Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Writing The Gloaming Limn (Part 2)

"Threads from all the other books in the series flow through the narrative...."

Formatting a poetry book is a unique challenge, and The Gloaming Limn was no different.  As I mentioned in my previous post, it was difficult enough to simply decide which poems made it into the book.  In the immediate aftermath of deciding which poems should be considered, I had upwards of 80 poems.  This was followed by the hard process of cutting poems, including ones that meant a lot to me and I would enjoy sharing with people.  Even so, I got my select group of poems and organized them into four sections, as I described in the last post.

When I format a book, I like to do it in pieces.  By pieces, I don't just mean so much doing each section separately.  Rather, each kind of page must be taken into account and prepared separately.  For example, each section break and section title page needs to be uniform.  This means paying attention to the precise font and size of text, as well as the exact number of spaces used, including alignment.  This is simple enough to accomplish on a title page, but with a poetry book, the formatting of the poems themselves is the real challenge.

The trouble with poems is that they tend to have a lot of line breaks.  As a result of this, there is a higher frequency of pages with only one or two lines on them, flowing over from the previous page.  Now, this can be solved by tweaking of font or spacing.  It's quite easy, really.  But then arises the problem that a particular poem might have a noticeably different format than all the others.  We can't have that.

So how did I resolve this?

Well, I broke my own rules.  I'm obsessive enough not to let (much) variety in font occur, but when it came to spacing, I really had to compromise.  Certain pages--I'll leave that up to the reader to figure out--have slightly different spacing than most of the others.  The key was to do this subtly and without making it obvious to the reader.  And after all, if the reader doesn't notice there's something peculiar going on, then there's no problem.  (Hence why the best solution for making horizontal lines in MS Word is so brilliant.)

And so there's not much more to say in terms of formatting.  After the book is formatted, it gets sent off to the printer, and assuming the printer doesn't mess things up, all is well.

However, probably my favorite part of putting this book together was when I received the artwork.  As usual, S. Joy Troester made some amazing art, painting a great cover.  Huge thanks to her for her high quality work on that.  And for those who don't get the point of the's a painting of a sunset.  A gloaming limn.  (Sorry, we had to.)  And then after we had the artwork finished, we sent it off to Felecia to have the lettering on the cover formatted.  Much thanks to her for doing a good job with that, as usual.

Here are some links to places where you can view their work:

S. Joy Troester's Artwork Page
S. Joy Troester's Blog
Felecia Buck's Blog

Again, much thanks to them for their work on The Gloaming Limn.

So there are some of the minor secrets involved with formatting and publishing my poetry book.  There's so much more that could be told, but it would likely get really boring.  If you have any questions about anything I mentioned or have not mentioned, please feel free to contact me, either through Second Man Publishing's facebook page, or through the Second Man Publishing website.

You can purchase a copy of The Gloaming Limn here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Writing The Gloaming Limn (Part 1)

"This is the green lift, this is the archer"

So why did I write The Gloaming Limn?  Why did I publish this book of poetry?  Well, to be honest, it was because a lot of people said I should.  They wanted to see all my poems placed into a single book and printed.  Eventually, I agreed with them and threw a bunch of my poems into a single text, had a cover made, and sent it to the printer.  Simple and easy enough.  But, because I very much like stories, it wasn't really that simple.

The Gloaming Limn is a book of individual poems, but together they tell a story.

Believe it or don't, "The Gloaming Limn" initially started out of my interest in unusual words.  'Gloaming' [gloh-ming] is an old, somewhat archaic word which simply means 'evening'--specifically 'dusk' or 'twilight'.  'Limn' [lim] is a word which means 'to describe'--it is often used as a term related to paintings or drawings, and how such art forms describe a scene.  Neat words on their own, but what really piqued my interest about them is how they don't appear to be from the class of words which they indeed are.  'Gloaming' sounds like a verb, but is actually a noun.  'Limn' sounds like a noun, but is actually a verb.  So I thought to myself, why not mash these two words together to make an unusual word mix with verb sounding nouns and noun sounding verbs with the verb as a noun and the noun as an adjective.  Or not?  I'm still not sure to this day exactly how to read 'The Gloaming Limn' as a phrase.  I do, however, know what it means.

I wondered, what would I say if I were asked to 'describe the evening'?  What does the evening remind me of?  And so a metaphor came to my mind.  What if we, as humans, live in a time which is quickly approaching the evening of this age?  And if we are, what does it mean?

