Sunday, April 30, 2017

Blow the Shofar in Zion...

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Israel Pilgrimage—2006

Marco bought a shofar in Galilee—
a long and spiraled Yemenite shofar
made from the horn
of a kudo antelope

With a deep and steady breath
Marco blows its harrowing thunder
over the Mount of Olives
the Western Wall
the Jordan River
and just about every site
we visit in holy Zion

trumpeting its long distinctive wail
to jolt us from our complacency—

Wake up!

Warning all hearers:

Prepare! Repent!

Wake up! Oh Sleepers—
Wake up! and follow the Lord, your God!

Anne brought her tambourine
from New Jersey—
It’s shaped like a Star of David
Colorful ribbons stream
from its six points

Like Miriam, Anne lifts it high
and dances with delight
praising Adonai with worshipful women
from all over the world
as their swirling skirts sweep the ground
It’s Shabbat, in Jerusalem
at the Western Wall

and I bought a tallit in Tiberius—
blue and white like the Israeli flag
with knotted fringes in the corners
to remind me God’s promises are true

a traditional prayer shawl
to wrap snuggly around my shoulders
like God’s loving arms
enfolding me
as I pray

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, April 23, 2017

On the Road to Emmaus...

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Luke 24:13-35


Cleopas and friend walked and talked
with lumbering gaits and downcast faces
shining hopes of sweet redemption
dashed and obliterated

They asked of each other the Why question
for if anyone had come to fill those old prophecies
surely it had seemed to be Him
that Jesus they'd come to know
through signs and wonders
that appeared to be miraculous

Their so-called Messiah had been crucified
was dead and gone. Yes, gone, gone, gone!
Even His cold dead body was missing
from the tomb that had been sealed—

He approached them
in the midst of their perplexity
on the road to Emmaus
He walked with them, talked with them
they even felt His fire
but didn't know who He was

and strange as that may seem
how often have I been
the unnamed friend of Cleopas?
I, too, profess to know Him, know Him well
yet fail to recognize Him along the road


Taking the barley loaf in his hands
the stranger lifted it

Baruch ata Adonai
Eloheynu Melech ha Olam
ha motzie lechem
min ha'aretz

He tore it, offered it, and just as it fell
into reaching grasps
their astonished eyes recognized Him
and in that instant
He utterly vanished from their sight!

Leaping from the table, Cleopas and his friend
stumbled over each other
looking under, over, around and around
knowing even as they did
it was True after all

As they looked at each other
their disbelief became relief
the sweet awakening of a deep Belief

for Truth visited them along the way
joined them at their table, broke their humble bread
They asked each other

Were not our hearts burning
as He talked with us on the road
and opened the Scriptures to us?

Now, blazing temples of Holy Fire
they suddenly knew their once shattered hearts
would never cool again


When I first found You, or You found me
I thought I'd go from strength to strength
pinnacle to pinnacle, joy to joy
and so it was for a season
when love was new

then the whirlwind came
thrashing through my world
upending all my securities
leaving me stunned, broken, alone
certain I would die

so I waited for You to save me
waited for prayers pleaded at Your scarred feet
to avail their just reward
for I believed in You, trusted, hoped
Eyes veiled, I couldn't find You
failed to recognize You along the road

Had I believed in vain?

Then You began to speak
not audibly, but  whenever I opened Your Word
Radiance, Glory, Unfailing Love
sprang from the page and became manifest
My heart blazed! I began to shine!

Now, on the other side of sorrow
I dare not forget my burning heart,
Your Glorious Presence
so I abide, remembering
it is You, my Jesus
Who walks with me along the road

Maude Carolan

Saturday, April 15, 2017

He is Risen, Indeed!

It's Resurrection Day!!!

Maude's Easter bread
right out of the oven!


