Nicodemus

Raindrops quiver along
arms of budded limbs
risking a fall in spring’s
gentle breath

Pregnant bellies
bulge and fashion
each reflection into
a new truth

If I could step inside
an aqueous pouch
I’d see the world
with new eyes

Like being born once and
once again I’d see it slant,
find new meaning
expunge the old

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.

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Author’s Note:

Powerful storm today. Rain. Hail. Tornados.  Emily Dickinson and the Gospel of John while waiting in the basement.

Ideas meld in such odd ways. Playing with this one. I will keep working.

Tell all the truth but tell it slant — (1263)
By Emily Dickinson / The Poetry Foundation

Tell all the truth but tell it slant –
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —

John 3 (NIV) / The Bible Gateway
Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

 

 

Paul Chowder, 2

So, in the second week of Tweespeak Poetry’s book club led by Lyla Lindquist, Paul Chowder did it again. He reminded me of school. This time I paused very early on while reading Chapter 7 when these words stopped me. At first, I wasn’t sure why.

While I was gone the mouse in the kitchen found half of an old cookie and tried to pull it up into the stove’s control panel, which is where he lives. But the cookie wouldn’t fit. So he just ate it where it was. Ate and shat discreetly and had quite a little party.

I decided I would write a poem about mice for my response this week. It wasn’t until I was clicking away at my keyboard that I realized the connection to school. I read If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Nemeroff  to my students every year. The little mouse in the story is Paul Chowder. He flits from idea to idea while making a mess and ends up where he started, still wanting a glass of milk.

See. Paul Chowder. No introduction to his anthology yet, but lots of adventures.

I borrowed from the two poets, Tennyson and Pope, who were lost in rhythmic chewing and swallowing and digesting at the salad bar this week with Paul Chowder. I decided that I, too, would be rhythmic leaving behind my world of free verse, just to make Paul Chowder happy and to see if I could do it.

Once again, I ask for forgiveness from the bards: Lord Alfred Tennyson for using his lovely poem, The Miller’s Daughter, and from Alexander Pope for lending me the first stanza of Eloisa and Abelard.

They All Ran After the Farmer’s Wife

One
Paul Chowder

Whilst I was gone a mouse my kitchen came.
The first to find a cookie half laid claim.
He pulled his prize to safety where he lives
But wouldn’t fit the stove affirmative.
He ate it there. Just ate it where it was.
A party and a shat between his paws.

Two
The Human’s Cookie

It is the human’s cookie,
And it is baked so chewy here,
I would be the chocolate chips
That quickly disappear;
For hid in that baker’s delight
I’d nestle in each luscious bite.

And I would be the sugar
About its toothsome, candied dough
And its steam would rise to melt me,
In winter and in snow:
And I should know if it’s too hot
I’d clasp it round so close and taut.

And I would be the walnuts,
All day long to wait one nibble
Between some teeth so whetted,
With craving and a giggle:
And I would lie in quiet mime
I should be eaten in no time.

Three
Alex to Paul

In these dark drawers and empty wooden shelves
Where heav’nly crumbs have fallen, not by elves,
And ever-nibbling merriment doth reign;
What means this bedlam near the kitchen drain?
Why rove my mitts beyond this tasty feast?
Why feels my stomach not long ago greased?
Yet, yet I crave! From Paul as it once came
And Alex yet doth find it fair game.

(Click here to read my response to last week’s chapters of Nicholson Baker’s The AnthologistPaul Chowder, 1.)