A Poem: Ascension

 

“Keep going, don’t give up”, I read.

Yet keeping going today,
looks something like,
closing and opening my eyes;
and turning over to my other side
in bed.

Progress is sometimes measured
in the smallest increments.

My not giving up today
was perhaps seen
in the leap of my heart,
at the Tui and Fantail on the branches
beyond my window’s ledge.

Sometimes progress is measured by the reach of our vision,
beyond the place we now rest.

Stop, go.
Who is asking that we maintain our pace?
To rest is to regain the strength to rise.
Before we release a breath,
we must breathe in the oxygen we need.

Yes, our hearts,
they beat to the measure of our supplies.

So sometimes not giving up
looks like curling into a cocoon;
and drawing the blankets in tight.
We might need to tend
and mend ourselves,

as the cat that comes in from the night,
licks at its wounds.

The shelter of the cocoon
provides the supports that aid our healing.
Before we ascend,
we must kneel and bend
to get the uplift desired.

No, we don’t give up,
and keep, however slowly, making ground.

But its not clear cut.

Sometimes ascending looks a lot
like slowing down.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
Ascension Day 2017

“…Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
Luke 5:6

“Begin again. Begin anywhere.”
Anam Cara Ministries

Image: Alexey Terenin, “Double Flight”

A Poem: Colour

You paint
such colour on my skin,
where I saw white
in my mirrors reflection,

I look again,
and you’ve unearthed them.
The colours of my soul.

I see indigo
and yellow,
but not the sallow
shade of skin,

but bright
like a finches breast
or sunflowers glow.

And there’s blue and rose,
pink across the cheeks.
In such hues that
I can longer see me – for you.

Is that what you were wanting?
Is that what you would seek
to unveil?

Sometimes we
must surrender
strength in mind and body,
and decrease.

While we might appear,
by all intents and purposes to
recede

the colours of our soul
are only reaching

the light of day.

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2017

Lord, I am not high-minded : I have no proud looks.
I do not exercise myself in great matters : which are too high for me.
But I refrain my soul, and keep it low, like as a child that is weaned from his mother : yea, my soul is even as a weaned child.
Psalm 131

Painting: Odilon Redon

A Poem: Wordless

Loss is so deep
there are no words
to define its meaning,
that we can speak.

It is empty,

like the ringing of a bell
gone silent.
Or the rush of the bird
that all of a sudden
takes flight.

We are left alone.

And that alone,
is overwhelming.

We can no longer stand up
We cannot speak.

But love, has not flown.

Though we stand without,
the substance of a person in our life;
or thing, whatever it is,
that, like the tide,
has departed at our feet –

love still exists.

It is the only given.

And it restores the floor
under us,
where we lost our footing.
Its in the hands that uplift us,
in our grief.

The love that we have lost
can’t be replaced.
There’s still that hole.
We cannot circumnavigate our grief.

But love transforms.

The tree that flourished
and then lost its leaves,
has dropped its crown.
But its seeds

lie buried in the ground
beneath.

Our loss, can still co-exist
with life.
We see Spring emerge from Winter
and dawn from
the darkest night.

Our hearts may break,
but the breaking brings
its own healing.
Grief will not consume us complete.

In that day that light brings
its blessed relief,
we will find its love
that kept us from

falling.

Ana Lisa de Jong
23 May 2017

Written for a friend on the death of his mother.

Image: Alex Wigan, Courtesy of Unsplash

A Poem: Growing Pains

It hurts.

It hurts when the shell breaks,
to make room for the new.

When the husk cracks,
so that the green can push through.

It hurts when we’re growing
beyond what our constraints can restrain.

Growth cannot be delayed
but pushes through, despite the pain.

I would like to tell you that that this will end,
but life has a way of emerging from within.

Losses and mistakes,
you count them as though you were to blame.

Don’t

They’re the breaking of you
in preparation,

for all you’ll become.

Ana Lisa de Jong
June 2017

 

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn’
Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.’
Kahil Gilbran

Image:  Pinterest

A Poem: Except a Grain of Wheat

Except a grain of wheat

fall, catch the current of the wind,
and lose all sense of direction,
to rest in a place unbidden and foreign,
it remains a single grain.

Yet, unbridled or contained,
and at the mercy of God’s faithfulness,
it bears the seed for the new season’s harvest.
It becomes new bread.

Yes, I think it is that what often looks like death,
or lack of fruitfulness, is instead,
just the time it takes
for the gift of life to flourish.

And tears, and gestures, or words,
the frustrated expressions
from good intents gone vaguely wrong,
or not as we would have determined;

the love that appears to be in vain.
They bear our heart’s cries as seed,
while God’s purposes he sometimes shields,
from our current understanding.

So that just like grain, or leaves,
or anything that falls,
we find next season’s yield,
is often stored,

in the remains of the first.
Apparent death just the shedding
of the husk,
that brings about new birth.

