Respecting the awesome power of words!

Archive for February, 2017

Reflection

hh1

Forgiveness is a light
shining forward,
out of a painful past,
toward a hopeful future.

We are like the mirrored cone
around a flashlight bulb.

If we convince ourselves
that we are the source
of this light, it is dimmed
with our pride and
blocked by the judgment
of our withholding.

All we can truly do
is accept the gift of it,
mind our own shadows,
and reflect the light toward others.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins
Advertisements

Past

img_1948

"Put the past behind you."
he said, so matter-of-factly
you'd think it was
as easy as rinsing scraps
of scrambled egg
off your breakfast plate.

I've come, not just to believe,
but to feel in my marrow,
that our past, however different
from what we hoped
or who we think we are currently,
is the DNA through which we exist.

And the pull of life and
breath itself are toward
an integration into a now
that owns the past
rather than being owned by it,

and a future that frames
both past and present
as path toward a tomorrow
in which who we've been
and who we are
are not only incapable
of thwarting our created purpose,

but are being transformed
into the very rails of hope
on which we ride.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

 


Grace Bats Last

zgracebats-last

When she steps to the plate,
I’m pretty sure the bases
are loaded; more loaded
than we ever imagined they’d be.

You never know what
the skipper’s going to do.

Even if you’re in a slump longer
than Rip Van Winkle’s nightmare,
and slower than an uphill freight train,
you’re likely to be inserted
as a pinch runner.

Taking the count full,
so all’s on the line,
she steps out of the box
one final time;
tapping the bat against her cleats,
carefully knocking loose
any clods trying to cling.

She points the polished white ash
toward the right field bleachers
with a confidence making
the Bambino look like
a rookie out of his league.

No matter what pitch
the opposing pitcher
has up his sleeve –
heater, curve, knuckler, change-up,
screwgie, spitter, slider, cutter,
or something we’ve never ever seen –
I’m pretty sure that ‘tater’s gonna be
tattooed like a wrinkled sailor.

Hear the crowd roar, child.
Hear the crowd roar.
A walk-off swing;
a dance-off sing.
Grace bats last, my child.
Grace bats last!

© 2017 Todd Jenkins


Pursuit

img_7185

In the end, as in the beginning,
and every place and time
in between, God refuses
to accept our rejection;

both our personal distancing,
and our sociocultural writhing away.

We are divinely desired,
and we will always be
sought by the sacred.

It is the uniqueness
of this seeking that makes it
both confounding and compelling
at one and the same time.

We have experience and metrics
for a whole host of stalkings,
all of which are unyielding
and often even violent;

but the steadfast pursuit
of unconditional love is
another creature altogether.

It is aromatic breath
from the depths
of the darkest places
into which we flee
or are pulled;

not necessarily the scent
of a sweet dessert
to which we are irresistibly drawn;

more like a mysterious fusion
of spices and herbs
gently tickling our olfactory imagination
in places we never knew
sensation could exist,
wondering us toward a depth
both haunting and hopeful.

Pay attention to your nose
because, when it comes
to paths toward the holy,
it knows.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

Faults of a Feather

dscf0671

They don't even
have to be
from the same bird.

They just stick together,
hanging on to one another,
and to us, like a staticky sliver
of cellophane or
an indomitable piece of tape.

There is but one way –
one place – to rid ourselves
of them, yours, mine, theirs:

the strong but tender hand
of the divine self.

It waits, open, patiently,
for us to release our strangle
on all that is not grace,
all that conjures not love,
whether it emanates
from us or others.

See us standing there,
our tiny fists death-gripped
around them?

We are convinced the sticky wad
is solely constructed
of sleights and slices
from the malice of others,
personally aimed at us.

What we cannot see
is the way our refusal
to release them attracts
our own faults
into the same gooey bundle;

how our failure to let go
of pain that has come at us
causes us to also keep
the suffering coming
from within us.

When Jesus cautions us,
"If you forgive the sins of any,
they are forgiven them;
if you retain the sins of any,
they are retained.” (John 20:23),
he's trying to help us see
that letting go of past hurts
is the only path to avoiding
the retentive edema and
grudging pock of vengefulness.

Filtering the faults of others
before they reach the healing flow
of Forgiveness Falls causes us
to miss the redemptive wash
for our own failings.

Let it go. Let it flow.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

C-Prompt

img_0592

The journey of faith
is the return
to the blank screen
and the C-prompt.

It is here,
after we have endured
and then set aside
all the formatting
of social, cultural,
and egotistical influences,

that we are ready
to perceive and
be acted upon
by the divine coder
of all creation.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

Collateral

otj

Photo by Owen Jenkins

 

The word means
“standing side by side” and
“descended from the same stock 
but of a different line.”

Do you remember a time
when this word could
stand on its own,

when it wasn’t nearly
suffixed with “damage”,
as if we couldn’t fathom
connotations in a different universe?

Maybe in the banking industry,
where it takes money
to make money;
and you can’t qualify
for a loan unless you can prove
that you’ve already got enough
to not need it in the first place.

We have warped
the word collateral,
using it regularly
to excuse the extermination
of people we are not quite
willing to stand beside,
whose DNA we have declared
is not human; but maybe

we are the ones
who’ve lost our humanity
one noose, one injection,
one massive surge of electricity,
one drone mission, one baseball bat,
one wall, one border patrol,
one round of ammunition at a time.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins

Only

Processed with VSCOcam with c7 preset

Photo by DeEtta Harris Jenkins

 

There's a race going on, alright.
And the people who are trying
their damnedest to win it
are the ones who're missing
everything along the way:

sunrises and sunsets
with their daily-repeated,
yet once-in-a-lifetime
explosion of color and light;

rocks shaped like hearts,
four-leaf clovers, and 
even three-leaf clovers
whose green is gift in itself;

clouds who momentarily
form themselves into memories
from our forgotten dreams;

cats, dogs, and
other domestic animals
who entertain us
with their mischievous antics;

wild animals whose
majesty and mystery
lift us out of our myopic frenzy.

That doesn't even get
to the people along the way:

ones whose uniqueness
we mistake for ordinary;

ones who smile
for no discernible reason;

ones who volunteer help
without expectation of reward;

ones who inspire us
by the tenacity of their
own anonymous struggle.

In our measuring,
calculating society,
we call all these little things.
Remind us daily that
they're really the only things.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins