Somehow About The Poem

The price of rain decreases

At the free market of poetries

Even if

The sky sends a look

Through each drop…

Even if

My leaves of paper got green

While you, poets,

Were fishing

Radioactive trout…

Look,

Even the incorruptible time loses

Some moments

From place to place.  Just

Pick them up and give them a breath

Before they become stones

(anyone knows how unuseful

the moments of stone are).

In the rest

The poem is like a silence,

Like a place from where

Someone just left…

This really matters…

Who can pasture

The flock of my words,

Those trend setters, some will say,

Who kill the grass

To smell the hay…

There’s no place for you,

O, shepherds of my words,

Trough this squeaky forest of wooden swords…

This green pasture of bar coded grass blades

Is not for you, nor are those virtual shades.

You show some allergies

To that optimized blue of the sky

Not to low, not too high…

Leave those stereo nightingales

And this computerized dark,

I want my words together

In the poem of this ark…

Don’t rest by those

Y2K compliant still waters,

Allow some death

In your breath!

This really matters…

Hmm…

It takes two

For a deep silence,

 

It takes a crowd

For a painful loneliness…

Oneness

You are the letter A, I am the digit one,

The two of us to hold the oneness alive…

The hardest way of cleaving in us is being done.

We started both with walking but ended in a dive…

We started up the journey, a rock and iron ball,

Two question marks in labor to be an exclamation!

We paid in love together the ageing heavy toll,

We sang along the ancient songs of adoration.

While being barked quite often by bulldogs of this age

No one will know how often we barked in full reply…

O, what a madding chaos surrounds us, what a rage!

Our quiet moments are shorter than a sigh…

But in the Lord, together, we’ll make it day by day,

With me the digit one and you the letter A!…

Behold…

Behold, a lilac blossoms just a heart beat away

From all your preplanned holydays and feasts…

Open your eyes, my darling, it might be your day,

Listen to the dew in the morning, don’t grumble at least.

Behold, the sunshine knocks in the window glass

Echoing trough your half open eyes some story telling beams

From a long forgotten realm of a cheerful grass

And waters that flow in heavenly streams.

Behold, have some blue soil and my metaphor’s seed,

My poem is a new landscape for your rugged earth.

Let us say good bye to the empty words and greed,

Listen, there is a new galaxy crying for birth!

Tame the words, darling, keep them together and still

Don’t let them fly around at Parliament Hill!

Let’s Run…

Let’s run away, my darling, let’s run our days away,

This life’s a crucifixion, this planet is a cross,

Don’t speak a word this morning, don’t ever dare to say

“We’re gonna die!” don’t speak us unto loss…

Forget about the winters, forget those rocky hills,

Let’s run for hope, my darling, for our only hope,

Forget the empty freezer, forget those nasty bills,

We’ll never reach the ugly end of the rope!

There is a heaven, darling, our God is still the same,

Don’t ever mind the winters, don’t worry, don’t be sad!

But if the doors don’t open we’ll still enjoy the game

And hold our hands, my darling, before the firing squad…

At six in the morning

Sounds of some sad steps, somewhere on the sixth floor

A lot closer, a toilet flash and a baby’s cry

Somebody just slammed a door

So that nothing may be new beneath the sky…

Sleepy walks, shy whistlers, dead traffic lights

Honking horns, sidewalks, some gone astray dew,

A street sweeper smiles as she cleans the sights

Of that old yawning moon…  the day is new…

As I walk alone, carving the streets on my palms

Smelling the fresh fumes and diesel fuel

I feel like laughing and jumping, reciting the Psalms

I wear this city, brothers, this is my jewel…

But as  I move in prayers to start the day afresh

I see the city flowing to wash away my flesh!

Are you still there

It seems like, timelessly happy, they are still there

Under the same linden tree, laughing their troubles away

Like they were here to burry those fossils everywhere

To prop the skies with the church towers, to plow the day…

I can still see their ages climbing afresh like a morning dew

Away from the trenches unleashing these hyper fairy tales

Under this shady linden tree nothing is old, nothing is new

These villagers are crossing from age to age, blazing  the  trails…

Sometimes they shepherd in their barren pastures some mysterious flocks

Sometimes they work their present from bad to even worse

Who can teach them to sing, or to throw the rocks?

