September 15, 2013
Vol. 16, Issue 3
Vol. 16, 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…
THESE ARE THE DAYS OF AWE—
The ten days between the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hoshanna) and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) are known as the Days of Awe (Noraim Yomim) on the Hebrew calendar. These are days of great reverence, a time to get right with God and man, a time to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. It can also a time to think about eternity and where you’ll be spending it. You don’t have to be Jewish to do this.
THE COLORADO PLATEAU—
It’s been a great summer. Bob and I spent fifteen exciting days exploring the Colorado Plateau with Bob’s son Jeff, Jeff’s wife Yolanda and their daughters Isabel, nine, and Sophia, seven. The six of us piled into their Honda Odyssey and visited the National Parks and canyons of Utah, including Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce and Zion. It was awesome. God’s majesty was ever before our eyes. I spent time today writing a poem about it which I’ll be certain to share here at a future date.
FEATURED POET: SANDRA DUGUID—
I’d like to introduce you to a poet new to this publication. Her name is Sandra Duguid. Sandra and I see each other at poetry venues in northern New Jersey from time to time.
Our featured poet was born and raised in rural western New York and received a B.A. from Houghton College, an M.A. in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Buffalo. Sandra has taught literature, composition and creative writing at colleges in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and was Assistant Director of the Academic Support Center at Caldwell College in New Jersey, where she managed the Writing Center for seven years. She retired three years ago to devote more time to writing.
Sandra was awarded a Fellowship in Poetry from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and was invited to read her poetry at a Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. One of her poems received an honorable mention in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest, sponsored by Passaic County Community College, and her poem “Road to Emmaus” (which is one of the poems featured here) received a prize in a contest sponsored by Calvin College. The poet lives in New Jersey with her husband, Henry Gerstman.
Sandra recently published a book of her poetry entitled “Pails Scrubbed Silver,” printed by North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc. It is available through Amazon.com. I’ve selected two poems from the book to include here, and invited her to tell us what inspired her to write them. This is what she said, in her own words:
ABOUT “ROAD TO EMMAUS”
The New Testament account of Jesus walking unrecognized by two disciples on the road to Emmaus following his Resurrection is always compelling. Paintings and songs depict it anew. (Our church choir sang a recently written anthem based on it.) This poem was a response to a challenge to write a poem based on the Biblical account, and it was actually written quite quickly (unlike many others!) The New Testament words were beside me when I was working on the second stanza in particular.
The poem was written some time before 2003, and I was responding in it to several events that had happened in 1999: the shooting of the innocent Amadou Diallo in his doorway by New York City police officers; the terrible school shooting at Columbine High in Colorado; and the succumbing of my older sister to breast cancer. Three “crosses” had been marked on her “chest” where radiation was to be applied.
These events were all “the worst news in the neighborhood” in my/our time. We need comfort, companionship, and good counsel, just as did the pilgrims walking with the unrecognized Christ in their unthinkable time. His words, quoted in the poem, gave them a sense of reference not only to the past, but to a future, as His words offer to the contemporary pilgrims, me/”us,” in times of our suffering.
We, too, might respond then, when Christ is recognized, as they did, with hope, hospitality, wonder, and self-examination.
In the poem “Memorials,” I put myself in the place of the woman in Matthew 26: 6-13 and Mark 14: 3-9, who anointed Jesus at the home of Simon the leper. She did not know the full extent of her act nor, of course, that Jesus would soon be put to death. She was generous and loving in her response to a man she possibly had seen work miracles and whose distinctiveness and love she partially understood. When Jesus said her anointing was anticipating his burial, she was perplexed, believing, I imagined, that he would die someday, as we all do, even though we are grand in some sense (“towers” of bone) of “natural causes.”
I think the ironies in this account, that the disciples were not magnanimous, as she was in her poverty; nor as understanding as she was, and that Jesus could tell what was about to happen to him, while others could not, or did not want to think about it—and that we all shall live, rather than die, attracted me to this New Testament down to earth and mysterious encounter. Jesus said her loving action would be remembered
as a “memorial” to her; and it was a “memorial” to Him.
This kind of reading of a Scripture passage, as you may know, is called “lectio divina,” “sacred reading.” One tries to imagine oneself in a Biblical passage and imagine and explore, from the point of view of a participant there what “exactly” is happening. This can be a wonderful time of reflection, and the source of a poem.
+++ THE POEMS FOLLOW +++
ROAD TO EMMAUS
There have been crucifixions, too,
in our town—innocents
gunned down in their doorways
or in school halls; or radiation’s
black outlines, three crosses
marked on a sister’s chest: no wonder
we walk in quiet rage, musing.
And who, on this road, will join us,
of the worst news in the neighborhood,
but spelling out the history of the prophets
and a future:
Ought not Christ to have suffered these things
and to enter into his glory?
Could our hearts still burn within us?
Will we ask the stranger to stay?
Break bread? And how
will our well-hammered and nailed
kitchens and bedrooms appear to us
when we understand who he is
just as he steals away?
Yes, I indulged the moment:
setting my white heirloom box
next to his plate
at Simon’s dull table;
placing my hand on his hair
to anoint his head with ointment—
the room awoke, wavered
His friends complained:
But how could I have spread thin
what ounce of wealth I owned?
I had watched this man
heal the blind and maimed,
heard him speak—
I was making amends for my doom.
And for his, he said,
though I wasn’t foreseeing a burial—
I’ve yet to understand;
we all die, I mean—eventually,
SANDRA DUGUID—FEATURED AT POETRY READING, SEPTEMBER 29, 2013
Sandra will read poems from her book, Pails Scrubbed Silver, at a poetry reading presented by the West Caldwell (NJ) Library. It will be held Sunday, September 29th, 2 p.m., in the Community Room. Another fine poet, Charlotte Mandel, will also be featured at this event. The program is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Call 973-226-5441 or sign up online at: http://poetryreading.eventbrite.com.
Comments are always welcome and appreciated.
Look for the next edition of It’s All About…The Lamb, December 15, 2013
A FEW CLOSING WORDS…
A few days ago, in the very midst of the Days of Awe, on the twelfth anniversary of the destruction of the Twin Towers and the horrendous loss of life on 9/11, many of us gathered at Beth Israel Messianic Center in Wayne, New Jersey, to pray for our nation and the world for a great wave of repentance among believers and for unbelieving hearts to turn to Messiah in a mighty, mighty way.
Have you surrendered your life to Jesus? Don’t delay. Ask Him to forgive your sins and invite Him to dwell in your heart. It’s the most important thing you’ll ever do…
God be with ewe,
After God’s Own Heart Publishing
P.O. Box 2211, Woodland Park, NJ 07424