WHAT LOVE CAN DO

In the fields of civic rabble

War has broken friendship ties

Truth, whose truth, the whipping question

Battles rage for cause and rights

Individuation mounting

Hating clouds form hanging rope

Mortal wisdom, helpless midwife

Birthing yet more stillborn hope

Children mimic spurious notions

Faulty syllogistic ruse

Change becomes a weakened whimper

Now let’s see what Love can do

 

Souls from towers, backwood hollers

Many poised to swing the sword

Some use angry poet’s skill with wounding demonizing words

Tightly holding to perfection

Ancient bane to what is good

Will we ever come together

Know respect that’s understood

 

See how tribalist increasing

Separate us more and more

How does one restore a oneness

Never truly one before

Eloquence and worlds of insight

Cannot change the resolute

Attitudes the only locksmith

Now let’s see what Love can do

Now let’s see what Love can do

A poem by Greg Nelson

Poppie’s Hallel (BMI)

All Rights Reserved

 

lesser crimes

what kindly heart the subtle boast
I purpose to portray
but somewhere past beyond reproach
the truth in me remains

for hidden in the soul beneath
my darker nature yields
a self inflicted animus
I carefully conceal

it keeps the faith there’s evil fare
much greater than my own
and tells me what I love to hear
I’m not as bad somehow

some things in me will never change
to keep my pride alive
trusting this as mortals will
the myth of lesser crimes

A poem by Greg Nelson
© 2020 by Poppie’s Hallel (BMI. Admin. by Amplified Administration)

THE GIFT

Most of you probably don’t recognize the name, though a few of you do. His name was Roy Houston. In the 1980s and 90s, Pam and I went to church with him and his wife, Margaret,. He sang in the choir, but I never sat next to him. He seemed quiet but always there and serving.

I learned a great life lesson from him, and I thought of it as I read of his passing at the age of 87. Margaret, had what I think was a brain tumor and he was left to care for her for a number of years. He brought her to church each Sunday and pushed her around in a wheelchair with her hair so beautifully done and always a lovely dress. I watched him…this unknowing teacher. I heard of this unbelievable attentiveness to her every need as a caretaker, living out this well worn vow:
“to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.”

I was young in my marriage to Pam, and was struck by his perseverance through difficulty…out of real devotion, for it must’ve been very hard for him, but he did it because he loved her… deeply…and remembered his promise to her. So when I hear love spoken of…this is what comes to my mind in these late years. It is the stuff of real romance. For what then is romance, if his love was not it’s very definition. Chivalrous, an extravagant story with emotional attraction of heroic proportions.

They say that Roy had a lovely singing voice. I never heard him, but in it’s own way, his marriage, like a song, sang loudly to me. This was not a man with a lineage of position or power, but a life that was one well lived.

In these days and hours. It gives me pause to ponder his life, and also makes me think that I wish there was less quoting of great individuals..and more living like them.

So rest well buddy… and thanks for the gift you never knew you gave.

THE GIFT

Most of you probably don’t recognize the name, though a few of you do. His name was Roy Houston. In the 1980s and 90s, Pam and I went to church with him and his wife, Margaret,. He sang in the choir, but I never sat next to him. He seemed quiet but always there and serving.

I learned a great life lesson from him, and I thought of it as I read of his passing at the age of 87. His wife, Margaret, had what I think was a brain tumor and he was left to care for her for a number of years. He brought her to church each Sunday and pushed her around in a wheelchair. I watched this unknowing teacher. I heard reports of his unbelievable attentiveness to her every need as a caretaker, living out this well worn vow:
“to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.”

I was young in my marriage to Pam, and was struck by his perseverance through difficulty…out of real love and real devotion, for it must’ve been very hard for him, but he did it because he loved her… deeply…and remembered his promise to her. So when I hear love spoken of…this is what comes to my mind in these late years. It is the stuff of real romance. For what then is romance, if his love was not it’s very definition. Chivalrous, an extravagant story with emotional attraction of heroic proportions.

They say that Roy had a beautiful singing voice. I never heard him, but his song of marriage was one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard sung. This was not a man with a lineage of position or power, but a life that was one well lived.

In these days and hours. It gives me pause to ponder his life, and also makes me think that I wish there was less quoting of great individuals..and more living like them.

So rest well buddy… and thanks for the gift you never knew you gave.

