Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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Heaven is awayness from pain and death and sorrow.
Heaven is all withness the One who holds tomorrow.
Emmanuel, God with us, the loving father who knows us,
who comes to us to heal us, to dry our many tears,
will lift us up in joy and remove all fears.
Hope is tasting heaven, even in this world of sadness,
fleeting moments of assurance, brief tastes of measured gladness.
I have known drops of blessings to still my tearing moans,
and some I keep for comfort, some I pour out on dry bones.
-HJ Dec 2009

Am I the only one to think the world is worse?
Or why does no one speak of this great sadness?
I know the sun is shining and the traffic heavy,
But is it only I who questions the distinction?
I ponder as I pull onto the highway
With crazy corners, hills, and sudden descents.
I wonder as I grip the wheel in the wilderness:
Will we ever travel on the smooth and straight road?
-HJ Dec 2009
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dragon Slayer Fragment

I strapped the leather on him.
Fastened buckles at the shoulder.
Tightened buckles at the waist.

For decades have I worn it,
but the decades have made haste.
A stripling I was, only,
when I first took sword in hand.
Head thrown back. Muscles sure.
I have served my people bravely,
with willing heart I took command:
I fought the dragons of the land.

I was chosen by the people.
All my ancestors were warriors
(but for one who was a poet).
So, my son, you have the power.
You will feel it, you will know it,
when in dragon-fight you stand.

"In readiness to hold my sword-
in faithfulness to keep my word-
in service true to give my life."
Thus the oath of dragon-strife.

Only yesterday a baby
I held close against my breast.
Now he stands so tall before me
strong enough to stand the test.
Let the mother heart within me
wish him courage, wish him well,
as he faces, as he trained to,
Fang and claw and breath of hell.

-HJ Sept 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I believe one day all will be well
Tears have blinded our eyes; all day they fell
Pain has sliced much deeper than we can tell
But I believe one day all will be well

I believe one day we will see light
We have walked in darkness cold as the night
We have sorrows so vast, we cannot fight
But I believe one day we will see light

I believe one day we shall know peace
Fear and suffering, hunger and hatred will cease
We have seen injustice, troubles and grief
But I believe one day we shall know peace
HJ Dec. 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009


For the first ten thousand years will be wiping of the tears:
all tears since time began. Each woman, child and man
will bring their liquid pain, grieving wounded, lost and slain,
days of mourning, nights of sighs, trembling moans and wailing cries.
How vast the sum of misery, approaching near infinity.

And the One Almighty Power (who has known the suffering hour)
will take us each aside and will wipe each tear we've cried.
Aching memories will be healed, perfect reasons be revealed.
For the Saviour will console until each broken heart is whole.
Then forever we will tell how the Lord has made us well.
(Surely ten ten thousand years! Lord, for there are many tears.)
HJ Nov 2009
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We all know the troubled child
whose life is dark, whose way is hard,
who seems alone when in a crowd,
the lonely one and wandering.
We often pass the troubled child
who asks for change with outstretched hand.
And who can bring the change they need,
the troubled ones, the broken?
We all have been the troubled child,
known times when help and hope have fled,
but have recovered, found our path,
can walk on without faltering.
Have mercy on the troubled child:
she is yourself, from heaven's eye,
a picture of what heaven sees
in each of us. Bless such as these.
HJ Nov 2009
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"First, I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it...we do not write in order to be understood; but we write in order to understand." - C. Day Lewis in Poetic Image

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ecclesiastes 9:11

With shards of broken poetry I scrape afflicted skin
in hopes the cleansing ritual will let the healing in.
So long the troubles have collected on my silvered head,
so unexpected, unforeseen the blows I could not dread.
Until the pit of pain is spread beneath my life of chance;
in pain I walk the tightrope, pausing in a knife-edge stance.
Though time may be the healer, it is time applies the brand,
and so I sit and scrape a bit, broken poetry in my hand.
HJ Oct 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009


John 6:29, 13:34, 16:33
"The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Song of Serenity

When the world is all too much with me
and the worries pile up endlessly,
when my tear-filled eyes make it hard to see
and I cannot find serenity...
Through the endless years you call my name,
You, the Holy One, always the same.
I can trust in you: you will carry me.
You have shown yourself full trustworthy.
For I do believe even when I fail
Your grace and love always will prevail.
And not only I, but every human soul
Is offered love, and to be made whole.

