation knows the secret
and sings.
Sings the notes we catch and hear
and register as our own
hope rising,
our blood
made of the same
liquid life
as the sap that runs
through each living tree.

Creation knows the secret
and groans.
Weeps tear we feel wet
upon our own cheeks,
our hearts beating,
and lungs filling
with the same
bated breath
nature holds
in suspense.

Waiting for that day of release.

And in the meanwhile we,
who know the secret
along with all creation.
What value the world
and its goods
without heaven
as the missing piece
to fill the soul
with itself.

Creation knows the secret
and sings.
The song,
though incomplete,
with missing
and discordant notes,
rings out day and night,
calling back the creator
to finish a work
once begun.

To complete
what creation knows
is the consummation
of a love
still promised,
all our unmet needs
and inarticulate longings
in a blink of an eye,
of heaven meeting earth.

The sun of Christ
blowing apart
all the dark vestiges
that remain,
the divisions made
between creation
and humankind,
between sister and brother,
all restored
as new in Him.

Yes, creation knows the secret,
and sings.
Sings the notes
we catch and hear
and register as our own
making claim
on the balance
of the gift, half given,
yet on its way.

Ana Lisa de Jong
July 2018

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.’
Romans 8:22-23

A Poem: Lay Down

Lay down like the earth
is covered in flowers.
Wild things spreading like weeds
to outgrow the reoccurring cares.

And when pain springs
and flows like a river,
but mounting in strength,

then lay down like the gully
is carved by water,
feel it fill and mould you to its shape,
then flow in it to the sea.

Lay down like the waters
of the ocean,
spreads its blue/green wrap
around the earth.

Lay down and absorb all
that befalls,
to rise again,
a suspended vapour of mist.

As low clouds that brush
against the mountain tops,
that make a blanket
of their blooming spread.

That cause water
to fall again,
onto the thirsty plains
and vales.

Yes, lay down like the earth
is covered in flowers.
Colours that emerge in patterns that astound,
miracles formed by nature’s cycles.

Yes, lay down and let it all loose.
The clenched fist,
the buried hurts,
the seeds that fall to beautify the earth’s crust.

Good will come of all,
that we lay down.

Ana Lisa de Jong
July 2018

A Poem: The Good News

Have you heard the good news?
Have you heard how it’s all good?
How the good news underpins the bad,
supersedes it,
overarches it,
surrounds it in one great promise,
as the sky does the circling earth.

That the bad may be contained and
transformed bit by bit
by the light that gets in –
so that it becomes something else,
something which,
while not meant for good,
has lost its power to harm.

Have you heard the good news?
It’s enough to believe
when the bad presses in,
that the good is the wide outer expanse,
and the bad can be outshone,
outlasted, and made benign
by a persistent faith that believes.

Ana Lisa de Jong
July 2018

A Poem: A Blessing

I seek to give you a blessing
and the blessing I would give,
if I could,

take your hands,
open them wide
and place in them a gift

would be an offering of
such benevolence
you would no longer want

from here-on-in
would not question –
would raise your head.

For the blessing I seek to give,
the blessing I would give,
if I could

take your heart,
pry it apart
and place in it a boon

would be of a largesse
of a magnitude
you would no longer need

from here-on-in
would not doubt –
would believe.

I seek to give you a blessing
and the blessing I would give,
if I could,

take your soul
lift it high
to catch the updraft

would be a promise
of such completeness,
you would no longer desire

from here on in
would not wonder –
would know for sure.

I seek to give you the blessing
that never leaves,
if I could

if I were capable of giving to you
the gift of you,

and enough on your own
and wonderfully formed

I would show you
who you are,
hold up a mirror from inside.

Yes, I’ve sought to give you a blessing
that never lets you down
if I were able

to give you the gift
of seeing yourself in your

the way God holds you in his sight
not lacking anything

that would hold you back
from fulfilling
all that he’s ordained

for you
then I would,

for you.

Ana Lisa de Jong
July 2017


A Poem: Mist in the Morning

You bless.
We give back up.
Like mist in the morning.
rising again.
A living vapour.
The wet earth trembling,

Sustaining cycle,
circle of life.
You give,
we receive.
The borne fruits,
the shed leaves.
the vines cut,
for next year’s growth.

You pour,
we receive.
What flows from us,
proof of your blessings.
The earth and the sky touch.
The sun’s caress warms our skin,
releases our bodies in-held breath.
We exhale with relief.

As mist in the morning,
your Spirit hovers.

Ana Lisa de Jong
July 2018

A Poem: The Poets Teach Us

The poets can teach us,
can show us a thing.