SOMETHING OF SEASONS

There is much to ponder in this time… a pandemic, tension, hunger, hatred, health problems, difficulties for those with special needs and their caregivers, people without work, parents having issues with their children, troubled marriages, fires, hurricanes, floods… and I’ve barely touched the surface. It’s really easy to get weighed down with those realities all around. So I try to give myself the chance to focus in on something simple, something for which to be grateful.

There is nothing I can compare to the precious moments I share with Pam in the morning. Coffee, plans for the day, conversational debates about the world..and prayers. But always first, she comes to me with her sweet “Good Morning”, and a kiss on the cheek. Then a loving hug while words scamper off as we hold each other through the waves of love that God has given us..
something of seasons….something to savor.

A LONG WAY TO GO

Someone asked me the other day, “what do you long for?“ I’ve been asked that question before. When Pam and I attended a financial seminar back in the 90s, the speaker said, “Don’t you long for heaven?“

At that time I was so busy trying to support my family and make a living that I didn’t have time to long for much of anything except the next gig. Years, difficulties and experience have changed that for me.

In the middle of the ideological turmoil, and pandemic, there is the ongoing devastation of the disenfranchised, and it is overwhelming to me. I can only do what I can do to give and serve, but it definitely gives me a sense of helplessness to a degree. So yes, to be honest, I have a longing for heaven.

But in the meantime, there is another want I have. It’s a longing for the process of living, looking forward to what is presently, the right now and the next breath.. to make a difference, no matter how small.

This is what I’ve come to realize. What I call the process…God calls the end. It is the process itself, the right now, presently, when God has my attention.

As I understand it more, there is hope, and this encouraging thought. There are no little things with God, and all my pontificating and opinions so loudly shouted, do not carry the meaningful force I might think.

Who am I kidding. I can’t control the big machine around me. Rather, it is the foundational constructive things that I can control..those seemingly little things, like kindness, joy, peace and service to the poor in spirit. These are the beautiful things. The powerful things.

Living the Gospel isn’t reserved for those whom I consider likeminded. It’s so easy for me to love people who agree with me. What I do desperately need to get better at, is demonstrating the fruit of the spirit with those who do not hold the same views…and I’ve got a long way to go.

As I understand it more,

LEFT UNSAID

(For Dad On Father’s Day)

From time to time I have a need
to travel back again
to the place my father farmed
when he was just a kid

Now walking side the furrowed field
I’ve photos in my hand
of the home place I was told
once rested on this land

Dad’s father passed before 8th grade
with mother’s fields to tend
sure there would be no school for him
he worked the land instead

There wasn’t time to be a boy
he lived just to survive
for in those bleak Depression years
sheer will kept him alive

Then crops and grass refused to grow
the sunburnt soil was spent
So dry the only moisture fell
from drops of family sweat

At times there seemed a blackened sky
that promised needed rain
but hopes were dashed
for these were swarms
of locust on the plains

Hungry cattle lingered there
Some sold but even worse
lay dying from the scorching winds
on snowdrifts made of dirt.

They always had a sense of faith
and did not live in fear
for even in the worst of times
they felt that God was near

And beautiful those winter nights
with family round the stove
mother played, the brothers sang
and there was joy somehow

A few years later dad would serve
in the Pacific strife
my mother said that what he saw
left scars in him for life

It’s all I have to treasure now
of dad back in the day
save images and family lore
my mind has tucked away

He never spoke of war or farm
or what his life was like.
When I would ask he’d look away
and say “some other time”

Oh what I wouldn’t do right now
To have him back again
and hear the stories he could tell
of things he left unsaid
Yes, hear the stories he could tell
of things he left unsaid

PRAYER OF OUR REMEMBRANCE

O Lord let all who gather here

Give thanks for freedoms we hold dear

Remembering the bravest ones

Though facing fear their courage won

A prayer of our remembrance now

O God sustain them by your power

Now what is left when war is done?

