Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Red Heifer

The following poem was inspired
by a message given by Joel Chernoff
at Beth Israel Worship Center,
Northern New Jersey, in 2002...

The Red Heifer


Numbers, Chapter 19 

One isolated evil
One momentary
blast of terrorism
in the land of Israel
…a solitary explosion
into the life of a child
I'll call that child Sarah

Sarah, about six
is of an Orthodox family
(likely a devout family)
I can't say if shrapnel
tore into her tender flesh
don't know if it killed her parents
or blew their home to smithereens
Can't say if a suicide bomber
pulled the pin on a bus
or in the marketplace
I do know Sarah was terrorized
traumatized, hospitalized
and could not keep
from soiling her bedclothes

It happened over
and over and over
night after night
her childhood
from inside out

Kindhearted people
seeking to console
terrorism's youngest victims
sent toys to the hospital…
baby dolls, trucks
all kinds of plush animals
Sarah's nurse invited her
to select a toy for her very own
Reluctantly, Sarah reached
into the big cardboard box
and pulled out a bright red bull

Sarah hugged the red bull
nestled her nose, playfully
into its velvety softness
clutched it close to her chest
kept it right beside her

Sarah talked to her little bull
told it whispery secrets
She loved her bull
and took it to bed

In the morning
Sarah's crisp white sheets
were clean and dry
and the next morning
the sheets were clean and dry
and the next
and the next
and next

so the nurse asked Sarah
what made her stop
soiling the bedclothes

Sarah looked up sweetly
with big dark eyes
and simply told Nurse
of course, she could not dirty
her bed any longer…
the Red Heifer
was with her

Sarah certainly was too young
to comprehend the ordinance
the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron
of the Rite of the Red Heifer
too young to understand
about its ashes
in the "water of cleansing"
that washed away defilement
too young to recognize the Red Heifer
as a foreshadow of Messiah

Neither can I explain
what occurred or how
but I do know
Sarah took her little red bull to bed
and doesn't soil her bedclothes
any longer

Maude Carolan

Sunday, January 19, 2020

A Spiritual Retreat...

Have you ever been
on a spiritual retreat?

Image credit:

The following poem was written following a retreat
experience, at Tamiment in the Pocono Mountains,
several years ago.

A special bond develops
when women pray for one another...

Three women
meet at a lodge
in the Pocono Mountains
They are strangers—
but that soon changes

One, freshly wounded
two, a decade older
had been healed
years before
of the same sorrow

The two
instinctively soothe
the younger sister
with the balm
of compassion
speak soft words
of experience

At apricot sunset
they walk a wooded path
along the edge
of Tamiment Lake
Coming upon
a crude table
and benches
they stop, sit
join hands
and beseech God
as a million tree frogs
chirp crickety crescendos
from shadows
of tall leafy boughs
and deer graze
in their midst

As twilight wanes
they arise to go
then keep
one another
from stumbling
along the rocky path

Maude Carolan

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is available now...
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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Holy Land Pilgrimage--2006

The Marketplace, Jerusalem...

Photo credits:

Israel Pilgrimage—2006

Crowds, shouts, squabbles
push, shove
Exotic fragrances
of cinnamon, cumin and coriander
waft in the air
Fringed cashmere shawls
in fuchsia, turquoise and black
hang from posts
and rustle in the breeze
Beads, silver Stars of David
olivewood carvings
Here and there
hawking and the banter
of bargaining
Here and there a sign
to mark a holy place

One vendor
catches my glance
smiles and teases:

I don’t care—
Even if you don’t buy
I still love you

A young man
picks the pocket
of an old man
in our group
Others subdue him
pin him to a wall—
get the wallet back
The fellow runs off
and we continue
on our way

Some of us
would like to stop
to browse and bargain
and shop awhile, but
we have a schedule to keep
and it’s getting late

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Best News Ever!

I have something to share with you
from the heart of my heart...


I have to share the most wonderful news with those I love most in this world.
The news I have is more precious, by far, than diamonds or rubies or gold.

There was an enormous void in my life. “Is this all there is?” I would ask.
I searched far to find some meaning in life. It seemed an unknowable task.

One day someone shared the Gospel with me, and I learned that Jesus is real.
I prayed to invite Him into my heart and was filled with astonishing zeal!

The day that He gave His life on the Cross, to save all mankind from our sin,
He opened to us salvation by grace; life eternal, the prize that we win.

You know that I share the best that I have with my cherished family and friends,
so listen, dear one, to this wonderful news upon which ever-after depends.

Just open your Bible to the Gospel of John, third chapter, verse number three,
then read of God’s love in the sixteenth verse to learn what has happened to me.

Some people grow up with Bible in hand, without Jesus burning in heart,
some haven’t explored the true meaning of life, some wouldn’t know where to start.

Whether you’re Protestant, Jewish, my friend, Catholic, Muslim, atheist,
my news is for you and all who will hear, who long to receive of God’s best.

You needn’t become a fanatic or prude, I’ve no list of do nots and dos.
God’s Spirit will teach you all you need know. The offer’s too good to refuse.

Although tribulation may take you by storm and trials may bring a hard test,
God’s greater, He’s faithful, He’ll bring you through to victory. You’ll shine in His rest.

This can be the greatest day of your life, the day you receive the New Birth.
This can be the day you begin to know why we’re the happiest people on earth.

Like me, you will yearn to share the Good News with all of the people you love.
Like me, you will want all those you meet to be touched by our Great God above.

Maude Carolan Pych