Into Silence

Attention is the beginning of devotion.

Mary Oliver
Startled by the beating of my own heart,
the pounding
of my thoughts in between my ears,
I have found
noise to be quieter than silence, have brokered
terms of peace armed
with a flashing screen.
Nothing frightens like
the thought that you may not be enough;
You are enough, are All.
In deep
silence I meet
the noise of fear, and greet
Your warmest, primeval whisper.

Resolution: No Clutter

Too fidgety the mind’s compass
(R.S. Thomas, “Adam Tempted”)

I pile books on books and
thought on thought. I pile
obligation onto guilt, and duty 
onto resignation. This
is panic in my breath and limbs
tingling with the pace of things.
There is no end, the wise teacher said,
to all flesh-weariness of thought.
I must find instead a small
pocket of my father’s grace;
I must breathe and breathe and breathe
in pinpoints where His kindness rests.
Not absent, Lord – You have never been
on holiday; You, O God, don’t sleep.
Yet in Your weekly scheme is space;
all Your bookshelves mouth Your peace.
Not absent, Lord. It is I who have been
too busy with my piles and piles
of nothing. You are everything.

Since setting minds on things above is hard

Since setting minds on things above is hard,
The mind always diverting to the place
Of greatest comfort, fearing open space;
Since often thoughts break off in weary shards
And off we go, empty, scanning the yard
Of day’s vacuum confusions, seeking peace
But scared to look directly at His face:
Let’s look instead upon the scars He bears;
Look at the throne He mounted, at His crown.
If, seeing in this sight our fractured shame,
Our minds connect through brokenness and tears,
Then we, perhaps, might sing to be His own
And turn aside from all He overcame.