Roger Biehn: Set Me Alight

Oh, to pull up shades and hidden light,
to swim from darker pleasures of irony
to rebuild the child-like desire to touch, feel
say wow to the sunlight of the world
decode the calculation standing in
for beauty. Borne back through the spray of sight
let fingers, hands, turn to the ear, turn to the nose
turn to the wits, unleash their dimension,
unclasp the heart and let go, be lost
to delight in reality unchained,
released from the reflexive reaching for
stimulation. Bury me in that towering wave
and let me breathe, let me not by rote recite
necessary gratitude but let me come back
alive in one long crest, let me feel the ocean
push me
to the light.

rogerRoger Biehn is a corporate controller and part time poet.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Lynn Michael Martin: Adam

Two leagues to cross this lake, and twenty toward
The place the sun arises in the east
On midyear’s day. The sign’s not moved or ceased,
Nor has the river, nor that wet-kneed ford
We splashed across before the angel’s sword—
That all remains, but we have changed, at least,
And all that garden’s glory, all that feast,
Fades from us, as the presence of our Lord.
My son, touch this poor semblance of a leaf,
And its soft edge; ah, it’s a noble thing,
But I’ve seen Eden, and its scent and sound,
And we are shadows, son, and know the grief
Of flying things that flit along the ground,
Or men who hear a song, but cannot sing.

dover castle (2)Lynn Martin loves stories and epiphanies, and believes that good poetry expresses humanity’s deepest longings.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Claudia Lehman: Snow

The skies are slowly, fully falling
into the forest’s lifted hands,
breath-soft whispers of a language
friends of stars could understand.
Clinging velvet, how it robes
all things with glassy clarity
and turns this world into another
where anything could come to be.

Perhaps it’s not transfiguration,
but this is how things really are,
this teeming planet, whitely marbled,
spinning round its golden star.
Perhaps the children always knew the
things we know not how to know–
I believe them when I see
the songbirds settling on the snow.

Brittle winter, sleepy sunshine,
candlelight on frosted glass,
the common finds impartial splendor–
maybe this will be, at last,
the moment that we live our living,
and hear the storied silence call.
Fall, soft skies, and settle on us,
make believers of us all.


Claudia Lehman lives in Lebanon city with lots of books, tea, and her favorite man ever. She loves exploring the world of words, teaching children, and feels most at home in the woods.

Sheila J. Petre: The House We Used to Live In

Someone else has taken up the house we used to live in,
Filled it with their dreams and things and pictures on the walls.
Someone else was given what my people had been given:
Room to keep a thousand books, and echo shouts in halls.

They took and changed what had been ours to make it theirs more truly,
Patching up the ceiling cracks and taking doors away.
There is gravel where the sidewalk was and pavers marching duly,
And a valance on the window where my curtain used to sway.

Strange how paint can change a hall to make it somehow stunted,
Furniture can fill a room which had been wide as dawn.
I don’t mind they’ve narrowed down the entryway I wanted;
Fine with me if fine with them to put the shutters on.

But standing here, their pictures there, and everywhere, their voices,
I see their dust has covered up the things I used to know.
And something like a songbird in my secret heart rejoices
That they cannot move Antietam Creek or change its ageless flow.

sheila with childrenSheila is a Pennsylvania housewife who shares love, laughter and the hope of the resurrection with her welder husband, Michael, and their seven children born from 2007 through 2017.

Jeremiah Stump: Light

Illuminating rays,
Of constant stream from distant stars, and near;
Creating, energizing earth and space;
Still gently clarifies the lunar face.
Within the darkest delve, its keen allure,
Its radiating, shining pure.

Par, polarizing glow.
Your smile’s intensity defies my frown.
Exquisitely your frequency’s embrace
Teaches my soul its lucid interface.
Reflected rays burn through my cores opaque;
With joyful beams my heart awakes.

True Light: the life of men.
The Light that shone, before the sun began;
The Light which lighteth mortal spirits dim.
This Light we seek to make a synonym!
Lift up your countenance, revealing right;
Our lives enflame to walk in Light!

A word from the poet: The inspiration for this poem was sparked by memorizing the book of 1st John, especially the first chapter. After all that John sees and knows of Christ, his conclusion is that God is Light. Impressed by this fact, I decided to try and understand light from the physical, the abstract, and the eternal, and hopefully better understand (though but a fragment more) our matchless, glorious Lord.

img_0009.jpgJeremiah Stump finds his joy in being a disciple of Jesus, and in learning new things such as singing and psychology.

Sheila J. Petre: A Brother’s Funeral

We did not only let them sing the song
to praise the God Who made the one we loved.
We helped them. All good mourners long
to fill the air with hope, nail-scarred,
for split skies; sunrise.

We sang, hearts numb.

