Category Archives: poetry

Arise, O LORD

Psalms 10:12

Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble.

We who are weary here, crushed

beneath the burden of our existence in the world,

who cannot lift our heads for the weight of sorrow…

Some of us mutter to ourselves of our own misery,

defeated by the darkness to spurn any talk of light,

so drenched in wallowing are we that only the sharp

cutting of our tongues (and other weapons) upon the happiness of others brings

us any unpained recognition of being alive – and we curse that, too.

And some of us, bowed down with sadness and fatigue,

still cast our sight, like fishing lures, for any bite of hope,

bobbing along the surface, waiting for the nibble of a small comfort, or,

if brave enough, diving into the deep, submerging

the whole breadth of our brokenness into the ocean of divine mercy,

to be swallowed up by a greater being than ourselves,

one that is quick and liquid ready and eternally alive…

 

Rise up, O Lord, and bring with thee from the depth of the waters

all who have given themselves over to faith in the gulf of hope,

all who have sunk down in their littleness and plunged into their wounds

so they may seek and discover the love that abides there –

not their own miseries, but thy joy and thy triumph!

Lift thy hand, oh God, and with it, the multitudes

who, in their weeping and wretched afflictions,

did not spurn thy name, nor destroy thy images,

nor deny the gift of hope though the world made a mockery,

but who, rather, cast into the deep and trusted thee in the swim.

 

The One who lit the stars and set them in motion,

who pulls the tides with light-reflecting orbs,

and teems the earth and every body with the rush of life,

this is the One from whom I draw my living

and in whom I will pour all my tears and laughter and blood –

though the world forsake me and taunt me with their miseries,

I shall not be overcome… for I am already drowning in love.

 

© 2014 Christina Chase

 

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And Every Tree Therein

By the one who has created me, am I fulfilled.

Isaiah 44:23-24

Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.

Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

I did not make this beautiful Maple tree that stands amid the grasses, its secret roots buried in the earth, its winsome branches flourishing toward the sky. Nor do I make my home among its limbs, nor take my sustenance from its bark, nor slake my heated body within its shade. I gaze upon the loveliness of the tree, delighting in its shape and form and the myriad intricacies of its lush and verdant leafing, its dark and curving limbs sublime.

Perhaps I am the one who first caught it, as a seed, as it flew downward upon its single wing from the parent tree. Round and round it whirled, spinning like a dervish, mindless of its surroundings, its beauty embryonic, waiting to unfold. Perhaps I am the one who split open the earth with my fingers and tucked in the Maple seed, hoping for and envisioning the great unfurling growth to come. Perhaps, then, I feel a relationship, sense an ownership of this tree that has taken root in the spot that I chose. But, the tree is not owned, regardless of whatever documents or boundaries humans may draw up. The tree does not relate to me as owner, friend, or kin and owes me absolutely nothing. The parent tree itself has no further relationship, no more than any growing thing has with another. For neither the parent nor I brought the Maple into being.

This tree was first envisioned, its growth first optimistically planned, its beauty first enjoyed, by none other than the one who set the sun to shine and every star in the heavens. With a silent word and a motionless movement, this tree, those grasses, that cloud, these birds, this sky, this earth, and I were created from nothing; a spatial matter allowed to exist because it was willed to be, unfolding from density to diversity through the eons of newly recognized time, stopping for nothing and nobody. Until the day that I can see this tree is here. And as I gaze upon its loveliness and delight in the wonder of its dark and curving, its green and fluttering, its strong and delicate, its deep and reaching shape and form, time is not recognized nor are the boundaries and definitions that we humans draw up. There is beauty here, and life. A past, a present, and a future, here in this now that is eternal in this clear moment of seeing, this moment of awe.

I did not make you, beautiful tree. You were created by the one who is uncreated and your fulfillment is in your being just as you were created to be. Nothing less and nothing more will bring you greater worth. Your flesh may or may not be used for building shelter or burning heat; your flowing blood may or may not be sucked up, or drawn out and boiled down, for sweet eating. Yet, you will be you. Whether symmetrical or crooked by the situation of your growing, you were chosen to exist – you were loved into being by Being and, so, you are always beautiful in the very truth of your existence. Should I never have seen you, should no human eyes ever have rested upon your living form, your life would have been beheld by the Ever Living One, the one who delights most in you, and, therefore, you will always be fulfilled. For trees have not the legs with which to run away from the truth, nor the lips with which to deny reality… you are your endless song of praise and thanksgiving.

Not like me. With mind to wander and will to obscure, I wrench my roots from out of love and pull down my branches lest they reach for the unreachable. I claim that I am a realist, my feet firmly on the ground without my head in the clouds – but I am a fool. The truth is given me, ultimate reality is here – yet I too often refuse to receive, refuse to see, what is eternal, what is unseeable, what is the beauty of this tree.

