A Poem: Watchperson

I wake up,
watchperson for the morning.
Would the morning’s bird call
be the less for being unheeded,
or the rising sun
stop in its tracks for lack of welcome.

No, but if I wake
the morning sheaves,
the harvest of my heart
are gathered,
and I hold them in my arms
the rest of the day.

It’s not the world that is less
for our lack of notice,
but like a smile offered
as we turn and leave a room,
so we can miss the gifts
that greet, and follow us.

Our sheaves wilted
before they’re gathered in.

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2018

‘I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.’
Psalm 130:6

Photo: Gisborne, New Zealand

A Poem: Silence


Have you heard all the sounds
silence holds?

Cessation of movement,
stillness of mind.

The ceasing of all efforts
reveals a door

hitherto closed,
and shielded from view.

In silence,
we open

as a musical note does
to the one who calls it out.

In silence,
we feel

the blossoming urge of a tight bud,
the burning need to bloom.

Ears tuned to a different register,
we note,

a swift beat of wings,
a mounting chord.

And we realise, with new clarity
that silence holds a thousand sounds.

Echoes from elsewhere
but which we recognise as our own.

Notes that ring out shrill
as the flute,

or soft as a strummed harp
in gentle hands.

Tones in which we hear the birds,
and the sea,

and the sound of our own hearts
meeting our shore.

And the language we discern,
though one we cannot translate,

is understood the same
as any audible voice.

Yes, that we might hear the sounds
silence holds.

That we might still ourselves
to open the door.

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2018

Photo:  Okura River, Auckland, New Zealand


A Poem: Aging

Did you hear about the girl
who through aging
grew fully
into her skin.

Did you hear
how she gave up youth
for wisdom,
and truth for wonder.

Did you hear about the woman
who had no fear
of time’s pace,
but set her own.

And did you hear her state
how youth’s
passing passage is only a foretaste
of what’s to come.

A practice,
or a preview
of the
real thing.

The problem with age
is that its lost on the young
and its treasures
found late

when the skin
grown into
loses its tightness
and finds comfort in spread.

and takes up more room,
that it claims as a space
earned in a world

it belongs.

Ana Lisa de Jong
June 2018

Painting: Daniel Ludwig

A Poem: Come

‘Come, move.’
He calls my name.
From hilltop to plain,
to mountain.

His voice echoes,
down the paths
through the chambers
of my heart.

Levelling the hills,
filling the valleys,
causing the streams to
burst their banks,

at my name,
carried across each chasm,
borne as molten liquid
upon his lips.

‘Come, move.’
Part entreaty,
part command.
Promise of eternal blessing.

If I would but transport myself
from this place,
to his,
like a leap of earnest faith.

Not with aimless drifting,
but rather
as two lovers might rush forward
into an embrace.

‘Come, move.
It’s your turn.’
Runners might be weary,
but those who leap

and trust the leveller,
to smooth each rising mound
and raise every

find the path
lit and shot with light,
as a late sun’s flaming glory,
might traverse the winter hills.

‘Come, move.’
There is no question,
of not departing,
and no reason for remaining,

no standing still,
when such a voice as His,
calls us, on the wind,
by name.

Ana Lisa de Jong
June 2018

‘Make a road for the Lord through the wilderness;
make him a straight, smooth road through the desert.
Fill the valleys; level the hills; straighten out the crooked paths
and smooth off the rough spots in the road.  The glory of
the Lord will be seen by all mankind together’.
Isaiah 40:3-5

‘Even the youths will be exhausted,
and the young men will all give up. But they that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength.  They shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint’.
Isaiah 40:30-31

‘When the poor and needy seek water…. I will open up rivers for them on
high plateaus!  I will give them fountains of water in the valleys!  In the
deserts will be pools of water, and rivers fed by springs shall flow across
the dry parched ground.’
Isaiah 41:17-18

Photo: Tutukaka, New Zealand


A Poem: To Unravel

When we unravel
we can find in the strangest way,
we are taking shape.

A shape we couldn’t see
when wound up tight in a ball
all contained.

But if we unravel,
pull a thread and watch it unfurl,
dangerously loose,

we might find
it falls as its meant.
A picture to speak a thousand words.

A picture that reveals
in our unravelled form,
we’re more beautiful than we thought.

Are more valuable than we had guessed,
or had forgotten we were
before life caused us to hoard our treasure.

