Sunday, August 9, 2020

Rev. EJ Emerson, Pastor & Poet

 IN MEMORIAM

Rev. EJ Emerson--1950-2020
My dear friend, Rev. EJ Emerson, went to be with the Lord, Friday, August 7. She was a Jewish believer, who went to Bible college, was ordained in 2005, and presently served as pastor of the New Utrecht Reformed Church of Brooklyn, NY, one of the oldest Reformed churches in America. EJ also was a poet.

One of my delights each December has been to be featured with EJ and two other poet/friends, at The Ant Bookstore & Cafe in Clifton, NJ, for a special evening of holiday poetry and music. 

For years, EJ wrote a psalm a day. She created a manuscript of psalms and published it. I often called her a wordsmith for her wonderful use of language in her poetry.

In her memory, I will feature a poem from her book, Psalmistry, available at http://Amazon.com. The poem is titled, "Grieving."


GRIEVING

It seems impossible even as I say it, Lord,
But I thank You for mourning and grief.
Thank You for the passion that connects people:
The love that crafts friendship, fellowship, family;
The complex cloth loomed over time
Strand by strand
With meticulous care by Your Weaver's hand.
And when a strand is severed
Or a knot tied off
Thank You for allowing us the grace to weep
The ability to feel the anguish of loss
The freedom to shout our anger, our pain.
Thank You for taking our screams
Our pummeling fists
Our protests of injustice
Our pleas to reunite the broken threads.
Thank You for the process of grief.
It reminds us we are mortal
It reminds us we are interdependent
It reminds us we are unique
It reminds us that love is part ache...
It reminds us that You,
Creator of the universe,
Ransom for the lost,
Sanctifier of the sinful,
You weep;
You ache;
You grieve, too,
Whenever we break away.

EJ Emerson


Sunday, August 2, 2020

A Very Good Deed...

Emelia, having her hair measured to donate.

ONCE UPON RAPUNZELS

First, it was my granddaughter, Emelia
whose flowing blonde tresses
whipped the air long and loose
during tae kwon do maneuvers
or was up in an elegant bun during dance recitals
or pony-tailed on the basketball court
or neatly French-braided in the classroom

A fifth-grade girlfriend came to school
one day sans her long dark hair
and when Emelia asked why she had cut it
her friend said she donated her hair
so a child with cancer
could be given a wig of natural hair

Emelia was so impressed
about what her friend had done
that she told her mother
she wanted to cut hers also, but

twice she made appointments
and twice she canceled them
because cutting such pretty hair
that took so long to grow
was not a simple decision

Still, Emelia knew she wanted to do it
wanted to make a sick girl smile
with the gift of her golden locks, so
she made another appointment
and this time, she kept it and bravely
allowed the hairdresser to cut

When her younger cousin, Alana, saw her
sporting an adorable blonde bob
and heard the story about why
Emelia cut her hair, Alana decided
she wanted to do the very same thing

Alana’s hair was even longer than Emelia’s
and Alana’s parents really liked
their daughter’s long hair long
and were reluctant
to set up the appointment, but
Alana kept reminding them to call

One day Alana exclaimed:

Mommy, donating hair is much nicer
than having hair like Rapunzel!

Her mom picked up the phone
and called the salon

As Alana sat in the chair
the stylist separated her tresses
into four braids, took the scissors
and cut each braid to the exact
specifications the charity required
Then she packaged the hair carefully
for mailing to “Wigs for Kids”

Alana flipped her new, stylish
shoulder-length hair this way and that
and smiled at her reflection in the mirror

pleased and hopeful that somewhere
some little girl who lost her hair
due to cancer treatments
would receive her donation
and that the little girl would be happy
and the cancer would go away

Maude Carolan Pych

Emelia Thompson

Sunday, July 26, 2020

To Jesus...

Image credit: jesustrek.live


THERE ARE NO WORDS
To Jesus

Sometimes, there are no words—

I come before You, Lord, with adoration
filled with a strong desire to express my love
but all the words that come to mind
seem over-used and feeble
and cannot convey what I long to say

I’m a poet, a wordsmith
with adjectives a-plenty, and
dictionaries, thesauruses, lexicons
close at hand, but
today I yearn to bless You afresh
with eloquence, depth and originality
I want it to be profound
something You’ve never heard before
however, I find there are no words
none to express the inexpressible

so I empty myself of words
and call upon Your Spirit
Sounds begin to tumble off my tongue
and through my lips
I trust a perfect utterance
rises like incense to Your throne
that is pleasing to Your ears

then I simply sit awhile
awestruck in silence
arms lifted heavenward
and let my beating heart speak
the unspeakable

content that You know
how much I love You, Lord

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Ocean Grove, NJ

Tent Houses, Ocean Grove, NJ
Photo by Maude

Ocean Grove Beach
Photo was taken by Maude in 2014


OCEAN GROVE

Ocean Grove—
This tiny Christian community
comes to life in the summertime
Methodist. Camp Meeting.
Boxy tent houses
with colorful flower gardens
American flags and banners
surround The Great Auditorium
with its lighted Cross
facing the ocean

