A Poem: Practice Resurrection

Practice resurrection with me.

I do.
Every time I watch my children sleep,
and breathe.

Every time the day rises.
Every time that the moon ascends,
to prove wonders never cease.

I practice resurrection
with the bird’s dawn chorus.
There’s always a note that carries heavenwards.

And in my daughter’s hair,
such gold that only angels
could spin.

Yes, resurrection is practiced
in everything that sheds,
and then returns.

Seeds, leaves, hair strands,
trees we’ve pruned
to then surprise us in their vigour.

Voices that were silenced
to a whisper,
and regained their strength.

Who said resurrection
has to be seen in the flesh to be proven real,
has not felt the earth turn in the dark,

or watched the morning star
form from nothing
as it caught the light.

Hope is the banner
that is raised
each time resurrection is believed.

One day we will wake
up to see,
what it is we practice for.

Restoration,
a guarantee for those
whose hope is in renewal.

Who trust that the return of spring,
and the grave’s open tomb signifies something,
to one day be revealed in full.

Yes, practice resurrection with me.
It’s the only way to live,
and die.

In the closing and the opening of our lids,
our eyes now see with clarity,
all that the dark tried to hide.

Ana Lisa de Jong
February 2018

Image: My own
 

 

 

 

A Poem: The Back of You


If I see the back of you
in the glint of light through leaves,

in a rising moon
shifting between clouds.

In the explosion of the sun
behind the hill at days end,

or its gentle ascending glow
at dawn.

If all I see feels like
I am following at your heels.

Fleeting muse among the trees,
your lantern’s light slipping in and out.

The sound of your robe
and sandaled feet beckoning me.

If all I see is a tempting glimpse
of heaven,

bright edge of beyond,
the wrapping of the gift.

Then that glimpse is such that any more
would exceed what I can contain.

It’s not that you’re not here alive
with us, in full.

It’s that our eyes perhaps
must wear blinkers to shield them from the glory,

that otherwise would undo
in its magnitude.

For now, we see you clothed.
For now, our senses dip their feet at the brink,

and that must be enough
to sate our human restlessness.

Enough to follow you,
sweet light through leaves,

your hand’s caress
on our sleeping brow.

One day we will wake
on the other side of heaven’s back.

And will see all of what
alludes us now.

Ana Lisa de Jong
February 2018

A Poem: Humanity

What would happen if we retreated back
a few hundred kilometres into space.

What would we do with a world that’s divided.
Might we see it as one round ball.

Might we see the colours merge
to the degree our steps recede.

Yellow and red turning to brown,
black and white to grey.

And the more we retract
the more we merge with the sea, and the land.

And become the blue of the world
He sees through His lens.

What would happen if we gave ourselves space
to reflect,

and saw each other from a wider perspective,
a greater distance.

I think like all small things,
the world and its contents would become more precious

for being considered as a whole,
rather than a sum of separate parts.

There is only one thing we all share,
this common beautiful humanity.

And like all worlds on the edge,
we’d know it if we began to fall.

We’d hold on to each other then,
as if there were no tomorrow.

If it’s not too late,
I pray we remember it now.

Ana Lisa de Jong
January 2018

Image: My own

‘So wake up, wake up,
wake up all your sleepers.
Stand up, stand up
stand up all you dreamers
Hands up, hands up
hands up all believers
Take up your cross, carry it on.’

Wake Up Lyrics, All Sons & Daughters

A Poem: A Million Graces

In all our efforts that attempt and fail,
there is a grace for that.

In all the ways we’ve loved and not loved,
there is a grace for the lack.

In all the ways we’ve poured out our strength
and come up spent,

or have swallowed bitterness,
and carried guilt,

there is grace.

Plentiful, and bounteous,
to counter our inadequacies,

to make up the space between
what is and isn’t.

To bridge each glaring gap.

Yes, we can take a breath
and exhale it.

For it’s in the giving up,
and the release of our grip,

that we encounter the grace
made to meet each need.

Where we find the spaces that echoed
are filled,

with a grace that overarches
and undergirds.

A grace in which our deficiencies
are offset

by the knowledge of a love
which turns lack on its head.

Yes, God is love,
and there is grace for each need.

Let us come to the font
and be filled.

 

Ana Lisa de Jong
January 2018

Image:  My own

A Poem: Wide Open

Wide open.
That is how our love should be,
our hearts should spring.

Doors, windows,
open to the ocean breeze,
and the mountain air.

We can be so discerning,
as to miss the magnitude
of everything.

If we pray
but have not love
that opens doors,

lays out hospitality
as a carpet,
gives and receives generously,

then our love
might indeed be hollow
as the flute,

or miss its target.
The potential reach
of a love uninhibited.