They rode throughout history the same and only horse.

Who can teach them to dream through the short winter days

To carve their weddings to count their legends stone by stone,

The stars aren’t that bright, they say, nowadays…

They used to be closer together, now they shine alone…

It seems like always they are seeping their glorious wine

While sharing their timelessness under the shady linden tree.

Are you still there, sweet villagers of mine?

Don’t get your nightingales through speech therapy!

When Sleep Eludes You (3)

Style or substance- is it either or?

“Oh well…”, I say to myself, sometimes as an excuse, sometimes as a symptom of apathy or something similar.  Or giving up? No, rather a mild attack of cynicism, I think. Then something comes my way and everything changes. This is when, deep in the night, I start missing that old “oh well” of mine.  Ok, let’s start!  It was Sunday night; it was a night already prone to drive sleep away as Monday morning followed – usually a time when the previous week’s expectations prove to be wrong, a time when all the unexpected phone calls are meant to shatter your day and the mild blues grow to anxiety or whatever you call it.   But this was unexpectedly more than all of the above and many other Monday morning annoyances I failed to list.

What was it? Believe it or not, it was a hymn – a hymn that outlasted more than four generations, validated by the test of time as an artistic masterpiece, rewarded by the humility and joy of countless newborn Christians. This hymn was canonized by the universality of its message and tune beyond any boundaries and cherished by fond memories during crucial moments in the lives of so many.  Most of all, I believe, it has the eternal commendation of The Most High…  “Just as I am, I come to Thee…”, “So wie ich bin, so muse s sein”,  “Asa cum sunt la Tine vin… “,  “Takov kak est, bez del, bez slov”…  and so on…   Different languages, same tune, same harmony, same heavenly presence…  In the summer of 1992 we joined the worship of a reputable local body without even speaking or understanding much English.  It was that heavenly tune that brought our hearts together with our fellow Canadians’ hearts.  Oh, what a joy!…  And so it was, at other times, with “Amazing Grace”, “A mighty fortress is our God”, “What can wash away my sins…”, “It is well with my soul”…  That’s how we got across to each other as members of the same body when the language barrier could not be overcome.  It was the melody of the heart; it was the anointing of The Spirit, it was the breeze of heaven in the scorching heat of this always hostile environment for whosoever boldly acknowledges Christ’s lordship.  I apologize, my dear reader, I did not mean to digress and I beg you, stay with me for a while longer…  “Where are you, {“oh well”}”?  That was my loud inner shout that Sunday night.  Here it is:  if today’s Sunday morning happened 23 years ago, that summer of 1992, we would have missed the awesome touch of heaven that we felt back then.

Please understand me, this is what I am not trying to say:

  1. I am not saying that only old hymns should be sung and that there is no divine anointing in contemporary worship music. I am actually fond of many new Christian songs and I joyfully sing along whenever the tunes and the rhythm and the anointing pull me in.
  2. I am not saying that you must, despite your will, sing our old hymns, although it would be a good show of respect towards our Christian heritage if you did it once in a while.
  3. I am not questioning anyone’s motives in the things that generated mine and many other people’s frustrations.
  4. I am not aligning myself with anyone’s “religious correctness” in regards to what I am trying to say in this article.
  5. I am not holding back anything that I believe is true and should be said.

I struggled after this sleepless Sunday night with the thought that some kind of churchy, pharisaic judgment spirit crept into my soul leading me to believe that I am a misfit, a cynical sour fellow…  Then I checked the world out there and, to my comfort, many voices of different ages, even millennials (!!!), share, in one way or another, my feelings about this business of taking these old hymns[1] from our treasure box and singing them in a “new” way.   Dear brother, couldn’t you just come up with a new song?   It would have been commendable, pleasing to God and pleasing to all the people who cherish the memories of what this hymn means to them. It is our treasure box, brother, do not touch it unless you want to dust it off and display it to the joy of all of us, including the millennials whom you’re trying so hard to reach. One of the millenials[2] speaking out his mind gives us an inside look about the issue I am speaking about: “I am one of those rascally millennials, by the way. One of those enigmatic, paradoxical, media-dependent, coffee-drinking young people swept together under this millennial umbrella.” ( See footnote 2 for the whole article).   Here is what else he says:

