Sunday, July 20, 2014

One More Ocean Grove Poem

Maude's photo of Ocean Grove tents--2012


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 & Bs;
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

This poem was written several years ago and many decorative broadsides have been distributed. It was featured in the Great Auditorium program once during Camp Meeting Week. This is one of the poems included in my new chapbook, "God's Square Mile--Poems about Ocean Grove". For ordering information, scroll to the end of this website.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Weekend Retreat--Ocean Grove, NJ

Maude's photo/Cross on Ocean Grove Beach


On Ocean Grove beach
a Cross atop a sand dune
is a seagull’s perch

Maude Carolan Pych

We just returned from a lovely long weekend away in Ocean Grove, NJ, especially to attend the 60th Annual Choir Festival. What a joy! joy! joy! More than 600 singers participated in the glorious presentation. While out for a stroll on the boardwalk, I snapped the above photo, knowing it would be the perfect accompaniment to this little haiku, which is one of the poems in my newest chapbook, "God's Square Mile--Poems about Ocean Grove". Ordering information appears at the very end of this website.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Introducing My New Chapbook

Maude's newest chapbook


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 worshipers 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

The above poem is about my favorite vacation place at the Jersey Shore. Just this week I put the finishing touches on a new chapbook all about this shore town. It is titled, "God's Square Mile...Poems about Ocean Grove". Ordering information can be accessed by scrolling to the bottom of this blog.