Bravado

Photo by miro polca on Unsplash

Bravado
a pandemic reflection

Flesh and bone
is
prey
for a
viral
marauder;
our
mortality
the talk of the town.

Fear
is
blood-letting
the
reservoir
of
communal
hope.

Familiar
touchstones
disintegrate
into
free-form
sand piles.

We
scoop
and
scrape
the
diffusing grains;
knuckles reddened
with
crimson futility
to
maintain
our
shape
of
security.

This
moment
belies
our
bravado.

We
are
not
our
own.

The Marital Bed

The Marital Bed

Our bare legs glide
between cool cotton sheets,
instigating negotiations
to create a slumbering nest —
a cotton and polyester poultice
to draw away
the day’s exertions.

Deep exhalations
release soft sighs,
triggering warm nuzzles
and gentle touches.

Hands overlap;
we interlace fingers
in affectionate affirmation
of our sacred promise.

Fogged with weariness,
our bodies yield through
jerks and twitches;
the Sandman is here.

Celestial movements
shutter the day’s light,
gifting the hush of darkness.

Our embrace is benediction.

November’s Fourth Thursday

Photo by Nitin Bhosale on Unsplash


November’s Fourth Thursday

November clouds,
tucked in layers
gray and broody
skim fields
strewn with remnants
of harvest.

Kitchen table,
trusty fixture
gouged and timeworn
nexus
laminated with
bygone conversations.

Communal meal,
homespun tributes
to Grace
assembled for appetites
primed for
autumnal feasting.

We gather,
seasoned with
sadness and mirth
as familial presence
nurtures and stokes
our gratitude.

Copyright © 2019 Chris De Man. All rights reserved.

 

Winter Sleep

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Light on Grand Haven Pier, Grand Haven, MI | 2014, C.S. De Man

 

Winter Sleep

In the dry frigidity
of winter white,
Jack Frost winks
at the vacuous cold
while dancing a
crystalline waltz.

Chilled and quiet
a vibrant living pulses —
preserved in watery depths
and sappy limbs
and burrows of
slumbering furry-ness.

Creation huddles,
wrapped with anticipation of
vernal rays entwined with
the Caretaker’s
warm whisper of
“Well done!” and “Welcome!”

 

Copyright © 2019 Chris De Man. All rights reserved.

This Season

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Spring is here officially, if not experientially. With our clocks moved forward, daylight is lengthening as our gaze turns toward budding trees and sprouting bulbs. The seasons cycle through the gathering of autumn, quiet of winter, renewal of spring, and the growth of summer. Leaves from buds, fruit from seeds, life from death.

Similarly, our lives are roundabout journeys through the spectrum of human experience. There are seasons to our circumstance. And in each moment, there’s a God who is there. Someone who sees and enters into our tragedy, triumph, panic, and joy. A Savior who offers His kindness — who knows who we really are, yet is glad to be with us. (Zeph. 3:17)

This day we can settle into our season, trusting God in our circumstance. We can safely dwell in the present, for we are not alone. (Deut. 31:8)

Interlude

Stretched and weathered,
this soul-spire’s shoots
have budded and grown into
bark-armored pathways;
resilient, persistent, obedient
in their nourishing, seasonal fruit.

Come and eat —
celebrate this feast of providence!
Let juice drip from nose and chin,
our consumption heralding
a joyful conclusion.

For this end is a beginning;
a requisite closing that yields to
fresh expressions of wonder
as wild circumstance carries
hope’s seed into
the void of longing.

This is a sacred, fertile interlude —
a season to dwell.

“For everything there is a season… a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;” (Ecclesiastes 3:1–2, ESV)

Copyright © 2018 Chris De Man. All rights reserved.

The Field

Yesterday’s yesterdays jumble and pile.
I wake,
and walk —
again.

I shuffle with leaden legs in numbing rhythm,
rousting a sacred cloud that accompanies
my tracing of Hope’s path.

Spent flora, trapped in brittle nests
offer silent tribute to
by-gone seasons of life.

With dulled eyes skimming
the frustrated landscape,
I plant with wobbly resolve.

And wait.

I return
to this Field of Promise
a beggar —
again.

Dank grayness surrounds me;
I’m chilled —
from the inside out.

Hushed tormenting sameness
tensions my faith
toward thinness.

A violent tumult of
what is, what isn’t, and what should be
usurps all cognition.

Dear God, Sower of this Field —

Wrestle life from
the starved soil
of this bewildered soul.

Rake, pull, tear, and burn
my prideful thatch.

Plow the deadness
into furrows of grace.

Water and Light,
come nourish my anguish.

Release in me a joyful submission
and patient fruit.

Call forth a sprig of green.

For tomorrow I’ll wake,
and walk to this Field again.

Copyright © 2015 Chris De Man. All rights reserved.

The Man

My father died February 13, 2012.

To remember is to heal.
To celebrate.
To anticipate.

—————————–

The Man

This day.
Again.

A requisite cycling of grief.

The remembering is terrifically awful.

In my mind are blood-red carnations
let loose amidst winter’s chill.
In fragrant tribute they softened the dirt of decay,
taunting death with the beauty of Hope.

Your mortality rests in mysterious completion,
enveloped in wood and cement.
Etched in placid formality is your name — our name.
You left us the fruit of integrity.

Immense is the void of you.
A reluctant child, I stand drop-jawed and small,
grateful, afraid —
and sad.

This is hard, dad.

But you know that.
We all come to know this anguished separation.

Still, I long for more —

For another, “That’s my boy!”
For a glimpse of your wink and nod.
For the warm fullness of your squeeze on my shoulder.

Such are a father’s gifts.
You were generous.

A catalyst to my manliness.
Stability, strength, and tenderness.
The man.

Now it’s my turn.

Act Two

A human life delivered
extraordinarily into the ordinary.
A curious entrance.

Like a single grain of silica on a sandy shore.
Familiar yet undistinguished.
Unremarkable but unmistakable.

God — we anticipated more, really.
A powerful show.
A victor’s parade.

You know we love celebrity.
We wanted to cheer and party and flaunt.
This is about us, isn’t it?

No doubt, we resist your directing this cosmic drama.
Right from the start we sabotaged the script.
Act one was a diabolical mess.

But this show must go on — You promised.

So You opened Act Two with your Son, wrapped in humility’s cloak.
Crowded out of comfort, He greeted his world with wordless screams.
An omnipotent, infant voice at which beast and brush shiver with joyful resonance.

Parental eyes, innocent and expectant, lock upon divinity’s gaze.
So ordinary, normal, loud, and messy — like them.
Another grain of sand on the beach of humanity?

No.
Read the script.

This child is living, breathing prophecy.
The Word who word fulfilled.
Our story’s Hero.

Scandalous.
Mysterious.
Miraculous.

Jesus.