O Little Town

I was blessed to share this in Church today. I wrote this for this year’s Christmas Card.

O Little Town…

 

O little town of Bethlehem

You were not still that night

As travelers arrived at every hour

Their clamor drowned the quiet

 

The inns full to overflowing

But truth, the rooms were few

Such greeted one faint couple

With precious cargo due

 

It wasn’t a Hallmark moment

In a Thomas Kinkade Town

When the Son of God alit on earth

Sans His golden crown

 

No warming glow from rustic barn

Swathed in nostalgic verse

Nor regal pomp and splendor

Regaled the holy birth

 

Spent from arduous journey

Joseph pled their urgent case

But the vexed and haggard host

Rebuked him to his face

 

The best he had to offer

A stable lay out back

Among cows and goats, flies and mice

Fetid squalor did not lack

 

Worn beyond weary

Mary ached for curing rest

She scanned the humble structure

For a tolerable place to nest

 

And within that covert hovel

A private miracle then took place

By a virgin, God delivered    

The Ark of peace and grace

 

In not announcing such a marvel

The Herald Angels seemed remiss

They failed to alert the village

That God was in their midst

 

No, they took their news out of town

To the nearby quiet hills

Where a band of loathsome shepherds

Received the vocal thrill

 

No trumpets blown in chorus

In an inaugural display

That the King of all the earth

Lay in the town that day

 

For Jehovah had a purpose

When He sent His Son to earth

He was bringing hope and mercy

To the least in power and worth

 

It wasn’t a Hallmark moment

In a Thomas Kinkade Town

When the Son of God alit on earth

Sans His golden crown

 

No warming glow from rustic barn

Swathed in nostalgic verse

Nor regal pomp and splendor

Regaled the holy birth

 

Rocky James Curtiss 12/13/2017

Psalm 107

This has been inside me long enough. I’ve always wanted to write a poem based on Psalm 107 which, to me, is one of the most poetic of the Psalms. The Psalmist repeats a certain phrase several times and you’ll notice I’ve done the same. It is long, 80 lines, but I hope you don’t let that deter you.

Inspired by Psalm 107

Everyone, give thanks to Adonai
Shout out praises as the thunder
For the goodness He has wrought
When you were added to His number
As you thirsted in the desert
Hope was buried in the sand
He snatched you from the enemy
Then shaded with His hand

He heard your stressful cries
As the enemy attacked
And took the evil blows
Those raked across His back
Everyone, give thanks unto Yeshua
for His refreshing, cooling streams
Which soothe your thirsty hearts
And relieve your burning pains

Shackled deep in deadly darkness
Afflicted and in irons
Constantly turned your backs
Eschewed His offered arms
He left you to your slavery
Until from your knees you cried
He unchained your grieving hearts
And drew you to His side

He heard your stressful cries
As the enemy attacked
And took the evil blows
Those raked across His back
Everyone, give thanks unto Yeshua
For the freedom he provides
He loosed you from the Rogue
And took you for His bride

Fools clinging to your vanity
Parading arrogance like a crown
Abhorring His mercy and His peace
Behaving like a clown
Insisting you know better
Though trapped by your own sin
Until wearied, you cried out
Jehovah, Savior, I repent!

He heard your stressful cries
As the enemy attacked
And took the evil blows
Those raked across His back
Everyone, give thanks unto Yeshua
For His humble path to death
His blood has marked the way
To His blissful arms of rest

Each voyage fraught with danger
From chilling highs to dreadful lows
You’re at the mercy of the storm
As you fight the deadly blows
But Jehovah is the Master
Over winds and stormy seas
When we rest in His protection
He showers us with peace

He heard your stressful cries
As the enemy attacked
And took the evil blows
Those raked across His back
Everyone, give thanks unto Yeshua
Who stills the tempest’s madness
With a simple, spoken “Stop”
Then fills our sails with gladness

He dries up every river
And blocks life-giving springs
Turns your labor into folly
For the wickedness you bring
But He turns desert into grassland
From a Rock He floods the plain
Jehovah-Jireh, your Provider
When you kneel to His reign

He heard your stressful cries
As the enemy attacked
And took the evil blows
Those raked across His back
Everyone, give thanks unto Yeshua
For He drenches us in Love
Which he carried from the Father
On His mission from above

Rocky James Curtiss 07/12/2017

One More Truck to Pass

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Cruising on the highway
Learned these metaphors for life
Smooth asphalt is a good day
The bumpy road our strife
Regardless of conditions
Rough or smooth as glass
The one constant in our journey
Is another truck to pass

Straight roads stretch on forever
As we speed to infinity’s end
While curvy roads they check us
With hilly turns and bends
Regardless of conditions
Whether slowed or moving fast
The one constant in our journey
Is another truck to pass

I’ve learned “What’s the hurry?
The drive ends soon enough
While focused on the highway
I missed God’s dazzling stuff
This sojourn I’ve been given
Was not consigned to last”
He says, “Slow down, enjoy it!
There’s one more truck to pass”

Don’t Talk to me About Fall!

