Not Comforting

I forgot my toothbrush.
Damn.  There’s no checklist for
What to bring the day
After your mom went to
Be with Jesus in the night.

The end.
She’s gone, but

Then there are these short films
Flowing between the bars of
Sadness, small reasons to smile
Around the tears.
Random recollections.

The different kind of tears,
Joy only, no room for sorrow, when
Katy burst into our world,
Screaming and crying tears of her own—
Mom’s first grandchild.

Then the same scene a few years apart,
Little people vaguely resembling
Winston Churchill invade us again and again, and
There’s mom, more joy-tears flowing for
Bob and for Kelly.  Glory moments gone
But forever part of me.

Another vignette:  She in her red dress for
My wedding day.  More joy tears. But then
There she isn’t, in the purple dress she
Wanted to wear for Katy’s wedding day.
But it does not honor her memory to
Remember what never will be.
I must blink that away, wipe away the
Not-joy tears she didn’t want me to shed.

I know, I know, this isn’t
Really the end, she’s in a body now that’s
No longer racked with pain,
No longer breaking down, she’s
There with God and all the dogs we’ve
Ever loved who’ve gone before, and
Maybe a cat, but that’s
Not helpful now because she’s
Beyond my reach.

And now a soundtrack for the short film:
Oh how she loves her teddy bear, with
Chocolate eyes and cinnamon hair.
That was me.
It is me
As her melody flows through
My mind again for the first time in years.
Not haunting, but
Not comforting either.

David K. Carpenter
March 30, 2018
In Loving Memory of My Mom,
Nancy B. Carpenter

Copyright © 2018 by David K. Carpenter

Away from Egypt

You led me
Away from Egypt,
Out of slavery,
Away from bondage, heading
For the Promised Land.

I followed, free
At last.

Hills became mountains,
Dips became valleys, too
Many excuses to
Go back.

You come back for me
Every time, ever patient, to
Lead me away again.

Sometimes I wish You’d
Drag me away, lock me in
New chains so I can’t go back.

That is not Your Way.

You lead, show me the Way,
I follow.
You look over Your
Shoulder sometimes to
See if I’m still with
You, come back for me
When I’m not.

I trust You, but I
Want to trust You
Help my unbelief.

Lead me
Away from Egypt,
For good this time, a
Return to Eden.
David K. Carpenter
August 19, 2016

Copyright © 2016 by David K. Carpenter


Miracles of the Day

Of all the things
I am:  husband, employee,
Neighbor, friend, son,
I’m most proud to be
Your dad.

I watch you at play and
Wonder how I could’ve
Taken part in your creation.
You came from me, and now
You return to me,
Filling in a piece of me
That never was there before.

There’s so much I need
To do for you.
I’ll teach you to write and
Read and sing.
I’ll show you what it means
To love music and art and
The Colorado Avalanche.
I’ll teach you to thank God
For all that He has done
For you, and us.
I’ll always love your Mommy
So that you’ll know the warmth
Of a close family.

But there’s also a lot
That you can do for me,
If I let you.
You can brighten even
The worst of days by
Running to me, hugging my leg.
You remind me that sometimes
Playing with the doll house
Really is the most important thing
In the world. You won’t want me
As your playmate for very long.
I see innocence and wonder in
Your big brown eyes.

And of all the sounds
I hear, a summer breeze
Teasing branches of pine,
Ocean waves roaring up to
The edge of the land,
Birds singing praises of
Sun and spring,
The music that makes my
Heart race most is
When you call out to me,
“Daddy, Daddy!”

David K. Carpenter
August, 2001

Copyright © 2001 by David K. Carpenter


Miracle of the Day II

Awaking to my favorite
Breakfast, awaking at all; a
Good morning kiss and coffee,
Dogs overjoyed that I
Finally woke up:
Miracles of the day.

A friendly handshake,
Kind words exchanged,
School supplies to excited kids
Who need them—there is
No color when being the
Hands and feet of the
God who loves us all.
Miracles of the day.

Lunch, laughter,
Love unending; a
Text from my son, who
Seldom reaches out—
Miracles of the day.

Sunlight as diamonds too
Many to count dancing
On rippled lake, a
Cooling breeze dancing
With aspen and pine; a
Delicate lavender flower
Wonderfully made atop a
Lanky dancing weed; is that
Sound the wind in the trees or the
River washing over rocks?
Miracles of the day.

Crickets singing to the
Rising moon, the clouds
A canvas for the
Sun’s fiery farewell; the
Pungent, clean scent of
Earth made new as rain
Rolls in from the west.
Miracles of the day.
A child-like faith, full of
Wide-eyed wonder, in
God who will never love me
Any less than He does
Right now.
Miracle of the day.