So it gets me thinking.  In the evening of the day, in the last hours before sleep--in the evening of my life, in the last days before death--in the evening of this age, in the last years before the end, what would I tell people?  What would I say?

First, I realized, I would tell them how I see things right now--the way the world is at this moment.  And I wouldn't shy away from the bad and dark things.  Honestly, I would focus on those for a telling or two.  Because it's getting dark, and I want to understand how this darkness came to be.

Second, I would tell them stories of myself and the things that I've learned.  Both the sorrow and joy.  Both of the things that look good and are good, as well as the things that look good and are not.  At least, if nothing more, I can be honest with who I am.

And then last, I would tell them about hope.  I would share my hope with them, that there is something greater waiting for those who are willing to seek it and find it.  That even though things are getting dark and soon the terrible night will be upon us, this simply foretells the dawning of a new day.  And to say it plainly, that Yahshua the Messiah gave us this hope for a knew life.

Indeed, these are the themes running through The Gloaming Limn.  Sorrow, honesty, and hope.  Without these things, I think I would hardly feel alive at all.  And so with these things I wrote this wide series of poems over a couple years' time.  And so choosing which poems to place in the book should have been simple...but I didn't have this theme in mind, at least not so clearly, that whole time I was writing poems.

And so it is that there is a wide variety of poems I've written.  How could I have a theme, how could I organize a whole book, with such a wide variety?  Well, I began with making a list of poems that I deemed to be 'good enough' for the book.  The list turned out to contain about 80 poems.  That was way too many.  So I narrowed it down to the 'best' poems--that is, my favorites and the ones I knew were the favorites of other people.  That helped to narrow the list, but still it didn't feel very organized.

I then came up with the four sections of the book: Wintertime, Sisters, The Sabbath, and In Praise.  I realized that these were some of the strongest themes I had among the poems on the narrowed list.

Wintertime, as a section, are poems that tend to really focus on the idea of evening time.  It holds the first realizations that evening is quickly approaching and almost here.

Sisters is a section that, obviously, focuses on the females among us, but more than that the concerns of this world that weigh down all of us.  If those who we see as most lovely have concerns and troubles, then surely we all have troubles indeed.

The Sabbath is a section that just had to be in there.  People really enjoyed these poems when I first wrote them and shared them, so I had to include them in my poetry book.  Even so, I think this section is a turning point in the book.  It says, 'Yes, evening is coming and is even here, but there is still a rest and a comfort to look forward to.'  It has the inclination of hope, even during the darkness.

In Praise is also a section that needed to be included.  In fact, it may be the most important section.  It's a collection of poems that want to take things simply, to take things back to the heart of worship.  Yet, at the same time, it realizes that all of these words, everything I can possibly say, is insufficient to describe it all.  And that's okay.  Because no matter what, we have hope for the morning.  We have a confident expectation that no matter how long the night, we will again see the light.

So the book travels from evening into night, but ends on the precipice of stepping into morning.  And it has to end there, because it's impossible to really describe something we've not yet seen.  But the hope is there, and perhaps I'm leaving it up to the reader to decide what that next step is.

It's up to the reader to decide what it means.  We have what we have now.  And part of what we have is a choice.  A choice to choose death or life.  To choose the dark or the light.

And for now, my only suggestion is this: just remember that the light persists.

I plan on writing a second blog about the book, concerning more about the actual process of publishing and all that boring technical stuff, if anyone is interested.

For now, I'll leave you with a link to where you can purchase The Gloaming Limn.

Available in paperback on

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Strength of Love

In the strength of love

Do we find the meaning of life.

In the pursuit of right

Do we find that none of us are worthy,

But rather that we are only ever made worthy—

Not by anything we could ever earn,

But by what is earned for us.

In what is given to us

Do we find purpose,

And because it is given to us,

So we learn to give.

Give love,

Receive love,

And you have life.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rejoice, Rejoice

Rejoice for the day
of the redemption of the saints.
Rejoice for the hour
of salvation for the wounded.

Sing on the way
so that not a single soul faints.
Sing with great power
to tell the enemy he is ended.

We will be glad for what is done
and we will dance like our youth.
For the joy of overcoming sorrows
is born in the light of great truth.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Lights

Stars, my friend, must be one of the things
That keep me up at night,
Because they are just like the sun:
Even when clouds cover my vision
I still have expectant confidence that
They are there.

And beyond that,
They remind me of you—
All the things you’ve done,
All the things you do
And all the things I don’t know yet.

They remind me of my life,
A gift I’ve received to use to shine.
Maybe it’s been hidden away for some time,
But maybe I let it out every now and then
When I remember the lights above
And how they keep me up at night.

