Other Lights

Other Lights
by Julie Sumner

A murmuration of stars soundlessly whirls,
glazes the desert’s eastern horizon
and litters the darkness with ancient light.

Earthglow shifts in luminous glimmers,
shapes the shadows roaming through Orion
and embraces this world in an emerald bend.

Here in the city, an electric gleam dilutes the night,
its shiny certainty guarding the lonesome traveller,
who longs only to see the face of the moon.

Prayer for a Busy Day

Good Teacher,
Help us to learn to live
By sitting at your feet.
You have set eternity
In our hearts–
Enlarge our hearts’ vision
To see that we are more
Than the sum of
Our jobs, our hobbies,
Our families, our friends,
Our successes, or our failures–
Our truest identity is found
In being near you.
Abide with us today,
Even in our busyness
And distraction,
And order our frenzied minds.
Amen.

I Heard It Sung

I Heard It Sung
by Julie Sumner

When there was no sun,
I heard it sung
and remembered
the thing, the word–
the luminous endured,
as its one syllable
over and over pealed
like bells at matins
calling the dawn.

The light of its sound,
the thing, the word–
the sun sung,
split the muddy ice
with its raw shine
and I remembered
when I heard it sung.

The Little Pastry Chef

The inspiration for today’s poem came from this painting “The Little Pastry Chef” by Chaim Soutine. Painted in 1927 in Paris, this painting was recently shown in the High Museum’s exhibition, “Cezanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection.”

The Little Pastry Chef
by Julie Sumner

Though I am young, my left brow already
arches with the practiced skepticism
of grandmothers
who have gazed through life’s chaotic prism.
I know butter, flour, sugar, and eggs.
I know a little of life, more of death.
At night, my sleep whips up snow-floured dreams–
I wake at dawn,
Roll them smooth, anoint them with sugared cream.

A New Year’s Prayer

Jesus,
Help us to understand
In this time of new beginnings,
That you are wonder-full.
Free our minds from endless distraction,
Glittering pettiness, and useless numbness.
Create in us new hearts and minds
To apprehend your constant presence,
You are God-With-Us,
Creator of Light and Dark,
Arranger of bluebirds and solar flares.
We long to receive you
In your Fullness
This new year.
Amen.

Blind Spot

Blind Spot
by Julie Sumner

It’s always there–
just out of sight
behind me and to the left,
missed by mirrors and
undisturbed by light.

Despite my vigilant vision,
this nerve-colored spot mutates
into a gray cavern of
possibility:
a dynamite truck with no brakes,
or a garden-variety tornado.
These always come from behind.

Just now at sight’s edge,
I see a growing glow–
too ticking slow for a bomb,
a wind-swept wildfire perhaps?

A leftward glance back
reveals a blinding orange globe.
The sun, miraculous
in its risen sameness,
tumbles pinks and oranges
across snow fields and cloud banks
as I drive into dawn.