Thursday, September 25, 2014

September is Sunflower Time

Maude's photo of a sunflower at St. Mary's RC Church, Pompton Lakes, NJ.

SUNFLOWERS

Lafayette, New Jersey, September 1, 2001


God’s abundance wows me
from a sprawling field of sunflowers
which tower above
on thick woody stalks

They lift great ochre heads
framed in ragged haloes
of yellow gold
to shine sunrays upon me
like God’s own radiant face
amid a communion of saints
and I must smile back

Their leaves
are big green hearts
In their midst
my own heart
grows and greens

How God loves me!
He astonishes His child
with wondrous whimsies

Soon, when the season ends
they’ll just nod their weary heads
and shed their golden haloes
on the ground

and bequeath their gift of seed
to ravens of the air
which will feast festively
upon God’s abundance
unto them

Maude Carolan



Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's all about...The Lamb - Vol 17; Issue 3

September 15, 2014
Vol. 17, Issue 3


It’s all about…The Lamb



Maude Carolan Pych/Quarterly Poetry Letter


Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches
and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” Rev 5:12 NASB


It’s all about…The Lamb is a quarterly publication for lovers of the Holy Lamb of God, who also enjoy poetry. The purpose is to magnify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and inspire an ever-deepening relationship with Him, the lover of our souls…

FELLOWSHIP LUNCHEON…
Saturday afternoon it was raining outside, but the sun shone brightly inside (and I don’t mean from the bowl of radiant sunflowers on my dining room table). I invited the women from Beth Israel Worship Center who are on my deaconess call list. A couple of the women, I have been calling for years, but never met face to face until Saturday. What a blessing! We shared, we prayed, we enjoyed lunch and then I took the opportunity to read selected worshipful poems. It was a perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.



WOOSTER STREET TROLLEY JAZZ BAND…
Then on Sunday afternoon Bob and I ventured to the Ringwood (NJ) Library to attend a Dixieland concert by the Wooster Street Trolley Jazz Band, led by Ringwood icon, Bob Leive, former music director of Lakeland Regional High School. The band performed many old favorites including “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In”. I happen to have a poem about that song and will include it in this publication. The poem won second prize in the St. Catherine of Bologna Art, Photography & Poetry Exhibition in Ringwood, in 2006.


REMEMBERING THE DAY THE TOWERS FELL…
September 11, 2001…For as long as we live, the memory of what happened that terrible day will never wash from our minds…like the attack on Pearl Harbor, like the day President Kennedy was shot and Martin Luther King. Each jolting event, each shock is forever etched upon our memory banks. 9/11. We’ll never forget. Never.

I recently self-published another chapbook titled, “God’s Square Mile—Poems about Ocean Grove”. Amid a stream of poetry about this serene Christian community at the Jersey Shore, the little book has two poems about 9/11/01 that I’ll share in today’s edition.

Speaking of 9/11 and books and publishing, Jonathan Cahn, pastor/rabbi of my congregation, Beth Israel Worship Center at the Jerusalem Center, Wayne, NJ, and author of the bestseller, “The Harbinger,” has written a second book, “The Mystery of the Shemitah”. It was released September 2nd and is already well on the way to becoming another major best seller. The enticing cover promises to reveal the 3000 year old secret of “America’s Future, the World’s Future and Your Future”. I picked up a few copies at church this weekend. It is also available at amazon.com, www.christianbook.com and wherever books are sold.



MODPO 2014…
Last year I took the free online Coursera class in Modern & Contemporary Poetry out of Penn State University and achieved a certificate of completion. This year’s course has an astonishing 42,000 enrollees worldwide. It is led by Professor Al Filreis and his panel of bright students that he calls his “pals”. This time around, I’m taking it just for fun. Interested? Go online and check it out.


+ + + THE POEMS FOLLOW + + +


SEPTEMBER 11, 2001                                                                                                                 
Yesterday I strolled
the shoreline at Ocean Grove
bathed in morning sun
The cool surf lapped at my feet
I randomly selected seashells
There were no crowds
The sea sparkled and frolicked
gulls held their turf
sandpipers skittered
as I basked
in God-given serenity
this final day
of a weekend away

This morning, back at the office
the sky is as blue and bright
as yesterday’s
Our boss calls in
While driving along the Turnpike
he sees a jet
approach the Twin Towers
but it doesn’t pass by
Suddenly there’s a great billow
of black smoke
He drives onto the exit ramp
sees another plane
fly deliberately into the other tower
We scramble to turn on a television
to see what seems surreal
the North Tower falls
then the South
Screams. Oh my God!
People run in a hail of debris
gray dust; dense smoke
Then the Pentagon is hit
a plane crashes in Pennsylvania
Hijackings. Suicides. Terrorism. Innocents
Casualties beyond comprehension
here in the U.S.A.
this bright, blue
September morn