Ana Lisa de Jong
June 2017


“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
John 12:24

“…He prepares the earth for his people and sends them rich harvests of grain.”
Psalm 65:9

Image:  Dominik Martin, Courtesy of Unsplash

A Poem: Borne Up

There are some days
in which,
just as the sun travels from east to west
across a blue horizon;
I find myself
held up,
carried aloft,
that my clay feet might not touch
the ground.

I did not know, I was so light,
or inclined to be absent?
Rather I think it is that you instead
are strong, and ever present.
And that it is your pleasure
to uphold us,
to assure us of the comfort and strength
found in the centre
of your arms.

And so I rest,
like a child weaned.
I have found, standing still
what many might travel the earth
on weary feet to seek,
not knowing that strength
is found
where weakness gives us away,
always at our knees.

Ana Lisa de Jong
June 2017

Image: Pinterest (unknown artist)

A Poem: We Sing

We sing.

We open our mouths

before dawn breaks,

because our hope

seeds in the dark.

 

And we believe,

before we see,

the dawn that breaks through leaves

and gilds them gold.

 

We arise in our hearts,

and so our voice

declares the light

before it arrives.

 

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2017

“…in the morning I will sing of your love.”
Psalm 59:16

A Poem: Love Surrounds

 

You surround us.
There is comfort there.

So much comfort to be had
by the thought of our
encompassment.

We lie, like seeds in the earth;
or wait, as birds in a nest.

For our provision.
For our establishment
in the ground.

And for a while there,
we thrive.

Until seasons change,
and our understanding
grows to find,

that none of us were made to stay grounded
for long.

Birds take flight.
Seeds and green leaves are shed, and spread
across land and sky.

We were made to grow,
and lengthen and expand.

To break our shells,
to green and die, and
then restore ourselves from the ground.

And in the dark and light;
in the summer, and in the winter’s night,

we recognise wherever we are,
there is a greater purpose,
and meaning profound.

Truth deeper than we might ever grasp,
found in the knowledge, of your love.

Love as a tent,
that circles and surrounds.
Seen in the flight of birds, and Spring’s first emergent growth.

And witnessed in the dying of the light,
and the closed eyes of those farewelled.

Love is bigger, and larger and completely beyond
what we can comprehend, but its comfort
is in the knowledge that it’s a tent,

and we’re held safe
in its confines.

Ana Lisa de Jong
May 2017

Image: Gabriel Jimenez, ‘Poor Man’s Garden’
Courtesy of Unsplash

 

A Poem: Peace Starts Here

Peace must start here.
In the battlefield of our hearts,
where our wills seek their way
and our wants collide with others.

Peace must be brokered
in the dark of our thoughts,
where our wounds lie exposed
to our bitter judgements.

Yes, peace must be sought
in the ashes of our anger,
where we sift through the wreckage
for what can be salvaged.

But as long as we seek
reasons for our anger to be justified,
or even look for evidence
that we can put it aside;

while we seek things redeeming
in our neighbours eyes,
we miss the point of peace,
and we will never find it.

For peace is only brokered
when we give up our positions.
When we recognise that each of us
will never be right.

Though our neighbour
may hurt us, and justice be denied,
our standpoint’s also wrong,
when cemented by our pride.

For peace is gentle,
and its power is in the unexpected
way that it dilutes the enemy’s ability
to wound us.

Christ poured his blood,
out for those who did not deserve it.
And we stand on the ground
where those who’ve died before us,

cry out not for vengeance
but for us to restore
that for which they once fought,
and fell.

And it starts
not on the streets, or the battle-lines
so dearly bought,
but in the resolve of our minds

and our hearts.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Anzac Day 2017

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
James 3:17

You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 12:23

Artwork:  Rene Margritte

A Poem: To Witness

I, love
I, love from here.
From my heart, which burns, and beats
and smiles and cries.

Which starts and smarts
with each move and turn of
the subjects
of my love.

I am mother, I am wife.
I am friend, and lover of God.
But my heart,
is inside out.

Love does that.
It makes us walk,
while standing still,
the paths of the ones we love.

Love asks this of us,
or its not true.
And I sit now with the women,
who loved Jesus, more than life.

I, who know something
of love.
Know something of how
they may have felt.

To not be able do anything, at all.
But sit still.
And bear witness,
to another’s walk.

This is love.
This is how we know, that we do.
Love.
We will lie down, we will stand, we will sit and cry.

Smile and listen
and try and carry it all.
We will think of you
when we are not with you.

We will pray for you
and beseech heaven for you,
and try and push away
the stones.

But most of all
we will bear witness.
And walk with you.
So the cross you carry

is never borne alone.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Easter Saturday
April 2017

“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.”
John 19:25