Each poem has elements of reconciliation (awareness, lament, hope). However, they are heavy on lament. These are about painful transitions that eventually, in time, led to better joy for all people concerned.

PSALMS (2009) and SUITE LAMENT IN LEXINGTON (2005).

Psalms for a Broken Marriage

The book of Psalms in the Bible is a difficult one. Some are joyful, others brutal.

My own psalms (songs) below are conversations with God. They provide snapshots of intense transition. There is, thankfully, life beyond life’s great transitions. My heart is rebuilt with freedom, blessing, and thanks (especially for the two children of that marriage).

  • Psalm 1: First steps after the bombing
  • Psalm 2: The Cauldron
  • Psalm 3: Antiseptic
  • Psalm 4: Juneteenth

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Psalm 1: First steps after the bombing

Quickly inhale.

My eyes wide open.

Where am I?

What is wounded? broken? what now?

A gash, a tear, a shattered hip.

Bandages? Would they even work?

Quick! Antiseptic.

Move? You must be joking.

Can’t you see I’m blown apart?

You are serious! I can’t stay here?

What do you mean “get up”?

I have to weep at my loss.

Get up now?

Where is my health? My family?

Why? How? It’s awful

To be broken in a bombing.

Let me sit and cry.

The alarm sounds! It’s not safe here.

Stay and I’ll dissolve into the stained soil.

JESUS H CHRIST

Don’t let this take too long.

Touch my hip

Let me limp beside the many women

Whose story I now share.

I know I should ask that you

Put love where there was nitrate.

Put grace where there was a fuse.

But all I want is for you to

Calm the ringing in my ears.

Until I can sleep again.

When will it be

That I find my rest in Thee?

(c) Allegra Jordan 2009

Psalm 2: The Cauldron

“You never know what’s going to

Come out of the cauldron,”

a wise doctor said,

“Until you get in there.”

Boil, boil, toil and horror

Burn burn my tears of trouble.

But the searing pain does dull,

Struggles stop, and newness emerge.

All in God’s time.

All in God’s time.

(c) Allegra Jordan 2009

Psalm 3: Antiseptic

“Abba Father don’t get that antiseptic near me.

It says it doesn’t hurt but we both know that’s a lie.

It hurts to be cleansed of things that are bad for you.

Now you know I want to be cleaned

But not just yet.  Keep that

Clean to yourself for just a bit,

And, in fact, isn’t there some other way

To treat this bad cut? Because you

And I both know you do not

Want to see my alligator tears or

This foot stomp in pain.  My pain.

My ouchy, hurty, make-you-and-me-both-feel-bad pain.

Because I will and we both know it.

Are you sure it needs to be done today?

Because I can just limp around here

With my pants knee at mid-thigh.

Sure I’d look funny and people might notice

But I prefer that a lot to having that

Fire water on my big awful boo-boo.

Now look at it. It’s bleeding and I’m

Hurt. I need a hug! Yes you’ve

Given me one but…all right.

Let’s get it over with.

OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH.

I’m cleaned now and MAD AT YOU.

Give me a moment.

(c) Allegra Jordan 2009

Psalm 4: Juneteenth

The first day of separation

What’s Juneteenth for?

I can’t remember when

Weighed down by sorrow.

Freedom, yes that’s it.

For what? I can’t remember

Under this grief.

Something about hope

Arcing above me. Way above

The trees; above my furthest reach.

I can’t touch that hope.

But maybe I can sense it

If I know it’s there.

Yes, a sense of holy future

Beyond my grasp. A smell it is –

Bathing me in its honeysuckle scent.

Close your eyes.

Inhale. Breathe out gently

As God breathed into your clay

At the dawn of your time.

It cannot be seen

Too deeply breathed it disappears.

Yet over us, beneath us, beside us, under us, above us

It hovers. Christ with us.

Freedom from slavery

And love beyond death.

What if freedom’s wonderful?

What if it’s for the best?

A silver lining in this cloud that’s

The mother lode of all blessing?

I have faith

The best is yet to come.

Beyond the veil

Beyond my sight

Beyond my dream.

Juneteenth, my friend,

Pull up a chair and stay.

(c) Allegra Jordan 2009

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SUITE LAMENT FROM LEXINGTON

This suite of poems include

  • Inspirational Paper Towels
  • The Plumber and
  • Elevator Man

In 2004 I wrote these poems in Lexington, Massachusetts. They provide raw data about a truth I did not know how to address productively.

And that’s where reconciliation starts: with awareness things are not as they ought to be. When we acknowledge that things are not working, good things can happen.

Eventually, good things did happen but it took a lot of time and personal growth. It would be four years between the writing of these poems and the more dramatic, but eventually more hopeful conversations with God listed above called “Psalms for a broken marriage.” It would be another four years before I would publish this series. Healing works on its own time.

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Inspirational Paper Towels

May your heart be filled with joy

Love never fails.

Be Joyful in Hope

Words to live by on my paper towel.

I am on my knees wiping pee

From the floor. My son

Tossed a wet diaper from the top step

Before running off to fight his brother.

I look at my paper towel

And my heart stumbles.

The kids cry and I grow

Envious of the single.

Heal my heart, Lord

With that Balm of Gilead.

I need to wash the floors

With towels not tears.

Grace for the moment.

Grace for the day.

Grace for the time I go astray.

Help me Lord. Help me shine.

(c) Allegra Jordan 2005 

 

The Plumber

Plumber man takes my money and gives me back

The house I thought I had.

I have my health. I have my stealth. I have my good looks.

Mechanic man takes my money and gives me back

The car I thought I’d paid for.

I have my heart. My heart will start. I have a friendly wave.

And after that it’s the tree man, the floor man

And my kids’ bucked up teeth.

I cried a lot. I slammed the doors. I scared the little kids.

Aren’t repairs so much more fun

Than something that work right in the first place?

Than all that money?

Thank all that joy?

Is a quick fix better

Than a rich, full life well-lived?

(c) Allegra Jordan 2005

 

Elevator Man

I carry my bags onto an elevator

And see that man.

He pushes my button

And then begins to talk.

It doesn’t take much.

We go to the first floor and he gives me his speech.

By floor two I’m humming his song

And at floor five I’m putty in his hands.

I think of him all the way up.

I pass my own floor

Riding high to the Penthouse suite

Where he says he’s got to get off—

Got someone to meet.

What?

What did he just say?

What am I doing here?

I apologize—must have fallen asleep, missed my floor.

Must have been thinking of someone else—NOT YOU.

Didn’t mean to miss my floor like that.

I apologize to myself for listening and believing

And forgetting the paradise of my floor­—

Bright blues and friendly yellows—

For the wood shed­­—I mean mahogany interior—

That makes that the Penthouse a few things I’m not.

On the way down I get a pain in my chest.

I feel I’ve swallowed that acorn squash in my bag.

It’s never good to eat a whole acorn squash,

And I’ll need more than a prayer to digest this.

I’ll need a hug from Nancy, a laugh from Jack.

Courage from Wyatt.

And to start taking the stairs.

It’s better for my heart.

 

(c) Allegra Jordan 2005