Claudia Lehman: Sunday Morning

What golden lights are in these vessels hid?
What stories, riches, whispers of Your ways?
What open wounds, what trampled battlefields,
what fragrant altar fires in secret blaze?

How often have I looked but have not seen?
How often have I sought to serve You, while
I pass adopted royalty without
even the simple homage of a smile?

Forgive, forgive the careless sacrilege
of subtle scorn, of laughter out of time,
of shallow sight, which, bent back on itself,
compares their lots, in pride or shame, to mine.

I’ll not call common what my Lord has cleansed
when You have touched and purified my sight.
For these shall live when all the stars are dead,
arrayed in white and honor, crowned with light.


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


Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Conrad Martin: Nine at Sunrise

What is this morning?
this quiet ecstasy of life stretching out across the world
so enormously calm?
What is this sun?
this glowing silence streaming
from the edge of heaven?
What is this air that feels so soft awake—
and smells so curious sharp—
so alive—like living peace—
like peace so close—
so around me I could drink it?
And that tree!
What is that breathless wealth of gold-edged green
so still against the depth of heaven—
so motionlessly straight and huge and stretching out and up?
What is the silence of that tree?
This quiet gladness—
this sober joy—
what is this morning?

She didn’t say it quite like that
(nine is much too true an age for such)
but I saw it in her widening eyes
lit with a glory of wonder,
and I felt it in the shiver of her little shoulder
and how she sat so straight beside me on the porch swing
where we were having our morning coffee and the sun was rising.

Her question was too big.
My answer was too much.
She understood it though, I think,
because I saw the wonder in her wide eyes
grow wider, and then something more came,
and I think it came to both of us.
and we were quiet then.

CM 5/’15


portrait on brickConrad Martin loves words for their ability to create deeper awareness and experience of life through connection between minds and hearts.

Phoebe Anthus: We Walked the Path

We walked the path together with our eyes.
The lichen dappled down north side of wood,
whose flashing needles knit love’s song and stood
with wispy thoughts and almost peaceful sighs.
Wind coaxed the lacy green to merge with skies.
I think myself, in truest likelihood
a star had laid its head right where we stood
and sought with cunning us to mesmerize.

Its silent voice spoke through the sheen of grass:
“Fate is not yours to choose or to foresee—”
And so I give myself to thoughtful error,
with full-grown knowledge that this too shall pass.
Abide, Enchantment, long we wait for thee,
come wrap our wondering hearts with gracious terror.


phoebePhoebe Anthus finds her joy in quiet places, in the eyes of a child or simply in noticing little things. Her passion is to help create beauty out of the brokenness all around us.

 

 

 


Photography by Kenneth Godoy
Painting by Phoebe Anthus

Claudia Lehman: To Mary, Queen of Scots

I wonder would it comfort you to know,
fair thwarted queen, that I looked through my panes
(when clouds were blowing through the old trees’ hair
and everywhere the scent and sound of rain,
finding my heart warm for a little leaf
that clung so bravely to a dizzy bough,
pushed skyward by an ignorant old vine,
it swung and shivered, wind-whipped, yet somehow
it clung–) and your name came.
Could you have known
how fierce the skies when first you dreamed to climb?
The prism of your love could not redeem
your loves from what they were. Time after time
you wrangled, wept, devised your codes and prayers,
while lives fell red as petals for your cause
about your feet, and England’s haloed crown
caught far off by perhaps unlawful laws
glittered remotely on your cousin’s head.

I cannot say hero or fool, but–friend.
I know the honeyed agony of dreams
disguised as truth until the very end.


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


Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Kenneth Godoy: The Gentle Art of Breaking Sheep

To fall is to understand,
because falling entails death
or worse, severe pain,
dependent, of course, on how far you
have plunged from the grace
of clinging.

Imagine then, climbing a white painted steeple
towards the morning sun.
There, beneath the shadows of the church,
lie the grey sheep, content,
only troubled by tiny silent storms
that break upon their souls as they graze the dew.

And when you have climbed too far and your hand
does not grasp as it should have
or your foot fumbles beneath you,

And thus you fall in a sudden manner,
your hair and limbs screaming
in the fray,
back down to the ground
that bears death
in her bosom of stone.

2

But,
a mere half breath before
the supple earth
should crush your spine
and spirit,

in some providential and oddly
cruel interjection,
you light upon a ewe instead;
and storms shall break upon
her soul no more.

3

Christ is like that sheep.
And you grunt and roll off his crushed and broken body,
surprised that death was not present to understand your falling with you.

