Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Baby Cries...

I decided two days ago, as I listened to The Adventures of English about the sonnets of Sidney and Shakespeare, that I'd like to take a crack at it.  This is my first sonnet.  In fact, to my remembrance, this is the first time I've tried to write poetry in any type of standard form.  For those not familiar (which included myself until I looked it up), an English Sonnet has 14 lines with an abab cdcd efef gg rhyming scheme and is written in iambic pentameter, which is five feet of da Dum.  (da Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum).  So, without further ado, here goes...

A Baby Cries...

A baby cries and streaks his tears on cloth.
His father hears but ne’er a move is done.
As stupor shields his fears and stokes him wroth,
Relief and joy are only dreams unknown.

So babe and man confess their grief, appear
In sounding groans of suffered wrongs.  A pure,
A puke, one needs a hope, one’s mind should fear,
For wrongs like this there is but one great cure.

A righteous hand of God will reach and wring
A noose about his lazy hazeled neck.
Or can a man who handled all so wrong
Be sung anew and dealt another deck?

A tree does fall and so it shall be laid.
But until then the last word’s not been said.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wobbly Legs

I just sat down at my kitchen table.  The chair swayed when I did (which, as a large man, always gives a moment of panic and the fleeting thought of my keester on the floor amidst broken wood).  I got up and turned it over, found a couple loose bolts, tightened them up, and then set down to write this sans wobbling.

In life we have a purpose.  We have goals, or a ministry, a reason, maybe a cause.  A chair has a purpose.  My chair had a purpose.  It was meant to hold my girth a bit over a foot off the ground.  But its purpose was almost derailed because its foundation lacked surety. 

As a Christian, I believe our ultimate foundation is Jesus Christ, but that's not necessarily the foundation that I'm referring to here.  Rather, I'd say more that in my allegorical rhetoric that Jesus is the floor that the chair stands on (the Rock that the house is build on from Matthew 7), and the legs represent the strength with which we stand on that floor.  We can never achieve X (whatever that mythical algebraic giant might be), if we stand on wobbly financial, spiritual, emotional, or organizational legs. (Sure, there are likely more legs to mention, but have you ever seen a five-legged chair?  Gotta make the metaphor work here.)

I have my dreams, and one day I will attain them by the grace of God.  But as I reach for my dreams, I must be sure I reach with strengthened legs that can support them, lest both my dreams and I perish in the fall. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Man's Nose and the Trouble It Caused

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a man named William.  William was a short man, with a gnarled face that exuded a nose that threatened to tip his lank form over to the ground.  That nose is where this story begins.  Walking upon a path that was bordered by perfect flowers, William was using his nose to the greatest advantage.  The fragrant flowers filled his wide nostrils, and for a time he walked with head tilted back and nose poking forward as if he might take flight any minute. 

The olfactory romance was not to be, though, as a putrid odor invaded his peaceful jaunt.  He stopped.  He sniffed.  He gagged.  He grew angry, for someone was ruining his walk.  What could create such a foul smell he could not guess.  It smelled like a mixture of dead skunk, pig, soured milk, and unwashed trolls feet (You may, at this point, wonder about the existence of trolls.  Please be aware that they are real.  They are in no way written into this story as a means of creating an artificial need for a parenthetical statement for the author to exhibit his wittiness.  Please continue.  Bacon.). 

He walked in a broad circle, sniffing as he walked.  He found that off the path to the east, where the sun had not long ago peaked out, the smell grew stronger.  In that direction he set off through the woods.  It was rough going, both for the dense undergrowth and for the ever-growing kick in the face that was the odor.  More than once William retched onto the forest floor until there was nothing left.  He grew angrier with each step.  He began mumbling to himself the things he'd say to whoever was letting that smell pollute this beautiful forrest.  He also made up his mind that poltergeists weren't real. This has no relation to the story at hand, but for William was no small a realization.  He had been hearing the strangest sound whenever he would use the necessary, coming from a hole in the wall.  It would start a few seconds after he entered and stop just as he was leaving the room.  It was a  sort of scurrying noise followed by a thud.  He had feared ghosts, but had decided that more likely it was the mouse whom he had almost caught, but instead put out a single eye.  Likely it was in the hole, running a the sight of him only to smack into a wall as it veered into its bum eye.

It was with this pleasing thought that William exited the forest into a large clearing.  To the right and left the forest extended like a giant hedge meant to keep the neighbors away.  In front was a rolling, grassy field for a hundred yards or so, then the mighty Hiawathahana River.  Close ahead, beside a large pot over a raging fire, was a lumpy, green-skinned troll was boiling her laundry.

"Well, that explains things..." William sighed to himself.   His angry words died on his lips.  He was fond of having his limbs attached, so he quickly moved to walk back into the forest.  His noisy approach and exit had alerted his presence, though, and the troll was already turning toward him. 

The troll eyed him from about 20 yards away.  This lasted for 5 seconds, neither moving, until the creature roared violently and raced after William.  William, deciding quickly that death wasn't his preferred method of ending this day, ran to the forest.  He was in before the troll caught up, and was gracefully dodging limbs and holes while behind him the troll ripped up the forest to clear his path.