It’s Holy Saturday

Dough is rising
on the kitchen counter

filling me with thoughts
of rising

helium balloons
set free

over the Sea of Galilee

waking up


soap bubbles
floating skyward

seagulls soaring

booming and bursting

jet planes at take-off

rocket ships
with long trails of fire
zooming to the moon

O, but nothing


and no one

has ever done it

or will

…like Jesus

Maude Carolan Pych

...Sunday's Comin'!!! Alleluia!

A-Poem-a-Day Until Resurrection Day


Twice I heard Tony Campolo deliver
his famous and rousing sermon
It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’!
at the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove
He drummed home the point
that everything may look bleak on Friday, but…
come Sunday, it’s a totally different story

Now, I’m not thinking of just any dark and bleak Friday
I’m thinking about the original Good Friday—
thinking the only reason I can bear
to contemplate that good and terrible day
is because I know
a few days later there was
a mind-blowing, miraculous Sunday—
…Resurrection Sunday!

The disciples didn’t have
the advantage I have—
They didn’t understand
life after death
couldn’t comprehend
atonement for sin
just didn’t get it
that their teacher and friend, Jesus
could die upon a cross
for the sins of the world
They didn’t know the future—
Sure, they may’ve read portions of the Scrolls
but they didn’t have the whole wonderful Book
I do have the whole Book
I’ve read ahead
and studied the pages         
I know what follows
the Good Friday story—
The victorious hope-giving
hallelujah happy ending

I know my sins are forgiven
I know I’m going to live forever
Yes, I know what happened next
and that makes all the difference

Maude Carolan Pych

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday Meditation Poem

A-Poem-a-Day Until Resurrection Day

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After the earthquake
the peals of thunder
the flashes of lightening across the sky
After the curious crowds dispersed
Mary sat in ominous dimness
upon a mound of earth
at the base of the Cross
holding the body
of her Son

She cradled Him
in the hollow of her lap
close to her bosom
as she had
when he was
her baby boy

Mary removed
thorns of mockery
that encircled His forehead
and tossed it to the side
Straining to see in the shadows
she carefully picked
fragments of thorn needles
still stuck in His lifeless flesh
although they couldn’t hurt Him
any longer

With her fingertips
she tenderly closed the lids
over His dark, vacant eyes
and smoothed
the disheveled, matted hair
…then she kissed Him

O my beautiful Son…

Tears flowed
down her face onto His cheeks
mingling with dried blood
With the edge of her garment
she wiped some blood away

John came
and rested his hand
upon her trembling shoulder
He was now her son
She was now his mother

too deep to comprehend
swirled in her mind
like the flap and flutter
of wings and overshadowing
Son of the Most High
and David’s throne

like pregnant Elizabeth’s joy
when the baby leapt in her womb
and the Baptizer himself, when grown
proclaiming his younger cousin
“The Lamb of God, Who
takes away the sin of the world”

and Simeon’s prophesy
that Jesus would be
a Light of revelation
to the Gentiles and the glory
of the people of Israel

Where is the Light?
Where is the glory?
Where is the throne?

Overwhelmed by sorrow
so intense it stabbed her
deep, deep in her inner parts
Mary cried out in anguish
and rent her robe

Was this what old Simeon meant
long ago in the Temple
when he held Jesus in his arms
and said a sword would pierce
my very soul?

O my Son, my beautiful Son…

I cannot fathom the ways of God, but

I do know this cannot be the end

Maude Carolan Pych

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Blood Sky, Good Friday, 2014

A-Poem-a-Day Until Resurrection Day

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Good Friday 2014, Packanack Lake, New Jersey
“I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” Joel 2:30-31 NASB

The alarm went off at 3:00 a.m., Tuesday
We went outdoors to gaze at the sky
hoping to get a glimpse
of the first blood moon of the tetrad—
Passover, 2014

It was there, but we couldn’t see it
Dense clouds obscured our view

Blood moon or not, this week is crimson—
I’ve been thinking about blood in the Nile
blood on the lintels
death of the firstborn sons