No matter how dizzying the evening becomes,
I know I have something to hold on to,
Like you and all of life that’s true.
So just show me the way
And I will hike on
With the earth beneath me,
With my heart still beating,
With the lights above...
With the lights at my side...
With light healing...
With light...
With light....

So comes the dark night,
But there is light.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Contention (Shabbat XIV)

Contend, O Yahweh,
With those who contend with me;
Fight against those
Who fight against me.

Won’t you be the most powerful voice
Singing to me in my sleep
In the night and in the day
As I find these ditches to leap?

Won’t you show me how to wrap my hands
Around the pocketknife of grace,
The blade of freedom that reflects
Like a bright reminder of this race?

Won’t you take up shield and buckler
And arise to come to my aid—
And I don’t underestimate it;
I don’t underestimate the price you paid.

The spear that was stuck into his side
To show us the blessing of the price
Holds nothing to the spear I’m asking for
As I attempt to learn the meaning of sacrifice.

And I just long to know,
I just long to be sure,
I just long to hear it—
Father, won’t you say it?

Tell my soul,
“I am your salvation.”
And then I will rest.
And now my prayer is complete.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


He watched the drops of water
Fall from his hand,
From the snow melting on his palm,
From the meeting of cold and warm,
And splash on the wooden floor
Where a puddle formed.

His hand was numb,
But he didn’t move it—
Just watched and waited.

It turned from frozen to liquid
Just there in his hand.
It just happened.

And so the snow melted away,
It turned to water.
So he found a rag and soaked up the puddle
And wrung out the cloth into a pan.

He placed the pan on the stove
And turned on the heat.
Could it become any warmer?

He put a hand to his chest
And sighed.
It was so warm, this feeling,
So warm.
He desired to find out if it could become any warmer.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hatter Island: Chapter 3

CHAPTER 3: The Halssons

Theo knocked on the Halssons’ front door and waited.  He looked around—a snow drift had piled up on the path just beyond the Halssons’ cabin, though it wasn’t a large amount of snow that covered the landscape.  The previous night’s storm had dropped two to three inches of snow and had left behind clear blue skies.
The door opened and there stood a tall man who appeared to be in his late thirties or early forties.  He smiled at Theo and said, “Hello, neighbor.”
“Hello, sir,” said Theo.  “I suppose you’re already aware that I’ve moved into the cabin down the hill—arrived yesterday afternoon.  My name is Theo Gruen.  I figured I should come meet you first thing this morning.”
“Well, very good to meet you, Theo.  My name is Peter Halsson.  Why don’t you come inside for a few minutes?”  Peter held the door open and Theo stepped through.  “We were actually just about to head down to meet you.  This is my wife, Lela.”
Lela Halsson had dark hair and looked to be a few years younger than Peter, and upon even an initial glance one would be able to notice how beautiful she was, in an elegant sort of way.  She was taking off and hanging up her winter jacket as she turned to acknowledge Theo.
“Good to meet you,” said Theo.
“Good to meet you, as well,” she said.  “What brings you to Hatter Island, Theo?”
“Um, well....”  Theo realized he didn’t have a ready answer for that question.  “I guess I’m not entirely sure, to be honest.  I suppose I’m just taking a long holiday—as far away from the bustle of society as I can get.  When I found Hatter Island, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a few months away from it all.”
“I can understand that,” said Peter.  “In fact, that’s probably why Lela and I live out here most of the year.”
“So you do live out here permanently, then?  Mr. Klima seemed to think that you would be away right now.”
Both Peter and Lela looked confused.  “We pretty much live out here all year round, yes,” said Peter, “though we do take a few days or a week every two or three months to head to the mainland for supplies.  It helps us to keep in touch with humanity whenever we get the chance.  But this Mr. Klima you mention...I’m not sure I know him.”
“He is the man who brought me out here on his boat.  He seemed as if he knew you folks well, or at least that he was acquainted with you.”
“Hm, that’s strange.  But perhaps I’m just forgetting about him.”  Peter turned to his wife.  “Do you remember a Mr. Klima, Lela?”
“No, can’t say that I do,” said Lela with a smile.
Theo furrowed his brow, but let the oddity pass that the Halssons didn’t seem to know of Mr. Klima at all.  “What do you two do out here?” he asked.
“Not much at all!” said Lela, momentarily placing a hand on Theo’s shoulder.  “Which is why it’s nice to have a neighbor here on the island for a change.”
Peter laughed at his wife’s joke.  “Actually, we both work out here.  I know, it sounds crazy; what could we possibly do out here?  Surprisingly we both keep relatively busy in this remote place.  I run and maintain an emergency radio station out here, which mostly just means that I make sure the weather band transmits loud and clear to any boats within range, and I remain on hand for whenever there is a vital message that needs to be sent out, but that rarely ever happens.  I suppose you wouldn’t have been able to see it when you arrived, but there is a relatively small radio tower set up on the other side of the island.  It’s probably still obscured from the north by the trees.”
“And I’m a biologist,” said Lela.  “More of a botanist, really, but my main occupation is to study the local flora and fauna.  There are a surprising number of unusual variations to be found on Hatter Island.”
“It sounds like you keep plenty active out here,” said Theo.
“Very much so,” answered Lela, “though it is also still quite relaxing for us.  But what about you, Theo?”
“You could say I’m looking for something right now,” said Theo.  What could he really tell them about his vocation anyway?  The truth was that he was unemployed just now.  Well, that was part of the truth, at least.  “I was once going to be an English professor, but due to some unexpected circumstances I instead became the owner of a small but successful marina shop in Oregon.”  Theo felt like he was saying these words from rote memory, as if they didn’t carry any real or deep meaning.
Thankfully, Peter and Lela were merciful enough to not press him further.  Instead, they offered him a cup of tea and did their best to make him feel at home.  Peter showed him the setup in the radio room at the back of the cabin.  Lela mentioned a few species of evergreens he should look for as he explored the island.
As he left their home, Theo decided that he liked the Halssons, and that they would make good neighbors.  Walking back through the sparkling snow down the path towards his own cabin, he now just needed to figure out what do with the rest of this beautiful day.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hatter Island: Chapter 2

