Category

Poetry

Prayer Is Like Watching For The Kingfisher (Ann Lewin)

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Prayer is like watching for

The Kingfisher. All you can do is

Be there where he is like to appear, and

Wait.

Often nothing much happens;

There is space, silence, and

Expectancy.

No visible signs, only the

Knowledge that he’s been there

And may come again.

Seeing or not seeing cease to matter,

You have been prepared.

But when you’ve almost stopped

Expecting it, a flash of brightness

Gives encouragement.

 

ANN LEWIN

A Prayer (George Macdonald)

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My prayers, my God, flow from what I am not;

I think thy answers make me what I am.

Like weary waves, thought follows upon thought,

But the still depth beneath is all thine own,

And there this mov’st in paths to us unknown.

Out of strange strife thy peace is strangely wrought;

If the lion in us pray, thou answerest the lamb.

 

George Macdonald

A Black Bird Dropped By (Leighton Ford)

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A blackbird dropped by to see me

this mountain Sunday morning

as I sat with coffee on our patio.

He landed on a flower box,

sat there for a while listening

to my words of welcome,

then hopped nimbly over

to the other pot,

stayed there a bit,

(just so as not to seem in a rush)

then flew away.

It was a nice neighborly sort of visit,

and I asked that my prayers

for my friends around the world

would drop in on them today,

leaving each with a sense that

somehow, they too had been visited.

 

Leighton Ford
Sunday, July 16, 2017

Witness (A Poem)

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WITNESS

Sometimes the mountain
is hidden from me in veils
of cloud, sometimes
I am hidden from the mountain
in veils of inattention, apathy, fatigue,
when I forget or refuse to go
down to the shore or a few yards
up the road, on a clear day,
to reconfirm
the witnessing presence.


Denise Levertov

 

Photography – Leighton Ford

Buried Things – A Poem (Leighton Ford)

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Yesterday morning Buddy and I
sat for a long time outside
in the cool.

After a while he became restless
and went searching for something
in the back yard. I watched him
nuzzle in the twigs at the base of
a large tree, then disappear into
some bushes where he pawed around
until he found what he was looking for,
a chewy thing he had hidden days
before. He carried it to another bush
for safe deposit, then came back and
sat once more, at peace,
on the edge of the porch.

I wondered, watching,
after all the passing years.
where may I have buried my loves,
my life, my longings to keep them
safe, secure?

Have I forgotten where?

“Your life is hidden with Christ in God”

Leighton Ford

Photo not Buddy!

I Am A Cup (Poem by Leighton Ford)

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I bring coffee to waking lips
I carry water to a thirsty child
I am lifted in prayer
I am poured in communion
I spend much time on a shelf waiting
I am chosen and lifted and happy
I am named by my possessor
I am given shape by my maker
I am given roundness
I am given fullness
I am empty
I am flowing
I am sometimes warm
I am often chilly
I like to be held and touched
I am handled and moved around
I am put aside
I am often rinsed and cleaned
I often sit and wait
I have been around a long time
I am just a cup
I am
A cup

Leighton Ford
7 am May 27, 2017

For Craig, On Your Anniversary (Leighton Ford)

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For Craig on your anniversary

You are a husband of many years,

a father your children trust,

a son-in-law we treasure,

a doctor saluted for your excellence.

 

Last night I saw you as a small boy,

suddenly spotting the space station

hurtling through the clear sky,

and following  it with such rapt delight

until it was out of sight.

Almost I thought you might leap

into the sky and catch it,

and perhaps you almost did.

 

Leighton Young Fella

May 24, 2017

Billy’s Cross (Leighton Ford)

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A Meditation for his 95th birthday.

The cross!
The cross!
the young preacher cried
to the vast crowds
in the football stadiums of the world.

The cross!
the old man says in his husky voice
sitting next to his dog
on the porch of his log house,
gazing with faded eyes at the blue ridged hills.

The cross!

Above his chair in the kitchen
a small cloth banner … a reminder:
“God forbid that I should glory,
save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

But why?
Why glory in the cross?
Didn’t Jesus on the cross ask “Why?”

I think I know my brother-in-law
well enough to know
why the cross matters to him so
that after these ninety-five years
he makes it his last word.

He knows how much he himself needs grace.
When he meets the Lord
he’s not going to puff his chest, stick out his hand
and say, “ I’m Billy Graham, your chief envoy.”
Knowing him he’ll be prostrate, on his face,
Saying “Thank You for your mercy,
for choosing me, a sinner.

But it’s not as if he thinks of the cross only as a ticket to heaven.

He knows that coming to the Cross costs nothing, and everything.
How many times I’ve heard him quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
“When Christ calls a man, he calls him to die.”
And Jesus: “Take up your cross and follow me.”
He knows that the Cross offers both free grace
And a call to die daily to self-glory.

Billy is a preacher, not a poet,
but I think he’d agree with a poet who writes,
“I am a Christian because of that moment on the cross
when Jesus, drinking the very dregs of human bitterness,
cries out, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’”
(Christian Wiman)

I have seen him gaze with longing at the picture of
his departed and beloved Ruth, wince at the pain
that runs through his jaw and down his leg.
At the Washington Cathedral after 9/11 he said,
“I don’t know why God allowed this. It’s a mystery.”
But he knows that on the cross God was saying
“I am with you, not beyond you, in suffering.”

There’s more. A Chinese scholar once told me,
“When Billy Graham came to China
he came not with a closed fist, but an open hand.”
That’s because he knows there’s a paradox in the cross
(though he might not call it that).
The cross is both the narrowest gate
and the widest welcome to new life.
The narrowest, for Jesus said, “I am the door, the way.”
The widest because he also said,
“Whoever comes to me I will not turn away.”

That gate is open to all who seek God’s grace
and are willing to receive it,
people of every kind and condition –
liberal, conservative
Tea Party, Occupier
Straight or otherwise
Republican, Democrat, Libertarian
Sarah P and Nancy P
Episcopal, Baptist, Catholic, or “none”
All kinds of sinners and seekers.

In the cross of Christ God throws open the gate of new life and says,
“Welcome. There’s room in my house for you. Come in.
And you’ll be changed into what I created you to be
– a human fully redeemed.”

We can hang a cross round our neck,
gaze at it on a steeple,
but it is far more than an icon.
The cross tells us that life itself, creation itself
is cross-shaped, cruciformed,
the hope of  healing for a broken world.

The cross!

Billy has preached the cross,
successfully.
He also has lived it, or, better
lived by it,
faithfully.

Leighton Ford
November 2013