Obi Martin: Joseph’s Hill

Up! the fire, light the day
wake the decadence of early morning.
Crouching springs the caveman
on the wreck of plastic flowerpots
and soil, burying his fingers
with the bending down of brambles in the earth.
Pulled as necessarily from
knowledge, duty, to action.
As leaves themselves are pulled
in the hedonism of evaporation.

He paws his fingers in the earth.
like the criminal centipede
who preaches treason
through the contentment
of being happy without equipment.

Find your transportation
in the rough mysticism
of a well-used broom or pitchfork.
embrace the dryness and eat the parching
sweet of a dream delocated into action.
build your bedroom on the thrown out slabs of concrete
as all civilizations have,
upon the refuse heap of previous generation.
Set up there Emerson
upon a muffin.
Project Mozart loudly,
preach him from the culverts.
baptize the ashes with oil and cardboard.
Free the groundhog of the stones
he cast out of his home,
and find a use for them in yours.
Fill up the cracks in the earth with more earth,
and harvest there nothing
but moments
covering your hand like the exuberance
of raspberries.

Obi_ProfileObi Martin says that the times he feels most alive come often when reading or writing.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Daniel Hess: Sunrise

The other morning, I
(In figure, let no lucid eyes eclipse)
Awoke, then crept expectantly outdoors,
Stole a back-row seat to view the sky
And there, precisely where the ridgeline dips,
The curtain rose, and vanished in the shores.
So modest, yet so boldly light unveiled
The gentle contours of the morning’s earth—
It seemed so innocent of being watched.
Had I in open admiration hailed
The moment, would have quickly lost its worth.
But as the sacred moment passed untouched
It turned, and warmly gave a gracious hand.
Quite honored, I arose and felt at ease
With such majestic and inviting light,
And marveled as it roused the sleeping land.

IMG_1638 (2).JPGDaniel Hess is a disciple of Jesus, husband of Laura, and father of four who likes discovering the ordinary.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Christine Laws: Salt & Light

I wore a weighted shawl blacker than night,
Colder than winter wind. But I thought
Cotton swaddled me, and supposed that I
Walked in light.

Then a hint of gray . . . a ray . . . This blur of bright
Light slowly spread. Weak eyes kindled, I watched darkness disappear.
His sun appeared above pacific waters, and summer days dawned—
Endless seascape, reflecting golden light.

Gift of savor and sight for insipid night—
O taste and see, then be, His salt and light.


IMG_0469.JPGChristine Laws writes and edits from her home in northern Maine—a quiet place where she can revel in God’s grace, His wonders, and words.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Emma Miller: Through Grief

She told the spring it should apologize:
its sun had no right to shine that day.
Only a lone leaf turned upon its branch.
Look, it said, at the way I glow for you,
the times I brushed my kisses through your hair—
are your own ashes not enough
that you would wish them on the world?
Remember when you filled your palms with earth,
and somehow in their emptying
you found your smile?
Have you forgotten so quickly
or do you like the way your anxiety sounds
as it echoes at the intersection of thought and language?
It asked this, then it turned away.
Translucent it was, waving in the sun,
and how the world leapt alight,
as plunging fingers saw once more poetry of earth,
saw close black stains
and promised to the leaves
never to wash them off again.


Recipe for Emma: 1 part humor, 2 parts poetry, 1 part music and a dash of art, stir continuously until sarcasm is the right consistency, serve with coffee.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Julie Atkinson: Lullaby

Reach out and touch
with all of your fingers.
Do not be afraid,
to taste
or to run with your eyes closed
and to laugh out loud.
Dip your toes into streams.
Catch snowflakes on your tongue.
And take deep breaths.

This is I love you.

Watch the pink-kissed clouds of golden sunsets.
And morning sun burning away the
last mists of darkness.
Listen to the whispered words of the trees.
And stop to help the people beside
you, for many are weary and wandering.
Follow the footsteps of the King who is coming.

This is I love you.

Look and remember,
with the eyes of your soul.
Do not be afraid,
to walk through time here.
For fear cannot be,
when hands such as mine are holding you.

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

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Gloria Kurtz: Wind and Color

Wild with rhapsody twirled the world while held in light,
whirling in symphony to the kaleidoscope shimmering
white in which beautiful Mystery flung itself colored out,
spilling in shimmering waves of the world, and glimmering.
Trees and the sea both abandoned themselves to the freedom of
sky, in symmetrical ridges, they rose themselves higher and
higher, and still they were held in a warm and resilient
light within unrestrained joy. Until racing down cold on land
it came: A cloud of shadow between light and trees.

A butterfly
lights to the unstrung breeze
To find the comfort of a leaf home, fan its wings
and flutter to the music’s lilt on dappled strings.

Struck the bluff and senseless rain
all, unreasonable with pain.
Forced within the fall of wind,
driven blind and helpless pinned,
bent away from swollen skies
here the butterfly. It cries
merciful release from this.
torrent filling this abyss,
wound, inflicting senseless pain:
sheets of cold and slanted rain.

The sky flamed blood. Beneath the broken clouds,
above the broken waves it dips in rings
and rides of wind and color, trusting in
the frailty of divinely crafted wings.
It took the flight toward broken skies and knew
the truth transcending all, and still more bright:
love spun the world with bare and broken joy,
and held it yet, in warm and gentle light.

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

Ethan Eshleman: Open My Hands

I cling to my life,
though I desire open hands.
Take my will from my hands,
peel my fingers gently open
if you must, and lay it on the rock
to be broken. The rock
where One before me knelt
and broke himself upon it,
leaving blood, a silent witness
of the cosmic fight and the
death of One man’s rights.

One was led silently to his
slaughter, to the death of his
Deity. And must I be dragged
kicking and screaming to watch
a comfort crucified?

IMG_9156-2.jpgEthan Eshleman is excited that he gets to marry the girl he loves, he thrives on action, is partially introverted and he attempts to express feelings, longings, and experiences by writing poetry.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Ayana Otto: They say when it rains

They say when it rains the sky cries—
is there further grief?
one that passes— stifles— tears?
Clods in the corn fields
baked into rocks;
rocks broken— powdery dust.
And still, the wind blows dry.
Bans on fire, languishing earth . . .
Death beneath the sadness of the sky.

Tears finally came—
great torrents of rain—
washing the worrisome dust.

And as the sky cried,
my brother and I
danced with a joy that was just—
well, just too full
and too gleeful
to be coherent.

We ran.
raised our hands.
praised God.
and laughed.
That day the sky’s sadness
gave way to gladness—
gladness that came out in tears.

PWTC App PicBAyana would love to invent a 27-hour day, but is far too busy maxing out her allotted 24-hours—often with a book of some sort.

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.