Prose by the Gulf

(A poem written from a condo balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico)

Nutty coffee. Blue water gulf.
Salty cool breeze. Sun-warmed skin.
Squinty-eyed bright.
Rolling waves crash.
Up and down in my ears. Up and down.
Aqua-tan sandbars submerged.
Beachcombers on a fifty-five degree day.
Most in sweatshirts. The adventurous
in swimming trunks, shirtless.
Thermal jeans on my legs soaking
solar rays. I feel peace today.
I feel joy right now.
This moment in time, an island all to myself.
Well, God and me.
A brief paradise of the mind.
A retreat in my heart.
Not so much a sabbatical, but for sure
a sanctuary. More than a siesta.
Freedom of soul.
My oldest son sits next to me.
What’s passing through his teenage mind?
I don’t know, but I know it’s good.
His dreams hover above the water
spread before his eyes.

Mountains and oceans have a way of reflecting our dreams.
Timeless. Endless.
They remind us, teach us, to dream bigger and beyond what our minds can see.
We turn to greatness to pursue peace and paradise.
We are turning to God.

“since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
— Romans 1:19-20, The Bible

Starry-eyed Dreamers

Like stars on a tree
your mind sparkles
with dots of brilliance
Though darkness and void
far outweigh the specks
of dazzlement
But notice
globes and candy
and toys and tinsel
ornament the void
The void is material,
not empty
Matter exists,
not hopeless
Where there is matter
there is something,
not nothing
Where there is something,
even in empty
there is hope
See through the darkness
Stare into it
What do you see?
A reflection
Your face is beautiful
Your smile is joy,
not waiting,
existing in your heart
It calls to you
Not tomorrow

Flying Over Christmas Morning

Roads branch
into lanes
bearing fruit
of tiny farms,
a patchwork quilt.
Ten thousand feet.

blow smoke
over the hills,
in ravines.
Twenty thousand feet.

A thin band
of yellow and red,
the horizon–
blue above, gray below.
Thirty thousand feet.

Angelic smoke
now covers all,
an untaut blanket
rippled with waves
frozen in time.
Forty thousand feet.

The white carpet
His entrance,
too bright
in my window.
And holding.



Hope Is

My heart had died,
strangled, beaten,
desire eaten by disease;
black and blue, but crimson
seeped out.
Like fallen tinder on trace ember,
His gentle breath—
hushes turned rhythmic glow.
The threads of a cloud,
its weave pulled apart
by the light;
one ray becomes two,
two rays become seven.
Hope is.

Check out other great poems at this week’s One Shot Wednesday (part of One Stop Poetry).


Rules Misunderstood – A Haiku & Others

Homeowners Association Gestapo
You can’t park there.
My temples throb. Take a breath.
I can. I live here.

Sunshine Dirt
Through shadowy webs
of branches on earth’s canvas
sunshine on dirt.

Hard, dusty plastic.
White on black staring back at me.

Today’s poems are also part of the Poetry Potluck Week 14 (at Jingle Poetry).

Tree Wise of Winter

Leaves green in summer
come flutter in fall.
Oak, Cherry once rich
surviving stand tall.

Drab split-hardened skin
scared naked exposed.
Arms reaching to heav’n
dread long dark and cold.

Fearful of winter?
Forgetful of spring?
Hope fades but a wink.
To rebirth you must cling.

Blood pearls on Holly
smooth waxy rich green.
Triumphant sweet Pine!
Faith steadfast wise tree.

Breathe forth sacred snow
north winds from afar.
White satiny sheets
mask ages old scars.


I love winter. Overcast days, snowy nights, and a blue sky winter morning wonderland. It’s still autumn of course, but the first snow is arriving late this year to the Front Range foothills of Colorado. We’re expecting it tonight.

I wrote the first version of this poem in 2003; this is the third and final iteration. I know many who loathe winter, and a few who become severely depressed during the long, cold and dark days (a disorder known as SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder). They are miserable during the winter months. Lonely. Hurting. Sometimes hopeless. All of us, sooner or later, will walk through a season of difficulty, doubt, questions with no answers. A dark chapter we’d like to tear out.

Let nature be a reminder that winter doesn’t last forever–spring always comes. Pine trees are ‘ever’ green and sturdy in the wind, like a sage who welcomes a hard winter after surviving centuries of change. And the Holly. She bursts with contrasting reds and greens, like an excitable child, too young and carefree to let winter erase her color.

