When Death Comes Knocking

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It does make us rethink life when death is knocking
making us withdraw into our cocoons
Time to rethink our way of life // our values // our purpose
while we quarantine in our homes
Forced reflection demanded when death offers its portal
Looking out on quiet streets
Neighbors now masked strangers
Some live in fear // most take precautions
Others choose denial // finding reality hard to face
We now live in a time warp somewhere out in space
Getting prepared to make entrance
into a strange new world
Uncertain what walking through this portal may reveal
We step out cautiously and do as we’re told
Life is precious // some will die // most will live
We just hope and pray death’s portal
is not our chamber door

Staircase Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Anmol asked to consider the word portal for our prompt today! As we move into a new way of living with the dangers that are all around us, I chose to write about how it affects us mentally as well as physically.

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Nightmare Scream

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     Everyone said the house was haunted. No one lived there since Jim was found hanging in the back bedroom. He came home from a trip to Atlanta and was told by the sheriff that his wife had been murdered by her ex-husband. Weeks later, Jim just couldn’t face life any longer without his one true love.
When George Scott, his neighbor down the hill found him, he immediately called the Sheriff. He met him at the end of the lane, and the two of them went up to the house. The door creaked as they went in and found the chair lying there and the rope dangling from the closet, but Jim was nowhere to be found!
   On full moon nights, some say they see movements in the window. Others say they see Jim standing there, as “his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream!”

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Tonight we are writing Prosery at d”Verse. Bjorn asked us to write a prose piece of exactly 144 words, that includes this line from Maya Angelou’s Poem …Caged Bird Sings:  …his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream…

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Feeling Rejected

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On Good Friday Christians reflect on the death of Christ on the cross, and what his sacrifice means for us. The human side of Jesus suffered unspeakable physical pain. Some say that God will give you strength in your time of need. But it is my experience that when that time comes, it is very difficult to feel that presence. Even Jesus cried out on the cross, wondering why God had forsaken him in his darkest hour. Pain and rejection seem to be Siamese Twins! It is very hard to have your whole world collapse and not feel rejected. This is why it is so important to have persons who will walk with you and help you regain your perspective once more, understanding that God loves you even when you don’t feel it.

Dark night of the soul
Feelings rejection’s pain
Forsaken // alone
Stretched out on life’s cruel cross
Has God turned his face from us?
In His pain he cried
“My God, my God, why have
you forsaken me!?”
Feeling rejection’s pain
In that dark night of the soul

*****

Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Plague

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How quickly our perspective changes;
Like fighting children on the playground
arguing over insolent remarks;
Now lined up before the school master
waiting to be disciplined;
Wondering if // and when…
How hard // or how little?
Who even remembers
what the fuss was about?
When we are facing the chalk board
with our life written on it
our past…
our present…
our future…
For now the plague has come.
We all are Egyptians
with no blood on our doorposts;
Waiting to see
if the death angel
will pass us by…
And when this dark night is past
we have a Red Sea to cross.
The promised land awaits

Photo: Dwight L. Roth
At d’Verse, Bjorn asked us to face our present reality of quarantine along with our reflection of past epidemics and the Black Plague of years gone by. Today we are writing a poem using the prompt plague!
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Call to Prayer

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Why do we wait till crisis comes
When fear sets in and the body grows numb
To raise our hearts and voice in prayer
Calling to God // now made aware
And why do we think our begging and pleading
Will now be heard by Almighty God’s heeding
As folks are dying and we are reeling
Our invincible life precariously careening
Prayer is not the magic wand // making all serene
Nor the serpent on the pole to look upon for healing
God is not simply at your beck and call
Now that you have need and life’s about to fall
Crisis makes all aware that God has always been there
From everlasting to everlasting // though we never gave a care
Prayer does not bring OUR answers in time of despair
But rather strength and endurance to face all that’s there
So weep not for the grateful dead now no longer in pain
Rather weep for the soul who’s life has not yet waned
And for healthcare workers in the midst of crashing towers
Who find strength to help others in their final hours

Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Posting this for d’Verse open link night…

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Words Remain

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When I am gone my words remain…
Forever lost in cyberspace
Words in black and white refrain
When I am gone my words remain
Pictures painted on cave walls plain
Left for others who search this place
When I am gone will words remain
Or, just a black and white refrain?