 

© Christina Chase

All Rights Reserved

The LORD Hath

Psalms 6:9

The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.

We send a thought into the universe

and believe the higher power receives the transmission

and gives us back what we send out.

Am I then a frequency?

Bouncing off of poles and satellites,

a ricochet of myriad messages in waves of pulse

are we, creatures with minds?

Creatures of minds… but the mind a series of synaptic flashes

that are no flashes of brilliance, really, but, rather,

biological secretions of fluids and chemicals in the brain;

mechanical transfers of the parts of life, life to life being merely multiplication: the universe?

Energy is the movement of matter? Or is matter no matter, but actually energy?

And where does the moving begin? Like a billiard ball struck by a cue that

strikes another ball and another, atomic particles divide and scatter because…

Because…?

There is an unmoved mover that is not the universe.

There is an uncaused cause that is not matter-ial, yet is the opposite of immaterial.

Do I set the things of my life in motion?

Do a butterfly’s wings cause a monsoon?

Yet where did it all begin?

Infinite universes of infinite matter with infinite possibilities in parallel?

Am I the butterfly? Or am I the petal borne on the wind?

Or… beyond my thoughts and imaginings… beyond myself…

beyond my flesh and blood, beyond all matter and detectable energy…

am I being loved…

 

Every thought and imagining,

every person, every particle,

every body of mind and heart and strength is

being loved….

It is we who receive.

And every hope, every fear, every prayer, every moment,

is being loved….

Does an element cease to be an element when it is compounded?

Does the sky cease to be the sky on a mountaintop

or in a cave? Is the universe no less the universe in a grave?

What is in and throughout, what is above and below and all through is

being loved….

How can a thought be lost when it is being loved?

How can a supplication be unheard when it is being loved?

How can an offering not be accepted when it is being loved?

How can a spurning not be forgiven when it is being loved?

How can the feet run away from the feet, how can the lips kiss the lips,

how – unless we shut off love?

The bowl in the pouring rain is overflowing full –

unless it is turned upside down.

Before the uncreated creator I stand, I kneel, I lay me down,

with the begging bowl of my heart open and upright, ready to be full,

for I am being loved….

 

I am not a beacon or a signal and the universe is not my maker,

for I am not crafted parts manipulated into a sum to immaterially transmit into

the hum of the universe for the sake of matter-ial return. I am

being loved….

 

The question is – am I allowing myself to be loved?

have I shut off love or am I open? have I turned upside down in this matter-ial world?

I am being loved – am I being loving?

Love is the Absolute Truth and only error denies Love.

Only willfully relentless error chops off the feet and burns off the lips

and deludes the mind with immaterial singing and dancing.

© 2014 Christina Chase

All Rights Reserved

With Open Face Beholding

Lord, change me, make me new. Make me like you! – the plea of the sunflower.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD.

Sunflower

There is a flower in my garden which is named for the sun. In appearance, much like the sun is she, golden arrayed, burning bright from the center with flaming colors outward spread. But there is more – much more meaning to her identity, because with the sun her whole existence is so lovingly aligned.

She does not mean to mimic or fool by merely sporting appearance – for what bird would dare to perch upon an orb of fire, and, so, what would she have to gain if she would scare away her own propagators, the midwives of her progeny with which she will be so heavy pregnant? She is humble and knows that she is merely a creature bound to the life-giving sun, and by no means desires to be a substitute. Yes, she stands tall and bold, but her height and breadth is but a measure of the depth of her humility, for her only wish, as far as a flower can wish, is to look up to that which she adores. It is the looking up that has raised her. It is the love of heavenly light that has opened wide her green-leafed arms. It is her submission to her Master that has given her flowery majesty.

For, all day long, while the sun shows forth his open face, shining full with glory, her rapturous gaze is all caught up in him. Every minute of every hour that passes, she faithfully follows his path with steadfast love. No matter what may come between them, whether mist or cloud or dark of night, it is him she always seeks, it is him that her hope will always find. Some dark days will fall, when a downpour may weigh her head too heavy to lift, but when the rays of the sun are visible again, the drops will slip from down her sunny cheeks and she will pay them no mind, not even to shake them away. She looks upon the sun again, never having lost him, for she has kept the thought and memory of him, the warmth of the gift that he has given, deep in her heart.

Yes, even when the sun slips over the edge of sight and pulls the veil of night down behind him, she is patient and trusting, and does not collapse in the darkness. Her head she bends down low – but not in despair, for one who loves as she loves can never hold despair – but in ever recognition of where her beloved lives. Though invisible to her petal eyes, her heart is not deceived and senses, with true love’s faith, his presence beneath the surface of the world. And so her vigilant gaze, ever fixed upon its deathless source, follows him as he shines on realms unknown and unseen, far from his touch get ever near to his soul. And when the night is opened slow, with tender, aching rush, the sun’s rays find her ready face, expectant in faith, and she receives anew the outpouring love of him whom she adores.

