Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Word of the Lord

Do you remember the day

we ran like conspirators

when young men in white shirts

came calling?

I laughed when you said

we were hiding from

the Word of the Lord

and rocked the baby in my arms

so she wouldn’t give us away

with a cry.

I remember that day

as I stand like a lone penitent

while you call upon

young men in white shirts.

I remember that day as I fall upon

the Word of the Lord

and rock myself like a baby,

trying very hard not to give way

to my tears.


  1. I suppose life takes us to many places.

  2. Rock yourself like a baby and call on the name of the Lord.
    It never fails to give us the courage to go on one more day.
    This is a fine poem. Well done. The knees are marvelous joints when tears threaten to fall. It is the right position to be in when the heart is heavy.

  3. This is mesmerizing and gentle in its beauty.

    Beautiful writing, Karen...

  4. I've done my fair share of ducking from those guys in the white shirts. Lovely piece of cultural American poetry.

  5. what a beautiful poem. you take us inside this person's anguish so well. we all need to let the tears fall as they may sometimes. hope all is well. have a great day.

  6. beautiful and sad. i guess that's the epitome of a lesson in humility. an interesting take. lovely.

  7. Gentle memoirs, written with a soft tone and sadness.

  8. Karen, what a great juxtaposition in this--a situation turning itself on its head, if you will. We run, but we still need deeply, and I think it is the human condition to seek, at least privately.

    This is really beautiful. Tragic, but not hopelessly so.

  9. Karen, how nostalgically this comes full circle... in a way... A very delicate and beautiful poem, ravelling sadness and joy, impetuosity and regret, just as life does...

  10. Karen, the sheer beauty of what you have written casts a shadow over the meaning for me. No, not a shadow, more like a transluscent veil through which I see your strong and courageous heart beating, beating, beating. Bless you, dear poet-friend of my heart!

    PS: When the white-shirted guys came to our house early in our marriage in the 70's we invited them in and corrupted them...we took them to see Dr. Zhivago (they weren't *allowed* to see movies, they told us...we took that as a challenge and convinced them to go) and even offered them a doobie first. They declined, but I'm certain they both got a good secondhand buzz. Tee-Hee. It was fun. Thanks for jiggling my memory banks. You rock, my friend!

  11. Jason - We truly never know what we'll be handed. Better be grateful for every day!

    Chris - You are so right! Thinking of you right now, too.

    Calli - Thanks!

    Willow - The uniform is certainly recognizable, isn't it? And you're right - a part of our culture. (By the way, if you say you're Catholic, they'll leave! :-D

    Michelle - All is well, thank you. Really. Thanks for being a faithful reader and for your kind comments.

    kondratas - Welcome, and thanks for visiting and commenting. A lesson in humility is a great way to characterize this.

    Glynis - Miss Award Winner! Thank you for your kind comment.

    Jennifer - It's so nice to see you! I hope all is well with you. It brightens my day just to see your name and know you're still with us! Thanks.

    Vesper - kondratas said it well: a lesson in humility, but I think you cut right to the heart of it, too, the mixture of emotions that show how flawed and human we are. Thank you.

    Marion - :-D Thank you so much for your kind words and you friendship! I'd LOVE to have seen those little guys watching movies, getting high on the residuals! So funny! I'm glad you told that! Next time... ;-)

  12. This one is full of meaning and rings deep in the heart. Words cannot fully explain but your poem expresses it in the right meter and tone.

  13. What a purposeful and personal account of something much deeper than what is read here. It startles me with its familiarity.

    I remember a time when we would hide from Bible Salesmen in their white shirts...walking miles a day...knocking on every door in the town. I remember sitting on our porch swing with one young man, when I was about twelve, and thinking, "Do you really love God that much or do you just need a job?"

    I love, how in your poems, you test each word for ripeness, like buying fruit - and choose just the right one.