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Frank asked us to write a triolet. Since this is totally new to me, I took an extra day to work on this one. I am making a stab at it and hope it is close to what we are supposed to do.  For more on what a triolet is, check with Wikipedia.

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Nothing is Permanent

 

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I was sad to receive word last week that that my childhood neighbor had passed away at age 94. He was such a creative and talented man and father of a my childhood friend and playmate. When I saw him two years ago, he still had many good memories to share. It reminded me once again of the impermanence of life.
100_0192 (2)        It has been over fifty years since I lived next door in my childhood home, which now gives the impression of impermanence as you can see. This evening Merril, at d’Verse Poets Pub, asked us to write a poem that reflects on the significance of impermanence.

Nature reminds us
Everything in life changes;
The sun still rises.
But houses deteriorate;
And good friends and neighbors die.
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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

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Expectations and Faith

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After seventy-two years of observing the way Faith and Expectation works, I have come to the conclusion that we put way more expectations on our faith than the writers of our scriptures ever intended. The following is something I have been mulling around in my mind for a couple of years. This is the best way I can express what I personally have experienced. You may see it differently and that is OK. To me faith is simple and easy to understand. Many have made it complicated and demanding, filled with unrealistic expectations.

I’ve prayed but had no answers;
Believed in miracles // still waited my turn;
Had faith to move mountains
but the mountains remained;
Read the promises of comfort in times of trouble…
Believed I would find peace in the storm;
Yet saw only blackness and overwhelming sorrow.
Believed Jesus would carry me when I could not go on;
Instead, fell flat on my face crying to God for help.
Discovered there is a time for everything under heaven;
Everything in due season // sometimes sooner // sometimes later.
So, when you pray don’t expect expected answers;
You will usually wait for things to take their course.
Don’t lay on God expectations beyond what might happen;
Leave the miracles for the unexpected occasion.
Don’t let your faith become a denial of reality;
Most illnesses take their course // healing may or may not come;
Most troubles will blow over in due time with scars to show;
And yes, you will feel scared to death through it all.
So, hang on for a wild ride on this roller coaster we call life;
And, if in the end we are blessed with a loving caring family
and friends //consider them a blessing from God.
They will sustain us and walk with us
through the valley of the shadow of death.
If not, we will endure to the end…
When our spirit rises to rejoin our creator.

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It is interesting to me how different most prayers are from this example Jesus gave his disciples!

Matthew 6:9 –
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
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your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
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Give us today our daily bread.
12
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one…

NIV – Gateway Bible.com

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Death and Life

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I posted this poem follow the death of my wife’s Uncle David, two years ago in September. We traveled to Pennsylvania and enjoyed our interactions with family members we had not scene in a long time. Following the funeral, we traveled around the community where here father’s family lived. This included visiting the Snavely Mill, that was once owned by her great grandfather. At the mill we encountered a beautiful Great White Egret that lived near the millpond! I thought it would be good to repost this memory once again for you to enjoy.

Mourning the loss of an uncle today
Everyone gathered to say goodbye
A sad occasion yet a celebration of life
Reviewing a life well lived and too soon gone
A reunion of sorts where the family gathers
Not only to say goodbye but to say hello
Many years of disconnect come together
Childhood cousins now grown break bread
Speak of their Uncle with stories to tell of their own
Following the funeral a long ride in the country
Enjoying corn fields and bubbling creeks
Looking for pieces of history finding some
At Great Grandpa’s millpond next to the Snavely Mill
A beautiful gift rises into the air
A Great White Egret with spreading wings
A reminder that along with history and reconnections
Life goes on
Life is beautiful
Life is still worth living

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

When My Spirit Rises

When my spirit rises
Unencumbered and free
No weight or worry accompanies me
Interesting that I value things
When in the end the spirit flies
Leaving them all behind
How much I worry and fret
But this too shall pass when I am gone
My spirit rises out of this shell
A virtual butterfly reborn
From caterpillar to chrysalis
Reborn in the image of God
Spirit Creator Redeemer Savior
Knowing there is no place for the earthly
In the spirit world beyond
I can’t take it with me
But then again… Why would I want to?
When my spirit rises
Leaving it all behind

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

This is a poem I posted a year or two ago.