Jul 132011
 

My last post was back in April, and some of you have been kind enough to reach out to me in the meantime, and I’m grateful for the kindness.   I left off with Part Three of “Alone in the Wilderness”, intending to write a concluding Part Four, but ran squarely into a good case of writer’s block on the whole topic.  So, I decided to just let it sit and wait for inspiration.  The inspiration that came wasn’t to write that fourth part, but to write three mystical poems.  If you look hard enough, you might even find some relevance to certain themes of the “Alone” series.   In any case, I just might be back in action.

My Star

Cherished One
all my love and my passion,
all my desire and my dreams,
all my screams are for you.

The flow and the catching of this breath,
the pulse and the rushing of this blood,
the shake and the bending of these knees,
the clasp and the trembling of these hands,
are all moved by the burning of this fire for you.

As the great cup of the heavens
revolves around the Northern Star,
so all my thoughts and feelings
revolve around none other than you,
O precious light of my nights.

Though my sight of you may be obscured
by distance, mist, or the glare of the sun,
you are the constant one,
the light in the eye of my heart,
my most beloved One,
my star.

Fountain of My Bliss

O Dearest One,
O sweetness who sets my heart aflow,
all too well you know
the halting and faltering of my fears.

You know my weakness and my tears
amid the world’s rules for sharing love,
for keeping what is below
apart from what is above,
and how the hesitations of my soul
keep me so sadly removed
from pouring out all I have in truth
so that all may know my devotion
and hear my songs of adoration
for you who is more filled with splendor
than I could ever imagine or render.

Still your arms remain open for me,
and your soft cheek receives
the simple offering of  my kiss.
O I am so grateful just for this,
my Cherished One,
the fountain of my bliss.

This Foolish Heart Beats

sometimes it seems
as though you hide from me,
my Beloved,
as though only by chance I catch
but a glimpse of your shadow,
a few sounds in a fading echo,
a whiff of your perfume,
or a fleeting moment
of sensing your touch,
and for this much
I am thankful
and often content

yet other times I fret
through troubled days and nights,
feeling a distance I do not want,
an abyss between us,
a vacancy that is the stretching out
of a deep dark chasm within,
where all too easily
my doubts and fears pour in

so at times,
in the madness of all or nothing,
I have tried to pretend
that all my feelings for you
aren’t what they seem to be,
that even my awe,
my adoration and affection
are only the infatuations
of a romantic imagination,
and that my hopes and sense
of intimate connection with you
are merely the vain dreams
and delusions of a fool

if I am such a fool
then it is my only wisdom to accept it,
uncertain of all but the mystery of you,
my Cherished One,
and even in the darkest depths of this truth
I find my love for you still burns,
and so it shall continue,
perhaps even longer
than this foolish heart beats

These and other poems by me can be seen at The Incomplete Works…

  12 Responses to “Out of the Desert?”

  1. Glad to see you back in action! Love your poetry… poems, like songs and psalms can move people past the normal intellectual objections and deliver the authors intent straight to the heart. I admire your talent.

    Not choosing favorites or anything, but I like this one too… an abyss between us in the madness of all or nothing in the darkest depths of this truth

  2. Beautiful Chuck,

    I especially love these lines:

    “You know my weakness and my tears
    amid the world’s rules for sharing love,
    for keeping what is below
    apart from what is above”

    The depth of our soul knows the truth of “As Above, so Below.” So Jesus called for us to pray it into fruition: “Thy kingdom come on Earth, as it is in heaven.” But deep pressure comes against this prayer and a life aiming to live toward its truth. When we do, as also expressed by your blog posts, we find ourselves “alone.”

    All the more we feel this when we sense a separation between ourselves and our Divine Source, or when we consider ourselves mired in “madness” or “delusions of a fool,” all so beautifully expressed in your poems. Many, many times I found myself there, and just as many times I have found myself on the brink of throwing in the towel. Each time, I have been kept by one impulse, the same one that kept Peter when scores of disciples were abandoning the Teacher who looked so very different than the Messiah they had anticipated. When He asked if the Twelve would leave too, Peter responded, “”Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

    In a similar spirit, your close:

    “if I am such a fool
    then it is my only wisdom to accept it”

    Beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing again,
    Karina

    • Thanks to both of you, Greg and Karina, for your sweet words of resonance.

      Karina, thank you also for so clearly elucidating the laments about separation. Isn’t it ironic that many of us in the Church are heavily invested in keeping the Kingdom at bay, far away on some supernal plane or in some distant future, when Jesus himself taught that it is already here in and around us if we would only realize it? Why on earth would we be so afraid of heaven? Why in the world would we have such a love-hate relationship with it?

      Agape,
      Chuck

  3. the poems express a longing in me, going back 30 years. to say the Cherished One alone implies an intimacy that has escaped me and without adoration and affection for this One, life is empty at the deepest levels. I have to read these poems every day now, but it torments me to do so, as I have missed what you have. I ask this One to at least remove the torment and draw me to the One. Oh, how these poems have touched and gripped me. Have to read them, slowly, every day. Then, must put them down as it produces an agony in my heart and soul and mind.

    • Dear Mark,

      Thank you for sharing these deep feelings. I sense the resonance in your words and my heart reaches out to you. I pray that you feel the hand of Presence upon you soon, but I do so knowing how much the grace of that touch can leave us craving more. I want to share another poem with you that I originally wrote in October 5, 2006, for a friend feeling distant from God.

      Agape,
      Chuck

      This Yearning Itself

      Today, Mysterious Lord,
      for You pours out this pining.
      It is a sweet grieving.