CHAPTER 2: Unpacking

Theo stared at the pile of boxes stuffed into the single room of his log cabin.  They were filled with the abundance of supplies he had brought along to help him survive the winter.  Mr. Klima had helped him carry the boxes up to the cabin before hurrying off for the mainland, hoping to avoid becoming caught out on the water when the worst of the weather hit.  So Theo was left to himself with a room full of boxes.  They would take some time to organize, so he began elsewhere.

He opened his large black duffle bag and sorted through it.  Clothes were the main items inside.  He wasn’t one to worry too much about organization in most cases, but he figured it might be useful to have some semblance of civilization out in the solitude of a remote Alaskan island.  So he removed from the bag ten shirts, six pairs of pants, seven pairs of underwear, two pairs of long underwear and sixteen pairs of socks (he had been mistaken when he told Mr. Klima that he had packed fifteen pairs of socks).
He took one of the shirts, the one nice, almost formal, shirt that he had packed, and hung it up in the small closet in the corner of the cabin with a hanger he had brought along.  When he had packed, he had questioned why he had thrown in this one nice shirt at all, seeing as he was headed to an obscure island off the coast of Alaska with nobody around to impress.  Now, however, with the Halssons just down the path, it turned out to be quite a useful decision.  Of course, he had no intention of going out of his way to impress these people, but if the need did arise for him to wear some nicer clothing in their presence, then he could simply go to his closet and find what he needed.  He also hung up another shirt in the closet, a red-and-yellow-plaid flannel shirt, not because it was a nice shirt that needed to be hung up in a closet, but because he had brought along a second hanger, and so with plenty of room in the closet, he figured he ought to use everything at his disposal; he deemed that this flannel shirt was the second-nicest he had packed.  The rest of his clothes he organized into the two-drawer dresser next to the closet.
Having unpacked his clothes, he removed the rest of the items packed in the duffle bag and placed them on top of the dresser.  These items included a comb, a bottle of aspirin, a bottle of shampoo, five bars of soap, a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, a pair of nail clippers, a wristwatch a pair of heavy gloves for warmth, a pair of work gloves for decent weather, a black stocking hat and a blue cotton scarf.
He moved on to the smaller of his two bags, the one designated for books and related things.  He took out the books he had packed and placed them on the cabin’s wooden table one at a time.  It had been obvious from the initial assessment of this trip that books would be the primary form of entertainment during his stay on the island.  He had a university degree in English after all, he had figured, so they were just a comfortable way of life for him.  He had packed as many tomes as seemed reasonable.  The books included Moby Dick by Melville, The Idiot by Dostoyevsky, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Twain, Don Quixote by Cervantes and The Sound and the Fury by Faulkner, as well as Elantris by Brandon Sanderson for something modern, Figured Dark by Greg Rappleye for a bit of recent poetry, Essays and Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson if he needed some philosophy, The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene in case he wanted some science, and a copy of the Bible to keep perspective.  The Idiot and Elantris were the only two books Theo had yet to read, but he often liked to revisit his favorite books whenever he had the opportunity.
Along with these books, he also brought three large-sized Moleskine notebooks and a handful of pens and pencils (and a pencil sharpener) in case he got a sudden itch to do a lot of writing or note taking.  He had never been a very good writer, at least not compared with some of the authors he admired most, but he nonetheless liked writing from time to time, especially when it was in the form of expanding on his thoughts about something he had studied.  He had also brought an mp3 player and headphones, accompanied by a large package of AAA-batteries—the only pieces of electronic entertainment he had allowed himself.  Listening to music helped him to concentrate sometimes while he studied.  Still, he left the mp3 player in the bag for the time being.
