We are a turbulent people
doubting institutions
demanding and dismissing
obsessed with our opinions

in my youthful past
Joni Mitchell wrote this
in her Woodstock narrative
we got to get ourselves back to the garden

while some of us were singing evangelical songs
inspired and earnest in 69
she was beautifully telling the story
of Yasgur’s farm
and a musical gathering there

yet now I’m left to wonder
how we pilgrims
most of whom were on a spiritual quest in some fashion then
could have so completely lost the clutch of each other
as well our once deferent conversations

some say innocence was lost then
but actually it was lost long before flowers and bibles wrangled
what fluttered from the cocoon of those tumultuous years has not been lovely

we make our laws
blame who we blame
fervor about the inadequacies of others
and quote that line from my back pages
all while the world is burning

yet a child does not have eyes to see the brooding soul
but we
we are a wrestling Jacob
fighting through the night

the little girl from the plains of Canada was right
and I keep praying
we got to get ourselves back to the garden
and too the Gardener

A poem by Greg Nelson
© 2022 by Poppie’s Hallel
(BMI. Admin. by Amplified Administration)


A poem by Greg Nelson
© 2022 by Poppie’s Hallel
(BMI. Admin. by Amplified Administration)


(Homage to St. Olaf College Orchestra)

what beauteous strains of seraphim
that wing on Sovereign breath
but here on earth our passion fires
an orchestra uplifts

the power of brass
with sweeping strings
and woodwind choir caress
percussive roar
and cymbal crash
then subito sweet celeste

their conversations give and take
and with each surging rush
it’s beauty bathes this world away
and bids our sorrows hush

finger memory pulls the weight
with Maestro’s seasoned skill
silence too now plays her part
and reverence is instilled

what marvel God has given us
to soothe our human fears
with symphony of mind and soul
we sense His wonder here

A poem by Greg Nelson
© 2022 by Poppie’s Hallel
(BMI. Admin. by Amplified Administration)


(I write this to my little sister,who peacefully passed on with the Shepherd tonight)

Life is life
dust is dust
and now that you have passed
why mourn this heart
and dwell the loss
if love be joy that lasts

For when my world
comes charging in
I’ll take this pain I feel
and bow and wave
as do the flowers
that savor winds through fields

A Poem by Greg Nelson
© 2021 by Poppie’s Hallel
(BMI. Admin. by Amplified Administration)


On watching the evacuation of Ukrainian women and children.

Through the trepidous rumble
of Ukrainian rails
there are train cars loaded with passengers fleeing a merciless war
and their reddened eyes
and vacuous stare
say it all
where can they go

a little girl asks her mama
where are my friends
but there is no answer
for the truth is horrific
her mother is frightened
alone on this journey
afraid for her husband who has stayed home to fight
her head on the window
her tears In profusion
she prays for the child who rests on her lap

back in the city centuries old buildings burn through the night
the stench of death is in the air and hell lights up the sky
explosions then sirens
a baby cries
where can they go

another bomb blast
and in the charred debris
an old man is bleeding
he calls out for help
but nobody comes
and his life disappears
there are thousands like him
but one is too many

the citizen throng of the invading force who didn’t want war
now face the world’s wrath
but they’re just more victims of this diabolical rogue
isolated in their homeland
where can they go

the schemes of this madman ring as in a war before
you remember the certainty
this could never happen again

yet it has
or so it seems

but hope is creeping in
the adversary’s strength has been overestimated
the tyrant image
is not precise reality
the wizard of oz is once more exposed
nations have rallied
more emboldened

but no matter
here the dead are no less dead
the maimed are maimed
what’s done is done
even with the nation being laid to rubble
the tiger’s still hungry
there is want for more no matter the cost of innocents
how much more no one knows
but the most violent of all threats
not only to the Ukraine
but to the planet
is the cloud of Hiroshima

so where can they go

A Poem by Greg Nelson
© 2021 by Poppie’s Hallel
(BMI. Admin. by Amplified Administration)


