The Whole Rest

In the world of music, the rests are periods of silence between notes of music. They come in varying lengths– one of the longest is the whole rest, a pause of four beats in the music. Rests in music function like punctuation marks in writing and give form and structure to the sounds being played or sung. As a 8-year-old learning to play the piano, the whole rest seemed interminable in length to me and a distinctly impossible undertaking. Not much has changed, I think.

The Whole Rest
by Julie Sumner

The patient breath required for a whole rest
gives gravity to free-floating grace notes,
a sabbath from trumpet blasts and drum beats,
silence becomes its own wild continent–
its negative space defines music’s shape,
gives the memory of the melody
time enough to feel the song’s long embrace.

Prayer for Rebels Like Us

Most Relentless Pursuer,
You who come after those of us
Who reject you and rebel against you
And offer us the hand of grace
Instead of the hand of wrath–
Help us always remember
Your mercy toward us
When we face those who
Reject, misunderstand, or insult us;
Help us offer them the hand of grace
That your mercy may be manifest
And your kingdom come here on earth.
Amen.

Prayer for Peace

Heavenly Father,
There is so much we know,
And so much more we don’t know.
Please help us to rest in the knowledge of you,
Rather than be in unrest over the knowledge of the world.
Overwhelm us with your presence and peace
When we are overwhelmed with a sense of everything that could go wrong.
Feed us from the tree of your life,
We are weary from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Help us today,
In the name of your Shepherd Son, Jesus,
Amen.

It’s OK to Play with your Words

Who says poetry has to be serious? Sometimes it’s just fun to play with words the way children do so well (sometimes, too well). Thanks to a great Creative Lectio poetry group this morning for inspiring today’s poem. For your edification, “blunderbuss” is a word with two distinct meanings–a precursor to the shotgun, it was a short-barreled version with a trumpet-like mouth to spray pellets in a wide swath against your enemy, or it can also refer to a bumbling nincompoop. This poem references the latter definition.

Mr. Blunderbuss
by Julie Sumner

He was a short man,
something of a bore,
with a cavernous mouth
capable of producing
a tornadic snore.
He was a close-talker,
with rotten-egg breath,
easily reducing
a strong man’s nose
to the point of death.
He was a klutzy fellow,
as if his ox-like joints
were made of green jello,
always jostling other folks,
bruising them blue and yellow.

So when I am a kick-ball klutz,
and have stinky pizza breath,
I really never mind so much–
just remember Mr. Blunderbuss
and think, “Well, I guess
that does make two of us.”

**Windowonwords Extra: For more fun children’s poems, check out the master of children’s poetry, Shel Silverstein. His best-known children’s books are The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends. He also won a Grammy for writing that country music standard, “A Boy Named Sue.”