Fall

Fall (or autumn if you want to be more formal); I’m not sure whether to welcome its coming or consider it a dreadful portent of the evil to come. Now I’m speaking strictly about a Spokane fall season. Having spent most of my life in Southern California, I paid little attention to any of the seasons. Summer is hot and the rest of the year is mild. Admittedly, at my advanced years, I tire of the hot weather we’re served, especially by August and early September, but I’m not looking forward to winter, Five years into our life here and I’m certain that winter sucks. After one lovely snowfall, I’m done, and I’m ready for spring.

 

Now let’s see what others love so much about autumn”

 

  • “The colors of the trees are stunning.”

I’ll grant you that, the changing colors are breathtaking…for about two weeks. But if you have a big maple tree in your yard then plan on spending most of your spare moments raking and stuffing them into a huge yard waste container, but understand, it fills up fast. Plan on undertaking this task for about 10 weeks, it will take that long. Heaven help you if you have two maple trees.

  • “I’m so glad for the cooler weather.”

Me too, but my body isn’t…well, let’s say “it’s not ready for cooler weather.” The sudden cool-down makes me more susceptible to colds (like the one I’m at war with right now), and I’m not quite sure how to dress; shorts or jeans, long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirt, vest or jacket. The vest or jacket dilemma can be prickly. I might be too warm in a jacket but I’m beginning to think neither of my vests looks good on me. Believe it, I’ve seen photos. One of my vests feels good on me, but with my (for lack of a better way to say it) upper-body girth, I look like I’m wearing a gray napkin with pockets and holes cut out for my arms. The other vest is camo and I’m certain I’m mistaken for a bush with stubby legs. Perhaps I need to go shopping, or lose weight, or both. Also, I’m not ready for the switch from flip flops to slippers around the house. Let’s face it, I’m just not ready to feel cold. I’M NEVER READY TO FEEL COLD!

 

Now, I know people who rave about fall. They’re good people, and they’re entitled to their stupid opinion. There are others who think winter is the best. These are folks I will never understand. Me? Today is the first day of fall and I’m ready for spring.

Today

Inspired by Frederich Buechner in his The Alphabet of Grace

Today

*

Today my past has ended

Golden moments, periods of woe

In their melancholy blended

*

Today the last day of my past

What I had, what I missed

No longer within my grasp

*

Today my past is but reflection

Losses rued, gains accrued

Are laid out for dissection

*

Today the first unknown tomorrow

Tinged with hope, spiced with fear

Promises both joy and sorrow

*

Today tomorrow has no number

No years promised, no breath assured

To be awake or eternal slumber

*

Today tomorrow is but shadow

Crafted in dreams, designed by hope

But subject to my Maker’s veto

*

Today is all I have in hand

My choice to live, my choice to give

My choice to bow to His command

Rocky James Curtiss 04/04/2017

 

Precious Memories

I wrote this seven days after the second stage of Kimberly’s brain surgery, and today is the seventh anniversary of this recollection.

Our Baby Girl

March 8, 2010 at 11:06am

our baby girl

God’s gifts never stop giving, never stop blessing.

 

July 25, 1969: it was just three days prior that God blessed Joyce and me with a beautiful gift, 6lbs. 13 oz., our baby girl, Kimberly Marie. In those days most hospitals treated Dad as unnecessary. I didn’t get access to the delivery, and I could only see Joyce and Kimberly during visiting hours; and Kim was visible only through the big window in the maternity ward. But on July 25th I arrived to pick up my new family from Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

They put Joyce in a wheel chair and set Kimberly in her arms while they wheeled her out. I brought the car around to the loading zone. Once Joyce was in the car the nurse handed her the baby (no car seats in those days), and we headed home.

Joyce, with Kimberly, exited the car as I brought the bags and flowers inside. Finally the moment arrived. At last the thing my heart ached for could happen. I sat down in our rocker and Joyce handed our baby girl to me.

