Short Poems

I caught an old Robert Bly interview last month, on one of those mornings that found me awake at 4:00 a.m.  I scribbled his monologue as fast as I could.  He said:
You want to broadcast poetry from a helicopter, but the reality is that you leave it by the side of the road, hoping that somebody will come along and see a glow in it, and pick it up and carry it with them.
When the poetry becomes universally loved, say, by all the workers in a steel mill, it has already lost its power. It has ceased to exist as an art form at the moment it becomes collective. (R. Bly, TCPT)
So here are some poems.  Most were written with a certain verse or passage of Scripture in mind.  My sister once asked, "Who's your audience?"  I answered, "Anybody who will read them."   I'm just leaving them by the side of the road.

(Genesis 29-34, Isaiah 11)

A messy situation,
Fit for a tabloid.
Two wives, two servant-girls,
A cheat of a father-in-law.
Twelve warring sons
One ruined daughter.

Love withered like clay in the sun.
Conflict flourished.
And on this disastrous compound
Compassion will light
Mercy will fall
A root will be nurtured

That, blossoming,
Will set the mess aright
And redeem all of it.

[Save us now]

What would you do
For this tired little soldier
Lying bruised on a field
Cold and all alone
No weapon of any use in her hand.
Why would you rescue,
When the warrior is stripped
And doubts this war is even worth the effort?
Please don't send an angel, or a friend, or a word of hope.
Bring yourself. Mighty King,
Glorious One.
Flex the holy muscle that defeated death.
Defeat her death.
Calm this weeping one, 
Lift up her weary head,
From the mouth that spoke creation.
Re-create her heart,
Strong enough to hold your holiness.
Renew her frame
And clothing her with praise,
Establish her in victory. 

 "Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength?  'It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.'"  Isaiah 63:1


The girl had heard stories
Terrible tales, told by dusty travelers,
About a people whose God split rocks
For their water, and split water for their
Dry crossing.  And marched, massive,
A battering ram into the desert.
She had listened, dark eyes wide behind a veil,
To the men who ducked into her house,
Drunk and lonely, ready to use
Her kind of currency.
And she gathered the stories
Until they formed a truth held close,
Firm knotted rope.

It's as though Yahweh, whom she
Saw clearly, even past a screen,
Had seen her, and decided that she,
Abused, full of mercy,
Like the Promised One,
Would be His rescued one,
Tied like a cord
Into the bloodline 
Of her Messiah.

The Word

The Word
Lands perfectly
On my raw heart.

Fills each crevice
Every wound
Like healing blood.

The Word
Chooses me.

(All poems by Laura Daggett Murphy)