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|These contributions of poetry and prose were shown as part of Faith and Arts Sunday at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu—February 12, 2012
Poetry and Prose by Writers’ Workshop (February 12, 2012)
The Writers Workshop is a group of church members and friends who meet once a month to work on their writing together. Everyone is welcome to bring something they have written that they can share with the group.
Group members displayed the following examples of poetry and prose as part of Faith & Arts Sunday 2012.
Robert G. Ahlstrom
Rare is a person who is all things to all situations; ergo, persons believing they can do everything alone should consider mind set changes.
A leader without followers has no one else to lead. The surgeon with skills can save a life, but singularly is unable to play a football game because this requires team effort. Although gifted individuals can thrive alone, their efforts can better excel with a support team. Akin to an established musician with a booking agent, marketing expert and lawyer, creative individuals need support to concentrate on developing new ideas for future activities.
Enterprising minds began a long time ago when early man carved the first wooden bowl to replace cupped hands used to scoop water. Proving that for every action, there is a reaction, observers became convinced the bowl held all of its water, whereas a cupped hand leaked water through their fingers. Those with the wooden bowls became leaders and soon afterward followers realized the advantages of dipping for water with their own bowl. Progressive thinkers won, whilst skeptics lost because they were unable to adapt to change and continued to cup their hands to dip water. Of course today the wooden water bowls of the past have been replaced by plastic cups.
Trust is necessary for progress. Unfortunately, trust failed my grandfather. He was unaccustomed to using electric alarm clocks. Adaptation meant his daily tradition of winding a manual alarm clock was lost to progress. When electrical outages delayed the clock's alarm for minutes or hours, my grandfather was late for chores. He returned to winding his manual clock. When long-term batteries became available, my grandfather learned he only needed to remember to change batteries once per year. Because he was burned by the failure of modern conveniences and wanted to make sure he awoke on time, he still wound his manual alarm clock.
Success breeds criticisms and curtails achievements; however, those truly dedicated to constructive changes for survival must never be sidetracked by antiquated traditions and attitudes. Imagine when Henry Ford first presented his Model “A” automobile. Harness makers, horse stud farms and carriage shops fought against progress to preserve their profitable way of life. Copycat companies soon expanded needs to develop roads and eventually highways. Travel time was shortened to minutes instead of days. Today we should not blame Henry for helping create traffic jams and access to superstores leading to the downfall of small local markets. Fortunately, horses have survived to become entertainment on polo grounds, racetracks and specialty exhibitions.
Today determined persons continue to create competitive ideas with such wonders as the iPod and giant liquid crystal display television screens.
Each of us can create a future deserving 15 minutes of fame. Imagination changes survival, education is the start, all else is possible.
Robert G. Ahlstrom
A child born in love
A child to be loved
A child to give love
He crawls in quickness
He takes his first steps
His tiny legs race
His mother chases
His father laughs
He seeks to touch
Oh, how he questions
Watch careful this child
He was born to know
He was born to teach
He was born to heal
To give and give more
Beware of the leaders
Bewildered they scorn
How short was his life
Ending so quick
So cruelly to die
His cross was so heavy
He carried mine
Robert G. Ahlstrom
For my Granddaughter Anna
Before the Sun can even rise
Anna asks “Why”
It’s too early for me to think about whys
How many whys will she ask me today
Patiently questioning everything passing her way
“You need to”, “Why”
“Please don’t”, “Why”
“Let’s go”, “Why”
I am feeling frustration
As answers elude me
I’m unable to satisfy most of her whys
A “because” or “I said so” now seems not very wise
When “because” has betrayed me
It’s then I visualize
The “I said so”
Does not satisfy and leaves her
Thinking once again why
Gradually the day slows to a quieter pace
But after weeks of her questions
I soon realize
That I’m certainly not really feeling so wise
Aware and thinking
Afraid to ask why
So I somewhat sadly reflect
Where are my whys
So I listen to her and to my surprise
I slowly begin to find some long concealed whys
Anna when you read of your wonderful whys
Will it be a search for wonderful wise
Be aware you may not recognize
But don’t stop caring and searching
Since maybe the wise thing is to ask why not
Since the source of our wise comes from
A God oh so wise
Who knew us even before we were able to ask why
And before the sun could even rise
Scarydog was born on Christmas Eve 8 years ago. At six weeks old, the little dachshund crossbred came to live with Gary in his truck when her original potential master failed to pick her up. Over her lifetime she was a faithful truck dog who loved meeting people wherever she went. And she never failed to bring a smile to the faces of the people she greeted with her wagging tail and cheery bark. Gary and I had never had a house dog before and were somewhat overwhelmed by the attachment we developed with our little pup over the years. Needless to say we were devastated at her sudden death last May. In our attempts to console ourselves we did a lot of reminiscing and one of things we came back to time and again was what her life taught us. She was a wise little dog and we would like to share with you our favorite story about lessons learned from her.