Not from inside out,
but outside in.

Not from above
but from underneath,

Not from front-on,
but from corners overlooked

that we first arrive
slow to discern.

The poets can teach us
what they see from a distance,

or so close,
the eyes take time to adjust.

When light is too bright
the poets reveal

what it is like to see

That what is felt by feel
speaks quieter than language.

With words held and translated
by reverent touch,

but with grains of truth,

the poets speak to us
from a different perspective.

Seeking not agreement
as much as willingness

to witness from a lens
not always reconciled with belief.

The poets teach us
how the borders merge,

when seen from a distance.
How patterns emerge,

and features change dependent on
where the light hits.

How blacks and whites become greys
to eyes that soften their gaze,

and how absolutes interweave
to reveal bigger truths.

The poets teach us that all we’ve
hitherto learned

we can unpack and critique,
we can undress and lay in the sun’s light.

Not be afraid of a unique way of seeing
or a belief we deem worthy of standing upon.

The poets teach us to turn in
to the heart’s understanding

and out wide to embrace
the whole open sky.

Ana Lisa de Jong
July 2018

A Poem: Not a Prayer

Its not a prayer.

Its not words you must repeat
in the right order,
without missing any,
to put your heart right with His.

Its not forgiveness you need.

Although redemption you may ask for,
for salvation from pain
and the confidence
to enter His presence.

But it’s not anything you must do,

or bring –
must plead for,
or exchange.

It’s not a prayer,

nor a journey,
to a destination,
you might be afraid
to blink and miss.

Sometimes it’s not even an epiphany
or a conversion,

although that might be how
you mark the spot,
where awareness
unfolds like a slow awakening.

It’s not a prayer.

Although prayer is a name for
many things.
And its never crawling on stones
to absolve your transgressions.

For it’s not your sin that separates you

and the great restorer of your soul,
so much as it is perhaps, more
a deeply held fear.
An insistent insecurity.

A question of your value.

A need to be worthy,
of the glorious image
God has made you in.
The resemblance of himself.

No, it’s not a prayer,

so much as a slow understanding.
An ever growing flowering,
a remembrance,
and a knowing.

The one you have searched for,
or may not have known you needed.

The one who has been with you
finds you in that moment
you drop your defences.

The lover of your soul

shows you how all the pieces fit.
How he has been waiting
to complete you,
with a true vision of yourself.

Ana Lisa de Jong
July 2018

A Poem: Without a Light

Poetry brings me home.

When I have wandered directionless,
without a light,

when longings keep me circling,
lost child in the dark.

I find it beckoning,
wooing me.

Its shining, liquid words
my lighthouse on a rock.

Poetry, drawing me in
like a room lit at night.

A lantern, weaving through leaves
as filtered sunlight.

Poetry brings me in.
winding me with its reel.

Wet line working against the tide
to pull its last desperate catch to shore.

Poetry, the salvation
of those whose feelings run deep

as river salmon moving
in migration.

The soothing voice in the ear
to cause the heart to lie down.

Poetry, brings me home.

Whether home is the heights,
when too deep I’ve gone,

or the depths when I’ve forgotten
life’s meaning.

Poetry is always the answer to a need,
that never quite makes itself known,

or explains its presence,
or the absence that it magnifies.

Poetry is the magnet,
the attraction to match all objects,

that would otherwise
defeat my allegiance to goodness.

Poetry, that keeps me desiring
to match the beauty of its song,

is the voice,
which without its words to soothe and move,

the soul would echo
without a sound.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry

“I lost my way. I forgot to call on your name. The raw heart beat against the world, and the tears were for my lost victory. But you are here. You have always been here. The world is all forgetting, and the heart is a rage of directions, but your name unifies the heart, and the world is lifted into its place. Blessed is the one who waits in the traveller’s heart for his turning.”
Leonard Cohen

‘I once asked a bird, “How is it to fly in this gravity of darkness?”  She responded:  “Love lifts me!”’
Hafiz Shirazi

A Poem: Stilled

Have you ever written out your heart
instead of crying.
Have you ever made love
instead of breaking apart.

Not that tears are not words
in liquid form,
or breaking
a way of mending.

Has it ever taken death
to be more aware of life.
Has the flesh ever been more holy,
than when we know its humanity – its fragility.

Blood and tears, the fluid of life,
the red soft supple give under the skin.
The heart that beats hard against its frame,
knocks at our door.

We’re to hear it, heed it,
before its stilled.

Ana Lisa de Jong
June 2018