The work you call us all to do,
all you ask of us, is to believe in You.
There's a message we are sent to tell-
the New Command: love each other well.
Troubles, they will come, but I can rest assured.
I take heart for you have overcome the world.
So I ask in all humility
equip me, Lord, with serenity.
-HJ Sept. 17, 2009
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Kiche Manitou campground
Spruce Woods Park, Manitoba

Restful silence.
Distant raucous crow.
A lone goose honked its way
across the early morning sky
as we lazed in snug sleeping bags
protected from the autumnal chill.
Woodsmoke curling,
woody vines twining,
leaves just beginning to change colour.
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jar of clay


This jar of clay is giving way.
The glaze is gone, its edges worn.
Hairline cracks leave winding tracks
that weren't there when it was born.
All 'round its base the wrinkles chase,
where once was surface smooth and gloss.
Now many a chip on the old jar's lip,
the question: is it gain or loss?
Is passing time really such a crime
if we're destined to be made anew?
Or must this life cease to bring sweet release
and let pure crystal waters flow through.
Whether loss or gain, old age is a pain,
though there's comfort we can take:
life's grief scratches deep, then a restful sleep,
sweet escape from the jar when we 'wake.
-HJ Aug 29, 2009
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just So

Stand in a pool
that is oh so cool
on an overworked hot hot day.
Lean your head back,
let your body go slack
and your limp limbs float away.
Beneath the cool flow
let all troubles go
and heal your soul's disarray.
Just so: long motorcycle ride,
Or a book long denied,
Or an hour alone, to pray.

"Oh God, save me from myself, save me from myself...this masterful self which manipulates your creation...this self which throws the thick shadow of its own purposes and desires in every direction in which I try to look, so that I cannot see what it is that you, my Lord and God, are showing to me. Teach me to stand out of my own light, and let your daylight shine." -Austin Farrer, quoted in Absolute Truths by Susan Howatch

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Heaven goes by grace. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. -Mark Twain

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Worry is an open wound
in the stomach-pit of your mind.
The ache may ease momentarily
but is never far behind.
You poke it and prod it
in morbid distress,
and when partly healed
pick scabs and bleed fresh.
Ignore the pain and continue your work
but suddenly stand glazed of eye
and frozen in panic as you see
parades of possible horrors pass by.
Tomorrow the wound may be healed and forgotten
and calmer days will follow,
but maybe the worst that you feared will come true
and leave your life empty and hollow.

HJ Aug 22/09
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Sunday, August 16, 2009


"You have striven so hard, and so long, to compel life. Can't you now slowly change, and let life drift into you? Surely it is an even greater mystery and preoccupation even than willing, to let the invisible life steal into you and slowly possess you". - D H Lawrence, in a letter to a friend
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Monday, July 20, 2009

A timid child in a fearful place
afraid of the world, with a hidden face,
surrounded by strangers and possible pain,
wanting nothing more than home again;
imagine the touch of a gentle hand,
a loving look, a promised land.

Thus almighty God, the infinite power,
comes as gentle lamb in the weeping hour.

-HJ July 19, 2009
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My head a pathetic fogginess that I can hardly see through,
not wanting to waste the opportunity of solitude,
I strain to focus,
chart my course through cloud to clarity,
longing for truth to declare itself,
and hoping I'm able to receive it.

Though a seeker of truth
I'm a lover of learning,
Love words, but not the speaking of them.
When spoken they are lost, gone from me.

Pure truth, let fall one crystalline sparkling drop,
distill my muddy mental waters;

Pure beauty, but a glimpse I ask,
one quick clear vision;

Pure love, if I could hold for one mere second
just a corner of your hem;

Evermore remembrance
could keep me on the road.

-HJ July 19, 2009
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Sunday, July 12, 2009


The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be, As long as life endures.
-Amazing Grace by John Newton
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'Become what you already are,

find Him who is already yours,

listen to Him who never ceases speaking to you,

own Him who already owns you'.

By St Gregory of Sinai (13th Century)

It's a dry and thirsty land and the sun beats down
on our aching heads. Tears and sweat abound.
And we long for shade and we long for rest
and we long for peace like a sparrow for its nest.
We are strangers here; we do not belong.
And we long to fly, but gravity's too strong.
So we wonder why we are stranded here
when our longings show us a grander sphere.
So we struggle on with our heavy load
(for some it's their body, this earthy abode,
for others their mind and the way it's wired,
or a sadness so deep they feel permanently mired).
Whatever our burden, we bear what we must
and help others bear until we all turn to dust.
Then the dust turns to the new life we sought all along:
You only long for the peace to which you belong.
-HJ July 12, 2009
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Friday, July 3, 2009

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Potato in Bloom

There is spinach, kale and lettuce in the garden, fresh today.
Red radishes and sorrel join the edible bouquet.
The green beans are in bud, broccoli holds a small tight head,
Swiss chard waves its bright-veined leaves, green tomatoes promise red.
The carrots almost fingerlings, potatoes now in bloom:
Stir fry, soup and salad from the garden to dining room.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009



“Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone.” - Paul Tillich
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A Serenity of Oaks


A Serenity of Oaks

Walk deep into the summer woods; past groves of trembling aspen go
(their chalky trunks stand straight and tall in crowds; if grown apart, they fall).
Walk on, past hawthorne, hazelnut, and plum, where saskatoon and chokecherry grow,
and when you pass the waving grass in clearings filled with sun-sweet air,
the dark majestic giants see: a serenity of oaks is there.
I know of one whose youth was hard; down near the base its bark is scarred.
And one began its life as three: a living arboreal trinity.
With strong and heavy limbs upraised there's one; it's lived a life of praise.
The last to put out leaf in spring, the tall and mighty forest king,
May you stand forever and never fall. The serenity of oaks I sing.
-- HJ June 24, 2009
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Before we can pray, "Lord, Thy kingdom come," we must be willing to pray, "my kingdom go." -Alan Redpath

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


On Feeding My Daughter's Chickens

Brave are those who face the Bantam Rooster,
Take life in hand, and pails of feed and water.
Few have the courage. Cheers to those who choose ter.
Heap scorn on cowards who run, or feel they ought ter.
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Monday, May 18, 2009

The luxury of solitude, the bliss of holy silence
The drawing inward of the mind away from aural violence
The fruit of contemplation: hearing inner voices speak
Setting free the deeper, rising thoughts suppressed throughout the week
The probing knife of criticism turned upon the self
Like justice the two-edged sword- How we hate to yield it
Hold tightly to the hilt lest others wrest and turn and wield it
We gladly take the love of God, another shining sabre
We want to keep possession of, and not spare for our neighbour
So carve another private dream, an offering on the shelf

HJ May 18, 2009

It is good

I saw three things
on a walk in our small town:
A young man bound up backyard steps
to the deck
where a young woman stood at the barbecue
and kiss her;
Three little boys running, laughing, playing hide-and-seek
with the exuberance of puppies
and one tonguing me a grinning sloppy raspberry;
On this cold windy day of spring
gripped in the dying clutches
of a winter that refuses to die,
the lilacs lifting up budded tips
in promise.

HJ May 18, 2009
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

To An Unknown God

He made us in His image. He is in our very nature.
Something in us seeks Him, though a blind and curious creature.
Yet when our eyes are opened, we see Him in each other:
Beneath our skins we recognize lost sister, lonely brother.
Having glimpsed in misty mirror we must pursue the vision,
Conviction like a nagging doubt driving the decision
To reach beyond the seeing and the touching that we know,
Stepping stones laid long ago lead down the seeking road we go.
So we touch the face of this world to learn about its maker
(Echoes faintly fall, but clearly, of the great good give-and-taker).
We worship as Athenians at a partly-unnamed throne
Until He sends a messenger to proclaim the One Unknown.
The proclamatiion resonates with our deepest, inmost chord,
For He made us in His image and He is our very Lord.

-HJ May 14, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Take Joy

Take joy where you find it; hold on with both hands,
for happiness is fleeting as hourglass sands.
Let the colour of sunset fill you with awe;
take with you toward darkness the splendour you saw.
The flash of a feather, the burst of a bloom
are your soul's sword and shield 'gainst the oncoming gloom.
As rains fall from heaven quenching streams long run dry,
so does beauty refresh us when hope has run dry.
Seek out precious moments with loved ones, and then
your memories may always bring joy once again.
-HJ May 3, 2009

Consider the lily and how it grows: it will not weave nor spin,
but only holds its petals out letting sun and rain drop in.

Consider the vine as round it grows in a constant weave and spin,
grasping and leaping for love of light
with tendrils made to hold on tight
with curls and twists of sheer delight,
and the sun and cloud welcome it in.
- HJ May 1, 2009
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi

Romans 8:26; Eph. 6:18

In the spirit I have prayed. I have prayed the sobbing prayer,
In wordless weakness trusting for the Spirit's groans to bear
Another heavy load of burdens to the Hearer ever there.
And I have not yet been answered, at least not that I'm aware.
(Would I recognize an answer? Could I find it? Seeking where?)
Though it seems I've been transplanted from a country warm and fair
There is something keeps me green through the winter of despair
In the frozen darkness bruised while others pass by unaware.
I don't know if I will blossom; can't say I really care,
But I'm evergreen in faith when mighty trees are cold and bare.

Hermina Janz Apr 15, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

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"Awake, thou wintry earth-- Fling off thy sadness! Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth Your ancient gladness! Christ is risen."
-- Thomas Blackburn