Sunday, May 24, 2020

Special for Memorial Day...

A Poem for Memorial Day

Image credit: wfmj.com

Flashback to 2003...

MY ADOPTED SOLDIER
For Cpl. R. J. Roberts, USMC
America At War In Iraq – March 2003

The message on my computer screen
said click on The Presidential Prayer Team –
the Adopt Our Troops link
and be given a soldier to pray for
until the end of the war

I don't know any soldiers
stationed in Iraq, personally
soldiers who startled us with Shock & Awe
soldiers who endured stinging sand
blazing days and shivery desert nights
Don't know any who engaged in combat
manned planes, copters, and tanks
or risked biological warfare
during that arduous trek to Baghdad
Don't know any at all
so I clicked on the website
…but was unable to access the link

When the morning paper arrived
the front page held a full-color photo
of a British medic
examining a newborn Iraqi baby
cradled in a cardboard box
with the flaps torn off
I placed my hand upon the soldier

Jesus, bring him home, whole

laid my hand upon the infant

O Lord, please have him grow up
safe and strong
in a land free of terror…

At work, later that morning
a co-worker approached my counter
softly singing a hymn

How lovely to hear singing
in times like these, I remarked

My son left Tuesday, she said


Our eyes locked
mother to mother

I'd like to adopt your son, I told her
I'll pray for him every day
until he comes home

He is a Marine, she said
serving in the air delivery platoon
Cpl. R. J. Roberts
He'll be on the ground
distributing supplies in Iraq

I know he'll return

Our pastor prophesied
a few years ago
that R. J. will become a preacher

He's not a preacher yet…
though I suppose
there's a very good chance
he may be preaching right now

When I got home
I fastened a yellow ribbon
to my front porch railing

Maude Carolan

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Communion at Home

Photo by Maude
Enhanced by Maria Esteves
CELEBRATING COMMUNION AS WE SHELTER-IN-PLACE

We’re still sheltering-in-place
during the Covid-19 pandemic
and missing, among other things
our church family
in spite of live-stream services

Our pastor announced
we’d celebrate Communion
during a prayer meeting
to be held over a conference call
on Tuesday morning
We’d need to have unleavened bread
and the fruit of the vine
to fully participate

I didn’t have any matzoh in the house
and don’t go into stores these days
so I simply mixed a little flour, water and
olive oil, kneaded it a bit
and rolled it out as thin as I could
I pricked it all over with a fork
and lifted it onto a baking sheet

The oven temperature was so hot
it caused the fire alarm to blare
so I opened windows
and turned on the fan
The flatbread quickly
browned and blistered
I flipped it over
to brown on the other side
In a few moments it was finished

I thought of the Hebrew women
who’d been sheltering-in-place
during another difficult time in history
Thought of them packing up
their unleavened dough
and kneading bowls
preparing for a journey
as their husbands
applied lamb’s blood to the lintels
of their homes, and they waited
for the Angel of Death
to pass over them

I placed a few broken pieces of matzoh
on a special plate depicting a mosaic
of the miracle of the loaves and fishes
and took two tiny olive wood cups
out of the china cabinet, souvenirs
from a Communion service
held at the Garden Tomb
during our pilgrimage there in 2006

Our pastor began the blessing
over the bread

Baruch atah Adonai
Elohainu Melech ha Olam…

We partook of the bread
and the fruit of the vine

in a Communion connecting us
with God and His protection
over His people
spanning millenniums
and millenniums

Maude Carolan Pych
5/14/2020



Saturday, May 9, 2020

My Mom is in Heaven...


In Memory of My Dear Mother,
Frances Longo Walsh...

Frances Longo Walsh

Mother Wasn't Fancy, But...
she’d sit at the kitchen table
in her bib-front apron
and cut slits into the radish tops
making them look like
little red roses
and present the tiny beauties
on a plate on the dinner table

Mother wasn’t fancy, but
she’d peel a cucumber
then take a fork
and score the length
all the way around
then slice it into discs
that looked like edible flowers
and toss them into the salad

Mother didn’t fuss with baking, either
but she’d stir some chocolate pudding
in a pot on the stove
layer it alternately
with graham crackers
in a square pan
put it in the refrigerator to set
and call it icebox cake

On Saturday evenings
we’d all be in the parlor
huddled on the sofa
or curled up in the overstuffed chairs
watching television
She’d disappear into the kitchen
and assemble toasted English muffins
with a dollop of tomato sauce
a slice of mozzarella
and perhaps slivers of pepperoni
put it under the broiler
for a few minutes
then present us with a tantalizing platter
of English muffin pizzas

or she’d take store-bought shortcakes
fill them with a scoop of ice cream
top them with strawberries
and maybe a squirt of whipped cream
and voila…

Nothing fancy—
Mother wasn’t a bit fancy
but she certainly had a fancy
for simple family love

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Let Us Pray...

Now, More Than Ever...Let Us Pray!
Image credit: english.stackexchange.com



WILL I LOVE ENOUGH TO PRAY?

Someone told me you’ve been ailing,
that the medication’s failing
to bring the healing that you seek.
You are scared and you’ve been crying,
you’re afraid that you are dying
and the faith you have is so weak.
I can tell you I sympathize,
even attempt to be quite wise,
cajole you and go on my way,
but the question of the hour
is will I turn my heel and cower
or will I love enough to pray?

