Heavy Emptiness

The heavy emptiness:
One’s lightness of being,
The loss of substance and purpose,
The clarity of vision for the day and week.

And then one’s lost
Which is an eternity of loss or at least
An indefinite hole in the future.
The empty arms that held and hugged
Now holding this urn–
This heavy square,
This dense packet of person.

Then the tears I feel and cry,
The regret of so much
Lost words and ones too hastily spoken,
Unsaid, or unrepented.
The sadness over how much
And how easily I resented
The trouble and time.

© Randall Edwards 2019.

All These Tears

I have been reading Eugene Peterson’s book, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, and I came across this quote which like a seed in a sidewalk crack germinated and sprouted, not in leaf, but as a poem.

“All these tears are gathered up and absorbed in the tears of Jesus.”

All these tears which trace the sad goodbyes of
Friends, who came to a fork, and took instead
The other way, and though every step tread
Grows the gap, it does not lessen the love.

All these tears cried in regret for the missed
Opportunity, the squandered chance to
Change, the scandal which you drug others through,
Leaving you wishing you did not exist.

All these tears a mother cried for her son
Whose coming she marveled, gladly received,
And bore him nine months, delivered, believed–
To stand at the foot of his cross undone.

All these tears which the Good Shepherd, like sheep
Gathers. His eyes search out and calls them his own
As his heart breaks, cries, Forsaken! Alone!
And absorbs all these tears with those he weeps.

Though sad in this world, we shall on that day
Meet the One whom all these tears, wipes away.

© Randall Edwards 2019
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself, Randall Edwards, and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
Artwork: Gebhard Fugel [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Good Grief

Here’s an example of how other’s words are like seeds which find their way into your imagination and grow and bear fruit — in this case a poem.

Tish Harrison Warren, writes of her season of lament and grief HERE. In her post she says “grief is like sand”. That is a great metaphor and line. It found its place in my imagination and sprouted into this poem which I had not written as, but to no one’s surprise, was actually a sonnet.

The sonnet is entitled, Good Grief. If it’s helpful, you may listen to me read the sonnet via the player below.

Grief is like sand; it finds its way into
All around, underneath, through and through;
It gets in my shoes, the stuff of my day;
I vacuum, clean but to my dismay
It’s followed me on my vacation.
It stalks my way to each destination;
Uninvited, it sets an ambush of tears.
Botheration, this sand, it gets in my drawers–
Into my chest which holds and stores
The feelings I don’t often wear.
Grief opens doors when we, sadness share
The heart of our loss, worries, and cares
Grief, though not a good, is yet a sign
Of love that was and yet remains mine.

© Randall Edwards 2017
artwork: Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882), St. John Comforting the Virgin at the Foot of the Cross (After the Ninth Hour), 1862; pencil and watercolour with bodycolour and gum arabic on paper laid on linen

Defying the Darkness, St Lucy’s Day

Here’s a poem for Saint Lucy’s Day. You can read more about her here. Though I do not believe we are to pray to saints, we still enjoy the fellowship of the cloud of witnesses even if they are separated from us by death. I was moved today by a video I saw of those Christians at Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria who (after a church on the compound was bombed this weekend killing mostly women and their children) stood together and chanted the Nicene Creed in defiance of those who would murder them because of their faith.

You may listen to me read the poem via the audio player below.

The cloudy sky o’erwhelms the failing sun
Who does not shine or dapple sleeping trees
But wintered away to southern courses run
On this Saint Lucy’s Day.
Dear Lucy, wreathed in beauty, bearing gifts
That we dared not hope for here in the dark
And seeing your courage, our spirits each lift
To name this, Saint Lucy’s Day.
We are lost again midway through our life
To dwell in our dark catacombs of fear
But you cry the Creed: “God of God; Light of Light”.
Defying darkness on this Saint Lucy’s Day.
Come to us; illumine in your splendored wreath of light
As we await in hope and love the end of winter’s night.

© Randall Edwards, 2016.

artwork: “St Lucy”, Francesco del Cossa (1436–1487)


Advent is a time to face the truth about the longings of our hearts, and truth is we carry a lot of sadness in hearts. Here are a few morning words on grief.

It rolls

Like the swell of waves driven by wind

And by a deeper unseen current.

Its pushes seemingly so graceful

(As with the waltz’s rise and fall)

But crashes, breaks, explodes, dashes

against rock and shore.

And it doesn’t stop.

It blows,

Returns, gathers, grows, from behind again

And again. Not so much the circling arc

Of dance but the beat of a hammer

Who pounds, breaks, turns, twists,

With its vortex and circling

Around and back,

Overhead and down.

And then it stops.

And as with any storm

Whose eye passes over

You’re lured into thinking

That’s done with.