      As though for a dear father
      who has left this world,
      or a lost first love,
      Your memory haunts me.

      Reaching out to embrace You
      these arms enfold emptiness
      and wrap themselves
      back upon this burning heart.

      Yet here You are
      in this very melancholy,
      the darkness in waiting,
      and the longing light,
      this yearning itself.

  4. Thank you, Chuck…………..your poems are now the most important words I read each day. I am where the following poem points, one written by Antonia White, at the beginning of her book Strangers:

    The Key

    Another world,
    Its walls are thin,
    But, oh, I cannot
    Enter in.

    I feel its touch,
    I breathe its air,
    How long before
    I enter there?

    The key hands close,
    My grasp is weak;
    Oh, you who know,
    Take pity: speak.

    and, Chuck, you are speaking, have known “thin places” and your “inner eye/heart” having been opened. without this for myself, i will perish.

  5. and, oh, Brother Chuck, i would rather be the fool having your kind of delusions than where i have been inside!!! if you are such a fool, then pray i too can be such a fool!!!

    for, i do at least know the Cherished One is a mystery. i am coming out of a 25 year wilderness and your poems were sent to me by a friend who was led by the Spirit, i believe. i do not know you, Chuck, but i love you.

    • Brother Mark,

      Thank you for such kind sweet words, and the gift of that fine poem from Antonia White. I’m humbled. It’s tempting for my ego to make this an occasion for its own gratification, but you put your finger on it — whatever blessings are happening here are gifts from the Holy Spirit. I’m happy to serve, happy to be in this place at this time for you, happy to have been moved to write down the words that speak to you now, happy that telling the story of my struggles and my joys helps you find comfort and hope. I am happy for all of these things because I know so well how it feels to be in that place where comfort is thin and hope is weak. My heart aches for those who are there, but I also know the desire for the Beloved is the Spirit itself at work in our hearts. Goodness, sometimes there has been just enough comfort in that to keep me going.

      Much love to you, Mark.

      Agape,
      Chuck

      • read your bio. i am a man of many letters next to my name, but they mean nothing as they are lodged as knowledge in the head while Love is of the heart, the hidden man. what you possess is worth far, far more. reminds me of Mother Teresa, who had a burning love for Jesus, although spent decades feeling rejected by Him. i simply cannot fathom why she received no touch, consolation, warm embrace from one so dedicated to Him. i met her in Haiti and without seeing the frail little woman, one “knew” something had entered the room from behind. it was Mother Teresa.

        i know the doubts and fears you speak of. often, these days, i am afraid i am too old (66) for the breakthru i want will occur, saying to the Spirit of God that if not, then take me now, for i am weary of decades of travel to many places, countries and am tired and worn out. body is in the process of decay, as all life forms must experience a birth, growth, decay and death. without break thru, life’s purpose is over. but, i am also in the process of being pulled from the quicksand, praying that the bags of garbage we collect over the years are being left behind, me watching them remain in the quicksand, looking over my shoulder at them, as “by faith”, as we say, His hands have hold of mine, pulling me out. and, bringing me, at long last out of a deep wood, where it has been very dark and an unknown wood to me, with no direction in my heart, only actions to take in the natural in Haiti, et.al., no one to hold my hand and no light switch to be found. an odd story too, how this shift began, with an unknown to me Jewish lady, whom the Grand Mystery chose to use by laying me upon her heart. an interesting and odd story and it took me long months to even believe it was true.

        i know the names you mention you have read, including Borg, but although he had the “a ha” experience, where his eyes “were opened and he could see “the Glory of the Lord”, he came to the conclusion that “God” was not in the business of intimacy and thus, prayer was rather useless. thus, do not expect any intimacy with “Him”. Not a Father, a Daddy and perhaps not much of a personal friend? Seems he took his experiential happenings and developed a theology out of them, as did the Apostle Paul. Not much real focus on Love in Borg. Seems many have the “inner eye” opened and want to come up with a “new” theology. I do not consider him uplifting at all to read………a big old bad BOO to him, from me to him……..boring intellectual, as i was for many a year…………..got me nowhere but depressed, with chronic fatigue, and sick, with the loss of all forms of financial livelihood. no comfort, so solace, nothing but a head full of useless knowledge in many fields, beyond theology.

        your chosen words……..Cherished One, Beloved One……….indicate intimacy and Love………..thus, you offer hope to many who seek intimacy with the Mystery. no wonder you are rejected by “standard” Christianity…….:))))))))

        i do not reject you. i embrace you and wish i knew you and was around people like you. what a great blessing that would be…….

        Mark aka OldUncleHenryWildfire

        like you, i am a “fringe” Christian

  6. Wow, Mark (OUHW 🙂 )! What a moving story you have to share. I definitely resonate with the lament of being too far back in the caves of the head. Thank you so much for baring more of your soul and story. It’s good to meet a brother. :-).

    I too have been deeply touched by Mother Teresa’s story. It’s touching to me that she was able to see Love smiling upon her through the people in her life. Perhaps this was Love’s way of ensuring that she didn’t retreat from the world?

    It would be nice to meet you someday, Mark. :-).

    Agape,
    Chuck

  7. Chuck

    would you explain “all my screams are for you”

    • Hi Mark,

      These are the screams of passion and desire, the full range of emotions so powerful that they can squeeze the breath from us, sometimes audibly so, and sometimes silently. There are many kinds of prayer, and one of them is simply pouring out our passion and desires for the Beloved in the most raw and direct manner. For me it connects with Romans 8:26: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit itself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

      Agape,
      Chuck

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