Age

Is the frostbite that forms upon our cheeks
as we make our journey home.

© 2013 D. Patrick Collins

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Don’t Go

on the occasion of the final day of the Nugent family reunion

As the holiday tables and chairs are folded and set aside
for pick-up there comes that familiar feeling

a small child feels when the adult plays peek-a-boo,
just before their reappearance.

The morning’s freedoms are curtailed with each
suitcase and box of exchanged gifts carefully packed

in preparation for the journey. Whose destination
is here and there among the folds in Earth’s landscape

according to each family’s unique destiny they call home.
And this is the only reason we let you go.

Because the road you are on leads you, and we know
it would be a crime against necessity to hold on

Any more than to keep the sun each evening from hiding
Behind the water’s edge.

Still, this morning, as each of us turns and hides
Our face behind the covers we call distance

Our hearts grow wide as a child’s eyes as if to say:
What are you doing? Don’t go.

© 2013 D. Patrick Collins

I am the reflection

In the deep of night
when all is still
may I arise like the moon
so that what can’t be seen
may shine upon
those who dwell in darkness.

© 2013 D. Patrick Collins

The Terminal

dedicated to Robert Collins, 1966-1990

Waiting late into the night
I think of one now departed
Having taken an early flight

As I fill my time long overdue
Among the seats and shops and lines
With idle dreams and things to do

How long now have I been away
Reaching out to friends both near and far
Who beckoned me to stay?

But it won’t be long now
Before I hear the voice overhead
And I arise as if to take my bow

And board my skyward sleepy tomb
Am carried past the moonlit stars
to my anticipated home.

For now I think of things to do
But know full well a terminal
Is just for passing through.

© 2013 D. Patrick Collins

Crowns

The Crowns of Heaven
Unlike the Crowns of Earth
Are found
Not when standing up
But kneeling down.

© 2013 D. Patrick Collins

We are the Whoever

in all of Creation
there are photons and protons
and neutrons and electrons
and the small space between

there are the stars and planets
and black holes and comets
and pulsars and quasars
and systems and galaxies and constellations
and the small space between

there is rock and dry ground and ocean
there are bacteria and algae and fungi and plankton
and amphibian and reptile and bird and mammal
on land, the sky above and the waters below:
there is life and non-life
and the small space between

there are principles and laws
there are formulas and facts and figures
and numbers and logic and reason
there is what we call rational thought
there is imagination
there is right and wrong and virtue and beauty and truth
which we deny and affirm by our own denial:
there is consciousness and non-consciousness
and the small space between

there is the eternal: both God and Heaven
and angels and demons
and powers and principalities and rulers
and seraphim and cherubim
and all the heavenly hosts
who observe and participate in
the tragedy that is mankind:
there is the seen and unseen
and the small space between

but in all of Creation
there is but one to whom it is said:
For God so loved the world He gave His only Son
That whoever believes shall not perish but live forever

That one is us: We are the Whoever
of the the dust of the earth but alive and conscious
who with one word may be right with the Father

and the small space between.

The Baptism of Jesus

On His way down He
Tore the very fabric of Heaven
And tripped over God knows how
Many other natural laws
To get to His Son

At the water’s edge
In his thirtieth year of humanity
He who had shown so much promise
Had on this day little to show for himself
Beyond river-soaked clothes and gasping breath

Of air and life He descended, drawing closeby
To say: Look you know none of this matters
But one thing: You are my son
And I love you more deeply
Than this world can ever cast a dark shadow

Upon your countenance: I am your mirror
And the reflection looking back at you
Shall ever be Me, doing harm if necessary
To Heaven and life itself
To reveal I love

More deeply than human effort
Can prove otherwise: In the place below
The flood waters having carried away
All your best intentions which have come to
Nothing but tearful repentance:

There the Light shines in darkness
Like water casting playful reflections
High up on the ceiling of Heaven
Which are my thoughts for you
In whom I am a deep well

Pleased Father: I can be no other.
In this moment I have brought you
To perfect rest, that I might move
Heaven and earth as necessary
To lift you up.

So let us now you and I allow this journey
Come to an end, before this journey has begun.
Look closely into My eye:
You cannot fail: You’ve already won.

© 2013 D. Patrick Collins

feasibility study

like electricity love is
environment friendly

like solar panels it
draws strength from beyond

like wind turbines in the desert it
blows where it wills

it is ubiquitous: not a place on earth exists
where it is not to be found.

further, love is ever-renewable and inexhaustible;
to it there is virtually no end.

But it has been found that
harvesting it is highly problematic

it is disruptive to any man-made system and
contaminates any process put in place to divert it

for consumable use. Confinement
and containment are virtually impossible

and for this reason it is
considered to be neither safe, nor viable.

© 2013 D. Patrick Collins

Pray like a Child

Author’s Note: I have had different reactions to this poem, including the dreaded “I don’t get it.” So I thought I would say a few words as to what it means to me.

We often regard prayer as a solemn and reverent act, the more solemn and reverent in fact, the better. Even in the more non-traditional churches where solemnity is lost, nonetheless a formal, almost formulaic approach to prayer exists, as though the tone of voice and choice of words betters our chances of being heard. But if one looks closely at the words of Jesus concerning prayer, it is not the reverent who necessarily obtains what is sought, but rather the one who simply refuses to take no for an answer. And this is what one often finds in the heart of a child. A thing in fact we consider undesirable. But before God, is it?

Be blessed, and pray like a child.

I had a dream I was praying to God
But had forgotten how

to hold my hands, or head, or kneel or bow
or choose my words or thoughts just so

it was as though
I was no more than a child who hadn’t been taught

a thing about not
getting my way.

Night and day
I kicked and screamed

at injustice. I cried over what seemed
the least little thing

concerning human suffering;
I could not be consoled

once awakened, nor told
“shhh!” or “no” — till satisfied was my thirst

for righteousness. Of all who prayed, I no doubt was the worst.
But one thing I knew: More than any other: I was adored

And I could not, would not, be ignored.

© 2013 D. Patrick Collins

The House Sitter

Last time You were here
You were the worst guest.
Nosy as ever: Not staying put
Walking the halls, trying every door
Asking: What’s in here? I had to rush over
And say: Look here, that is none of your concern.
Please go back with the others.

You gave me no rest making me keep an eye
Though the house was secure and the places off limits were safely locked
And I alone having the key.

And when You felt your presence no longer welcome
You turned as you were leaving and said: “Is it not very tiring
Keeping all those doors locked from the guest
The moment he knocks till he departs
Especially from you, a guest in your own home?”

But I need someone I can trust now while away
So here are all the keys in my possession.
And let me take time to go over
All the rooms, both on and off limits
And all you should know about those rooms
And the shape and color of the keys that unlock the doors,
Each one.

And upon my return perhaps You can be the host
And I the guest You entertain.

You who first entrusted this house to me.

© 2013 D. Patrick Collins

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