Yes, when we unravel
its as though a muscle memory comes back
to remind us of our strength.

We’re to never fear the unfurling,
or the pain that begs
a question,

to find an answer in
the twirling,
dancing thread.

The shape it makes when it lands
we recognise
as an old friend returned.

‘Could it be’, we hear ourselves ask,
‘that we have always been
what we imagined.’

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2018

A Poem: And Then

And then
morning came.

The clouds changed,
their ragged edges
lit with light.

The hues of dawn
took over the sky,
as a lover’s encompassment.

And the seasons turned.

Summer’s heat
gave way to Autumn’s chill,
as a cool palm to the forehead.

Winter’s covering
lifted at the corners
as Spring spread out her banquet.

And then
my soul lifted.

The arrival of dawn,
and its reminder
of constant beginnings,

my own heart’s
recurring remembrance
of the grace that restores.

And then.

The knowledge that
there’s always a ‘then’,
is the certain hope to which we hold.

The key with which
we turn the lock,
that would otherwise keep us in the dark.

And then,

We look again
and the sun has risen.
The world has restored

in its constant turning.

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2018

Photo:  Tutukaka, New Zealand

A Poem: Your Hands

Your hands meet mine
lifted up in praise, or supplication
or curled in my lap.

Loose and open in the peace
of surrender,
or tight with tension,

and my earnest grip
to whatever it is
I am holding.

Yes, your hands meet mine,
whether they are
held to my chest in prayer to you,

or to hold a hurt
from spilling
from the heart.

Yes, your hands
they hold mine.
Wrap around.

Open the fingers.
Pressed against my flesh,
palm on palm.

And they encourage
with a small handshake
of absolution.

And when I’m ready,
when I’m ready to loosen
and grasp in return,

they always bid me on
with a little tug,
to indicate the way.

Yes, your hands
never leave mine.
Lifted up in praise or supplication.

Or curled still,
at peace and open,
grateful in my lap.

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2018

Photo:  Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Centre, Long Bay, Auckland, New Zealand


A Poem: A Passage

Pain is a doorway.
A birth canal.
We ache and contract
to bear forth something new.

the anointing of our travails,
work to soften
and open the way forward.

Rivers run
with a mountain’s burden of snow.
Melting at the
touch of warmth.

And we, without realising it,
transform our pain
by bearing down
upon it.

Pain is a path,
a passageway to life.
Everything that ever grew
first pushed its way out.

Life insists we evolve.
Pain, the propelling force
for change
ensures our growth.

The tree that
first burst its seed’s protective shell,
grows up and
breaks new ground.

And any gains we make,
that can be weighed
and found
to be of any worth,

are born out of
travail and pressure,
and darkness
that gives way to light.

Ana Lisa de Jong
April 2018

Photo:  Tutukaka, New Zealand

A Poem: Beautiful

When you call someone beautiful
you draw something out.
Something that may not have believed itself,
had it not been named.

When you name someone as beautiful
or some other quality of grace,
you stir the soil, and loosen the dirt
for a seedling to emerge.

When we call out beauty,
or kindness, or courage, or grace,
we are naming what might not have been
if we had not given it substance.

We’re to remember that everything that ever existed
was first a formless thing,
brought into being by a word
on the creator’s lips.

We are creatures of imagination and
bearers of vision,
everything we can perceive now
we can place into the future.

Let’s call each other beautiful,
though the evidence is not yet apparent.
The dry desert can bloom as a rose,
when we dig for a source of water.

As an instrument can only respond
to the hands and lips that bring it to life,
so we are charged with the task
of bearing forth one another’s song.

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2018

‘Jesus said to him, “have you come to believe because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”’
John 20:29

A Poem: The World is Alive

The world is alive.
We think we exist as masters of our fate
and captains of this ship.
Until every now and then the earth takes a breath
and moves as if to dislodge us.

We realise then, our frailty
as passengers, and as guests
who for a moment have come to visit
a beautiful, unpredictable place,
not our own.

We realise then, when we think in this vein,
that to be tolerated by a living breathing animal,
upon whose back we live,
is not to be discounted,
only respected.

We are not the captains,
the masters of our fate,
but the ones for whom earth is a borrowed home
and its wonder and beauty,
an unearned gift.

We would do well to remember,
and to try with all our might
to hold on,
as a rider who straddles a horses girth
might enjoy the ride.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
May 2018

Photo:  Langs Beach, New Zealand