I haven’t the answer
to today’s questions.
They are too immense for me.

But I know what love is not.
So I fling my doors
and windows ajar

That you might know
my house is open
to all.

Come in,
you can see the whole horizon from here
360 degrees.

Wide open.

Ana Lisa de Jong
January 2018

 

A Poem: Lit

 
Are we a candle on a window sill,
or do we sit in the dark?
Are we the sun that glints gold
through tree limbs,
or do we pull the clouds across its face?

For hate and anger is easier to justify,
than love that must by necessity be lit.
A wick set alight by a heart
willing to love and forgive.

We can only do as much
as the life that is present inside.
Would we not prefer to sit burning on a sill,
than wallow in our pain in the dark?

It’s hard, but once the flame
illuminates the shadows in our house,
we see them as naught
but things that surrender to the light.

Ana Lisa de Jong
January 2018

A Poem: Light

It does not take much
to stand in the beam of light.

It is not a crooked trail
we can easily fall off.

It’s not a dirt floor
we’re required to crawl.

Humility has its place
buts it’s not a mantle to constantly carry.

There’s no need for tracing patterns
in the dust,

or for re-writing errors
and re-enacting our mistakes.

As though we
had a self-fulfilling prophecy

to realise.

Instead,

life is for stepping out,
to stand up straight.

For working out that,
how we keep closest to His will,

is by measuring the distance
between His heart and ours.

In noting how the beam falls on
those who stand in the way,

not on those who shy away,
from the rays that fall.

From the grace that calls us forward
and beckons us to raise our face

to walk in the
streams of His light.

Ana Lisa de Jong
January 2018

A Poem: To Follow

Following is not so hard.
It’s following the bird’s call back to its branch.
It’s following the crest of the wave back to where it breaks.
It’s following the sun’s eventual descent
and the stars charted tracks.

It’s walking forwards
and then often back.
In circles, or figure eights.
It’s taking a detour, for a visit or a view.
It’s forgetting and then retracing steps.

Following is not hard.
It’s following the rivers fall into the crevice.
The tree line to the ridge.
The change of vegetation
to each mountain’s peak.

It’s listening, and it’s seeing.
Tracing feelings, and following thoughts to their origins,
or to where they peter out and dissolve.
It’s feeling the stone’s edge, the smooth pebble,
or rough face of rock.

It’s holy listening, seeing, sensing.
A pilgrimage where our outward steps
reflect the labyrinth within the hearts
Where Nature’s breath slows our own,
causes us to pause and match the rhythms of grace.

Following is hearing, and recognising our yearning
as a call in the bush from one bird to another.
Registering the response to our heart’s pain,
and our souls cry to connect,
with one who hears our call and responds with his.

Following is finding our way,
where we thought we had become truly lost.
It’s discovering there is no place he is not.
That where the light dissolves,
we turn around and find it ascending.

The one we follow is always reappearing.
We follow his feet.

 
Ana Lisa de Jong
January 2018

A Poem: A Fabric

I will fail you
And you will fail me.
Its inevitable.
Strains are necessary
in the fabric
of love’s covering.
A baby in the womb
lengthens its limbs
and curls its fist,
in preparation for life’s journeying.

Tears appear
not because we’ve failed,
to steel our love against tests.
But because
love is strong enough
to stretch,
to allow failure and hurt
to raise its voice
and then repent.
To tend to wounds uncovered.

The fabric of love
in truth
is not something that’s never been torn.
But rather
something that’s gained its beauty and strength
from its reinforcements.
Its tears repaired
again and again,
until goodwill’s
restored.

Love’s a patchwork quilt
of remembrance
that can raise when needed.
To catch the undercurrents
and to provide
a platform for uplift.
For us all to rise
and catch our breaths,
to then gain the distance needed,
to value our attachments.

To recognise the strength
of love’s encompassment,
a fabric that bears any strain.
That covers the wounds we
impart in our
selfishness.
That measures us
again and again
not by how we fall
but how we rise once again.

A quilt of a thousand uses
and counting.

Ana Lisa de Jong
January 2018

A Poem: Circling Life

 

The life you have lived
and embraced,
in the end holds you.

The years that have passed
do not dissolve,
but rise like sap inside.

The tree planted by the river
does not thirst
or suffer lack.

The life we live holds us.
What we’ve given
is given back.

The love we’ve expressed
becomes the love
in which we’re embraced.

The paths we walk
revisit again
to circle us.

The ways we have blessed
become the means
in which our blessings return.

The life we have lived
hasn’t holes in it,
but fills up and overflows.

Ana Lisa de Jong
January 2017