A Poem: Connected

We are connected.
The spider’s web
that bridges a gap,
and reaches into space
from one branch to another,
its silken length
the means it travels,
teaches us,

that storms,
whether from Nature’s storehouse
or human-made,
cannot bear up against
one hand that reaches out to another,
or hearts across an ocean’s span,
which bow and lift
in prayer.

As the spider lays
its wondrous web
to show us,
that not all we think we see is real,
sometimes the light reveals
a net wider and stronger
than what we first might have believed,
and placed in our faith.

And this net,
that bridges the gaps
between what we see
and what we don’t,
what we live and what awaits,
what we hope for and what we fear;
this bridge, stronger than it looks,

And if it does not,
the spider, that has curled
and waited out the storm,
steps out again in faith
when light returns,
making links into space
to rebuild
its intricate world.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living tree Poetry
September 2018

A Poem: Blue

Everything’s blue this day.
Sea, sky.
Even the green bush
is softened,

under a blue gaze.

The colours of my heart,
as changeable as the sky,
today split into shards
of multi-coloured light,

lit by the sun.

I realised then
there’s no colour, or feeling,
or thought,
that should not be given space

to exist.

But what’s been hurt
will take a step back,
can change
and give up its inclination

for shadowing us.

As even dark,
and grey that seems not to move,
weighs less
and merges with the predominant hue,

when held up to the light.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
September 2018

A Poem: Joy is Quiet

Joy is quiet,
Not one to draw attention,
but graciously retreating
from the limelight.

So that joy is quiet,
Not an obvious presence,
but almost resisting

As it waits
for us to notice it.

Joy is quiet,
Not bold or authoritative,
it allows us space
to feel what we will.

So that joy may be quiet,
Not a forceful influence,
but gliding in
on silent feet.

As it waits,
to fill its place.

And joy is gentle,
Not one to showcase its strength,
it prefers the backdrop,
to the heroine’s role.

So that joy is soft,
Not one to push its way,
but pervading with its fragrance
all the same.

As it waits,
for us to notice it expand.

Yes, joy is faithful,
Not here and gone,
but with an undergirding support
that holds everything.

So that joy is eternal,
Not a fleeting occurrence,
but a promise that comforts
it is constant assurance,

as it waits
for us to welcome it.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
August 2018

A Poem: Splendour

What if it were not your depravity you were afraid of seeing
but your splendour?

What shyness shields you
from His revelation?

Remember you are not yet fully formed,
clay He moulds again and again and again.

You are well used, and at times worn.
That he must take you in his loving hands to repair.

Cracks are not mistakes,
although you believe yourself a vessel to be perfected.

What piece of art was ever correct?
He would rather make you what he needs in each moment.

One day the bowl from which others eat,
one day the cup from which they pour.

Come to the Potter’s House,
as naked and holy as you are.

His touch brings ministrations
to ease every ache.

See how you turn so beautiful
upon his wheel.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
August 2018

A Poem: Sunday Song

The birdsong 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 still 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

which fall upon me
where I stand.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
August 2018

‘Sing O heavens for the Lord has done this wondrous thing.
Shout O earth; break forth into song, O mountains
and forests yes, and every tree….’
Isaiah 44:23

‘You’re the voice I hear calling my name.
You’re the song inside my head,
you’re the whisper in the wind and rain
when I listen.
Teach me to listen
In the morning, in the morning
your mercies are new.
In the morning,
I listen to you.’
Jason Upton

A Poem: The Work of Grief

It’s the work of grief
to walk two paths.
To live the present tense,
and travel the route
our hearts would take
if choice were ours.

It’s the holy work of grief
to acknowledge the cost
of loss.
To weigh up what’s left,
treasures in the hand
now spent.

It’s the sacred task of grief
to bear witness
to grace,
that comes on silent feet
to spring-clean rooms
of residual dust.

it’s the sacred role of grief
to reroute us on a road
now taken shape
upon the remains
of former gifts.

Grief’s task is not done,
and often
the fallowed earth
newly turned,
brings with tears,
an Eden remembered.

But grief,
the shadow side of life’s jewels,
shows us how to regroup
and outlive loss
by turning
to the light.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
August 2018

A Poem: The Word

They say this Word is living.

They say the Word was before all else,
and will last when all our words run out.

They say this word is sharper
than the sharpest double-edged knife,

and that it cuts,
straight between the marrow and the bone,

not with malice
but with astounding accuracy.

Something like a surgeon
wields instruments with skill

not for harm,
but with the best of intents.

They say this word is alive.
Though its letters stay still upon the page.

They say we cannot live
in the pages of a book

so the Word, full of breath
rises to meet us where we live.

Crosses the barriers of time
and distance,

and speaks as though its letters were
freshly transcribed.

They say this Word is life.
Medicine, sustenance, water for our thirst.

A prescription
to remedy all the ills that befall.

And gratification
to counter the world’s allure.

Yes, this Word, the great I Am

this treasure house of wisdom
that somehow gives us answer

before our questions form,
or meet our lips.

This Word, that drew breath
before the world took shape,

I know it mostly as
the loving whisper my ear inclines to,

that I might learn to listen,
and then trust with my life.

Ana Lisa de Jong
August 2018

Photo: Carol Haines

A Poem: Ah Poetry

Ah poetry.
Who would take another lover
who has poetry to softly
whisper sonnets
into their open ear.

To fall upon the face of
and give in
to the moving waves,
as though poetry
were a door to heaven.

Who would want,
when poetry
is both emotion,
and emotion’s relief.

To those for whom poetry
is the lover
and the beloved,
the expression and silent receipt
of some sacred gift –

poetry is,
inexpressible comfort
and fuel to the flame
that burns within,
a voracious wick.

Ah poetry
who would take another lover
who has poetry to softly
whisper sonnets
into their open ear.

To fall upon the face of
and give in
to the moving waves,
as though poetry
were a door to heaven.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
August 2018

‘A  poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.’
Robert Frost

A Poem: Just Imagine

If there is no peace
then hoist high the flag.

If there is no joy
then draw from the spring.

If there is no hope,
then remember when

you first dropped your sheaves
in despair of your yield.

And instead,
just imagine

if they might be seeds spread
for next year’s return.

If there is no love
then dream it into being.

If there is no faith
then let the fallow ground rest.

If there is no light
then remember when,

the long night was revealed
as a prelude to the dawn.

And, instead of despair
just imagine

how the dawns return
might stir,

buried seeds
to awakening.

If there is no freedom
then claim it in love’s name.

And if there is no point
then replace doubt with a reason.

And if there is no grace
then recall how

the grace you were first shown
was undeserved.

And instead,

how we do not have to be released from pain
to forgive.

How forgiveness in itself
can harbour hope in its wake.

Just imagine.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
August 2018

‘Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow—
perhaps it all will.’
Ecclesiastes 11:6

A Poem: Bread

We are the bread of life.
Dropped crumbs for the hungry.

A warm yeast rising
to fill our place.

A swelling grace
that yields itself for other’s nourishing.

We are bread that does not run out
but refills our plates.

And multiples that none
lack sustenance.

We are bread.

We are the water of life.
Welling rivers for the thirsty.

A warm weight flowing,
giving at its edges,

expanding to fill the empty fissures,
and wet the dry earth.

We are the water that ever springs,
liquid dressing to soothe wounds

and absorb the world’s pain
in a rising flood.

We are water.
We are bread.

Givers of life.

Ana Lisa de Jong
August 2018

Photo:  From an Easter Reflection at my church