All posts in Poetry

  • The Sycamore’s Prayers


    The Sycamore’s Prayers
    Blind Man at the Gate
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  • Reading The Bible Right

    marcchagallexpulsionfromparadise2

    Reading The Bible Right
    Brian Zahnd

    (I put this poem in Water To Wine.)

    It’s a STORY
    We’re telling news here
    Keeping alive an ancient epic
    The grand narrative of paradise lost and paradise regained
    The greatest “Once upon a time” tale ever told
    The beautiful story which moves relentlessly toward—
    “They lived happily ever after”

    Never, never, NEVER forget that before its anything else it’s a story
    So let the Story live and breathe, enthrall and enchant
    Don’t rip out its guts and leave it lifeless on the dissecting table
    Don’t make it something it’s really not—
    A catalog of wished-for promises
    An encyclopedia of God-facts
    A law journal of divine edicts
    A how-to manual for do-it-yourselfers
    Find the promises, learn the facts, heed the laws, live the lessons
    But don’t forget the Story
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  • The Magi and I

    James-Jacques-Joseph-Tissot-Journey-Of-The-Magi

    On the Twelfth Day of Christmas and on the Eve of Epiphany I thought I would re-post this. It still speaks to me and for me.

    This is T.S. Eliot’s majestic poem Journey of the Magi with my quasi-interpretation of it. And it’s more than an interpretation — it’s also a kind of autobiographical confession. For I too have had a hard time of it…and like Eliot’s Magi I would do it all over again.
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  • The Last Train Out of Monkeytown

    TrainTracks

    (This poem has deep meaning for Blind Man at the Gate, but many of the references and allusions probably only he understands. Don’t bother asking him to explain the poem, I’m sure he won’t.)

    The Last Train Out of Monkeytown
    Blind Man at the Gate

    He caught the last train out of Monkeytown
    Bought a ticket on Easter 04 and was eastbound
    Left the wagon train beamed from outer space
    Said adios to the obtuse and turned his face
    Toward something he hoped was there
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  • Kyrie Eleison

    Camino
    Kyrie Eleison
    Brian Zahnd

    Six months ago I walked across Spain. Five hundred miles.
    Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
    Forty days and forty nights.
    A full life with two full moons. Harvest and Hunter’s.
    Heat and cold. Dust and rain. Wind and calm.
    It was all there.
    Beauty and blisters.
    Ecstasy and exhaustion.
    Pleasures and pains.
    Mountains, forests, and plains.
    Spaniards and Germans.
    Americans and Russians.
    Brazilians and Peruvians.
    Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese.
    They were all there.
    I was all there.
    Every step of the way.
    A million, three hundred thousand — give or take a few.

    I saw my life. The Camino was my life. My life compressed to forty days and forty nights.
    A five hundred mile walk of life. A precise (or at least an approximate) reflection.
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  • About You

    dreaming-tree

    About You
    Blind Man at the Gate

    Let God talk to you
    About you
    For if you imagine God talking to you
    About her or him, those or them
    You’re on the fast-track to Pharisee City
    And life there is anything but pretty
    The worst stuff I ever heards
    Began with these scary words:
    “God told me to tell you”

    Reminds me of when that guy shouted, “Judas!”
    And Bob Dylan said, “I don’t believe you!”
    (“Play…very…loud!”)
    How does it feel?

    Let God talk to you
    About you
    It’s a bit of good counsel
    I try to let God talk to me
    About me
    Because my worst enemy
    Is not her or him, those or them
    But me
    So Jesus save me
    From me

    It’s not the enemy without
    But the enemy within
    Who will do me in
    Jesus save me
    From me

    And what about you?
    Well, I have some good news
    Jesus believes in you
    It’s true

    So cast off that heavy yoke
    That miserable constraint
    Where you think
    You have to
    Set everybody straight
    You don’t
    Have to

    Let God talk to you
    About you
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  • Peace Donkey On Palm Sunday

    palm-sunday-an_african_jesus_christ_s_triumphal_entry_into_jerusalem_riding_on_a_donkey_to_the_enthusiasm_of_the_crowds

    Peace Donkey On Palm Sunday
    Blind Man At The Gate

    The king approaches on Palm Sunday
    Forsaking the glorious war horse
    To ride a ridiculous peace donkey

    Gentle as the wings of a dove
    Inaugurating the reign of love

    Conquerors come with hubris, blood, and violence
    Riding stallions of famine, war, and pestilence
    (They tell me Genghis Khan killed ten million)

    The Prince of Peace comes without breaking a bruised reed
    Swords are now for plowing, spears are now for pruning
    (I’ll tell you for a fact, Jesus killed nary a one)

    If Hosanna praises rocket’s red glare: Weep over Jerusalem!
    If Hosanna acclaims kingdom come: Let the rocks cry out!

    BZ
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  • The Magi and I (An Epiphany Post)

    journey-of-the-magi

    T.S. Eliot’s poem Journey of the Magi with my quasi-interpretation of it. Which is more than an interpretation — it’s also a kind of autobiographical confession; for I too have had a hard time of it. And like Eliot’s Magi I would do it all over again.
    Read more

  • Turn The Page

    Tomahutu

    Turn The Page
    Blind Man at the Gate

    In our journey through the holy script we’ve not yet reached THE END
    Turn the page
    All that is to be said has not yet been said
    Turn the page
    Long ago the writers finished the text
    But the players have not yet said it all
    There are heroes yet to take stage
    There are dramas yet to be resolved
    Turn the page
    We’ve lingered long over this familiar leaf
    And it’s beginning to turn yellow
    We’ve begun to forget that which has gone before
    We’ve begun to think there will be no more
    Turn the page
    We find comfort in that which is now too familiar
    But the thrill is gone and the story has stalled
    Turn the page
    To move on in the divine tome is not a betrayal
    Of that which we have come to know and love
    But to understand the story demands that we
    Turn the page
    But those afraid to turn the page
    Discourage and disparage and in fear rage
    “If we turn the page things will change!”
    Yes Read more