Before he at last went about the task of emptying and organizing his boxes of supplies, he found the one crate that contained matches and several butane lighters, and started a fire going in the cast iron stove using logs and kindling from the pile of dry wood that was left inside by those who had prepared the cabin for his arrival.  Outside was also a massive pile of wood, already chopped, under a large blue tarp.  By anyone’s estimation, it would be more than enough fuel to keep him warm for the winter.
So with the fire going, he removed his jacket and finally began sorting through his supplies.  In the box with the matches and the lighters, there also came six battery-powered lamps with enough 6-volt lantern batteries to last all winter, as well as two flashlights with a plentiful supply of D-batteries.  For some reason, the ten boxes of tea he brought along were also packed into this container.
From there, the boxes contained primarily foods and beverages, though there were the other essential supplies that Theo was glad to find that he had not overlooked, including towels and washcloths, bed sheets and blankets, a heavy sleeping bag that claimed it kept a person warm in temperatures as low as negative twenty degrees Fahrenheit (in case of a particularly cold night), two fluffy pillows, a small set of tools, duct tape and a full supply of toilet paper.  When he had first approached the house, he had not only noticed the huge pile of wood behind the cabin, but the outhouse as well.  At least he wouldn’t have to dig a hole in the ground for his business.  He hadn’t brought along a spade anyway.
One crate, packed on the inside with bags of ice, contained as many fresh fruits, vegetables and meat that had been able to be stuffed into it.  It wouldn’t be possible to use fresh foods for the whole winter, even if he limited himself, but he figured it would be nice to have a good variety of food for at least part of the time.  In this box, there was lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, milk, cheese, eggs, apples, oranges, bread, bacon and steak.  He would be able to store these things outside in the ice chest he had brought.
In the department of canned and longer lasting consumables, the many boxes held beans, soups, cream corn, peaches, pears, applesauce, three varieties of potatoes, green beans, sauces, sardines, tuna, noodles, gravy packets, potato chips, corn chips, four bottles of wine, a bottle of whiskey, and a full assortment of dry herbs and spices.  He would not be going hungry.  All of this was made useful and convenient as well with a full complement of pots, pans, plates, bowls, spoons, forks, knives, a spatula and a couple of can openers.
There were also jugs with twenty gallons of water.  Theo planned to make use of any and all rain and snow he could collect to fill his water needs, which should provide no problem considering the rather wet climate of southern Alaska, but he had also decided it was wise to bring along plenty of extra water in case he ever ended up with a shortage.
At last, with everything at least somewhat organized, placed into cupboards as much as possible, and with a good fire in the stove and his bed made, Theo looked out the window at the quickly approaching dark and the snow that had begun to fall.  He eyed the rough path that supposedly led west to the home of the Halssons.  He was eager to meet them and introduce himself, but it was getting late and it seemed like a better idea to wait till first thing in the morning to show up at their front door.
So he settled down on his bed at the end of this long day, thinking of the months to come in this place, and soon began drifting towards sleep.

Monday, July 30, 2012

New winter story on Chronicles of Nowhere

Continuing with the new winter project, there is a new winter story posted over on  The story is entitled, "Waters Meets Elizabeth Kate".  Along with that, Hatter Island chapter 2 & 3 will be posted here on this blog very soon!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hatter Island: Chapter 1

Foreword: So seeing as how we are in the midst of summer, I figured it would be appropriate to share a few stories about winter.  I hope to be sharing these stories, or in the case here, parts of these stories on a regular basis, with a new update to the continuing series at least once a week.  These stories will be shared either on here or over on  So be sure to check every day or two for new updates.