  14. Jonah tried it-got swallowed. David said it can't be done. But love remembering youth with you. and how bout that Marion? Sheesh, anyone she hasn't corrupted? ~rick

  15. We have but to remember - those gems of time, from which we cull the treasures of resolve. Tears, those liquid diamonds that sparkle with purpose - the flow of emotion that cleanses the soul. Yours is a poem, truly, "Word of the Lord," the cycles of BEING. Thank you for its beauty.

  16. there are whole worlds between the hiding from and falling upon - and they spin wonderfully in this. i feel a blend of fear and faith and remorse and atonement from the "lone penitent", and though the tears seem inevitable, it also seems they will fall more for what is unspoken than what is expressed here. and i agree with k about the "ripeness" - each word is just right.

  17. John - Thank you.

    Kaye - Your comment on the language, especially, is appreciated. Coming from you, it means a great deal to me.

    Rick - I wish I'd have remembered Jonah and David when I wrote this. It would've been a different tone, for sure! Yeah, I love Marion. I wish I could hang out with her in real life.

    Rose Marie - "Gems of time" culled from the treasures of our lives... Thank you for that thought.

    joaquin - There is a whole world - a whole lifetime - in this one. To tell you the truth, I'm not crazy about this as poetry - not what I consider one of my better poems - but it is honest. Somehow, that matters in this one. Thank you, too, for your comment on the language. I love words!

  18. I love the language in the poem and the lovely voice that is so Karen! And yeah, boy. I've seen those men in white shirts, too. The ones I see are on bicycles. I sort of feel sorry for them in an odd sort of way, because nobody wants to see them coming...ha! Even when it's so hot, they're all dressed up and pedaling away.

    But I also love the intrigue at the end, the "you" in the poem who is calling on men in white shirts. I imagine a whole different type of men in white shirts in the ending. I love that sense of mystery that gets a whole book of stories swirling in my mind. I always say "beautiful" when I read your poems, but they are. Absolutely beautiful.

  19. sometimes dogma and devotion are intertwined lovers

    ps i think i figured out how i can comment on your blog again. :) hopefully that's a good thing~

  20. Jules - You always say the nicest things, and you are so right on. I nearly used "white coats" in the last stanza but I didn't want to be too obvious. I think the "you" would surprise the readers. :-) Thank you for your ever appreciated support!

    Jana - Yay! I'm glad you were able to conquer blogger! I love the image of dogma and devotion - that could be a poem in itself. You are so right, but I think how sad it is to neglect devotion until it's needed...

  21. This has got to be one of your absolute best. Maybe it's the old evangelist in me, deeply dyed, but it appeals to me on all sorts of levels - and the image is a just-right accompaniment. Really, excellently done.

  22. Thanks, Dave - It's interesting to me that as a writer, I really don't know what others will find appealing. I nearly didn't post this because I thought it would not appeal. I'm happy to know it did.

    Fareed - Welcome, and thank you! I'm laughing!

  23. This is a beautiful reminiscence Karen, coming back full circle. Full of tender feelings and emotions. The last lines leaves the reader with a gentle sadness.
    Another wonderful poem from you Karen, wonderful and touching.

  24. Excellent work... an interesting take on how two completely different moments with two different emotions can be connected by something so innocuous.

  25. The power of memories, cherished moments and laughter. Beautiful, Karen.

  26. and tell me then is the lords word found in the pages of a book or the tears?

  27. Margaret - Thanks. I wonder how many have had the experience of the last stanza?

    Joseph - Isn't it interesting how the threads of our lives are interwoven?

    Thanks, Rachel!

    TWM - You know, I think it's in the tears, but wasn't it in the book that I read that even Jesus wept for his dying friend?

  28. How time and experiences shape our casual and youthful brightness into darker pain and leads us to new places, or arms, to land in.

    I could feel the years in this one. The ripening of a soul and faith. Very poignant, Karen, and very beautiful.

  29. Dear Karen,

    Such a deep faith and heartbreak are
    expressed here, however your prose enters
    in with joy.