“I love the theology, but I hate the expectations of pseudo piety. Love the gospel, hate the patriotic moralism. Love the Bible, hate the way it’s used. Love Jesus, but hate what we’ve done with him. Love worship, but hate Jesusy entertainment.” (Bold, italics and underlining are mine). Oh, how I love this friend, as he calls himself, Jonathan Aigner[3]! Here is how he defines worship[4]:” Worship is not an evangelistic tool. We don’t worship together to attract unbelievers. We worship together because God is worthy. We worship together because this gracious God has called us into his story and grafted us together as covenant people. We worship together because we desperately need to tell and retell and hear and rehear that story. We worship together to be refocused, reshaped, renewed by God’s gifts. We need liturgy. We need Word and sacrament.” (Bold letter outlines are part of the original text. Italics are mine)

I would like to return to my dilemma. Here is what I believe comes out of the “extreme makeover” of the old Christian hymns according to the taste and the will of our CCM[5] worship leaders: they believe that an old hymn will become more attractive to the young generation.  Wrong!  As the above-mentioned brother stated, there is no proof of that this will be more than “Jesusy entertainment”.  There is better entertainment outside the church, if you will, and sustained by professionals. They know all the ins and outs of the marketplace and master the manipulations of mind and emotions in a considerably more efficient way.  I suggest you stay away from this.  Whatever is out there cannot outsmart or outperform the work inspired by the Holy Spirit.  This is the way you should go.

…And, please, do not bring that shallow argument around style and substance. “Listen to the words!”, they will say, but the words are buried in the fluff of noisy instruments, sophisticated lighting, rhythm that is out of step with the message.  You know, it is like saying, “Drink the water, brother, it is the same water!”  Wrong again!  I would rather drink the water from a clean crystal-clear glass than from a gasoline tank or toilet bowl.  Since when have “style and substance” become “either or”? I might come back with more thoughts on “style or substance” but right now I will continue to pour out my two-penny wrath (please, call it thoughts!) on what I originally intended. There are damages in modernizing – that’s too mild; maybe “disfiguring” will be more appropriate – the old masterpieces and these damages come in more than one way:

  1. You are depriving the young generation of knowing and owning our rich Christian heritage. There is only one way to make it right: show them the original versions and let them judge and chose. That way they will, at least, know that we have a past and we have a history… They will probably experience the nostalgia of the times when a divinely inspired hymn of the 16th century is still beautiful today and there is nothing from stopping it from being sung today.  Not even the style!
  2. You damage your call. Because all these hymns are in the public domain, yes, you are safe from being accused of plagiarism, but you can surely fall into the music vandalism category. That would be the assessment of whosoever loves and cherishes true music. That trend of yours would resemble a graffiti “work” over the original painting of Mona Lisa. It is ironic that Il Divo or Nana Mouskoury or many other secular singers and groups show more respect and consideration for our musical heritage that our CCM worship leaders. They also sing our hymns and enjoy considerable success in the world we try to reach. You go figure!
  3. You damage the true meaning of worship. Worship is not meant to reach people for Christ, but rather to reach the heart of Christ.

There is more, a lot more that should be said along these lines.  As for me, I found rest in the serene atmosphere of old hymns after times when my soul was mercilessly hammered by whatever the world calls music and my mind was fogged by cheap alcohol and the blues.  I want God more than anything else, and what I sing or listen to must be in total harmony with His heart. I know, my dear CCM worship leader, that you have meant well.  I believe that out of your shattered alabaster box can flow the sweetest music, and through its tunes the glory of Christ will cover the earth.

[1][1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_As_I_Am_(hymn)

[2][2] http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2015/05/13/dear-church-an-open-letter-from-one-of-those-millennials-you-cant-figure-out/?ref_widget=related&ref_blog=ponderanew&ref_post=modernized-hymns-are-you-singing-hymns-or-just-contemporary-songs-with-old-words

[3][3] http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/about-jonathan-aigner/

[4][4] http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/54085

[5] [5] Christian Contemporary Music