To begin the adventures, below I present to you the first chapter of a story called Hatter Island.  Please let me know what you think, and whether you like the length of this first section or would like to read it in slightly longer sections.  I hope you enjoy!

CHAPTER 1: Disembarking

Theodore Gruen watched the waves compress and decompress as he sat on the white seat in the back of the cabin of Mr. Klima’s small boat.  A light rain splashed against the cabin’s windows, falling down from the gray Alaskan sky.  Theo held onto the smaller of his two bags, glad to be sealed away from the elements, and thankful that Mr. Klima’s boat had a heater.
Mr. Klima coughed.  “Well, Theo, you picked the last good day to head out to Hatter Island.  The forecast says this rain is going to turn to snow tonight.”
“Then I’m glad you talked me into leaving sooner rather than later.”  Theo didn’t know Mr. Klima very well—or at all, really.  They had met earlier that day, when the seasoned boat captain agreed to take him out to Hatter Island, where Theo was renting a small log house for the winter.  However, he found Mr. Klima to be quite pleasant, a man of honesty and integrity.  Theo wasn’t sure why he found this comforting.  Perhaps it was the weather, or perhaps it was the fact that he intended to spend the winter alone in a small cabin on a remote island off the coast of southern Alaska.  One last view of a confident attitude felt like encouragement enough to make it through the cold months ahead.
“We should be arriving in just a few minutes,” said Mr. Klima.  He glanced at Theo.  “I hope you brought warmer clothes than what you’re wearing.  This is surprisingly cold weather for October, and it’s only going to get colder.”
Theo gestured to his large duffel bag on the floor of the boat.  “I packed 15 pairs of socks.  Do you think it will be enough?”
“Oh, it’ll probably do,” mused Mr. Klima.
When they approached Hatter Island, Theo stood up and walked over to the windows towards the front of the boat.  Through the mist, he observed the landscape.  It was a relatively small island.  East to west, it ran about a mile long, if he remembered correctly on the information he had been given, and it was about half a mile in width.  Little more than a large mound rising out of the water, it had a couple of sandy beaches, but for the most part, trees, brush and rock covered the majority of the area.
Coming from the north, a small dock came into sight.  Another boat was tied up at the dock and covered by a large tarp.  This boat wasn’t as big as Mr. Klima’s, probably used mostly for leisurely days of fishing or similar relaxing activities, but it looked like it could also be used easily enough for transportation as well.
“Whose boat is that?” asked Theo.
“I’m not sure,” said Mr. Klima.  “You know what though, it must belong to the Halssons.  For some reason, I thought they were back on the mainland.”
“The Halssons?”
“Peter and Lela.  They live out here most of the year, but of course they need to head over to civilization for a few days or a week every now and then to stock up on supplies.  You’ll like them.”
Nothing in the information that Theo had been given said anything about other people staying on the island.  He had assumed that other people did stay on Hatter Island from time to time, seeing as how there were a few cabins built on it, but he had not considered how complete his solitude would be this winter.  At least the island wasn’t packed with people.  There would be plenty of quiet hours to himself, which is what he desired more than anything from this expedition.  Still, he thought, I suppose it will be nice knowing that there are others around when needed.
Mr. Klima skillfully brought his boat up alongside the dock, opposite the Halssons’ craft.  Theo zipped up his jacket and stepped out onto the wooden planks.  Ignoring the icy raindrops, he looked around.
His cabin stood easily visible from the dock, about fifty yards inland along a rough path, and just at the base of the main rise of the hill that made up a large portion of the island.  This was perfect—exactly what he wanted, and just what they had promised when he gave them the money to rent the place.
He turned to Mr. Klima, who stood with his head poking out of the doorway of the boat’s cabin.  “Where do the Halssons live?”
“You see how the path sort of winds up along the contour of the hill,” said Mr. Klima, pointing, “and then it goes around that bend near the crest?  Well, their place is just around that bend, if I remember correctly.”
Theo saw what Mr. Klima described.  The path ran slowly westward up the hill, until it came to a dip where the land began to head back down, and the path curved and was lost behind the trees.  Theo nodded.
“You should make sure to go visit them once you get settled in,” said Mr. Klima.  “I’m sure they’ll want to know they have a new neighbor on the island.  Besides, like I said, you’ll like them.”
“I look forward to meeting them,”
“Good,” said Mr. Klima, stepping down.  “Shall we unload your supplies and bring everything up to your new home, then?”
“Yes,” said Theo.  “We shall.”  He pulled up the hood of his jacket and rubbed his hands together.  He was already eager to shut himself inside, away from the cold and the damp, with a nice fire glowing in the stove and a good book to read.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Radiant & Beautiful

Nighttime always comes,
And just before that comes twilight,
Which comes with the stars.