Do joy or tears remain unsung

Would mother’s sacrifice and grief

be blessings carelessly received

A prayer of our remembrance now

O God sustain them by your power

So in the fervent cause of unity

And the heart of our dear country beating strong

We rise and stand together here today

to proudly lift our voice in grateful song

The lamp of light, eternal flame

Illuminates

their honored ways

Steel guardians all who gave their best

Lord guide these heroes home to rest

A prayer of our remembrance now

O God sustain them by your power

Thou fount of mercy

Gracious One

Teach us to wield Your boundless love

Restore our nation in this hour

May ways of peace

our hearts devour

A prayer of our remembrance now

O God sustain us by your power

O God sustain us by your power

Amen

WHERE LIFE TAKES YOU

Every once in a while I check the obituaries in Bismarck North Dakota to see if someone from my past is in there. I think when you get older you tend to sneak a peek now and then. But yesterday I came upon an obituary of a woman who was survived by her daughter and her ex-husband Kenny. There was virtually no other information than that… which I thought was a bit odd.

So I wondered, what’s their story? These days I have plenty of time on my hands, so I wrote this ode to Kenny and Cindy.

WHERE LIFE TAKES YOU

we met up at the Elks Club
in Oak Lawn, Illinois
for the bulldog reunion
at old Richards High
I don’t know who’s gonna be there
but fewer this time
for the 30 year old recap
of mysteries and lies

oh brother you look familiar
I should be, hey it’s Toot
wow it’s so great to see you
thanks I’m doin pretty good
did you hear about Kenny
you mean Kenny Beshear
I guess he isn’t coming
to the party this year

what do you hear about him
not really that much
after graduation was over
we kinda lost touch
well Cindy Maynard and him
got married right away
he drove truck there at Loeffler’s
she waitressed at Jay’s

he got tired of the driving
just after a year
his life was a noose
in a black hole career
when sweet baby Emma
came onto the scene
He looked for a way
to be all he could be

he signed up for three years
11 bravo 1st Cav
pulled a 9 month tour of duty
in Afghanistan
Ronnie Wade was there too
friends back in the day
good times til a IED
blew Ronnie away

when Kenny got stateside
he was messed up real bad
his mind became a bomb
that blew up in rehab
9 months in the V.A.
they do the best they can
but they couldn’t put Kenny
back together again

Stacie just told me
he’s on SSI
selling copper and cans
in Blue Ash, Ohio
he split up with Cindy
never called her again
keeps on drinking and thinking
with a mind that won’t mend

Cindy died of the cancer
about two months ago
she never remarried
raised her Emmie alone
and the last thing she told her
Em I want you to know
you can still have your dreams
if you never lose hope

but it’s all such a shame
and for me hard to hear
everybody liked Kenny
and Cindy round here
so if you’re living or dying
just be sure you pray too
cuz you don’t know the dance
life is taking you to

by Greg Nelson
© Poppie’s Hallel

LIKE LITTLE CHILDREN

She wants to be a barista …at least this week. She is the youngest of our granddaughters here in Tennessee. Her name is T-Ball.

(The name has been changed to protect the innocent…more specifically..me…because if any grandfatherly non-compliance should occur using said chipmunk’s name or likeness on Facebook without permission…and witnessed by the ever vigilant momma Sarah bear….well…in a twinkling of an eye, my life is gonna take a sudden turn, and I might add, very unlike the rapture.

Well “T” set up her “fake” Starbucks operation, that’s what she calls it and called us to see if we would like to have a delicious drink. As any self-respecting grandparent knows, When your grandchildren call, you’re always interested in a delicious drink. So Pam and I decided on what we’d have, and I ordered a Strawberry refresher, and Pam a Cocoa drink.

We drove over to their house, and for social distancing reasons,she left them on the step for us to retrieve, while Sarah, Damian and the sisters all looked on. We didn’t know what to expect, but both of us found our drinks absolutely delicious. This girl had done her homework.

What I haven’t mentioned is that she’s been watching the television reports of the brave health workers in this COVID-19 pandemic. This was very troubling to this 8-year-old, and she wanted to do something about it, so she came up with the idea of using her love of wanting to become a barista and helping these health workers at the same time. It was a win-win scenario for her. I don’t know how many drinks she made, but she didn’t charge for any of them, with the caveat and a wink, that tips would be accepted..

Well, she received a lot of tips and felt very good at the end of the day. She had worked so hard planning, getting her ingredients together, experimenting, making a menu and rounding up potential customers.

Pictured below is the note she wrote to the sweet doctor who lives across the street from her. Upon receiving this gift from “T”, the doctor was overcome with gratitude and wrote a beautiful thank you note back to her.

For Pam and me, it was a spiritual experience receiving those drinks, knowing her intentions.

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”