He ran for what seemed like hours, never quite getting away from the creature before a cracking branch or a startle grunt of pain from a scratch would bring the troll's attention and the panicked race would begin anew.  It was almost at the end of his strength that he took a turn around a massive tree whose branches grew low to the ground. He quickly and nimbly, especially for an old man, climbed into the tree, up high enough to be above the vision of the troll.  His chest rose and fell hard, and he listened for the monster.  He was certain the beating of his heart alone would give him away.  He stayed in his spot for a few moments hearing the beast crashing toward him.  The troll appeared under the branches, and thankfully never paused as it ran underneath.  For many minutes William listened as the sound of the creature's passage faded into the distance.  He climbed down from his perch and made his way back to his village using the sun to guide him, ignoring the scent as if it was a sweet smelling boom that didn't have a crazed troll waiting for you at the end.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Add to Your Faith

The Scriptures are clear that we are to grow.  We are to add to our faith the qualities of goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Peter 1).  Elsewhere, Paul instructs that while we were children we acted like children, but at some point we will be expected to grow up spiritually.  However, we must be sure that the original product, the foundation of the building we are constructing, is Faith in Jesus Christ.  Paul once said (in 1 Cor. 2:2) that he decided for a time to forget everything but Jesus Christ.  Why?  Because ultimately that is all that can or will matter.  Furthermore, it is sometimes necessary to lay aside all that we build up (not destroy, not leave behind, not forget, but lay aside), so that the essence of who we are, the Faith that we are built upon, can shine with the light of Heaven into our situation.

"Add to your faith..." Just make sure that you are starting there, and not somewhere else.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Word Games

My wife, daughter, and youngest son were all asleep, so that meant some time with my oldest boy.  We played some word games that he enjoyed.  I pass them along to you, dear reader, in hopes they are of use in your parental endeavors.
  • I would say half of a sentence and he'd finish it.  For example, "When I opened the door this morning..."  I was treated to aliens, monkeys, stuffed animals that made multiple animal noises, and bacon.  If you know my son, everything eventually comes back to bacon.  I can't blame him, and it makes me realize that I've indeed done something right raising him.
  • Reverse the last idea.  I let him start the sentence and I finished it.  This he really enjoyed, as it meant that he sort of got a "Once upon a time" story even though tonight we were reading from a book (which he doesn't like as much, but it gives my imagination a break :-) ).  I enjoyed it too because I still don't have to think much.  I love making up nonsense!
  • I said a word and he had to tell me what it meant without using the word again.  I wasn't sure if he'd like this one, but at the end he was asking for "just one more" word to define.  It was amazing watching the wheels spin in his head as he defined "fire", "sky", and "missile", among other things.
It was wonderful time together and helped us both practice thinking on our toes.  Hope you find them helpful.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I am a ninja...

Today I learned...

that change is not easy.  That change is not without dissenters.  Change is weird.  Change comes slowly and arrives fast.  It is exhilarating, fun, sad, and a bitterly sweet pill. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

In the whispered word...

In the whispered word,
a strength is born.
In the broken sword,
and twisted scorn,
and wearied body worn to the bone,
hope stands.

Smudges - A Bit of Prose

Do you wear glasses?  If you do, I bet you hate smudges.  I hate smudges.  Smudges at the bottom of my glasses are the worst.  I can tell it’s there, but only just.  Then I wipe, but I have to make sure that I use a clean cloth.  If I don’t, the oil from the cloth will rub onto the glasses and I’ll have even worse smudges.  There’s a specific way to get glasses really clean, too.  Starting with the cloth (don’t forget it has to be clean), you cup your hand around the lens, then holding the lens perpendicular to your mouth, “Haaaa” softly onto the lens so that both sides get moistened from your breath.  Then quickly rub the sides with the clean cloth.  You might have to do it several times.  My wife doesn’t use a clean cloth.  Her glasses don’t get clean.  I tried to tell her the cloth has to be oil-free.  She says I’m acting like I’m better than her.  I’m not better than her.  I told her that, but she doesn’t understand.  She gets upset, I get upset, the kids get upset.  Makes me tired. 
I was tired yesterday too on my way home from work.  I work in sales.  Don’t know why, because I’m not very good.  But I’m okay, so I make okay money, and the company gives me okay reviews, so I keep doing it.  I thought once about quitting.  Not quitting the job, but just to quit trying so they’d fire me.  Anyways, I was tired when I drove home, and I was getting sleepy when I went around the curve there at Knob Street.  That curve scared the living daylights out of me because I was dozing off a bit.  I came to right before it and everything was fine, but I could’ve died if I hadn’t come to.  I’ve never turned onto Knob Street.  I’ve driven that road 5,734 times.  Actually, 5,728.  They had it closed down for 6 days two years ago.  So, 5,728 times seeing Knob Street.  Knob Street curves itself behind some trees not far from the main road, so I don’t know what’s down it.  I can make out a blue house, and an RV parked outside.  There’s a basketball goal, and they let a trash can fill up every week.  The RV leaves once each summer and I can see the cars parked on the other side.  At first, there was a blue pickup and a green little sporty type car.  After 4 years, the car disappeared and a mini-van replaced it.  The mini-van has been replaced by other mini-vans and the truck by other trucks. 
The ditch along Knob Street is full of trash, mainly beer bottles.  It’ll get cleaned up every third Wednesday when the county convicts are out picking up the roadsides, but by the next month it’s dirty again.  I wonder if it’s the people in the blue house that cause all the trash.  I don’t know if there are any other houses to make the trash. 
Tomorrow will be the 5,729th time I go by Knob Street.  I might take a look at it.  It’d be fun.  But I just don’t know if I have the time, since I’ve got to get the yard mowed before seven.  Or maybe I’ll wait until next week.  I’ll probably have more time next week.  Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012