It was against this backdrop that she met him,
As he stood there to guide her
Through the wilderness.

He looked at her and knew
The journey would be an adventure,
But the ending would be a miracle.

And she is radiant
And she is beautiful.

So they walked through the forest
By the trees and the ferns
And once or twice she nearly became lost.

But he found her, again and again,
And even though she would weep for shame,
He would always tell her,

"Never fear, because even when it seems
That I am a long time away and you are lost,
Know I am looking for you and yearning to see your face again."

And she is radiant
And she is beautiful.

She always longs for him
He always longs for her

Because of the hand she will place in his
And for the dresses he will give to her.
Because he's a king and she will be his bride
And there is none more beautiful than her.

And she is radiant
And she is beautiful.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Of Things Not Seen

Faith is really quite simple. You say you are going to do something, and then you keep your word. Any man with integrity knows that this is how one lives honestly and truthfully.

So it is no mystery when faith works. It is the only thing that could happen, given where you started and where you ended. It is what occurs when hopes become words kept and a life lived.

It's something that can never be taken away, only given up.

Somehow, there's a certain freedom in it. You didn't see, but then suddenly it's there, and so you hold on to it.

And the light persists.

Friday, April 20, 2012

When I'm Losing Color

Show me that bright green field—
The one with the miracle
And the children smiling for joy
With the purpose of a greater beauty to witness.

Oh, how we long for the time to be swift,
But not too swift in the wind,
Because we don't want to be swept away
Before the infinite draws near.

Soul, tell me you remember—
Tell me the tale of lights and beyond,
Where it was so bright
That every expression was reflected glory.

Oh, the confidence of that promise!
When all the world moved together
With endless lines and endless hope
And all that wasn’t understood became awe.

Friend, this is it, this is it—
This is all I've ever needed,
Because beyond all the voices that startle me
Is that one foundation that holds me.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Whimsy

Cora sat on the
Edge of the lake, where she would
Hear the wind whisper.

It told her stories
Of life and love and the passed
Days of bright sunshine,

When sometimes people
Would look at the ground and not
At the bright blue skies.

But she always looked
At the sky, or at least its
Wavy reflection,

Because she found that
It often helped her to have
Two perspectives of

The issue at hand.
Because life had ups and downs,
Like a sine wave graph.

If you could see it
How somebody else saw it,
Then maybe when the

Autumn leaves fell in
The lake, obscuring vision,
You wouldn’t lose sight

Of reality
Or any of her nicest
Flowery maidens.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Faith and Hope

And the bright stars found us again,
Waiting for the dawn.
And I've stood under these stars before,
With the love of the saints and their song.
I've stood on the foundation
And felt my heart beating
To the rhythm of the universe,
To the rhythm of the waves breaking on the shore,
To the rhythm of a breath
Breathing along with mine.

And I've stood under the rain
Of broken cisterns that can hold no water,
That could never hold any water.
And I've run from myself
And I've run from my King
And I've longed to return again
Because my heart is still beating—
It keeps pumping my blood.

And I've seen the daughters of men
Weeping with holes in their hearts
The size of a double-edged sword
Mistakenly wielded and turned within.
And I've seen pain become bitterness,
Where the broken and torn hearts fester
And never seem to catch enough of the healing water—
Could never hold the water that lives and breathes.

I've been there and seen these
And continue to stand there
Because I know.

And I'm confident
And I expect.
There's a new song coming
And a new dance to go with it.
There's a place where the day dawns
Into a bright blue sky,
Where my pain
And the pain of the ones I love
Burns away in the warmth
And washes away in the sweet dew
On the hills in the land
That we will call home.

And right now we have your love
And we have my love—
And your hands are with mine.
Blood still flows through our veins;
We still have the ground beneath our feet;
Our lungs still breathe in and breathe out.

