Next week I’m reading my poetry in public for the first time in fifteen years. My coffee house and campus glory days are way behind me. I’ve since been saved, sober, baptized, re-married, ordained as a prison minister, and become a grandparent. My daughters and their new husbands will come to the reading, and it may be my best all-time chance to witness and inspire them to Christian husbanding.
Speaking in public, especially reading, is usually listed at the top of our greatest fears in pop psychology quizzes. I don’t share that particular phobia. I’d read phone books out loud in a subway if it gave me an audience. My issue is by declaring Christ as my Model, Mentor, and Muse, even poetically, I’ll be on the spot to live up to the measure of servant with a smile and the manhood I hope to articulate.
When it’s just me and a pen following the prompting of the Holy Spirit to improve on the blank page, being a poet is wonderful. But when it’s time to call us into a community of receptive perspective, the responsibility moves way past being clever or gifted into being clean and clear. “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). That’s challenging in it’s own right, but under a spotlight with a microphone, it’s what makes the Word sharper than any double edged sword.
We count upon our fingers
the ways we’re loved.
We wait for the hands on the clock
to tap us on our shoulder,
tap us on the shoulder,
what will it amount to
the things we bring from this world?
The hairs upon our head
are not crowns,
better we should count the times
we slid down
to make room at our breakfast table,
room at our breakfast table
The worries in our arms
have no wings,
that’s why when we drop them
and what we bring to glory,
what we bring to glory
what we bring to glory is our praise.