Everyday Poems: #1, “Memories of the Future Past”


It all started in eighth grade…I think. I’d been secretly enjoying poetry since fifth grade, but in Junior High I started writing my own. Unfortunately they were not very kind. I was trying to be funny and that meant making fun of other kids. But even in the midst of those sins, something happened that was good.

A few kids liked them. They worked.

And so for years, I wrote and wrote and wrote and sometimes let my parents read them  and sometimes I would present one to a girl. And those all mimicked U2 lyrics probably. I still have those notebooks but I am terrified of opening them.

My love of reading and writing poetry can wax and wane. But there is always a current underneath, longing to read and write a line that stretches out and up into the reality we all know is there but just don’t have words for.

Starting today, I’m going to post a poem everyday. I’ve got enough in my bag to get through a few months. Some will be really short because I love short poems packed with lots of meaning. Some will be serious and every now again, there will be levity. My hope is just like that poem making fun of my friend Scott in eighth grade, these will be hospitable for those not all that used to reading poems outside of a greeting card.

Along the way, I will try to introduce you to some real poets.

This first poem goes back a few years. And I think the hope within it is of some value during this weird time. It’s got legs and maybe wings. Feel free to add in “fears from a pandemic” to the list.

Memories of the Future Past

Remember those summer nights
when you were young
and dusk hung in the air
like that kiss
from the girl around the corner?
And the fireflies
lit the yard of freshly cut grass?
And your dreams were bigger
and brighter than the mirror-ball moon
hanging among stars
you pretended to throw into the night sky?
One day.
One day, my friend.
It will come with no end.
And our parents
in all their forgotten strength
will lay down their newspapers
and their dish rags
and join you in the joy
as the screen door slams shut behind them.
The ice cream churn will hum
and the smell of the community pool
will lie thick upon your sunned skin
and you will crave the breeze traveling
fast like the trains
you hear down in the valley.
It will come with no end.
And the tears of cancer
and the tears of Alzheimers
and divorce
and all the broken-hearted times will end
and give way to a taut thread of moments
that taste like the honied memory of dusk unending.

Random Thoughts for the Weekend


1. I have been thinking long about Willard’s statement, “Everything that exists outside of the human realm automatically expresses the kingdom of God.” Maybe this is why we so often crave the purity and quiet of the woods and standing at the edge of the sea. The rocks cry out. The trees clap their hands. And the waves of the sea never stop their endless worship in rhythm. Sometimes when the hardness of life takes over inside, I want to get outside of the human realm as much as I can. I think we were created for this. And maybe it’s why Jesus, the King, so often withdrew to a desolate place.

2. My fifth grade son had “neologism” as a vocabulary word and now I have seen this word three times in my own reading since, silencing my complaints.

3. Seamus Heaney only had the equivalent of a BA, which is more than myself and less too.

4. Another quote from Willard I cannot get out of head – “Most are more afraid of obedience than disobedience.”

5. One day we will experience a rest that does not cause anxiety about what needs to be done next.

6. Maybe, we as a culture will rediscover simple pleasures.

7. I am proud of my kids. But yesterday, my youngest came from a school trip after being gone a couple of days. And one of his first bits of information about the three day trip was an exclamation about breakfast and the bacon he ate. My heart swelled. As well as my arteries.

8. When hard times come,
I  miss my parents,
and am glad
they are not around to see them,
knowing they are glimpsing un-obscured glories,
day in and day out if there are any days at all in that sunlit land.

9. I miss the baseball season that has not yet started late.

10. For months I have been reciting from memory Col. 3:1-17. Those words have gotten in me. And now I cannot think of the fears surrounding us in light of these verses. Especially the beginning. “For you have died and your life is hid with Christ in God.” We have died already. We can no longer die. Or be killed. Even more, my friends, we have been raised.