I will never give in
To the worst of our fears.
I will never back down
From what I know is true.
I will find something beautiful
And nurture it back to life again.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


A small grove of trees,
A white picnic bench,
And the line that runs from birth to eternity
Began to waver.
I think maybe we both saw it,
Me and the one I was with,
But maybe I was the only one
Who wanted to escape
From the undertow that would pull us under.
And I reached out a hand to say,
“I don’t have to be the only one.”
But as the waves crashed around
I felt no fingers wrap around my wrist.
The water rose up to my chin
When I was rescued from the tide,
But I was saved,
So I’m alive!
Can you imagine a sky made of bronze,
To be cloistered in under no exit,
No flight of the bird,
To watch hope fade away?
Can you see the heaviest of raindrops
On a wilted flower that was once beautiful?
Does beauty go away so easily
And does that lovely tree I remember
In the field of grace and compassion
Really fall away under the furnace heat of heaven?
I would save it if I could.
I sought a way to bring the wilted flower inside,
To maybe water it
With a more gentle shower of mercy.
But I had to let it go.
No, I can’t save,
But I’m alive!
So now I wonder about the birds
Who glide up into the air
Away from the approaching storm.
You showed me how to be free again,
To wander onto a new path,
Into a new field,
A meadow of such beauty
That reminded me again of what I am looking for.
You were there
And you are here with the stars
In the clear bright sky
Of amazing grace and a longing generation.
You showed me that maybe red eyes
Are just a sign of the love and hope
I could never complete on my own.
Only you can save,
And I’m alive!

So here we sit and here we stand,
Reading these lines
Again and again.
Here we are,
You and I,
Here together now
And here wondering about forever
And wondering about the past,
Considering if love this time or that time
Is ever the love that I talk about.
But I wonder, with all that happens,
Do you still hold to the notion
That you have nothing to regret?

What could I have to regret?
Every joy is joy
And every misery is learning.
I am here now and the road
Is made for this moment.
I am here with you now,
And so how could I ever take back anything
To keep me from you?

And so you have all those meadows journeyed
When you learned the meaning of love.
But would you take back those moments
When I called you
And you never picked up the phone?

Dear love, could I take it back?
Can I take back what I’ve done to you?
Can I not have the blood
On my hands
On my hair
Mixed with the dirt on the ground
And splashed on my legs?
Shall I give it back
For all of those nights it was just me
With selfish me
And I didn’t have the decency to listen
When you wanted to talk?
This wolf with blood on its teeth
Begins to look an awful lot like me.

Just rest now.
Here in the cool of fresh air
And here in the warmth of welcoming arms,
Just rest now.
No, you can’t give it back.
I won’t let you give it back.
It is free.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Life Was Just Happening

In a darker day,
In the pain and the sickness,
From underneath something scarred and torn
I can still see a light shining.

On nights when cold dreams
Blow through this sleepy town
And windowpanes shutter their last resistance,
I can still hear hope singing love's song.

And she has a voice so beautiful
That everyone stops to listen,
At least for a little while,
To the promise she mentions.

And I can't sleep
(How could I have slept?)
Until I meet her in the moonlight
And she smiles at me one more time.

Hope, where have you gone?
Hope, I can see you burning underneath.
This one is for you,
That maybe one day you’ll come home

And we will all have our hearts burst with light
And laughter that finds our new song for us.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

To the Ends of the Earth and beyond

A few weeks ago, I wrote the following poem:

To the Ends of the Earth

Where is a promise when you need one?
Where runs assurance when you desire
Strength and mercy of heart?
It arises like dawn upon the ends of the earth.

When the world flooded,
Did the ocean waves feel redeemed?
Or did they always know the tide's rise and fall
Would one day break beyond the shore's barrier?

When rainbows color the sky,
Isn't the rain given a chance
To celebrate beauty
As well as to bring life to the dust below?

Aren't cloudy days the most joyful of all,
When a promise of refreshment seems imminent?
Do raindrops believe in the ocean they came from,
Or do they just enjoy faithfully sliding on their downward paths?

Is it wrong at all to raise your hands and face upward
In both rainfall and sunshine?
The light on the horizon - it is coming.
The bursting morning is arriving soon, surely you will run with me there.

...And so I figured it was a decent poem, but didn't really put much stock in it. After I finished, I opened my bible and flipped to what I thought was going to be a random passage. And I would have thought so, had it not addressed the questions I had just asked, continuing the thought. The passage is Isaiah 41. Here are the first few verses:

"Coastlands, listen to Me in silence,
And let the peoples gain new strength;
Let them come forward, then let them speak;
Let us come together for judgment.
Who has aroused one from the east
Whom He calls in righteousness to His feet?
He delivers up nations before him
And subdues kings.
He makes them like dust with his sword,
As wind-driven chaff with his bow.
He pursues them, passing on in safety,
By a way he had not been traversing with his feet.
Who has performed and accomplished it,
Calling forth the generations from the beginning?
'I, Yahweh, am the first, and with the last. I am He.'"