The Day of Small Things

When the world seems to be coming apart at the seams, sometimes it’s best to focus on the small miracles we often overlook….

The Day of Small Things
by Julie Sumner

Bless the day of small things-
The day of silent thank-yous for dawn,
The baby’s peach-fuzz hair and even breaths.
Bless the day of small things-
The carmine veining of the coleus leaves,
The diminishing pain in your joints.
Bless the day of small things-
The bread crumbs on the plate,
The house wren’s nest in the flowerpot.
Bless the day of small things-
The leafy shadows in late summer heat,
The daily presence of two coffee mugs
full of coffee on the kitchen counter
Bless the day of small things.

A Word with a Pulse

This short prose poem falls into the category of ars poetica, otherwise known as a category of poems specifically about poetry.

A Word With a Pulse
by Julie Sumner

Poetry is a word with a pulse. Take it just there–at the bend in the wrist. Don’t press too hard or you won’t feel a thing. You’ve got to ease into it, feel its lifeblood bump up against the thumb of your well-educated expectations. Is it racing or sluggish? Does it bound out of its skin, or is it an irrationally irregular whisper of a beat? You have to strain sometimes to really hear what you’re feeling. Then, in a flash, the throb of its lithium heart matches your own faithful dog of a pulse, and now you and this poem-word carry the eternal, drumbeating witness of every living thing.

An Expected End

Sometimes what we think will be the end is only a beginning. Check out the inspiration for this poem at http://instagram.com/p/rmOmuox2tc/?modal=true. This is courtesy of the fine people at the US Geological Survey.

An Expected End
by Julie Sumner

The clouds mapped themselves in silent shadows
Across the river valley’s grassy skin-
He’d thought his journey would be finished here,
But the arctic blue ranges stood so close,
Their geologic patience a challenge
To the deadline of his own finite life-
An expected end became a threshold.

When Gifts Go Wrong…

Hosea 6:6 KJV For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Has someone ever given you a gift and made you feel completely alone and misjudged at the same time? Once I was dating a man who showed up at my door for Valentine’s Day with balloons, flowers, chocolate, and a giant poster board card he’d made himself…It was an effusive gesture, but felt really awkward because a few minutes before I learned he had several more children than the one he had told me about. The many gifts only exacerbated the confusion I felt and made me distrust him that much more. What I really desired was to get to know this person as he really was, whatever that entailed and that he would be honest with me. He would have none of it and the date ended worse than it began–I stood in the rain in my driveway watching him speed off into the night and telling God, “Well, I guess we can only go up from here, eh??”

When I read this verse in Hosea, I think God knew exactly how I felt that night, only infinitely more so. This verse occurs in one of the many instances where God, through his prophet Hosea, is trying to woo the Israelites back to himself. He gave them the law through Moses as a means of being in relationship with him, but all of the sacrifices, festivals, and regulations were to serve the relationship, not define it. They were a means for the Israelites to be in a relationship with God characterized by regular communication peppered with worship, honesty, and trust. Instead, the Israelites, and many of us today, focus only on the exterior requirements of the relationship-tithes, good works, even Bible studies– without thinking of the person of God on the other end of the relationship.

He longs for us to show mercy, because he is continually showing us mercy, and it demonstrates our love for him when we treat others the way he treats us. This is the verse that Jesus quoted in Matthew 9:13 when he was questioned for eating a meal with tax collectors and sinners. He told the Pharisees to “go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy not sacrifice….’” God longs for us to know him so much that he sends the world his son, Jesus, who comes to reconcile the whole world to God (John 3:17). God longs for you and I to know him so much more than we can ever comprehend. This means more to him than anything we could possibly give him or do for him. He beckons continually, and promises “you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29 NKJV).

What Other Sense?

Sometimes what we think will be the end is only a beginning. Check out the inspiration for this poem at http://instagram.com/p/rmOmuox2tc/?modal=true. This is courtesy of the fine people at the US Geological Survey.

An Expected End
by Julie Sumner

The clouds mapped themselves in silent shadows
Across the river valley’s grassy skin-
He’d thought his journey would be finished here,
But the arctic blue ranges stood so close,
Their geologic patience a challenge
To the deadline of his own finite life-
An expected end became a threshold.