Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunsational Sunflowers!

Photo by Maude


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

Photo by Maude

Sunday, August 21, 2016

God's Square Mile at the Jersey Shore


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

Maude Carolan Pych

Boardwalk Pavilion, Ocean Grove, NJ
Photo credit:


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, August 14, 2016

Sunday Worship in Ocean Grove

Great Auditorium, Ocean Grove, NJ
Photo credit:


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

Sunday, August 7, 2016

"Feed My Sheep"

Photo of my grandson, Antonio, taken in 2015
by his mother, Omayra Lopez Caruso


Omayra texted a photo she took
of Antonio, now eight—
He was on his knees, feeding a lamb
out of his hand

My home is full of sheep—
It could even be called a sheep’s den
Sometimes my grandchildren
roam from room to room
trying to count them
but they never come close
to counting them all

Sometimes the little ones draw pictures
of sheep grazing or of lions and lambs
which I gladly affix to the refrigerator door
with amusing lamb magnets
There’s an assortment
of whimsical woolies on the windowsill
above the kitchen sink
and various sheep are featured
on coffee mugs in the cupboard
One silly wooly sits on top of the water cooler
and a wee bean bag lamb
is perched atop the treadmill
where it watches me exercise

Plush sleepy sheep lie on all the beds
novelties dangle from doorknobs
lamps and windows
There are finely carved olive wood sheep
on the china cabinet in the living room
not to mention a cozy lamb sweater
and socks in bureau drawers
lamb pins and pendants
stashed in my jewelry box

Lambs, lambs everywhere
lambs to make us smile
lambs to remind us
we’re here to feed
the hungry sheep

Feeding His sheep—
is what I do
by sharing a verse, a poem
a little money, a meal
all for the love of my Shepherd

Feeding His sheep—
just as grandson, Antonio
is lovingly learning to do

Maude Carolan Pych

The above poem was written in 2015. Antonio Caruso is now nine years old.