It was a Sunday afternoon. I had laid out two frozen rib eye steaks that morning before we left for church. When I went to marinate them that afternoon they were gone. After some searching we found the wrapper and immediately knew the culprit. We had noticed that Scary had been kind of sluggish that day. By 3:00 she was downright lethargic. We were only half sympathetic to her gastric plight, in light of our lunch downgraded from rib eyes to hamburgers. During the day, several times we called her up to lay beside us on the sofa. She would slowly rise, head down and weakly jump up for a few strokes and murmurings and then dejectedly drop once again to the floor where she laid, legs splayed out behind her. It was obvious she was miserable as the floor was never her first choice of seating when there were warm laps to lie on. We determined that her tummy full of choice beef was giving her misery that she never imagined as she was devouring those rib eyes earlier.
About sundown she slowly rose, and walked, tail hanging low, out of the living room. Just a minute later she returned with a raw rib eye between her jaws. She slowly approached Gary and laid it at his feet. Totally surprised Gary picked up her bloody offering and walked to the front door where he called Chloe, our lab. Scary calmly watched the proceedings from the living room. Any other time she would have been dancing around Chloe waiting for the best opportunity to steal away from her any treats we offered, but that night Scary just sat quietly, accepting the fate of the other rib eye. When Gary returned to the couch the transformation occurred. The ears came up and the tail was once again held high, wagging energetically as she hopped up beside Gary and enthusiastically accepted his caresses and words of comfort. It was not her stomach that was hurting...it was her heart. Our little dog had spent a guilt ridden day until her conscience could stand it no longer. And the amazing thing was that once she confessed her sin and paid her penance, she expressed her delight in the sure knowledge that she would be forgiven. Her joy returned.
Gary and I will never forget this lesson learned about the joy of forgiveness from one of God’s special creatures. And as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior this season we remember that He came to earth to live and die so that we too can know the joy of sure and promised forgiveness. May this assurance bless your holiday this season!
Marcia and Gary BuchsTop of Page
destined for the kingdom of glory;
in clouded reserves,
journeying to higher realms beyond;
Past are days
grueling and harsh,
deprived of solace,
bearing trials beyond human bounds;
Past are nights,
sleepless and long,
driven by mission,
lone, fatigued, death’s shadow hovering;
Laid to rest
are secret plans
against unnamed foes,
a hidden life, known but to a few;
loved ones safe and sound,
homebound; now he heads for diff’rent lands.
veiled shadow that keeps
us from our friends and beloved souls;
How may one
a great, fell chasm?
And how may one truly say farewell?
I still feel
he brushes near
my frail, earthbound heart,
silently affirming bonds of love.
past and present
in those rare moments,
sheltering an embrace born of faith;
surrounding with peace,
offering strength, solace for a time;
of things to come,
of truths eternal,
guiding, illuminating the way.
Karen FayTop of Page
I sought Jesus in desolation, loss, and despair;
In that place, He lifted my eyes
revealing a hidden sanctuary reflected in the darkness,
blessed and peaceful, in the light of His presence.
I sought Jesus when discouraged, weak, and powerless;
In that place, He bade me persevere
in His vast orchards of humility, mercy, and justice
that they may bear the fruits of His witness, each in their time and season.
I sought Jesus in overwhelming trials, chaos, and pain;
In that place, He stood by
until I knew His heart, His suffering, and believed without doubt
in the unfolding miracle of His resurrection.
