Sunday, July 29, 2012

Another Ocean Grove poem...

  Charming tent houses, Ocean Grove, NJ


9 a.m. Sunday—

Contemporary worship. Boardwalk Pavilion, Ocean Grove

This is where we worship with snare drums and guitars

funky drama and spontaneous praise dance on the boards

facing sand and spray and rising sun

This is where we lift our hands and shout "Hallelujah!"

louder than the rousing rhythmic praise

of the waves crashing in our midst

This is where families come in tees and tank tops

cut-off denim, wrinkly cotton shorts

bare feet, sneakers, flip-flops

It's where we fan ourselves with song-sheets

chug from Poland Spring bottles

and flip through the pages of our Bibles

It's where we greet strangers, unabashedly

with "Praise the Lord!" and hugs and exit

faces shining with Moses-glow

10:30 a.m. Sunday—

Classic worship. Great Auditorium, Ocean Grove

I walk briskly from the Boardwalk Pavilion

(with my Moses-glow) to the old Methodist edifice

with its prominent Cross facing the Atlantic

This is where thousands gather

facing a purpose spelled out in lights:

Holiness to the Lord—So be ye holy

This is where worshippers arrive in crisp pressed cotton

and wrinkle-free polyester, strap sandals, pumps and pearls

where we rise and sing on key, hymns by Wesley and Crosby

where we utter printed responses by rote and in unison

Here, to the accompaniment of a historic pipe organ

we hear a traditional choir sing traditional hymns

and accomplished tenors and sopranos

and some of the greatest preachers on earth

do magnificently what they have been magnificently trained to do

This is where we pray quietly, reverently, solemnly

hands folded in our laps, as 100 silver-haired ushers

process prominently with collection baskets

wearing white slacks, dark jackets and red ties

with white carnations pinned to their lapels

This is where Gordon Turk, the organist

presents a resounding recessional

as we nod at one other warmly

and walk out edified into a balmy afternoon

Maude Carolan Pych

Monday, July 23, 2012

Boardwalk Pavilion, Ocean Grove, NJ


This glorious summer Sunday morning—

We’re drawn eastward

from north, south and west

by the magnetic pull

of God’s love-force

Drawn, to the old wooden pavilion

to the Atlantic, the Jersey shore

to the boards at God’s Square Mile—

Ocean Grove. Drawn

wearing khaki and denim

tees and tanks

sundresses, flip-flops

carrying water bottles

carrying Bibles

fanning ourselves

with song sheets

We fill the benches

then spill over

into the periphery

onto folding chairs, lawn chairs

beach blankets. Some stand

Some look for shade

It’s 80-plus and breezy

The sky, clear

The sea glistens

Waves slap the shore

merrily. We’re merry

Vacationers stroll past

Some peer; some stop

some smile; some don’t

Bikers pedal by

joggers jog


Hymnsong; guitar-strum

Son-smiles; praise dance

heart-moves; Kidz church


Agape flows outward


Sea mist rises like incense

upward, Heavenward

toward the One


We bask in the warmth

of His smile

of His warm, sunshiny love


Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rock Concert, Anyone?

  The Great Auditorium, Ocean Grove, NJ


It was good for us to be there
even though our silver pates pounded
and our ears were so deeply traumatized
by each deafening decibel
our hearing actually dulled, temporarily
The thundering beat bounced off
walls and rafters, ceiling and floor
reverberated in our seats
and sent tremulous vibrations
through our entire beings

It was a rock concert of worship music
with smoke and strobe and spotlights
PowerPoint and praise to Jesus. Hallelujah!
Amplified drums and crashing cymbals
the resounding cymbals the Psalms speak of
It's the very same music we enjoy over the radio
when we have control of the knob
There was no adjusting the volume tonight

The lead singer leaped across the stage
and sang so loudly we couldn't hear words
We attempted to sing along as best we could
we clapped and shouted and raised our hands
along with thousands, mostly young
with wonderful innate enthusiasm
and accustomed, receptive ears
We even did "the wave" with them
until we all were reminded
of the balcony's 100 year old fragility
We were reminded of our own 60ish fragility