I love tickling her arms like our mother did for us when we were young
giving her foot rubs with slightly scented lotion that I warm in my hands
looking into her precious eyes
remembering happy memories of growing up together with our big brother

she’s tired now
and I want to be near

her journey
one of struggle and great success
the difficult and the idyllic
like kintsugi pottery
her broken pieces have been made stronger with gold from the Refiner’s fire

the beautiful colors of her life are a rainbow span of extraordinary gifts in a mist of mercy and human caring
each of her friends bring their own special hue

but now as it always has been
there is no rewind
for soon she’s off to better things
the world keeps turning
I watch her sleeping
my heart is aching
I love my little sister


What a sweet old man
such a kindly lady
that’s so sad
we sometimes think those things when referring to the elder infirmed
while we enjoy unrestrained mobility
their world is changing
their freedom fading

these history makers look out their window and remember what they once dreamed
what they once accomplished
what they once experienced

yet now the hours turn slowly
life’s not the same
food doesn’t taste like it use to
laying down at night is a lonesome moment
living even more

familiar faces fall victim to the actuarial tables
memory wanes
redundant questions imply a creeping debility
waiting marks their days
despite our best intentions
they wait
always waiting
waiting for meals
waiting for visitors
waiting for calls

simple tasks become increasingly difficult and frustrating
privileges like driving a car are taken from them. transitioning
existing more as a changeling

they want to tell the doctor how they feel
but they don’t hear well and the conversation is difficult
it’s perplexing to be in the same room and hear their children speak for them in absentia

They have long since given up engaging in group conversation
or any conversation for that matter
there is an angst in their psyche that we can’t fully grasp
for slowly
they are disappearing
but for family
caring friends
or the music of a child’s voice


A poem by Greg Nelson
© 2022 by Poppie’s Hallel
(BMI. Admin. by Amplified Administration)


My dear friend, Julia Tanner posted this picture today. It had great meaning to me, lifting my spirit in what has been a more lachrymose season just now. It got me past myself.


mid dead branch of weeping limbs
and earthen dampened brush
warming sun
peers in the soul
of natures loveliness
regardless be the wildland smudge
or trees with wounds beset
its light still finds the beauty seen
in ways we least expect

A poem by Greg Nelson
© 2022 by Poppie’s Hallel
(BMI. Admin. by Amplified Administration)


(About Florrie Anne Lawton)

Some people become presidents
influential business leaders
or wealthy entrepreneurs
the important people

she worked in the church nursery
for decades
outside of those walls
members of the rest of this world would know little of her

she didn’t look like a minister
with robes and the like
but when babies were dedicated on a Sunday morning
she would carry them
nestled in her arms
as if holding rare treasure
for they were to her
just that

always a lovely smile
so delighted to present these newborns
facing the congregation
so everyone could see

it was the smile of an angel
a servant
so beautifully genteel
and without pretense
or bombast
just simple devotion
to to her little ones

she’d sing to the babies
each one
her soft voice so sweetly

love permeated that nurser. it was a thing of heartwarming beauty and heavenly consequrnce

she followed their lives
even after leaving her care
they mattered
for they were her sacred charge her Kingdom work

You may not know her
but the babies do

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.’


there’s no better wonder

than the love of a pet

and the heartwarming comfort

as they nuzzle your neck


they live to be near you

right there on your lap

or lying  beside you

when you’re taking a nap


hamsters and rabbits

canaries or fish

Orpington chickens

and pot bellied pigs


they’re teachers and healers

listeners and friends

except for a parrot

not a word ever said


as you eat at the table

a vacuum wags  there

to clean up the pieces

and crumbs by your chair


puppy breath moments

so playfully young

or the lick of a kitten

with their sand paper tongue


proud geldings and stallions

show the joy that they feel

with a romp and a kick

on their green pleasured fields


a balm for depression

the doctor is in

for these faithful companions

are the  best medicine


its a loss in the family

on the day that they die

and a feeling of  sadness

that no words can describe


protectors and guardians

for paupers and kings

reminders to us

of the best life can bring


A poem by Greg Nelson

© 2021 by Poppie’s Hallel

(BMI. Admin. by Amplified Administration)