So you grunt and dust your hips
and wonder, and understand
the gentle art of breaking sheep.


IMG_20170622_211918Of his writing, Kenneth Godoy says, “Poetry is bound to my soul.”


Videography by Kenneth Godoy

Claudia Martin: A Birthday Poem

There are hands to do what his have always done—
To till rows in the river bottom soil,
To tie a hook onto a grandchild’s line,
To lower shrimp into the pot to boil,
To point a berry picker to his row.
Life does go on.

Those hands aren’t his—sometimes I can’t forgive them
For fumbling at the tasks he did with grace.
My own hands are too slow, too thin, too young
To fill a role that is my father’s place.
His ever present absence taunts us—
We will not find him.

The rows in this year’s garden must be brave.
We planted one more spring with seeds he chose.
How deep? How far apart? We ask each other,
The river soil he loved between our toes.
We learn as he did—wishing we could ask
A father’s grave.


A word from the poet: When he was in his twenties, my dad lost his father to congestive heart failure. A few weeks ago, I lost him to a heart attack. Hence, I “learn as he learned.” I wrote this poem on April 6th, which would have been his sixty-second birthday.


img_9413.jpgClaudia Martin is more often surprised than correct about what the next season of life will bring—and in retrospect, almost always grateful for that.


Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Gloria Kurtz: In Swaths of Stars

My rest abed is smothering tonight.
I crack the sheets, (I feel the drawing call)
And I escape the stifle; hie me out
Into the night, where stillness falls
In swaths of stars beneath the settled skies.
The constant rings of universe and light
Have swayed awake this sleepy spellbound world,
A quiet ecstasy of dark delight.
It is no wonder, then, the crickets have
Picked up their elbowed legs and danced upon
Their silver wings; cicadas have strung up
Their reeds and tuned this insect music night,
And I take leave of comfort in a bed
To set my restless heart again to right.


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 Kenneth Godoy

Julie Atkinson: We Forget

We forget.
Why we are here.
Who we are.
We forget
how to be amazed.

To see the lace of leaves
against the sky.
The beam of light
falling on a purple mushroom,
which, to the beetle in its shade,
is a giant of a thing.

To smell the green things growing.
To listen to the dancing streams,
and the symphony of
wind and wings
and night creatures.

We forget
because we are too busy
thinking we are living.


DSC_1751 - CopyJulie Atkinson is a wanderer, who likes quiet green things and silent forests carpeted with moss.


Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Kenneth Godoy: And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness

(the final grit of a dark winter)

1.
They are sweeping it away now:
the tiny specks of stones
the skin broken from the asphalt
and all the dust that fell from
the sky for months now.

I saw a grandmother stooped in the sun
this morning, sweeping,
and two boys
and the old man by the high school;
the one holding the stop sign and the traffic:
he likely will lay down his red sign in the utilities closet
trading it for a broom and a dust pan.

The gristles scrape at the cement. Good-bye, the people say,
speaking and extending through the gristles and their gritted teeth;
they grunt in exertion drawing away the anamnesis:
the eternity of the small days,
the deja-vu of black barren branches,
the fingerprints of the icicles,
the claw marks left by the plows,
and all the unutterable words.
they say good-bye.

2.
And thus, we too, must sweep away the remembrance:
the dispassionate agonies,
the emptiness,
leave dormancy behind,
and the inscape of inclement, brittle spirits,
we too must cleave from our insufficient prayers,
that rose and returned
again and again
finally melting
like the last snow in April.

3.
We must sweep as they sweep.
Not as though at an end, but at a beginning.
For they have escaped the weight of darkness.


kennyOf his writing, Kenneth Godoy says, “Poetry is bound to my soul.”

Kyle Lehman: The Long Winter

And so I give myself to pain.
I give myself to lilies, broken by the rain,
To weariness, to wasted fields of grain.

I face the twilight all alone,
And staring down the emptiness, I dare the sun
To set upon the dreams I choose to own.

And so I give myself to pain.
I wrestle through the darkness with the ropy rain,
And give my strength for tiny ears of grain.

Red blood, beneath a brooding sky,
Flows. Faith peels back the questions with an open “Why?”
And from the rubble, I raise my hands and try

Again. To give myself to pain;
Bathe ancient scars where Heaven’s grief falls down like rain:
Her tears, among these tares, bear precious grain.


kyle_lehmanKyle Lehman is a teacher and poet who loves to watch things grow, like seeds, strange ideas, hay bales, and moon.

 


Photography by Kenneth Godoy