Shape and Substance

meditations on faith and church

Month: June, 2017

When You Lied

“…lies, plain and simple.”
James Comey
9 June 2017

When you lied
I became false,
untrusting and untrusted;
my rage rings hollow in my ears,
my righteousness is disingenuous.
I am no longer witness
but complicit, a co-conspirator,
cuckold, a piebald jester
with painted face and belled cap,
a player in the mummer’s game.

I have no memory
of truth, or confidence
in trueness, and when I speak
I add lie to lie to lie.
We will die
this way, all of us, die
our death of lies and lie
in each other’s embrace
in the sweet sarcophagus
of our self-justification.

But may there come a time to be
reborn, newborn, first-born
of a new creation,
birthed from dust of rocks
beneath the ache of time,
and molded of the spittle of stars,
fresh-breathed into another garden
before the tree bears its knowing fruit
and there are not yet questions
to be asked and answered.


Nothing is so cold as half-spent rage.
apology as little more than vague
offered while the chorus leaves the stage.
the pent-up inner storm where masquerade
as rain
the tears that might have made us more than this.

Still, her sleeping rhythm speaks kindly
in the dark,
and the silver moontide through the blinds
a hope of healing, though it leave behind
a scar,
yet another wound, like all its kind,
The best we do is not the best we are.

…the leaping greenly spirits of trees…
e.e. cummings

…they are like trees planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season…
Psalm 1:3

Green is the truest color.
It does not lift its eyes too high.
It does not hate like red, nor rage
with orange
nor put on purple’s kingly pretense,
nor like cerulean make promises
it cannot keep.

It has a pulse
like a spring swelling, spilling
over moss-covered stones,
or a tree
planted alongside waters,
grown wise in wisdom’s way;
it does not boast

but knows
that green is not the last word;
there will be urgent warnings,
red and orange,
before the nights of ice and brown,
when gray winds growl it bare of truths.
They roil away.

And, too, it knows
a calm slow turning toward morning
on the leeward side of fury,
—not yet but when?—
deep inside the heartwood darkness
there births another green, still furled,
waiting to be true.