Karen FayTop of Page
So, here we are
a place of our own
cuddle cupped in calm
we talk and touch
teach and tell
as time winds us down
Just now we are safe
from harms frothy fangs
still lifting light
youth take bearings
before their night
from our headland home
we dream ourselves away
feeding each other
wisps of wonder
till one is alone
Donald K. Johnson
An early morning walk on a hilltop
Crisp moon-shadowed morning
Troubled by roosters impatient for the dawn
His dew-licked zorried toes
Move over lives that have been
Glide through nature’s door
Soul-touched by a soft breath—smiling
Down-wind from night
Donald K. Johnson
A pillar of strength
Stood tall all my life
And every thing nice
But up came a lump
And then destructive surgery
The pillar went limp
Yet somehow managed merrily
The bump went deceivingly away
For a happy year and a half
Then came back this time to spread and stay
Wreaking havoc through its forged path
The pillar crumbled, devastating me thoroughly
Her glorious days linger still in my memory
R.I.P. Grandma Ruthie
[Rest in Peace]
O! The joys of Grand Children
To view the world through their eyes
To hear the sounds through their ears
To appreciate that play is their way to learn
Five years old and multiple cultures clash
Through three different languages
Their different connotations
Their inherent puzzling humor
Three years old and a whole new world
Develops with the multiple tongues to learn
Different concepts to understand
Varied attitudes to similar situations
All this can be discovered
With patience and love
By Grand Parents who care
And a loving, understanding spirit
Everywhere and at all times
Human activity never ceases
We keep transforming our planet
Visible, even from outer space
Monochrome our planet is not
White and gray from clouds,
Polar caps and glaciers
Tan and brown from barren lands
Our blue planet is also green
From grass prairies and forests
Blue and green from water
All this is not static but in flux
While some adaptations can be good for us
Where is our duty as stewards of God’s creation?
Our earth is quite resilient for transitory situations
But what is best for the planet surely must be best for us.
for Robert G. Ahlstrom
A life has passed while we were away
Our friend is sorely missed anyway
His friendly smile and rolling chuckle way
No longer will lighten our day
Our life was richer for his Christian love
His light coming from above some way
Helping older folks to be connected from above
He could reflect that light their way
Fare well old friend, we are grateful for you
For your life, your presence and your dignity
water falls from the sky
sits on the earth
sometimes wants to run along sideways
always wants to go down
no flame wants to go down
flame sometimes falls from the sky
always sits lightly on the earth
flame only wants to go up
fire up in flames
can a flame tame the wet water
Yours truly went back to a favorite line or two
and they weren’t there
in the past:
they would not stay put, they’re knocking at the door tonight.
armless she is silence
still, like the moon,
she has forgotten moons in their thousands
Thereupon popped up the long-ago refrain:
go to the beach to watch the electricity
atomic bodies alive in sand and sun
but not without you
But without you I went back to a line from a 1996 TV show
(“Oliver’s Travels,” BBC)
“No use in a straight line, but brilliant sideways“
reflection on a lateral mind:
this is what will ultimately save us from machines
I stumbled upon a few lines probably best forgotten:
who would thought
a single child to have
so much noise in it?
Full of suffering on a long-ago plane ride.
By now you’re probably ready to swat me:
exciting with a capital X
wonderful with a capital why
daunting with a capital damn
mischevous with a capital I
But don’t you get to wondering if you too could pull a little something together...?
A dog and his boy
What do you do when you want a pet but you like to travel? Well, what I did first was to complain and moan and groan to my children about how unfair it was that I couldn’t have everything I wanted. When that paled, I resigned myself to reality and hard choices, just as I told my children they need to do at times.
Then a magical thing happened. One of my daughters suggested that we share a dog. I floated this idea by them earlier but had gotten no positive response. Suddenly, the perfect dog was available and needed a home. From that point on it all fell into place so smoothly I couldn’t remember why we hadn’t shared a dog before.
The way it works is I have the dog, Logan, during the week and my daughter has him on the weekend. Since I’m retired I can spend more time with him during working hours and he is at my house when I have the grandchildren over after school. Then on the weekend I can relax and not worry about walks and feeding and the thousand things having a dog entails. When I go on a trip Logan will stay with my daughter. So far (two weeks) it’s been great. I really do enjoy having a dog around and I’ve come to believe it’s good for my health.
Another reason to teach children to share. They can become very useful to you in your old age.
Copyright © 2012 individual authors and Lutheran Church of Honolulu
1730 Punahou Street, Honolulu, HI 96822 • 808-941-2566
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