I bought blood oranges in Fairway, yesterday
Had one for breakfast. It was sweet

Today is Good Friday—
I am meditating upon the atonement
the Cross, the death of my Savior

Now it’s evening—
I’m on my way to the Good Friday service
at the Jerusalem Center in Wayne
As I drive down Osborne Terrace
approaching Packanack Lake
the sky is incredible—amazing—red as blood
fiery red, red like I’ve never seen it before

As the setting sun shines on the still water
the lake mirrors the brilliant crimson firmament
and I can’t help thinking of old Moses
as he dipped his staff into the Nile river

At the Jerusalem Center, the dancers
fittingly extol the Lamb Who was slain, and
Jonathan speaks of the sun setting and rising—
endings and beginnings

and I feel God may be telling me something, or
am I so deeply aware of Him this holy week
that I see Him everywhere
and in every blessed thing

Maude Carolan Pych

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Why..."Good" Friday???

A-Poem-a-Day Until Resurrection Day

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When I was a child
I could hardly wait for Easter
could hardly wait to wear my new spring dress
and the flowery straw bonnet with velvet ribbon streamers
could hardly wait for the basket of marshmallow chocolates
tiny jelly beans and bright colored eggs
to magically appear in my bedroom
compliments of a big white bunny
Oh, the wonders of childhood’s imaginings…

I was glad about the Resurrection, too, of course

But first I had to get through Lent and "Good" Friday
first I had to sacrifice
and give a lot of serious consideration
to Jesus
first I had to think about a nice holy man
a terrible death
upon a horrible cross
and I had to try to understand
that He died that awful death
for me!

I preferred, of course
to think about chocolate, bunnies and bonnets
rather than scourging, thorns
and nails
Good? I thought…
What could possibly
be "Good" about it?

I wanted to call it "Bad Friday"
"Cruel Friday" or
"Why Did God Have To Have It Happen That Way Friday?"

Of course
I was too young to understand…then

Now I realize
a basket-bearing bunny on Easter
cannot be compared to what happened
that particular cosmic Friday
at the Cross

Now I know
what's so "Good" about it

is that it's followed by

that Stone-Blown-Out-of-the-Tomb-Sunday!!!
that Jesus-Was-Dead…But-Now-He-Lives-Hallelujah-Sunday!!!

and that
my brothers and sisters

is very, very, very


Maude Carolan Pych

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

One Good Friday...

A-Poem-a-Day Until Resurrection Day

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Good Friday, 2002

sad, somewhat guilty…

Usually, I’d have found time
in the afternoon
to sit meditatively
and ponder the significance
of this day

Sometimes I wrote poems
or sat quietly in a church
I might have listened
to a radio preacher
or just sung, soulfully
about the house
that old, haunting hymn chorus
“Oh, how it causes me
to tremble…tremble…tremble”

Eased into the day, holy
with a long, tepid bath
and a little book
about six miracles of Calvary –
Began contemplating the darkness
that fell upon the land
for three hours

but after that
the cares of this world
sent me scurrying helter-skelter
scrubbing the kitchen floor
returning curtains to JC Penney
grocery shopping for Easter dinner
Any meaningful reflections faded
in my slide from Mary to Martha

Returning from an errand, edgy
I was stopped at a light
on Union Boulevard
Don’t know what kind of a car
was in front of me
but in front of that car
was a black Bronco

On back of the Bronco
black on black was
the Crucifixion
Jesus, dying
in utter darkness
His head bent
shoulders thrust forward
like so many paintings I’ve seen

What was this?

After a moment, I realized
it was merely a reflection—
a silhouette cast by the shadow
of a telephone pole
and street lamp…
But it seemed real

I looked at the clock
It was 2:45

I drive up and down
Union Boulevard
day after day
year after year
but it was this day
this hour
this moment of need
He chose
to show me
yet again
all He did

for me

Maude Carolan