If your days are long and dark right now, hang on just a little longer…spring is on its way.

Revelation 21:4-5


Haiku Siesta

I’m out of breath from January. The first part of 2010 has been a blur so far. I’m already behind on everything. Can you relate?

I’ve lots to get done—taxes, legal work from our car accident (that happened over 19 months ago), new projects at my day job, projects for my side job, a new semester and loads of homework for three kids, youth sports, plans to get out of renting and hopefully buy a house, a 3-day writers conference in February followed by a wedding to attend in Seattle. Okay, so that’s Q1 of 2010…I haven’t even made it to the rest of the year.

How do we move from surviving to thriving? I’ve read plenty of books and helpful articles on time management, or “7 steps to organizing your life,” etc.; all novel ideas with a few practical tips that may stick—for a week or two. Just when you build a routine, the tyranny of the urgent re-awakens, heaving back its control and wreaking havoc on your organized life. Another few months go by, and you wake up on a Saturday morning wondering, what in the world happened?

I’ve slacked a bit in the midst of the bustle; the few blog entries for this month show that. And then I start beating myself because blogging becomes one more unchecked box on the to-do list, yet writing is what I love.

Enter a voice I know all too well. See Brock, life is just too difficult…you can’t come through…you can’t finish. Its name is Doubt.

When my life feels out-of-control (quite often, I admit), I have a choice…we all have a choice. I can choose to grump and gripe around our home, feel sorry for myself because life is unfair and hard, and make everyone else (typically Sarah and the kids) pay full price for my misery—all of which are usually my first reaction—or, I can take a stand.

That taking a stand part looks different for each person, but for me, it usually involves getting alone as a first-step. And I don’t mean getting alone to sleep all weekend, or tuning out my family to veg in front of the TV. But it might mean a morning of fly-fishing when the weather permits, or a short hike on a nearby trail.

But it also may involve getting alone to read something that speaks to my soul; challenges my heart. And it usually involves writing, mostly in my journal, where the pages are free of editing and literary constraints.

For an outgoing person who has become slightly more introverted over the years, these quiet times have become a source of strength and renewal when I’m at odds with the world.

Today, I needed just that—a quiet time. Here’s what that looked like for me.

I read a few chapters of Walking with God by John Eldredge. It’s a series of stories from Eldredge’s life and what it looks like to walk with God. There’s also a personal guide filled with thought-provoking questions to ask yourself with each chapter. I find it interesting that what walking with God looks like to Eldredge is pretty much on par with what it looks like in my own life—often difficult and confusing at first, but clear and good after you keep trusting Him through each circumstance.

The next thing I did on our back patio was fire up a favorite pipe, followed by writing a short poem. Smoking a pipe is my equivalent to enjoying a hot cup of freshly ground whole bean coffee; over a good read, it’s even finer. My poetry style for today? Haiku.

My mom turned me on to haiku poetry, and I can understand why she enjoys it. If I’m feeling too overwhelmed for intensive writing, haiku packs a huge punch in a tiny package. Haiku forces a break from the complex and overwhelming, and gives you a moment of clarity. Life slows down, and all that matters is the simple.

It might sound bizarre at first, but that’s only because we’re not accustomed to looking at life (and ourselves) through a zoomed-in slow-motion lens. We’re used to the busy, the frantic, the overwhelming.

I noticed this morning’s sunshine through tree limb shadows on a patch of dirt. It’s okay…you can laugh at the manly-man poet typing this, and I assure you, my pipe held only tobacco. (smile)

The beauty of haiku is time standing still and noticing what you normally wouldn’t. Here’s my haiku for that moment:

Sunshine Dirt

Through shadowy webs
of branches on earth’s canvas
sunshine on dirt.

A moment of restoration might look vastly different per individual. To some, my quiet time may seem foreign or even ridiculous. Doesn’t bother me at all…I know where my strength comes from.

What about you? What do you do for personal restoration? Do you do anything at all? Or do you choose to walk through life miserable, letting the world get the best of you, and never taking a moment to question it?

Maybe a little sunshine on our dirt is a reminder that our lives are not meant to be barren but meant to yield something fruitful. And growth only happens if we choose to plant the seed and add water.