We did not only let them toss the dust
to cover up the temple that we loved.
We helped them. All good mourners must.
The mound beneath our feet was marred
by mud pies, tear size.

Even so, Lord, come.

Some words from the poet:

When our youngest brother Edward drowned in 2015, I wrote a grief-related poem for each of my nine surviving siblings. This was one of them.

sheila with children

Sheila is a Pennsylvania housewife who shares love, laughter and the hope of the resurrection with her welder husband, Michael, and their seven children born from 2007 through 2017.

Chadwick Miller: Like a Rose Bud

Behind the galaxies and
between the stars, I wish
I could step
and see the heavens
like clover, stampeding over the
fields and hills of private land,
when all I can feel is beauty.

I wish the stars grew like tomatoes in the garden,
each clustered in its galaxy.
And on days
when the sky was all gone

you ran screaming out
to the woods,
I would pick Sirius
and follow you,
holding it like a rose bud.

Some words from the poet:

I often wish I could help people, especially those I care deeply for with problems that are bigger than they are, problems bigger than me. I wrote this poem in a desire to help. ‘You’ is the reason I wrote the poem.

FB_IMG_1514046196304Chadwick Miller is an amateur poet who enjoys life’s experiences, different cultures, and learning from children.

Gloria Kurtz: Advent

As color fills the dome of azure skies,
The frozen lengths of empty twig and blade
Scratch bare against unbounded barricade.
The pulsing sun burns west to rhapsodize
And rim the waiting earth in wreaths that rise
In softest folds of purpled pink, and fade,
To give the skies this lambent orb, arrayed,
Illuminated in our wondering eyes.
It drips its honeyed gold on yearning; some
On hoped for things, and promises to come.
The longings throb in dormant trees, and light
The shooting stars that fling themselves above
Our waiting world; to dance the silent love
The moonlight sings in breathless hope tonight.

IMG_0621 (2)Gloria Kurtz finds joy expressed best in teaching first and second grade, and delights in writing the poetry of life found cupped in the beauty of her Upstate NY home.

Photography by Matthew Cordella

Samantha Trenkamp: Planting Hope

Land so dry.
The skies are filled with smoke.
Fires rage in the nearby hills,
but still she wields her spade.
Slipping on her worn, leather gloves,
she takes the bulbs,
the daffodil bulbs,
and faces this drought—
A firm, swift thrust
ploughs the spade in earth;
the dirt,
dry as powdered bones.

Dust rises to meet her eyes
while smoldering forest breath
mingles with her own.
On her knees she lifts the bulbs,
placing them in careful rows.
taking handfuls of the aching earth,
she carefully covers their pointed heads
deep inside their grave.
She fills the bucket with liquid gold
striding, cautious,
and resolute,
bringing the rain that will not come.
She soaks the surface of fresh-dug ground,
now so foreign to damp refreshment
that the water pools, seeping in slow.
Her labor of love now complete,
she closes her eyes and dreams of Spring.
The yellow trumpets will sing their song,
and the skies
will applaud with rain.
She grabs her spade and turns away,
knowing that those bulbs,
those daffodil bulbs,
were her way of planting Hope.

Some words from the poet:

This poem was written during the widespread drought last fall that affected the whole southeast region of the US, which also resulted in massive forest fires, some of which were very near my own home in East Tennessee.

Samantha Trenkamp (2)Samantha is a member of Wellspring Mennonite Church and believes in living out courageous faith in a big God who still works wonders on behalf of His people.

Lynn Michael Martin: A seer has tasted of the world’s delights.

A seer has tasted of the world’s delights.
incidental poem to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. III: I. Allegro
by Lynn Michael Martin

Sing of what is and has been,
and can sing and cannot sing,
and in my age, I will tell you
that singing is being,
that the world is polyphony
and confusion intertwined,
and joy beyond the world,
song-singing and gift-giving,
drawing threads of tale
from folk-fires and grandfathers,
seers who have seen the earth on both sides.

The fire has turned into weeping,
of river-tears and soft silences,
fraught with sleepiness, not frailty.
Why— is there no serenity,
no fire in silence or laughter in the darkness?
All the world has spoken to me,
and I share to you my song-taught wisdom,
of worlds which I do not call love
lest you mistake them—
they are
an austerity brought close,
a closeness objectified,
beauty in ashes,
a half-remembered touch
by one you have forgotten.

These tears are not those of grief,
but of the worldishness of things,
and I see all that can be seen,
with my given sight,
which distills in beads
on a cup of wisdom.

About this poem:

This poem is part of a series written in conjunction with pieces of music, in an attempt to put into words an encounter with something wordless.

dover castle (2)Lynn Martin loves stories and epiphanies, and believes that good poetry expresses humanity’s deepest longings.