A poem (though I’m NOT a poet!)

Though I did nothing to produce the flame,

I want to “contribute,”

so I pile on “good works,” busy-ness, “rightness”

till the fire nearly smothers.

The result: a smoldering smudge

that burns my eyes, sears my nostrils—

All the “good” doing no Good at all

And my vision is bound by Self.

I “do” more, petition with frantic edges, praise with listless duty

and, deep down, miss the pure flame

utterly outside my power to create.

I arrive weary at Christmas Eve service,

just in time to see the bishop wave the incense,

sending up wisps of white

that fade from sight but waft sweet scent—

even to my row near the back.

“Nothing magical,” the bishop explains.

“Just a symbol of the psalmist’s cry,

‘Let my prayer be set before You as incense.’”

I breathe deep and wonder-

What could transform my smoldering smudge

To this?

I examine the Psalm and find no commands to

do, work, fix.

Instead, verbs requesting action on God’s part,

Not mine.

“Set a guard,” “Do not let…” “Leave me not.”

“I cry out to You,” the songwriter begins.

And ends, “My eyes are upon You.”

Such kind deliverance.

The truth releases me to

Receive,

Listen,

I sense Holy Spirit hovering.

Wing beats unceasing

fan buried flame

lift the wordless wail.

Set free in stillness,

The Hallowed wind sweeps me

To the edge of myself

And I fall

Deep into the intercession of

Pierced-flesh-and-spilt-blood.

Flame–and incense–rise.

NOTES: 1. If anyone reading this is a poet and has suggestions (and would be willing to share them), I would LOVE to hear them. 2. Because I don’t really feel this is “finished,” I didn’t record this one.