Maude Carolan



THE TOWERS HAVE FALLEN

and we’re sobbing, stunned and shaken
We don’t know if there’ll be more attacks
don’t know if we’re on the brink of war
don’t know where the economy is headed
don’t know WHY. We have so many questions
and no one is giving us answers
that make any sense

Two days later
Leo sees an ad in the paper—
a condo for sale in Ocean Grove
in the very same complex
we’d been watching before…

But this is not the time—
the world’s spinning out of orbit
We’re unsettled. Nervous
Our tomorrows are clouded
by ifs and whys and what’s next, however

four days later
while photos are being circulated
of the missing, while
flags are flying from porches
and automobiles and overpasses
while people are flocking into churches
crying God bless America

we sit quietly on a bench
outside a real estate office on Main
and join hands in prayer

then go inside to present our bid
on a darling little dwelling
just far enough away from the madness

in this tranquil grove at the Jersey Shore
that some call “God’s Square Mile”

Maude Carolan Pych


MARCHING IN

"Oh, when the saints…Oh when the saints…"
I can almost see you marching, my darling
with a twinkle in your eye and a spring in your step
like I hadn't seen in years…
No halo, no feathery wings
no Bourbon Street strut, no Sachmo
no funky Dixieland umbrella
movin' up and down to the beat
but I see you, just the same
marchin' in…
marchin' through those Pearly Gates
up the golden street, along the glassy sea
hup two, three, four…
marchin' right up to the Throne
Yes, I can see you, my darling
falling to your knees before the One seated
as an emerald rainbow swirls around you both
I see Jesus rise to His feet, draw you to His bosom
and welcome you in

I think of our wedding day
of Bob Leive's Wooster Street Trolley Band
and Bob leading the march with his old battered horn
to the song you loved so much
We all fell in line behind him
singing, "Oh, I want to be in that number…"
as we marched round, round and round
the reception hall

Then I think of your funeral day
when you lay in the front of the room
looking healthy enough to sit up and ask me to dance
We listened to eulogy after eulogy
and praised God for bringing you Home
Pastor Ben began strumming his guitar
and we got up out of our seats
and marched as we sang,
"Yes, I want to be in that number
when the saints go marching in…"

We did it just for you

Maude Carolan


Comments are always welcome and appreciated. If possible, please post them directly to the website.

Look for the next edition of It’s all about…The Lamb, December 15, 2014


A FEW CLOSING WORDS…

Dear Reader/Subscriber,
Have you been going it alone? Does it seem like the world is spinning out of control? Is something…Someone…missing in your life? Do you need to return to God? Do you need to repent? Now is the time. God loves you. He’s always loved you, and He’s waiting. Make room for Him in your heart…Today!

May the God of Love be with ewe,
Maude



After God’s Own Heart Publishing
P.O. Box 2211, Woodland Park, NJ 07424


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Oh! How We Prayed After the Towers Fell

Photo credit: blaze.com

WAITING WITH ARMS OUTSTRETCHED
Written in the wake of the September 11, 2001, Attack on America

We’ve been told God doesn’t belong in our schools
He doesn’t belong in public buildings
not in the town square, not at baseball games
We may not pray to Him in our classrooms
His Name has been shushed from graduations
Our witness at work has been silenced
Crèches and menorahs have been removed from government properties
and replaced with roly-poly Santas, tinseled trees and dreidels
Christmas and Hanukkah have been neutered
with wishes of “season’s greetings,” “happy holidays”
We’ve been closeted by the separation of church and state
in this free country founded as a safe haven for religious freedom

but when those 767s flew into those magnificent towers, September 11th
when those great towers imploded, when thousands died tragically
and shockwaves of grief and terror riveted our planet
suddenly our churches filled
God’s name arose boldly on banners all across the land
It was posted, plastered, scrawled and spoken
prayed to by the President, our leaders, newsmen
It appeared on school message boards
bumper stickers, lapel pins, buttons
It was superimposed upon flag decals glued to our windowpanes
It was emblazoned upon our chests on patriotic T-shirts
and it appeared over and over and over on subway prayer walls
along with Scotch taped photos of those who were missing
Thousands proclaimed it loud and clear
at candlelight vigils and a prayer service at Yankee Stadium
and we all sang it with tears
“God Bless America,” our truer anthem

If we’ve been complacent; if we’ve swept Him aside
packed Him away in attic trunks
with things we thought we wouldn’t need anymore
He’s waiting with arms outstretched
love streaming from His eyes
and we need Him to heal our shattered hearts

Oh, let’s keep the “God Bless” in our “America”
and Americans, let us “Bless God”
O let us never let go of Him again

Maude Carolan

The above poem was written a month after the towers fell. People were still praying, still flocking to houses of worship. As time passed, the fervor waned and some returned to old habits and looked to God less. What about you? God loves you as much as ever and is waiting for your return...with His loving arms...outstretched.