Miracles of the Dei.

David K. Carpenter
August 13, 2016

Copyright © 2016 by David K. Carpenter


Looked You in the Eyes

I followed You
Around, listened to every
Word You said. You
Said You Came for me,
To save me from myself
Before I knew who You
Were, and I believed You.

But before long, I
Forgot, I looked You
In the eyes and
Turned my back on You.

I came to tell you I’m
Sorry, but I looked You
In the eyes and knew:
Grace, forgiveness,

David K. Carpenter

Copyright © 2016 by David K. Carpenter


Pas de Trois

I wander down
The street, accepted by
Few, but mostly

There is noise in one big
House, noise and
Light, laughter.
Music that makes me think of
Something I lost a long time ago.
Outside, I can’t help
Looking in.

The door swings
Open, I glance away
Embarrassed for being
Caught peeking.

“Come join us,” calls
A Voice to anyone
But me.
But there is nobody else around.
“Yes you!”

I shuffle toward the
Open door, the Light,
Stumbling toward what
I do not know.

Three figures dance a
Random dance, or
So it first seems.
I stand at the edge, drawn
By warmth of Light, by
Laughter and Love.

A pattern emerges, complex and
Choreographed, yet elegant with
Eternal beauty.
No one leads, each defers to
The Other Two, fluid grace.
I’ve no idea how it works but
It does, the music stirring something deep
Inside, yearnings, long-forgotten dreams.

I laugh, a childish sound, and they
See me,
Know me,
Love me anyway.

“We’ve been waiting for you to dance your part,”
They tell me.

“I don’t know this dance,” I say, and yet I
Find myself joining in.
Clumsy, I fall and ruin
The dance but they
Catch me like it’s part of
The routine, and
Still we dance.

There are no rules to this dance, only
Love and Light and laughter and
Music that is no longer haunting. It is a
Divine dance, a celebration.
You come in too, there’s
Always room for one more.

David K. Carpenter
June 17, 2016

Copyright © 2016 by David K. Carpenter


Repeat Return

I run away from
You because of something
I did that I wish I hadn’t. I
Can’t face You, You will
Punish me, I deserve it but
Wish I didn’t. I
Finally realize I can’t
Hide from You, not
Now, not ever, so I
Drag myself, a lost boy who
Sometimes wants to stay
Lost, through muck and
Shame back to Your
Presence, and instead of
Punishment, Peace. Not
Peace like no fighting,
Peace like wholeness, like
Nothing was ever broken.
How can that be? I was
Broken, I
Still am.

Why would I ever leave this?

But I do, a lost boy who
Thinks he knows best, who
Thinks maybe it’s better to be
Lost sometimes. But I can
Never be. I wander again, make
Something more important than You, do
Something stupid, say
Something hurtful to
Someone You thought important
Enough to die for. Could
Be a long list.
Why have I left Your
Peace for a piece of
My American dream?

How many times can I
Screw up and crawl back to
You? Maybe this time You
Won’t be there, won’t take
Me back. I’ve used up my
Seventy times seven.
But I try again, turn
Back to You.
What else can I do?
Are You there?

Maybe not this time.

But when hope has
Slipped through the hole in
My pocket, You are there
On the horizon, running
Toward me, arms wide,
Welcoming me back, though
I am so far from deserving it.

I am shame and
You are Extravagant Grace and
I am found again.

David K. Carpenter
April 11, 2016

Copyright © 2016 by David K. Carpenter



Face down in the dirt
While you hang there with
Nails I drove through your feet and hands.
How could I let this happen? How
Could I cause this to happen?
Your tears and blood drip into the dust
All around me making strange
Mud that should make any
Blind man see.

I draped my hopes on
Your carpenter shoulders, a
Glowing, precious mantle of
Tomorrow’s victories. You also
Grabbed my fears and worries,
Hoisted them on your back,
Carried them like nothing.
Now I guess I take them back,
Adding more to the pile.
What happens now?
Where are you now?
Glowing mantle gone, dripping
Into the dust with your blood.

Wandering in the wilderness,
Two days that seem like 40.

New week comes, another
Day of hopelessness, but then—
Your body is gone? But then
There you are, wearing my
Golden glowing mantle. On my
Knees at your feet, now
My tears in the dust.
Why have you done this for me?
Where are you now?
Living inside me, really

Everywhere, if I only look hard enough.

David K. Carpenter
March 19, 2016

Copyright © 2016 by David K. Carpenter

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