A young man has just been sharing
that his wife is overbearing
and he can’t take it anymore.
He said he met a gal somewhere
and they are having an affair,
tossing his vows right out the door!
I may advise him to be strong,
say infidelity is wrong,
bring in a counselor today;
but the question that I ponder
is will I just weep and wonder,
or will I love enough to pray?

A close friend has been criticized
by a neighbor she despises.
Getting even is what she yearns.
She says she hates her in heart,
of forgiveness she’ll have no part.
Oh, how her words of anger burn!
I can attempt to intervene,
may even be the go-between,
tell them there is a better way.
I might speak of sin and leaven,
bellow, "Seventy times seven!"
but will I love enough to pray?

When a situation’s stormy,
I can seek Thee or ignore Thee,
use worldly wisdom come what may...
Though advice may have some merit,
I must look up, not to blur it;
mindful, there is a higher way.
Some will look at me quite oddly,
still, I must try something Godly…
I'll do it…love enough to pray!

Maude Carolan

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Sometimes We Need a Miracle

Today I have a new poem to share, inspired this week by the news of the many afflictions and deaths in New York and New Jersey, amid this worldwide Covid-19 pandemic...and about the miracles we are praying for and the HOPE we can only find in Jesus...

Painting by Jeremy Winborg
truthbook.com


NEEDING A MIRACLE, LIKE JAIRUS

Another one—

My brother called a few minutes ago
to tell me his friend died
of the Coronavirus

This pandemic is unrelenting
Thousands have died here in New Jersey
as many as in a small country—
Too many deaths
even for the funeral homes
to handle

My prayer list is long
and keeps getting longer
I cross off names
and add some

I’ve been reading about Jairus
the synagogue official
who fell at Jesus’ feet
begging Him to come
heal his dying daughter

so Jesus went
and as they walked
crowds pressed against them

In the midst of the commotion
a woman touched the fringe
of Jesus’ cloak
and He felt power
go out from Him
At that moment she knew
she was healed
The woman told Him
she’d been hemorrhaging
for twelve years

They continued on their way
and someone stopped Jairus
to say his daughter had died

Jesus told him not to fear
but believe
so on they went

When they arrived
there was mournful weeping
and bitter wailing
but Jesus told them
the girl was sleeping

They responded
by laughing in His face

Jesus went inside the house
took the little girl’s hand
in His, and said

 Arise!

At His word
her eyes opened
breath returned to her
and she got up and walked

Now I pause to imagine
if Jesus were here today
in the midst of this virus
how multitudes would
seek Him, how they would
flock around Him
and press against Him
wrenching His cloak
tugging at His arms
pulling Him
this way, that way
beseeching and imploring

Come with me, Jesus…
Oh! come with me, Jesus…
Come with me!…me!…
me!…me!…me!

Oh! Sometimes we desperately
need a miracle
…like Jairus

and always, we definitely need
…Jesus

Maude Carolan Pych


Saturday, April 18, 2020

In Memory of Leo F. Carolan

Leo F. Carolan
April 19, 1930 - March 11, 2004


In Memory of Leo F. Carolan
on what would have been his 90th birthday.


THE BREAD MAN


Leo would travel anywhere for good bread
He'd call ahead for four-pound loaves
of Russian rye from Pechter's in Harrison
or drive to Calandra's in Newark
for pannellas, sesame seeded bastones
and golden semolinas
He'd travel to Balthazar's in Englewood
or The Baker's Wife in Tappan, New York
for multi-grains, great marbled masterpieces
or crusty artisan ciabattas
His old Chevy would retain the yeasty aroma for days
He'd share the good bread
with relatives, friends, neighbors, and co-workers
People called him, "The Bread Man"

That was the good bread
Leo also shared the Best Bread

He administered the Best Bread
with well-baked crustiness gleaned
from working twenty-five years
as a probation officer
and the soft interior texture
born of a kneaded spirit
There were those
who tore into it impatiently
and devoured the entire loaf
without condiment, while still warm
Others thoughtfully partook
the nourishment for body and soul

He always left them
with something fresh to chew
and a few seeds for ongoing growth
He always left them
with the lingering fragrance
of the presence of the Lord

Taste and see…
Take and eat…

Maude Carolan


Sunday, April 12, 2020

He is Risen. Alleluia!

A-Poem-a-Day
Until Resurrection Day

He is Risen...
Alleluia!

Image credit: factsandfaith.com

RISEN

It’s Holy Saturday

Dough is rising
on the kitchen counter

filling me with thoughts
of rising

helium balloons
set free

sunrise
over the Sea of Galilee

waking up

rising

soap bubbles
floating skyward

seagulls soaring

fireworks
booming and bursting

jet planes at take-off

rocket ships
with long trails of fire
zooming to the moon

O, but nothing

nowhere

and no one

has ever done it

or will

…like Jesus

Maude Carolan Pych


Note: The above poem is one of 98 poems in my new book about the Birth, Death & Resurrection of Jesus. It is depicted below and is titled, "Behold the Lamb...poetically!" Elm Hill Press. The book is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For information, go to http://maudecarolanpych.com.

"Behold the Lamb...poetically!"
By Maude Carolan Pych