From this cause, then, is this flower called for the sun. He is her love, her reason, and her destiny. Her blossomy pledge of devotion is her very blossoming – and she is transformed by and into the one whom she loves.

© Christina Chase

Before the World Began

Pefect Gratuitouness…

2 Timothy 1:9

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Before I was… I AM.

Before time… Eternity.

Before space… Infinity.

And even now, as I live and breathe,

in me, around me, all through me and

everywhere there is a there – and even where there is not… Grace.

Beyond matter, the particles and energy and all that can be detected with tools and brains,

beyond matter is Ultimate Reality, is Truth;

The Source, still and silent as It churns and sings with Life,

is beyond the reach of our physical senses, of our intellect and imagination.

Beyond grasping, the One Who IS, Infinite/Eternal One… is.

 

So… who am I?

I did not exist before the Word,

I would not exist without the Word,

for, through, with, and in the Word,

I am made flesh

and spirit.

No useless matter hurls through a meaningless universe,

for all is called forth into being by Being Itself.

Why does something exist instead of nothing?

Because the Infinite/Eternal One, Who is no thing, exists.

The finite cannot reach for the infinite

without losing its fine uniqueness that is its own particular identity;

Rather, the Infinite, ever-invisible/intangible and ever-motionless, reaches out

for us.

The perfect gratuitousness, which is the measureless Will powering Creation,

calls forth, through the unfathomable Word, the finite from no-thingness –

for no reason and no need, save for love.

Pure love, unadulterated by the finite, is Divine Reason…

is the eternal why…

is the Life of Grace.

 

Restore me, Infinite/Eternal One, to my reason for being.

Still and silent, with the speed and song of Thy Love, of Thee,

reach into my intellect and imagination, reach into my finite body and senses,

without a word, speak Thy Word into my soul,

and I shall be redeemed.

Not because I deserve to be, not because I have grabbed such,

not for any reason or any need – save for love.

The finite cannot take on the infinite without losing itself infinitely;

But the Infinite assumes the finite

in Christ

and, by the Gift given us before the world began,

the finite loses its finity in the infinity of the soul, and

restored, renewed, those who live,

though in the darkness of intellect and the weakness of human will,

shall see Light… Infinite… Eternal… Truth.

Christina Chase

Of Your Fire

“What will fear drive you to do?”  A poem inspired by a random piece of Scripture and the burns I still bear…

Isaiah 50:11

Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

Loneliness and sorrow settle on me like the night;

no moon or stars to guide me in the darkness of my woe.

Deep in the woods of melancholy,

deep in the woods of fear – who will ever find me here?

I am alone in the pitch black of my mind, in the pitch black of my heart,

desperate in my need to see and be seen.

 

Here is tinder ready at hand, the shadows and phantoms that haunt me in the dark;

and here the flint rock of my hardened fear, upon which I strike, with terrored force,

my desire, my craving, my yearning of basest urge.

I must fight the darkness of this world and not let it consume me.

I must set fire to the dry and hollow of this place and have it burn.

 

Sparks fly up from my own flesh – see? I am not alone –

the heat of ash and burning embers are stars and moon of my own making,

I walk in the light of pride, guided by my own burning.

Mistaking the pain for love and the searing for union,

I dance in the flames of self-kindling, chopped up into little bits of fuel.

Conceit and distrust spread the fire all through me,

what doesn’t char and crumble is melting into the ground,

and yet, the monstrous spectres do not burn away – they are in the fire, they are in my hands,

they are in my eyes and ears and nose and mouth, choking me…

I am suffocating in smoke.

 

Had I only waited…

had I only made my home in the loneliness

instead of burning my way out;

had I only listened for the night sounds, not terrible and creeping,

but, deeper in the forest of my discontent, the voice

of living water running deep, the song of the Source

singing the night… singing the coming dawn…

singing me, who was never alone.

Christina Chase

 

Do Ye

Luke 6:31

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

 

The Golden Rule

applies to king and fool,

and lies at the heart of true living:

What you want

is what you should be giving.

 

But how can you give what you don’t possess?

Love is all you need,

don’t give or desire anything less.

What things you have, share with those who have not;

and if you lack in things, then share what you’ve got –

eyes that see beauty, ears that hear pain,

A heart that wills to pump forth loving

kindness, again and again and again…

 

For love is the heart of every Man,

formed by the Eternal Spark.

To those who have lost the inner flame,

be a candle in the dark…

Would you will to dwell in the darkness and cold?

Then, go, rekindle their fire – be generous, be bold.

Christina Chase