I watch my dad on the sidewalk in front of the church. He gives an old man a twenty-dollar bill.
The Pastor asks him why he would give a twenty-dollar bill to an old bum. He will just spend it
on booze, he says.
Because he needs it, my dad says.
The old man takes the money from my dad’s hand, mumbles his thanks, and shuffles down the street
to the corner bar.
I stand on the steps of Mt. Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in my blue buttoned dress and mary-janes. My father looks up and smiles. I run into the Sanctuary to save him a seat, to the pew in the back, the one we sit in every Sunday, the one with all the scratches.
for his mother
the neighbor’s bare trees
William Paul Remy August 18, 1927 – April 15, 2017
A Journal of English Senryu
Volume 2, Issue 21
the last piece of watermelon
floats in the cooler
The Heron's Nest
Volume XIX, Number 3: September 2017
For those of us that are of a certain age "falling stars" may bring to mind a certain song from times gone past. "wide-brim hat" is a childhood memory of those lazy August days, when we didn't have a care in the world. . .
wishing I had a pocket
Volume 2, Issue 20
"Do you remember Conneaut?" I asked him.
"Conneaut," he repeated, slowly.
"You know, the lake! Remember the lake, and the boat with the canopy and the benches along the side?"
"Oh, Conneaut Lake!" He laughed as he remembered. "Yes, we rode the boat into town," he said.
"And do you remember the church?" I asked. "Remember when the preacher gave an altar call and I raised my hand? And you walked me down to the front because I was afraid?"
"Yes," he smiled. "And you were the only one," he said with pride in his voice.
I asked him if he remembered the restaurant on the lake, the one that had salt shakers with rice in them; and the Indian dolls in the souvenir shop, dressed in beaded leather, with papooses on their backs. His eyes went vacant again. The moment had passed.
It was dark when we left. Snow was beginning to fall. The winter solstice was fast approaching.
long night --
casts his net
Susan Beth Furst
Presence, Issue 58, July 2017
In October of 2016 I published my first book, Humpty Dumpty Cracks and All. It was illustrated by my daughter Rachael. This was a great accomplishment for both of us. It was a blessing to work together to bring Humpty's story to life. But blessings are not always easy. I have to say that in any partnership, especially when it is with someone you love, the road can get a little rocky. But Rachael and I persevered and after much hard work, and a few firings and rehirings, we managed to publish our first book. Quite the miracle, as neither one of us knew what we were doing! I have been blogging about Humpty for quite sometime on my Facebook Page, at Susan Beth Furst Poet and Author. You can read about Humpty and our publishing journey there.
Now, I want to introduce Humpty to my beautifuldefect readers. Humpty's story is a tale of hope and redemption, a classic fairy tale. He had become complacent after sitting on his wall for so many years. As he lay cracked and broken on the ground he began to despair. A wandering knight and a drummer boy offered little in the way of help. But a series of events ensued, and Humpty found himself miraculously transformed. It is my hope that you might find yourself transformed by Humpty's story. After all it is never too late for a miracle!
in the old kitchen
the cat tiptoes
"They have no wine," she said.
"Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come."
She told the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."
Jesus instructed them to fill six stone waterpots, twenty to thirty gallons each. The servants filled them to the brim. He told them to draw some out and they took the water which was now wine to the master of the feast. He was amazed at the quality of the wine and said to the bridegroom, "The host always serves the best wine first, but you have saved the best for last!" Jesus disciples witnessed this first miracle and believed.
The wedding feast went on for many more days and when it was over Jesus left with his disciples to go up to the city. Along the way he heard the sound of hammers echoing from the hillsides. He remembered when he was still working as a carpenter, with his brothers, in their father's shop. He grew silent as he walked, as if considering a matter of great importance, the utmost importance.
Turning back to his disciples he began to teach them about the kingdom. He was preparing them for the day, indeed the hour, when he would climb another hill. The sound of hammers would be much louder then. And he would stretch out his arms across a rough hewn beam, to finish what he had come to do.
the sound of hammers
on a distant hill
Jesus is coming soon. He loves you. Repent of your sins. Ask him into your heart. He will make you new!
We are all going to die,
I say smiling
My young doctor
appears to be uncomfortable,
I'm not sure if it's because
I am speaking about death
or the fact that I am smiling.
Yet I smile,
I am ready.
I have hope.
Death is an eye blink,
eyes close -
Jesus looks at me and smiles.
And you were expecting?
I was right!
It is true!
And I doubted
only once -
Do you look forward to the day when you go home? Not the one here, but up there, you know, Heaven and Jesus. The older I get, the more I think about that day, sometimes I even question my faith. I mean is He really there? Am I just fooling myself? Do I have some kind of a character flaw that I need the Jesus crutch to prop me up? After all most of the world doesn't believe. Even Christians can't seem to agree on essential truths. So many believe that all roads lead to Heaven. But Jesus said, "I am he way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6. And he went on to say, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." John 14:9. So Jesus is very clear on this, he is claiming to be the only way and he is claiming to be God. When he prefaces his statements with the words I am, he is alluding to the name that God told Moses and all of Israel to call him: "I Am." Jesus is God. If you are a Christian this is The Essential Truth. So when you doubt, know that faith is not a feeling. Faith is based on the word of God. Jesus is the word of God, the word of God who came to earth over two thousand years ago to save us from our sins. Jesus was and is "God with us." You may doubt this at times, you can pretty much count on that. But hold onto the Word. He is the fulfillment of God's promise to us. His promise to save us. His promise to give hope to the poor. His promise to heal the brokenhearted. His promise to set free the captives free. His promise to give sight to the blind. Hold on to that promise. It is the word of God, the living word, Jesus! Rejoice for you are loved!
For God so loved he world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
There was that sparrow at Panera the other day. He kept flitting back and forth between the trees and tables on the patio. It was a haiku moment, so I pulled out my ever present spiral notebook and pen. Later that night I tried to write, but the haiku wouldn't come. The sparrow demanded more. This is the story I think he wanted to tell.
at the middle eastern café
I sit beneath a colorless sky
and order coffee
and day-old baklava.
I drum the cold metal table
with my fingers
I down my coffee and
pick at the walnuts
in my desert.
pecks at the crumbs
that fall from my plate,
he cocks his head
and looks at me….
even sparrows eat the crumbs
that fall from the master’s table.
are you not of more value than they?
consider the lilies….
the sparrow flies away
and I walk home
the sweet taste
in my mouth+
under a streetlight
a red striped petunia blooms –
pushing through the cracks
in the sidewalk –
So what is the message? Provision! Our Father in heaven provides what we need both physically and spiritually. Jesus talks about this in the Bible, in the Book of Matthew, Chapter 6 verses 25-34. It is a beautiful discourse about how God loves us and values us. He wants us to talk to Him and depend on Him. If we ask, He will give us what we need. He says so. And He doesn't lie!
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
Matthew 6: 33