As I cradled her in my arms I studied her face, her squenched nose and eyes; I gazed for a long time at her ears, noticing the detailed perfection; I stroked the wisp of blonde hair that swept across her scalp. Then with my free hand I picked up each foot, counting her toes (5 on each foot), and marveled at the perfect detail; as if a craftsman had produced the perfect miniature of a human being. I proceeded to do the same with each hand; 4 fingers and a thumb, each with its little nails and knuckles. What beautiful, delicate things, her hands. As I lifted a hand with my index finger her little appendage grasped it and electric joy pulsed through my heart. Wow! I didn’t need words; it was a grip that said, “I love you and trust you.”

40 years and 223 days later, March 2, I entered the hospital, Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. It was the morning after phase two of Kim’s 22 hours of surgery (Tuesday, March 2nd) ; made necessary because of a large (golf ball-sized) brain tumor (a meningioma) pressed up against her brain stem. As I walked to our baby girl’s bedside the nurse said to Kim, “Look who’s here. Do you know who this is?”

Kim’s eyes opened slightly as her hand reached out and grasped my finger. “Dad,” she replied.

I never thought I would experience that joy again that I felt on that July, 1969 morning in Albuquerque. The way she clutched my finger said, “I love you and trust you.”

Finally, she didn’t always smile, but nearly all the time…except when she cried which was also nearly all the time???

Our Wedding Dance

During worship this morning God put this on my heart; I imagined Jesus dancing, and I pictured Him absolutely loving it.

Our Wedding Dance

***

With vows sincerely spoken

Gold rings adorning hands

Commitment sealing kisses

Commence our wedding dance

*

My Jesus loves to Jive

He’s the holy King of Swing

Kicks and flicks and twirls

Anoint our festive fling

*

My Jesus loves to Waltz

We glide around the floor

Graced in His embrace

Our coupled spirits soar

*

My Jesus loves to Cha Cha

His rhythm is sublime

So exalted by the music

His joy flows into mine

***

My Jesus loves to Tango

Argentine romance

Such intensity of passion

Completes our wedding dance

Rocky James Curtiss 01/15/2017

Oh to be His Bride

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My Savior Fair

*

His hand folds over mine

And pulls me to His side

Our fingers intertwine

As He loves me as His bride

*

He guides me through the field

On a blossom scented lane

His promised love is sealed

Our joy is unrestrained

*

The thrilling morning sun

Awakes the sparrow’s tune

Our hearts now blend as one

Adoration in full bloom

*

Our stroll become a dance

As He pulls me to His breast

I am His sweet romance

In this our wedding fest

*

No more to trod in fear

Alone and in despair

My beloved’s love is pure

He is my Savior Fair

***

Rocky James Curtiss 01/09/2017

Amazing Wonder

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You can do a double-take

Wonder what it is you’re seeing

Then give your head a shake

From doubt, nay disbelieving

*

You may also pinch your arm

Poke a friend who’s standing near

Who could echo joint alarm

Confirmation from a peer

*

On a recent shopping trip

Made a purchase quite astute

To give myself some zip

Brand my visage as a beaut

*

Don’t assume the eyes are lying

Like you’ve seen a movie star

I’ve been using “age defying”

Olay Beauty Bars

***

Rocky James Curtiss 11/19/2016

Sleep Poems

Tuesday night I had the best night’s sleep in over a week. The following night…not so much. These two poems were written one day apart, and speak directly to the night before.

Psalm 3:5 “I lay down and slept; I awoke for the Lord sustained me.”

How beautiful life seems
Yes, the body rejoices
After uninterrupted sleep
I join Angelic voices

Neither politics nor bladder
Crept in and spoiled my peace
Today I scale great mountains
Energy’s found new lease

It’s evidence of hope
That I will rise and survive
In the bosom of God
Thank Yahweh I’m alive

In blissful celebration
I plan a teatime doze
Yes forty winks of slumber
To paint the bloom back on my rose

***

Rocky James Curtiss 11/16/2016

*****

This is “a day after” poem, made clearer by yesterday’s effort

Psalm 3:5 “I lay down and slept; I awoke for the Lord sustained me.” Reprise

I wonder if David spent a night like me
Subsequent the day he penned Psalm Three
Did his mind take orbit like a spinning top
As he tossed and he turned and sleep was lost

Did he conjure up specters of monsters in the cave
Or fear the deadly sword of a Philistine knave
Then throw up his hands and announce “I concede”
Whilst he found another cavern to go and watch TV

The life of faith will engage many hard trials
The journey is bumpy over countless miles
Such was the promise in John 16:33
But He also promised hope, Christ is our victory

Decidedly much better than a good night’s rest
Is knowing in my Savior I’m forevermore blessed
I can take last night and chuck it in the fire
I know I’ll sleep tonight, I am so very tired

***

Rocky James Curtiss 11/17/2016