“Fragile Eloquence” & Other Poems

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Poet John Jackson shares five creation poems as part of the Nov 2012–Jan 2013 issue “Hope for Eco-Activists: Discovering an Environmental Faith“.

By John H. Jackson

BONE TIRED

Nature
Bone tired weary
From our
Industrial assaults
Ravenous greed
The trees
Have migraines

Ocala 1993

WONDERING

But now
I am wondering
If you
Are listening
To these
Words
Do these
Wind sighs
In the tree tops
Do these
Chips from
Chopped ice
Do these
Whirling ashes
From the campfire
Do these reflections
Find
Some response
Some recognition
Some confirmation
In your life

Whatever
I continue
To paint
With words
And
To invite you
To come closer
To the page
As you
Enter
The still room
Of thought
As we
Travel towards
The white cliffs
Of mortality

Econfina on the Gulf 2004

WAS IT

Well the world
Can be as bitter
As a sour orange
Sprung from
Cold damaged
Lemon stock root
And
These days
Who can escape
The unfulfilled promises
Of party spin machines
The bold faced lies
Of politicians
“The best that
money can buy”
Said Will Rogers.

Why, it’s enough
To make cynics of us all
Not to mention
“The slings and arrows
of outrageous fortune.”

But today
I think about
The depressing times
And ask
What has uplifted me?
Was it
The caw caw caw
Of a lone crow
Sitting unseen
High on a hill
In a green canopy
Of hickory tree leaves
Overlooking the
Crystal waters
Of Lake Jocassee

What has uplifted me?
Was it
The crash of waves
The shrill voices
Of darting shore birds
The sight
Of pelicans
Riding the wind
At flood tide
At Matanzas Inlet

What has uplifted me?
Was it
The multi colored
Beach umbrellas
And a couple
Sitting side by side
In their
Fold up beach chairs
Gazing out to sea
Listening to the
Drone of the surf
Their now and again
Calm and caring conversation
Bent gently by the wind.

Lake Jocassee, S.C. 2004

FRAGILE ELOQUENCE

The fishing boats
Have waited patiently
Through the night
Creaking and groaning
Through the tide changes

They wait
Like deer hounds
For the first
Sights and sounds of dawn
The light of day
Creeps slowly across
An eastern sky
A gentle breeze
Laps the water
Birds chirp
Their way to life

What can compare
With the fragile
Eloquence of morning
Only those who work
Through a moonless night
When the sea
Has turned to ink
Can know the meaning
Of new beginnings

An engine starts
And purrs with
The promise of power
And we make our way
Down the winding river
Out toward the Gulf
In search of food and wonder
We join the morning clouds
And bask in the warmth
Of the first day of creation

Econfina on the Gulf 1985

THE FUTURE DEPENDS ON

I have seen
The orange and brown leaves
Swirl and lightly lift up
And settle on the
Mirror surface
Of the lake
I have felt
The cool night air
Heard the owl at midnight –
Some day he will call my name
I have seen
The moving silhouette
Of geese against
Our setting star
A thousand wings
Beating toward the southern sun
I have felt the waves
Against the shore
Seen the porpoise in her element
And learned many things
Yet I cannot speak
Wonder lays a finger
Against my lips
That which I would shape
Is shaping me
I have seen children smile
And felt the dog’s tail
Wagging against my leg
I have tasted
Bread and wine
And sunburned kisses
Watched leaves
With buds once
Curled against the cold
Begin to unfurl
And learned many things
Again wonder lays
A finger against my lips
We are gifted
We are graced
Mystery has a smiling face
The earth is not yet finished
The Future depends on love.

North Carolina 1993
 
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POET BIO: John H. Jackson is a retired Presbyterian minister, co-founder of PEC (Presbyterians for Earth Care), and was a Mission Enabler for Central Florida Presbytery from 1983-1999. He is a genealogist, creation poet, photographer, and citrus gardener.
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