It’s just a mile square
Quiet. Subtle.
Not in-your-face-religion
although
church bell chimes
do break the quietude now and then
with a gentle reminder
and there’s a pavilion
on the boardwalk
where Gospel events take place
Folks can walk-in or walk by
and there’s a tabernacle
for morning worship
and solid Bible teaching
but it’s optional

Personally, the spiritual amenities
are what draw me
to this particular place
at the Jersey shore

What’s surprising
is that many vacationers come
not for the Bible Hour
not for the concerts
not to hear great preachers
from all over the world
not to worship in the great old edifice
with its magnificent pipe organ
not to sing hymns of antiquity
in fact, they come
not for the Gospel, at all

but for peace and quiet
for one square mile
of no hawking of tee shirts
and games of chance
roller coasters, carousels
freak shows and body piercing
in fact, there’s nothing for sale
on the boardwalk
and no alcohol for sale
in the grove

No, they come
for a sandy beach
and ocean spray
quaint Victorians, B & Bs
curiosity shops on Main
and shady sidewalk dining
oh! and ice cream at Nagle’s or Day’s

and they know they can rely upon
good old fashioned
Ocean Grove wholesomeness
and Christian acceptance
even if they’re not necessarily
seeking the Christ of Christianity

…and to my way of thinking
miss out on the Best
this precious little gem
has to offer

Maude Carolan Pych







Sunday, July 12, 2020

Teenage Mothers

Years ago, my husband and I provided room in our home
for unwed mothers...


Photo credit: crochet-kingdom.com



BLUE BOOTIES[1]

I came across a pair of blue baby booties

Funny how the mind holds on to things
then whisked me through decades
back to when I was in the hospital
maternity unit labor room, coaching
my foster daughter, Lisa, in Lamaze
because her boyfriend’s mother
wouldn’t allow him to be with her
when the time came
for their baby to be born

When the doctor arrived
to examine her, I stepped out of the room
A nurse approached me in the hallway
to say there was another teenager
in active labor in the next room
She was overwrought and afraid
Would I sit with her a while

LaShanda was alone, struggling
to bear the labor pains
crying and truly terrified
I can’t remember what I said
to calm her, but do recall
my being there had a quieting effect
We engaged in small talk
between her contractions
She told me her mother had to work
and couldn’t be at her side

Taking hold of her hand
I offered to say a prayer for LaShanda
and her baby. She agreed
so I softly lifted them up to God
for a safe delivery
and a healthy baby
and peace
then I wished her well
and returned to Lisa
who gave birth to a son
a few hours later

In a few days
when both girls were preparing
to go home with their newborns
LaShanda appeared in Lisa’s doorway
She smiled as she handed Lisa
a pair of little blue booties—

These are for your Joey, she said
My mother crocheted them
for him, last night

We are so grateful
for the labor room visit
and the prayer

Maude Carolan Pych

[1] The story in this poem is true, but the names of the girls have been changed.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Here's a Summertime Poem...

Photo credit: wired.com
SKY DANCERS

There's something happy about butterflies.
They flit-flitter as they flutter by,
flying flowers against the azure sky.

They alight upon the milkweed, and then
they circle, soar and alight again,
toe-dancing on pink petals in the glen.

Ever dwelling in hue and sweet fragrance,
in garden splendor they flicker as they dance.
Pollination is purely happenstance.

I delight in their overflow of joy.
(They wouldn't even know how to be coy.)
A flame of mirth! A whirligig! A toy!

Do they recall they once were grubby worms,
remember well their dark and squiggly squirms?
Reborn, now grace and beauty each affirms!

This almost seems to be sheer fantasy,
sky dancers as enchanting as can be,
springing from blossoms right in front of me!

So, merrily a-nectaring they go,
reaping and sowing sweetness in day-glow…
Seems they have learned what all of us should know.

In contemplation of their simple ways,
I wish to add their ballet to my days,
to sky dance Heavenward on wings of praise!

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Simple Truths

Poetry...
Image credit: theconversation.com

SIMPLE TRUTHS

After reading my poems
the woman said that I am deep.

If she meant obscure,
obscurity is what I rail against,
but if she meant
the poems brought her
to a new depth
in her own perception,
then, praise God,
from my Bic
flowed
molten gold.

I yearn to be a poet
of God’s heart,
conveying Truth
in fresh simplicity,
not abstractions
that people scan
with screwed-up faces
then set aside,
untouched.

I want to write
as the shepherd/king,
letting the Spirit
guide my pen.

When the page
is put down,
perhaps
revelation
will flash
God’s glorious
guiding Light,

perhaps
gold dust
will sparkle
on fingertips.

Maude Carolan



FREE VIRTUAL EXHIBITION ONLINE...
The St. Catherine of Bologna Patron of the Arts Festival of the Arts is now accessible, virtually, online to celebrate 21 years of Art, Photography & Poetry. My poem, "Needing a Miracle, Like Jairus" is one of the featured poems. The event is free of charge. To access, go to: www.StCathArts.org. Enjoy!