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Posts tagged: poem

Oh, that Jesus!

On the this Sunday of Advent,I give you a poem, written by L. Patrick Carroll of Seattle. He shares his words each year at this time - a holy gift for this season of waiting, for light, for hope, for the kid next door.

     Since We’re Neighbors

Christmas 2014

L. Patrick Carroll

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (Jn 1:14)

Literally, he “pitched his tent in our midst . . .”

Lived right next door,

No distance.

Emmanuel … God with us —

With a family, dysfunctional like ours,

Unwed mother, bewildered father,

Mostly broke,

With, as in most families,

A crazy cousin in the desert eating locusts,

Making family functions awkward.

Stories say that as a boy, he ran away;

Hid in a temple.

It took his mom and dad, distracted,

A couple days to notice.

We lose our keys, glasses, sometimes our mind,

Rarely a child, as his parents did.

Like most of us, his family didn’t understand him,

Worried, wondered, wept for what he might become,

Troubled by his words and wandering.

We try to make him different, distant

Less vulnerable than we so often feel and are,

But no — Jesus is, was and ever will be,

One of us,

The kid, next door,

Our God, at home

With all the messy mysteries

Of our incarnate life.

(S-R archive photo: A Christian pilgrim touches a column inside the Church of the Nativity, believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the town of Bethlehem )


Poetry, please

A colleague - L. Patrick Carroll - is home recovering from a hip replacement; he is a wonderful writer and shares the following poem. Enjoy his lovely words.

The Christmas Feast

 I keep getting “fixed”;

Stuff wears out or breaks.

Hopes, dreams, ideals…

Recently a second hip replaced,

Earlier in life a nose, a jaw,

My whole left side paralyzed.

Heart broken,

Figuratively and literally,

Lives and loves too often lost;

And not just me:

Yeats insisted:

“Things fall apart…”

Bernstein’s Mass memorialized:
“How easily things get broken.”

Our world, nation, selves,

(Like mine)

Need mending,

Need Christmas.

Valleys must be smoothed,

Mountains lowered,

Swords to plowshares molded,

Darkness turned to light.

The Word becoming flesh

Translates as

Companion God, by choice,

Sharing our tears, our tent,

Our brokenness,

To fix it, mold it,

Mend it, make it whole,

Not magically “in one fell swoop,”

But offering a healing,

All-repairing path —

 Unselfish love —

 That we can trod, however haltingly,

As Jesus did,

Arriving at our feast

With all its “fixings.”

(S-R archive photo courtesy of NASA)


Veterans Day

We buy poppy flowers and wear them on Veterans Day to remember those who died in war. Where did the tradition originate? What is the story behind the poem? On behalf of our community, thank you to all who have served and continue to serve our country.


In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


(S-R archives photo)

Poetry, please

The news is unusually heavy today with pieces of our government closed, immigrants drowning and politicians on their worst behavior. Sometimes it helps to simply escape for a moment. Poetry, please.

Not Here

There's courage involved if you want
to become truth.

There is a broken- open place in a lover.

Where are those qualities of bravery and
sharp compassion in this group? What's the
use of old and frozen thought?

I want a howling hurt. This is not a treasury
where gold is stored; this is for copper.

We alchemists look for talent that
can heat up and change.

Lukewarm won't do. Halfhearted holding back,
well-enough getting by? Not here.

Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi

(S-R archives photo)

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About this blog

Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

Ask a question: Catherine welcomes questions about aging issues and grief. Email her at

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