We really wanted to stay. We really wanted to enjoy
We really wanted to span generations with great jubilation
We didn't mean to weenie out, but
looking one to the other
realized our pinched faces weren't reflective
of the fired-up ones one third our ages
so we ducked out midway through the second performance

Tomorrow we'll go to church
We'll sing, "Come, Thou Almighty King"
Number 392 in the frayed pew hymnal
but we'll treasure aspects of tonight
like the little girl in ribbon-tied pigtails
both hands raised way up high
like the cool guys with their big silver crosses
their earrings and bandanas
black tees emblazoned with The Name
like the twelve year old in the row in front of us
who kept spinning his green glow stick
as he danced in the bleachers praising his Jesus
with all the fervor of the shepherd/king of long ago
who led that remarkable gambol of wild abandon
before the Holy Ark

Maude Carolan

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ocean Grove, NJ...My Favorite Spot at the Jersey Shore

The Great Auditorium


An hour and a world away
is a charming place we love to stay,
where time stands still a little while,
in fact, some call it, “God’s Square Mile.”

Our spiritual retreat vacation
at this gem within our nation
is where we find more than we seek,
at Ocean Grove, Camp Meeting Week.

The Great Auditorium’s surrounded
by quaint tent houses, abounded
by flower gardens, every hue;
coral, magenta, lavender blue.

Great preachers come from far and near,
expectant pilgrims come to hear
the preaching and angelic choir
as the great pipe organ sends its fire

of resounding music through the air,
inviting all who will to prayer.
All this takes place beside the sea
in a grove of sweet tranquility.

Stroll tented lanes in ocean breeze,
past tabernacle, B & B’s;
Victorian landmarks give a show
of “painted ladies” row on row.

Visit eateries, little stores
and take the garden trolley tour.
This Jersey shore town gives to each
respite, chapels, sandy beach,

a quiet boardwalk and pavilion,
where perhaps, more than a million
over the years have stopped and heard
Gospel concerts and God’s good Word.

So come, find more than you may seek
at Ocean Grove, Camp Meeting Week.

Maude Carolan

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July, America!!!

My uncle, Frederick Leo Harris, was the master crane operator who removed the torch from the Statue of Liberty, July 4, 1984. This poem is about him...



Each of us has a moment of fame to shine as the star of the show;

a time to behold our very name setting the marquee lights aglow!

It is likely the day fore or aft is spent with the mainstream, obscure,

but for one golden instant we waft in glory no man can ignore!

 It was like that when our dear Uncle Fred (a rank and file kind of guy)

who worked hard for butter and bread, at once was thrust in the public eye.

He operated a long-necked crane (master of operation, he was)

the day of his notable reign, when folks around bestowed a great fuss.

The old torch he deftly brought down, Nineteen Eighty Four, Fourth of July,

from Miss Liberty, donned in her gown, as The Nation stood looking by.

The Lady needed restoration, a new torch to lift in her hand.

It evoked a huge celebration, including a full-dress brass band!

Papers carried Uncle Fred's photo, he was on The News on TV…

Suddenly a star of the nation! The pride of our whole family!!!

Aunt Carol was phoned by reporters, seeking facts about her lime-lit spouse.

Said she resented his orders to work on The Fourth, which kept her in-house!

Said she'd rather gone on a picnic or watched the neighborhood parade

or seen the current pick-flick, unaware history was being made

by her modest, hard-working spouse. Of course, when at last she understood,

and realized that this honor was great, she burst pride-buttons as one would.

Our family still gets to snicker about our aunt when Uncle Fred ran the crane

and each year as fireworks flicker, we salute his great day of fame!

Maude Carolan

Revised 7/4/12

Bob and I returned Saturday from a ten day Caribbean cruise with his son Jeff and family. We went from the cruise ship to Liberty State Park to board a ferry to Ellis Island, which stopped at the Statue of Liberty. The statue naturally brought back memories of my uncle, Frederick L. Harris, a former US Marine and a master crane operator, bringing down the torch for needed restoration on July 4, 1984. He was so low-key about this great honor that he didn't even tell his family that he was the one chosen to do it. Not even his wife was aware of it; she just knew that he had to work on the holiday. This poem is in loving memory of this hard-working, modest man.